What Is My Bitcoin Address and How Does It Work? - Unblock
What Is My Bitcoin Address and How Does It Work? - Unblock
Bitcoin Withdrawals - Cash App
Invoice address - Bitcoin Wiki
How to withdraw Bitcoin Cash (BCH)? – Satang
How to withdraw Bitcoin (BTC)? – Satang
Dragonchain Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off Public Proposal
Dragonchain Public Proposal TL;DR:
Dragonchain has demonstrated twice Reddit’s entire total daily volume (votes, comments, and postsper Reddit 2019 Year in Review) in a 24-hour demo on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. At the time, in January 2020, the entire cost of the demo was approximately $25K on a single system (transaction fees locked at $0.0001/txn). With current fees (lowest fee $0.0000025/txn), this would cost as little as $625. Watch Joe walk through the entire proposal and answer questions onYouTube. This proposal is also available on the Dragonchain blog.
Hello Reddit and Ethereum community!
I’m Joe Roets, Founder & CEO of Dragonchain. When the team and I first heard about The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off we were intrigued. We believe we have the solutions Reddit seeks for its community points system and we have them at scale. For your consideration, we have submitted our proposal below. The team at Dragonchain and I welcome and look forward to your technical questions, philosophical feedback, and fair criticism, to build a scaling solution for Reddit that will empower its users. Because our architecture is unlike other blockchain platforms out there today, we expect to receive many questions while people try to grasp our project. I will answer all questions here in this thread on Reddit, and I've answered some questions in the stream on YouTube. We have seen good discussions so far in the competition. We hope that Reddit’s scaling solution will emerge from The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off and that Reddit will have great success with the implementation.
Dragonchain is a robust open source hybrid blockchain platform that has proven to withstand the passing of time since our inception in 2014. We have continued to evolve to harness the scalability of private nodes, yet take full advantage of the security of public decentralized networks, like Ethereum. We have a live, operational, and fully functional Interchain network integrating Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and ~700 independent Dragonchain nodes. Every transaction is secured to Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Ethereum Classic. Transactions are immediately usable on chain, and the first decentralization is seen within 20 seconds on Dragon Net. Security increases further to public networks ETH, BTC, and ETC within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Smart contracts can be written in any executable language, offering full freedom to existing developers. We invite any developer to watch the demo, play with our SDK’s, review open source code, and to help us move forward. Dragonchain specializes in scalable loyalty & rewards solutions and has built a decentralized social network on chain, with very affordable transaction costs. This experience can be combined with the insights Reddit and the Ethereum community have gained in the past couple of months to roll out the solution at a rapid pace.
Response and PoC
In The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off post, Reddit has asked for a series of demonstrations, requirements, and other considerations. In this section, we will attempt to answer all of these requests.
A live proof of concept showing hundreds of thousands of transactions
On Jan 7, 2020, Dragonchain hosted a 24-hour live demonstration during which a quarter of a billion (250 million+) transactions executed fully on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. This means that every single transaction is secured by, and traceable to these networks. An attack on this system would require a simultaneous attack on all of the Interchained networks. 24 hours in 4 minutes (YouTube): 24 hours in 4 minutes The demonstration was of a single business system, and any user is able to scale this further, by running multiple systems simultaneously. Our goals for the event were to demonstrate a consistent capacity greater than that of Visa over an extended time period. Tooling to reproduce our demo is available here: https://github.com/dragonchain/spirit-bomb
Source code (for on & off-chain components as well tooling used for the PoC). The source code does not have to be shared publicly, but if Reddit decides to use a particular solution it will need to be shared with Reddit at some point.
Dragonchain’s architecture attacks the scalability issue from multiple angles. Dragonchain is a hybrid blockchain platform, wherein every transaction is protected on a business node to the requirements of that business or purpose. A business node may be held completely private or may be exposed or replicated to any level of exposure desired. Every node has its own blockchain and is independently scalable. Dragonchain established Context Based Verification as its consensus model. Every transaction is immediately usable on a trust basis, and in time is provable to an increasing level of decentralized consensus. A transaction will have a level of decentralization to independently owned and deployed Dragonchain nodes (~700 nodes) within seconds, and full decentralization to BTC and ETH within minutes or hours. Level 5 nodes (Interchain nodes) function to secure all transactions to public or otherwise external chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. These nodes scale the system by aggregating multiple blocks into a single Interchain transaction on a cadence. This timing is configurable based upon average fees for each respective chain. For detailed information about Dragonchain’s architecture, and Context Based Verification, please refer to the Dragonchain Architecture Document.
An interesting feature of Dragonchain’s network consensus is its economics and scarcity model. Since Dragon Net nodes (L2-L4) are independent staking nodes, deployment to cloud platforms would allow any of these nodes to scale to take on a large percentage of the verification work. This is great for scalability, but not good for the economy, because there is no scarcity, and pricing would develop a downward spiral and result in fewer verification nodes. For this reason, Dragonchain uses TIME as scarcity. TIME is calculated as the number of Dragons held, multiplied by the number of days held. TIME influences the user’s access to features within the Dragonchain ecosystem. It takes into account both the Dragon balance and length of time each Dragon is held. TIME is staked by users against every verification node and dictates how much of the transaction fees are awarded to each participating node for every block. TIME also dictates the transaction fee itself for the business node. TIME is staked against a business node to set a deterministic transaction fee level (see transaction fee table below in Cost section). This is very interesting in a discussion about scaling because it guarantees independence for business implementation. No matter how much traffic appears on the entire network, a business is guaranteed to not see an increased transaction fee rate.
Dragonchain uses Docker and Kubernetes to allow the use of best practices traditional system scaling. Dragonchain offers managed nodes with an easy to use web based console interface. The user may also deploy a Dragonchain node within their own datacenter or favorite cloud platform. Users have deployed Dragonchain nodes on-prem on Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, MS Azure, and other hosting platforms around the world. Any executable code, anything you can write, can be written into a smart contract. This flexibility is what allows us to say that developers with no blockchain experience can use any code language to access the benefits of blockchain. Customers have used NodeJS, Python, Java, and even BASH shell script to write smart contracts on Dragonchain. With Docker containers, we achieve better separation of concerns, faster deployment, higher reliability, and lower response times. We chose Kubernetes for its self-healing features, ability to run multiple services on one server, and its large and thriving development community. It is resilient, scalable, and automated. OpenFaaS allows us to package smart contracts as Docker images for easy deployment. Contract deployment time is now bounded only by the size of the Docker image being deployed but remains fast even for reasonably large images. We also take advantage of Docker’s flexibility and its ability to support any language that can run on x86 architecture. Any image, public or private, can be run as a smart contract using Dragonchain.
Flexibility in Scaling
Dragonchain’s architecture considers interoperability and integration as key features. From inception, we had a goal to increase adoption via integration with real business use cases and traditional systems. We envision the ability for Reddit, in the future, to be able to integrate alternate content storage platforms or other financial services along with the token.
LBRY - To allow users to deploy content natively to LBRY
MakerDAO to allow users to lend small amounts backed by their Reddit community points.
STORJ/SIA to allow decentralized on chain storage of portions of content. These integrations or any other are relatively easy to integrate on Dragonchain with an Interchain implementation.
Cost estimates (on-chain and off-chain) For the purpose of this proposal, we assume that all transactions are on chain (posts, replies, and votes).
On the Dragonchain network, transaction costs are deterministic/predictable. By staking TIME on the business node (as described above) Reddit can reduce transaction costs to as low as $0.0000025 per transaction. Dragonchain Fees Table
How to run it
Building on Dragonchain is simple and requires no blockchain experience. Spin up a business node (L1) in our managed environment (AWS), run it in your own cloud environment, or on-prem in your own datacenter. Clear documentation will walk you through the steps of spinning up your first Dragonchain Level 1 Business node. Getting started is easy...
Download Dragonchain’s dctl
Input three commands into a terminal
Build an image
More information can be found in our Get started documents.
Dragonchain is an open source hybrid platform. Through Dragon Net, each chain combines the power of a public blockchain (like Ethereum) with the privacy of a private blockchain. Dragonchain organizes its network into five separate levels. A Level 1, or business node, is a totally private blockchain only accessible through the use of public/private keypairs. All business logic, including smart contracts, can be executed on this node directly and added to the chain. After creating a block, the Level 1 business node broadcasts a version stripped of sensitive private data to Dragon Net. Three Level 2 Validating nodes validate the transaction based on guidelines determined from the business. A Level 3 Diversity node checks that the level 2 nodes are from a diverse array of locations. A Level 4 Notary node, hosted by a KYC partner, then signs the validation record received from the Level 3 node. The transaction hash is ledgered to the Level 5 public chain to take advantage of the hash power of massive public networks. Dragon Net can be thought of as a “blockchain of blockchains”, where every level is a complete private blockchain. Because an L1 can send to multiple nodes on a single level, proof of existence is distributed among many places in the network. Eventually, proof of existence reaches level 5 and is published on a public network.
Dragonchain is open source and even though the platform is easy enough for developers to code in any language they are comfortable with, we do not have so large a developer community as Ethereum. We would like to see the Ethereum developer community (and any other communities) become familiar with our SDK’s, our solutions, and our platform, to unlock the full potential of our Ethereum Interchain. Long ago we decided to prioritize both Bitcoin and Ethereum Interchains. We envision an ecosystem that encompasses different projects to give developers the ability to take full advantage of all the opportunities blockchain offers to create decentralized solutions not only for Reddit but for all of our current platforms and systems. We believe that together we will take the adoption of blockchain further. We currently have additional Interchain with Ethereum Classic. We look forward to Interchain with other blockchains in the future. We invite all blockchains projects who believe in decentralization and security to Interchain with Dragonchain.
While we only have 700 nodes compared to 8,000 Ethereum and 10,000 Bitcoin nodes. We harness those 18,000 nodes to scale to extremely high levels of security. See Dragonchain metrics.
Some may consider the centralization of Dragonchain’s business nodes as an issue at first glance, however, the model is by design to protect business data. We do not consider this a drawback as these nodes can make any, none, or all data public. Depending upon the implementation, every subreddit could have control of its own business node, for potential business and enterprise offerings, bringing new alternative revenue streams to Reddit.
Costs and resources
Summary of cost & resource information for both on-chain & off-chain components used in the PoC, as well as cost & resource estimates for further scaling. If your PoC is not on mainnet, make note of any mainnet caveats (such as congestion issues).
Every transaction on the PoC system had a transaction fee of $0.0001 (one-hundredth of a cent USD). At 256MM transactions, the demo cost $25,600. With current operational fees, the same demonstration would cost $640 USD. For the demonstration, to achieve throughput to mimic a worldwide payments network, we modeled several clients in AWS and 4-5 business nodes to handle the traffic. The business nodes were tuned to handle higher throughput by adjusting memory and machine footprint on AWS. This flexibility is valuable to implementing a system such as envisioned by Reddit. Given that Reddit’s daily traffic (posts, replies, and votes) is less than half that of our demo, we would expect that the entire Reddit system could be handled on 2-5 business nodes using right-sized containers on AWS or similar environments. Verification was accomplished on the operational Dragon Net network with over 700 independently owned verification nodes running around the world at no cost to the business other than paid transaction fees.
This PoC should scale to the numbers below with minimal costs (both on & off-chain). There should also be a clear path to supporting hundreds of millions of users. Over a 5 day period, your scaling PoC should be able to handle: *100,000 point claims (minting & distributing points) *25,000 subscriptions *75,000 one-off points burning *100,000 transfers
During Dragonchain’s 24 hour demo, the above required numbers were reached within the first few minutes. Reddit’s total activity is 9000% more than Ethereum’s total transaction level. Even if you do not include votes, it is still 700% more than Ethereum’s current volume. Dragonchain has demonstrated that it can handle 250 million transactions a day, and it’s architecture allows for multiple systems to work at that level simultaneously. In our PoC, we demonstrate double the full capacity of Reddit, and every transaction was proven all the way to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Reddit Scaling on Ethereum
Solutions should not depend on any single third-party provider. We prefer solutions that do not depend on specific entities such as Reddit or another provider, and solutions with no single point of control or failure in off-chain components but recognize there are numerous trade-offs to consider
Dragonchain’s architecture calls for a hybrid approach. Private business nodes hold the sensitive data while the validation and verification of transactions for the business are decentralized within seconds and secured to public blockchains within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Nodes could potentially be controlled by owners of individual subreddits for more organic decentralization.
Billing is currently centralized - there is a path to federation and decentralization of a scaled billing solution.
Operational on-premises capabilities
Operational deployment to any datacenter
Over 700 independent Community Verification Nodes with proof of ownership
Operational Interchain (Interoperable to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic, open to more)
Usability Scaling solutions should have a simple end user experience.
Users shouldn't have to maintain any extra state/proofs, regularly monitor activity, keep track of extra keys, or sign anything other than their normal transactions
Dragonchain and its customers have demonstrated extraordinary usability as a feature in many applications, where users do not need to know that the system is backed by a live blockchain. Lyceum is one of these examples, where the progress of academy courses is being tracked, and successful completion of courses is rewarded with certificates on chain. Our @Save_The_Tweet bot is popular on Twitter. When used with one of the following hashtags - #please, #blockchain, #ThankYou, or #eternalize the tweet is saved through Eternal to multiple blockchains. A proof report is available for future reference. Other examples in use are DEN, our decentralized social media platform, and our console, where users can track their node rewards, view their TIME, and operate a business node. Examples:
Transactions complete in a reasonable amount of time (seconds or minutes, not hours or days)
All transactions are immediately usable on chain by the system. A transaction begins the path to decentralization at the conclusion of a 5-second block when it gets distributed across 5 separate community run nodes. Full decentralization occurs within 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on which interchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ethereum Classic) the transaction hits first. Within approximately 2 hours, the combined hash power of all interchained blockchains secures the transaction.
Free to use for end users (no gas fees, or fixed/minimal fees that Reddit can pay on their behalf)
With transaction pricing as low as $0.0000025 per transaction, it may be considered reasonable for Reddit to cover transaction fees for users. All of Reddit's Transactions on Blockchain (month) Community points can be earned by users and distributed directly to their Reddit account in batch (as per Reddit minting plan), and allow users to withdraw rewards to their Ethereum wallet whenever they wish. Withdrawal fees can be paid by either user or Reddit. This model has been operating inside the Dragonchain system since 2018, and many security and financial compliance features can be optionally added. We feel that this capability greatly enhances user experience because it is seamless to a regular user without cryptocurrency experience, yet flexible to a tech savvy user. With regard to currency or token transactions, these would occur on the Reddit network, verified to BTC and ETH. These transactions would incur the $0.0000025 transaction fee. To estimate this fee we use the monthly active Reddit users statista with a 60% adoption rate and an estimated 10 transactions per month average resulting in an approximate $720 cost across the system. Reddit could feasibly incur all associated internal network charges (mining/minting, transfer, burn) as these are very low and controllable fees. Reddit Internal Token Transaction Fees Reddit Ethereum Token Transaction Fees When we consider further the Ethereum fees that might be incurred, we have a few choices for a solution.
Offload all Ethereum transaction fees (user withdrawals) to interested users as they wish to withdraw tokens for external use or sale.
Cover Ethereum transaction fees by aggregating them on a timed schedule. Users would request withdrawal (from Reddit or individual subreddits), and they would be transacted on the Ethereum network every hour (or some other schedule).
In a combination of the above, customers could cover aggregated fees.
Integrate with alternate Ethereum roll up solutions or other proposals to aggregate minting and distribution transactions onto Ethereum.
Users should be able to view their balances & transactions via a blockchain explorer-style interface
From interfaces for users who have no knowledge of blockchain technology to users who are well versed in blockchain terms such as those present in a typical block explorer, a system powered by Dragonchain has flexibility on how to provide balances and transaction data to users. Transactions can be made viewable in an Eternal Proof Report, which displays raw data along with TIME staking information and traceability all the way to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and every other Interchained network. The report shows fields such as transaction ID, timestamp, block ID, multiple verifications, and Interchain proof. See example here. Node payouts within the Dragonchain console are listed in chronological order and can be further seen in either Dragons or USD. See example here. In our social media platform, Dragon Den, users can see, in real-time, their NRG and MTR balances. See example here. A new influencer app powered by Dragonchain, Raiinmaker, breaks down data into a user friendly interface that shows coin portfolio, redeemed rewards, and social scores per campaign. See example here.
Exiting is fast & simple
Withdrawing funds on Dragonchain’s console requires three clicks, however, withdrawal scenarios with more enhanced security features per Reddit’s discretion are obtainable.
Interoperability Compatibility with third party apps (wallets/contracts/etc) is necessary.
Proven interoperability at scale that surpasses the required specifications. Our entire platform consists of interoperable blockchains connected to each other and traditional systems. APIs are well documented. Third party permissions are possible with a simple smart contract without the end user being aware. No need to learn any specialized proprietary language. Any code base (not subsets) is usable within a Docker container. Interoperable with any blockchain or traditional APIs. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js. Please see our source code and API documentation.
Scaling solutions should be extensible and allow third parties to build on top of it Open source and extensible APIs should be well documented and stable
Third-party permissionless integrations should be possible & straightforward Smart contracts are Docker based, can be written in any language, use full language (not subsets), and can therefore be integrated with any system including traditional system APIs. Simple is better. Learning an uncommon or proprietary language should not be necessary.
Advanced knowledge of mathematics, cryptography, or L2 scaling should not be required. Compatibility with common utilities & toolchains is expected. Dragonchain business nodes and smart contracts leverage Docker to allow the use of literally any language or executable code. No proprietary language is necessary. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js.
Bonus Points: Show us how it works. Do you have an idea for a cool new use case for Community Points? Build it!
Community points could be awarded to Reddit users based upon TIME too, whereas the longer someone is part of a subreddit, the more community points someone naturally gained, even if not actively commenting or sharing new posts. A daily login could be required for these community points to be credited. This grants awards to readers too and incentivizes readers to create an account on Reddit if they browse the website often. This concept could also be leveraged to provide some level of reputation based upon duration and consistency of contribution to a community subreddit.
Dragonchain has already built a social media platform that harnesses community involvement. Dragon Den is a decentralized community built on the Dragonchain blockchain platform. Dragon Den is Dragonchain’s answer to fake news, trolling, and censorship. It incentivizes the creation and evaluation of quality content within communities. It could be described as being a shareholder of a subreddit or Reddit in its entirety. The more your subreddit is thriving, the more rewarding it will be. Den is currently in a public beta and in active development, though the real token economy is not live yet. There are different tokens for various purposes. Two tokens are Lair Ownership Rights (LOR) and Lair Ownership Tokens (LOT). LOT is a non-fungible token for ownership of a specific Lair. LOT will only be created and converted from LOR. Energy (NRG) and Matter (MTR) work jointly. Your MTR determines how much NRG you receive in a 24-hour period. Providing quality content, or evaluating content will earn MTR.
Security. Users have full ownership & control of their points.
All community points awarded based upon any type of activity or gift, are secured and provable to all Interchain networks (currently BTC, ETH, ETC). Users are free to spend and withdraw their points as they please, depending on the features Reddit wants to bring into production.
Balances and transactions cannot be forged, manipulated, or blocked by Reddit or anyone else
Users can withdraw their balance to their ERC20 wallet, directly through Reddit. Reddit can cover the fees on their behalf, or the user covers this with a portion of their balance.
Users should own their points and be able to get on-chain ERC20 tokens without permission from anyone else
Through our console users can withdraw their ERC20 rewards. This can be achieved on Reddit too. Here is a walkthrough of our console, though this does not show the quick withdrawal functionality, a user can withdraw at any time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNlTMxnfVHw
Points should be recoverable to on-chain ERC20 tokens even if all third-parties involved go offline
If necessary, signed transactions from the Reddit system (e.g. Reddit + Subreddit) can be sent to the Ethereum smart contract for minting.
A public, third-party review attesting to the soundness of the design should be available
To our knowledge, at least two large corporations, including a top 3 accounting firm, have conducted positive reviews. These reviews have never been made public, as Dragonchain did not pay or contract for these studies to be released.
Bonus points Public, third-party implementation review available or in progress
Compatibility with HSMs & hardware wallets
For the purpose of this proposal, all tokenization would be on the Ethereum network using standard token contracts and as such, would be able to leverage all hardware wallet and Ethereum ecosystem services.
Minting/distributing tokens is not performed by Reddit directly
This operation can be automated by smart contract on Ethereum. Subreddits can if desired have a role to play.
One off point burning, as well as recurring, non-interactive point burning (for subreddit memberships) should be possible and scalable
This is possible and scalable with interaction between Dragonchain Reddit system and Ethereum token contract(s).
Fully open-source solutions are strongly preferred
Dragonchain is fully open source (see section on Disney release after conclusion).
Whether it is today, or in the future, we would like to work together to bring secure flexibility to the highest standards. It is our hope to be considered by Ethereum, Reddit, and other integrative solutions so we may further discuss the possibilities of implementation. In our public demonstration, 256 million transactions were handled in our operational network on chain in 24 hours, for the low cost of $25K, which if run today would cost $625. Dragonchain’s interoperable foundation provides the atmosphere necessary to implement a frictionless community points system. Thank you for your consideration of our proposal. We look forward to working with the community to make something great!
Disney Releases Blockchain Platform as Open Source
The team at Disney created the Disney Private Blockchain Platform. The system was a hybrid interoperable blockchain platform for ledgering and smart contract development geared toward solving problems with blockchain adoption and usability. All objective evaluation would consider the team’s output a success. We released a list of use cases that we explored in some capacity at Disney, and our input on blockchain standardization as part of our participation in the W3C Blockchain Community Group. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-blockchain/2016May/0052.html
In 2016, Roets proposed to release the platform as open source to spread the technology outside of Disney, as others within the W3C group were interested in the solutions that had been created inside of Disney. Following a long process, step by step, the team met requirements for release. Among the requirements, the team had to:
Obtain VP support and approval for the release
Verify ownership of the software to be released
Verify that no proprietary content would be released
Convince the organization that there was a value to the open source community
Convince the organization that there was a value to Disney
Offer the plan for ongoing maintenance of the project outside of Disney
Itemize competing projects
Verify no conflict of interest
Change the project name to not use the name Disney, any Disney character, or any other associated IP - proposed Dragonchain - approved
Obtain legal approval
Approval from corporate, parks, and other business units
Approval from multiple Disney patent groups Copyright holder defined by Disney (Disney Connected and Advanced Technologies)
Trademark searches conducted for the selected name Dragonchain
Obtain IT security approval
Manual review of OSS components conducted
OWASP Dependency and Vulnerability Check Conducted
Obtain technical (software) approval
Offer management, process, and financial plans for the maintenance of the project.
Meet list of items to be addressed before release
Remove all Disney project references and scripts
Create a public distribution list for email communications
Remove Roets’ direct and internal contact information
Create public Slack channel and move from Disney slack channels
Create proper labels for issue tracking
Rename internal private Github repository
Add informative description to Github page
Expand README.md with more specific information
Add information beyond current “Blockchains are Magic”
Add getting started sections and info on cloning/forking the project
Add installation details
Add uninstall process
Add unit, functional, and integration test information
Detail how to contribute and get involved
Describe the git workflow that the project will use
Move to public, non-Disney git repository (Github or Bitbucket)
Obtain Disney Open Source Committee approval for release
On top of meeting the above criteria, as part of the process, the maintainer of the project had to receive the codebase on their own personal email and create accounts for maintenance (e.g. Github) with non-Disney accounts. Given the fact that the project spanned multiple business units, Roets was individually responsible for its ongoing maintenance. Because of this, he proposed in the open source application to create a non-profit organization to hold the IP and maintain the project. This was approved by Disney. The Disney Open Source Committee approved the application known as OSSRELEASE-10, and the code was released on October 2, 2016. Disney decided to not issue a press release. Original OSSRELASE-10 document
Scaling Reddit Community Points with Arbitrum Rollup: a piece of cake
https://preview.redd.it/b80c05tnb9e51.jpg?width=2550&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=850282c1a3962466ed44f73886dae1c8872d0f31 Submitted for consideration toThe Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off Baked by the pastry chefs atOffchain Labs Please send questions or comments to [[email protected] ](mailto:[email protected]) 1. Overview We're excited to submit Arbitrum Rollup for consideration to The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off. Arbitrum Rollup is the only Ethereum scaling solution that supports arbitrary smart contracts without compromising on Ethereum's security or adding points of centralization. For Reddit, this means that Arbitrum can not only scale the minting and transfer of Community Points, but it can foster a creative ecosystem built around Reddit Community Points enabling points to be used in a wide variety of third party applications. That's right -- you can have your cake and eat it too! Arbitrum Rollup isn't just Ethereum-style. Its Layer 2 transactions are byte-for-byte identical to Ethereum, which means Ethereum users can continue to use their existing addresses and wallets, and Ethereum developers can continue to use their favorite toolchains and development environments out-of-the-box with Arbitrum. Coupling Arbitrum’s tooling-compatibility with its trustless asset interoperability, Reddit not only can scale but can onboard the entire Ethereum community at no cost by giving them the same experience they already know and love (well, certainly know). To benchmark how Arbitrum can scale Reddit Community Points, we launched the Reddit contracts on an Arbitrum Rollup chain. Since Arbitrum provides full Solidity support, we didn't have to rewrite the Reddit contracts or try to mimic their functionality using an unfamiliar paradigm. Nope, none of that. We launched the Reddit contracts unmodified on Arbitrum Rollup complete with support for minting and distributing points. Like every Arbitrum Rollup chain, the chain included a bridge interface in which users can transfer Community Points or any other asset between the L1 and L2 chains. Arbitrum Rollup chains also support dynamic contract loading, which would allow third-party developers to launch custom ecosystem apps that integrate with Community Points on the very same chain that runs the Reddit contracts. 1.1 Why Ethereum Perhaps the most exciting benefit of distributing Community Points using a blockchain is the ability to seamlessly port points to other applications and use them in a wide variety of contexts. Applications may include simple transfers such as a restaurant that allows Redditors to spend points on drinks. Or it may include complex smart contracts -- such as placing Community Points as a wager for a multiparty game or as collateral in a financial contract. The common denominator between all of the fun uses of Reddit points is that it needs a thriving ecosystem of both users and developers, and the Ethereum blockchain is perhaps the only smart contract platform with significant adoption today. While many Layer 1 blockchains boast lower cost or higher throughput than the Ethereum blockchain, more often than not, these attributes mask the reality of little usage, weaker security, or both. Perhaps another platform with significant usage will rise in the future. But today, Ethereum captures the mindshare of the blockchain community, and for Community Points to provide the most utility, the Ethereum blockchain is the natural choice. 1.2 Why Arbitrum While Ethereum's ecosystem is unmatched, the reality is that fees are high and capacity is too low to support the scale of Reddit Community Points. Enter Arbitrum. Arbitrum Rollup provides all of the ecosystem benefits of Ethereum, but with orders of magnitude more capacity and at a fraction of the cost of native Ethereum smart contracts. And most of all, we don't change the experience from users. They continue to use the same wallets, addresses, languages, and tools. Arbitrum Rollup is not the only solution that can scale payments, but it is the only developed solution that can scale both payments and arbitrary smart contracts trustlessly, which means that third party users can build highly scalable add-on apps that can be used without withdrawing money from the Rollup chain. If you believe that Reddit users will want to use their Community Points in smart contracts--and we believe they will--then it makes the most sense to choose a single scaling solution that can support the entire ecosystem, eliminating friction for users. We view being able to run smart contracts in the same scaling solution as fundamentally critical since if there's significant demand in running smart contracts from Reddit's ecosystem, this would be a load on Ethereum and would itself require a scaling solution. Moreover, having different scaling solutions for the minting/distribution/spending of points and for third party apps would be burdensome for users as they'd have to constantly shuffle their Points back and forth. 2. Arbitrum at a glance Arbitrum Rollup has a unique value proposition as it offers a combination of features that no other scaling solution achieves. Here we highlight its core attributes. Decentralized. Arbitrum Rollup is as decentralized as Ethereum. Unlike some other Layer 2 scaling projects, Arbitrum Rollup doesn't have any centralized components or centralized operators who can censor users or delay transactions. Even in non-custodial systems, centralized components provide a risk as the operators are generally incentivized to increase their profit by extracting rent from users often in ways that severely degrade user experience. Even if centralized operators are altruistic, centralized components are subject to hacking, coercion, and potential liability. Massive Scaling. Arbitrum achieves order of magnitude scaling over Ethereum's L1 smart contracts. Our software currently supports 453 transactions-per-second for basic transactions (at 1616 Ethereum gas per tx). We have a lot of room left to optimize (e.g. aggregating signatures), and over the next several months capacity will increase significantly. As described in detail below, Arbitrum can easily support and surpass Reddit's anticipated initial load, and its capacity will continue to improve as Reddit's capacity needs grow. Low cost. The cost of running Arbitrum Rollup is quite low compared to L1 Ethereum and other scaling solutions such as those based on zero-knowledge proofs. Layer 2 fees are low, fixed, and predictable and should not be overly burdensome for Reddit to cover. Nobody needs to use special equipment or high-end machines. Arbitrum requires validators, which is a permissionless role that can be run on any reasonable on-line machine. Although anybody can act as a validator, in order to protect against a “tragedy of the commons” and make sure reputable validators are participating, we support a notion of “invited validators” that are compensated for their costs. In general, users pay (low) fees to cover the invited validators’ costs, but we imagine that Reddit may cover this cost for its users. See more on the costs and validator options below. Ethereum Developer Experience. Not only does Arbitrum support EVM smart contracts, but the developer experience is identical to that of L1 Ethereum contracts and fully compatible with Ethereum tooling. Developers can port existing Solidity apps or write new ones using their favorite and familiar toolchains (e.g. Truffle, Buidler). There are no new languages or coding paradigms to learn. Ethereum wallet compatibility. Just as in Ethereum, Arbitrum users need only hold keys, but do not have to store any coin history or additional data to protect or access their funds. Since Arbitrum transactions are semantically identical to Ethereum L1 transactions, existing Ethereum users can use their existing Ethereum keys with their existing wallet software such as Metamask. Token interoperability. Users can easily transfer their ETH, ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens between Ethereum and the Arbitrum Rollup chain. As we explain in detail below, it is possible to mint tokens in L2 that can subsequently be withdrawn and recognized by the L1 token contract. Fast finality. Transactions complete with the same finality time as Ethereum L1 (and it's possible to get faster finality guarantees by trading away trust assumptions; see the Arbitrum Rollup whitepaper for details). Non-custodial. Arbitrum Rollup is a non-custodial scaling solution, so users control their funds/points and neither Reddit nor anyone else can ever access or revoke points held by users. Censorship Resistant. Since it's completely decentralized, and the Arbitrum protocol guarantees progress trustlessly, Arbitrum Rollup is just as censorship-proof as Ethereum. Block explorer. The Arbitrum Rollup block explorer allows users to view and analyze transactions on the Rollup chain. Limitations Although this is a bake-off, we're not going to sugar coat anything. Arbitrum Rollup, like any Optimistic Rollup protocol, does have one limitation, and that's the delay on withdrawals. As for the concrete length of the delay, we've done a good deal of internal modeling and have blogged about this as well. Our current modeling suggests a 3-hour delay is sufficient (but as discussed in the linked post there is a tradeoff space between the length of the challenge period and the size of the validators’ deposit). Note that this doesn't mean that the chain is delayed for three hours. Arbitrum Rollup supports pipelining of execution, which means that validators can keep building new states even while previous ones are “in the pipeline” for confirmation. As the challenge delays expire for each update, a new state will be confirmed (read more about this here). So activity and progress on the chain are not delayed by the challenge period. The only thing that's delayed is the consummation of withdrawals. Recall though that any single honest validator knows immediately (at the speed of L1 finality) which state updates are correct and can guarantee that they will eventually be confirmed, so once a valid withdrawal has been requested on-chain, every honest party knows that the withdrawal will definitely happen. There's a natural place here for a liquidity market in which a validator (or someone who trusts a validator) can provide withdrawal loans for a small interest fee. This is a no-risk business for them as they know which withdrawals will be confirmed (and can force their confirmation trustlessly no matter what anyone else does) but are just waiting for on-chain finality. 3. The recipe: How Arbitrum Rollup works For a description of the technical components of Arbitrum Rollup and how they interact to create a highly scalable protocol with a developer experience that is identical to Ethereum, please refer to the following documents: Arbitrum Rollup Whitepaper Arbitrum academic paper (describes a previous version of Arbitrum) 4. Developer docs and APIs For full details about how to set up and interact with an Arbitrum Rollup chain or validator, please refer to our developer docs, which can be found at https://developer.offchainlabs.com/. Note that the Arbitrum version described on that site is older and will soon be replaced by the version we are entering in Reddit Bake-Off, which is still undergoing internal testing before public release. 5. Who are the validators? As with any Layer 2 protocol, advancing the protocol correctly requires at least one validator (sometimes called block producers) that is honest and available. A natural question is: who are the validators? Recall that the validator set for an Arbitrum chain is open and permissionless; anyone can start or stop validating at will. (A useful analogy is to full nodes on an L1 chain.) But we understand that even though anyone can participate, Reddit may want to guarantee that highly reputable nodes are validating their chain. Reddit may choose to validate the chain themselves and/or hire third-party validators.To this end, we have begun building a marketplace for validator-for-hire services so that dapp developers can outsource validation services to reputable nodes with high up-time. We've announced a partnership in which Chainlink nodes will provide Arbitrum validation services, and we expect to announce more partnerships shortly with other blockchain infrastructure providers. Although there is no requirement that validators are paid, Arbitrum’s economic model tracks validators’ costs (e.g. amount of computation and storage) and can charge small fees on user transactions, using a gas-type system, to cover those costs. Alternatively, a single party such as Reddit can agree to cover the costs of invited validators. 6. Reddit Contract Support Since Arbitrum contracts and transactions are byte-for-byte compatible with Ethereum, supporting the Reddit contracts is as simple as launching them on an Arbitrum chain. Minting. Arbitrum Rollup supports hybrid L1/L2 tokens which can be minted in L2 and then withdrawn onto the L1. An L1 contract at address A can make a special call to the EthBridge which deploys a "buddy contract" to the same address A on an Arbitrum chain. Since it's deployed at the same address, users can know that the L2 contract is the authorized "buddy" of the L1 contract on the Arbitrum chain. For minting, the L1 contract is a standard ERC-20 contract which mints and burns tokens when requested by the L2 contract. It is paired with an ERC-20 contract in L2 which mints tokens based on whatever programmer provided minting facility is desired and burns tokens when they are withdrawn from the rollup chain. Given this base infrastructure, Arbitrum can support any smart contract based method for minting tokens in L2, and indeed we directly support Reddit's signature/claim based minting in L2. Batch minting. What's better than a mint cookie? A whole batch! In addition to supporting Reddit’s current minting/claiming scheme, we built a second minting design, which we believe outperforms the signature/claim system in many scenarios. In the current system, Reddit periodically issues signed statements to users, who then take those statements to the blockchain to claim their tokens. An alternative approach would have Reddit directly submit the list of users/amounts to the blockchain and distribute the tokens to the users without the signature/claim process. To optimize the cost efficiency of this approach, we designed an application-specific compression scheme to minimize the size of the batch distribution list. We analyzed the data from Reddit's previous distributions and found that the data is highly compressible since token amounts are small and repeated, and addresses appear multiple times. Our function groups transactions by size, and replaces previously-seen addresses with a shorter index value. We wrote client code to compress the data, wrote a Solidity decompressing function, and integrated that function into Reddit’s contract running on Arbitrum. When we ran the compression function on the previous Reddit distribution data, we found that we could compress batched minting data down to to 11.8 bytes per minting event (averaged over a 6-month trace of Reddit’s historical token grants)compared with roughly 174 bytes of on-chain data needed for the signature claim approach to minting (roughly 43 for an RLP-encoded null transaction + 65 for Reddit's signature + 65 for the user's signature + roughly 8 for the number of Points) . The relative benefit of the two approaches with respect to on-chain call data cost depends on the percentage of users that will actually claim their tokens on chain. With the above figures, batch minting will be cheaper if roughly 5% of users redeem their claims. We stress that our compression scheme is not Arbitrum-specific and would be beneficial in any general-purpose smart contract platform. 8. Benchmarks and costs In this section, we give the full costs of operating the Reddit contracts on an Arbitrum Rollup chain including the L1 gas costs for the Rollup chain, the costs of computation and storage for the L2 validators as well as the capital lockup requirements for staking. Arbitrum Rollup is still on testnet, so we did not run mainnet benchmarks. Instead, we measured the L1 gas cost and L2 workload for Reddit operations on Arbitrum and calculated the total cost assuming current Ethereum gas prices. As noted below in detail, our measurements do not assume that Arbitrum is consuming the entire capacity of Ethereum. We will present the details of our model now, but for full transparency you can also play around with it yourself and adjust the parameters, by copying the spreadsheet found here. Our cost model is based on measurements of Reddit’s contracts, running unmodified (except for the addition of a batch minting function) on Arbitrum Rollup on top of Ethereum. On the distribution of transactions and frequency of assertions. Reddit's instructions specify the following minimum parameters that submissions should support: Over a 5 day period, your scaling PoC should be able to handle:
100,000 point claims (minting & distributing points)
75,000 one-off points burning
We provide the full costs of operating an Arbitrum Rollup chain with this usage under the assumption that tokens are minted or granted to users in batches, but other transactions are uniformly distributed over the 5 day period. Unlike some other submissions, we do not make unrealistic assumptions that all operations can be submitted in enormous batches. We assume that batch minting is done in batches that use only a few percent on an L1 block’s gas, and that other operations come in evenly over time and are submitted in batches, with one batch every five minutes to keep latency reasonable. (Users are probably already waiting for L1 finality, which takes at least that long to achieve.) We note that assuming that there are only 300,000 transactions that arrive uniformly over the 5 day period will make our benchmark numbers lower, but we believe that this will reflect the true cost of running the system. To see why, say that batches are submitted every five minutes (20 L1 blocks) and there's a fixed overhead of c bytes of calldata per batch, the cost of which will get amortized over all transactions executed in that batch. Assume that each individual transaction adds a marginal cost of t. Lastly assume the capacity of the scaling system is high enough that it can support all of Reddit's 300,000 transactions within a single 20-block batch (i.e. that there is more than c + 300,000*t byes of calldata available in 20 blocks). Consider what happens if c, the per-batch overhead, is large (which it is in some systems, but not in Arbitrum). In the scenario that transactions actually arrive at the system's capacity and each batch is full, then c gets amortized over 300,000 transactions. But if we assume that the system is not running at capacity--and only receives 300,000 transactions arriving uniformly over 5 days-- then each 20-block assertion will contain about 200 transactions, and thus each transaction will pay a nontrivial cost due to c. We are aware that other proposals presented scaling numbers assuming that 300,000 transactions arrived at maximum capacity and was executed in a single mega-transaction, but according to our estimates, for at least one such report, this led to a reported gas price that was 2-3 orders of magnitude lower than it would have been assuming uniform arrival. We make more realistic batching assumptions, and we believe Arbitrum compares well when batch sizes are realistic. Our model. Our cost model includes several sources of cost:
L1 gas costs: This is the cost of posting transactions as calldata on the L1 chain, as well as the overhead associated with each batch of transactions, and the L1 cost of settling transactions in the Arbitrum protocol.
Validator’s staking costs: In normal operation, one validator will need to be staked. The stake is assumed to be 0.2% of the total value of the chain (which is assumed to be $1 per user who is eligible to claim points). The cost of staking is the interest that could be earned on the money if it were not staked.
Validator computation and storage: Every validator must do computation to track the chain’s processing of transactions, and must maintain storage to keep track of the contracts’ EVM storage. The cost of computation and storage are estimated based on measurements, with the dollar cost of resources based on Amazon Web Services pricing.
It’s clear from our modeling that the predominant cost is for L1 calldata. This will probably be true for any plausible rollup-based system. Our model also shows that Arbitrum can scale to workloads much larger than Reddit’s nominal workload, without exhausting L1 or L2 resources. The scaling bottleneck will ultimately be calldata on the L1 chain. We believe that cost could be reduced substantially if necessary by clever encoding of data. (In our design any compression / decompression of L2 transaction calldata would be done by client software and L2 programs, never by an L1 contract.) 9. Status of Arbitrum Rollup Arbitrum Rollup is live on Ethereum testnet. All of the code written to date including everything included in the Reddit demo is open source and permissively licensed under the Apache V2 license. The first testnet version of Arbitrum Rollup was released on testnet in February. Our current internal version, which we used to benchmark the Reddit contracts, will be released soon and will be a major upgrade. Both the Arbitrum design as well as the implementation are heavily audited by independent third parties. The Arbitrum academic paper was published at USENIX Security, a top-tier peer-reviewed academic venue. For the Arbitrum software, we have engaged Trail of Bits for a security audit, which is currently ongoing, and we are committed to have a clean report before launching on Ethereum mainnet. 10. Reddit Universe Arbitrum Rollup Chain The benchmarks described in this document were all measured using the latest internal build of our software. When we release the new software upgrade publicly we will launch a Reddit Universe Arbitrum Rollup chain as a public demo, which will contain the Reddit contracts as well as a Uniswap instance and a Connext Hub, demonstrating how Community Points can be integrated into third party apps. We will also allow members of the public to dynamically launch ecosystem contracts. We at Offchain Labs will cover the validating costs for the Reddit Universe public demo. If the folks at Reddit would like to evaluate our software prior to our public demo, please email us at [email protected] and we'd be more than happy to provide early access. 11. Even more scaling: Arbitrum Sidechains Rollups are an excellent approach to scaling, and we are excited about Arbitrum Rollup which far surpasses Reddit's scaling needs. But looking forward to Reddit's eventual goal of supporting hundreds of millions of users, there will likely come a time when Reddit needs more scaling than any Rollup protocol can provide. While Rollups greatly reduce costs, they don't break the linear barrier. That is, all transactions have an on-chain footprint (because all calldata must be posted on-chain), albeit a far smaller one than on native Ethereum, and the L1 limitations end up being the bottleneck for capacity and cost. Since Ethereum has limited capacity, this linear use of on-chain resources means that costs will eventually increase superlinearly with traffic. The good news is that we at Offchain Labs have a solution in our roadmap that can satisfy this extreme-scaling setting as well: Arbitrum AnyTrust Sidechains. Arbitrum Sidechains are similar to Arbitrum Rollup, but deviate in that they name a permissioned set of validators. When a chain’s validators agree off-chain, they can greatly reduce the on-chain footprint of the protocol and require almost no data to be put on-chain. When validators can't reach unanimous agreement off-chain, the protocol reverts to Arbitrum Rollup. Technically, Arbitrum Sidechains can be viewed as a hybrid between state channels and Rollup, switching back and forth as necessary, and combining the performance and cost that state channels can achieve in the optimistic case, with the robustness of Rollup in other cases. The core technical challenge is how to switch seamlessly between modes and how to guarantee that security is maintained throughout. Arbitrum Sidechains break through this linear barrier, while still maintaining a high level of security and decentralization. Arbitrum Sidechains provide the AnyTrust guarantee, which says that as long as any one validator is honest and available (even if you don't know which one will be), the L2 chain is guaranteed to execute correctly according to its code and guaranteed to make progress. Unlike in a state channel, offchain progress does not require unanimous consent, and liveness is preserved as long as there is a single honest validator. Note that the trust model for Arbitrum Sidechains is much stronger than for typical BFT-style chains which introduce a consensus "voting" protocols among a small permissioned group of validators. BFT-based protocols require a supermajority (more than 2/3) of validators to agree. In Arbitrum Sidechains, by contrast, all you need is a single honest validator to achieve guaranteed correctness and progress. Notice that in Arbitrum adding validators strictly increases security since the AnyTrust guarantee provides correctness as long as any one validator is honest and available. By contrast, in BFT-style protocols, adding nodes can be dangerous as a coalition of dishonest nodes can break the protocol. Like Arbitrum Rollup, the developer and user experiences for Arbitrum Sidechains will be identical to that of Ethereum. Reddit would be able to choose a large and diverse set of validators, and all that they would need to guarantee to break through the scaling barrier is that a single one of them will remain honest. We hope to have Arbitrum Sidechains in production in early 2021, and thus when Reddit reaches the scale that surpasses the capacity of Rollups, Arbitrum Sidechains will be waiting and ready to help. While the idea to switch between channels and Rollup to get the best of both worlds is conceptually simple, getting the details right and making sure that the switch does not introduce any attack vectors is highly non-trivial and has been the subject of years of our research (indeed, we were working on this design for years before the term Rollup was even coined). 12. How Arbitrum compares We include a comparison to several other categories as well as specific projects when appropriate. and explain why we believe that Arbitrum is best suited for Reddit's purposes. We focus our attention on other Ethereum projects. Payment only Rollups. Compared to Arbitrum Rollup, ZK-Rollups and other Rollups that only support token transfers have several disadvantages:
As outlined throughout the proposal, we believe that the entire draw of Ethereum is in its rich smart contracts support which is simply not achievable with today's zero-knowledge proof technology. Indeed, scaling with a ZK-Rollup will add friction to the deployment of smart contracts that interact with Community Points as users will have to withdraw their coins from the ZK-Rollup and transfer them to a smart contract system (like Arbitrum). The community will be best served if Reddit builds on a platform that has built-in, frictionless smart-contract support.
All other Rollup protocols of which we are aware employ a centralized operator. While it's true that users retain custody of their coins, the centralized operator can often profit from censoring, reordering, or delaying transactions. A common misconception is that since they're non-custodial protocols, a centralized sequencer does not pose a risk but this is incorrect as the sequencer can wreak havoc or shake down users for side payments without directly stealing funds.
Sidechain type protocols can eliminate some of these issues, but they are not trustless. Instead, they require trust in some quorum of a committee, often requiring two-third of the committee to be honest, compared to rollup protocols like Arbitrum that require only a single honest party. In addition, not all sidechain type protocols have committees that are diverse, or even non-centralized, in practice.
Plasma-style protocols have a centralized operator and do not support general smart contracts.
13. Concluding Remarks While it's ultimately up to the judges’ palate, we believe that Arbitrum Rollup is the bakeoff choice that Reddit kneads. We far surpass Reddit's specified workload requirement at present, have much room to optimize Arbitrum Rollup in the near term, and have a clear path to get Reddit to hundreds of millions of users. Furthermore, we are the only project that gives developers and users the identical interface as the Ethereum blockchain and is fully interoperable and tooling-compatible, and we do this all without any new trust assumptions or centralized components. But no matter how the cookie crumbles, we're glad to have participated in this bake-off and we thank you for your consideration. About Offchain Labs Offchain Labs, Inc. is a venture-funded New York company that spun out of Princeton University research, and is building the Arbitrum platform to usher in the next generation of scalable, interoperable, and compatible smart contracts. Offchain Labs is backed by Pantera Capital, Compound VC, Coinbase Ventures, and others. Leadership Team Ed Felten Ed Felten is Co-founder and Chief Scientist at Offchain Labs. He is on leave from Princeton University, where he is the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs. From 2015 to 2017 he served at the White House as Deputy United States Chief Technology Officer and senior advisor to the President. He is an ACM Fellow and member of the National Academy of Engineering. Outside of work, he is an avid runner, cook, and L.A. Dodgers fan. Steven Goldfeder Steven Goldfeder is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Offchain Labs. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, where he worked at the intersection of cryptography and cryptocurrencies including threshold cryptography, zero-knowledge proof systems, and post-quantum signatures. He is a co-author of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, the leading textbook on cryptocurrencies, and he has previously worked at Google and Microsoft Research, where he co-invented the Picnic signature algorithm. When not working, you can find Steven spending time with his family, taking a nature walk, or twisting balloons. Harry Kalodner Harry Kalodner is Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Offchain Labs where he leads the engineering team. Before the company he attended Princeton as a Ph.D candidate where his research explored economics, anonymity, and incentive compatibility of cryptocurrencies, and he also has worked at Apple. When not up at 3:00am writing code, Harry occasionally sleeps.
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Crossing the Ocean | Monthly FI Portfolio Update - February 2020
No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm. Charles Kettering This is my thirty-ninth 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 – $772 191 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $44 099 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $81 139 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 360 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $174 810 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $32 294 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $250 949 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 844 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $8 083 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 580 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $114 375 Secured physical gold – $18 455 Ratesetter* (P2P lending) – $13 971 Bitcoin – $149 920 Raiz* app (Aggressive portfolio) – $17 424 Spaceship Voyager* app (Index portfolio) – $2 446 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 485 Total portfolio value: $1 803 425 (-$69 900 or -3.7%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 42.1% (2.9% under) Global shares – 22.3% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.1% Total international shares – 27.7% (2.3% under) Total shares – 69.8% (5.2% under) Total property securities – 0.2% (0.2% over) Australian bonds – 4.6% International bonds – 9.7% Total bonds – 14.3% (0.7% under) Gold – 7.4% Bitcoin – 9.7% Gold and alternatives – 15.7% (5.7% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments Equity markets fell significantly this month, resulting in a portfolio loss of around $70 000. This is the largest monthly fall across the three years of this record in dollar terms, and the third largest as a proportion of assets. [Chart] The falls follow a large increase in the portfolio value last month, and have occurred amidst increasing global impacts and fears from the spread of the Corona virus. The losses are mainly in Australian and global equities and have been concentrated in the last two weeks. Overall, the portfolio fell around 6 per cent from a peak in mid-February. Amidst this downward movement, gold and Bitcoin have performed relatively positively, with the price of gold increasing and Bitcoin mostly maintaining its value. Consistent with their role of diversifying portfolio risks, the value of bond holdings slightly increased over the period. [Chart] The equity market losses have left the portfolio below its target Australian equity weighting, so contributions this month have been made to Vanguard's Australian shares ETF (VAS). In better news, this month expenditure has been lower than over the summer holiday period, continuing the broader declining trend. The most significant development in looking at the rolling three-year comparison of distributions and expenditure, however, is a new downward slope in distributions. [Chart] This is the first in this particular record, and results from the three year averaging window starting to move beyond a period of exceptionally high distributions in 2017. So it is an artefact of the chosen time period, and, for example, the equivalent four year comparison does not show this. Relocating the emergency stores This month has also seen a small re-entry into exploration of the world of fintech, through opening an account with Neo-bank Xinja. The motivation was an interest rate of 2.25 per cent, with no complex bonus eligibility rules. Added to this was curiosity about the experience with the product. The sign-up process was quick and easy, and I am planning to use it instead of a previous Ubank USaver online account - paying less than half of that in interest - for my emergency fund. So far the process has been smooth, and the pre-tax benefit of the switch from the improved rate is around $33 per month. Worse things happen at sea - modelling future portfolio risks With a range of markets at or close to highs, pushing progress towards my financial objective forwards in past weeks, I had been considering the issue of downside portfolio risk. Needless to say, the past week has reinforced the value of reflecting on that risk. To keep this issue steadily in view I have for the past year kept a rough and ready data series, called 'Market Event', which rather crudely assumes a rapid 25 per cent fall in equity values. Over the past month I have spent time considering and building a slightly more sophisticated way of modelling the impact of market falls on the portfolio. This allows some simple scenarios to be modelled, and recognises the potential for different behaviour of individual parts of the portfolio (for example, equities, bonds, gold and Bitcoin) in equity market falls. The value in this is that it allows better visibility of what the portfolio could look like after what are, in historical terms, quite regular occurrences. The three illustrative scenarios modelled are:
Normal 10% equity market decline - These are fairly routine over any length of time investing in equities, and could easily be expected in any given month. The past week - at least so far - is an example of this kind of event.
'Bear market' - This scenario is a 20 per cent decline, which could occur in a given month or over a sustained period of decline.
'Global Financial Crisis Mark II' - This is broadly based on the equity impact of the Global Financial Crisis on US share markets, including up to a 50 per cent fall.
These are imperfect simplifications of a myriad of possible events over different timeframes. Yet they are still sufficient to give a sense of the range of underlying risks in equity markets. The question they help answer is: just how does diversification actually reduce risk and volatility? In the scenarios below it is assumed that losses in equities are partly offset by gains in alternative diversifying assets (such as bonds, gold or even - more speculatively - Bitcoin). The reactions of these alternative assets to equity market falls are not a constant. In fact, research indicates (pdf) that from the early 2000s bonds have transitioned from being negatively correlated to equity (rising when equity prices fall), to be mildly positively correlated at times. Therefore, populating the three scenarios in Figure 1 has included some assumptions, drawing typically on long-term historical averages and some judgement, rather than just extrapolating performance over the past 15 years. Testing the waters - the scenarios results The results of each of these scenarios are set out below. Figure 1 - Illustrative Effect of Three Market Scenarios on the FI Portfolio [Diagram] Some observations on the scenarios and model outputs are:
Downside risk is real and unavoidable in an equity dominated portfolio - There is no escaping that a large fall in equity values will have a significant portfolio impact, even with around 30 per cent of assets being non-equities.
Diversification helps soften the fall - In large market events, assuming equities move in the opposite directions to other portfolio components, the current portfolio construction tends to reduce losses by around 10 per cent.
Equity market falls can make a difference to the journey time - A normal to moderate bear market would put the overall portfolio back the equivalent of 6 and 9 months of progress. A Global Financial Crisis style crisis would put the progress of the portfolio back around 24 months
Critically, the results of this thought experiment are sensitive to correlation assumptions. Relationships between assets returns change over time, in both direction and magnitude. This means reliance on historical relationships is not a certain guide. In the case of Bitcoin, especially, no long historical pattern of relationship exists. Changing the magnitudes or the plus or minus sign from the correlation assumptions I have adopted produces quite different results. 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) 82.7% 112.8% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 100.9% 137.6% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 80.9% 110.3% Summary This month has seen a transition from the heat of summer, smoke, into storms and an unsettled period. This has been reflected in both daily life as well as in the continuing volatility in markets and the portfolio. It has felt like a changing of perspective, and a shifting vantage point upon the world. The last post sought to trace my shifting perceptions and actions while investing through the Global Financial Crisis. A barrier to this was reconstructing contemporaneous thoughts from the persistent embrace of hindsight bias. This record is partly designed to overcome that problem. My perceptions on current falls are that they are unsurprising given the strong record of equity markets over the past decade, but that it is simply unknown and unknowable whether they represent a 'typical' pull back that routinely occurs, or the opening stages of a sustained downturn in equity markets lasting 12-24 months. These times can lead to a sense of being a passive observer of events beyond our control. The potential loss analysis above - which was started before the recent downturn - is designed to at least start to put some boundaries around these uncertainties, and volatility. To 'practice' - as it were - facing possible outcomes before we come upon them. Regularly reviewing downside exposures helps re-check that the portfolio risk is at the right level, and avoid complacency from past market gains by reinforcing their potentially temporary nature. Another method of addressing the same issue is to maintain flexibility around future spending rules or withdrawal rates. This paper (pdf) from Vanguard proposes a particular 'dynamic spending rule'. This places moving 'guardrails' around a spending level, partially recognising the value of market gains (or losses). As a concept, this is potentially a helpful update to simple 'rules of thumb' such as the 4.0 per cent safe withdrawal rate (or its 2012 updated version, the 4.5 per cent 'rule'). On the same topic, from a different direction, I have been interested in the findings of this research paper (pdf) based on a century of data of Australian equity returns. It makes a strong case for lowering expectations for future returns. Similarly, this interview provides an intriguing suggestion of how the next global financial crisis may originate from central banks, rather than private debt or equity markets. Finally, Credit Suisse have released their annual yearbook of global investment. This year unfortunately only a partial snapshot of global returns is given. This work highlights the changing nature of global investment through time, as sectors and technologies change, and provides useful historical checks on past global equity returns (5.2 per cent on a geometric basis). Backed by a century of data, it also reinforces the truism that most journeys are defined by their end, even though storms and uncertainties may assail us on the passage. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
Crypto Faucet I use to store my mined bitcoin on, with 4.08% APR paid daily with accounts over 30k satoshi. Referral link included, I share 50% commissions with my referrals paid every Sunday if you're interested.
My referral link for the aforementioned FREEBITCO.IN: https://freebitco.in/?r=30437643&tag=redditF I have cross referenced this post on my site: passivecryptoguides.com Why should you sign on with me? I'm not a one off, you can reach me personally through DM or post comments. I've done most of the leg work, alleviating the trial and error process. Just follow the steps in this guide specifically in sections 7️⃣, 8️⃣, and 9️⃣. I share 50% commissions, get a kick back on everything you earn weekly. I trust this site, and personally have 270$ worth of bitcoin in one account with almost 500$ total including two other accounts. Coming from Cointiply? Well, as a heads up, you're not actually holding any BTC. I suggest what you earn you HODL in FREEBITCO.IN. Just some abbreviation and terminology explanation before we start for those unfamiliar. BTC=Bitcoin USD=US Dollar Satoshi Click here Bitcoin price history, past and present ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ POST LAYOUT 1️⃣GENERAL INFO 2️⃣POST INTENTIONS 3️⃣MY EARNINGS 4️⃣HOW DO COMMISSION REWARDS WORK? 5️⃣SOME CLAIM STATS 6️⃣MULTIPLY BITCOIN STRATS AND INFO 7️⃣AUTOMATION 8️⃣OPTIMIZATION AND USE 9️⃣STRATS TO INCREASE EARNINGS 1️⃣0️⃣ADVERTISING YOUR LINK 1️⃣1️⃣LINKS ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 1️⃣GENERAL INFO1️⃣ FREEBITCO.IN can be accessed from any device with internet. Using a VPN or a TOR is now allowed given that your account achieves certain criteria similar to a captcha free account requirements. 🛑WARNING: FREEBITCO.IN wipes inactive accounts after a certain period! If you lose interest, withdraw your BTC! 📝NOTE: iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) are restrictive. The only way to access is via website, as BitBot isn't available.📝 FREEBITCO.IN is what's called a "faucet", a site that gives a small steady stream of crypto which FREEBITCO.IN does through hourly rolls and interest accrual. FREEBITCO.IN also hosts other means to win or earn crypto, you can gamble with Multiplier, or bet on world evens and crypto prices. After your account reaches 30k Satoshi, you begin to collect interest. The site also offers lifetime referral commissions, explained later in this guide. All you need to start is an email. You can add more verification options for security later on. I would highly suggest it. Use a junk email though. 2FA and MFA are strongly suggested. A password should be 15 characters long. I suggest Google Authenticator for your 2FA needs. I know you can definitely access this site from Brave Browser with add blockers enabled. I'm sure it will work with others. Even without an ad blockers, they only advertise their site gambling and games, no 3rd party adds that I've seen. It's not too invasive or spammy either. ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 2️⃣POST INTENTIONS2️⃣ This post is both an advertising platform I use, and a guide I've made to help those interested to automate and optimize earnings. For those of a cautious mindset, I've uploaded all of FREEBITCO.IN's information on interest accrual, security, and proof of mining on Imgur, in case you're worried about visiting the site. Transparent link here: Interest accrual structure and FREEBITCO.IN security. https://imgur.com/a/wWjQtKT My referral link: https://freebitco.in/?r=30437643&tag=redditC2 ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 3️⃣MY EARNINGS3️⃣ So at this point, with hourly claims and daily interest, I'm bringing in roughly 8978 Satoshi (or .70$ USD with BTC at 7804$ USD) daily at full optimization on one account, and two other self referred accounts without lifting a finger. This is before the fact that a hourly roll (claim) can reward up to a max of 200$ USD worth of BTC (percentages in section 5️⃣). They also have a weekly lotto (tickets awarded with every roll and referral roll) with the last 1st place winner receiving .32769156 BTC (2587$ USD at current bitcoin price). This is also not including my current commissions on accounts not owned by me. In this post I will describe some of my strategies I've incorporated, and some insight into how this website works. To offload or withdraw bitcoin, you're going to need what is called a "wallet". I personally use Coinbase (available on mobile or desktop) as you can sell it through here as well and easily move money to Paypal or a bank. ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 4️⃣HOW DO COMMISSION REWARDS WORK?4️⃣ If you are already on FREEBITCO.IN, do you have someone who referred you? Do they share commissions? If not, why not make a new account and join me, where you'll get a return on everything you earn. As you can see, large affiliate groups don't share anything, hoarding hundreds of thousands worth of BTC earned off their referrals I share 50% of my commissions. I get 50% of your roll rewards, 25% of your interest, and 0.4% of your wagers. All of this is paid out by FREEBITCO.IN as a commission, so it's not pulled from your rewards or held BTC. So the more you're active, the more you'll receive from me weekly (being active is doing anything that I get commissions from). IMPORTANT: Your (and all referrals) shares are based on activity, so if you are inactive for the week, you get a lower % for that week. If you're the most active of my referrals you get a higher percentage of what I share. This is to incentivize being active and to stop people from getting a cut without doing anything. If you have FREEBITCO.IN automated, you don't have to worry about this. However, having a larger bankroll to earn interest, or playing Multiply BTC (I do not suggest playing unless doing so to meet auto roll requirements) will increase can your activity further. Commission Structure Here is some proof, I've actually shared about 2/3 of all commissions Commissions update 12 January 2020 Here is a proof of Payment section per individual 📝NOTE: I've noticed when I was creating the images of commission sharing that the "RECENT" blocks are showing zero. If you look at totals from the first image, you can tell I'm actively sharing with all of my referrals.📝 Join my team FREEBITCO.IN ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 5️⃣SOME CLAIM STATS5️⃣ You can earn AT LEAST .00000552 BTC (.048$) daily when automated (or claiming every hour on the hour) before bonuses (like using reward points to increase rewards 1000%). After some testing, it seems that this amount will always be about .048$ worth of BTC, base claim rewards no bonus active. After .00030000 BTC, you accrue compounding interest at a rate of 4.08% APR, paid daily. As soon as your daily interest is accredited, it too starts earning interest. The daily interest rate comes out to ~0.011% of your total held BTC. FREEBITCO.IN gives you a roll once every hour, free 📝NOTE: Roll rewards fluctuate inversely with BTC price. BTC goes down, roll rewards go up, vice versa. The BTC rewards USD value will be extremely close to the values represented below.📝 Current rewards and probability with every hourly roll. (.002$) -> 98.85% (.02$) -> 1.00% (.20$) -> .08% (2.00$) -> .04% (20$) -> .02% (200$) -> .01% ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 6️⃣MULTIPLY BTC STRATS AND INFO6️⃣ 🛑!WARNING!, NO STRATEGY IS 100%, THE MULTIPLIER GAME IS GAMBLING, YOU CAN STILL LOSE YOUR WHOLE BALANCE IF YOU PUSH YOUR LUCK.🛑 UPDATE: I decided to do some research after some odd outcomes when extensively testing some of my Multiplier strats. Turns out FREEBITCO.IN does indeed have a house advantage that isn't too transparent. Longer sessions are almost always going to come out negative. If you still plan on playing, do short sessions, once daily max, with lower amounts. There are a couple methods to play the Multiplier with a reduced risk (but still a risk) here as well. I would suggest small play sessions. STRAT #1 My preferred settings for AUTOROLL on MULTIPLY that I've had the best success rate with to date. (preferably with .00005000 in ACCT for best results) BET: Minimum ODDS: 3 ROLLS: (doesn't matter, 100) BET ON: alternate STOP BETTING PROFIT: .00000050, important as the bets will get exponentially higher with every loss. Win in small increments. STOP BETTING LOSS: Set a loss limit if you want, I have mine set to .00001 and haven't reached it ON WIN: select increase bet 0% ON LOSS: select increase bet 65% RANDOMIZE CLIENT SEED: yes DO NOT REFRESH: yes Here is a pic of the settings Anything else doesn't matter. Make sure the boxes are checked for the above options. With this strat, I've won positive on one account, about .000077 BTC, and I've only played 5 or 6 times, at less than 2-3 minutes of play time a session. STRAT #2 Good for accounts with a low balance. I've had a surprising amount of luck with this method, enough so that I thought I'd post it here with an update. This could work well for accounts with less than 1k Satoshi, as a losing streak wouldn't be a huge loss. For this strat, you should have at least 189 Satoshi in your account. BET: Minimum amount ODDS/WIN CHANCE: 189 or %0.5 ROLLS: 189 (remains the same no matter if you bet more) BET ON: High or Low, but not Alternate. STOP BETTING ON PROFIT: Minimum amount, once again, you want continuous small wins UPDATE: Conducting more tests for viability I played these settings 10 times, I came out positive 8/10 times. In the end I was positive 433 Satoshi total with selecting "hi". On selecting "low" I went positive 5/10 losing 525 Satoshi. On selecting "hi" and betting 10 Satoshi, I went positive 3/10 times losing 9708 Satoshi. On selecting "high" and betting 100 Satoshi, I never went positive, 0/10. Losing 189000 Satoshi (~15$ USD). There does seem to be a pattern of losing more when betting more. Like anything gambling, there's probably a house advantage that's not too transparent. Win small lose small. Pic of these settings STRAT #3 Another strategy I've tried is betting most of my balance once occasionally with a 94.06% chance of winning. This is, eh, alright to risk OCCASIONALLY, but a loss would set you back more than you ever made using this strategy, which happened to me, I lost about 40 USD worth of BTC after making maybe 5 USD. THIS METHOD IS GREAT FOR MEETING NON-CAPTCHA ACCOUNT REQUIREMENTS! Playing this in auto roll, out of 20 rolls I'd always lose at least once, putting me into the negative. Even with 10 rolls, I'd more often then not lose at least once. Pic of these settings There are other strats out there, such as the "Martingale", which is essentially doubling the bet amount every loss, then resetting your bet to minimum after a win to in theory "win back what you lost". At 47.5% odds of winning, I've had loss streaks that would drain my account. My summary for Multiply, use sparingly. Don't use it as your primary means of earning. Use once or twice daily, limit play sessions to 5 minutes max. ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 7️⃣AUTOMATION7️⃣ 📝NOTE: FREEBITCO.IN captcha requirements seem to be tiered, with requirements for Captcha free upscaling when you BTC holding passes a certain threshold. I'm currently testing, as is another team member (Shout out to u/SrExtreme69) , what exactly these thresholds, if holding at these thresholds increases the length of Captcha free rolls, and at what amount does FREEBITCO.IN no longer require these to be met.📝 📝NOTE: To start automating, remember to verify email and setup 2FA or the Captcha will still appear even if your account meets Captcha free requirements. Check the site occasionally as Captcha free roll requirements can change. After certain held BTC amount you don't need to renew your requirements. I haven't had to achieve new requirements in over a month.📝 📝NOTE: You may need to manually roll for a bit until the the ability to achieve a Captcha free account becomes available. It doesn't show at first.📝 📝NOTE: It's very difficult, if not impossible to automate on iOS devices. First of all, getting to this point can be a grind, but once achieved you'll have a steady flow of BTC with options to increase earnings through rewards claims using RP. I would suggest going to your PROFILE tab on FREEBITCO.IN and disabling lottery to increase RP production when starting out. Using other apps or resources to supplement income is a good idea as well. On the FREE BTC page, there is a blue text hyperlink with requirements that need to be met to make your account captcha free, thus allowing you to enable autoroll on extensions or apps. It has multiple ways to achieve this and they can change, so if your autoroll has stopped, check to see if these requirements have changed. Here are the requirements. (Amounts vary) It seems only two of these requirements need to be met. The less risky and easiest method is to buy lottery tickets and bet with jackpots on. Even better is depositing bitcoin if you have that amount. The POSSIBLY least expensive method is to bet both regularly and with Jackpots enabled on MULTIPLY (for higher amounts required, IMO Multiplier strat #3 works best) ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 8️⃣OPTIMIZATION AND USE OF FREEBITCO.IN8️⃣ For computers I would suggest using Firefox, as you can add functions and tools to your bar up top. One of the being a "auto roll" for FREEBITCO.IN, still requires a "captcha free" account. Turn it on and let go, check it occasionally to make sure its still going. Autoroll firefox add-on link My link again for ease of access Not my preferred method, but good for a second account, as using a computer means devoting more attention to FREEBITCO.IN in an inconvenient manner if you are just starting out. After Captcha has been removed, this becomes more hands free, but not as profitable as using bitbot, as you can't autoclaim RP rewards. I haven't tried many methods besides using Firefox addons, as I'm wary of sources or intent when it comes to 3rd party scripts or programs. If I find any trustworthy scripts or programs, I will update here. For Mobile 🛑BITBOT WARNING, IF YOU USE BITBOT TO ACCESS FREEBITCO.IN BEFORE USING MY REFERRAL, YOU WILL BE REFERRED THROUGH BITBOT, AND THEY DON'T SHARE COMMISSIONS AS FAR AS I CAN TELL🛑 My Link again 📝NOTE: iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) do not have access to BitBot, nor do they allow extensions/add-ons on their browsers. I have not personally found a way around this. You may still access the site and manually roll.📝 I use BitBot. This is the best place to start from IMO. You can set it to notify you of rolls and gives direct access to the site from the app (you can also access the site from any device with internet). Once your account is "captcha free" you can set it to auto roll AND automatically claim rewards every 24 hours (RP increase, BTC increase, Lottery ticket Increase). 📝NOTE: Bitbot allows auto roll from the app for accounts over 500 RP. This isn't permanent, as it uses your RP. You'll need to log onto the website through a browser to achieve captch free account requirements, which Bitbot does recognize, which allow completely free rolls.📝 📝NOTE: Accessing FREEBITCO.IN through BitBot doesn't allow access to the Hi-Lo or betting games.📝 ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 9️⃣STRATS TO INCREASE EARNINGS9️⃣ Bitbot optimization I started manual claims by setting roll notifications to "ON" for a while until I supplemented my BTC in FREEBITCO.IN with what I was collecting from my miner and CryptoTab. Once I was able to AUTOMATE and I had enough RP to claim the RP BONUS, I set it to do that automatically every 24 hours as this nets more RP than you spend (EG, 100 RP roll bonus costs 1200 RP, but can net 2400 RP if claimed every hour). Eventually you accrue enough RP to claim the %1000 BTC bonus, probably at a rate of once or twice a week. My current BitBot settings now that its auto claiming, I have the 24 hour auto bonus claiming 100 RP roll bonus and 100% claim bonus, spending a total of 1520 RP, but I'm making 2400 RP with the RP bonus, leaving me 780 RP in the positive each day. Every now and then I'll stop the auto bonus claim so I can buy the 1000% claim bonus (3200 RP). So on a normal day I'll make about 1344 Satoshi. Bitbot auto bonus settings Once your accrue more referrals, or save enough RP, it's possible to claim the 1000% BTC roll bonus multiple days in a row. This is just about as optimal as you can get for auto rolling. Self Referrals If you have two devices (phone and computer preferably) you can make two accounts as long as one uses a different wifi or internet connection, as the roll rewards tracks IP addresses for roll counts. So if you have 2 devices on the same network, it sudo links accounts, so if you roll on one, it restarts the timer on the other. This allows you to collect referral rewards from yourself. Effectively adding 25% of interest and 50% roll rewards. I currently have a phone autorolling on BitBot with a computer autorolling on Firefox with a tool to roll automatically as long as the page remains open. My computer account is referred from my mobile account, and is currently bringing in an extra .000015+ BTC weekly (currently, total will be this Sunday and I will update). I've also made another account on my partners phone, linked it with bitbot and got it auto-rolling. Once bitbot is going, its non-invasive and you can silence notifications, it also uses minimal data. Supplementing with CryptoTab I'll use CryptoTab on my computer 24/7 to earn BTC from that while I have FREEBITCO.IN running. I also have it running on my phone at night when I sleep and on an iPad I have that I don't use much, its server mining, so no worries about battery on mobile devices. On computers it does actually use your processing power. You can directly deposit into you FREEBITCO.IN accounts. CryptoTab Link I've used it for two weeks and have earned a total of .000454 BTC (3.60$ USD). Not huge, but enough to start collecting interest on FREEBITCO.IN and to get the capthca free account requirements. Supplementing with Cointiply 🛑WARNING: Cointiply's main currency is the constant, weighted against the dollar (10,000 coin/1USD). This means your actually BTC holdings will fluctuate with BTC's price. For this reason, it's my strong opinion that DON'T HODL in Cointiply as you're not holding actual BTC.🛑 Cointiply is a great site to earn decent amounts of COIN which translate to SAT's. Earn coin, withdraw to FREEBITCO.IN (as you actually hold BTC in cointiply). I also use an ASIC miner (Antminer s9i, DIY liquid cooled and overclocked with BixBit firmware), and whatever I earn I'll put that into FREEBITCO.IN to collect interest. If you want, I may be willing to do a rental. ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 1️⃣0️⃣ADVERTISING YOUR LINK1️⃣0️⃣ 📝NOTE: Since this faucet has been around a while, many people privy to sites such as this are already signed up. So getting referrals can be a slog. My tips for your ads is be genuine and don't hard sell or post "too good to be true" sensational ads.📝 COINTIPLY This is another faucet. Its structure is a bit different from FREEBITCO.IN, as you complete offers to earn coin. Within this site (also an app) users can earn coins by doing PTC ads (and other offers), this is a good method to get exposure as you can advertise as well. Using this method my traffic for last week as about 800 people. 13000 coins buys about 1000 "clicks" on your ads. They also have options to advertise to people based on location (these options will increase or decrease cost). After your first ad, you usually get a 10% off coupon good for 7 days as well. You can earn this amount within a day doing surveys on Theorem. I've done surveys before, and this has to be one of the best surveys sights I've ever done. Very rarely do I get kicked out mid survey, and if I do, I still get partial pay. I will also use "Hideout" on my computer and leave it running. It has to be the open tab on your browser, with the browser open, not minimized. Let it go and check it occasionally as it has a timeout at roughly 2-3 hrs idle. As of now this is the best passive method of earning on Cointiply. PI NETWORK Pi Network, an ICO (Initial coin offering) based on trust and social media is another good medium for advertising. I will usually see 15-20 people click on my link with 2-4 ads posted per day. Just go to "chat", select "random" and post an ad in the chat channel. No charge. My tip, keep your ads short to medium in length, don't spam. XYO NETWORK/COIN APP This is another crypto earned through "geo-mining". On the "coin" app you can do a "geodrop" where you can leave a note. Just click on the box with a parachute icon, select "any" on the "Tile" selection. Leave your ad in the "note" section. It costs 10 "COIN" at the very least to do a "geodrop". This method may not be worth it if you aren't already involved in the program. To earn a substantial amount of coin, you'll need a subscription or a "sentinel". Sentinels can actually be purchased for under 20$ nowadays (depending on site) and is the best option to earn. Without these you'll only make approx .05-.18 coin every 30 seconds if you're actively moving. My tips if you plan on advertising on this platform, once again keep it short, and only advertise around 7-9am and 4-6pm, as this will be peak mining hours with people driving to and from work. ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹ 1️⃣1️⃣LINKS1️⃣1️⃣ My FREEBITCO.IN Referral Link What is a Satoshi? Bitcoins price through Coingecko CryptoTab Link Autoroll on Firefox Coinbase Link PI NETWORK COINTIPLY XYO NETWORK/COIN APP ⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹⏹
Part one My name is Special Agent “Barry Allen” . (Not my real name of course) It's actually my code name. Given to me by my colleagues. You may recognize this name from the comic book character “The Flash”. I was given this name due to my quickness to obtain IP addresses , bypass firewalls and hack into certain deep web sites and shut them down. That is my area of expertise. However, I've also been assigned to a Joint Task Force before which tracked and arrested drug runners, firearms dealers and human trafficking rings. Believe it or not. The federal government is everywhere. Social media, Reddit, YouTube. You name it. We have our guys on it. We monitor everything. That being said, the FBI only has jurisdiction to operate within the borders of the United States. In this new digital age we find ourselves living, Cybercrime is much more of a direct threat. Now more than ever… Yes in the past we feared as a nation, biological and chemical warfare. As an example, right after 9/11 the United States had an Anthrax attack. In the FBI, it was known as “Amerithrax” Letters were mailed containing anthrax spores to several news media offices and to Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, killing 5 people and infecting 17 others. Once the victim opened the letters they would immediately be exposed to the spores. Inhaling them is the most deadly form of the attacks. And it quickly destroys your immune and respiratory system's.Back then there were no known cures and it was difficult to treat as the symptoms often times confused doctors. The death rate once exposed was nearly 95% .No one was ever officially arrested or tried as the primary suspect for this horrific crime. If you ask me though, the scariest part of this investigation is where it led us….To a lab on an Army base. Essentially the US Army was weaponizing Anthrax using independent scientists specializing in microbiological warfare. Of course though, if you wanted to bring down Western Civilization today , all you'd have to do is manipulate or destroy our satellites and we would be back in the dark ages. Computers, banks , grocery stores and cell phones, power plants, even the water filtration system runs with electronics and the ability to communicate with satellites. Essentially, our world now depends on this. It's scary to think about. Especially when 14 year olds are hacking into the largest banks in the world from their mother's basement. Somehow they are able to bypass the best security systems we know of. (I personally believe they are using password skimmers) We joke in my department that in order to work for us, you simply only need to be smarter than a teenager. My background is in IT while in the military. While serving i also obtained several certifications and degrees in my field.. I worked alongside someone i never thought i would. Turns out the federal government often times hires former hackers to “consult” for them. In fact they have an army of internet soldiers at their disposal. I was actually trained by a convicted felon. It's been said he is one of the best hackers in the world. Eventually i was put in contact with men in the FBI. Essentially went through a series of rigorous “tests” to determine my operating field of work. After seeing our skills, they then placed myself and the felon on the Cyber Anti-Terrorism unit (or CAT as we call it) . Our first assignment was to locate a man on the Deep Web known only as “Captain Death” He runs this anonymous site in which the viewers would donate bitcoin to watch unspeakable acts of torture, mutilation and murder. Often times called “Red Rooms”. After searching for a while, clicking on every single link given to us, we found the exact link which directed us to the host site.We visited the website. For a moment the page was completely black. So we waited a few moments. Suddenly a bright red colored text appears across the top of the screen. “Welcome! To the house of pain, tonight's events will commence in 2 minutes. Enjoy” Looking over at my colleague, Jeff begins penetrating the sites security systems attempting to find the IP address of the hosts location. Viewing the site still with my eyes locked onto the screen. Using my laptop separate from Jeffs. The monitor goes black, Then a video attempts to load. Buffering now for several minutes. “Any luck Jeff”? I ask. “I'm searching for a weakness in the security firewall. Give me a minute” he responds. Frustrated i say, “We may not have a minute” Using access control, Jeff was able to find and manipulate the users login information bringing down the video before the it began. Believe it or not. One of the weakest points to a website can often times be it's login feature. Jeff found a vulnerability in the source codes software and exploited it. Still haven't found the guy. As that process is much more difficult. For now, we can rest a little bit easier knowing his account is compromised. The best hack is when you can invade a security system and not ever be noticed. This was not one of those instances. “Who are you” appears on Jeff's computer screen. He responds quickly “The Dark Knight” in bold green text as he looks over the offenders account. Attempting to track down banking information. Recent transactions. Even bitcoin exchange. Searching over the vast amount of data pouring into the site. Seems they have gone through great lengths to keep themselves hidden from the public. The Identity of the perp is still unknown. Patting Jeff on the shoulder i thank him for saving my eyes from witnessing god only knows what. I suppose for now it's a small victory. “Let's take a break Jeff” I urge. Shutting down our laptops we exit the dark cold room we sat in with monitors, computers, servers and many other electronic components all around us. One thing to remember, heat is the enemy of electronics. and for some strange reason, we enjoy freezing our asses off while hacking. Walking outside Jeff lights up a cigarette and takes a drag. Putting on his sunglasses “Want one?” He asks “No thanks, they really break my concentration, I don't seem to function well with that in my system” i reply… he scoffs and quietly whispers (amateur) while choking and coughing. I smile and look up “Yeah well at least I can breathe” I say laughing. (A smile forming on ny face) We begin walking to a nearby restaurant. My phone lights up and rings loudly. It's my supervisor. “Go for Barry” I speak confidently. My boss is breathing heavily into the phone and says sternly “What's the News on Captain Death”? I begin to inform him on our progress and our struggles. “Keep me posted Barry, good work.” He says. (Not telling him Jeff did most of the work, i feel bad for taking credit for this one) Reaching the doors of the bar and grill, I notice a man sitting in the corner of the restaurant with his family. Jumping back quickly while peering around the corner. Jeff gives me a strange look as I inform him that man is a fugitive from an earlier investigation. I call in for back up and sit back in our unmarked unit waiting for the Cavalry to arrive as he is armed and extremely dangerous. 15 minutes pass as back up swarms the parking lot. We exit the vehicle and surround the building. Rushing in 12 men strong, guns drawn we make the arrest. Fortunately, he did not resist. No civilians were harmed on the takedown.This man has been on the run for months moving from state to state. I had previously set up a sting operation to illegally buy stolen guns from the man which had been arranged through the deep web. However , this particular sting was an in-person arms deal. He appeared very spooked and got away from us before the transaction was made. After searching his panel van today we found an entire armory of weapons. A few days pass and we now have a search warrant issued by the judge for his last known address. Confiscating all of his computers, hard drives and weapons. My partner and I found a hidden room below the living room floor boards with $1.4 million dollars in it. It also had passports and other documents. He was ready to flee the country for sure. Why he was out in public is beyond me. Though often times, men like him feel they are untouchable and above the law. It's several weeks later and work has been slow. (Not sure if that is good or bad) Until today that is, I began chatting on forums and meeting interesting characters in chat rooms. On the clear net and deep web. Today I met a dark shadowy figure online. He claims to have worked with a group of hackers who specializes in debit and credit card theft online. (Playing the part ask in a private chat) “How much does this pay?” Moments pass with no answer. I sit and wait for a response. A message appears with a link and a phone number. “Contact him for a trial run, if you do well. He'll set you up with further work” he writes. (Thinking for a moment, finally an adversary worth hunting) Typing quickly I say “Who is he, do you know him personally”? He responds rapidly and the text box closes after he writes “Rule number one, no names!” Fortunately I was able to copy the link and phone number before my computer screen went completely blank. Reaching for the burner phone i recently acquired i begin dialing the number provided. It rings several times. No answer. So i check out the link i copied. Right before i click on it. My phone lights up and rings beside me forcing me to jump out of my seat. Startled i look at the cell phone. Mildly confused as it reads 'unknown number’. Quickly i answer the phone. A man on the other end speaks. “How did you find this number”? he asks. I inform him i was searching online for a while. Im new and im looking for work. “I was told you're the man to call if i wanted some action, i need the money” i implore. “Competition is next week, meet at this address, winner gets a spot on my team, if you think you're up for the test, be on time” he demands. I thank him and abruptly hang up. Jeff comes over to my place. He has some info on low level guys in the fraudulent/stolen debit card scheme. Using an unmarked and totally not suspicious surveillance van. We follow a few men on their day to day operations. For the most part, this portion of our job is the worst. Very daunting and boring. Sitting and waiting isn't exactly glamourous as the movies depict it to be. From what we can tell so far these men are using credit card skimmers. Victims of credit card skimming are completely blindsided by the theft. They notice fraudulent charges on their accounts or money withdrawn from their accounts, but their credit and debit cards never left their possession. How did the theft happen? You may be wondering, what exactly is this? Credit card skimming is a type of credit card theft where crooks use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card's magnetic stripe. The stripe contains the credit card number and expiration date and the credit card holder's full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card. These men have been using these small devices all over the local area and surrounding states as well. Targeting the nicer areas of town. Attaching the devices to the ATMs. Sitting a short distance away in their cars watching each victim approaching. Laughing all the way to the bank...so to speak. After several days of stake-outs. Out team makes the arrests. Finding blank cards, machines and large sums of cash on hand. After hours of interrogations we learn a much bigger scheme is in the works. The men inform us that they were merely a distraction for a much larger crime. My supervisor gives us clearance to make a deal with them. Lessening their charges if they are willing to cooperate. Speaking with the men for 3 more hours we learn what's really going on. The next few days are extremely tense as our offices try to warn all the banks and even get the media involved. Calling every bank, big and small we alert them of the situation that cybercriminals are poised to carry out an “ATM cash-out,” an operation that gives thieves access to untold sums of money by bypassing security measures on an ATM. If successful, the operation has the potential to be a heist unlike any we’ve ever seen. The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation‘. These unlimited operations compromise financial institutions or payment processors by installing malware that allows hackers to exploit network access, allowing admin-level access. Once inside, they can disable fraud protection, raise maximum ATM withdrawal amounts (and transaction limits) and withdraw large sums of money. Millions, potentially. All they’ll need to carry out the attack are debit and credit card numbers found on the dark web, and dummy cards, also known as “blanks,” to attach the numbers to. The cyber criminals typically create fraudulent copies of legitimate cards by sending stolen card data to co-conspirators who imprint the data on reusable magnetic strip cards, such as gift cards purchased at retail stores. At a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards. It's nearly a week later and im preparing for my tests. I have my laptop ready in its case. Im extremely nervous.The information given to me is that i am to meet at this very strange building on the outskirts of town. I have no idea what to expect. I must come in first place to become a member of the team and ultimately take down the leader of this cybercrime domestic terrorist. If things go according to his plan.He could potentially put the entire country on its knees and our banking systems would completely collapse.Chaos and madness will spread like wildfires. Millions of people unable to access their money will riot and destroy stores. Stealing food and everything they can get their hands on. The police will be overrun and unable to do anything about it. The military would most certainly be called in an attempt to regain order. Mass hysteria ensues. To the extremes we have never seen before. I must stop him. Before its too late…. Part 2 The day has come and I just received the call I've long avoided. It is time. The competition for top tier hackers are meeting at this building in which i believed to have been abandoned. We are in the surveillance van. Heading towards our destination. Our equipment is all packed up. Wearing a wire on my chest. (Hopefully they don't pat me down upon entry) Jeff is driving recklessly, as he has a bad habit of being late. Testing the audio in the back of the van. Generally this is done days before an operation. However, we are rather short on time. (Not pointing any fingers) Leaving the city limits, we now enter a heavily wooded area. There is only one way in. The road is turning into rubble. Small rocks are shooting from our tires .Lights are fading behind us as we venture further into the forest. Jeff now using high beams. We notice it's grown quiet. Other than hearing the tires on the gravel road. There seems to be less and less wildlife in the area. I got this feeling like we are being watched. Checking my cell phone, we have lost all signal. (Is this a trap)? i thought . Our other equipment seems to work just fine. I can begin to see dim lights in the distance. We must be nearing the competition. “You ready for this?” (Jeff asks while blowing smoke out the window) I start to swat the backdraft of the smoke billowing back into my window. “Yeah, I'm ready, you should really consider cutting back on the smokes.” I utter. Just then, a pack of Marlboros are hurled in my direction. “We're here , Barry. Make sure you have everything.” (Jeff commands) “I'm all set.” I reply. Jeff stops the Van on the gravel. Exiting the vehicle, i grab my backpack while adjusting my clothes. (I found some glasses with regular lens in them, so as to ‘look the part’) Walking towards the building i speak quietly into my chest microphone. “Test, test chest mic, how do you read me” i ask. (Jeffs growly voice comes into my earpiece) “Loud and clear, good luck” he responds. One odd thing i notice right away as my feet kick up against the rocks on the ground is that there is only one vehicle other than ours. A large bus. Slightly confused, i look in every direction while also investigating the bus. Seems as though it's empty. (Later i would learn everyone else met up at a different location and they all took the bus to get here). Reaching the suspicious looking building, i reach for the door handle. As the door opens with little force, loud music hits me as well as bright flashing lights. What the hell? Walking around i find what i was looking for in a back room. “You're late , take your seat.” a well dressed man says (Seeing one empty seat left) Grabbing my laptop from the bag. Booting it up and joining the their local area network. Connection established. A strange software automatically downloads on my laptop. The man who greeted me walks over to examine my screen. “We will wait until this participant is ready” (he tells everyone else) Minutes pass and the program has finished installing. What's on my screen is a D O D login showing the user name and password empty fields. “Ok everyone, your first task will be to crack the code and gain entry into this system. You have ten minutes to access the servers and find the login information. The first 10 people who accomplish this task will advance to the next round, good luck, your time starts now!” he explained. A voice come over my earpiece once more .“Ok Barry, i'm linked up with your laptop, i can see everything you see. I will now control everything remotely. How do you read”? Jeff says quietly. “I hear you, I'll let you take over from here.” I reply. My colleague begins typing away like mad. It's been said he can type up to 153 words per minute. Looking at my screen, the computer is changing rapidly, each window appearing with different streams of code. (Almost like what you seen in the movie The Matrix) Which i suppose is a foreign language to most people. It can seem overwhelming at times. Normally. I would be doing this. Jeff is far better and faster than i. It's not worth the risk. This task is far too important. There is much at stake here. As he continues going in through the firewall. More boxes open and close all over the screen. I appear as if im typing away. As there is a man walking around watching each potential hacker perform their duties. Not sure if it's the leader of this anonymous group. He is in a dark suit and all i can see is the flashes of light from each monitor. Maybe it's just my paranoia but i feel like he keeps shooting me these awfully suspicious looks. Have to stay focused. Come on Barry. You need this. Concentrate! Keep your head in the game. I can't lose myself in the moment. Oh wait a minute, i just now remembered. I'm not even in control of my machine. Jeff, i sure as hell hope you know what you're doing… “Barry, you DO know i just heard everything you said, right? Now shut the hell up and let me work. We only have 4 minutes left!!” Jeff urges. “Well then hurry up you lung cancer having prick, I'm dying in here. Must be 90 degrees” i whisper. Just then (Access granted) appears on my screen. The login information has been hacked. Instantly i jump up as if I've just won in BINGO. “I'm in!!!” I yell loudly to the man. He nods and another man comes over to confirm the legitimacy of my claim. After confirmation is given a few moments later. Myself and several others are ushered to another room not first seen when you enter the building. First we are taken down a flight of unkempt stairs creaking and groaning with every step. Feeling as it could give out at any moment. Our group reaches the bottom of the stairs and are now on a platform. A mechanical whirring is heard as we now are being lowered even further underground. “Where the hell are we going”? One man asks in fear. “Silence fool”!! (Says the man in a nice dark suit) Finally the platform stops as i would approximate we are at least 80 feet underground. A long dark hallway is before us. Lit dimly by low hanging lights. Which never seem to end as far as we can see. Walking for several minutes i no longer hear my associate in my ear piece. So i remove it quickly before anyone notices. There is a musty smell that has disturbed me immediately coming down here. It grows stronger the closer we get to the direction we are headed. Im last in line only in front of what i assess is a hired goon. Stopping for a moment im pushed forward on my upper back near my shoulders. (I swear if i wasn't trying to save the world right now, I'd just take out my service pistol and blow this cocksucker away. No one would miss him) We reach a large old wooden door with absolutely no handle or markings of any kind. The leader pushes up against the wall near the door and it opens slowly. Everyone pours in single file line. There is a large wooden table with chairs almost like a conference room. “Take your seats please” the leader addresses. “You're all probably wondering what the hell we are doing down here, well you're here for a job. Also i didn't want any interference of any kind. Just in case the government is watching us. There's no way they could possibly hear what's being said this far underground.” He explains. “Congratulations to each of you that has moved on to the next round. You 10 have been chosen to advance to the next stage in the competition. This following task will include various stages of difficulty. You will be chosen at random by a computer so it's completely fair. Each of you are to hack into some the world's largest banks and bring down their servers. Please come back to this location. Your names have been taken down and we shall contact you if anything changes. I expect to see all of you back with us .Same time next week. 6 days from now. That is all for now, thank you.” The leader finishes and leaves the room first. Each man muttering and chatting loudly. I can hear only bits and pieces as everyone is talking loudly. Minutes pass and we are escorted out of the building. Everyone begins walking towards the bus. I veer towards my van and am stopped by the same man who pushed me earlier. “Just where the hell do you think you're going”? He asks. “Oh i didn't get the meet up spot, i had to drive here.” I respond while swatting away his hand from my shoulder. The man reaches in his pocket pulling out a card. “Be at this location and be on time or we will find someone else” the man urges. I snatch the card and stuff it into my wallet. Reaching the van, i hop in and drive away. “What the hell happened in there”? Jeff demands. I begin informing him of everything that took place and explained the situation. He nods and tells me good work. Wait a minute, this doesn't look right. Jeff looks at me puzzled. Something is off. I don't remember any of this. Now there's a fork in the road. Is this the way we came? I thought i remembered it being only a one way in and one way out. “You went off the gravel road, move over,let me drive.” Jeff says. Hey sorry man, I'm a hacker. Not a tracker. Just get us the hell out of here. I'm more lost than Atlantis. About an hour passes and Jeff somehow gets us out of the woods and back to the main road. We head back towards my house. But suddenly he makes a detour. “Screw this man. After all that i need a damn drink. You down”? Jeff asks. “Well in the words of my father, If you have time to think, you have time to drink” i utter proudly. (Then again dad was a major alcoholic, so perhaps that's bad advice) “Well alright then” jeff says as he floors the gas pedal. Roughly 20 minutes later we arrive at his favourite bar where he immediately opens up a tab. I'm worried as I've heard he drinks like a fish. Not to mention we are both armed in a bar. (Yes that's illegal but screw you i am F B I. Remember folks, laws are made to be broken, otherwise, I'd be out of a job) Crap i think i have lost my colleague. I begin walking around the establishment and am stunned to see this gorgeous blonde woman cross my path. We strike up a conversation and i soon forget about Jeff. (Meh oh well he is a grown man, i am sure he will be fine) She asks what i do for work and of course i lie. Never know when you need to run a background check on someone. Besides telling the whole world you're an undercover FBI agent isn't exactly the best idea. Or so the Bureau instructed us. We continue chatting for a while and eventually part ways as it began to get late into the night we exchange numbers and she leaves gracefully. I walk outside to see the van still parked in the same spot. A bit puzzled i go over to inspect the van thinking maybe he just passed out in the front seat. I arrive at the driver's side door and open it to find all of our equipment gone and jeff is nowhere to be found. Freaking out i run back into the bar searching all over even behind the bar next to the register. The bathrooms are empty and it's closing time. I have no idea where he went.. Did he leave with some one or was he was abducted possibly, either way i am completely dead if my supervisor finds out about this. I have to find him and the equipment. And who the hell was that girl, could she have something to do with this? I need answers. Oh no. I just realized, my laptop is also missing. If that information gets in the wrong hands. It could have catastrophic consequences…...
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