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Money should be a good store of value, medium of exchange, and unit of account. There are a lot of barriers preventing bitcoin’s widespread use by the aforementioned criteria, let’s take a look and see how they might be solved.
Lack of Understanding
Bitcoin is complicated and unfamiliar. This is a huge barrier to entry because people distrust what they don’t understand, and ease-of-use and simplicity is what usually sells a new technology. If you have read this series from the beginning though, you may now see some potential upsides to such a drastically different system than what we are used to. Many resisted smartphones for a time (and a few still do). The benefits have to outweigh the costs of adoption, so we may see niche cases being the early adopters (like citizens of Venezuela or remittances payments). Also, when a new complicated technology rolls around, it sometimes takes a generation before it becomes widespread; young people are particularly adept at adopting new tech.
The tendency of bitcoin’s price to change rapidly or unpredictably is what comprises volatility. When you search for bitcoin you may find that most of the results you get (and the discussions happening on forums) are about it’s price. This is understandable, it has seen some crazy moves both up and down over the years facilitating the potential for huge gains (and huge losses). Still, over time the price certainly is increasing. Unless you bought in a single 2 month period in 2013, holding bitcoin for longer than 2 years at any point in its history would land you in a better position than when you started. And, when viewed on a logarithmic scale (used in long-term stock charts), the trend is quite clear: (Bitcoin Price 2012-2018, Logarithmic Scale (bitcoincharts.com)) There is a risk/reward to adopting new tech, and this is no exception. But, my goal is absolutely not to “sell” it to you as an investment by any means.
This is not financial advice. We’re simply looking at the pros and cons of this space, and I encourage everyone to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Never invest anything you aren’t prepared to lose.
This meteoric rising (and crashing) of the “price” (which, I’ll point out, might just as well be considered an exchange rate) understandably makes it pretty difficult to use bitcoin as a currency. If it moves a few percent in a day, and can move a few hundred percent in a month, purchasing a car or a house could cost you significantly more by the time your finished closing. That’s just not viable, and certainly not a good unit of account. However, I see the volatility in price simply as growing pains. It is the market that dictates the price of bitcoin, quite literally, it’s traded like a stock. This is referred to as speculation (“the purchase of an asset with the hope that it will become more valuable at a future date”). Speculation happens between national currencies already, but they are generally stable in comparison so it’s not lucrative. People are unsure of how this whole bitcoin thing is going to play out. It’s not like anything we’ve ever seen, it’s difficult to understand (and use), and it’s not accepted at every corner store or online business. Many in the space are just here for a quick buck, and they sell it when the price rises to get back “real” money we are used to, that is “stable” in price against other currencies, and can predictably buy goods and services. The way I see it, all of these will concerns diminish in time. Though Amazon or Target don’t yet accept bitcoin, Microsoft and Overstock.com do. Some cities and towns across the world are embracing it a lot more than others. It’s not surprising to see San Francisco accommodating the new technology. But, other cities like Portsmouth in New Hampshire with numerous cafes and shops accepting bitcoin (and “Dash coin”) might surprise you. There are maps available to see where crypto-currencies are accepted at locations near you, and the amount of them are increasing, albeit slowly. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, but that hasn’t stopped revolutions from happening before. Consider when cars first came about, roads were dirt and mud which cars didn’t do well with. It took building massive infrastructure before cars could ever become mass-adopted, but we spent the time, money, and effort because we saw the potential advantages. It will be trivial for businesses to accept bitcoin compared with pouring hundreds of millions of dollars in asphalt to connect our world. Other parallels include train tracks, phone lines, electricity lines, communication satellites, etc. Each of these replaced or iterated on previous functional technologies, and required massive upfront costs before the benefits were available. It’s clear now that we made some good choices there but there were doubts at the time. Despite some pretty major setbacks, bitcoin’s trend is up. Interest is growing and more businesses and individuals are actually using it. But due to the trading mentality, the uncertainty with regulations, uncertainty in the technology itself, uncertainty that the price will not drop, and other factors, emotion and greed encourages people to sell in flocks if the price climbs high enough. Furthermore, right now with a large enough stack of money one can influence this market in drastic ways, and cries of manipulation of the price are not unfounded. So-called “whales” can buy and sell huge amounts of coins and the price can jump a bit each time. Coupled with uncertainty in the space, and so many “investors” trying to time the markets, we end up with a pretty volatile landscape where the price is not stable. My argument is that this is diminishing as it gains in popularity, and it is gaining value because its utility is growing (see the network effect”) and the utility itself is slowly becoming more apparent.
Volatility is actually decreasing.
Bitcoin Volatility Over Time(bitvol.info) In the period from 2011 to 2014 bitcoin’s volatility often spikes into the 15% range. But from 2014 to the present, volatility has only just spiked above 7% twice, spending most of it’s time below 5%. Even the large boom and bust in price at the end of 2018 seems tame compared to the early years. The trends show the price going up over time, and volatility going down. The more actual use the coin has (people saving and buying with bitcoin), the percentage of people entering the space to use it the way it was intended increases, the percentage of “stock traders” declines. And as more capital enters the space, the less influence whales have (because the current against which they swim is getting stronger). And as the price stabilizes, traders will become less interested. There is a critical point where this becomes a negative feedback loop. I could be wrong, but the idea is at least founded in reality, and it would solve the unit of account issue if the price could stabilize to within a few percent per year. Similarly, as a store of value, bitcoin becomes more viable in this scenario. This is coupled with the fact that although bitcoin is somewhat inflationary now as the supply is increasing (bitcoins are “discovered” as rewards for mined blocks), the amount of discovered coins are cut in half every few years. This “halving” is logarithmic, meaning eventually the amount of coins discovered is infinitesimally small, and total supply will asymptotically approach 21 million coins (the maximum supply that we will ever see). This model of supply is actually meant to mimic gold because it’s a well-known store of value and monetary device throughout history (though it is not easily divisible, and not as portable as bitcoin). In both bitcoin and gold, mining is more fruitful in the beginning, and as we extract the low-hanging-fruit, mining requires greater effort and yields less return. World population is increasing which leads to bitcoin becoming deflationary in the future if demand continues (the supply won’t increase beyond 21 million). And, I argue that it will become more valuable in time due to the network effect as bitcoin use becomes more widespread (the value of being able to exchange with more people anywhere, any time, and without permission from anyone). This is a positive feedback loop, and shows how bitcoin is deflationary long-term. While deflation is generally considered negative by economists, the main reason is based around debt which isn’t possible in the same way with bitcoin because bitcoins cannot be created out of thin air like fiat currency. The discussion of deflation vs inflation is an important one, and bitcoin’s monetary policy is an outlier compared with national currencies which are typically inflationary. The US dollar for example averaged 3% inflation since the year 1900. That means that over the last 100 years, a dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power. You could buy 95% more stuff with $1,000 last century, or, saving $1,000 from 100 years ago would buy you 95% less stuff at present. Put another way, purchasing power is cut in half after about 25 years, a concern for anyone retiring for over 20 years with a fixed retirement sum. Some other national currencies have higher inflation rates, and there are numerous cases of inflationary spirals over the years. A few examples include Germany 1923, Hungary 1945, China 1947, Vietnam 1988, Peru 1990, Yugoslavia 1992, Zimbabwe 2008, and right now in Venezuela 2018. Entire countries of people have lost essentially all of their money, and it keeps happening over and over. A wise man would tell you it’s dangerous to say “it could never happen here”. *UPDATE: Turkey is also now in financial crisis. This is our money with which we hold and exchange value, our earnings, our savings, our livelihoods. Maybe it’s time we had, at least, another option outside of government control. An option that governments can’t destroy through mismanagement. A neutral option that ignores all borders, is open to everyone, and can be accessed anytime from anywhere.
The Fear of “Hacks”
It’s a very real threat to have all your money stolen, if your bank was robbed you are protected by FDIC (in most cases only up to $100,000). The vast majority of coins that have been stolen have come from hackers attacking “exchanges” and getting away with millions. These exchanges are websites where you can trade bitcoin for other crypto-currencies (or “alt-coins”). You can also buy and sell bitcoin on them, and subsequently people end up storing a lot of coins on these exchanges, and the exchanges hold the “private keys” so they can execute trades. Cryptographic private keys are analogous to a key that opens a door, or, a key that locks a message in a box before it is sent to the recipient. In our case the door opened allows you to sign your message and spend coins, and the message is your transaction on the bitcoin network. Anyone with your private keys can spend your coins. Exchanges are a honey pot of thousands of private keys that represent a lot of money. If a hacker can break into the exchange and steal the keys all at once, their work will pay off. This is why any crypto guru will advise you not to store large amounts of coins on exchanges, and rather transfer them in your own wallets where you hold the private keys. The mantra is “your keys, your money; not your keys, NOT YOUR MONEY!” Of course your own computer can be hacked, but you are not as big a target as an exchange which may hold vast sums of money. There are also some pretty safe ways to store your coins if done right. Centralized exchanges are a necessary evil for many people because they facilitate acquiring and trading coins easily. But decentralized exchanges are becoming more common because they allow you to trade while keeping your coins in your control at all times. They need some work and more users, but it’s a promising solution to this problem. Summarizing the above, the big hacks you read about are virtually eliminated if your keys are in your control and you keep them safe.
Transaction fees are generally negligible in a bitcoin transaction, but in many ways “fees” are holding us back. Interestingly, this is a symptom of being in the very early days. Firstly, there is a lot of work on “scaling” crypto-currencies (making fees even lower than they already are and increasing transaction speeds). This is just an engineering problem, and many people are working on solving it in many different ways. Other currencies like NANO or IOTA have different underlying tech and have zero fees and instantaneous transactions. In fact, most fees people encounter aren’t fees from bitcoin transactions; instead, they get hit with fees when exchanging between national currencies and bitcoins. In order to electronically trade USD($), EUR(€), or YEN(¥) with bitcoin, we need to hook into the closed-off for-profit banking network and we need third-parties to do so (and they take their cut). But even these fees could be avoided in time. For example, you can buy bitcoins with cash directly from a person (localbitoins.com). And, it might seem distant, but in the future you may end up receiving bitcoins as your salary, from a friend, or from accepting them in your place of business. Likewise you can spend your bitcoins directly to other bitcoin users. Getting coins directly eliminates all the exchanging and associated fees because once your money is on the bitcoin network, fees will be negligible (especially as these networks evolve).
Right now it’s easier than ever to acquire some bitcoin. People can download “Coinbase” or “Square App” on their smartphone and purchase some using a credit card in a few minutes. Depending on which service you use and how much you want to buy, you may need to send a picture of your license for KYC regulations. However, as I mentioned above, there are risks to storing all your coins on exchanges, especially with large amounts. I always recommend transferring them to a wallet where you control the private keys. But using wallets and storing private keys (and “seeds”) securely, is not as straightforward as we would like. This is a major factor holding back adoption, because if it’s not easy to use, people will consider it too much effort. The next post in this series digs into wallets and storing your coins.
Focus on the vision for Bitcoin, not just its price.
Preamble The purpose of this post is not to discourage enthusiasm over the recent appreciation of Bitcoin. Everyone here is excited, and rightly so. I’ve put this together because I think people are getting a bit caught up in price mania and losing sight of the bigger picture. The ideas I’ve pulled together here are pretty condensed as it is, so unfortunately I have no TLDR. I don't claim to have a prophecy to share, or concrete answers to questions about where Bitcoin will go in the future -- nobody does. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about. I would suggest reading slowly and giving your imagination time to picture or "render" things. There is no other way to grasp Bitcoin. Final preamble: I know there are people in this sub who are here just for the gains -- they freely admit it, and they laugh at how "true believers" will be left holding the bag when they sell. My hope is that those of you who feel this way will have an open mind. You might see things in a new light, who knows? Here we go… The Medium is the Message In the 1960s, a Canadian professor named Marshall McLuhan became widely known for his thorough analysis of the evolution of communication technologies. His central precept was that communication technologies have dramatic effects on populations regardless of the content they carry at any particular moment. The radio, for example, allowed private microphones to broadcast to widely distributed speakers, which enabled the amplification of private viewpoints on a public scale. This had profound effects on society that played out regardless of what particular messages were carried over particular radio frequencies at particular times. McLuhan’s famous aphorism, “The Medium is the Message,” is a distillation of this precept. In point form: 1) each new communication technology changes the environment into which it is introduced; and 2) the net effect of a technology over time is both far more interesting and harder to discern than the effect of any particular use of that technology or phase of its development. In other words, it is harder to see the forest for the trees, but seeing the forest is everything. So: what effect will Bitcoin have on the world over the long run? What is the meaning of Bitcoin? The Roman Model To understand where we might be going, we have to first understand how we got to where we are. In the West, our societies are founded on the Classical traditions which were seeded in Ancient Greece and “scaled” so to speak in Ancient Rome. McLuhan had a lot to say about this from a technological point of view: The development of writing on lightweight media such as papyrus and parchment enabled the externalization of knowledge. Thus, the oral traditions of Ancient Greece were subsumed and replaced by written traditions which were far less lossy and could be refined over time. Writing on lightweight media also enabled the centralized control of vast resources over large distances, which would have been impossible using engraved stone or oral communication. This was perfected by the Romans and thrown into overdrive by Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press around 1450. In its abstract form, the Roman model takes the form of bureaucracy – hierarchical organization -- and this model has underpinned the structuring of society in the West for the past two thousand years. Look up "org chart" on Google Images if you can't picture one. Our societies are comprised of org charts within org charts within org charts -- try the following searches on Google Images: military org chart, bank org chart, government org chart, university org chart. Everything in our society is centralized, bureaucratized, and nested within the context of the nation state which is run by a central bureaucracy called the government, itself divided into departments within departments, orgs within orgs. This is not to say that humans didn't organize hierarchically before ancient Rome -- of course they did, as do apes, dogs, chickens, etc. However, in a social hierarchy such as a tribe, there is a scale limit (Dunbar's number, 150) because each member must know his place and his role as well as the places and roles of all other members. The hierarchy lives inside its members' minds and looks more like a swarm than an org chart. Bitcoin is, of course, this type of network, where each node has full knowledge of the state of the network and participates in it voluntarily. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, is based on the writing down of roles (job descriptions) and makes people interchangeable. There is no limit to scale as long as you map everything out carefully (management). The lifeblood of bureaucracy is the transmission of written forms of information (paper-pushing) from the center to the periphery along defined, linear routes. Each node receives its orders, performs its specialized role, delegates if the role requires it, and then awaits new orders. Privilege and planning are concentrated near the center -- as is risk. These structures are inherently fragile and collapsible. If you undermine a high-value node as happened in the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the whole edifice collapses. The entire global financial system barely withstood the collapse of a single American bank - it is that fragile. Each nation's banking system is likewise a matrix of bureaucracies operating as a single, hierarchical supply chain whose product (the national currency) flows outward from a central node (the central bank) through successively less privileged nodes (investment and commercial banks) down to the level of branches and ATMs. At each level of the banking system, additional product is created and loaned out (credit/debt) using the productfrom the level above as a stake (fractional reserve lending). The banking systems are insulated from competition by governments through the decree that taxes must be paid in national currencies. And to keep the currencies moving, everyone is raised from birth to want more and then given the appearance of more through the creation of more by fiat, meaning by arbitrary decree, without any necessary connection to the creation of new wealth. This is inflation: the steady creation of new money to repay debt and keep the show going. It is a Ponzi scheme by design, and it relies the continued "buying-in" of young people in order to survive. Each national currency has value and utility only by decree and only within that nation's cell in the global mosaic. To move value from one nation to the next requires snaking it through tenuous international pathways, paying entrenched gatekeepers, and exchanging one national currency for another. You have to be somebody to access the banking system. The more somebody you are, the more access you get. It is principally through control of economic access that strong nations bully weaker ones, rich people bully poorer ones. There is tremendous pent up tension in our world as a result. This is where we are. The Center Cannot Hold McLuhan predicted that the advent of the electronic age and the emergence of global communication networks would lead to the dissolution of these centralized, bureaucratic structures from the bottom up. He died before the spread of the Internet but described the end result with crystal clarity in his writings. His vision of an interconnected world, which he called the "Global Village," is here now. Every person has the ability to broadcast information to others in their networks over the Internet. If a transmission is perceived as having sufficient value, the receiving people pass it on, and so on. Above a certain threshold of significance, transmissions are repeated by all people to all other people: this is virality and there is nothing that institutions can do to harness or stop it. The Arab Spring for example brought down an array of national governments in a span of months. Like a rising tide, global communication networks are bringing about an inevitable dissolution of the Roman model all around us: the music industry was upended by Napster; newspapers are being displaced by twitter and blogs; radio stations are being displaced by podcasts; broadcasters are being displaced by Netflix and YouTube; brick-and-mortar stores are being displaced by Amazon and eBay; AirBnb is gobbling up rental supply; traditional transportation services are being displaced by Uber; and now decentralized currencies are coming after centralized ones. Quoting W.B. Yates: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” It is important to realize that even though the post-Dot-Com networks like Facebook and eBay were more effective than their institutional predecessors, they are still quite fragile since they are centralized. They can be hacked, compromised, back-doored, subpoenaed, or otherwise shut down. In contrast, a truly decentralized network is perfectly flat and impossible to shut down. The music industry could kill Napster by going after Sean Parker, but it cannot touch BitTorrent. True decentralization, at scale, is one of the principal reasons why Bitcoin is secure: whatever it becomes, it cannot be stopped because there is no center to hold, and nothing to attack. At this point, I think it makes sense to explain how Bitcoin works, and why it has value. If those questions can't be answered clearly, there's no basis for thinking Bitcoin will disrupt traditional banking. I do, however, think there are very good answers to those questions which I'll try to present below. Bitcoin and Blockchain Imagine you live in a pre-historic tribe of ten people. As a group, you need to find a way to keep track of who did what work, and in what quantity. In other words, you need an abstract “work unit” that can be traded for work and held for use in future exchanges. You could use shiny rocks or something else similarly rare, but people would still be able to cheat the system: why do actual work if you can simply go on a hunt in the forest and find new rocks? One solution is to create a ledger or list that keeps track of how many rocks each person has. If the ledger is the authority on who has what, people would not be able to inflate their balances by introducing new rocks or other work units from outside the system. The problem is, everyone has to trust the keeper of the ledger. If only one entity maintains the ledger, they ultimately control how much money everyone has (banks). Decentralization is the solution to this problem. You can write down ten copies of the ledger and distribute a copy to each person in the tribe. At the end of the day, everyone could cross-check the transactions that took place with everyone else and a consensus could be formed about who has what without appealing to a central authority. Eventually, the people might realize that the rocks themselves are unnecessary, and that it is actually the ledger that is important. The rocks, like all currencies, are meant to track work. If a ledger is already doing that, the rocks themselves become extraneous. The actual units of currency are the work units on the ledger. And if everyone agrees to use the same ledger, its work units have value. The blockchain is that ledger and Bitcoin is its work unit. Proof of Work In the illustration above we can see that the utility of a blockchain is that it enables distributed peers to prove to each other that they have done work, and to trade their work units freely without appealing to a trusted intermediary. The obvious next question is: what proof do we have that we can trust the Bitcoin blockchain? Bitcoin mining is based on a Proof of Work consensus mechanism. To put this as simply as I can, each and every mining node on the network is competing against the rest of the network to generate a small piece of data that proves it has performed an enormous number of computer operations using a batch of new, valid transactions as an input. The amount of work that it takes to successfully mine Bitcoin is dictated by how much computer power has voluntarily joined the mining network - and this is adjusted dynamically as miners enter and leave the network. Each operation requires a tiny bit of electricity since a computer must perform it, so as the difficulty of the Proof of Work operation scales, so too does the cost of generating it. As of writing, the Bitcoin network is collectively performing about 8,250,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second, and it takes an average of about ten minutes worth of this grind for a single node on the network to successfully produce an acceptable proof of work and add a block of transactions to the blockchain. The winning node is awarded new Bitcoin by including a transaction in its block that credits its own wallet -- now we understand mining. So you want to be a Bitcoin miner? Let's say you have a powerful gaming computer that can perform about 100,000 Bitcoin computer operations per second (a realistic amount by the way). It would have roughly a 1 in 82.5 quintillion chance of mining a block if you were to enter it into the mining race today. If you had a stack of 1000 of these gaming computers your odds of mining a block would improve to roughly 1 in 82.5 quadrillion. A million of them? 1 in 82.5 billion. Etc. Miners use specialize hardware to perform the computer operations, but the point still stands: it takes a staggering amount of computer power and thus a staggering amount of electricity to "get a word in" on the Bitcoin blockchain. But let's say you get lucky and are able to generate a proof of work. That proof of work will be tied inexorably to whatever batch of transactions you are trying to add to the blockchain since those transactions were part of the input of the computer operation. Your transactions must be valid or else the rest of the network would reject your work. You wouldn’t be able to double-spend, create Bitcoin by fiat, or spend from balances that you don’t have the keys for. The network would reject your block. The larger and more distributed the mining network is, the more cost-prohibitive it is to compromise it. In other words: the more people you have checking the ledger from different nations and backgrounds, the harder it is to override the distributed, international consensus. And that is why the Bitcoin blockchain can be trusted. It is audited by the largest computer network ever assembled and requires that an attacker control at least 51% of the network on a sustained basis. The Open Blockchain As more and more people use a blockchain, its units (e.g. Bitcoin) become more valuable. As the price of the base unit increases, it becomes more profitable to mine them at the prevailing level of difficulty, so more miners join the network. As more miners join the network, the level of difficulty increases and thus the robustness and security of the network increases. As the robustness of the network increases, it becomes more secure against attackers, so more users and investors are drawn to it. And so the price of the base unit increases. Which draws in more miners. Etc. The adoption of a blockchain, like the adoption of any currency, is a virtuous circle -- one that Bitcoin has been nurturing successfully for nine years without any existential catastrophes. Bitcoin's heartbeat, the mining of a new block every ten minutes, has not skipped a single beat in nine years. There has not been a successful double-spend in nine years. There has not been a single accounting error in nine years. No balance has been mysteriously wiped off the blockchain in nine years. This track record has been established despite the fact that the blockchain is not protected by a firewall, or an institution, or shielded in a vault. It is not buried underground, or protected by obfuscation. It is out there in the wild of cyberspace for all to see and attack, secured purely by Proof of Work and sheer scale. Bitcoin itself is valuable because it is the only work unit that can be included in a block of this particular, special blockchain: the open, global, transnational, borderless, censorship-resistant, permissionless, leaderless, most well-known, longest-running, and most-well-capitalized blockchain (credit to andreasma for this and many other insights). Because work units on this blockchain are scarce (per the 21-million cap), having the ability to sign for transfers of Bitcoin on the blockchain is a form of real control over scarce resources. This is the pivotal point: to the degree that people around the world adopt and learn to trust the Bitcoin blockchain, its work units will have value. And it is Bitcoin's openness in particular that makes it the prime candidate for filling this role. Any computer on the planet can join the mining swarm at any time, just as anyone can join the network as a user, at any time, from any location. Even the Bitcoin development community is open-source and open to new developers provided they can prove their merits. This is what is meant by The Open Blockchain: the Bitcoin blockchain is accessible everywhere and is open to anyone. It is welcoming. It enables people from different cells in the global mosaic to transact point-to-point, without snaking value through complicated interbank networks, without paying entrenched gatekeepers and intermediaries, and without having to convert from one currency to the next. If a country experiences a currency crisis, Bitcoin is a very real option because it enables people to transfer value out of hot spots and convert it into other currencies. The international monetary system is no match for this technology. Private blockchains are no match either. Bitcoin’s Monetary Policy Bitcoin is commonly referred to as "digital gold" since it is designed to function like a precious metal. The creation of new units follows something like the extraction curve of a natural resource. The issuance of new coins was steep at first but will taper off over time through successive “halvings” of the reward that miners receive for creating new blocks. Eventually, the issuance of new coins will approach an asymptotic limit of 21 million coins. At each "halving", the rate of inflation is effectively cut in half, though it decreases ever so slightly with each new block. The current rate of inflation is about 4%. At the next halving in 2020, the inflation rate will be about 2%. In 2024, 1%. Etc. The world has never before had access to a truly deflationary asset. Even currencies considered deflationary such as the Japanese Yen are not truly deflationary: the government can print an infinite amount even though deflation in Japan has inertia. Gold is not deflationary: new gold is mined every year. Bitcoin will eventually become truly deflationary, meaning the supply of available Bitcoins will contract year over year consistently. How is this possible, if there is no provision to destroy coins in the protocol? There is guaranteed to be a year sometime in the future where more coins are lost due to people losing their keys than new coins are created. It will happen. As the miner reward decreases, years like this will become more common. In the distant future, decades will go by where every year is deflationary, and eventually it will be practically impossible for the supply of Bitcoin to not decrease in a given year. Here is Bitcoin’s golden proposition: because it the first truly deflationary asset, it does not require interest payments or a never-ending influx of greater fools in order to provide a “yield” over the very long run. In the distant future, Bitcoin will have a low but predictable intrinsic expected return approximating its rate of deflation, as long as it remains secure. When you combine Bitcoin's monetary policy with its robustness through distributed Proof of Work on a planetary scale, you end up with the basis for a global reserve asset more effective than anything else humans have ever had a chance to work with, including gold. Gold is modestly inflationary, it cannot be transmitted over a network, and it must be centrally secured and accounted for. Bitcoin has already obsolesced gold as a reserve technology, let alone Ponzi currencies like the dollar - most just don't know it yet. As people come to really understand Bitcoin’s monetary policy, they will flock to it as a safe haven, especially in troubled economies. If we have another 2008, Bitcoin will be very much in play. Bitcoin as Money People argue that Bitcoin's deflationary policy, high fees, and volatility make it ineffective as a medium of exchange. If you can expect a Bitcoin to be more valuable next year, why spend it this year? If it costs $20 in fees to buy a $3 coffee, who will use or accept it? If its value can double in a day, who will set prices in terms of Bitcoin exclusively? The truth is, Bitcoin is not yet ready for mass adoption as a day to day currency or unit of account. Anyone who tells you otherwise is getting ahead of the technology -- but this is temporary. Just as the early Internet could only handle the transfer of simple text-based content but eventually scaled to allow everyone to stream 4k at the same time, so too Bitcoin will scale. The Lightning Network shows promise in this regard. It will enable and incentivize users to stake their Bitcoin on a second layer where payments are negotiated in a trustless manner between parties, instantly, and merely settled periodically on the blockchain. But even with today’s block congestion and high fees, Bitcoin is already cheaper and more efficient for large transfers of value than the banking system, especially internationally. People transfer hundreds of millions of dollars on the blockchain, securely, today. Regarding volatility, we are still in the very early phases of adoption. Something like 10-20 million people own Bitcoin worldwide. Because the supply of Bitcoin cannot inflate to accommodate increased adoption, prices will continue to escalate in logarithmic fits and starts as adoption ramps up exponentially. Look up "adoption curve" on Google. We are still in the very early phases of the ramp-up, but eventually the curve will taper off and approach something like stability. We do not know how this will play out or how long it will take, and there will be serious volatility along the way; but if Bitcoin scales into a robust transnational currency trading on thousands or tens of thousands of exchanges worldwide, it will likely become more stable than most national currencies if not all. Regarding deflation: over time, we will likely see new innovative uses of Bitcoin as a reserve for credit creation. People are clearly willing to operate in systems that use reserve-based lending, and they can work wonderfully: look at what humans accomplished in the 20th century! It is conceivable that Bitcoin could be used as a reserve for distributed, trustless, bank-like networks that issue their own tokens. We may end up using a modestly-inflationary cryptocurrency for day-to-day transactions and investment. There’s no way to know what people will come up with, but they will come up with things. And that is why Bitcoin must stay laser-focused on its role as the de facto reserve currency in the crypto-economy. A Vision Statement for Bitcoin Tying everything together: over the course of thousands of years, we have built our societies around the use of hierarchical principles of organization. These structures centralize control and privilege, but also risk. They are fragile. Too big to fail. The invention and proliferation of the Internet paved the way for the dissolution of these structures, and over the past twenty years we have seen countless examples of entrenched institutions being wiped out by flatter, more effective networks. Now we are seeing the early evolution of global, distributed, cryptographic value storage and transfer networks which will slowly displace traditional banking systems by offering faster, cheaper, more reliable routes, with better systemic risk profiles, infinitely better security, no access controls, and no entrenched monopolistic privileges over money creation. Bitcoin was the first mover in this space and remains the incumbent. It is a global, secure, consensus-based currency that was bootstrapped from the ground up by ordinary people volunteering to participate in its development, mining, and use. It has grown exponentially in size since its inception, to the point where it is now upheld by the largest dedicated computer network in the world. Because it is secured principally by its unmatched scale, it is therefore the most secure accounting system in the world, which in turn makes the entries in its ledger the most trustworthy on the planet. If you can sign for a Bitcoin in the network’s eyes, you own it -- and nobody can stop you from owning it or signing for it. Bitcoin is here, now. It is in the air all around us, accessible over wifi and cellular networks around the globe -- anywhere the Internet touches. The next time you walk down the street, look at the people around you. As they move through the air, displacing it with their bodies, recognize that they are literally wading through the Bitcoin network -- they just don't know it yet. Suggestions for New People 1) Focus first and foremost on the vision and take an interest in the technology. I have a friend who is talking about putting $20k into Bitcoin, yet only a few nights ago he didn't know that Bitcoin isn't a company, or that a block isn't a single transaction. I have another friend who owns a whole Bitcoin but has never initiated a transaction. A co-worker of mine just bought $100 worth of Bitcoin but doesn't know that a wallet is key management software. 2) Bitcoin is an experiment with no precedent. Nobody knows if it will survive, what it will evolve into, or how it will be used. Even with its long-running track record, nobody can say with prophetic certainty that it won't suffer a catastrophic failure of some kind, so put only as much money into Bitcoin as you can afford to lose. I would offer the following as a good rule of thumb: if you have a negative net worth (meaning your debts exceed your assets) be very cautious with Bitcoin, and at the very least do not increase your debt to buy Bitcoin. If you have a positive net worth, do not go negative to buy Bitcoin. Having said all this, do keep in mind that any currency can suffer a catastrophic failure, including the US Dollar. Remember 2008. Don’t fall for illusions of security. We are all sailing in little boats on a big sea. Diversify. 3) If you believe in Bitcoin, try not to obsess over the value of Bitcoin in fiat terms, as tempting as it is. Try to conceptualize its value on the basis of its potential utility in emerging decentralized networks and look for ways to use it in these new emerging ecosystems. Look up OpenBazaar for example - it could be the new eBay without an eBay acting as an intermediary. I strongly believe that owning Bitcoin is exciting because it sets you up to have a stake in this emerging ecosystem. If your aim is to eventually get your value out of Bitcoin in the form of fiat, you’ll be giving up that stake. If you don't care about having a stake and are here just for the gains, that's perfectly fine too. 4) Learn how to take possession of your private keys. If you don't know what that means or how to do it, learn what it means and how to do it. Until you can say with confidence "I alone own my private keys", you do not actually own Bitcoin and you do not have a stake. Someone else owns it for you. It took me two years of owning Bitcoin before I actually clued in and took control of my own, and that is what forced me to take on the Bitcoin learning curve. The good news is, you can too. (Edit: formatting)
This halvening will be different from the last. And why it maybe should not happen anymore...
So the last halvening took place in Dec 2012. Margins were slim based on price of electricity in the US. The halvening happened and people started to pull their GPUs offline and the ones that didn't were probably losing a bit of money. Difficulty fell from 3.5M to 2.9M. Price started to explode a month later, and everything was fine. The difference between then and now is that back then miners were a ton of small operations. Most of them were not very professional. Most of them did not realize they were losing money based on the most current information and maybe at most they were losing ~$100 a block. Most of them loved Bitcoin and loved to mine anyway. That is not true this time. This time when the halvening happens finding a block at the current difficulty will cost miners ~$4000 in electricity. These miners are professional and won't stand for that. In Sept 2015 it seemed that miners were operating razor thin margins at a price of $230 and difficulty of 60B. The price almost doubled since then and in the mean time the difficulty has almost tripled to 160B. That kind of difficulty gain would not happen without an updated generation of ASIC. We can hope that when the halvening happens all that the miners will have to do is turn off their old models and the newer ones will be efficient enough to keep electricity costs low. Luke-jr's suggestion of updating difficulty more frequently should not be dismissed offhand because it is a solution even if I don't think it is a good one. The real issue is that blocks found more slowly exaggerate the block limit problem. Honestly to not be back in the situation we are in now it would be best to move to 4MB blocks because difficulty will wildly oscillate as miners join an leave the effort. I think Satoshi may have made a mistake (not been able to see the future) with the operation of reward halving. These are very destabilizing events and monetary systems do not like destabilizing events. I hear the argument, well we all have the same accurate information and the market can value things based on what we know. The problem that I have already seen play out is that we are also in a system that is designed to limit trust and pits our interests against each other. It exemplifies game theory and because we are not colluding and we are all playing chicken. We put ourselves in the situation where everyone loses instead of seeing someone else win. I think it would be a good idea to see block reward follow a smoother decay function over every block found. If things are running on razor margins this time and the value of a block is $10k, think of the next time if bitcoin is still king and margins are even more competitive and we have to half from $50k or $100k.
Gavin Andreson's "Why increasing the max block size is urgent" is yet another reason (one I hadn't considered) why it's important to mitigate the the effect of next halving event!
While everyone is considering Gavin Andreson's warning, I think it is important to reconsider the impact of the next halving event. Like Chicken Little, I have constantly been warning (here and here and here) of the possibility that the next halving event could be unlike the last, and could cause block creation times to soar, causing a period of distress and uncertainty for the currency. If mining profit is at its equilibrium point (that is, the point where no more potential miners start mining because the expected profit doesn't justify it) of perhaps 5% above costs just before the halving, then losses will be tremendous, like -45% for ALL miners right after, and will remain that way until the difficulty can adjust. Unfortunately, the soaring block-solve-time will also mean a soaring difficulty-adjust-time. My concern had previously been centered on the damage this could do to bitcoin's value as a medium of exchange, but Gavin Andreson's concern over the block size is exacerbated by the possibility that block solve times could spike immediately following the halving event. The only downside to implementing a smoothing of the reduction in reward size is the fact that its implementation requires a hard fork... but so does the implementation of the block size increase.
Hello cryptocurrency lovers! Welcome to Coin-a-Year, the laziest series yet in the Coin-a-Day publishing empire. This year's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). I originally covered Nyancoin in an article here in /cryptocurrency published January 4th, 2015. Without (much) further ado, I'm going to include the original report next, unmodified. This is unlike my Coin-a-Week series, where I use strikeout and update in-text. Because this is going to be a longer update, I'll just make all further comments and updates below, just realize that all information below is as of January 4th, 2015 and thus is more than a year out of date as of posting now, at the end of February 2016. Since I use horizontal rules as internal dividers in the original post, I'll use a double horizontal rule to divide the original text from this prelude and the following update. Coin-a-Day Jan 4th Welcome to the fourth installment of Coin-a-Day! To see convenient links to the introduction and the previous entries, please see /coinaday. Today's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). Summary • ~173.6 million available currently ; 337 million limit  • All-time high: ~0.000024 BTC on February 16, 2014  • Current price: ~3 satoshi  • Current market cap: ~$1,275  • Block rate (average): 1 minute   • Transaction rate: ~25? / last 24 hours; estimated $3-4  • Transaction limit: 70 / second  • Transaction cost: 0 for most transactions  • Rich list: ???  • Exchanges: Cryptsy  • Processing method: Mining  • Distribution method: proof-of-work block rewards and 1% premine for "bounties, giveaways & dev support"   • Community: Comatose  • Code/development: https://github.com/nyancoin-release/nyancoin ; there hasn't been a released code change in 10 months. The new developer has talked about some changes, but has not made a new release. He has given advice about how to keep the network running and operate the client.  • Innovation or special feature: First officially licensed cryptocurrency (from Nyancat) ; "zombie"-coin  Description / Community: So you're probably wondering why in the world we're talking about a coin which has been declared dead and already written off. I actually first selected this coin to illustrate a "deadcoin", but the more I dug into it, the more I was amazed at the shambles I discovered. I am combining the description and community sections for this coin, because the community (or lack thereof) is the central issue for Nyancoin. Substantially all, if not literally all, of the original infrastructure is gone. From the announcement post, the original website has expired. The nyan.cat site itself survives, but has no reference to the coin. The github repo remains, but then there was never much changed from the bitcoin/litecoin original. In fact, the COPYING file doesn't even list "Nyancoin Developers". None of the original nodes seem to be running anymore. @Nyan_Coin hasn't tweeted since July 6th. And that was just to announce posting an admittedly cute picture to facebook which makes a claim for a future which seems never to have developed. Of the original 15 pools, I think all are dead except p2pool, for which at least one node still supports NYAN. The original blockchain explorer, nyancha.in, is still running. The faucet is dead or broken. The original exchanges no longer list it (two of the three having died; SwissCEX having ended its trading as of the first of this year). And so forth. And yet:
[Of course, that scene finishes with knocking out the "recovering" patient so he can be taken away...not to mention the absurdity of including Monty Python in a financial article, but moving right along.] There is still just enough left to Nyancoin to keep it twitching, even if it is on life-support. Whether it's an individual node or whether it's a pool, there are blocks being produced at a steady rate as intended. Transactions are being processed. There is still a market. There is still a block explorer. And there is a dev. It is like a case study in the absolute minimum necessary to keep a coin alive. The most likely outcome is almost certainly a final collapse when one critical piece or another of the infrastructure goes away. And yet in the meantime, a person can own a million NYAN for $8 , and then move this coin quickly and easy, albeit with no particular external demand. It's like the world's most hyped testnet. I think this case presents an interesting example of what happens to an altcoin when its initial support dries up. NYAN coin is more fortunate than some, actually, as there are some where there are no longer any nodes running it nor the original announcement thread (in fact, there was actually a second Nyancoin launched around the same time. But it died hard and its original announcement thread was deleted and at this point I would have no idea how to access it; so "Nyancoin" thus illustrates how hard a coin can die (Nyancoin 2) as well as how it can hang around despite being proclaimed dead, with far more justification behind that pronouncement than there has been for bitcoin (NYAN) ). Footnotes  http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=402085.0 Regarding the premine, it's unclear to me where this money is now, since the original poster hasn't been active on BCT since May and the original site is down. However, given that it's only 1%, and about $25 in value right now, there seem to be more significant concerns for NYAN.  http://nyancha.in/chain/Nyancoin - Nyan blockchain explorer; blocks are somewhat inconsistent but somewhere around the 1 minute average  There doesn't seem to be anything automatically doing these stats, so I did visual inspection on about 1500 blocks (about one day) excluding the block generation reward (~250k/day). Most blocks are otherwise empty. I counted about 24 transactions or so scrolling through, with an outlier around 300k NYAN and another around 100k NYAN. In total, about 500k NYAN, excluding the block rewards. This is very approximately $3-4.  Nyancoin is a basically unmodified, slightly out-of-date bitcoin as far as code goes, and ignoring the change in block rate and total coin supply, as well as the difficulty retarget after every block. So for purposes of estimating maximum possible transaction throughput, I start with bitcoin's estimated 7 transactions per second, and multiply by 10 for having a block on average every minute rather than every 10 minutes. In any event, this limit is not likely to be reached in the foreseeable future.  Like bitcoin, transaction fees appear to be optional in Nyancoin. Unlike bitcoin, there is almost no transaction volume, and coins tend to sit for a relatively long time before being moved. So zero-fee transactions appear to be the norm from looking at a couple transactions on the block explorer.  I couldn't find one. See the disclosure section of this article: your humble correspondent is likely represented in some way on a top 100 if one were to be made or if one exists, despite not holding it directly, depending on how the exchange holds it.  I could not find any other exchanges still listing Nyancoin. SwissCex appears to have disabled it as of a couple days ago. Cryptsy has a notice that the NYAN/BTC market will be closing, but its NYAN/LTC market appears strong.  Essentially all of the original sites, pools, faucets, etc. are dead and there has been very little to replace it. There is basically a single node, or perhaps a very few, which are running the blockchain. However, there is a developer still trying to hold things together, maxvall_dev, maxvall on BCT. He is the last hope for the NYAN.  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=597877.0 This is the thread where maxvall took over as dev, and it also discusses switching to PoS, which hasn't happened as far as I know.  "zombie"-coin: Not to be confused with ZMB (my god, does it ever end?). This is my term to describe a coin which is "undead": by rights it should be dead. And yet it's still walking around and acting like it's alive. What is it? What's going on? It's quite debatable whether this gives it any special value, but I find it an interesting state, and it's why this was chosen for early coverage. There are plenty of actually popular and successful coins, and we will go onto covering more normal selections; we're looking for variety rather than repetition. But I think this is an interesting example for what can go wrong, and yet in the midst of that, how little it takes for a coin to survive. In fact, it's almost like an alternate history bitcoin to me; this shows the concept that "it was run on one computer before; it can be run on one computer again" to some extent. And there are even some strange pragmatic benefits as well, like having no competition for getting a transaction into a block and thus zero transaction fees.  And, in fact, the author chose to do so today, spending about 0.03 BTC for about 1 million NYAN. Additional Reading • /nyancoins - Like NYAN: mostly dead, but not quite • http://nyan-coin.org/ - new official website • BCT thread listing nodes, xpool (p2pool), for mining information. • americanpegasus predicting in February that NYAN will hit $1; always an entertaining read Giveaway Instead of a challenge today, since NYAN has enough challenges, I decided I would give away 10,000 NYAN to at least the first ten people who ask for it. This still remains at my discretion, but honestly, if you really want, say, 50,000 NYAN and create four new accounts to do so, I'll probably be too amused to say no. I don't expect to get ten requests. If I get more, I'll probably still fulfill them, but as with everything else, this is left to my whim. Donations and Disclosure Okay, this is an important one today because of the tiny market here. I actually hold less USD value in NYAN than in BTC, DOGE, and PPC (although my value in PPC might be about equivalent actually), but I hold more of the total market in NYAN than any of those three. And I'll probably be buying more. So I have a conflict of interest in writing this article. I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice. I personally hold just over 1 million NYAN on Cryptsy right now. Perhaps it would be better if I didn't write any articles about anything I were invested inspeculating on, but I started this series for my own education to further my speculation, so unfortunately, dear reader, your needs come second to my own. tanstaafl; you get what you pay for, and I'm giving you my thoughts. If by some strange quirk of fate you actually own NYAN and enjoyed this article and wished to donate some to me, K7Ho9HghBF6xWwS6JsepE6RAEPyAXbsQCV is mine (first non-empty account I've posted; transferred 1000 NYAN into here earlier from Cryptsy to test that the network and my wallet were actually working). Thank you all for reading and commenting! I've already learned a lot from this process and I look forward to more! Upcoming coins: • January 5th: Nxt • January 6th: Darkcoin • January 7th: Namecoin I'll use alphabetic labeling for footnotes in the updates to avoid any confusion with the footnotes in the original. For simplicity, unchanged items, like the 337 million limit and the 1 minute will not be mentioned, and we'll start with the summary changes. Updates: Summary
Community: We're not quite dead yet; in fact, I think we're getting better! [f]
Code/Development: I have an early draft of NYAN2, but I'm about six months past my initial goal for having it available to use. Life/work/lack of build machine/procrastination. NYAN2 will be a rebase onto a modern LTC codebase which will soft fork to fix a current vulnerability to a fork bug. For now, the network still runs on the same code that it did when I wrote the first article.
Discussion I'm going to consider the community first, since I pointed it out as the weakness and central topic in the last one, then talk about the technical situation briefly, and then review the financial results. The community has been excellent, if I do say so myself. We've got working infrastructure going thanks to the contributions of many Nekonauts (see [f]). Some original Nekonauts have returned or at least popped in from time to time, and new ones like myself have found Nyancoin (I would say given what I wrote in the original, I was still a skeptic of it at that point. Not that skeptics can't be Nekonauts, but I think I'd put my conversion to the cult of nyan shortly after writing that, even though I was already a nillionaire then for the heck of it.) While I do look forward to seeing the community continue to grow in future years and consider that important, I don't think the community is our weakest point any longer; I think it's now our strongest point. I've tried to encourage the community's revival as best I could, including giving away tens of nillions in total, and lots of long rambling articles on my views on ethics and philosophy and frankly it's worked better than I would've really expected (or at least it has coincided with an effective recovery of the community). The community also helped me through at least a couple hard times personally in there as well. The technical situation in Nyancoin is mostly unchanged but slightly improved, although with two additional known vulnerabilities. It's unchanged in that it's the same client. It's improved in that we have an active nyanchain explorer host (nyan.space), and we have a public draft of a plan for a soft forking security fix update in the near future (hopefully by the end of March (although I've slipped these deadlines before and may well miss March for release by a bit, I do think I'm inching closer now and then)). The most serious vulnerability is to forking. This is the bug which hit Peercoin if I recall correctly. NYAN2 is intended to solve this through its soft fork from the LTC fix upstream (from the BTC fix upstream). In the meantime, we've been lucky we haven't been attacked. The tiny marketcap probably helps with not being a particularly attractive attack target. We're not exactly about to pay ransom to move faucet outputs. But that's no excuse; we want this fixed and should have it finally done "soon" (tm). The less serious vulnerability is to a time warp attack in the difficulty function (Kimoto Gravity Well), which relates to general weaknesses it has and issues we've had with large gaps in the block chain because of spikes in the difficulty function causing it to be unprofitable and driving away most of the hash, and then low difficulty and price rise making it attractive to more hash, creating a spike and causing it again. While this is irritating, the chain still works, even if there are fits and starts at times. An important part of the reason I can get away with this is because there is at least one Nekonaut-supporting miner, CartmanSPC, who rescues us from time to time, and did so during the course of this article being written. We have a bunch of pools, but sometimes the hash just isn't there to get us unstuck when the difficulty goes high enough. Another part of the reason I consider it not an especially serious issue is because there's a workaround which works for me (classic bad developer logic): I use a large transaction fee (generally 337 NYAN, although I might have halved it after the most recent halving, I'll probably use 337 again) on my personal wallet by default. If necessary, I use a couple of them. It can make NYAN profitable to mine again despite the higher difficulty and "unstick" the chain. The difficulty function can go back down again in the next block if the gap has been long enough, so that can be enough to keep it going again for a while (although it can also get stuck again irritatingly fast at times). A fix for this will be putting in a better difficulty function for NYAN3, which will require a hard fork. This is tentatively scheduled for feature freeze around the middle of this year, coding to follow, activation sometime early 2017. Financial has been our most disappointing performance. A graph of the 1 year performance right now on coinmarketcap looks pretty sad, showing our fall from a little over 60 satoshi down to around 7 satoshi now. We rose too high, too fast, and I didn't stick with the safe high paying job like a sane person. Instead I hit the road, went to jail, and worked minimum wage. That doesn't sound like a sentence from a cryptocurrency financial review, does it? But the performance of NYAN since the article has been the story of my personal finances, which is the story of my life since then. So, autobiographical coinaday interlude, trying to keep it generally to the most salient points. Well, in 2014 I had been on my way home to Minnesota from California when I was pulled over leaving Eureka, Nevada for speeding (got sloppy and went 45 approaching the 45 sign and thus technically still in the 35; bored cop seeing out-of-state plates). My vehicle reeked of weed, what with having been in Mendocino County previously with no intention of traveling out of the county much less state anytime soon but family emergency brought me back, and the end result was a citation for possession of cannabis and paraphernalia along with the speeding. Fast forward to the beginning of 2015, I'm settled into a good software position and start looking more at cryptocurrency in my spare time. I write the coin-a-day series for a bit and then got annoyed and quit after a while when trying to do one a day on top of an actual job was too much for me (along with some annoyance over criticism; I can be rather thin-skinned at times). But I had gotten interested in Nyancoin, and started buying it up more and more with extra money I was making. And then comes the crash. I had to stop putting as much in as I realized that where I was living and what I was working on wasn't going to work out for me and I needed to figure something else out. So, as I seem wont to do, I went on a roadtrip. I quit my job. And I went back for the court date for my citations and refused to pay, instead spending 10 days in jail rather than pay ~$1400 (I actually had the money in cash available to me if I chose to pay as a backup if I chickened out, but the judge annoyed me enough that I really preferred to be jailed instead of paying, as stupid as that sounds since I'm quite sure the judge didn't care in the least one way or another). After that, I went back to roadtrip lifestyle for a while. It was a nice period. A lot of beautiful scenery; a lot of reading. Eventually, I busted up my car pretty badly...a couple times actually, the second time for good. Fast forwarding through the rest of the year, I worked a couple minimum wage jobs to pay bills and avoid cubicle life and kill some time until I figured out what I was going to do next. Just recently I quit as delivery boy after getting a speeding ticket (I swear, I'm not as horrible of a driver as this makes me sounds, although I have had a bad tendency to speed in the past, which I really have curbed to almost nothing; but I'm clearly not good enough) and am currently writing a Coin-a-Year article with a friend's incentive and applying to do documentation and development with the Nu project. Okay, so what did any of that have to do with NYAN? Well, it's the mess of a life that has led to the fall of the price from 60 satoshi to 7 satoshi. If instead my life history for the time since the article had been simply "I was happily employed writing software", then I don't believe we would have dropped below 20 satoshi. It's easy to see in hindsight. If anyone can lend me a time machine, I'm sure I can get some condensed instructions which should improve performance significantly. Otherwise, just going to have more chalked up for the "character building" tally. So, lessons learned if you are the major buy support for your coin: you need long-term reserves. Whatever you put in bids can be taken out in a moment by a dump for no apparent reason. This is particularly true if you may be quitting your cushy, high-paying job and wandering around without income for an extended period of time. Rather obvious, but hey, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes. If I'd been bidding as cautiously as I am now from the beginning, I think the price would probably be somewhere from 10-20 satoshi now instead of around 7 satoshi. It's especially unfortunate given that I wanted to be able to demonstrate the more consistent growth possible building a stable store of value, as opposed to the pump and dumps common in altcoins. And instead we had a pump-and-dump looking graph ourselves after I bid up higher than I was able to sustain, and a large (10+ nillion) instadump crashed the market all the way back down to 1 satoshi momentarily. We've had a few large (2+ nillion) dumps since, but nothing that large. We haven't generally had that large of bids though either. It's hard to know when I've exhausted the supply at a price level, when it sometimes waits for a couple weeks or even more and then fills all the bids at once. But I want to maximize the minimum price paid because I think that's important for building confidence in a store of value long-term, which is one of my core goals for NYAN. At the same time, we're still up from the lowest parts of the floor and where I found it. Since I own about 30% [g], the very cheapest supply has been taken off the market. I plan to keep on buying up "cheap NYAN" as much as I can. I've bought up to 60 satoshi before, I'll probably buy up that high this time around. I've got a token 100,000 NYAN ask at 300 satoshi; I hope never to sell lower. Conclusions Now I try to wrap it all together as if I saw this all coming and am the wise expert, despite having had about 90% drop in price in the last year after bidding too high. My original concept was taking the "minimum viable coin" and reviving it to a powerhouse as a textbook example in how to do it. Part of my core concept in this is the arbitrariness of value: throughout history, humans have chosen any number of things as a store of value for the time: salt, large rocks, certain metals, disks, marked sticks, and so forth. While there has generally been a certain logic in the choice, in that there is a locally restricted supply in one way or another, and so forth, from the perspective of other centuries or cultures the choices can seem quite strange. Growing up, I was always struck by how strange the notion of salt being limited and valuable seemed in a world where people were trying to reduce intake and large amounts could be bought for trivial sums. And yet, a key nutrient necessary for life fundamentally makes more sense as being valuable than notched sticks or printed paper or a piece of plastic with some encoded information. Humans have perpetually come up with stranger and stranger ways of storing and transferring value. Each new step, as always, comes with its own disadvantages and, frankly, has generally appeared nonsensical at best and fraudulent at worst to the status quo. Which doesn't mean that each new attempt is valuable. The gold bugs always like to point out that every fiat currency ultimately returns to its true value of zero. And the skeptics of cryptocurrency argue that all cryptocurrencies will eventually return to their true value of zero. It's certainly possible. And it's possible the USD will hyperinflate someday. I tend to try the moderate view for a plausible guess of the future. By that type of logic, I would guess that over the course of decades, USD will in general lose value, and cryptocurrency will tend to slowly gain value. That might not seem the moderate view, but USD not losing value over decades would be truly shocking. And hyperinflation has been predicted since the USD went off the gold standard, or before. So some amount of inflation less than hyperinflation seems like the safe guess (but then, the Titanic arriving would also have seemed like the safe guess to me). And with cryptocurrency, I think it's clear by now the technology will continue to survive. So my first question is with what overall value as a market? It could go down, of course, but that seems unlikely in an already small, young market. Even if all the current crop die off and are replaced, whatever cryptocurrencies are around should be able to do better than a handful of billion in market cap in my view. I believe that cryptocurrency has a bright future ahead of it. The best coins should ultimately survive and thrive. But I've been wrong on most of my major calls so far, like for instance when I thought BTC was over-priced around $5-$10. I think Nyancoin can have an important role to play in the future of cryptocurrency in the years and decades to come, but it's a massively speculative long-shot. See also Nyancoin risks document. But like Linus Torvalds' autobiography, I try to keep "Just for Fun" as a core motto and principle. It's makes for a good hobby project because there will always be more to work on, with a core community motto of TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! Disclaimers / Sponsorship: As I said before:
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
And I'll reiterate that I own about 30% [g] of the current supply of NYAN, which makes me by definition maximally biased. Also, I'm not sure what's up with the address from the first post. It doesn't show up in my current wallet as a recognized address. So, anyhow, don't send there. :-) If you'd like to donate, please consider sponsoring a coin-a-day or coin-a-week article. This is the first sponsored article. This Coin-a-Year article has been brought to you by spydud22 's generous patronage. I'd been meaning to do a Coin-a-Week article on Nyancoin for a while, but between wanting to "wait until the price recovered a bit" and general procrastination, then it seemed like it would make a good Coin-a-Year article, and then I wanted to wait until the price recovered a bit more...anyhow, so thank you spydud22, for causing me to finally do this. :-) Footnotes
[a] nyan.space/chain/Nyancoin ; as of block 1091430, 263738786.71890615 NYAN outstanding. This is slightly over 50% more than the last report, which is what we would expect, since it had existed for about a year then, and has approximately annual halvings. The first year generated about 50% of total supply; the second year generated about 25% of total supply. We should expect in a year to have about 17% (one-sixth) more than we have now.
[b] https://www.cryptopia.co.nz/Exchange?market=NYAN_BTC ; this is the only market reflected in coinmarketcap and it is the primary one on which I trade. Cryptopia also has other base pairs which operate at significantly higher spreads (lower bids; higher asks) and have minimal volume. In the time since the last report, NYAN has traded as high as 60 satoshi (and briefly a little higher at times), but over the last almost twelve months since a peak about a year ago, the price has been generally declining overall, as a gross oversimplification of a lot of movements. This has been an effect of me not being able to keep buying as much and there being large dumps I wasn't expecting from time-to-time. Now I'm taking the approach of building large (one or more nillion (million NYAN)) bids on each price as I slowly work my way back up again in order to be able to handle possible dumps with less price shock.
[c] coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/ ; as noted in [b], this only reflects the /BTC basepair on Cryptopia but that's where most of the volume is anyhow. Of course, the market is also not particularly liquid since I'm the primary buyer and have rather limited means currently.
[d] I haven't setup a script to count this yet, among many things on my to-do list for someday, so I went through by hand from what was the then-latest block of 1091430 on nyan.space back to 1089766 which was the first block generated less than 24 hours before. There was actually a three and a half hour block gap at that point, such that the next prior block was about 24 hours and 15 minutes before 1091430 while 1089766 was only about 20 hours and 45 minutes prior, and has a disproportionate number of transactions and value compared to a typical block (8 and ~313,000 NYAN respectively) from the build-up during the gap. But since that gap conveniently started right about at the start of the 24 hour period, doesn't really skew our results here.
Note that there are often times where the UTXO created during one transaction during the day is spent during a later transaction in the day. This can be considered the "same" Nyancoin being "spent" twice in the same day in our total. But in practice, I believe what's happening here is the faucet is breaking off small (10-50 NYAN) pieces from a larger (~40,000 NYAN) chunk, and so that pops up a bunch of times. So the total NYAN blockchain volume as counted for this topline number should not be interpreted as "NYAN spent in the day" but "NYAN moved on the chain", where the "same coin" can move many times. So it's a very easily gamed metric and not a strong / resistant metric like the market price tends to be (at least relatively speaking), but it's a fun number to calculate and provides a little bit of information. The transaction count can also be easily inflated and certainly, for instance, having the faucet does generate transactions which are a very common transaction. And this is also just an arbitrary 24 hour period compared to a previous arbitrary 24 hour period. Nonetheless, I do think there's clearly a bit more activity on the Nyanchain, even though the typical block is still empty and the number of transactions and volume is still tiny compared to the major cryptocurrencies. Here's an arbitrary example of the faucet transactions Note the zero transaction fee, which I love that the miners support (the defaults are all quite low as well). Here's an example of what may be the smallest transaction by NYAN volume of the day; but no, I followed its small, spent output, and it led to this gem which also links to this. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's hilarious and I love it. How's that for microtransaction support? :-)
[e] Obviously Cryptsy went down. We had had more than enough red flags with Cryptsy (including one time where I was able to withdraw 6 nillion more than I had in my balance) and got onto Cryptopia. spydud22 basically accomplished that for us, although I helped out in the tail end of the campaigning.
[f] Our community is still small (I wish there were literally dozens of us!) but we've had valuable activity from multiple people, including, just as highlights, vmp32k who hosts nyan.space, a clone of the original nyancha.in, jwflame who created the excellent nyancoin.info intro site, with the awesome status page (which currently notes that "the last 500 blocks actually took 111 minutes, which is approaching the speed of light, causing the universe to become unstable"), KojoSlayer who runs the faucet and dice, spydud22 who got us on Cryptopia, and many other Nekonauts have made worthy contributions, and the Nekonauts mentioned have done more than just that listed. So while we are small, we are active at least from time to time and technically capable.
The Bitcoin halving is scheduled in block height, not date. AT&T weiter von Corona belastet - Aber weniger schlimm als befürchtet. Posted on April 16, 2020 by Yashu Gola. We respect your privacy. Wir sind gespannt, wie sich das Bitcoin Halving im Mai 2020 auf den Bitcoinkurs auswirken wird. Hinzu kommt, dass die Belohnung für Miner geringer ausfallen wird und dadurch weniger gemined werden ... Bitcoin halving happens approximately once in 4 years, exactly on 210,000th blocks from the last halving. Halving events will reduce block reward by half. Block reward started from 50BTC per block ... The Bitcoin market has witnessed two halving events in its short life — first on Nov. 28, 2012, and second on July 9, 2016. On the first occasion, rewards dropped from 50 BTC to 25 BTC per block, and the second saw a reduction to 12.5 BTC. The upcoming halving will see a further decrease to 6.25 BTC per block. The First Halving Event Of 2012 Bitcoin has just ‘halved’ for the third time, a technical adjustment which happens every four years or so, and which Bitcoin enthusiasts believe makes it valualbe. Normally, Bitcoin halving is associated with at least a short-term bull run as the digital currency becomes more scarce in the short term as miners don’t get the required number of Bitcoin from mining to supply the market with new coins and thus there is a gap between supply and demand. The last block halving was done back in May 2016 and now next year will see the latest Bitcoin halving ...
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