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Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

An attepmt at explaining DeFi (this week...)

Warning, long post from my mornings contemplation. See https://twitter.com/markjeffrey/status/1300175793352445952 (Mark Jeffery 30 mins) for a video explaining DeFi.
This is my attempt at explaining DeFi.
I’m still learning this stuff, so any corrections are welcomed.
Links are provided for information, none are recommendations, nor referral links. Do your own research (DYOR) before investing :)
I’ll try not to shill YFI too much...
Not all platforms use the same mechanics as I describe, but I think I’ve covered the most common ones.

Stable coins
Crypro currency that is intended to maintain a level value. Normally with respect to USD $. Some rely on a trusted third party who has actual USD sitting in a bank account (USDT aka Tether, USDC…), others are trustless (DAI)

Maker
Lock collateral into the smart contract. Then DIA can be generated, and used for other things. DAI is designed to match the USD, and is completely trustless. You must have more value staked than the DAI removed (at least 150% over collateral) or you will get liquidated.

BTC on ETH
Bitcoin can not be directly used on the etherium chain. So, there are a number ways to make the value availble. Most involve trusting a 3rd party and the most common is wrapped BTC wBTC.
Notes WETH (Wrapped ETH) is used by some contracts to use ETH (direct use of ETH is not possible in some contracts) Unlinke WBTC, WETH is trustless as evrythign is done on the etherium blockchain (I think).

Lending
You deposit a valuable token onto a pool on platform, someone else borrows it. They pay interest to the pool. You get a proportion of the pools interest over time. When there is high demand for a particular token, the interest rate increases dynamically.
e.g. look at the interest rate model and click on the figure for
https://compound.finance/markets/USDC
Borrow rates increase lineally as more of the available pool is loaned. 2% at zero and 12.5% when the pool is emptied.
Earnings are lower than the borrowing rates because: There is more in the pool than borrowed. The platform takes a cut.
e.g. 50% of the pool is borrowed, the borrower pays 7.25%, but the lenders only get 3.38%. 3.38/0.5 = 6.76%, so about 0.5% of the interest is being taken by compound.
Different pools have different interest rate functions, DAI has an inflection point to maintain a buffer https://compound.finance/markets/DAI
The interest rate increases slowly to 4% until 75% of the available pool is loaned out. Then it’s much more expensive to borrow e.g. 16% APR at 90% utilisation.
When lending a single token into a single pool, you should always get the (slightly ?) more of same token back.

How lending works
You deposit ETH, you are given a token back as proof of participation in the pool (cETH for comound.finance).
The exchange rate for cETH to ETH is NOT fixed. Rather is changes over time. As the ETH interest is paid into the pool the cETH becomes more valuable compared to the initial deposit.
e.g. you deposit 10 ETH, and get 499.52 cETH. In a months time, you repay the 499.2 cETH cETH and get 10.1 ETH back. You have just gained 1%.

Taxes
In many jurisdictions, converting ETH to cETH would be classed as a taxable event (DYOR ! )

Lego Bricks
The cETH represents your ETH, so it has value. This means it can be used for other things...
Lego bricks is taken to mean that all these things fit together and you can sue them in different ways.

How borrowing works
You need to be over colarteralised to borrow from most platforms. So, if you deposit 10.0 ETH into a smart contract, you (currently) have $4,000 of collateral to work with. The platform may then let you borrow a % of your collateral in other tokens.
So, you can borrow $2,000 of USDC, to buy more 5 ETH. Then when ETH price goes up you sell $2100 back to USDC and repay the interest. Now you have 10.x ETH.
This is a form of Leverage, when the price goes up, you win. However, if the ETH price goes down, you risk being Liquidated. This means part of your collateral will be sold at the (lower) market price to repay your loan. There will likely be a penalty for you. (e.g. @ ETH = $300, 7.33 of your ETH is sold for $2,400, your USDC loan is repaid, and you keep the remaining 2.67 ETH and the 5 ETH you purchased.

Shorting
Deposit $8,000 collateral, Borrow 10 ETH and sell for $400 each. If the price drops to $380, buy 10.1 ETH and repay the loan and interest. You have just made $162 profit. However, if the price goes up you will still need to buy 10.1 ETH.

Flash Loans
A technomage creates a single transaction that borrows lots of money. Then within the same single ~13 second block uses it to do lots of complex things to hopefully make a profit. As it’s all within a single block, collateral is not required.
See https://mobile.twitter.com/nanexcool/status/1297068546023993349 for a transaction that made ~46,000 USDC profit (without collateral)
If this post is introducing you to the possibilities of flash loans, you are very unlikely to ever do one in the near future.
I think Aave is the most common source for flash loans.

Simple farming lending:
Simply put you token in which ever platform offers the largest interest rate. Moving to the best option costs gas (and attention).

Complex lending farming
Some platforms offer tokens in return for using a platform, so simple APR comparisons aren’t sufficient. If the additional platform token has high value it can distort the market.
E.g. when COMP was initially offered, it was profitable to:

  1. Place collateral on compound.finance
  2. Borrow BAT at 30%
  3. Lend the BAT back to the same platform at 15%
  4. Collect the COMP accrued due to interest paid and interest earned.
  5. Sell the COMP on the open market.
This technique was made less favourable by compound changing the distribution model so smaller pools (like BAT) couldn’t be exploited in this way.

DEX
Decentralised exchanges range from ones that operate with depositing assets, trading with an order book and then withdrawing, to simple interfaces that allow you to swap tokens. of the latter, the most popular is uniswap.

Liquidity provision
The swap based DEX’s rely on liquidity providers (LP). Here you deposit equal values of two tokens e.g. USDC and ETH.
Then any time someone wants to swap USDC for ETH on the exchange, they add USDC and remove ETH from the pool.
Each time someone does a swap, they pay a fee to the liquidity pool and you get a share.

Impairment loss
However, if the price of one asset goes up, the pool with stabilise to have less of it. So you see an overall increase, but not as much as if you had just hold’ed.
See https://twitter.com/ChainLinkGod/status/1270046868932661248 for an example.
Hopefully, the fees accrued are greater than the losses.
https://twitter.com/Tetranode/status/1300326676451057664/photo/1

Stable coin pairs
If you restrict yourself to similar things (e.g. USD stable coins, or different versions of BTC on Ethereum), then the impairment loss is much reduced. Curve.finance focuses on such like for like pools and allows multiple tokens in a single pool.

Complex farming liquidity pools
Taking advantage of governance token rewards for using certain exchanges / pools. This can be done to boot strap liquidity and / or allow a decentralisation of the governance of the DEX.
The tokes received have value because of expected future income, or governance rights (which may be exploited for future income)

Yearn
Yearn is a group of smart farmer protocols that allow pooling to reduce gas costs and benefit from smart developers / contracts.
The simplest EARN take tokens / stable coins and place them in the highest yielding platform for that token. https://yearn.finance/earn
The yCRV vault provides USD stable coin liquidity within curve for trading fees, but also lending fees via Yearn pools for each stable coin (oh and it gets CRV governance tokens…).
Other vaults use more complex strategies. The collateral is used to generate stable coins that then generate income from interest rates, Liquidity provision fees, and accrual of governance tokens. Some governance tokens are sold, others are used to optimise the rewards from other platforms.
For example, see this video on the Link Vault (Mark Jeffrey 13 mins).
https://twitter.com/markjeffrey/status/1300175793352445952
I expect the ETH vault may be similar, but may include Maker to generate the stable coins (rather than borrowing on Aave).
This video is a good intro on curve / yearn products (DeFIDad 31 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP-4pJpKbRU
All of these steps can be done by yourself, however, gas costs would be significant unless you have a large amount invested. Yearn, and vaults pay fees to the YFI protocol.

YFI
YFI is the token for yearn. There are only 30,000 issued. So, you can not earn them, you can:
1) Stake them for governance rewards
2) place in a yYFI vauly to gain more FYI
3) Use them as long term Ventrue capital funds within a DAO (coming soon (tm) ).

YFII, YVFV etc.
Forks of the YFI with different tokens / fees.

YAM, Sushi, YFII, etc.
To be completed…

Synthetix
To be completed...

Finally:
This is not financial advice.
There are multiple risks which get larger as more moving parts are added.
Errors and omissions expected.
Do you own research.
Comments and corrections welcomed
submitted by Over-analyser to ethfinance [link] [comments]

[OWL WATCH] Waiting for "IOTA TIME" 20; Hans's re-defined directions for DLT

Disclaimer: This is my editing, so there could be some misunderstandings...
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wellwho오늘 오후 4:50
u/Ben Royce****how far is society2 from having something clickable powered by IOTA?
Ben Royce오늘 오후 4:51
demo of basic tech late sep/ early oct. MVP early 2021
---------------------------------------------------
HusQy
Colored coins are the most misunderstood upcoming feature of the IOTA protocol. A lot of people see them just as a competitor to ERC-20 tokens on ETH and therefore a way of tokenizing things on IOTA, but they are much more important because they enable "consensus on data".
Bob
All this stuff already works on neblio but decentralized and scaling to 3500 tps
HusQy
Neblio has 8 mb blocks with 30 seconds blocktime. This is a throughput of 8 mb / 30 seconds = 267 kb per second. Transactions are 401+ bytes which means that throughput is 267 kb / 401 bytes = 665 TPS. IOTA is faster, feeless and will get even faster with the next update ...
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HusQy
Which DLT would be more secure? One that is collaboratively validated by the economic actors of the world (coporations, companies, foundations, states, people) or one that is validated by an anonymous group of wealthy crypto holders?
HusQy
The problem with current DLTs is that we use protection mechanisms like Proof of Work and Proof of Stake that are inherently hard to shard. The more shards you have, the more you have to distribute your hashing power and your stake and the less secure the system becomes.
HusQy
Real world identities (i.e. all the big economic actors) however could shard into as many shards as necessary without making the system less secure. Todays DLTs waste trust in the same way as PoW wastes energy.
HusQy
Is a secure money worth anything if you can't trust the economic actors that you would buy stuff from? If you buy a car from Volkswagen and they just beat you up and throw you out of the shop after you payed then a secure money won't be useful either :P
HusQy
**I believe that if you want to make DLT work and be successful then we need to ultimately incorporate things like trust in entities into the technology.**Examples likes wirecard show that trusting a single company is problematic but trusting the economy as a whole should be at ...
**... least as secure as todays DLTs.**And as soon as you add sharding it will be orders of magnitude more secure. DLT has failed to deliver because people have tried to build a system in vacuum that completely ignores things that already exist and that you can leverage on.
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HusQy
Blockchain is a bit like people sitting in a room, trying to communicate through BINGO sheets. While they talk, they write down some of the things that have been said and as soon as one screams BINGO! he hands around his sheet to inform everybody about what has been said.
HusQy
If you think that this is the most efficient form of communication for people sitting in the same room and the answer to scalability is to make bigger BINGO sheets or to allow people to solve the puzzle faster then you will most probably never understand what IOTA is working on.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HusQy
**Blockchain does not work with too many equally weighted validators.****If 400 validators produce a validating statement (block) at the same time then only one can survive as part of a longest chain.**IOTA is all about collaborative validation.
**Another problem of blockchain is that every transaction gets sent twice through the network. Once from the nodes to the miners and a 2nd time from the miners as part of a block.**Blockchain will therefore always only be able to use 50% of the network throughput.
And****the last problem is that you can not arbitrarily decrease the time between blocks as it breaks down if the time between blocks gets smaller than the average network delay. The idle time between blocks is precious time that could be used for processing transactions.
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HusQy
I am not talking about a system with a fixed number of validators but one that is completely open and permissionless where any new company can just spin up a node and take part in the network.
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HusQy
Proof of Work and Proof of Stake are both centralizing sybil-protection mechanism. I don't think that Satoshi wanted 14 mining pools to run the network.
And "economic clustering" was always the "end game" of IOTA.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
HusQy
**Using Proof of Stake is not trustless. Proof of Stake means you trust the richest people and hope that they approve your transactions. The rich are getting richer (through your fees) and you are getting more and more dependant on them.**Is that your vision of the future?
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HusQy
Please read again exactly what I wrote. I have not spoken of introducing governance by large companies, nor have I said that IOTA should be permissioned. We aim for a network with millions or even billions of nodes.

HusQy
That can't work at all with a permissioned ledger - who should then drop off all these devices or authorize them to participate in the network? My key message was the following: Proof of Work and Proof of Stake will always be if you split them up via sharding ...

HusQy
... less secure because you simply need fewer coins or less hash power to have the majority of the votes in a shard. This is not the case with trust in society and the economy. When all companies in the world jointly secure a DLT ...

HusQy
... then these companies could install any number of servers in any number of shards without compromising security, because "trust" does not become less just because they operate several servers. First of all, that is a fact and nothing else.

HusQy
Proof of Work and Proof of Stake are contrary to the assumption of many not "trustless" but follow the maxim: "In the greed of miners we trust!" The basic assumption that the miners do not destroy the system that generates income for them is fundamental here for the ...

HusQy
... security of every DLT. I think a similar assumption would still be correct for the economy as a whole: The companies of the world (and not just the big ones) would not destroy the system with which their customers pay them. In this respect, a system would be ...

HusQy
... which is validated by society and the economy as a whole probably just as "safely" as a system which is validated by a few anonymous miners. Why a small elite of miners should be better validators than any human and ...

HusQy
... To be honest, companies in this world do not open up to me. As already written in my other thread, safe money does not bring you anything if you have to assume that Volkswagen will beat you up and throw you out of the store after you ...

HusQy
... paid for a car. The thoughts I discussed say nothing about the immediate future of IOTA (we use for Coordicide mana) but rather speak of a world where DLT has already become an integral part of our lives and we ...

HusQy
... a corresponding number of companies, non-profit organizations and people have used DLT and where such a system could be implemented. The point here is not to create a governance solution that in any way influences the development of technology ...

HusQy
... or have to give nodes their OK first, but about developing a system that enables people to freely choose the validators they trust. For example, you can also declare your grandma to be a validator when you install your node or your ...

HusQy
... local supermarket. Economic relationships in the real world usually form a close-knit network and it doesn't really matter who you follow as long as the majority is honest. I also don't understand your criticism of censorship, because something like that in IOTA ...

HusQy
... is almost impossible. Each transaction confirms two other transactions which is growing exponentially. If someone wanted to ignore a transaction, he would have to ignore an exponential number of other transactions after a very short time. In contrast to blockchain ...

HusQy
... validators in IOTA do not decide what is included in the ledger, but only decide which of several double spends should be confirmed. Honest transactions are confirmed simply by having other transactions reference them ...

HusQy
... and the "validators" are not even asked. As for the "dust problem", this is indeed something that is a bigger problem for IOTA than for other DLTs because we have no fees, but it is also not an unsolvable problem. Bitcoin initially has a ...

HusQy
Solved similar problem by declaring outputs with a minimum amount of 5430 satoshis as invalid ( github.com/Bitcoin/Bitcoi…). A similar solution where an address must contain a minimum amount is also conceivable for IOTA and we are discussing ...

HusQy
... several possibilities (including compressing dust using cryptographic methods). Contrary to your assumption, checking such a minimum amount is not slow but just as fast as checking a normal transaction. And mine ...

HusQy
... In my opinion this is no problem at all for IOTA's use case. The important thing is that you can send small amounts, but after IOTA is feeless it is also okay to expect the recipients to regularly send their payments on a ...

HusQy
... merge address. The wallets already do this automatically (sweeping) and for machines it is no problem to automate this process. So far this was not a problem because the TPS were limited but with the increased TPS throughput of ...

HusQy
... Chrysalis it becomes relevant and appropriate solutions are discussed and then implemented accordingly. I think that was the most important thing first and if you have further questions just write :)

HusQy
And to be very clear! I really appreciate you and your questions and don't see this as an attack at all! People who see such questions as inappropriate criticism should really ask whether they are still objective. I have little time at the moment because ...

HusQy
... my girlfriend is on tour and has to take care of our daughter, but as soon as she is back we can discuss these things in a video. I think that the concept of including the "real world" in the concepts of DLT is really exciting and ...

HusQy
... that would certainly be exciting to discuss in a joint video. But again, that's more of a vision than a specific plan for the immediate future. This would not work with blockchain anyway but IOTA would be compatible so why not think about such things.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

HusQy
All good my big one :P But actually not that much has changed. There has always been the concept of "economic clustering" which is basically based on similar ideas. We are just now able to implement things like this for the first time.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HusQy
Exactly. It would mean that addresses "cost" something but I would rather pay a few cents than fees for each transaction. And you can "take" this minimum amount with you every time you change to a new address.

HusQy
All good my big one :P But actually not that much has changed. There has always been the concept of "economic clustering" which is basically based on similar ideas. We are just now able to implement things like this for the first time.
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Relax오늘 오전 1:17
Btw. Hans (sorry for interrupting this convo) but what make people say that IOTA is going the permissioned way because of your latest tweets? I don't get why some people are now forecasting that... Is it because of missing specs or do they just don't get the whole idea?

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:20
its bullshit u/Relaxan identity based system would still be open and permissionless where everybody can choose the actors that they deem trustworthy themselves but thats anyway just sth that would be applicable with more adoption
[오전 1:20]
for now we use mana as a predecessor to an actual reputation system

Sissors오늘 오전 1:31
If everybody has to choose actors they deem trustworthy, is it still permissionless? Probably will become a bit a semantic discussion, but still

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:34
Of course its permissionless you can follow your grandma if you want to :p

Sissors오늘 오전 1:36
Well sure you can, but you will need to follow something which has a majority of the voting power in the network. Nice that you follow your grandma, but if others dont, her opinion (or well her nodes opinion) is completely irrelevant

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:37
You would ideally follow the people that are trustworthy rather than your local drug dealers yeah

Sissors오늘 오전 1:38
And tbh, sure if you do it like that is easy. If you just make the users responsible for only connection to trustworthy nodes

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:38
And if your grandma follows her supermarket and some other people she deems trustworthy then thats fine as well
[오전 1:38]
+ you dont have just 1 actor that you follow

Sissors오늘 오전 1:38
No, you got a large list, since yo uwant to follow those which actually matter. So you jsut download a standard list from the internet

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:39
You can do that
[오전 1:39]
Is bitcoin permissionless? Should we both try to become miners?
[오전 1:41]
I mean miners that actually matter and not find a block every 10 trillion years 📷
[오전 1:42]
If you would want to become a validator then you would need to build up trust among other people - but anybody can still run a node and issue transactions unlike in hashgraph where you are not able to run your own nodes(수정됨)
[오전 1:48]
Proof of Stake is also not trustless - it just has a builtin mechanism that downloads the trusted people from the blockchain itself (the richest dudes)

Sissors오늘 오전 1:52
I think most agree it would be perfect if every person had one vote. Which is pr oblematic to implement of course. But I really wonder if the solution is to just let users decide who to trust. At the very least I expect a quite centralized network

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:53
of course even a trust based system would to a certain degree be centralized as not every person is equally trustworthy as for example a big cooperation
[오전 1:53]
but I think its gonna be less centralized than PoS or PoW
[오전 1:53]
but anyway its sth for "after coordicide"
[오전 1:54]
there are not enough trusted entities that are using DLT, yet to make such a system work reasonably well
[오전 1:54]
I think the reason why blockchain has not really started to look into these kind of concepts is because blockchain doesnt work with too many equally weighted validators
[오전 1:56]
I believe that DLT is only going to take over the world if it is actually "better" than existing systems and with better I mean cheaper, more secure and faster and PoS and PoW will have a very hard time to deliver that
[오전 1:56]
especially if you consider that its not only going to settle value transfers

Relax오늘 오전 1:57
I like this clear statements, it makes it really clear that DLT is still in its infancy

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:57
currently bank transfers are order of magnitude cheaper than BTC or ETH transactions

Hans Moog [IF]오늘 오전 1:57
and we you think that people will adopt it just because its crypto then I think we are mistaken
[오전 1:57]
The tech needs to actually solve a problem
[오전 1:57]
and tbh. currently people use PayPal and other companies to settle their payments
[오전 1:58]
having a group of the top 500 companies run such a service together is already much better(수정됨)
[오전 1:58]
especially if its fast and feeless
[오전 2:02]
and the more people use it, the more decentralized it actually becomes
[오전 2:02]
because you have more trustworthy entities to choose of

Evaldas [IF]오늘 오전 2:08
"in the greed of miners we trust"


submitted by btlkhs to Iota [link] [comments]

Why we need to think more carefully about what money is and how it works

Most of us have overlooked a fundamental problem that is currently causing an insurmountable obstacle to building a fairer and more sustainable world. We are very familiar with the thing in question, but its problematic nature has been hidden from us by a powerful illusion. We think the problem is capitalism, but capitalism is just the logical outcome of aggregate human decisions about how to manage money. The fundamental problem is money itself, or more specifically general purpose money and the international free market which allows you to sell a chunk of rainforest and use the money to buy a soft drink factory. (You can use the same sort of money to sell anything and buy anything, anywhere in the world, and until recently there was no alternative at all. Bitcoin is now an alternative, but is not quite what we are looking for.) The illusion is that because market prices are free, and nobody is forced into a transaction, those prices must be fair – that the exchange is equitable. The truth is that the way the general money globalised free market system works means that even though the prices are freely determined, there is still an unequal flow of natural resources from poor parts of the world to rich parts. This means the poor parts will always remain poor, and resources will continue to accumulate in the large, unsustainable cities in rich countries. In other words, unless we re-invent money, we cannot overturn capitalism, and that means we can't build a sustainable civilisation.
Why does this matter? What use is it realising that general purpose money is at the root of our problems when we know that the rich and powerful people who run this world will do everything in their power to prevent the existing world system being reformed? They aren't just going to agree to get rid of general purpose money and economic globalisation. It's like asking them to stop pursuing growth: they can't even imagine how to do it, and don't want to. So how does this offer us a way forwards?
Answer: because the two things in question – our monetary system and globalisation – look like being among the first casualties of collapse. Globalisation is already going into reverse (see brexit, Trump's protectionism) and our fiat money system is heading towards a debt/inflation implosion.
It looks highly likely that the scenario going forwards will be of increasing monetary and economic chaos. Fiat money systems have collapsed many times before, but never a global system of fiat currencies floating against each other. But regardless of how may fiat currencies collapse, or how high the price of gold goes in dollars, it is not clear what the system would be replaced with. Can we just go back to the gold standard? It is possible, but people will be desperately looking for other solutions, and the people in power might also be getting desperate.
So what could replace it? What is needed is a new sort of complementary money system which both
(a) addresses the immediate economic problems of people suffering from symptoms of economic and general collapse and
(b) provides a long-term framework around which a new sort of economy can emerge – an economy which is adapted to deglobalisation and degrowth.
I have been searching for answers to this question for some time, and have now found what I was looking for. It is explained in this recently published academic book, and this paper by the same professor of economic anthropology (Alf Hornborg). The answer is the creation of a new sort of money, but it is critically important exactly how this is done. Local currencies like the Bristol Pound do not challenge globalisation. What we need is a new sort of national currency. This currency would be issued as a UBI, but only usable to buy products and services originating within an adjustable radius. This would enable a new economy to emerge. It actually resists globalisation and promotes the growth of a new sort of economy where sustainability is built on local resources and local economic activity. It would also reverse the trend of population moving from poor rural areas and towns, to cities. It would revitalise the “left behind” parts of the western world, and put the brakes on the relentless flow of natural resources and “embodied cheap labour” from the poor parts of the world to the rich parts. It would set the whole system moving towards a more sustainable and fairer state.
This may sound unrealistic, but please give it a chance. I believe it offers a way forwards that can
(a) unite disparate factions trying to provoke systemic change, including eco-marxists, greens, posthumanists and anti-globalist supporters of “populist nationalism”. The only people who really stand to lose are the supporters of global big business and the 1%.
(b) offers a realistic alternative to a money system heading towards collapse, and to which currently no other realistic alternative is being proposed.
In other words, this offers a realistic way forwards not just right now but through much of the early stages of collapse. It is likely to become both politically and economically viable within the forseeable future. It does, though, require some elements of the left to abandon its globalist ideals. It will have to embrace a new sort of nationalism. And it will require various groups who are doing very well out of the current economic system to realise that it is doomed.
Here is an FAQ (from the paper).
What is a complementary currency? It is a form of money that can be used alongside regular money.
What is the fundamental goal of this proposal? The two most fundamental goals motivating this proposal are to insulate local human subsistence and livelihood from the vicissitudes of national and international economic cycles and financial speculation, and to provide tangible and attractive incentives for people to live and consume more sustainably. It also seeks to provide authorities with a means to employ social security expenditures to channel consumption in sustainable directions and encourage economic diversity and community resilience at the local level.
Why should the state administrate the reform? The nation is currently the most encompassing political entity capable of administrating an economic reform of this nature. Ideally it is also subservient to the democratic decisions of its population. The current proposal is envisaged as an option for European nations, but would seem equally advantageous for countries anywhere. If successfully implemented within a particular nation or set of nations, the system can be expected to be emulated by others. Whereas earlier experiments with alternative currencies have generally been local, bottom-up initiatives, a state-supported program offers advantages for long-term success. Rather than an informal, marginal movement connected to particular identities and transient social networks, persisting only as long as the enthusiasm of its founders, the complementary currency advocated here is formalized, efficacious, and lastingly fundamental to everyone's economy.
How is local use defined and monitored? The complementary currency (CC) can only be used to purchase goods and services that are produced within a given geographical radius of the point of purchase. This radius can be defined in terms of kilometers of transport, and it can vary between different nations and regions depending on circumstances. A fairly simple way of distinguishing local from non-local commodities would be to label them according to transport distance, much as is currently done regarding, for instance, organic production methods or "fair trade." Such transport certification would of course imply different labelling in different locales.
How is the complementary currency distributed? A practical way of organizing distribution would be to provide each citizen with a plastic card which is electronically charged each month with the sum of CC allotted to him or her.
Who are included in the category of citizens? A monthly CC is provided to all inhabitants of a nation who have received official residence permits.
What does basic income mean? Basic income is distributed without any requirements or duties to be fulfilled by the recipients. The sum of CC paid to an individual each month can be determined in relation to the currency's purchasing power and to the individual's age. The guiding principle should be that the sum provided to each adult should be sufficient to enable basic existence, and that the sum provided for each child should correspond to the additional household expenses it represents.
Why would people want to use their CC rather than regular money? As the sum of CC provided each month would correspond to purchases representing a claim on his or her regular budget, the basic income would liberate a part of each person's regular income and thus amount to substantial purchasing power, albeit restricted only to local purchases. The basic income in CC would reduce a person's dependence on wage labor and the risks currently associated with unemployment. It would encourage social cooperation and a vitalization of community.
Why would businesses want to accept payment in CC? Business entrepreneurs can be expected to respond rapidly to the radically expanded demand for local products and services, which would provide opportunities for a diverse range of local niche markets. Whether they receive all or only a part of their income in the form of CC, they can choose to use some of it to purchase tax-free local labor or other inputs, and to request to have some of it converted by the authorities to regular currency (see next point).
How is conversion of CC into regular currency organized? Entrepreneurs would be granted the right to convert some of their CC into regular currency at exchange rates set by the authorities.The exchange rate between the two currencies can be calibrated so as to compensate the authorities for loss of tax revenue and to balance the in- and outflows of CC to the state. The rate would thus amount to a tool for determining the extent to which the CC is recirculated in the local economy, or returned to the state. This is important in order to avoid inflation in the CC sector.
Would there be interest on sums of CC owned or loaned? There would be no interest accruing on a sum of CC, whether a surplus accumulating in an account or a loan extended.
How would saving and loaning of CC be organized? The formal granting of credit in CC would be managed by state authorities and follow the principle of full reserve banking, so that quantities of CC loaned would never exceed the quantities saved by the population as a whole.
Would the circulation of CC be subjected to taxation? No.
Why would authorities want to encourage tax-free local economies? Given the beneficial social and ecological consequences of this reform, it is assumed that nation states will represent the general interests of their electorates and thus promote it. Particularly in a situation with rising fiscal deficits, unemployment, health care, and social security expenditures, the proposed reform would alleviate financial pressure on governments. It would also reduce the rising costs of transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. In short, the rising costs and diminishing returns on current strategies for economic growth can be expected to encourage politicians to consider proposals such as this, as a means of avoiding escalating debt or even bankruptcy.
How would the state's expenditures in CC be financed? As suggested above, much of these expenditures would be balanced by the reduced costs for social security, health care, transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. As these savings may take time to materialize, however, states can choose to make a proportion of their social security payments (pensions, unemployment insurance, family allowance, etc.) in the form of CC. As between a third and half of some nations' annual budgets are committed to social security, this represents a significant option for financing the reform, requiring no corresponding tax levies.
What are the differences between this CC and the many experiments with local currencies? This proposal should not be confused with the notion, or with the practical operation, of local currencies, as it does not imply different currencies in different locales but one national,complementary currency for local use. Nor is it locally initiated and promoted in opposition to theregular currency, but centrally endorsed and administrated as an accepted complement to it. Most importantly, the alternative currency can only be used to purchase products and services originating from within a given geographical range, a restriction which is not implemented in experiments with Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS). Finally, the CC is provided as a basic income to all residents of a nation, rather than only earned in proportion to the extent to which a person has made him- or herself useful in the local economy.
What would the ecological benefits be? The reform would radically reduce the demand for long-distance transport, the production of greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of energy and materials, and losses of foodstuffs through overproduction, storage, and transport. It would increase recycling of nutrients and packaging materials, which means decreasing leakage of nutrients and less garbage. It would reduce agricultural intensification, increase biodiversity, and decrease ecological degradation and vulnerability.
What would the societal benefits be? The reform would increase local cooperation, decrease social marginalization and addiction problems, provide more physical exercise, improve psycho-social and physical health, and increase food security and general community resilience. It would decrease the number of traffic accidents, provide fresher and healthier food with less preservatives, and improved contact between producers and consumers.
What would the long-term consequences be for the economy? The reform would no doubt generate radical transformations of the economy, as is precisely the intention. There would be a significant shift of dominance from transnational corporations founded on financial speculation and trade in industrially produced foodstuffs, fuels, and other internationally transported goods to locally diverse producers and services geared to sustainable livelihoods. This would be a democratic consequence of consumer power, rather than of legislation. Through a relatively simple transformation of the conditions for market rationality, governments can encourage new and more sustainable patterns of consumer behavior. In contrast to much of the drastic and often traumatic economic change of the past two centuries, these changes would be democratic and sustainable and would improve local and national resilience.
Why should society want to encourage people to refrain from formal employment? It is increasingly recognized that full or high employment cannot be a goal in itself, particularly if it implies escalating environmental degradation and energy and material throughput. Well-founded calls are thus currently made for degrowth, i.e. a reduction in the rate of production of goods and services that are conventionally quantified by economists as constitutive of GDP. Whether formal unemployment is the result of financial decline, technological development, or intentional policy for sustainability, no modern nation can be expected to leave its citizens economically unsupported. To subsist on basic income is undoubtedly more edifying than receiving unemployment insurance; the CC system encourages useful community cooperation and creative activities rather than destructive behavior that may damage a person's health.
Why should people receive an income without working? As observed above, modern nations will provide for their citizens whether they are formally employed or not. The incentive to find employment should ideally not be propelled only by economic imperatives, but more by the desire to maintain a given identity and to contribute creatively to society. Personal liberty would be enhanced by a reform which makes it possible for people to choose to spend (some of) their time on creative activities that are not remunerated on the formal market, and to accept the tradeoff implied by a somewhat lower economic standard. People can also be expected to devote a greater proportion of their time to community cooperation, earning additional CC, which means that they will contribute more to society – and experience less marginalization – than the currently unemployed.
Would savings in CC be inheritable? No.
How would transport distances of products and services be controlled? It is reasonable to expect the authorities to establish a special agency for monitoring and controlling transport distances. It seems unlikely that entrepreneurs would attempt to cheat the system by presenting distantly produced goods as locally produced, as we can expect income in regular currency generally to be preferable to income in CC. Such attempts would also entail transport costs which should make the cargo less competitive in relation to genuinely local produce, suggesting that the logic of local market mechanisms would by and large obviate the problem.
How would differences in local conditions (such as climate, soils, and urbanism) be dealt with?It is unavoidable that there would be significant variation between different locales in terms of the conditions for producing different kinds of goods. This means that relative local prices in CC for agiven product can be expected to vary from place to place. This may in turn mean that consumption patterns will vary somewhat between locales, which is predictable and not necessarily a problem. Generally speaking, a localization of resource flows can be expected to result in a more diverse pattern of calibration to local resource endowments, as in premodern contexts. The proposed system allows for considerable flexibility in terms of the geographical definition of what is categorized as local, depending on such conditions. In a fertile agricultural region, the radius for local produce may be defined, for instance, as 20 km, whereas in a less fertile or urban area, it may be 50 km. People living in urban centers are faced with a particular challenge. The reform would encourage an increased production of foodstuffs within and in the vicinity of urban areas, which in the long run may also affect urban planning. People might also choose to move to the countryside, where the range of subsistence goods that can be purchased with CC will tend to be greater. In the long run, the reform can be expected to encourage a better fit between the distribution of resources (such as agricultural land) and demography. This is fully in line with the intention of reducing long-distance transports of necessities.
What would the consequences be if people converted resources from one currency sphere into products or services sold in another? It seems unfeasible to monitor and regulate the use of distant imports (such as machinery and fuels) in producing produce for local markets, but as production for local markets is remunerated in CC, this should constitute a disincentive to invest regular money in such production processes. Production for local consumption can thus be expected to rely mostly – and increasingly – on local labor and other resource inputs.

submitted by anthropoz to sustainability [link] [comments]

Wandering From the Path? | Monthly Portfolio Update - August 2020

Midway along the journey of our life I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered off from the straight path.
Dante, The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto I
This is my forty-fifth 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
Total portfolio value $1 848 896 (+$48 777 or 2.7%)
Asset allocation
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The portfolio has increased in value for the fifth consecutive month, and is starting to approach the monthly value last reached in January.
The portfolio has grown over $48 000, or 2.7 per cent this month, reflecting the strong market recovery since late March
[Chart]
The growth in the portfolio was broadly-based across global and Australian equities, with an increase of around 3.8 per cent. Following strong previous rises, gold holdings decreased by around 2.2 per cent, while Bitcoin continued to increase in value (by 2.5 per cent).
Combined, the value of gold and Bitcoin holdings remain at a new peak, while total equity holdings are still below their late January peak to the tune of around $50 000. The fixed income holdings of the portfolio continue to fall below the target allocation.
[Chart]
The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars.
New investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) and the Australian shares equivalent (VAS). These have been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares set out in the portfolio plan.
As the exchange traded funds such as VGS, VAS and Betashares A200 now make up nearly 30 per cent of the overall portfolio, the quarterly payments they provide have increased in magnitude and importance. Early in the journey, third quarter distributions were essentially immaterial events.
Using the same 'median per unit' forecast approach as recently used for half yearly forecasts would suggest a third quarter payout due at the end of September of around $6000. Due to significant announced dividend reductions across this year I am, however, currently assuming this is likely to be significantly lower, and perhaps in the vicinity of $4000 or less.
Finding true north: approach to achieving a set asset allocation
One of the choices facing all investors with a preferred asset allocation is how strictly the target is applied over time, and what variability is acceptable around that. There is a significant body of financial literature around that issue.
My own approach has been to seek to target the preferred asset allocation dynamically, through buying the asset class that is furthest from its target, with new portfolio contributions, and re-investment of paid out distributions.
As part of monitoring asset allocation, I also track a measure of 'absolute' variance, to understand at a whole of portfolio level how far it is from the desired allocation.
This is the sum of the absolute value of variances (e.g. so that being 3 per cent under target in shares, and 7 per cent over target in fixed interest will equal an absolute variance of 10 per cent under this measure).
This measure is currently sitting near its highest level in around 2 years, at 15.0 per cent, as can be seen in the chart below.
[Chart]
The dominant reason for this higher level of variance from target is significant appreciation in the price of gold and Bitcoin holdings.
Mapping the sources of portfolio variances
Changes in target allocations in the past makes direct comparisons problematic, but previous peaks of the variance measure matches almost perfectly past Bitcoin price movements.
For a brief period in January 2018, gold and Bitcoin combined constituted 20 per cent, or 1 in 5 dollars of the entire portfolio. Due to the growth in other equity components of the portfolio since this level has not been subsequently exceeded.
Nonetheless, it is instructive to understand that the dollar value of combined gold and Bitcoin holdings is actually up around $40 000 from that brief peak. With the larger portfolio, this now means they together make up 17.2 per cent of the total portfolio value.
Tacking into the wind of portfolio movements?
The logical question to fall out from this situation is: to what extent should this drive an active choice to sell down gold and Bitcoin until they resume their 10 per cent target allocation?
This would currently imply selling around $130 000 of gold or Bitcoin, and generating a capital gains tax liability of potentially up to $27 000. Needless to say this is not an attractive proposition. Several other considerations lead me to not make this choice:
This approach is a departure from a mechanistic implementation of an asset allocation rule. Rather, the approach I take is pragmatic.
Tracking course drift in the portfolio components
As an example, I regularly review whether a significant fall in Bitcoin prices to its recent lows would alter my monthly decision on where to direct new investments. So far it does not, and the 'signal' continues to be to buy new equities.
Another tool I use is a monthly measurement of the absolute dollar variance of Australian and global shares, as well as fixed interest, from their ideal target allocations.
The chart below sets this out for the period since January 2019. A positive value effectively represents an over-allocation to a sector, a negative value, an under-allocation compared to target.
[Chart]
This reinforces the overall story that, as gold and Bitcoin have grown in value, there emerges a larger 'deficit' to the target. Falls in equities markets across February and March also produce visibly larger 'dollar gaps' to the target allocation.
This graph enables a tracking of the impact of portfolio gains or losses, and volatility, and a better understanding of the practical task of returning to target allocations. Runaway lines in either direction would be evidence that current approaches for returning to targets were unworkable, but so far this does not appear to be the case.
A crossing over: a credit card FI milestone
This month has seen a long awaited milestone reached.
Calculated on a past three year average, portfolio distributions now entirely meet monthly credit card expenses. This means that every credit card purchase - each shopping trip or online purchase - is effectively paid for by average portfolio distributions.
At the start of this journey, distributions were only equivalent to around 40 per cent of credit card expenses. As time has progressed distributions have increased to cover a larger and larger proportion of card expenses.
[Chart]
Most recently, with COVID-19 related restrictions having pushed card expenditure down further, the remaining gap to this 'Credit Card FI' target has closed.
Looked at on an un-smoothed basis, expenditures on the credit card have continued to be slightly lower than average across the past month. The below chart details the extent to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month.
[Chart]
Credit card expenditure makes up around 80 per cent of total spending, so this is not a milestone that makes paid work irrelevant or optional. Similarly, if spending rises as various travel and other restrictions ease, it is possible that this position could be temporary.
Equally, should distributions fall dramatically below long term averages in the year ahead, this could result in average distributions falling faster than average monthly card expenditure. Even without this, on a three year average basis, monthly distributions will decline as high distributions received in the second half of 2017 slowly fall out of the estimation sample.
For the moment, however, a slim margin exists. Distributions are $13 per month above average monthly credit card bills. This feels like a substantial achievement to note, as one unlooked for at the outset of the journey.
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) 84.8% 114.6%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 103.5% 139.9%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 82.9% 112.1%
Summary
What feels like a long winter is just passed. The cold days and weeks have felt repetitive and dominated by a pervasive sense of uncertainty. Yet through this time, this wandering off, the portfolio has moved quite steadily back towards it previous highs. That it is even approaching them in the course of just a few months is unexpected.
What this obscures is the different components of growth driving this outcome. The portfolio that is recovering, like the index it follows, is changing in its underlying composition. This can be seen most starkly in the high levels of variance from the target portfolio sought discussed above.
It is equally true, however, of individual components such as international equity holdings. In the case of the United States the overall index performance has been driven by share price growth in just a few information technology giants. Gold and Bitcoin have emerged from the shadows of the portfolio to an unintended leading role in portfolio growth since early 2019.
This month I have enjoyed reading the Chapter by Chapter release of the Aussie FIRE e-book coordinated by Pearler. I've also been reading posts from some newer Australian financial independence bloggers, Two to Fire, FIRE Down Under, and Chasing FIRE Down Under.
In podcasts, I have enjoyed the Mad Fientist's update on his fourth year of financial freedom, and Pat and Dave's FIRE and Chill episodes, including an excellent one on market timing fallacies.
The ASX Australian Investor Study 2020 has also been released - setting out some broader trends in recent Australian investment markets, and containing a snapshot of the holdings, approaches and views of everyday investors. This contained many intriguing findings, such as the median investment portfolio ($130 000), its most frequent components (direct Australian shares), and how frequently portfolios are usually checked - with 61 per cent of investors checking their portfolios at least once a month.
This is my own approach also. Monthly assessments allow me to gauge and reflect on how I or elements of the portfolio may have wandered off the straight way in the middle of the journey. Without this, the risk is that dark woods and bent pathways beckon.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

[ Bitcoin ] Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

Topic originally posted in Bitcoin by almkglor [link]
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given private key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

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A realistic way forwards (long, but I believe important)

Most of us have overlooked a fundamental problem that is currently causing an insurmountable obstacle to building a fairer and more sustainable world. We are very familiar with the thing in question, but its problematic nature has been hidden from us by a powerful illusion. We think the problem is capitalism, but capitalism is just the logical outcome of aggregate human decisions about how to manage money. The fundamental problem is money itself, or more specifically general purpose money and the international free market which allows you to sell a chunk of rainforest and use the money to buy a soft drink factory. (You can use the same sort of money to sell anything and buy anything, anywhere in the world, and until recently there was no alternative at all. Bitcoin is now an alternative, but is not quite what we are looking for.) The illusion is that because market prices are free, and nobody is forced into a transaction, those prices must be fair – that the exchange is equitable. The truth is that the way the general money globalised free market system works means that even though the prices are freely determined, there is still an unequal flow of natural resources from poor parts of the world to rich parts. This means the poor parts will always remain poor, and resources will continue to accumulate in the large, unsustainable cities in rich countries. In other words, unless we re-invent money, we cannot overturn capitalism, and that means we can't build a sustainable civilisation.
Why does this matter? What use is it realising that general purpose money is at the root of our problems when we know that the rich and powerful people who run this world will do everything in their power to prevent the existing world system being reformed? They aren't just going to agree to get rid of general purpose money and economic globalisation. It's like asking them to stop pursuing growth: they can't even imagine how to do it, and don't want to. So how does this offer us a way forwards?
Answer: because the two things in question – our monetary system and globalisation – look like being among the first casualties of collapse. Globalisation is already going into reverse (see brexit, Trump's protectionism) and our fiat money system is heading towards a debt/inflation implosion.
It looks highly likely that the scenario going forwards will be of increasing monetary and economic chaos. Fiat money systems have collapsed many times before, but never a global system of fiat currencies floating against each other. But regardless of how may fiat currencies collapse, or how high the price of gold goes in dollars, it is not clear what the system would be replaced with. Can we just go back to the gold standard? It is possible, but people will be desperately looking for other solutions, and the people in power might also be getting desperate.
So what could replace it? What is needed is a new sort of complementary money system which both
(a) addresses the immediate economic problems of people suffering from symptoms of economic and general collapse and
(b) provides a long-term framework around which a new sort of economy can emerge – an economy which is adapted to deglobalisation and degrowth.
I have been searching for answers to this question for some time, and have now found what I was looking for. It is explained in this recently published academic book, and this paper by the same professor of economic anthropology (Alf Hornborg). The answer is the creation of a new sort of money, but it is critically important exactly how this is done. Local currencies like the Bristol Pound do not challenge globalisation. What we need is a new sort of national currency. This currency would be issued as a UBI, but only usable to buy products and services originating within an adjustable radius. This would enable a new economy to emerge. It actually resists globalisation and promotes the growth of a new sort of economy where sustainability is built on local resources and local economic activity. It would also reverse the trend of population moving from poor rural areas and towns, to cities. It would revitalise the “left behind” parts of the western world, and put the brakes on the relentless flow of natural resources and “embodied cheap labour” from the poor parts of the world to the rich parts. It would set the whole system moving towards a more sustainable and fairer state.
This may sound unrealistic, but please give it a chance. I believe it offers a way forwards that can
(a) unite disparate factions trying to provoke systemic change, including eco-marxists, greens, posthumanists and anti-globalist supporters of “populist nationalism”, as well as large numbers of confused and worried "ordinary" people. The only people who really stand to lose are the supporters of global big business and the 1%.
(b) offers a realistic alternative to a money system heading towards collapse, and to which currently no other realistic alternative is being proposed.
In other words, this offers a realistic way forwards not just right now but through much of the early stages of collapse. It is likely to become both politically and economically viable within the forseeable future. It does, though, require some elements of the left to abandon its globalist ideals. It will have to embrace a new sort of nationalism. And it will require various groups who are doing very well out of the current economic system to realise that it is doomed.
Here is an FAQ (from the paper).
What is a complementary currency? It is a form of money that can be used alongside regular money.
What is the fundamental goal of this proposal? The two most fundamental goals motivating this proposal are to insulate local human subsistence and livelihood from the vicissitudes of national and international economic cycles and financial speculation, and to provide tangible and attractive incentives for people to live and consume more sustainably. It also seeks to provide authorities with a means to employ social security expenditures to channel consumption in sustainable directions and encourage economic diversity and community resilience at the local level.
Why should the state administrate the reform? The nation is currently the most encompassing political entity capable of administrating an economic reform of this nature. Ideally it is also subservient to the democratic decisions of its population. The current proposal is envisaged as an option for European nations, but would seem equally advantageous for countries anywhere. If successfully implemented within a particular nation or set of nations, the system can be expected to be emulated by others. Whereas earlier experiments with alternative currencies have generally been local, bottom-up initiatives, a state-supported program offers advantages for long-term success. Rather than an informal, marginal movement connected to particular identities and transient social networks, persisting only as long as the enthusiasm of its founders, the complementary currency advocated here is formalized, efficacious, and lastingly fundamental to everyone's economy.
How is local use defined and monitored? The complementary currency (CC) can only be used to purchase goods and services that are produced within a given geographical radius of the point of purchase. This radius can be defined in terms of kilometers of transport, and it can vary between different nations and regions depending on circumstances. A fairly simple way of distinguishing local from non-local commodities would be to label them according to transport distance, much as is currently done regarding, for instance, organic production methods or "fair trade." Such transport certification would of course imply different labelling in different locales.
How is the complementary currency distributed? A practical way of organizing distribution would be to provide each citizen with a plastic card which is electronically charged each month with the sum of CC allotted to him or her.
Who are included in the category of citizens? A monthly CC is provided to all inhabitants of a nation who have received official residence permits.
What does basic income mean? Basic income is distributed without any requirements or duties to be fulfilled by the recipients. The sum of CC paid to an individual each month can be determined in relation to the currency's purchasing power and to the individual's age. The guiding principle should be that the sum provided to each adult should be sufficient to enable basic existence, and that the sum provided for each child should correspond to the additional household expenses it represents.
Why would people want to use their CC rather than regular money? As the sum of CC provided each month would correspond to purchases representing a claim on his or her regular budget, the basic income would liberate a part of each person's regular income and thus amount to substantial purchasing power, albeit restricted only to local purchases. The basic income in CC would reduce a person's dependence on wage labor and the risks currently associated with unemployment. It would encourage social cooperation and a vitalization of community.
Why would businesses want to accept payment in CC? Business entrepreneurs can be expected to respond rapidly to the radically expanded demand for local products and services, which would provide opportunities for a diverse range of local niche markets. Whether they receive all or only a part of their income in the form of CC, they can choose to use some of it to purchase tax-free local labor or other inputs, and to request to have some of it converted by the authorities to regular currency (see next point).
How is conversion of CC into regular currency organized? Entrepreneurs would be granted the right to convert some of their CC into regular currency at exchange rates set by the authorities.The exchange rate between the two currencies can be calibrated so as to compensate the authorities for loss of tax revenue and to balance the in- and outflows of CC to the state. The rate would thus amount to a tool for determining the extent to which the CC is recirculated in the local economy, or returned to the state. This is important in order to avoid inflation in the CC sector.
Would there be interest on sums of CC owned or loaned? There would be no interest accruing on a sum of CC, whether a surplus accumulating in an account or a loan extended.
How would saving and loaning of CC be organized? The formal granting of credit in CC would be managed by state authorities and follow the principle of full reserve banking, so that quantities of CC loaned would never exceed the quantities saved by the population as a whole.
Would the circulation of CC be subjected to taxation? No.
Why would authorities want to encourage tax-free local economies? Given the beneficial social and ecological consequences of this reform, it is assumed that nation states will represent the general interests of their electorates and thus promote it. Particularly in a situation with rising fiscal deficits, unemployment, health care, and social security expenditures, the proposed reform would alleviate financial pressure on governments. It would also reduce the rising costs of transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. In short, the rising costs and diminishing returns on current strategies for economic growth can be expected to encourage politicians to consider proposals such as this, as a means of avoiding escalating debt or even bankruptcy.
How would the state's expenditures in CC be financed? As suggested above, much of these expenditures would be balanced by the reduced costs for social security, health care, transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. As these savings may take time to materialize, however, states can choose to make a proportion of their social security payments (pensions, unemployment insurance, family allowance, etc.) in the form of CC. As between a third and half of some nations' annual budgets are committed to social security, this represents a significant option for financing the reform, requiring no corresponding tax levies.
What are the differences between this CC and the many experiments with local currencies? This proposal should not be confused with the notion, or with the practical operation, of local currencies, as it does not imply different currencies in different locales but one national,complementary currency for local use. Nor is it locally initiated and promoted in opposition to theregular currency, but centrally endorsed and administrated as an accepted complement to it. Most importantly, the alternative currency can only be used to purchase products and services originating from within a given geographical range, a restriction which is not implemented in experiments with Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS). Finally, the CC is provided as a basic income to all residents of a nation, rather than only earned in proportion to the extent to which a person has made him- or herself useful in the local economy.
What would the ecological benefits be? The reform would radically reduce the demand for long-distance transport, the production of greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of energy and materials, and losses of foodstuffs through overproduction, storage, and transport. It would increase recycling of nutrients and packaging materials, which means decreasing leakage of nutrients and less garbage. It would reduce agricultural intensification, increase biodiversity, and decrease ecological degradation and vulnerability.
What would the societal benefits be? The reform would increase local cooperation, decrease social marginalization and addiction problems, provide more physical exercise, improve psycho-social and physical health, and increase food security and general community resilience. It would decrease the number of traffic accidents, provide fresher and healthier food with less preservatives, and improved contact between producers and consumers.
What would the long-term consequences be for the economy? The reform would no doubt generate radical transformations of the economy, as is precisely the intention. There would be a significant shift of dominance from transnational corporations founded on financial speculation and trade in industrially produced foodstuffs, fuels, and other internationally transported goods to locally diverse producers and services geared to sustainable livelihoods. This would be a democratic consequence of consumer power, rather than of legislation. Through a relatively simple transformation of the conditions for market rationality, governments can encourage new and more sustainable patterns of consumer behavior. In contrast to much of the drastic and often traumatic economic change of the past two centuries, these changes would be democratic and sustainable and would improve local and national resilience.
Why should society want to encourage people to refrain from formal employment? It is increasingly recognized that full or high employment cannot be a goal in itself, particularly if it implies escalating environmental degradation and energy and material throughput. Well-founded calls are thus currently made for degrowth, i.e. a reduction in the rate of production of goods and services that are conventionally quantified by economists as constitutive of GDP. Whether formal unemployment is the result of financial decline, technological development, or intentional policy for sustainability, no modern nation can be expected to leave its citizens economically unsupported. To subsist on basic income is undoubtedly more edifying than receiving unemployment insurance; the CC system encourages useful community cooperation and creative activities rather than destructive behavior that may damage a person's health.
Why should people receive an income without working? As observed above, modern nations will provide for their citizens whether they are formally employed or not. The incentive to find employment should ideally not be propelled only by economic imperatives, but more by the desire to maintain a given identity and to contribute creatively to society. Personal liberty would be enhanced by a reform which makes it possible for people to choose to spend (some of) their time on creative activities that are not remunerated on the formal market, and to accept the tradeoff implied by a somewhat lower economic standard. People can also be expected to devote a greater proportion of their time to community cooperation, earning additional CC, which means that they will contribute more to society – and experience less marginalization – than the currently unemployed.
Would savings in CC be inheritable? No.
How would transport distances of products and services be controlled? It is reasonable to expect the authorities to establish a special agency for monitoring and controlling transport distances. It seems unlikely that entrepreneurs would attempt to cheat the system by presenting distantly produced goods as locally produced, as we can expect income in regular currency generally to be preferable to income in CC. Such attempts would also entail transport costs which should make the cargo less competitive in relation to genuinely local produce, suggesting that the logic of local market mechanisms would by and large obviate the problem.
How would differences in local conditions (such as climate, soils, and urbanism) be dealt with? It is unavoidable that there would be significant variation between different locales in terms of the conditions for producing different kinds of goods. This means that relative local prices in CC for agiven product can be expected to vary from place to place. This may in turn mean that consumption patterns will vary somewhat between locales, which is predictable and not necessarily a problem. Generally speaking, a localization of resource flows can be expected to result in a more diverse pattern of calibration to local resource endowments, as in premodern contexts. The proposed system allows for considerable flexibility in terms of the geographical definition of what is categorized as local, depending on such conditions. In a fertile agricultural region, the radius for local produce may be defined, for instance, as 20 km, whereas in a less fertile or urban area, it may be 50 km. People living in urban centers are faced with a particular challenge. The reform would encourage an increased production of foodstuffs within and in the vicinity of urban areas, which in the long run may also affect urban planning. People might also choose to move to the countryside, where the range of subsistence goods that can be purchased with CC will tend to be greater. In the long run, the reform can be expected to encourage a better fit between the distribution of resources (such as agricultural land) and demography. This is fully in line with the intention of reducing long-distance transports of necessities.
What would the consequences be if people converted resources from one currency sphere into products or services sold in another? It seems unfeasible to monitor and regulate the use of distant imports (such as machinery and fuels) in producing produce for local markets, but as production for local markets is remunerated in CC, this should constitute a disincentive to invest regular money in such production processes. Production for local consumption can thus be expected to rely mostly – and increasingly – on local labor and other resource inputs.
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Thanks to all who submitted questions for Shiv Malik in the GAINS AMA yesterday, it was great to see so much interest in Data Unions! You can read the full transcript here:

Thanks to all who submitted questions for Shiv Malik in the GAINS AMA yesterday, it was great to see so much interest in Data Unions! You can read the full transcript here:

Gains x Streamr AMA Recap

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Thanks to everyone in our community who attended the GAINS AMA yesterday with, Shiv Malik. We were excited to see that so many people attended and gladly overwhelmed by the amount of questions we got from you on Twitter and Telegram. We decided to do a little recap of the session for anyone who missed it, and to archive some points we haven’t previously discussed with our community. Happy reading and thanks to Alexandre and Henry for having us on their channel!
What is the project about in a few simple sentences?
At Streamr we are building a real-time network for tomorrow’s data economy. It’s a decentralized, peer-to-peer network which we are hoping will one day replace centralized message brokers like Amazon’s AWS services. On top of that one of the things I’m most excited about are Data Unions. With Data Unions anyone can join the data economy and start monetizing the data they already produce. Streamr’s Data Union framework provides a really easy way for devs to start building their own data unions and can also be easily integrated into any existing apps.
Okay, sounds interesting. Do you have a concrete example you could give us to make it easier to understand?
The best example of a Data Union is the first one that has been built out of our stack. It's called Swash and it's a browser plugin.
You can download it here: http://swashapp.io/
And basically it helps you monetize the data you already generate (day in day out) as you browse the web. It's the sort of data that Google already knows about you. But this way, with Swash, you can actually monetize it yourself. The more people that join the union, the more powerful it becomes and the greater the rewards are for everyone as the data product sells to potential buyers.
Very interesting. What stage is the project/product at? It's live, right?
Yes. It's live. And the Data Union framework is in public beta. The Network is on course to be fully decentralized at some point next year.
How much can a regular person browsing the Internet expect to make for example?
So that's a great question. The answer is no one quite knows yet. We do know that this sort of data (consumer insights) is worth hundreds of millions and really isn't available in high quality. So With a union of a few million people, everyone could be getting 20-50 dollars a year. But it'll take a few years at least to realise that growth. Of course Swash is just one data union amongst many possible others (which are now starting to get built out on our platform!)
With Swash, I believe they now have 3,000 members. They need to get to 50,000 before they become really viable but they are yet to do any marketing. So all that is organic growth.
I assume the data is anonymized btw?
Yes. And there in fact a few privacy protecting tools Swash supplys to its users.
How does Swash compare to Brave?
So Brave really is about consent for people's attention and getting paid for that. They don't sell your data as such.
Swash can of course be a plugin with Brave and therefore you can make passive income browsing the internet. Whilst also then consenting to advertising if you so want to earn BAT.
Of course it's Streamr that is powering Swash. And we're looking at powering other DUs - say for example mobile applications.
The holy grail might be having already existing apps and platforms out there, integrating DU tech into their apps so people can consent (or not) to having their data sold - and then getting a cut of that revenue when it does sell.
The other thing to recognise is that the big tech companies monopolise data on a vast scale - data that we of course produce for them. That is stifling innovation.
Take for example a competitor map app. To effectively compete with Google maps or Waze, they need millions of users feeding real time data into it.
Without that - it's like Google maps used to be - static and a bit useless.
Right, so how do you convince these big tech companies that are producing these big apps to integrate with Streamr? Does it mean they wouldn't be able to monetize data as well on their end if it becomes more available through an aggregation of individuals?
If a map application does manage to scale to that level then inevitably Google buys them out - that's what happened with Waze.
But if you have a data union which bundles together the raw location data of millions of people then any application builder can come along and license that data for their app. This encourages all sorts of innovation and breaks the monopoly.
We're currently having conversations with Mobile Network operators to see if they want to pilot this new approach to data monetization. And that's what even more exciting. Just be explicit with users - do you want to sell your data? Okay, if yes, then which data point do you want to sell.
Then the mobile network operator (like T-mobile for example) then organises the sale of the data of those who consent and everyone gets a cut.
Streamr - in this example provides the backend to port and bundle the data, and also the token and payment rail for the payments.
So for big companies (mobile operators in this case), it's less logistics, handing over the implementation to you, and simply taking a cut?
It's a vision that we'll be able to talk more about more concretely in a few weeks time 😁
Compared to having to make sense of that data themselves (in the past) and selling it themselves
Sort of.
We provide the backened to port the data and the template smart contracts to distribute the payments.
They get to focus on finding buyers for the data and ensuring that the data that is being collected from the app is the kind of data that is valuable and useful to the world.
(Through our sister company TX, we also help build out the applications for them and ensure a smooth integration).
The other thing to add is that the reason why this vision is working, is that the current data economy is under attack. Not just from privacy laws such as GDPR, but also from Google shutting down cookies, bidstream data being investigated by the FTC (for example) and Apple making changes to IoS14 to make third party data sharing more explicit for users.
All this means that the only real places for thousands of multinationals to buy the sort of consumer insights they need to ensure good business decisions will be owned by Google/FB etc, or from SDKs or through this method - from overt, rich, consent from the consumer in return for a cut of the earnings.
A couple of questions to get a better feel about Streamr as a whole now and where it came from. How many people are in the team? For how long have you been working on Streamr?
We are around 35 people with one office in Zug, Switzerland and another one in Helsinki. But there are team members all over the globe, we’ve people in the US, Spain, the UK, Germany, Poland, Australia and Singapore. I joined Streamr back in 2017 during the ICO craze (but not for that reason!)
And did you raise funds so far? If so, how did you handle them? Are you planning to do any future raises?
We did an ICO back in Sept/Oct 2017 in which we raised around 30 Millions CHF. The funds give us enough runway for around five/six years to finalize our roadmap. We’ve also simultaneously opened up a sister company consultancy business, TX which helps enterprise clients implementing the Streamr stack. We've got no more plans to raise more!
What is the token use case? How did you make sure it captures the value of the ecosystem you're building
The token is used for payments on the Marketplace (such as for Data Union products for example) also for the broker nodes in the Network. ( we haven't talked much about the P2P network but it's our project's secret sauce).
The broker nodes will be paid in DATAcoin for providing bandwidth. We are currently working together with Blockscience on our tokeneconomics. We’ve just started the second phase in their consultancy process and will be soon able to share more on the Streamr Network’s tokeneconoimcs.
But if you want to summate the Network in a sentence or two - imagine the Bittorrent network being run by nodes who get paid to do so. Except that instead of passing around static files, it's realtime data streams.
That of course means it's really well suited for the IoT economy.
Well, let's continue with questions from Twitter and this one comes at the perfect time. Can Streamr Network be used to transfer data from IOT devices? Is the network bandwidth sufficient? How is it possible to monetize the received data from a huge number of IOT devices? From u/ EgorCypto
Yes, IoT devices are a perfect use case for the Network. When it comes to the network’s bandwidth and speed - the Streamr team just recently did extensive research to find out how well the network scales.
The result was that it is on par with centralized solutions. We ran experiments with network sizes between 32 to 2048 nodes and in the largest network of 2048 nodes, 99% of deliveries happened within 362 ms globally.
To put these results in context, PubNub, a centralized message brokering service, promises to deliver messages within 250 ms — and that’s a centralized service! So we're super happy with those results.
Here's a link to the paper:
https://medium.com/streamrblog/streamr-network-performance-and-scalability-whitepaper-adb461edd002
While we're on the technical side, second question from Twitter: Can you be sure that valuable data is safe and not shared with service providers? Are you using any encryption methods? From u/ CryptoMatvey
Yes, the messages in the Network are encrypted. Currently all nodes are still run by the Streamr team. This will change in the Brubeck release - our last milestone on the roadmap - when end-to-end encryption is added. This release adds end-to-end encryption and automatic key exchange mechanisms, ensuring that node operators can not access any confidential data.
If BTW - you want to get very technical the encryption algorithms we are using are: AES (AES-256-CTR) for encryption of data payloads, RSA (PKCS #1) for securely exchanging the AES keys and ECDSA (secp256k1) for data signing (same as Bitcoin and Ethereum).
Last question from Twitter, less technical now :) In their AMA ad, they say that Streamr has three unions, Swash, Tracey and MyDiem. Why does Tracey help fisherfolk in the Philippines monetize their catch data? Do they only work with this country or do they plan to expand? From u/ alej_pacedo
So yes, Tracey is one of the first Data Unions on top of the Streamr stack. Currently we are working together with the WWF-Philippines and the UnionBank of the Philippines on doing a first pilot with local fishing communities in the Philippines.
WWF is interested in the catch data to protect wildlife and make sure that no overfishing happens. And at the same time the fisherfolk are incentivized to record their catch data by being able to access micro loans from banks, which in turn helps them make their business more profitable.
So far, we have lots of interest from other places in South East Asia which would like to use Tracey, too. In fact TX have already had explicit interest in building out the use cases in other countries and not just for sea-food tracking, but also for many other agricultural products.
(I think they had a call this week about a use case involving cows 😂)
I recall late last year, that the Streamr Data Union framework was launched into private beta, now public beta was recently released. What are the differences? Any added new features? By u/ Idee02
The main difference will be that the DU 2.0 release will be more reliable and also more transparent since the sidechain we are using for micropayments is also now based on blockchain consensus (PoA).
Are there plans in the pipeline for Streamr to focus on the consumer-facing products themselves or will the emphasis be on the further development of the underlying engine?by u/ Andromedamin
We're all about what's under the hood. We want third party devs to take on the challenge of building the consumer facing apps. We know it would be foolish to try and do it all!
As a project how do you consider the progress of the project to fully developed (in % of progress plz) by u/ Hash2T
We're about 60% through I reckon!
What tools does Streamr offer developers so that they can create their own DApps and monetize data?What is Streamr Architecture? How do the Ethereum blockchain and the Streamr network and Streamr Core applications interact? By u/ CryptoDurden
We'll be releasing the Data UNion framework in a few weeks from now and I think DApp builders will be impressed with what they find.
We all know that Blockchain has many disadvantages as well,
So why did Streamr choose blockchain as a combination for its technology?
What's your plan to merge Blockchain with your technologies to make it safer and more convenient for your users? By u/ noonecanstopme
So we're not a blockchain ourselves - that's important to note. The P2P network only uses BC tech for the payments. Why on earth for example would you want to store every single piece of info on a blockchain. You should only store what you want to store. And that should probably happen off chain.
So we think we got the mix right there.
What were the requirements needed for node setup ? by u/ John097
Good q - we're still working on that but those specs will be out in the next release.
How does the STREAMR team ensure good data is entered into the blockchain by participants? By u/ kartika84
Another great Q there! From the product buying end, this will be done by reputation. But ensuring the quality of the data as it passes through the network - if that is what you also mean - is all about getting the architecture right. In a decentralised network, that's not easy as data points in streams have to arrive in the right order. It's one of the biggest challenges but we think we're solving it in a really decentralised way.
What are the requirements for integrating applications with Data Union? What role does the DATA token play in this case? By u/ JP_Morgan_Chase
There are no specific requirements as such, just that your application needs to generate some kind of real-time data. Data Union members and administrators are both paid in DATA by data buyers coming from the Streamr marketplace.
Regarding security and legality, how does STREAMR guarantee that the data uploaded by a given user belongs to him and he can monetize and capitalize on it? By u/ kherrera22
So that's a sort of million dollar question for anyone involved in a digital industry. Within our system there are ways of ensuring that but in the end the negotiation of data licensing will still, in many ways be done human to human and via legal licenses rather than smart contracts. at least when it comes to sizeable data products. There are more answers to this but it's a long one!
Okay thank you all for all of those!
The AMA took place in the GAINS Telegram group 10/09/20. Answers by Shiv Malik.
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