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Lines of Navigation | Monthly Portfolio Update - July 202
Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be - Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H. This is my forty-fourth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund - $716 680
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund - $41 103
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund - $77 788
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund - $111 667
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) - $202 336
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) - $54 872
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) - $230 058
Telstra shares (TLS) -$1 785
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) - $6 449
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) - $5 316
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) - $124 756
Secured physical gold - $20 070
Ratesetter (P2P lending) - $9 881
Bitcoin - $173 010
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) - $17 258
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) -$2 619
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) - $4 471
Total portfolio value: $1 800 119 (+$34 376 or 1.9%) Asset allocation
Australian shares - 41.1%
Global shares- 22.2%
Emerging market shares - 2.2%
International small companies - 2.9%
Total international shares - 27.3%
Total shares - 68.4% (6.6% under)
Total property securities - 0.2% (0.2% over)
Australian bonds - 4.5%
International bonds - 9.1%
Total bonds - 13.6% (1.4% under)
Gold - 8.0%
Bitcoin - 9.6%
Gold and alternatives - 17.7% (7.7% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The portfolio has substantially increased this month, continuing the recovery in portfolio value since March. The strong portfolio growth of over $34 000, or 1.9 per cent, returns the value of the portfolio close to that achieved at the end of February this year. [Chart] This month there was minimal movement in the value of Australian and global equity holdings, There was, however, a significant lift of around 6 per cent in the value of gold exchange traded fund units, as well as a rise in the value of Bitcoin holdings. These movements have pushed the value of gold holdings to their highest level so far on the entire journey. Their total value has approximately doubled since the original major purchases across 2009 to 2015. For most of the past year gold has functioned as a portfolio stabiliser, having a negative correlation to movements in Australian equities (of around -0.3 to -0.4). As low and negative bond rates spread across the world, however, the opportunity cost of holding gold is reduced, and its potential diversification benefits loom larger. The fixed income holdings of the portfolio also continued to fall beneath the target allocation, making this question of what represents a defensive (or negatively correlated to equity) asset far from academic. This steady fall is a function of the slow maturing of Ratesetter loans, which were largely made between 2015 and 2017. Ratesetter has recently advised of important changes to its market operation, and placed a fixed maximum cap on new loan rates. By replacing market set rates with maximum rates, the peer-to-peer lending platform appears to be shifting to more of a 'intermediated' role in which higher past returns (of around 8 to 9 per cent) will now no longer be possible. [Chart] The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars. Consistent with this, investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) using Selfwealth. This has been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares. Fathoming out: franking credits and portfolio distributions Earlier last month I released a summary of portfolio income over the past half year. This, like all before it, noted that the summary was prepared on a purely 'cash' basis, reflecting dividends actually paid into a bank account, and excluding consideration of franking credits. Franking credits are credits for company tax paid at the company level, which can be passed to individual shareholders, reducing their personal tax liability. They are not cash, but for a personal investor with tax liabilities they can have equivalent value. This means that comparing equity returns to other investments without factoring these credits can produce a distorted picture of an investor's final after-tax return. In past portfolio summaries I have noted an estimate for franking credits in footnotes, but updating the value for this recently resulted in a curiosity about the overall significance of this neglected element of my equity returns. This neglect resulted from my perception earlier in the journey that they represented a marginal and abstract factor, which could effectively be assumed away for the sake of simplicity in reporting. This is not a wholly unfair view, in the sense that income physically received and able to be spent is something definably different in kind than a notional 'pre-payment' credit for future tax costs. Yet, as the saying goes, because the prospect of personal tax is as certain as extinction from this world, in some senses a credit of this kind can be as valuable as a cash distribution. Restoring the record: trends and drivers of franking credits To collect a more accurate picture of the trends and drivers of franking credits I relied on a few sources - tax statements, records and the automatic franking credit estimates that the portfolio tracking site Sharesight generates. The chart below sets out both the level and major different sources of franking credits received over the past eleven years. [Chart] From this chart some observations can be made.
The level of franking credits has grown substantially over the past ten years - from a total of under $1 000 per year to around $8 000 annually.
Recent years have seen a particularly high accrual of franking credits - such that by value, over half of the total value of franking credits has been received over the past three financial years.
These credits now constitute a significant element in total realised returns - in the last financial year the value of franking credits represented a 12 per cent boost to the total level of cash distributions, and over the past two years they have contributed around $8 000 each year to the total level of after-tax returns. This is the equivalent of the portfolio paying nearly $700 per month in tax liabilities.
The key reason for the rapid growth over the recent decade has been the increased investment holdings in Australian equities. As part of the deliberate rebalancing towards Australian shares across the past two years, these holdings have expanded. The chart below sets out the total value of Australian shares held over the comparable period. [Chart] As an example, at the beginning of this record Australian equities valued at around $276 000 were held. Three years later, the holding were nearly three times larger. The phase of consistently increasing the Australian equities holding to meet its allocated weighting is largely complete. This means that the period of rapid growth seen in the past few years is unlikely to repeat. Rather, growth will revert to be in proportion to total portfolio growth. Close to cross-over: the credit card records One of the most powerful initial motivators to reach financial independence was the concept of the 'cross over' point in Vicki Robins and Joe Dominguez's Your Money or Your Life. This was the point at which monthly expenses are exceeded by investment income. One of the metrics I have traced is this 'cross-over' point in relation to recorded credit card expenses. And this point is now close indeed. Expenditures on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. The three year rolling average of monthly credit card spending remains at its lowest point over the period of the journey. Distributions on the same basis now meet over 99 per cent of card expenses - with the gap now the equivalent of less than $50 per month. [Chart] The period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent form of financial independence has continued. The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the the extent to which to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month. [Chart] An alternative way to view the same data is to examine the degree to which total expenses (i.e. fixed payments not made on credit card added to monthly credit card expenses) are met by distributions received. An updated version of this is seen in the chart below. [Chart] Interestingly, on a trend basis, this currently identifies a 'crossing over' point of trend distributions fully meeting total expenditure from around November 2019. This is not conclusive, however, as the trend curve is sensitive to the unusual COVID-19 related observations of the first half of this year, and could easily shift further downward if normal expense patterns resume. One issue this analysis raises is what to do with the 'credit card purchases' measure reported below. This measure is designed to provide a stylised benchmark of how close the current portfolio is to a target of generating the income required to meet an annual average credit card expenditure of $71 000. The problem with this is that continued falling credit card spending means that average credit card spending is lower than that benchmark for all time horizons - measured as three and four year averages, or in fact taken as a whole since 2013. So the set benchmark may, if anything, be understating actual progress compared the graphs and data above by not reflecting changing spending levels. In the past I have addressed this trend by reducing the benchmark. Over coming months, or perhaps at the end of the year, I will need to revisit both the meaning, and method, of setting this measure. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 82.6% 111.5% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 100.7% 136.0% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 80.7% 109.0% Summary One of the most challenging aspects of closing in on a fixed numerical target for financial independence with risk assets still in place is that the updrafts and downdrafts of market movements can push the goal further away, or surprisingly close. There have been long period of the journey where the total value of portfolio has barely grown, despite regular investments being made. As an example, the portfolio ended 2018 lower than it started the year. The past six months have been another such period. This can create a sense of treading water. Yet amidst the economic devastation affecting real lives and businesses, this is an extremely fortunate position to be in. Australia and the globe are set to experience an economic contraction far more severe than the Global Financial Crisis, with a lesser capacity than previously for interest rates to cushion the impact. Despite similar measures being adopted by governments to address the downturn, it is not clear whether these are fit for purpose. Asset allocation in this environment - of being almost suspended between two realities - is a difficult problem. The history of markets can tell us that just when assets seem most 'broken', they can produce outsized returns. Yet the problem remains that far from being surrounded by broken markets, the proliferation appears to be in bubble-like conditions. This recent podcast discussion with the founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer provided a useful historical context to current financial conditions this month. One of the themes of the conversation was 'thinking the unthinkable', such as a return of inflation. Similar, this Hoover Institute video discussion, with a 'Back from the future' premise, provides some entertaining, informed and insightful views on the surprising and contingent nature of what we know to be true. Some of our little systems may well have had their day, but what could replace them remains obscured to any observer. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
It is no doubt Grayscale’s booming popularity as a mainstream investment has caused a lot of community hullabaloo lately. As such, I felt it was worth making a FAQ regarding the topic. I’m looking to update this as needed and of course am open to suggestions / adding any questions. The goal is simply to have a thread we can link to anyone with questions on Grayscaleand its products. Instead of explaining the same thing 3 times a day, shoot those posters over to this thread.My hope is that these questions are answered in a fairly simple and easy to understand manner. I think as the sub grows it will be a nice reference point for newcomers. Disclaimer: I do NOT work for Grayscale and as such am basing all these answers on information that can be found on their website / reports. (Grayscale’s official FAQ can be found here). I also do NOT have a finance degree, I do NOT have a Series 6 / 7 / 140-whatever, and I do NOT work with investment products for my day job. I have an accounting background and work within the finance world so I have the general ‘business’ knowledge to put it all together, but this is all info determined in my best faith effort as a layman. The point being is this --- it is possible I may explain something wrong or missed the technical terms, and if that occurs I am more than happy to update anything that can be proven incorrect Everything below will be in reference to ETHE but will apply to GBTC as well.If those two segregate in any way, I will note that accordingly.
ETHE is essentially a stock that intends to loosely track the price of ETH. It does so by having each ETHE be backed by a specific amount of ETH that is held on chain. Initially, the newly minted ETHE can only be purchased by institutions and accredited investors directly from Grayscale. Once a year has passed (6 months for GBTC) it can then be listed on the OTCQX Best Market exchange for secondary trading. Once listed on OTCQX, anyone investor can purchase at this point. Additional information on ETHE can be found here.
So ETHE is an ETF?
No. For technical reasons beyond my personal understandings it is not labeled an ETF. I know it all flows back to the “Securities Act Rule 144”, but due to my limited knowledge on SEC regulations I don’t want to misspeak past that. If anyone is more knowledgeable on the subject I am happy to input their answer here.
How long has ETHE existed?
ETHE was formed 12/14/2017. GBTC was formed 9/25/2013.
How is ETHE created?
The trust will issue shares to “Authorized Participants” in groups of 100 shares (called baskets). Authorized Participants are the only persons that may place orders to create these baskets and they do it on behalf of the investor. Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 39 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here Note – The way their reports word this makes it sound like there is an army of authorizers doing the dirty work, but in reality there is only one Authorized Participant. At this moment the “Genesis” company is the sole Authorized Participant. Genesis is owned by the “Digital Currency Group, Inc.” which is the parent company of Grayscale as well. (And to really go down the rabbit hole it looks like DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk and is “backing 150+ companies across 30 countries, including Coinbase, Ripple, and Chainalysis.”) Source: Digital Currency Group, Inc. informational section on page 77 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here Source: Barry E. Silbert informational section on page 75 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here
How does Grayscale acquire the ETH to collateralize the ETHE product?
An Investor may acquire ETHE by paying in cash or exchanging ETH already owned.
Cash: The investor pays the subscription amount in cash and the Authorized Participant will use that cash to purchase ETH.
ETH: The investor transfers the ETH to the Authorized Participant, which will contribute the ETH in-kind to the Trust.
Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 40 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Where does Grayscale store their ETH? Does it have a specific wallet address we can follow?
ETH is stored with Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC. I am unaware of any specific address or set of addresses that can be used to verify the ETH is actually there. As an aside - I would actually love to see if anyone knows more about this as it’s something that’s sort of peaked my interest after being asked about it… I find it doubtful we can find that however. Source: Part C. Business Information, Item 8, subsection A. on page 16 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Can ETHE be redeemed for ETH?
No, currently there is no way to give your shares of ETHE back to Grayscale to receive ETH back. The only method of getting back into ETH would be to sell your ETHE to someone else and then use those proceeds to buy ETH yourself. Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Why are they not redeeming shares?
I think the report summarizes it best:
Redemptions of Shares are currently not permitted and the Trust is unable to redeem Shares. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval from the SEC and approval by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Trust may in the future operate a redemption program. Because the Trust does not believe that the SEC would, at this time, entertain an application for the waiver of rules needed in order to operate an ongoing redemption program, the Trust currently has no intention of seeking regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program.
Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the fee structure?
ETHE has an annual fee of 2.5%. GBTC has an annual fee of 2.0%. Fees are paid by selling the underlying ETH / BTC collateralizing the asset. Source: ETHE’s informational page on Grayscale’s website - Located Here Source: Description of Trust on page 31 & 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the ratio of ETH to ETHE?
At the time of posting (6/19/2020) each ETHE share is backed by .09391605 ETH. Each share of GBTC is backed by .00096038 BTC. ETHE & GBTC’s specific information page on Grayscale’s website updates the ratio daily – Located Here For a full historical look at this ratio, it can be found on the Grayscale home page on the upper right side if you go to Tax Documents > 2019 Tax Documents > Grayscale Ethereum Trust 2019 Tax Letter.
Why is the ratio not 1:1? Why is it always decreasing?
While I cannot say for certain why the initial distribution was not a 1:1 backing, it is more than likely to keep the price down and allow more investors a chance to purchase ETHE / GBTC. As noted above, fees are paid by selling off the ETH collateralizing ETHE. So this number will always be trending downward as time goes on. Source: Description of Trust on page 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
I keep hearing about how this is locked supply… explain?
As noted above, there is currently no redemption program for converting your ETHE back into ETH. This means that once an ETHE is issued, it will remain in circulation until a redemption program is formed --- something that doesn’t seem to be too urgent for the SEC or Grayscale at the moment. Tiny amounts will naturally be removed due to fees, but the bulk of the asset is in there for good. Knowing that ETHE cannot be taken back and destroyed at this time, the ETH collateralizing it will not be removed from the wallet for the foreseeable future. While it is not fully locked in the sense of say a totally lost key, it is not coming out any time soon. Per their annual statement:
The Trust’s ETH will be transferred out of the ETH Account only in the following circumstances: (i) transferred to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or any Additional Trust Expenses, (ii) distributed in connection with the redemption of Baskets (subject to the Trust’s obtaining regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program and the consent of the Sponsor), (iii) sold on an as-needed basis to pay Additional Trust Expenses or (iv) sold on behalf of the Trust in the event the Trust terminates and liquidates its assets or as otherwise required by law or regulation.
Source: Description of Trust on page 31 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Grayscale now owns a huge chunk of both ETH and BTC’s supply… should we be worried about manipulation, a sell off to crash the market crash, a staking cartel?
First, it’s important to remember Grayscale is a lot more akin to an exchange then say an investment firm. Grayscale is working on behalf of its investors to create this product for investor control. Grayscale doesn’t ‘control’ the ETH it holds any more then Coinbase ‘controls’ the ETH in its hot wallet. (Note: There are likely some varying levels of control, but specific to this topic Grayscale cannot simply sell [legally, at least] the ETH by their own decision in the same manner Coinbase wouldn't be able to either.) That said, there shouldn’t be any worry in the short to medium time-frame. As noted above, Grayscale can’t really remove ETH other than for fees or termination of the product. At 2.5% a year, fees are noise in terms of volume. Grayscale seems to be the fastest growing product in the crypto space at the moment and termination of the product seems unlikely. IF redemptions were to happen tomorrow, it’s extremely unlikely we would see a mass exodus out of the product to redeem for ETH. And even if there was incentive to get back to ETH, the premium makes it so that it would be much more cost effective to just sell your ETHE on the secondary market and buy ETH yourself. Remember, any redemption is up to the investors and NOT something Grayscale has direct control over.
Yes, but what about [insert criminal act here]…
Alright, yes. Technically nothing is stopping Grayscale from selling all the ETH / BTC and running off to the Bahamas (Hawaii?). BUT there is no real reason for them to do so. Barry is an extremely public figure and it won’t be easy for him to get away with that. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust creates SEC reports weekly / bi-weekly and I’m sure given the sentiment towards crypto is being watched carefully. Plus, Grayscale is making tons of consistent revenue and thus has little to no incentive to give that up for a quick buck.
That’s a lot of ‘happy little feels’ Bob, is there even an independent audit or is this Tether 2.0?
Actually yes, an independent auditor report can be found in their annual reports. It is clearly aimed more towards the financial side and I doubt the auditors are crypto savants, but it is at least one extra set of eyes. Auditors are Friedman LLP – Auditor since 2015. Source: Independent Auditor Report starting on page 116 (of the PDF itself) of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here As mentioned by user TheCrpytosAndBloods (In Comments Below), a fun fact:
The company’s auditors Friedman LLP were also coincidentally TetheBitfinex’s auditors until They controversially parted ways in 2018 when the Tether controversy was at its height. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is anything shady about DCG - I just find it interesting it’s the same auditor.
“Grayscale sounds kind of lame” / “Not your keys not your crypto!” / “Why is anyone buying this, it sounds like a scam?”
Welp, for starters this honestly is not really a product aimed at the people likely to be reading this post. To each their own, but do remember just because something provides no value to you doesn’t mean it can’t provide value to someone else. That said some of the advertised benefits are as follows:
Access to trading within a tax advantaged retirement account
Institutions can easily and safely get exposure to crypto in a more legal-friendly manner
Ease of use for those who are not very technologically savvy
Ease of access for someone who doesn’t want to set up a Coinbase account
Perceived trust in institutional platforms over something like Coinbase or Kraken
Degen traders who just want access to the volatility ETHE provides that have no interest in crypto beyond that
So for example, I can set up an IRA at a brokerage account that has $0 trading fees. Then I can trade GBTC and ETHE all day without having to worry about tracking my taxes. All with the relative safety something like E-Trade provides over Binance. As for how it benefits the everyday ETH holder? I think the supply lock is a positive. I also think this product exposes the Ethereum ecosystem to people who otherwise wouldn’t know about it.
Why is there a premium? Why is ETHE’s premium so insanely high compared to GBTC’s premium?
There are a handful of theories of why a premium exists at all, some even mentioned in the annual report. The short list is as follows:
ETHE is NOT redeeming shares and as such doesn’t have an effective arbitrage mechanism
ETHE has a 1 year wait to be sold on the secondary market, again negating the ability to effectively arbitrage the premium
People may simply be willing to pay a premium for the benefits stated above.
Why is ETHE’s so much higher the GBTC’s? Again, a few thoughts:
ETHE hasn’t been around as long, so there is less secondary market supply to go around
ETHE was listed at an insanely high premium to begin with
ETHE might simply be more popular at the moment
Could just be sheer stupidity (investors think ETHE is a 1:1 ratio not 1:11)
Are there any other differences between ETHE and GBTC?
I touched on a few of the smaller differences, but one of the more interesting changes is GBTC is now a “SEC reporting company” as of January 2020. Which again goes beyond my scope of knowledge so I won’t comment on it too much… but the net result is GBTC is now putting out weekly / bi-weekly 8-K’s and annual 10-K’s. This means you can track GBTC that much easier at the moment as well as there is an extra layer of validity to the product IMO.
I’m looking for some statistics on ETHE… such as who is buying, how much is bought, etc?
There is a great Q1 2020 report I recommend you give a read that has a lot of cool graphs and data on the product. It’s a little GBTC centric, but there is some ETHE data as well. It can be found here hidden within the 8-K filings.Q1 2020 is the 4/16/2020 8-K filing. For those more into a GAAP style report see the 2019 annual 10-K of the same location.
Is Grayscale only just for BTC and ETH?
No, there are other products as well. In terms of a secondary market product, ETCG is the Ethereum Classic version of ETHE. Fun Fact – ETCG was actually put out to the secondary market first. It also has a 3% fee tied to it where 1% of it goes to some type of ETC development fund. In terms of institutional and accredited investors, there are a few ‘fan favorites’ such as Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Stellar, XRP, and Zcash. Something called Horizion (Backed by ZEN I guess? Idk to be honest what that is…). And a diversified Mutual Fund type fund that has a little bit of all of those. None of these products are available on the secondary market.
Are there alternatives to Grayscale?
I know they exist, but I don’t follow them. I’ll leave this as a “to be edited” section and will add as others comment on what they know. Per user Over-analyser (in comments below):
As asked by pegcity - Okay so I was under the impression you can just give them your own ETH and get ETHE, but do you get 11 ETHE per ETH or do you get the market value of ETH in USD worth of ETHE?
I have always understood that the ETHE issued directly through Grayscale is issued without the premium. As in, if I were to trade 1 ETH for ETHE I would get 11, not say only 2 or 3 because the secondary market premium is so high. And if I were paying cash only I would be paying the price to buy 1 ETH to get my 11 ETHE. Per page 39 of their annual statement, it reads as follows:
The Trust will issue Shares to Authorized Participants from time to time, but only in one or more Baskets (with a Basket being a block of 100 Shares). The Trust will not issue fractions of a Basket. The creation (and, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redemption) of Baskets will be made only in exchange for the delivery to the Trust, or the distribution by the Trust, of the number of whole and fractional ETH represented by each Basket being created (or, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redeemed), which is determined by dividing (x) the number of ETH owned by the Trust at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the trade date of a creation or redemption order, after deducting the number of ETH representing the U.S. dollar value of accrued but unpaid fees and expenses of the Trust (converted using the ETH Index Price at such time, and carried to the eighth decimal place), by (y) the number of Shares outstanding at such time (with the quotient so obtained calculated to one one-hundred-millionth of one ETH (i.e., carried to the eighth decimal place)), and multiplying such quotient by 100 (the “Basket ETH Amount”). All questions as to the calculation of the Basket ETH Amount will be conclusively determined by the Sponsor and will be final and binding on all persons interested in the Trust. The Basket ETH Amount multiplied by the number of Baskets being created or redeemed is the “Total Basket ETH Amount.” The number of ETH represented by a Share will gradually decrease over time as the Trust’s ETH are used to pay the Trust’s expenses. Each Share represented approximately 0.0950 ETH and 0.0974 ETH as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Hi all I think we can make the Nano homepage more informative for new users. In its current state, users new to Nano who visit our homepage are likely to not understand the value proposition of Nano. --------- a. We talk about how "Nano makes money efficient for a more equal world - simple to pay with, easy to accept and open to all", but then immediately point out how we're feeless, eco-friendly, and instant. How do those 3 things prove/demonstrate the initial claim? We can do a better job by starting off with the things that make us unique: feeless, eco-friendly, instant finality, decentralized, and secure (running since 2015, audited by Red4Sec). > Then we should dive into why each of these things are different from all other cryptos out there. Give graphs for how we're decentralized, show live average transaction time, link to the audit, compare energy usage and fees to bitcoin, etc. These should all be on the front page for new users to be able to understand what makes us different. > Otherwise, it's so easy to make the argument that other coins are already low fees and really fast too. So why should I care about Nano? We don't do a good job explaining this point. > AND THEN we can put our vision statement for how we want to make the world more equal, etc. The page should read like an argument, not some random bullet points put together on a page. --------- b. Users should not have to go down to the FAQ section to learn about Nano. It's not an FAQ to want to learn what Nano is about - that's the reason I came to your website! > When I hover over "Learn More", I get shown "Resources", "Developer Tools", "Blog" and "Nano Foundation". Why would I click any of those things without even knowing what this Nano thing is and what makes it special from the 1000+ other coins? > We have wonderful docs about Nano is from a technical point of view. We need to simplify and present these things in a non-technical manner on our front page. --------- c. We should try to be more visual when making an argument. Take a look at how other coins are presenting their case on their websites: Hedera, Stellar, Zilliqa. Their arguments are relatively easy to follow. Ours are not. Let's change that. Anyone agree? I'm open to feedback.
Download any of these for free at https://oppfiles.com/585933 DM me if you have any requests for anything not on the list. Please subscribe the sub to find all the eBook releases. Enjoy! [BOOK] 'The macabresque : human violation and hate in genocide, mass atrocity and enemy-making' Edward Weisband, Oxford University Press 2018(self) 1 [BOOK] Scotland After the Ice Age Environment, Archaeology and History 8000 BC - AD 1000(self) 1 [Book] Ethics of Captivity edited by Lori Gruen(self) 1 [Book] Aspects of American History By Simon Henderson(self) 1 [Book] The Soviet Colossus History and Aftermath By Michael G. Kort(self) 1 [BOOK] Challenges to Political Decision-making Dealing with Information Overload, Ignorance and Contested Knowledge(self) 5 [Article] The EU Competition Law Fining System: A Reassessment, Damien Geradin(self) 1 [Book] Russia and the USSR, 1855–1991 Autocracy and Dictatorship ByStephen J. Lee(self) 1 [Book] Søren Kierkegaard: Epistemology and psychology : Kierkegaard and the recoil from freedom - Daniel W. Conway, K. E. Gover(self) 4 [ARTICLE] 'A History of Reason in the Age of Insanity: The Deconstruction of Foucault in Hegel’s Phenomenology' The Owl of Minerva, Volume 25, Issue 1, Fall 1993, Andrew Cutrofello Pages 15-21(self) 1 [BOOK] Mere Civility by Teresa M. Bejan(self) 2 [book] The Philosophy Shop by Peter Worley(self) 1 [BOOK] Sentenciando Trafico - Marcelo Semer(self) 1 [Article] GENETIC INSTABILITY ASSOCIATED WITH BREAK-INDUCED REPLICATION(self) 1 [Article] Properties of elastic bodies in contact - J. Dundurs 1975(self) 2 [Article] Transition alumina phases induced by heat treatment of boehmite: An X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy study(self) 1 [Book] Russian Companion by James Cooper(self) 1 [Book] Model Stock Purchase Agreement with Commentary, by American Bar Association(self) 1 [Book] A History of Modern France By Jeremy D. 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Brisbane: Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Faculty of Humanities, Griffith University, 1997.(self) 3 [Book] Request: Migration and the Refugee Dissensus in Europe: Borders, Security and Austerity by Nicos Trimikliniotis.(self) 9 [Article] Masculinity in videogames: the gendered gameplay of Silent Hill(self) 1 [BOOK] 'Truth games : lies, money, and psychoanalysis' by John Forrester, Harvard University Press, 2000(self) 1 [Book] Osterloh, Jörg, und Clemens Vollnhals. NS-Prozesse Und Deutsche Öffentlichkeit: Besatzungszeit, Frühe Bundesrepublik Und DDR.(self) 2
As promised in our previous article, we wanted to provide some extra clarity on Bitcoin Unlimited financial choices. We wanted to do this as there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation within the community as to the reasons behind these choices. It has been claimed by a small number of influential people in the ecosystem that Bitcoin Unlimited does not support BCH (see the previous article debunking this claim) and that BU’s holdings are supposedly evidence of this. Background Bitcoin Unlimited was founded in 2015, and was set up as a response to the Bitcoin block size debate. More specifically, it was created to provide software that allowed on-chain scaling as originally proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto. As we all know, on-chain scaling is a vital component required for peer-to-peer electronic cash to serve the world’s population. Without it Bitcoin would be limited to serving only a small number of people willing and able to pay exorbitantly high fees. Our organisation was created to make Bitcoin unlimited. This prediction of high fees and limited capacity was played out in the BTC we know today as we predicted. Bitcoin Unlimited received a large anonymous donation in BTC in 2016 from supporters of the ‘on-chain scaling’ movement. This donation allowed our organisation to remain independent and focussed on building software that allows on-chain scaling. As you all know, in August of 2017, Bitcoin Cash was created after an unsuccessful multi-year effort to allow Bitcoin (BTC) to scale on-chain. Bitcoin Cash was created with the goal of on-chain scaling to support the world’s population right at its heart and BU has been supporting it since the idea was originally formulated. Once Bitcoin Cash was created it also meant that all funds Bitcoin Unlimited held (BTC) were forked into two equal sets of coins, BTC and BCH. This put BU into a position where we had to make an important decision on how to handle these funds in a way that was in the interest of both BCH and BU.
Any organisation that wants to be effective in its goals must aim to always be financially sustainable. Without money, achieving anything becomes significantly more difficult. Cryptocurrencies only magnify this issue even further. Highly volatile asset values, opaque and dynamic tax and regulatory environments, and the unique properties of cryptocurrencies all contribute towards making the financial operations of an organisation an extreme challenge to say the least. Navigating this challenging landscape is a necessary requirement for the success of any organisation within our industry though. While Bitcoin Unlimited’s primary goal is to make sure peer-to-peer electronic cash (as set out in the Bitcoin white-paper) becomes a reality, a secondary goal must be to make sure that it has the resources required to make its primary goal achievable, and an important part of these resources are its funds. After Bitcoin forked into BTC and BCH, Bitcoin Unlimited then held an equal number of both. Although a BUIP was passed to authorize some extra conversion, significant practical obstacles to doing so exist (although this is still being worked on). However, since the overarching reason to convert a significant number of BTC to BCH is to maintain financial prudence based on the reasons outlined below and the poor BCH price performance has heavily skewed our holdings, we do anticipate some rebalancing when these obstacles are resolved. We will further expand on these reasons below. Historic Volatility It is a fact that BCH has historically been more volatile than BTC. An organisation that wishes to maintain a lower level of risk must aim to hold a majority of funds in assets which will maintain their value over time, i.e. be less volatile in their price. It is unfortunately true that BCH has been a more volatile asset than BCH since its creation. While there has been lots of progress and maturation of the BCH ecosystem, this price volatility is likely due to BCH still being a smaller and less developed ecosystem than BTC. The graphs below show levels of volatility in the two coins compared. BTC BCH This higher volatility in BCH has meant that to significantly increase BU’s holdings of BCH would expose the organisation to a higher level of risk for ideological reasons. BTC is already a high-volatility asset and to expose the organisation funds to even higher volatility and further risk is a decision that should not be taken based on simplistic ideology, but rather with the strategy of maximising the ability for the organisation to achieve its primary goals. This meant making the decision to not take on a higher exposure to price volatility, and instead maintain a more conservative risk profile.
Lack Of Say In The Protocol
One argument that has been put forward to suggest that this decision does not make sense because it is analogous to a CEO of a company holding more shares in their competitor’s company. This analogy does not accurately reflect the current scenario for BU or BCH. In this analogy BU is the CEO and BCH is the company. Ignoring the shareholders, A CEO is able to have the largest impact on a company compared to any other stakeholder. Their actions have a direct impact on operations of the company and therefore its value and the value of the shares. Unfortunately, Bitcoin Unlimited currently has little to no input on the BCH protocol. It has no way to directly influence the direction or success of BCH. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, BCH has a mining software homogeneity that is as centralised as BTC (i.e. essentially all miners and pools run a single client, BitcoinABC). This means that, all though BU has a slight majority in non-mining and in-consensus nodes, BU has no say in protocol decisions unless a collaborative and decentralised development model were to be used by BitcoinABC. This is an unfortunate situation considering the fact that the community split from BTC for this very reason and is strongly in support of decentralised development. Secondly, BitcoinABC does not take a collaborative approach to development. All decisions and features are dictated by BitcoinABC. In fact the situation is unfortunately even worse than this. BitcoinABC has decided to take an actively hostile position against Bitcoin Unlimited (and many other valuable participants in the ecosystem) and would rather that it did not exist at all.
Game Theory: The Strategy of Betting Against Yourself
Counter intuitively, a strategy where you bet against yourself can provide a beneficial low-risk profile. When you bet against yourself, if you lose you win and if you win you win. With BU’s current asset holdings of BCH and BTC the organisation is financially hedged in a way that it wins if BCH wins, and if BTC wins then BU lives to fight another day for worldwide peer-to-peer electronic cash. If BTC goes down and BCH goes up then it means BCH is succeeding, and our funds in BCH will sustain us for longer. Not only that, but there would likely be more funds available for BCH development in this scenario. If BTC goes up and BCH goes down then BU will be sustained for longer to continue the fight for BCH and peer-to-peer electronic cash. This is very similar to the strategy of BCH-supporting miners mining on BTC and then converting the BTC block rewards into BCH in an effort to use BTC gains to support BCH price. BU is similarly using its gains in BTC and converting them to efforts and initiatives in support of BCH. In doing so Bitcoin Unlimited is able to turn any BTC win into a positive for BCH.
It has been suggested that the situation created by holding a larger portion of funds in BTC than in BCH creates negative incentives that push BU towards supporting BTC. It is important to keep in mind that Bitcoin Unlimited is not a profit driven organisation. While an increase in value of its assets is of course beneficial to the organisation, our primary goal is to accelerate the global adoption of peer-to-peer electronic cash as described in the Bitcoin white-paper, and the officials, membership and founding articles of Bitcoin Unlimited are the driving force for this. It is also important to point out that there is no evidence to support the claim that BU is in support of BTC (or BSV). In fact the voting record clearly shows the opposite of this. BU has continually worked in support of peer-to-peer electronic cash, and specifically in support of BCH since it was created. This is thanks to the strong commitment by the BU officials and members, all of whom are long time Bitcoiners and supporters of the ‘on-chain scaling’ movement. The only members who receive any payment from the organisation are those who provide significant value in the form of various skilled services, and all of these are voted on by the membership. The BUIP record also shows that compensated individuals are often compensated at far under market rates for developers of their caliber. Should the price of BTC increase, no member receives any direct benefit from this beyond any appreciation in value of any BTC they privately hold. Therefore there are no strong incentives for BU to drive the price of BTC up and push the price of BCH down as this would be counter to our primary goal.
Has This Strategy Been Successful?
Bitcoin Unlimited and its members, all being long-time Bitcoiners, are acutely aware of the need to play the long game to make sure a globally adopted peer-to-peer electronic cash becomes a reality. BU is the oldest entity within the BCH ecosystem and with good reason. The financial strategy of BU to date has been highly effective in sustaining the organisation over a long period of time, and allowing it to independently support BCH development initiatives. This is made clear by the fact that BU continues to have enough funding to provide value to the BCH ecosystem for the foreseeable future. Had BU converted all funds to BCH at, or at almost any point after, the time of the BCH/BTC fork in August 2017, then for much of the time since it would have been forced to either scale back operations or shut down support for BCH developers completely. We now see development teams such as BitcoinABC facing the prospect of being unable to fund their development of BCH, and their financial strategy may have contributed to this reality. This is despite the fact that nearly all the funds donated in the recent community funding drive sponsored by bitcoin.com were directed towards BitcoinABC. Lack of a sustainable funding model also seems to have been a major factor in pushing BitcoinABC to make the highly controversial decision to support a change to the BCH protocol that would divert 12.5% of the block reward to themselves. Being financially prudent and sticking to its principles (as defined in the founding Articles of Federation has allowed Bitcoin Unlimited to steer clear of any conflicts of interest such as this.
Through its financial strategy Bitcoin Unlimited has been able to maintain its independence and financial sustainability and has therefore remained in a strong position to support Bitcoin Cash. BU’s officials and membership have continually made good decisions that have allowed BU to provide long-term support for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.
XRP Isn’t A Security, Declares Former CFTC Chairman
https://preview.redd.it/8yehv8lzsce51.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=69f0a6eb4973a5a9974e42d15709434719a26a81 When Chris Giancarlo was the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission he became a rock-star of sorts in certain corners of the cryptocurrency community, helping establish criteria that eventually led to bitcoin and ethereum being declared commodities, more like coffee or sugar than stock in a company. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission largely followed suit, eventually also declaring that bitcoin and ether, the cryptocurrency powering the ethereum blockchain weren’t securities. Now chairman emeritus Giancarlo, who was deemed “Crypto Dad” following an impassioned speech he gave to Congress where he credited bitcoin for finally getting his kids interested in finance, is at it again, having co-written a detailed argument published this morning in the International Financial Law Review for why XRP, the cryptocurrency formally known as “ripples,” was also not a security. The only problem is he’s no longer a regulator. In fact, his employer is on the payroll of Ripple, the largest single owner of XRP, whose co-founders actually created the cryptocurrency. The bombshell paper, titled, “Cryptocurrencies and U.S. Securities Laws: Beyond Bitcoin and Ether,” co-authored by commodities lawyer Conrad Bahlke of New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, methodically reviews the criteria of the Howey Test, established by the SEC in 1946 to determine whether something is a security, and point-by-point argues that XRP does not qualify. Rather, the paper argues, like its name would indicate, cryptocurrency is a currency of perhaps more interest to the Federal Reserve and central banks than securities regulators. What’s at stake here to the cryptocurrency world cannot be overestimated. XRP is now the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with $5.9 billion worth of the asset in circulation according to cryptocurrency data site Messari. While Ripple was valued at $10 billion according to its most recent round of funding, the company continues to fund itself in part by selling its deep war chest of 55.6 billion XRP, coincidentally valued at the same amount as the company itself. Not only could an eventual decision by the SEC to classify—or not classify—XRP as a security impact the untold individual owners of the cryptocurrency, but other clients using Ripple services that don’t rely on the cryptocurrency, including American Express, Santander, and SBI Holdings could stand to be impacted positively or negatively depending on the decision. After all if XRP were to be rescinded it would be a huge cost to their software provider. If Giancarlo is right though, Ripple could end up being one of the most valuable startups in fintech. “Ultimately, under a fair application of the Howey test and the SEC’s presently expanding analysis, XRP should not be regulated as a security, but instead considered a currency or a medium of exchange,” Giancarlo and Bahlke argue in the paper. “The increased adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange and a form of payment in recent years, both by consumers and in the business-to-business setting, further underscores the utility of XRP as a bona fide fiat substitute.” Giancarlo was nominated to be a commissioner of the CFTC by then-President Barack Obama in 2013. In 2015, he helped lead the thinking behind the CFTC’s decision that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were commodities, paving the way for the SEC’s related comments that neither bitcoin nor ethereum are securities. Then, at the height of the 2017 cryptocurrency bubble President Trump nominated him to be Chairman of the CFTC, where he oversaw the creation of a number of bitcoin futures projects, including at CME Group and the short-lived effort at Cboe. While many blame the creation of bitcoin futures for popping the 2017 price bubble, which almost hit $20,000 before halving today, others have seen the works as a fundamental process of maturity, helping pave the way for more sophisticated crypto-enabled financial offerings. Giancarlo’s last day in office at the CFTC was in 2019, after which he promptly got involved helping envision the future of assets issued on a blockchain. In November he joined as an advisor to American Financial Exchange, using ethereum to create a Libor alternative. The following January he co-founded the Digital Dollar Project leading the push to use blockchain at the Federal Reserve and now it would seem he’s hoping to influence the classification of XRP as he did for bitcoin and ethereum, but from the other side of regulation. Importantly however, a footnote in the report discloses that not only is Giancarlo and Bahlke’s firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP counsel to Ripple Labs, but they “relied on certain factual information provided by Ripple in the preparation of this article.” While it’s impossible to parse what information came from the co-authors and what came from Ripple, the resulting legal argument is fascinating, even if it does leave room for doubt. The Howey test Giancarlo uses to bolster his arguments is a three-pronged definition used by the SEC, none of which he says apply to XRP. The first prong, is that an investment contract should be implied or explicitly stated between the issuer of the asset, in this case XRP and the owner, in which money exchanges hands. “The mere fact that an individual holds XRP does not create any relationship, rights or privileges with respect to Ripple any more than owning Ether would create a contract with the Ethereum Foundation, the organization that oversees the Ethereum architecture,” he writes. This does however overlook the fact that OpenCoin, credited on Ripple’s own site in 2013 for creating XRP (then tellingly described as “ripples”), was run by many of the same people that founded Ripple. The original creators of XRP then donated the vast majority of the assets to Ripple, which they also ran, creating a sense of distance, tacit though it may be. The actual data around the creation of XRP was also muddled by a glitch in the code that means unlike bitcoin and ethereum the crucial genesis data is no longer attached to the rest of the ledger. The rebranding of “ripples” as XRP further extended the sense of distance between XRP and Ripple, followed by an aggressive campaign to get media to stop describing the cryptocurrency as “Ripple’s XRP.” With so much distance between the company that actually created XRP and the company that now owns more than half of it, one would be forgiven for wondering, if there was an implied contract between OpenCoin and XRP owners, does the donation from one group of people at one company to a very similar group of people at another company sever that responsibility? In spite of the sense of distance created by Ripple between itself and the cryptocurrency its co-founders created, a number of active lawsuits alleging securities violations have been filed. In all fairness though, Giancarlo appears to recognize this prong may not be Ripple’s strongest defense and concludes the section, hedging: “Even if XRP were to satisfy one or two of the “prongs” of the Howey test, it does not satisfy all three factors such that XRP is an investment contract subject to regulation as a security.” The second prong of the Howey test stipulates that there can be no “common enterprise” between shareholders or a shareholder and the company. While refuting both relationships, Giancarlo curiously goes onto to write that “given the juxtaposition between XRP’s intended use as a liquidity tool, its more general use to transfer value and its potential as a speculative asset, XRP holders who utilize the coins for different purposes have divergent interests with respect to XRP.” Ironically, there has always been a widely held belief that owning a cryptocurrency would unify interests around a single goal: to co-create the infrastructure that lets the cryptocurrency exist and ensure it was vibrant and diverse. Meanwhile, XRP, in spite of its aggressive supporters on social media, is one of the least diverse ecosystems, with the vast majority of serious development being done within Ripple. If XRP owners aren’t expecting an increase in value from the work being done by Ripple, they certainly aren’t nearly as involved in helping build that future as are owners of bitcoin and ethereum. In a related issue, the third prong of the Howey test stipulates that “no reasonable expectation of profit should be derived from the efforts of Ripple,” according to the paper. Supporting this position, Giancarlo writes: “Though Ripple maintains a sizable stake of the XRP supply and certainly has a pecuniary interest in the value of its holdings, it is not enough to suggest that a mutual interest in the value of an asset gives rise to an expectation of profits as contemplated by Howey.” Again, this strains credulity. According to its own site, Ripple currently has access to 6.4% of all the XRP ever created. But that doesn’t count the 49.2% of the total XRP Ripple owns, but is locked in a series of escrow accounts that become periodically available to Ripple and Ripple alone. Adding those two percentages together leaves a float of only about 44% of XRP that has been distributed for public ownership. For some comparison, Facebook went public the same year XRP was created and has a 99% float, according to FactSet data, meaning almost all of its stock is in the hands of traders.While Ripple does also have more traditional stock, this distribution shows that Ripple might not be as distributed as it claims. While it’s perhaps no surprise that Giancarlo would come out on the side of his own client, there’s also plenty of other reasons to believe his argument may in fact hold water. In February 2018, the notoriously compliant exchange Coinbase added support for XRP, something it would unlikely do if it were concerned it might accidentally be selling an unlicensed security. Perhaps most tellingly though, Ripple has also been granted a difficult-to-obtain BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services, giving it the blessing of a respected regulator. However, while the license was granted after then-superintendent Benjamin Lawsky stepped down from the regulator, it's perhaps no coincidence that a year later he joined Ripple on its board of directors and is now active in the cryptocurrency space. Perhaps a similar fate is in store for Giancarlo. Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Ripple Labs is a client of Giancarlo’s law firm.
Just Hit $300k NW! 26 Years Old. $82k Income. Here's My Story.
Hi guys. I've been a subscriber and lurker here for over 5 years and one of my favorite things to read are the "how you got to where you are" stories. I told myself that once I hit $300k, I'd tell the first ~5 years of my FIRE story. I hate lack of transparency and ambiguity, so I'll try to be as open as I can. I tried to include everything that I would want to know if I was reading someone else's post. Feel free to ask me any questions. There is a TLDR at the bottom of this post. You probably want to read that first to see if you're interested before investing your time in conquering this wall of text. Also, you can skip the wall of text below about my childhood/college/relationship stuff if you're just interested in the "numbers". I just wanted to include this background to provide context and credibility.
Age: Current age is 26. Discovered FIRE via MMM in October 2012 at the age of 19. It blew my mind.
Childhood: I come from a rural, solidly middle-class background. I owe all my success with my academics, career, and finances to my parents. My dad is a mechanic and my mom is a nurse. Both are very frugal and they passed that down to me. They are natural savers and maxxed out their 401(k)s and IRAs every year on their modest incomes. We never had the "nicest" things growing up, but they gave me an amazing childhood. They also valued "experiences" more than "things", so we would grow up going on trips to Washington DC, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc. instead of buying me the latest video game console or Abercromie clothes. They also pushed upon me the value of education. They had high academic expectations for me and I was always at the top of the class because of it. #thanksmomanddad
College Years: I received a bachelors in business from a top public in-state university. I was in-state, so it was already a great value, but I was also very fortunate to receive a full-ride academic scholarship from the university. In high school I was valedictorian. I also had good test scores and very good extracurriculars. My parents saved about $20k for me to go to college in a 529 plan. They gave $10k of that to my sister since she didn't receive any scholarships and gave me the other $10k as a college graduation gift. This is the only "windfall" that I've ever received (other than my scholarships). I also received another ~$1,000 a year from a couple other small scholarships that I won. Those scholarships obviously covered my tuition and books, but I still worked a few jobs in college to pay for living expenses and save the extra. My last 3 years of college I was an RA for campus housing. The way this worked was that I lived in the dorm with freshman students as a student leader and in return I got my dorm housing and meal plan paid for. Since I already had a full scholarship, I essentially got to "bank" this money (roughly $4k a semester) for 8 semesters. Starting my 2nd year of college I also got a job working 10 hours per week at a local law office making $10 per hour. I did this job for about 2 years. After my 2nd year I got a summer internship working for a local Fortune 500 company making $19 per hour. I worked this job all summer and then convinced them to let me stay on part time working 20 hours per week for my entire 3rd year of college. So my 3rd year of college I worked as an RA in student housing (very little "work"), at the law firm 10 hours per week, at the Fortune 500 20 hours per week, and took a full course load (~15 credits). This was the first time in my life that I really started making money and was getting addicted to making money and saving money. At the end of my 3rd year of college I left my corporate internship and got a different summer internship at a different local Fortune 500 company making $29 per hour. I quit working at the law office around this time, but was still an RA. I worked this internship all summer and at the end of the summer I received a full-time job offer to work for this company once I graduated the next May. I really liked this company and this industry so I accepted the offer. I also convinced them to let me stay on part-time working 30 hours per week while I finished my last year of college. My senior year I was only working this internship and my RA job while taking a full course load. This only worked because I would work from ~7am-1pm every day because I scheduled my classes so that they were all in the afternoon. Because of all these jobs and the scholarships, I graduated with no student debt and was able to save ~$60k after my other expenses. I maxed out my Roth IRA my last 3 years of college and also put some extra money in a taxable account. The rest I saved in cash. I didn't graduate with a perfect GPA, but it was still above a 3.50.
Relationship: The most important part of my life is my SO. We went to high school together and college together. We've been dating for 9 years. She is (now) very frugal and a great saver. She comes from a low-income household and received a few grants and scholarships every year, which paid for most of her college. The other half was paid from her working a co-op ($16/hr), summer internship ($18/hr), and part-time job on campus ($8/hr). She graduated with no debt, an engineering degree, and $20k saved up. We've lived together for the past 4 years (splitting rent!) and are getting married in a couple months. Since this is a financial subreddit, I'll just go ahead and tell you that our wedding will cost $9k-11k. All of the numbers below about my budget/income/savings do not include her numbers. We split everything 50/50 even though my income is a little higher. She is dead-set on the path to FIRE (after a couple years of brainwashing ;D) and she has a similar budget. She just crossed over the $100k net worth milestone last week, so together we're right at $400k net worth.
Income: I graduated college at age 22. First full-time job was making $55k. Now I make $82k at age 26. I'm a typical "financial analyst/project manager" for a Fortune 500. It's a pretty low-stress, 40 hour per week job, with 10-20% travel to support clients. If I had never negotiated twice for more money, I'd be at ~$68k right now instead of $82k. I'm still at the same company that I started at and not necessarily looking to change anytime soon. I really love my team, boss, work-life balance, and the work that I do. I also live less than 1 mile from my office, so I walk to work everyday.
Home: We live in a lower-cost-of-living city in the south (not the crazy HCOL areas like NYC or SF). Our rent for the first two years out of college was $1,500 per month ($750 each) for a 1-bedroom apartment in the nicest area of the city (and walkable to my office). About 1.5 years ago we bought a 435 square-foot, 1-bedroom condo in the nicest part of the city for ~$125k. We did this as a way to maximize the efficiency of our monthly budget, not necessarily as a long-term investment. We plan on living here for at least the next 5 years (we want to have kids in our early 30s), then keep it as an investment property. After living here for 1.5 years we absolutely love it. It seems "too good to be true".
Food/Dining/Groceries: $100 (my half. Since it has been a common question, take a look at my replies to several comments below to see a deeper explanation on how we only spend $200/month for 2 people. TLDR: Shop at Aldi and Kroger, always buy generic, eat out less than once per month, cook every meal, and bring lunches to work everyday).
Car Insurance: $61 (2004 Scion xB with 180k miles that I bought for $4k in 2015. This will go up because I want to start paying for umbrella insurance soon...)
Gas: $0 (I walk to work, rarely drive, and when I do, its normally for my job and I get my miles reimbursed).
Vacation: $100 (carries over if we don't use it)
Fun Money: $100 (my catch-all category if it doesn't fit in a category above: video games, concerts, movies, Amazon Prime, Netflix, extra vacation money if we go over, etc.)
Debt: Our only debt is our $98k mortgage.
Net Worth: $300k
I have 11k in cash in an Ally savings account, $251k in index funds with Vanguard ($124k in my 401k, $54k in my Roth IRA, and $73k in my taxable account), $38k in home equity.
Here's a Mint graph of my net worth over time (going back to my 2nd year of college when I first learned about the concept of FIRE from MMM): https://imgur.com/GvsF7vM.
Age 20: $1k
Age 21: $20k
Age 22: $61k
Age 23: $84k
Age 24: $161k
Age 25: $213k
Age 26: $300k
Savings Rate: My savings rate has been between 70-85% pretty much every year since college. I don't have an ultra-high income, but I do have pretty ultra-low expenses. My SO's savings rate is around 50-65% because her income is a little lower and expenses are a tad higher.
FIRE Goal: $1.5-2.0 million. Right now our expenses are very low, but we expect them to rise in 5 years when we have kids and move into a larger house in a good school district. We hope to hit this amount by age 35-40, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Post-FIRE Aspirations: I've always dreamed of being a high school US History teacher. I'd like to at least try it once to see how I like it. Since I'm FIRE I could easily quit If I don't like it. I've also always dreamed of being some kind of not-for-profit financial adviser for the "Average Joe" American. More of a "financial coach" where I could help people everyday with the basics (budgeting, index investing, etc.). Never sell any products. Just share my story and try to inspire people to make positive change. And most of all, I want to be a great dad. One of the biggest drivers of our FIRE goal is to be very close to FIRE by the time we have kids in our early-mid 30s. I just want to be a part of my child's life every step of the way and just be "there" the way my parents were for me. And of course I have a ton of "bucket list" items that I'd love to try out (thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, thru-hike the John Muir Trail, thru-hike the Vermont Long Trail, summit Kilimanjaro, build a camper-van and road trip to all the National Parks again, etc.).
My Advantages: Amazing parents who taught me the importance of education, frugality, and having a good head on my shoulders; a frugal & fulfilling childhood that showed me what's most important in life; being born in the U-S-of-A baby!; a full academic scholarship to college; a SO who shares my values and aggressive FIRE goals; the 2013-2019 bull market; supportive friends; learning about FIRE at such a young age; and many, many more things.
General Habits Worth Mentioning:
I've maxxed out my 401(k), Roth IRA, and HSA every year since starting work, plus invested the excess in a taxable account.
I've never invested in bitcoin or anything like that, just boring old Vanguard index funds. Vanguard is showing my personal rate of return since 2013 as exactly 10.0%, which is only slightly better than the S&P 500 during that time.
We love to travel. We go on 3-5 trips per year to National Parks, European cities, etc. that we fund via "credit card travel hacking" courtesy of /churning.
Unlike a lot of people on this sub, we've introduced the idea of FIRE to most of our close friends. Our parents, siblings, and close family also know our FIRE goals, but we set clear boundaries. My family is very understanding (my parents are basically FIRE-ing next year at age 53). Her family still thinks we're a little crazy. We're pretty open about our journey and try to help others if they are interested. Because of this, our 10-20 closest friends are all into FIRE as well. We hang out with friends 2-3 nights per week, but instead of "going out for drinks" (we don't drink alcohol anyways...) we go over to each other's homes for home-cooked dinners, board games, and video games. I say this because we have a good social network, but don't have to spend a ton. Having a like-minded SO and like-minded friends have been two of the most important contributors to my happiness and high savings rate.
Saving this much and maintaining a 70%+ savings rate hasn't been "hard" for me. I don't have to try very hard to accomplish these goals - it's just who I am. I'm a natural saver. Saving EXCITES me. I don't feel like I make any sacrifices in my life to meet these goals. I buy everything that I want...I just find that I don't "want" a lot of the typical things that other people "want" (luxury cars, eating out, 5-star hotels, brand-name clothes, $30k wedding, huge home, etc.).......And the best part is that I can't believe that I found a SO who is arguably more frugal that I am.
EDITS: 1) Added a little more explanation in the budget section about spendng $200/month on food for 2 people since that has been a recurring question. 2) Added a section on my post-FIRE aspirations since that was another question that people kept asking. TLDR: Hit $300k net worth at age 26. Frugal, middle-class upbringing. Got a full scholarship to top in-state university. Worked 2-3 jobs every week while attending college to pay for living expenses and saved the rest. Got degree in business. Graduated with no debt and $60k saved up. Parents gave me $10k as a graduation gift. Made $55k/year at my first full-time job after college. 4 years later I currently make $82k at the same company. My monthly budget is ~$820/month. I have been dating my SO for 9 years, living with her for 4 years, and I'm getting married to her in a couple months. She's dead-set on the FIRE path as well. #blessed
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the 30th monthly Bitcoin news recap. For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in May 2019 Adoption
Understanding Tether: Why it accounts for a substantial part of the crypto market cap and why its the #1 outstanding issue in crypto markets today
In this post I will go in-depth on:
How Tether got to be what it is today
Why Tether's market cap is a lot more than 0.5% of the total market cap for crypto you see on CoinMarketCap
Tether printing timing
What could happen to the market if Tether is found to not be backed by reserves
Tether is incredibly important to the cryptocurrency market ecosystem and I've noticed far too few people understand what is going on. Very little actual discussion of the 2nd biggest crypto by volume happens here and whenever someone starts a discussion they most often got slapped for "FUD". Tether themselves recently hired the major New York based PR firm 5W to spread positive information online and take down critics, I'm sure some of their operatives are probably on Reddit. But its absolutely critical you understand the risks behind Tether and especially now with the explosion in reserve liability, breakdown in relationship with banks and their auditor and recently announced subpoena.
What exactly is Tether and what happened so far?
Tether is a cryptocurrency asset issued by Tether Limited (incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and a sister company of Bitfinex), on top of the Bitcoin blockchain through the Omni Protocol Layer. It is meant to give people a "stablecoin", for example a merchant who accepts bitcoin but fears its volatility could shift bitcoin into tether, which can be easier to do than exchanging bitcoin for dollars. Recently they've also added an Ethereum-based ERC20 token. Tether Ltd claims that each one of the tokens issued is backed by actual US dollar (and more recently Euro) reserves. The idea is that when a business partner deposits US dollars in Tether’s bank account, Tether creates a matching amount of tokens and transfers them to that partner, it is NOT a fractional reserve system. Tether makes the two following key promises in its whitepaper on which the entire premise is build:
Each tether issued will be backed by the equivalent amount of currency unit (one USDTether equals one dollar). Professional auditors will regularly verify, sign, and publish our underlying bank balance and financial transfer statement.
Tether is centralized and dependent on your trust of Bitfinex/Tether Limited, and that the people behind it are honest people. For the new entrants to this market it will be greatly beneficial understand the timeline of Tether and their connection to Bitfinex. A brief timeline:
Bitfinex operators Phil Potter and CFO Giancarlo Devasini set up Tether Limited in the British Virgin Islands, but told the public that Bitfinex and Tether are completely separate. Throughout 2015 and 2016, the amount of Tether stays relatively flat.
In August 2nd, 2016, the second-largest digital currency exchange heist in history happened, when Bitfinex lost nearly 120,000 bitcoin. Bitfinex never revealed full details of the hack, but BitGo (the security company that had to sign off on the transactions) claims its servers were not breached.
Just 4 days after the hack Bitfinex “socializes” its losses from the theft by announcing a 36 percent haircut for almost all of its customers. In return, customers receive BFX tokens, initially valued at $1 each.
Two weeks after the hack Bitfinex announces it has hired Ledger Labs, to investigate the theft and perform a financial audit of its cryptocurrency and fiat assets. The public nevers sees the results of the investigation, and months later, Bitfinex admits it never actually hired Ledger Labs to perform an audit to begin with.
In May 2017, after long standing calls for an actual audit, Bitfinex hires Friedman LLP to "complete a comprehensive balance sheet audit."
November 7, 2017: Leaked documents dubbed “Paradise Papers” reveal Bitfinex and Tether are run by the same individuals.
November 19, 2017: Tether is hacked, with 31 million USDT suddenly disappearing. Tether Limited reacts to this by creating a hard fork.
December 4, 2017: Right after hiring the PR firm 5W to help improve their image, Bitfinex hires law firm Steptoe & Johnson and threatens legal action against critics.
December 6, 2017 - CFTC issues a subpoena to Tether and Bitfinex. This news isn't made public until the end of January.
December 21, 2017 : Without making any formal announcement, Bitfinex appears to suddenly close all new account registrations. Those trying to register for a new account are asked for a mysterious referral code, but no referral code seems to exist.
After a month of being closed to new registrations, Bitfinex announces it is reopening its doors, but now requires new customers to deposit $10,000 before they can begin trading.
Friedman LLP completely cut ties with Tether on January 27, 2017.
Most common misconception: Tether is only a small part of the total market cap
One of the most common misconception people have about cryptocurrencies is that the "market cap" amount they see on CoinMarketCap.com is actually the amount of money that is invested in each coin. I often hear people online dismiss any issue with tether by simply claiming its not big enough to cause any effect, saying "Well Tether is only $2.2 billion on CoinMarketCap and the market is 400 billion, its only 0.5% of the market". But this misunderstands what market capitalization for cryptocurrency is, and just how different the market cap for Tether is to every other token. The market cap is simply the last trade price times the circulating supply. It doesn't take into account the order book depth at all. The majority of Bitcoin (and most coins) are held by those who either mined or purchased for a very low price early on and simply held on as very small portions of the total supply was rapidly bid up to their current price. An increase in market cap of X does NOT represent an inflow of X dollars invested, not even close. A 400 billion dollar market cap for crypto does NOT mean that there is 400 billion dollars underwriting the assets. Meanwhile a 2 billion dollar Tether market cap means there should be exactly $2 billion backing up the asset. Nobody can tell for sure exactly how much money has been invested in cryptocurrency market, but analysts from JPMorgan found that there was only net inflow of $6 billion fiat that resulted in $300 billion market cap at the time. This gives us a roughly 50:1 ratio of market cap to fiat inflow. Prominent crypto evangelist Julian Hosp gives the following estimate: "For a cryptocurrency to have a market cap of $1 billion, maybe only $50 million actually moved into the cryptocurrency." For Tether however the market cap is simply the outstanding supply, 2.2 billion USDT is actually equal to 2.2 billion USD. In order to get $50 USDT you have to deposit $50 real U.S. dollars and then 50 completely new tokens will be issued, which never existed before on the market. What is also often ignored is that Bitfinex allows margin trading, at a 3.3x leverage. Bitfinexed did an excellent analysis on how tether is entering Bitfinex to fund margin positions There are $2.2 billion in Tether outstanding and the current market cap of the entire market is $400 billion according to CoinMarketCap. You can actually calculate Tether as a % of total fiat invested in the market according to the JP Morgan estimate, the following table outlines for a scenario of no margin lending and 15/25% of tether being on a 3.3x leverage margin account:
Fiat Inflow/Market Cap Ratio
Tether as % of total market (no margin)
Tether as % of total market (15% on margin)
Tether as % of total market (25% on margin)
JP Morgan estimate (50:1)
Even without any margin lending Tether is underwriting the worth of about 27.5% of the cryptocurrency market, and if we assume only 25% was leveraged out at 3.3x on margin we have a whole 43% of the market cap being driven by Tether inflow. A much better indicator on CoinMarketCap of just how influential Tether is actually the volume, its currently the 2nd biggest cryptocurrency by volume and there are even days where its volume exceeds its market cap. What this all means is that not only is the market cap for cryptocurrencies drastically overestimating the amount of actual fiat capital that is underwriting those assets, but a substantial portion of the entire market cap is being derived from the value of Tether's market cap rather than real money. Its incredibly important that more new investors realize that Tether isn't a side issue or a minor cog in the machine, but one of the core underlying mechanisms on which the entire market worth is built. Ensuring that whoever controls this stablecoin is honest and transparent is absolutely critical to the health of the market.
Two main concerns with Tether
The primary concerns with Tether can be split into two categories:
Tether issuance timing - Does Tether Ltd issue USDT organically or is it timed to stop downward selling pressure?
Reserves - Does Tether Ltd actually have the fiat reserves at a 1:1 ratio, and why is there still no audit or third party guarantee of this?
Does Tether print USDT to prop up Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
In the last 3 months the amount of USDT has nearly quadrupled, with nearly a billion being printed in January alone. Some people have found the timing of the most recent batch of Tether as highly suspect because it seemed to coincide with Bitcoin's price being propped up. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/technology/bitfinex-bitcoin-price.html This was recently analyzed statistically:
Author’s opinion - it is highly unlikely that Tether is growing through any organic business process, rather that they are printing in response to market conditions. Tether printing moves the market appreciably; 48.8% of BTC’s price rise in the period studied occurred in the two-hour periods following the arrival of 91 different Tether grants to the Bitfinex wallet. Bitfinex withdrawal/deposit statistics are unusual and would give rise to further scrutiny in a typical accounting environment.
https://www.tetherreport.com I'm still undecided on this and I would love to see more statistical analysis done, because the price of Bitcoin is so volatile while Tether printing only happens in large batches. Simply looking at the Bitcoin price graph over the last 3 months and then the Tether printing its pretty clear there is a relationship but it doesn't seem to hold over longer periods. Ultimately to me this timing isn't that much of an issue, as long Tether is backed by US dollars. If Bitfinex was timing the prints then it accounts to not much more than an organized pumping scheme, which isn't a fundamental problem. The much more serious concern is whether those buy order are being conducted on the faith of fictitious dollars that don't exist, regardless of when those buy orders occur.
This engagement does not contemplate tests of accounting records or the performance of other procedures performed in an audit or attest engagement. Our procedures performed are not for the purpose of providing assurance...In addition, our services do not include determination of compliance with laws and regulations in any jurisdiction.
They state right from the beginning that this is a consultancy job (not an audit), and that its not meant to be assurance to third parties. Doing a consultancy job is just doing a task asked by your customer. In a consultancy job you take information as true from the client, and you have no mandate to verify whether your customer's claims are true or not. The way they checked is simply asking Tether to provide them the information:
All inquiries made through the consulting process have been directed towards, and the data obtained from, the Client and personnel responsible for maintaining such information.
Tether provided a screenshots of twp bank balances. One of these is in the name of Tether Limited, and while the other is a personal account of an individual who Tether Limited claims has a trust agreement with them:
As of September 15, 2017, the bank held $60,919,810 in an account in the name of an in individual for the benefit of Tether Limited. FLPP obtained an engagement letter for an interim settlement plan between that individual and Tether Limited and that according to Tether Limited, is the relevant agreement with the trustee. FLLP did not evaluate the substance of the letter and makes no representation about its legality.
Even worse is that later on in Note 1, they clearly claim that there is no actual evidence that this engagement letter or trust has any legal merit:
Note 1: FLLP makes no representations about sufficiency or enforceability of any trust agreement between the trustee and the Client
Essentially what this is saying is that the trust agreement may not even be worth the paper it’s printed on. And most importantly… Note 2:
“FLLP did not evaluate the terms of the above bank accounts and makes no representations about the clients ability to access funds from the accounts or whether the funds are committed for purposes other than Tether token redemptions”
Basically Tether gave them a name of an individual with $60 million in their account according to a screenshot, Tether then gave them a letter saying that there is a trust agreement between this individual and Tether Limited. They also have account with $382 million but no guarantee that this account holds to any lien or other commitments, or that it can be accessed. Currently Tether has 2.2 billion USDT outstanding and we have absolutely no idea whether this is actually backed by anything, and the long promised audit is still outstanding.
What happens if its revealed that Tether doesn't have its US dollar reserves?
According to Thomas Glucksmann, head of business development at Gatecoin: "If a tether debacle unfolds, it will likely cause quite a devastating ripple effect across many of the exchanges that see most of their volumes traded against the supposedly USD-backed cryptocurrency." According to Nicholas Weaver, a senior researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley: "You could see a spike in prices in tether-only bitcoin exchanges. So, on those exchanges only you will see a run up in price compared to the bitcoin exchanges that actually work with actually money. So you would see a huge price diverge as people see that only way they can turn tether into real money is to buy other cryptocurrency then move to another exchange. That is a bank run." I definitely see the crypto equivalent of a bank run, as people actually try to secure their gains an realize that this money doesn't actually exist within the system:
If traders lose confidence in it and its value starts to drop, “people will run for the door,” says Carlson, the former Wall Street trader. If Tether can’t meet all its customers’ demand for dollars (and its Terms of Service suggest that in many cases it won’t even try), tether holders will try to snap up other cryptocurrencies instead, temporarily causing prices for those currencies to soar. With tether’s role as an inter-exchange facilitator compromised, investors might lose faith in cryptocurrencies more generally. “At the end of the day, people would be losing substantial sums, and in the long term this would be very bad for cryptocurrencies,” says Emin Gun Sirer, a Cornell professor and co-director of its Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts. Another concern is that Bitfinex might simply shut down, pocketing the bitcoins it has allegedly been stockpiling. Because people who trade on Bitfinex allow the exchange to hold their money while they speculate, these traders could face substantial losses. “The exchanges are like unregulated banks and could run off with everyone’s money,” says Tony Arcieri, a former Square employee turned entrepreneur trying to build a legally regulated exchange.
Tether-enabled exchanges will see a massive spike in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices as everyone leaves Tether. Noobs in these exchanges will think they are now millionaires until they realize they are rich in tethers but poor in dollars.
Exchanges that have not integrated Tether will experienced large drops in Bitcoin and alts as experienced investors flee crypto into USD.
There will be a flight of Bitcoin from Tether-integrated exchanges to non-Tether exchanges with fiat off-ramps. Exchanges running small fractional reserves will be exposed, further increasing calls for greater reserves requirements.
The exchanges might slam the doors shut on withdrawals.
Many exchanges that own large balances of Tether, especially Bitfinex, will likely become insolvent.
There will be lawsuits flying everywhere and with Tether Limited being incorporated on a Carribean Island whose solvency and bankruptcy laws will likely ensure they don't ever get much back. This could take years and potentially push away new investors from entering the space.
We can't be 100% completely sure that Tether is a scam, but its so laiden with red flags that at this point I would call it the biggest systematic risk in the crypto space. Its bigger than any nation's potential regulatory steps because it cuts right into the issue of trust across the entire ecosystem. Ultimately Tether is centralizing one of the very core mechanics of the cryptocurrency markets and asking you to trust one party to be the safekeeper, and I really see very little reason to trust Bitfinex given their history of lying and screwing over their own customers. I think that Tether initially started as a legit business to facilitate the ease of moving money and avoiding regulations, but somewhere along the lines greed and/or incompetence took over (something that seems common with Bitfinex's previous actions). Right now we're playing proverbial hot potato, and as long as people believe that Tether is worth a dollar everything is fine, but as some point the Emperor will have to step out from hiding and somebody will point out they have no clothes. In the long term I really hope once Tether collapses we can move on and get the following two implemented which would greatly improve the market for all investors:
Actual USD fiat pairings on the major exchanges for the major currencies
Regulatory rules on exchange reserve requirements
I had watched the Bitconnect people insist for the last 2 years that everything about Bitconnect made perfect sense because they were getting paid daily. The scam works until one day it suddenly doesn't. Tether could still come clean and avoid all of this "FUD" by simply getting a simple review of their banking, they don't even need a full audit. If everything was legit with Tether, it would be incredibly easy to have a segregated bank account with the funds used solely to back up Tether, then have an third party accounting firm simply review the account and a bank reconciliation statement then spend a few hours in contact with the bank to ensure no outstanding liabilities are held on that balance. This is extremely basic stuff, it would take a few hours to set up and wouldn't take a lot of man-hours for a qualified account to do, and yet they don’t do it. Why? Why hire a major PR firm and spend god knows how much money to pay professional PR representatives to attack "FUD" online instead? I think I know why.
Which type of curren(t) do you want to see(cy)? A analysis of the intention behind bitcoin(s). [Part I]
Bitcoin was released to the world in 2009 by someone (or a group) who authored a technical whitepaper, released the source code to the protocol and commented on a few p2p forums and mailing lists under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto for a few months prior and a few years afterwards before leaving the project. The project was left in the hands of Gavin Andresson who was another cryptographer that satoshi communicated regularly with on the forums and had been one of the first people involved in the project. Some time after satoshi left, one of his accounts was allegedly hacked and bitcointalk (the primary forum) itself was hacked so a meme kind of emerged that satoshi wouldn't be able to post again from his accounts or that posting from them would be dubious. In 2016 an Australian by the name of Craig S Wright was exposed by Wired and Gizmodo as potentially being the inventor of bitcoin. Craig then signed privately for Gavin Andreson, Jon Matonis but then when he was supposed to cryptographically sign to a journalist the method performed did not hold up to public scrutiny because he could have copy pasted a fragment from an earlier known signed message from satoshi and not generated it himself with the private keys. This cast a lot of doubt from many on the man's claims and he published an article saying he wasn't brave enough to sign. Since then the term cryptocurrency has blown out massively to include anything with a distributed ledger technology, a token, a security, and has really just devolved into a cesspit of buzzwords and disinformation. Once satoshi disappeared in 2011 and left the repo in the hands of Gavin and the open source community, it left a power vacuum in the space for how to interpret the protocol, whitepaper and handle the development. Gavin Andresson brought some other developers on board from the forums and mailing lists, Shortly after Gavin gave some other developers commit access, bitcointalk was hacked and these new developers somehow deleted gavin from the github repo due to apparent concern that his account was compromised from the hack and afterwards once he validated his identity in certain accounts he was never given access again. Gavin stopped being involved with the project after that. In the time following satoshi's departure a meme had evolved that satoshi had left because Gavin had met with the CIA to discuss bitcoin. This meme combined with the interpretation of what satoshi meant when he included the quote "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks" in the genesis block, the subsequent rise and fall of silk road and darknet markets, and the general lore of the space, his cypherpunk mailing list associations had led the scene to paint/project upon him as some kind of government hating tax dodging l33t h4xor demigod. Although in the title of the whitepaper it was described as p2p cash, bitcoin as most know it is now is marketed as a store of value. Although it was defined as the longest Proof of Work chain of digital signatures, bitcoin as most know it in actual fact has segregated witnesses (signatures) in the protocol. Although satoshi attests to how bitcoin is designed to scale to giant block sizes hosted and mined in data centers that never really hits a scaling ceiling, it is being sold as that even at 1MB size, the damage has already been done and the blocksize should be 300kB because every user needs to be able to run a full node for bitcoin to validate their own transactions with the lowest hardware and bandwidth requirements possible. A high vertice count with everyone running a (non-mining) full node is said to protect the network against malicious actions by the big bad government while graph theory states that it is the degree of inter connectivity of the vertcies (edge number) that confers security of the network against sybil attacks as it brings the number of hops down. This decoupling from the original vision has led to development and scaling of bitcoin stalling for many years which led to the proliferation of many alt coins rising up to claim they possess superior attributes to bitcoin or can work in conjunction with bitcoin in a gold and silver type relationship, or serve a different use case to bitcoin. The debate between the groups that represented the opposing roadmaps reached a climax with bitcoin itself forking into two now separate blockchains with the minority chain being declared the imposter by social media claiming hashpower and the market had chosen despite their chain changing on the protocol level to implement segregated witnesses and reject the block size increase. These two now separate chains both forked again to birth bitcoin gold and diamond on the segwit chain and bitcoin cash and bitcoin sv on the non segwit chain. At the non segwit chain fork, bitcoin cash implemented checkpointing at the protocol level whereas bitcoin sv maintained the original nakamoto consensus and sought to scale greater than the 32MB blocksize limit BCH maintained with 64MB blocks. Following these forking events both BTC (segwit) and BCH (checkpoints) also implemented Schnorr signatures which was marketed as economising the size of a typical bitcoin transaction though in actual fact it can be used to obfuscate signatures and allow for the mixing of coins to mask the chain of digital signatures and essentially "anonymously" launder money. The BSV chain (now Stewarded by Dr Craig Wright) was then declared the loser of that hash war by people heralding the power of the market and the miners to democratize money. The problem with such a claim though is just like current polical democracy, this apparent democratisation of money was just as susceptible to the influence of those who control the cryptocurrency media and just like in politics, there is a cabal like group that exerts a disproportionate influence over the narrative and appears to serve the interests of those in on the racket rather than those it is allegedly informing. The main forums for discussion of cryptocurrency originally were bitcoin.org, bitcointalk.org and /Bitcoin with all three of them for some time sharing the same moderator theymos. Coindesk and the bitcoinmagazine (started by ethereum devs) were some early sources, talking heads like andreas antonopolos (andreasma), peter todd (petertodd) and greg maxwell (nullc) being propped up as sources of knowledge on what is the best course of action for scaling and endorsing solutions like small blocks, second layer solutions and segwit as a necessarry bitcoin improvement protocol (BIP) while people like Roger Ver (memory dealers) and Dr Craig Wright (craig_s_wright) endorsing a block size increase. Because the core developers had chosen to scale with small blocks and lots of nodes on the network were signalling in support of Segwit any discussion of a big block alternative was considered discussion of an alt coin and deleted and eventually users banned from /bitcoin. Out of that incident /btc emerged as an apparently censorship free forum for the discussion of all scaling plans for bitcoin but was ultimately a partisan sub populated with dejected big blockers. After the BCH fork, discussion for bitcoin sv exists on a few subs /bsv (modded by BCHers), /bitcoinsv (moderated by the lead technician at nChain (Craig Wright's company) and /bitcoincashsv where many users have been banned from both /bitcoin and /btc. Now this so far is just kind of a synposis of the history of bitcoin covering all three of the main contenders for the legitimate claimant of the name but the part 2 will look more at what kind of drastically different societies would be built upon the different versions of the protocol and what may seem like their subtle differences and which one is likely to succeed.
“The collaboration between the teams created an immediate synergy concentrated on developing a compatibility feature allowing users to access, store and manage IOTA tokens on Ledger devices.
The IOTA (MIOTA) digital asset suffered from a lack of adequate wallets for months, even at the peak of the market. The asset, which commanded prices above $5, was not spared by the bear market. Despite the launch of the long-awaited Trinity wallet, MIOTA lost positions. Given that mIOTA, the crypto used in IOTA, is still to gain mainstream traction, its claims to eliminate scalability problems for blockchains through the use of DAGs are also still to be proven. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has cast doubt on the ability of hashgraphs to solve scalability issues. Another problem with IOTA currently is the small size of its network. Researchers have found that hackers need only gain control of 33% of the total hashing power required to bring it down. In Bitcoin, control of 51% of a network is required to bring its blockchain down. To ensure security, IOTA’s network currently uses a central server known as a Coordinator to process transactions. This practice has diluted its claims of being a decentralized system since the introduction of a Coordinator has resulted in the introduction of a single point of failure. The consensus system is described in a new white paper. In the past, IOTA has been criticized for its hidden centralization, as well as for the loss of coins sometimes happening when a user’s wallet was unable to receive its previous balances from the state of the Tangle. But despite the innovation, IOTA lags behind digital assets that are receiving the most significant inflows of investment and trading liquidity.
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