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Proposal: The Sia Foundation
A common sentiment is brewing online; a shared desire for the internet that might have been. After decades of corporate encroachment, you don't need to be a power user to realize that something has gone very wrong. In the early days of the internet, the future was bright. In that future, when you sent an instant message, it traveled directly to the recipient. When you needed to pay a friend, you announced a transfer of value to their public key. When an app was missing a feature you wanted, you opened up the source code and implemented it. When you took a picture on your phone, it was immediately encrypted and backed up to storage that you controlled. In that future, people would laugh at the idea of having to authenticate themselves to some corporation before doing these things. What did we get instead? Rather than a network of human-sized communities, we have a handful of enormous commons, each controlled by a faceless corporate entity. Hey user, want to send a message? You can, but we'll store a copy of it indefinitely, unencrypted, for our preference-learning algorithms to pore over; how else could we slap targeted ads on every piece of content you see? Want to pay a friend? You can—in our Monopoly money. Want a new feature? Submit a request to our Support Center and we'll totally maybe think about it. Want to backup a photo? You can—inside our walled garden, which only we (and the NSA, of course) can access. Just be careful what you share, because merely locking you out of your account and deleting all your data is far from the worst thing we could do. You rationalize this: "MEGACORP would never do such a thing; it would be bad for business." But we all know, at some level, that this state of affairs, this inversion of power, is not merely "unfortunate" or "suboptimal" – No. It is degrading. Even if MEGACORP were purely benevolent, it is degrading that we must ask its permission to talk to our friends; that we must rely on it to safeguard our treasured memories; that our digital lives are completely beholden to those who seek only to extract value from us. At the root of this issue is the centralization of data. MEGACORP can surveil you—because your emails and video chats flow through their servers. And MEGACORP can control you—because they hold your data hostage. But centralization is a solution to a technical problem: How can we make the user's data accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device? For a long time, no alternative solution to this problem was forthcoming. Today, thanks to a confluence of established techniques and recent innovations, we have solved the accessibility problem without resorting to centralization. Hashing, encryption, and erasure encoding got us most of the way, but one barrier remained: incentives. How do you incentivize an anonymous stranger to store your data? Earlier protocols like BitTorrent worked around this limitation by relying on altruism, tit-for-tat requirements, or "points" – in other words, nothing you could pay your electric bill with. Finally, in 2009, a solution appeared: Bitcoin. Not long after, Sia was born. Cryptography has unleashed the latent power of the internet by enabling interactions between mutually-distrustful parties. Sia harnesses this power to turn the cloud storage market into a proper marketplace, where buyers and sellers can transact directly, with no intermediaries, anywhere in the world. No more silos or walled gardens: your data is encrypted, so it can't be spied on, and it's stored on many servers, so no single entity can hold it hostage. Thanks to projects like Sia, the internet is being re-decentralized. Sia began its life as a startup, which means it has always been subjected to two competing forces: the ideals of its founders, and the profit motive inherent to all businesses. Its founders have taken great pains to never compromise on the former, but this often threatened the company's financial viability. With the establishment of the Sia Foundation, this tension is resolved. The Foundation, freed of the obligation to generate profit, is a pure embodiment of the ideals from which Sia originally sprung. The goals and responsibilities of the Foundation are numerous: to maintain core Sia protocols and consensus code; to support developers building on top of Sia and its protocols; to promote Sia and facilitate partnerships in other spheres and communities; to ensure that users can easily acquire and safely store siacoins; to develop network scalability solutions; to implement hardforks and lead the community through them; and much more. In a broader sense, its mission is to commoditize data storage, making it cheap, ubiquitous, and accessible to all, without compromising privacy or performance. Sia is a perfect example of how we can achieve better living through cryptography. We now begin a new chapter in Sia's history. May our stewardship lead it into a bright future.
Today, we are proposing the creation of the Sia Foundation: a new non-profit entity that builds and supports distributed cloud storage infrastructure, with a specific focus on the Sia storage platform. What follows is an informal overview of the Sia Foundation, covering two major topics: how the Foundation will be funded, and what its funds will be used for.
The Sia Foundation will be structured as a non-profit entity incorporated in the United States, likely a 501(c)(3) organization or similar. The actions of the Foundation will be constrained by its charter, which formalizes the specific obligations and overall mission outlined in this document. The charter will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the current goals of the Sia community. The organization will be operated by a board of directors, initially comprising Luke Champine as President and Eddie Wang as Chairman. Luke Champine will be leaving his position at Nebulous to work at the Foundation full-time, and will seek to divest his shares of Nebulous stock along with other potential conflicts of interest. Neither Luke nor Eddie personally own any siafunds or significant quantities of siacoin.
The primary source of funding for the Foundation will come from a new block subsidy. Following a hardfork, 30 KS per block will be allocated to the "Foundation Fund," continuing in perpetuity. The existing 30 KS per block miner reward is not affected. Additionally, one year's worth of block subsidies (approximately 1.57 GS) will be allocated to the Fund immediately upon activation of the hardfork. As detailed below, the Foundation will provably burn any coins that it cannot meaningfully spend. As such, the 30 KS subsidy should be viewed as a maximum. This allows the Foundation to grow alongside Sia without requiring additional hardforks. The Foundation will not be funded to any degree by the possession or sale of siafunds. Siafunds were originally introduced as a means of incentivizing growth, and we still believe in their effectiveness: a siafund holder wants to increase the amount of storage on Sia as much as possible. While the Foundation obviously wants Sia to succeed, its driving force should be its charter. Deriving significant revenue from siafunds would jeopardize the Foundation's impartiality and focus. Ultimately, we want the Foundation to act in the best interests of Sia, not in growing its own budget.
The Foundation inherits a great number of responsibilities from Nebulous. Each quarter, the Foundation will publish the progress it has made over the past quarter, and list the responsibilities it intends to prioritize over the coming quarter. This will be accompanied by a financial report, detailing each area of expenditure over the past quarter, and forecasting expenditures for the coming quarter. Below, we summarize some of the myriad responsibilities towards which the Foundation is expected to allocate its resources.
Maintain and enhance core Sia software
Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation. At the heart of Sia is its consensus algorithm: regardless of other differences, all Sia software must agree upon the content and rules of the blockchain. It is therefore crucial that the algorithm be stewarded by an entity that is accountable to the community, transparent in its decision-making, and has no profit motive or other conflicts of interest. Accordingly, Sia’s consensus functionality will no longer be directly maintained by Nebulous. Instead, the Foundation will release and maintain an implementation of a "minimal Sia full node," comprising the Sia consensus algorithm and P2P networking code. The source code will be available in a public repository, and signed binaries will be published for each release. Other parties may use this code to provide alternative full node software. For example, Nebulous may extend the minimal full node with wallet, renter, and host functionality. The source code of any such implementation may be submitted to the Foundation for review. If the code passes review, the Foundation will provide "endorsement signatures" for the commit hash used and for binaries compiled internally by the Foundation. Specifically, these signatures assert that the Foundation believes the software contains no consensus-breaking changes or other modifications to imported Foundation code. Endorsement signatures and Foundation-compiled binaries may be displayed and distributed by the receiving party, along with an appropriate disclaimer. A minimal full node is not terribly useful on its own; the wallet, renter, host, and other extensions are what make Sia a proper developer platform. Currently, the only implementations of these extensions are maintained by Nebulous. The Foundation will contract Nebulous to ensure that these extensions continue to receive updates and enhancements. Later on, the Foundation intends to develop its own implementations of these extensions and others. As with the minimal node software, these extensions will be open source and available in public repositories for use by any Sia node software. With the consensus code now managed by the Foundation, the task of implementing and orchestrating hardforks becomes its responsibility as well. When the Foundation determines that a hardfork is necessary (whether through internal discussion or via community petition), a formal proposal will be drafted and submitted for public review, during which arguments for and against the proposal may be submitted to a public repository. During this time, the hardfork code will be implemented, either by Foundation employees or by external contributors working closely with the Foundation. Once the implementation is finished, final arguments will be heard. The Foundation board will then vote whether to accept or reject the proposal, and announce their decision along with appropriate justification. Assuming the proposal was accepted, the Foundation will announce the block height at which the hardfork will activate, and will subsequently release source code and signed binaries that incorporate the hardfork code. Regardless of the Foundation's decision, it is the community that ultimately determines whether a fork is accepted or rejected – nothing can change that. Foundation node software will never automatically update, so all forks must be explicitly adopted by users. Furthermore, the Foundation will provide replay and wipeout protection for its hard forks, protecting other chains from unintended or malicious reorgs. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure that any file contracts formed prior to a fork activation will continue to be honored on both chains until they expire. Finally, the Foundation also intends to pursue scalability solutions for the Sia blockchain. In particular, work has already begun on an implementation of Utreexo, which will greatly reduce the space requirements of fully-validating nodes (allowing a full node to be run on a smartphone) while increasing throughput and decreasing initial sync time. A hardfork implementing Utreexo will be submitted to the community as per the process detailed above. As this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation, it will receive a significant portion of the Foundation’s budget, primarily in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Support community services
We intend to allocate 25% of the Foundation Fund towards the community. This allocation will be held and disbursed in the form of siacoins, and will pay for grants, bounties, hackathons, and other community-driven endeavours. Any community-run service, such as a Skynet portal, explorer or web wallet, may apply to have its costs covered by the Foundation. Upon approval, the Foundation will reimburse expenses incurred by the service, subject to the exact terms agreed to. The intent of these grants is not to provide a source of income, but rather to make such services "break even" for their operators, so that members of the community can enrich the Sia ecosystem without worrying about the impact on their own finances.
Ensure easy acquisition and storage of siacoins
Most users will acquire their siacoins via an exchange. The Foundation will provide support to Sia-compatible exchanges, and pursue relevant integrations at its discretion, such as Coinbase's new Rosetta standard. The Foundation may also release DEX software that enables trading cryptocurrencies without the need for a third party. (The Foundation itself will never operate as a money transmitter.) Increasingly, users are storing their cryptocurrency on hardware wallets. The Foundation will maintain the existing Ledger Nano S integration, and pursue further integrations at its discretion. Of course, all hardware wallets must be paired with software running on a computer or smartphone, so the Foundation will also develop and/or maintain client-side wallet software, including both full-node wallets and "lite" wallets. Community-operated wallet services, i.e. web wallets, may be funded via grants. Like core software maintenance, this responsibility will be funded in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Protect the ecosystem
When it comes to cryptocurrency security, patching software vulnerabilities is table stakes; there are significant legal and social threats that we must be mindful of as well. As such, the Foundation will earmark a portion of its fund to defend the community from legal action. The Foundation will also safeguard the network from 51% attacks and other threats to network security by implementing softforks and/or hardforks where necessary. The Foundation also intends to assist in the development of a new FOSS software license, and to solicit legal memos on various Sia-related matters, such as hosting in the United States and the EU. In a broader sense, the establishment of the Foundation makes the ecosystem more robust by transferring core development to a more neutral entity. Thanks to its funding structure, the Foundation will be immune to various forms of pressure that for-profit companies are susceptible to.
Drive adoption of Sia
Although the overriding goal of the Foundation is to make Sia the best platform it can be, all that work will be in vain if no one uses the platform. There are a number of ways the Foundation can promote Sia and get it into the hands of potential users and developers. In-person conferences are understandably far less popular now, but the Foundation can sponsor and/or participate in virtual conferences. (In-person conferences may be held in the future, permitting circumstances.) Similarly, the Foundation will provide prizes for hackathons, which may be organized by community members, Nebulous, or the Foundation itself. Lastly, partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency space—or the cloud storage space—are a great way to increase awareness of Sia. To handle these responsibilities, one of the early priorities of the Foundation will be to hire a marketing director.
The Foundation Fund will be controlled by a multisig address. Each member of the Foundation's board will control one of the signing keys, with the signature threshold to be determined once the final composition of the board is known. (This threshold may also be increased or decreased if the number of board members changes.) Additionally, one timelocked signing key will be controlled by David Vorick. This key will act as a “dead man’s switch,” to be used in the event of an emergency that prevents Foundation board members from reaching the signature threshold. The timelock ensures that this key cannot be used unless the Foundation fails to sign a transaction for several months. On the 1st of each month, the Foundation will use its keys to transfer all siacoins in the Fund to two new addresses. The first address will be controlled by a high-security hot wallet, and will receive approximately one month's worth of Foundation expenditures. The second address, receiving the remaining siacoins, will be a modified version of the source address: specifically, it will increase the timelock on David Vorick's signing key by one month. Any other changes to the set of signing keys, such as the arrival or departure of board members, will be incorporated into this address as well. The Foundation Fund is allocated in SC, but many of the Foundation's expenditures must be paid in USD or other fiat currency. Accordingly, the Foundation will convert, at its discretion, a portion of its monthly withdrawals to fiat currency. We expect this conversion to be primarily facilitated by private "OTC" sales to accredited investors. The Foundation currently has no plans to speculate in cryptocurrency or other assets. Finally, it is important that the Foundation adds value to the Sia platform well in excess of the inflation introduced by the block subsidy. For this reason, the Foundation intends to provably burn, on a quarterly basis, any coins that it cannot allocate towards any justifiable expense. In other words, coins will be burned whenever doing so provides greater value to the platform than any other use. Furthermore, the Foundation will cap its SC treasury at 5% of the total supply, and will cap its USD treasury at 4 years’ worth of predicted expenses. Addendum: Hardfork Timeline We would like to see this proposal finalized and accepted by the community no later than September 30th. A new version of siad, implementing the hardfork, will be released no later than October 15th. The hardfork will activate at block 293220, which is expected to occur around 12pm EST on January 1st, 2021.
Addendum: Inflation specifics The total supply of siacoins as of January 1st, 2021 will be approximately 45.243 GS. The initial subsidy of 1.57 GS thus increases the supply by 3.47%, and the total annual inflation in 2021 will be at most 10.4% (if zero coins are burned). In 2022, total annual inflation will be at most 6.28%, and will steadily decrease in subsequent years.
We see the establishment of the Foundation as an important step in the maturation of the Sia project. It provides the ecosystem with a sustainable source of funding that can be exclusively directed towards achieving Sia's ambitious goals. Compared to other projects with far deeper pockets, Sia has always punched above its weight; once we're on equal footing, there's no telling what we'll be able to achieve. Nevertheless, we do not propose this change lightly, and have taken pains to ensure that the Foundation will act in accordance with the ideals that this community shares. It will operate transparently, keep inflation to a minimum, and respect the user's fundamental role in decentralized systems. We hope that everyone in the community will consider this proposal carefully, and look forward to a productive discussion.
Predictions: 2020 The USMC will adopt Lululemon PT uniforms. The new trend in flash mob performances will be speed metal rock and mosh pits. “Duck face” will be required on all passport photos. Amtrak will open new lines and reinvent itself using popular themes. All northern lines will Polar Express trains. All southern routes will be Chattanooga Choo-Choo trains. All West Coast trains will be called Orient Express. And all other lines will be called Thomas the Tank Engine routes and will include animatronic faces on the fronts of all trains that can answer passenger questions. “This is the reality of operating in Fantasyland today,” will say the Director of the Amtrak Board.
UsToo, #ThemToo and #YouToo will be the new viral social media phenomena.
TRUMP will open on Broadway. Taylor Swift will be named Democratic Party candidate for POTUS. Armed teachers will proliferate in rural counties and school districts across the US. So will tactical shooting schools and courses, for teachers and students. Many school districts will open and manage their own shooting ranges. Shooting teams, rifle, pistol and shotgun, precision and tactical, will become the hot new sports in rural schools. Personal bubbles will become hot new products and services. They will sell by the millions. These will be actual bubbles that people wear when they leave the sanctuary of their homes. They will come in various sizes, colors, and several ballistic and acoustic ratings. They will offer defense not only from bullets and knives, but also from antagonistic ideas, annoying co-workers, troubling truths and mean parents. Fortnite will unveil a “permanent residence” option, including sustenance, hygiene and employment options, allowing for users to never have to leave the game. Robots will replace nurses in nursing homes. A majority of residents will claim the robots are better than their “biofamilies.” The American Baptist Association will re-issue warnings to all faithful to be careful during sex, lest dancing spontaneously happen. LeBron James will hold a press conference and ask all NBA fans, “How the hell did I become the old man of basketball?” To which Michael Jordan will tweet, “Dude…” Trump will announce that each US citizen will be issued a firearm of their choice, any make, caliber or model, but with the stipulation that participants must prove that they do not already own any firearms. “We’re not adding to anyone’s collection,” Trump will say at a White House press conference. “We just need more good guys and good gals out there with the tools to engage the bad guys.” “Oh, fuck me,” most law enforcement officers will say to each other. Tactical body armor with roll over the fashion industry like a ceramic plate typhoon. Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard will be seen leaving a hotel room early one morning after a Democratic Party debate, leading to all sorts of media questions and speculations, and to calls by the Gay and Lesbian Legitimacy Board for investigations. The American Psychiatric Association will announce that anxiety is actually a treatment for depression. A report from the Coalition of Conservative Scientists will claim that all existing species of animals, and also some plants, engage in rape, and so did the dinosaurs, and thus it is part of the natural order. “So, get over it.” Scientific American, Science News and National Geographic will all publish editorials, in response, claiming that the same can be said of homosexual behavior, documented in hundreds of other animals species, in nature. “So, you first.” Greenland will become the new Florida. Florida will become the new Atlantis. Gondoleer will become a hot new job opportunity in Miami, New Orleans and New York. The entire Sackler family will have their last name legally changed to Gonzalez. India will announce a new campaign to reform Jammu and Kashmir into the “Indian Switzerland,” complete with quaint mountain villages, lots of ski resorts and hundreds of new mountain gondolas and aerial trams. Prime Minister Modi will announce contests to select a new cheese, new beer and Hindu mountain lederhausen to support the new Jammu and Kashmir brand. The first SETI signal will be received from aliens claiming that they have Jeffrey Epstein and that they would like to return him. But, they still want to hang onto Elvis for a while longer, if that is OK. Boeing’s stock will rebound and surge after they rebrand the 737 Max to the 737 Maxine. Greta Thunberg will appear in the next X-Men movie as ClimaRage and will beat down Magneto with guilt and shame. Joe Biden will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but will not pull out of the race. “Does it even matter anymore?” he will say at the press conference announcing the diagnosis. Hong Kong will go dark and become the worlds largest abandoned mall. Disney will announce its purchase of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The entertainment behemoth will claim that only it has the resources to successfully complete the renovation of the fire-damaged landmark, and the culture to maintain French history and tradition. Tours of the site will begin soon after and will be led by Snow White and Mickey Mouse. Disney will also announce that it has purchased Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China, and that all these new properties will be anchors for new entertainment megahubs. Disney spokespeople will claim that only Disney has the resources to maintain these historical and cultural marvels, and at the same time better leverage their tourism revenue potentials. And they also have animated feature length movies for each site, coincidentally. A Religious Liberty bill will be signed into law reassigning all non-Christians to their new Christian denominations. Buddhists will become Baptists. Muslims will become Methodists. The Hindus will become Congregationalists. Mormons will become Presbyterians. “What about us?” the Unitarians will ask in a barely heard voice, to which the official response will be, “Go talk to the Catholics. Maybe they want you.” Pay day loans, reverse mortgages and high frequency trading will be recognized by the SEC, FTC and Justice Department as key corruptions and cancers to capitalism. Nonetheless, they will spread and proliferate like weeds. New types and styles of snake oils and shell games will join them in the disfigurement of capitalism. A growing number and majority of stores, restaurants and businesses in general will no longer accept cash, preferring credit cards and digital currency. Most panhandlers, prostitutes and drug dealers will also stop accepting cash and will instead require PayPal, Venmo or Bitcoin. Surveillance will become ubiquitous as all devices in our lives - phones, doorbells, coffeemakers, tablets, speakers, watches, TVs, thermostats, crockpots, electrical plugs, litter boxes, remote controls, dog collars, security systems, vibrators, cars, weapons, (the list is growing) etc. - will harvest data about our lives and behaviors and feed that data to “data brokers” who analyze and sell that to other corporations. In response to this growing threat, personal data security companies will emerge that will require customers to register their personal data with them and will promise to protect that data. People will fall for this. Online social influencer and personal data broker will become top paying jobs. The first inter-species hybrid human will come to light in a gene-splicing lab somewhere in China. It will be either a pigboy or a monkeygirl. Scientific and medical authorities around the world will express their outrage. Meanwhile, millions will clamor to place orders for puppyboys and kittygirls. The U.S. Department of Defense will officially begin planning strategies to weaponize the Internet. PornhubDoD.mil will be announced as the “nuclear option.” The Republican and Democratic parties will assume new nicknames, the Hatfields and McCoys. “Oh, puh-lease,” will say 89-year-old Dolly Hatfield, granddaughter of “Devil” Anse Hatfield, of Possum Holler, Kentucky, to reporters from her nursing home, “we was never as bad as all them DC politicians. They’re downright crazy. We was just a mite pissed off.” Dating apps will go the way of porn magazines as mating algorithms begin populating our phones and browsers with photos of candidates in our lane, based on various demographic variables. Amazon and Google will provide online weddings, will even provide avatars to act as bridesmaid and best-man. Digisex will trend as the new safe alternative to physical sex. The $15.5 trillion US corporate debt bubble, 74% of US GDP, will burst, throwing the US into economic chaos. Celebrations, by those who have dreamed of the event, will be short-lived when it is realized that no one’s phones work. Nancy Pelosi and Bill Maher will be the first residents to check in at a luxurious new reeducation camp outside of Fairbanks. The string of new American Gulags with be a booming new industry and will provide many jobs for patriotic Alaskans. Many US churches will begin installing security checkpoints, gun emplacements and sniper overwatch. Many schools will implement TCPs, Traffic Control Points, manned by armed security personnel, except at rural schools, where TCPs will be manned by armed teachers and parents, and in some districts, students. The PSC, Private Security Corporation, industry will surge and boom like a high school band at halftime at a Friday night football game. High school bands will begin wearing tactical body armor at Friday night halftimes. Hillary Clinton will finally reveal the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. “I told her not to do it!” Bill will say at her trial. Trump will get reelected and will immediately sign an executive order establishing The Department of Truth, whose mandate will be to officially and legally determine which facts are truths and which are lies. Using the term “alternative facts” will become illegal. The Democratic Party candidates for president will switch from debates to playing concerts as a band, during which each gets a solo spotlight, during which they have 5 minutes to play their instrument and riff on politics. Squabbles over who plays lead guitar and the drums will follow the band throughout their tour. Buttigieg will never stop complaining about having to play the flute. A startup company will release a new product called the Emonilometer, which will measure a person’s emotional and spiritual depth and flow. Various plans ands price points will be available. Sales will soar as customers catch on that the more you pay the deeper your flow. (Note: A “nilometer” is used to measure river depth and flow, was first used by the ancient Egyptians.) Multiple sources within the White House will claim that Trump’s favorite new phrase is “It’s good to be the king.” Sources close to Mel Brooks will claim that his favorite new phrase is, “Oy vey.” A new extinct human species will be discovered. Homo idioticus will answer a lot of burning questions regarding the human tree of evolution, and the current state of humanity. The collapse of the dairy industry, due to unmanageable costs and ratios, will lead scientists and farmer to look for other sources of milk, beyond almond and oat. New options will include shark milk, beetle milk, flamingo milk and even spider milk, for which demand will quickly out-strip supplies, due to consumers hoping for spider super powers. A joint Chinese-Israeli-SpaceX project will start building a lunar station on the moon. The station will be focused on research and mining, but also will offer “Do It On the Moon” romantic get-away packages for couples. The Labor Secretary will quip during a press conference that “retirement is for pussies.” US Space Command will begin selecting and training its first class of Space Rangers. LSD and psilocybin will be the new cure-all super-drugs, for everything from depression, addiction and dementia. Doctors and pharmacists will take to referring to these as Timothy Leary treatments. Members of the Leary family will demand a cut of the action. Coach Orgeron and LSU will replace Saban and Alabama as the defining college football program, and will set new standards in 2020 when LSU becomes the first to sign a QB right out of middle school. Other schools will soon follow. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will make a soft porn short film together in an attempt to connect with American voters. Copyright Jeff Forker 2020
Weekly Update: Launch of McAfeeDex, Hydro partners with OmiseGo, Jarau’s Uptrennd success story, OST’s Pepo @DevCon5... – 4 Oct - 10 Oct'19
Sup folks! Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (4 Oct - 10 Oct'19): First off, super congratulations to Alexis for becoming a Parachute admin. Woot woot! In the words of Cap: "Long overdue and much appreciated!". Doc Victor hosted a games trivia in Tiproom with 2500 $PAquestion prize. 10 questions. Charlotte’s Math and Voice Clip trivia in Tiproom were another 10 Qs each at 2500 $PAR per Q. Sweet. Ian got $PAR listed in the newly launched McAfeeDex (more on that later). Thank ya Ian! Cryptopreneurs looking for some guidance? Check out Cap’s recommended reading for the week – Haseeb Qureshi of Dragonfly Capital talks about how "pretty much everyone is winging it", how that's part of the journey and how to move from a maybe to a sure thing. Cap says the article “has a hundred powerful little points for building a company (in any space really) that resonate through what we do here at Parachute”. Great stuff! Parachute announced a partnership with Pynk this week. Pynk is an investment platform that uses crowd wisdom to make investment decisions. They will be using ParJar to share USDC and PAR with their community. Welcome on board Pynksters! Cap, Ice and Shawn in NYC checking out the new WeWork office View from the office Victor’s 10 question Friday trivia at aXpire had a 100 $AXPR prize for each question. Neat! Click here to watch the latest weekly recap from aXpire. The new Resolvr promo video was launched. The Resolvr and Bilr twitter handles were started as well. This week’s $AXPR burn saw 200k tokens removed from total supply permanently. CEO Gary Markham was interviewed by PetaCrunch. 2gether’s Crypto Talent contest got coverage from Being Crypto. Founder Salvador recorded training videos for participants of the contest. The platform was featured in an article on Merca2. Spanish speakers, have a look! Emprende TVE did a quick mention, as the team bid farewell to South Summit and travelled to Freshworks Inc's Experience Roadshow. Read up on CEO Ramon’s thoughts on Facebook’s Libra in this Forbes article published this week. The XIO community voted to keep the twitter public in order to keep content available to non-citizens as well. As part of the Binance Dex listing proposal*, the team continued to answer queries raised by the BNB community. Great bit of chatter on the thread on how the XIO ecosystem will work. Andrew (cryptocoindude) wrote a review of the BOMB project which came out this week. \[As already shared, the switch to Binance Chain has been shelved. $XIO will continue stay on Ethereum chain. But there will still be a token swap. Details will be shared in a future update]* Bilr UX: simple and intuitive The $ETHOS to $VGX rebrand requires collaboration from a large set of partners. In line with this, Shingo announced the Rebrand Partner Program. Plus, a shoutout to Voyager from Scott Melker in his CoinTelegraph article was the perfect way to cap off the week. SelfKey is officially out of beta with the latest update. You can read all about it in the detailed article on SelfKey v1.3.0. Also, a summary of all that has happened in September can be found here. We have covered most of these in previous updates. John McAfee launched his self branded decentralised exchange McAfeeDex. This is the first white label Dex built on the SwitchDex contract. Massive! The news was featured on CoinTelegraph, Decrypt, Bitcoin.com, AMBCrypto, Bitcoinist, Block Publisher, Coinspeaker and U.Today. Here’s a guide on how to use the Dex. The smart contract and front end is open sourced and there are bounties to BUIDL more fun stuff on it. Listing any ERC20 on the McAfeeDex is free and the Dex will support more blockchains in the future. SwitchDex will also be offering anyone the chance to launch their own Dex’es called portals built on their smart contract. Click here to see how. Platform fees from McAfeeDex will be distributed to exchange operators and ESH and SDEX token holders. Want to spend a day with the man himself? Get in on the ESH Trading Competition! Also, the social media bounties were distributed this week. McAfeeDex vs Others. Check the last row. Haha For the technically inclined, Andre Cronje’s latest post explains Fantom’s current project status. A community member got Uptrennd’s $1UP token listed on McAfeeDex. Uptrennd underwent some upgrades this week while the community partied on Meme Monday. $1UP deposits are now live on the platform. Plus, a few other updates can be seen here. There’s also a post to read all the details on the deposit feature. Along with the consistent rise in Alexa rankings, Google ranking has steadily gone up as well. Congrats! Here’s looking at you Uptrennd crew! Amazing crypto success story of the week has to be Jarau’s journey of buying a laptop with his earned points on the platform. Even Altcoin Magazine featured this. Big up to ya Jarau! Catch up with the latest District Weekly from District0x by clicking here. Hydro entered into a partnership with OmiseGo to make use of their plasma chain tech so that Hydro Pay doesn’t stall even when Ethereum chain slows down. Biz Dev Mark Anstead was also in DevCon5 in Osaka this week to spread the word on Hydro and to demo OmiseGo’s plasma implementation in Hydro Pay at $OMG’s booth. As the Hydro crew prepared for their webinar on financial wellness to be held in a few weeks, their article on this hit the stands. Co-Founder Mike Kane also wrote about its use-cases and about accelerating of fintech innovation in an Oracle blog post. This week we got to see another sneak peek into the Hydro Vault which is currently under development. Super slick! KPMG Turkey became a certified member of the Hydro Partner Program. This will allow them to offer all Hydrogen solutions to their enterprise clients. Noice! Hydro Vault is sure to grab some major eyeballs As part of its Notary Consilium, Silent Notary set up a dedicated Telegram group for this. In the run up to DevCon5 at Osaka, beta testing of OST’s Pepo app saw it become the #1 non-game Ethereum dApp. Awesomeness! The formal live beta launch of Pepo saw founder Jason Goldberg and co-founder Benjamin Bollen introduce the app for the first time at Building the New Web and EthPlanet Lightning Talks events to DevCon5 attendees. Don’t forget to get the app today in order to catch your favourite crypto thought leader on there – from Bobby Ong to Amanda Gutterman to Jordan Spence and many more. The launch of Pepo was also covered by Decrypt in a feature article. Click here for pics from the Pepo sponsored Shabu Shabu dinner and pub crawl. Fun! And if you were in Osaka, hope you didn’t miss the Crypto Grows on Trees art exhibition. Another event sponsored by Pepo. Also, Pepo stats can be tracked on the OSTWatch as well. This week at Constellation involved the core team sharing insights about the project on various platforms. Co-Founder Ben Jorgensen shared some quick thoughts on how the team works on BizDev that makes it stand out from the rest. BD VP Benjamin Diggles travelled to Oregon Venture Blockchain Studio Demo Day to talk about $DAG. Read up on VP of Finance Mathis Goldmann's thoughts on Constellation's role in the future of blockchain - "The solution to this issue (of scalability) is third generation horizontally scalable blockchains like Constellation…". Ben’s interview with FomoHunt had a few easter eggs (*cough partnerships *cough) peppered in between. The Daily Chain covered the project in a detailed feature. Tons of $BAGS tokens were given away this week in a community-based SWOT analysis sprint on the project. Also, here’s a call-to-action for content creators. BAGS is looking for you. Collab opportunity FTW! And with that, it’s a wrap. See you again soon with another exciting update. Bye!
So you made yourself a little bit of money, huh? How nice.
So you made yourself a little bit of money, huh? How nice.
All your life, all you've ever wanted, is a little bit of money. And congratulations, now you have it. Does it feel nice? Does it feel like a dream come true? Of course it doesn't. It's all just numbers on a screen, staring at you like a pathetic joke. But thanks to your thankless job, you made yourself a little bit of money. How nice. And now, you, in all your half-decayed intelligence, have decided that you want to invest the little bit of money that you've made? Well, step right up to the raging wildfire that is the field of investing. We've got a shit-show full of stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate, gold and other commodities, all clamouring for your attention, and even more for your money. Done properly, you can retire into an ungodly amount of wealth. And done poorly, you can join the majority of investors setting their cash on fire, day in and day out. But don't feel daunted or scared. You're on the right path, and that's probably the only time you're going to hear those words in your life. Just the fact that you're thinking about investing your money puts you at a major advantage, just the fact that you've even made a little bit money is extremely rare. Look around you, what do you see? People that are so poor that they're crawling out of their tents on the roadside, people that are such douchebags that they're buying worthless bling like fur sweaters and gold chains, people that are so childish that they absolutely have to buy the latest iPhone with their credit cards, and people that are so dumb that they just can't be bothered to learn about investing. Just the fact that you're here now, thinking about investing, makes you part of an exclusive club. Before you get ahead of yourself and feel one cent of happiness for being better off than most, let me tell you something - there's an army of twats waiting to screw you out of the little bit of money that you've made, an army of twats who wants to take away the only thing that matters to your miserable existence anymore. These are crooked relationship managers who'll sell you anything to get commissions. These are unsuspecting relatives who'll recommend terrible investments just because they don't know any better. These are seedy stock brokers who'll push schemes offering incredibly high returns that are too good to be true. These are corrupt financial advisors who'll destroy your returns, either because they're incompetent or unscrupulous, or both. You've got an entire armada of twats just waiting to snatch the money right out of your wallet. What're you going to do about that? Are you going to put your head down and hand over the cash? Are you going to run to your mommy like the little bitch that you are? No, you're going to pull out a knife and stab that little twat right in the heart. And here's how to do that, beginning with a set of basic guidelines.
Savings are sexy
Let's be honest, you were never made of the stuff that gave wet dreams to women. Well, here's your chance. You know what all the girls like these days? It's not that ripped chest, or that sleak jawline. It's a man who saves. Step aside AXE body spray, there's a new sheriff in town. If you're spending more than you're earning, you've got bigger problems to worry. Before anything else, you need to make sure that you're bringing in more money than you're spending. So reign in your spending, delay gratification. That burger is going to taste pretty much the same without the overpriced slice of cheese. And the movie will probably be on Netflix in a few months.
Debt is your kryptonite
So you borrowed a little bit of money and are now stuck with the interest payments. That's okay, who hasn't done dumb stuff when they were young and full of hormones. I know I have. This one time I cleaned up an entire jar of mayonnaise thinking it was yogurt. Set some money aside every month, not just to pay the monthly minimum on your loans, but a little more so you can pre-pay all your debts. Some loans take priority over others: pay off your credit cards, personal loans and similar high-interest debt first. Keep in mind that not all loans are straight poison: those that help you develop assets like a home loan or increase future income like an education loan or business loan are alright. However, investing while carrying a high amount of debt is like playing football with one leg tied behind your back. Not exactly ideal.
Read like your life depends on it
Stop reading WhatsApp forwards, pick up a book, and then pick another one. If you don't develop a habit of reading properly, you're going to get a lot of poop flinged at you in this business. But if you can make it through a book every once in a while, get read to fling some poop on the n00bs. You don't have to go straight for the finance section. Begin with any book that sounds interesting to you, and work your way up. Reading not only helps you understand the world around you, but also develops a better personality and temperament within you. Most of you have the patience and memory of a goldfish, and generally speaking, goldfishes are not good investors.
Gold is old
Gold was what housewives in the 70s stockpiled in their cupboard because they had no other option. But you, you are the child of the 20th century. You actually know how to turn on the wi-fi. You have better options, like mutual funds. No matter what your uncle from the third cousin over says, investing in gold is setting your cash on fire. All it will do is make you feel good from the inside, while the eternal fireplace fuelled by your cash keeps burning in the background. Gold and silver are metals that we dig out of the ground. As an investment, they just sit there and stare at you. Just because they shine doesn't mean they're good investments. However, not everyone is convinced of this basic guideline. So if you're hell bent on investing in gold, I recommend going into the mountains and throwing yourself off a tall cliff. A medium-sized one works too.
Insurance =/= Investing
While housewives in the 70s had gold, housewives in the 80s had LIC*. Getting life insurance is critical if you have family that depends on your income, but insurance and investing, like pizza and pineapple, never mix well. Have you ever wondered what the insurance company does after collecting your premium money? Well, the company invests your premium money in stocks and bonds, which is also what mutual funds do. So let the insurance people insure, and let the investing people invest. Separation of labour was something that the caveman figured out in 2nd century. It's time you evolved from being a caveman.
Real estate is not real investing
The only reason for you to buy property is if you're going to be living in it. Buying real estate purely as an investment is one of the worst decisions you could ever make. Real estate: is an illiquid market (need to wait to find a buyer or seller), has high transaction costs (stamp duty and other bullshit charges), has a lot of red tape (needs several government approvals) and faces high maintenance costs (occasional cost of paint and plumbing here and there). However, every other Tom, Dick and Harry will tell you that real estate is a great investment. Why? Because real estate is how Indians signal wealth to others. It is how Indians demand respect from the chaar log committee. It's how we tell people that we've got a big dick, and we're not afraid to swing it around. You don't have a big dick. Tuck that little stinker back in your pants. You're just embarrassing yourself.
Pick your poison properly
Identifying the bad investments is a greater skill than identifying the good investments. Now that gold and real estate have been vilified as bad investments, let's turn to the places that actually deserve your money - mutual funds. For the uninitiated, which includes most of you idiots, a mutual fund collects your money and invests it in the stock market on your behalf. A diversified basket of stocks in good quality companies will outperform most other investments over any time period longer than 10 years. Mutual funds can give you this diversified basket of stocks. If you haven't been living under a rock for the past few years, you've probably see the advertising campaign - Mutual Funds Sahi Hai. And if you have been living under a rock, stay there. We're doing great without you.
Get yourself into a coma
The best investors, the ones who win the game in the long-term, always have patience. When you're investing in stocks or mutual funds, you need to have a minimum time horizon of more than 5 years. Any less than that, and out come the fireplaces that are fuelled by your cash. Mentally, you need to be in a place where the stock market might run off a cliff screaming into the wind tomorrow morning, and you'll still continue investing as per your plan because you're thinking about the long term. This ensures that your emotions, influenced by the ups and downs of the stock market, don't get in your own way. Ideally, you want to invest and immediately get yourself into a coma. Trust me, no one will notice that you're gone. You're one person in a world with seven billion people. You're really insignificant in the larger scheme of the Illuminati.
Don't watch CNBC
All your life, you've only made socially acceptable choices, because you crave validation from the people around you. To your repitillian brain, approval from strangers feels better than an orgasm. But when it comes to investing, never seek validation of your choices, especially not from the pundits on CNBC. Televised business news focuses on the shortest of short terms, while you need to keep your eye on the longest of long terms. Yes, it is important to keep tabs on current events, but there are far better sources of information than the nightly news. I recommend reading Livemint and Reuters for news. Those two outfits did not pay me to endorse them, but if the PR people over there are reading this, give me a call. I accept cash, cheques and PayTM. Fuck it, I'll even take bitcoin.
Keep It Simple, Shithead
Here is a basic plan on how to use your money when you get paid every month. First off, take care of any loans by paying off the hungry bankers who will come demanding their pound of flesh. Pay off all credit cards, in full and on time. Now, estimate how much you're going need for your monthly bills - this includes everything from your electric bill to your tab at the local bar. Deduct that amount and invest the rest of your money. When it comes to investing, begin by putting in three months of your monthly expenses in a liquid mutual fund. This is your emergency cash stash. Next up, depending on your time horizon and risk appetite, select a combination of ~3-8 mutual funds. There are a few different types of mutual funds, here's a handy rule of thumb to navigate them:
High time horizon
Low time horizon
Low risk appetite
Large-cap equity funds
Debt mutual funds
High risk appetite
Mid/small/multi-cap equity funds
Debt mutual funds
When you're done, set up SIPs so that you don't have to do the transfers manually each month. Every year, take some time off to review this process.
This basic plan will require tweaking, depending on the context of your life. But having that plan is very important, not just for your financial life but also for the rest of your life. In the back of your mind, you've always known that. But you never followed through on making a plan, and now your life is just a series of mistakes and regrets. Is that why you drink so much? The lords of literature require that I write a conclusion to this piece. But this is not the end. This is the beginning of your investing journey. The basic guidelines mentioned here are intended to serve as the starting point for your own research. These guidelines are not rocket science, they are not supposed to be complicated. A person of average intelligence and awareness can reasonably expect to understand and follow them. The question is: are you a person of average intelligence and awareness? Assuming that enough of you read this, statistics require half of you to admit that you're dumb as a rock. Always keep an eye out for the armada of twats that will try to convince you that investing is rocket science, simply so they can charge you high fees or lure you into unprofitable investments. Done poorly, you can expect a mid-life crisis magnified by a bonfire of your cash. Done properly, you can create the kind of wealth that can benefit you as well as your future generations. You've already disappointed your parents. Don't disappoint your children now.
Side note: If you're a housewife from the 70s or 80s who objects to your characterization in this article, please write a formal letter of complaint and shove it up your butt.
Weekly Update: Welcome HYDRO to ParJar, Parachute newsletter signup, MatchBX Gigs, Wysker Series and Continuous Wyskering... - 22 Mar - 28 Mar'19
Good day everyone! Here’s another update for the whirlwind week we had at Parachute and Parachute/ParJar partners. IRL work keeps me from churning these out on time. Working on catching up quickly to try to post future weekly updates faster: A cool new community started to interact with ParJar this week. HYDRO was added to ParJar and ParJar added to the Hydro group. Fantom did a shoutout and CoinPedia also tweeted about ParJar. Thank you guys! Which makes me think, if this shoutout of the shoutout to our original shoutout is shoutouted by Fantom again, would it be a shoutoutception? Hmm. Also, we had our quirkiest game in ParJar yet. Parachuters had to use this site to find the most bizarre item. Best ones would win some cool PAR. Haha! The top picks were from Patri cko, Cryptovan and Clinton. New Wonders of the World circa 2019 There’s a new email signup link for folks new to Parachute. If you’re not receiving Cap’s emails, you can sign up there. Close to USD 600 has already been raised for the Charity Parena. Woot! To get in, make a small donation (min USD 5 or crypto equivalent directly and let Jason know or tip Clinton through ParJar) and get a chance to win a 1-of-a-kind shirt from the Parachute Shop! Plus, kiddie gear is now available in the Parachute Shop. All profits from the shop go to charity. Games Master Jason turned 34 this week. Belated Happy Birthday to ya Florida Man! We had uber fun with an accidental Cap discovery this week. Add your favorite number at the end of the following link to jump to any chat in the group. For example the following link takes you to the first ever message in Parachute. Awesome! Three Good Bois are counting on you to sign up for the Parachute newsletter The 2gether card was launched on 27th March for use across the Eurozone. The presale event is now listed on ICObench. Make sure to check out the BCT ANN. Admins on their TG are rewarding members with 2GB who make thoughtful posts there. 2gether has an opening for a Java Software Engineer. Have a look at their job listing and apply if you have what it takes! Spanish speakers are in for a treat this week: Cointelegraph discussed about the company in a write-up, founder Salvador’s article on the zero marginal cost concept was featured in a UNIR publication and CEO Ramon’s interview during a Madrid Stock Exchange visit also came out. The 2GT token will be issued as a Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) in Malta. Read more about it here. 2gether is the only one with a regulated token Still figuring out how to deploy your trading algo to your Binance account? Here’s a detailed look on how to set up your API keys and deploying a strategy to live markets on Binance using the Cryzen Code Studio. Also, belated birthday wishes to Shuvro. Hope you had a great one! Folks who haven’t subscribed to the Cryzen YouTube yet, subscribe now. They now have a custom handle. Community member Jonny did a little Cryzen shoutout towards the end of his detailed Crypto Asset Prediction Series. This week’s Saturday Rock Wars at PurpleCoin was for the best guitarist of all time. Jimi Hendrix won the public vote by a whopping margin. BOMB token is looking for ambassadors who can bring “liquidity, awareness, and education to the project”. Learn more about it here. Checked out Wysker Series yet? These are listicles of bundled relevant content aimed at user growth. Design geeks will find it fascinating. Plus, the app will see a new feature soon called Continuous Wyskering. Jonathan says: “After finishing one story, users will no longer have to go back to the home screen to discover new stories. Instead, the next story in line can be accessed with a simple swipe.” Neat! And finally, Birdchain has partnered with Blocklads to bring educational content to the app's learn tab. Look out for new content in that section! Shuvro’s ETC bot showing decent gainz Gigs are now live on MatchBX. Freelancers can create listings for their services directly and job posters can directly hire freelancers from there. Win win! If you’re not sure of what MatchBX is, read up on it here. Plus, the weekly AXPR burn went on as scheduled. Bounty0x crossed 500k+ monthly page views this week with a ~30% return visitor rate. If you’ve participated in a Cures Token bounty on Bounty0x, this article is super relevant. Also, KABN partnered with Bounty0x this week for running promotional bounties for their token offering. The ETHOS token is now listed on the ChangeNOW exchange. Much has been said about the Voyager-ETHOS deal so far. Shingo explains in this article why the partnership will be “setting new standards of transparency”. District0x’s weekly update covers a range of topics including Brady’s interview with A Garden of Crypto on all things District0x. AXPR tokenomics Altcoin Buzz featured Opacity this week and talked about their current development roadmap which includes the 1.0 site launch (which was also this week). Check out opacity.io for a look and feel of what’s in store for May. Badcredit wrote about Horizon State with a detailed piece. The Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council was announced this week as well. “The voting process has been transparent and historic - for the first time in South Australian Government history, Blockchain technology was used for the voting process." Big up to Horizon State for becoming a part of history! And finally, they closed off the week with a bang by getting listed on CoinExchange.io. John McAfee talks about Switch around the 11 minute mark in this interview with Satoshi Sean. Blockport was the centrepiece of this Coinvision article that explains the ins and outs of both the exchange as well as the BPT/BPS tokens. The Blockport STO is set for April 15th with more details in this post. If you’re interested and live in the EU or the US, the whitelist procedure is explained here. And finally, onto some Fantom news. Coinspeaker elaborates what the myriad partnerships mean for Fantom in this article. Like last week, Fantom capped off this week too with another exchange listing – ChainX. Boom! Thank you for taking the time. See you soon with another weekly update. Cheerio!
Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist
Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist 2017-06-13 08:00:18.224 GMT By Matthew Leising (Bloomberg Markets) -- Summer colds are the worst, and Emin Gün Sirer had caught a wicked bug from his 1-year-old son. So it was with watering eyes and a stuffy nose that the associate professor of computer science at Cornell found himself working from his sickbed on Monday, June 13, 2016. Gün—everyone calls him Gün—couldn’t tear himself away from his laptop. He had another type of bug in his sights, a flaw in a line of computer code he feared put $250 million at risk of being stolen. It wasn’t just any code. It was the guts of the newest breakthrough in software design related to blockchain, the novel combination of decentralized computing and cryptography that gave life to the virtual currency bitcoin in 2009. Since then, the promise of blockchain to transform industries from finance to health care has captured imaginations in corporate boardrooms and governments alike. Yet what the Turkish-born professor was exploring that Monday was the next leap forward from bitcoin, what’s known as the ethereum blockchain. Rather than moving bitcoin from one user to another, the ethereum blockchain hosts fully functioning computer programs called smart contracts—essentially agreements that enforce themselves by means of code rather than courts. That means they can automate the life cycle of bond payments, say, or ensure that pharmaceutical companies can authenticate the sources of their drugs. Yet smart contracts are also new and mostly untested. Like all software, they are only as reliable as their coding—and Gün was pretty sure he’d found a big problem. In an email sent to one of his graduate students, Philip Daian, at 7:30 p.m., Gün noted that the smart contract he was looking at might have a problem—on line 666. (They say the devil is in the details.) Gün feared the bug could allow a hacker to make unlimited ATM-like withdrawals from the millions, even if the attacker, who’d have needed to be an investor, had only $10 in his account. This staggering amount of money lived inside a program called a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Dreamed up less than a year earlier and governed by a smart contract, the DAO was intended to democratize how ethereum projects are funded. Thousands of dreamers and schemers and developers who populate the cutting edge of computer science, most of them young, had invested in the DAO. This was real money, a quarter of a billion dollars, their money, meant to build a better version of the world, and every cent was at risk. Gün, who wears his dark hair short and looks a decade younger than his 45 years, had already been tracking and publicizing flaws in the DAO’s design. A few weeks earlier, on May 27, along with two colleagues, he’d urged investors to stop buying into the DAO until security issues could be fixed. It had been too late, however, and the program went live the next day. Smart contracts such as the DAO are built to be entirely reliant on their code once released on the ethereum blockchain. That meant the DAO code couldn’t be fixed. Other blockchain experts—including Peter Vessenes, co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation—had also pointed out security flaws in the smart contract, but Gün appears to be the first to pinpoint the flaw that put the money in jeopardy. The problem was the code was so new that no one knew what to expect—or even if there was actually a problem in the first place. Gün had his doubts, too. This wasn’t even his job. He does this for fun. Daian didn’t think they’d found anything either. Over email, he said, “We might be up the creek ;).” Later, when Gün pointed to the error in line 666, Daian replied, “Don’t think so.” Gün says, “We don’t sound the alarm bell every time we find a bug that seems suspicious.” Instead, he went to bed to try to kill his cold—the one bug he knew to be real. “I was too miserable to sort it out,” he says. Four days later, Christoph Jentzsch lay on the floor of his home office, taking deep breaths, trying not to panic. It was Friday morning, and software developers all over the Western world were waking up to the news that the DAO, which Jentzsch had created, was being attacked. Gün had been right. Jentzsch, who has dark hair and a perpetual five o’clock shadow, lives with his family in the Mittweida region of Germany, a rural spot not far from the Czech border. Mornings in the Jentzsch household are a whirlwind as he and his wife get their five children—age 2 to 9—fed and off to school. Yet today, after his brother Simon woke him with a call that the DAO was being hacked, Jentzsch had to ignore his familial duties. “You’ve got the kids,” he told his wife. “I have an emergency.” This is the story of one of the largest digital heists in history. And while you may have heard last year that hackers breached Swift, the bank-to-bank messaging system, and stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank, the DAO attack is in a different category altogether. It played out in front of anyone who cared to watch and couldn’t be stopped. Just as the global WannaCry ransomware attack in May laid bare weaknesses in computer operating systems, the DAO hack exposed the early frailties of smart-contract security and left many in the community shaken because they hadn’t found the bug in time. The aftermath would eventually pit good hackers against bad ones—the white hats vs. the black hats—in the strange and futuristic- sounding DAO Wars. The roots of the DAO belong to an idea Jentzsch borrowed from another internet-fueled phenomenon: crowdfunding. The 32- year-old Jentzsch, a theoretical physicist by training, and a few colleagues started Slock.it in 2015. As they considered how to fund the company, Jentzsch approached it as many had—sell a digital currency, effectively a token, to raise cash. But why should each new startup have to program its own initial coin offering? Jentzsch wondered. What if one huge fund ruled them all? He introduced his idea to the world at DevCon 1 in London in November 2015. “What is the blockchain way of creating a company?” Jentzsch asked his audience. “Of course, it has to be a DAO.” It would work like this: Ether, a virtual currency like bitcoin, would be used to fund and develop applications on the ethereum blockchain—things such as making a music app similar to iTunes or a ride-sharing service along the lines of Uber. Investors would buy DAO tokens with their ether; the tokens would allow them to vote to fund projects they liked. If the app they backed made money, the token holder shared in the profit. In the six months he spent creating the DAO, Jentzsch thought it would raise $5 million. From April 30 to May 28, the DAO crowdfunding pulled in $150 million. That’s when ether traded just below $12. As the price of ether rose in the following weeks to $20.75 the day before the attack, so too did the value of the DAO, putting a $250 million target on this thing Jentzsch had unknowingly brought into the world with a fatal, original sin. “Our hope was it would be the center of a decentralized sharing economy,” says Jentzsch, who now regrets not capping the amount raised. “For such a big experiment, it was way too early.” In the weeks after the attack, Jentzsch and the rest of the ethereum community would come to grips with their own crisis that, writ small, echoed the bank bailouts and government rescues of 2008. “It became too big to fail,” he says. But why would anyone invest in the DAO in the first place? It has something to do with the strain of digital libertarianism at the heart of the ethereum community, much like the set of beliefs that led to the birth of bitcoin. Think of bitcoin as the first global currency whose use can’t be stopped by governments or corporations; on top of that, bitcoin is almost impossible to hack. Ethereum, then, is another level beyond. It’s an uncensorable global computer. As amazing and unprecedented as that is, it’s also a bit terrifying. Brought to life, the DAO ended up staggering off the table and turning on the community that wanted it so badly. Accustomed to working into the night to stay in touch with colleagues in North America, Jentzsch blows off steam by jogging or kayaking on the nearby Zschopau River. Yet on that Friday morning, he had the more pressing task of pulling himself up off the floor and dealing with the attack. “I went into emergency mode: Don’t try to save the DAO,” he says. “No, it’s over.” It was far from over. Several hours later and half a world away from the Jentzsch household in Mittweida, Alex Van de Sande was waking up in his apartment in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. The baby-faced ethereum developer had been born in the small fishing village of Santa Cruz Cabrália in the Bahia region of Brazil and moved with his parents to Rio when he was about 3 years old. These days he’s known as “avsa” on Reddit and Twitter. After reaching for his phone to see why it was blowing up with Skype messages, he turned to his wife and said, “Remember when I was telling you about that huge unhackable pile of money?” She nodded. “It’s been hacked,” he told her. His first thought was to get his DAO tokens out. He owned about 100,000 of them, valued at about $15,000 at the time. He’s the lead designer of the Ethereum Wallet app, a program that allows him and anyone else to interact with the blockchain. Van de Sande scrambled to log in to it, but his password didn’t work. It was glitching, and as he worked to fix it, his panic subsided. He realized he shouldn’t be bailing on the DAO but trying to save it. And to do that, he needed Griff. Griff Green, who’s worked variously as a massage therapist in Los Angeles and a community organizer in Seattle, is one of only a handful of people in the world who holds a master’s degree in digital currencies. He got it online, natch, from the University of Nicosia. A self-described “dreamer,” the 32-year- old is the closest thing Ethereumville has to a mayor. Green knows everybody; in fact, he’d been the first to relay word of the attack to Simon, Jentzsch’s brother and a co-founder of Slock.it. Green had been working for Slock.it for about six months by then and woke up that morning in the house belonging to Jentzsch’s mom in Mittweida. Jentzsch is one of nine children, so his mother had a spare bedroom where she could put Green up for a few days. Using his extensive contacts, Green started identifying as many people as he could who were interacting with the DAO—going so far as to ask strangers to send pictures or scans of their IDs—in an attempt to sort friend from foe. And then something strange happened: The attack stopped working. In the six hours since the attack began, the thief had managed to steal 30 percent of the DAO’s 12 million ether—which that day equaled about $55 million. “We don’t even understand why the guy had stopped,” says Van de Sande. Now Green raced to protect the remaining 70 percent of the DAO the attacker hadn’t stolen. Once Van de Sande got in touch with Green in Germany, along with two or three others, the foundation was laid for what would become known as the Robin Hood group—white hat hackers who’d devise a bold good-guy plan to drain the remaining DAO. To save the DAO, they’d have to steal the remaining ether, then give it back to its rightful owners. And yet as they scrambled that Friday, qualms emerged within the group. “What does it even mean to hack something?” Van de Sande asks. No one knew if what they were about to do was legal. Also, wouldn’t their hack look just as bad as the theft they were trying to stop? Then there were the practical issues. “Who pushes the button?” he remembers wondering. Doing so would initiate their counterattack and alert the community. “Someone has to push the button.” The price of ether the night before the attack had hit an all-time high of just above $20. News of the hack sent it tumbling to $15 by the end of Friday, wiping out almost a half- billion dollars in market value. At that price, the DAO still held $125 million, and the Robin Hood group worried the attack would resume. They might be the only line of defense if it did, so Van de Sande agreed to use his DAO tokens to fuel their counterattack, thereby becoming a public face of the group. At this point, it might help to think of the DAO as the spacecraft in Alien after Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence. To flee, she’s forced to use an escape pod. DAO investors had to initiate a similar sequence to deploy escape pods that would allow them to get their ether out of the DAO. The code that dictated the escape pods’ behavior is where the bug lived, so to steal the remaining DAO funds the Robin Hood group would have to be in a pod to exploit the flaw—and because of the way Jentzsch wrote the DAO, they had only a short window of time and just a few pods to choose from. A few minutes before launching the attack, Van de Sande joked on the group’s Skype chat, “Let’s go rob a bank!” No one laughed. “Not everyone really appreciated the humor,” he says. In his Copacabana apartment, Van de Sande readied to push the button on his laptop. Then, suddenly, he lost his internet connection. His router was down. “I was like, What the f--- is going on here?” he says. He had less than 30 minutes left to execute the Robin Hood hack. He frantically called NET, his Brazilian internet service provider, but couldn’t get past the automated customer service experience. He says the robotic voice told him, “We see there’s an internet issue in your neighborhood.” The irony was not lost on him: Here he was trying to steal millions of dollars from a robot but was being waylaid by another robot. “Then we missed,” he says. The window closed. He went from the high of feeling like they were about to come to the rescue of the vulnerable DAO to the crushing low of having their international connection severed by NET’s breakdown. He took his dog, Sapic—named after the one in Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother—for a walk, then crawled into bed, defeated. The next morning was Saturday, and Van de Sande tried to reconvene the Robin Hood group to infiltrate another escape pod. But folks were busy and couldn’t get together. “We felt like the worst hackers in history,” Van de Sande says. “We were foiled by bad internet and family commitments.” Who, exactly, were they at war with? No one really knows, but there are some clues. One address the attacker used is 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7c C785051a77D. Got that? Like everything else in a blockchain, a user’s address is an anonymous string of characters. But every address leaves behind a history on the blockchain that’s open for examination. Not that it makes sense to 99.9 percent of humankind, but Green gets it. To pull off his heist, the attacker needed to create a contract that would interact with the DAO. He did so on June 15 and deployed it in the early morning hours two days later, according to Green. Once activated, the attack contract started sending about $4,000 worth of ether through the attacker’s account every three or four minutes to drain the DAO. But where did the original money to fund the attack come from? To interact with the ethereum blockchain, every contract must be funded by an amount of ether. This attack contract was funded by two addresses, but tracing it further back becomes tricky. That’s because the second address used an exchange called ShapeShift to send 52 ether into its account on June 14. ShapeShift doesn’t collect any information on its users and says it turns one virtual currency, such as bitcoin, into another, like ether, in less than 10 seconds. While there are valid reasons for using ShapeShift, it’s also a great way to launder digital assets and cover your tracks. After the attack contract stopped working, the thief needed to deploy it again, says Green. He tried but failed, and after a few more transactions, the hack whimpered to an end. (One possible reason the attack stopped, Green says, is that the hacker’s tokens became corrupted, which means he had no way to exploit the bug.) We know this limited amount of one-sided information from the blockchain’s public record. Digital asset exchanges see both sides. An internal investigation by one such exchange concluded that the DAO attacker was likely part of a group, not a lone wolf, based in Switzerland, according to an executive there who wouldn’t speak on the record or allow the company’s name to be used. Exchanges are in the unique position of being able to analyze the trading activity of their customers because they know who they are, even if they’re anonymous on the blockchain. The executive says the exchange shared the analysis with the Boston office of the FBI, though there’s been no further contact since October of last year. Cornell’s Gün says he also spoke to the Boston office of the FBI—and to agents in the New York office and to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. “It’s very difficult to coordinate an attack of this kind without leaving breadcrumbs behind,” Gün says. He encouraged the FBI to look at the ethereum testnet, where programmers can run their code in a safe environment to work out kinks. The attacker wouldn’t just launch such a complicated hack without testing it, Gün says he told federal officials, and the feds might be able to get clues to his identity there. Gün says he also pointed them to addresses linked to the attacker, such as the one described above, that were listed by his grad student Daian on his blog. (The FBI declined to comment.) “I’m absolutely amazed. Why has no one traced this back and found out who did it?” asks Stephan Tual, the third co-founder of Slock.it. “It still bugs me to this day, because what that person has done is incredibly unethical.” On Tuesday, four days after the initial attack, the hacker returned and somehow resumed the heist. The Robin Hood group had feared this moment would come and was ready. Early Sunday morning they’d finally managed to convene online and successfully infiltrate an escape pod, but had held off their counterattack. Now they had no choice. One strike against the group was their distance from one another—one in Rio, others scattered about Europe. (Some of the group’s members didn’t want to be identified for this story.) It was important that they coordinate their activities because, like in Charlie’s Angels, they all had different specialties: Green the community organizer, Van de Sande the public face, others who wrote the Robin Hood group attack contracts. So Van de Sande needed to be walked through the step-by-step hacking process they were about to unleash, because that wasn’t his area of expertise. “I’ll be honest, I was excited,” Green says. “This is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me. This is the craziest thing that’s almost ever happened to anyone.” Whether it was legal remains an unanswered question. “You literally have cyber ninjas warring on the blockchain,” says Vessenes, the programming expert. “What they’re doing is almost certainly illegal, but they’re claiming it’s for the greater good.” And now it was Van de Sande’s job to let the community know that the Robin Hood group counterattack was benign. He took to Twitter, where he wrote “DAO IS BEING SECURELY DRAINED. DO NOT PANIC.” A nod to the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, his plea to not panic was met with all the snark and real-life concern Twitter can handle. “NOTHING SAYS DO NOT PANIC LIKE ALL CAPS,” one user responded. “#RealLife is more exciting than
MrRobot !!” tweeted another. Yet as the Robin Hood group attack
gained steam, they noticed something strange and worrisome—the attacker was with them in every escape pod. “We escaped the mother ship, but now we’re alone in space with the alien we were trying to escape,” says Van de Sande. This was a big problem. Because of how Jentzsch wrote his code, the Robin Hood group would have to wait several weeks before they could secure the ether they recovered. Yet if the attacker was in that escape pod with the group, he could just follow them—what’s known as a stalking attack. If the hacker stalked the Robin Hood group, the ether wasn’t really safe after all. “The game only ends when one of these parties doesn’t show up to fight,” Van de Sande says. This, in essence, is the heart of the DAO Wars, the never-ending battle that would have to be waged to keep the recovered ether safe. If only there were a way to reverse the theft once and for all. What happened next is one of the strangest and most contentious episodes in blockchain’s early history. The morning of July 20 dawned cool and clear in Ithaca, N.Y., the home of Cornell. A weeklong ethereum boot camp on campus had brought developers and programmers from all over the world to town. The mood was anxious, but not because the workshops were about to begin. This was the day the ethereum community would decide to rewrite the past. The weeks since the DAO hack had been filled with acrimonious debate as developers, coders, investors, and other community members considered their options to undo the theft. As the Robin Hood group battled the attacker mostly in private, a public debate was raging. The white hat hackers weren’t the only ones trying to save the DAO. Jentzsch worked almost around the clock, fielding hundreds of requests from DAO investors on what they should do. Vitalik Buterin, 23, who created the ethereum blockchain before he was 20, became a focal point as he led the community through their options. In short, what they could do was change the ethereum blockchain to fix the DAO, but only if they got a majority of computers running the network to agree to a software update. Pull that off, and it’s as though the attack never happened. This is known as a hard fork. The decision stirred such strong reactions that it remains controversial a year later, both within the ethereum community and with bitcoin users who insist a blockchain’s history is never to be tampered with. In an interview in October, Buterin was unapologetic about pushing for the change. “Some bitcoin users see the hard fork as in some ways violating their most fundamental values,” said Buterin, who didn’t respond to requests to speak specifically about this story. “I personally think these fundamental values, pushed to such extremes, are silly.” Within the ethereum community, at least, Buterin’s views won the day, and computer nodes all over the world accepted the fork. Contained in block 1,920,000, the fix to the DAO was simple and did only one thing—if you had ether invested in it, you could now get it out. But why hadn’t the attacker made off with his money? It had been more than a month. The same code that exposed the DAO to the theft, in the end, enabled the ether to be returned. Everything to do with the DAO is a parameter: rules, if-then statements, and more rules that are all finalized before the program is set loose. One of these parameters stated that anyone wanting to get their ether out of the DAO had to wait a certain amount of time—27 days after the initial request, then another seven days. This fail-safe, written by Jentzsch, applied to the attacker as well. So even though somebody had effectively robbed a bank, he then had to wait 34 days before crossing the street to make his getaway. While he was waiting, the money was stolen back. A month after the original heist, the ether thief now had nothing to show for his caper. Back on the Cornell campus, ethereum boot camp attendees celebrated. The next day, Gün brought Champagne to the session he was teaching. He’d pasted makeshift labels on the Chandon bottles with a picture of the utensil that said, “Congratulations on the successful fork.” Then something else unexpected happened. The original ethereum blockchain, the one with the DAO attack in it, kept growing. Imagine a hard fork is a branch of a tree that sprouts in a different direction at the end of the main limb. The end of that limb is supposed to wither after a hard fork, but here it continued to grow as a small group of users continued to process transactions on that version of the blockchain. Instead of dying, this became a second form of ethereum, quickly dubbed ethereum classic, complete with a digital currency that now had value. Even in the science fiction world of blockchain, this was an unprecedented turn of events. It meant the DAO attacker suddenly had about 3.6 million ethereum classic coins in his DAO account, known as the DarkDAO, which were slowly gaining in value. The Robin Hood group held about 8.4 million, because in this parallel universe they still controlled 70 percent of the DAO funds they had recovered. The Robin Hood group couldn’t believe it. “We did everything to avoid this, but now we’re being dragged back into this fight,” Van de Sande says. Now, the bitcoin supporters who viewed the hard fork as a violation of the core values of blockchain could back up their belief by buying ethereum classic. That’s exactly what entrepreneur Barry Silbert, a heavyweight in bitcoin circles, did. “Keep in mind, the original chain is ethereum classic,” he says. “The fork is ethereum.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Silbert’s firm, Grayscale Investments, recently issued an investment thesis outlining the benefits to ethereum classic over ethereum. A section heading sums up the rationale: “The DAO and the Death of Principles.” Alexis Roussel, co-founder of Bity.com, a digital currency broker in Switzerland, still marvels at the aftereffects of the hard fork and the wild world of the blockchain. “This is something that doesn’t happen in traditional finance,” he says. “If something happens with Apple, you don’t suddenly have a clone of Apple.” It’s been about a year since the DAO attack, enough time to take stock of what went wrong. Van de Sande is eager to move on. “It was really just a blip,” he says. “We are ready to move past it and leave the DAO story behind us.” Green, who’s organizing an ethereum conference at this summer’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, has kept a sense of humor about it. “The Robin Hood group was just a s--- show,” he says with a laugh. “I hope the movie portrays it better than it actually was.” As for the bug itself, apparently many smart people looked at the code before Gün but missed one major flaw. The order of commands in the code allowed DAO token holders to withdraw any profit they’d made from their investments. It reads “withdrawRewardFor(msg.sender)” and adds, almost improbably, a note to anyone reading the code that says, “be nice, and get his rewards.” That’s line 667—let’s call it “The Neighbor of the Beast Bug.” If the withdraw line had come after these lines: totalSupply -= balances[msg.sender]; balances[msg.sender] = 0; paidOut[msg.sender] = 0; return true; the attack wouldn’t have been possible, Jentzsch says. But if the code had been in the correct order, the reward parameter wouldn’t have worked. As for the note, this line of code was meant to allow investors to withdraw any profit—“Reward”—their investments had earned. Instead it became one of the biggest backdoors in hacking history. It would have been better to not pay rewards during the split function from the DAO, what we’ve been referring to here as the escape pods, according to Jentzsch. Another decision he made when he had no idea of the bug shows how quirky and unforgiving code can be. “If the capital ‘T’ in line 666 had been a small ‘t,’ that would also have prevented the hack,” he says. Jentzsch has many regrets but insists no one was aware of the specific problems in lines 666-667 (other observers had pointed to flaws in other lines, just not here). Had more people looked, “it would have made no difference at all,” he says. “If you don’t know what to look for in a security audit, you won’t find it.” Even Gün, who had it in his grasp, let it go. “I still missed it,” he says. Green’s emotions are still raw related to Gün. “I actually got really pissed at him about this,” Green says. “He started bragging about how he found the bug.” He adds that it was “very irresponsible of him to not tell anyone of his inkling.” Still, Green “respects the hell out of Gün” and says they’ve since made amends. Asked to recount that night last June as he lay sick in bed, Gün says, “I came away from this thinking there’s potentially an issue.” But he’d consulted Daian, his grad student (“whom I trust”). Daian had said it’s “not exploitable.” Gün says that had he been certain of the danger, “I would have told people.” In a blog post that explained the mechanics of the DAO heist Daian published the night of the attack, he gave a shoutout to his professor in the acknowledgments. “Gün, we were so damn close—sorry it wasn’t quite enough this time :),” Daian wrote. As for the attacker (whoever he or she or they are) and the ethereum classic booty, Gün says, “Great, wonderful, he should cash out.” The hard fork proved it wasn’t just the DAO that needed to be fixed, but the ethereum blockchain itself. He says: “The fault lies somewhere on the system side as well.” But the fear that smart contracts are too clever by half and that by extension so is the ethereum blockchain itself—prevalent in the days following the DAO attack—has dissipated. At least that’s the market’s verdict, judging by the price of ether. After the attack, it traded from $10 to $12 for about nine months. Then in March it took off; it’s valued at $341.19 as of June 12. (That would have valued the DAO at $4.1 billion, but let’s not even go there.) Ethereum classic has risen as well, and it now trades for $18.71. Both versions of ether remain viable, in other words. The thief holds one; the revisionists, the other. Going forward, the choice is really: Whom would you rather believe? Since the hard fork, the attacker ended up making off with his ethereum classic. That means he got away with about $67.4 million, assuming the stash hasn’t been sold. Not too shabby, 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7cC785051a77D. Leising covers market structure at Bloomberg News in New York. To contact the author of this story: Matthew Leising inNew York at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joel Weber at [email protected]
Being a entrepreneur, I keep my eye and buttocks on the latest Eugene tech. Just the other morning I was going to the office and no, it's not like you think. I had to reset the server to get access to the cloud from my home. Long story that involves Chinese hardware hacks, but suffice it to say that it was a day not spent in loafers with furball resting peacefully on my lap while developing new apps daily for people to blow their minds with. But you want to hear about the buttocks part...I was sitting in my new Model X Tesla! Yep all those rapidly appreciating public tech stocks and whiteaker properties have been GREAT for getting me off my bike and into some zero emission luxury. Was about time that I traded in that old 565i with all the foglight issues. You see I had been stuck on the side of the road with the burned out foglight, pacing back and forth trying to get an Uber or Lyft to pick me up because I am not going to take any chances with highway visibility. Just then this grizzled person on a Cascadian Courier bicycle came up and asked if he could help. Now I had seen him a few hours prior riding with a SECOND BIKE- A big no-no as far as red flags, but he also had a spare wheel that god only knows from whom or where he got it. My TWEAKAR or tweaker radar was going off big time. So here I am just trying to get home safely, and this man rides up and offers his bike headlight to me, and some tape that he had wrapped around an old wrench from his pack. The smell! Anyways, I just smiled and thanked him and then a feeling came over me....maybe this person is the next Elon Musk or John McAffee, who are known successful tweakers- but this guy struggling with grinding poverty that dictates he should thrash around in the gutter trying to subsist on pork rinds and meth, protected from mrsa infections only by his own sweat. So I tossed him a bitcoin, and forwarded a long list of fine Eugene area investment opportunities that I had hacked from the Eugene Chamber Of Commerce. Now every time I see a tweaker riding along, I toss 'em a little care package. It has two bags of cheese puffs a list of Chamber Of commerce green zones for tweaking, and just one pepsi.(don't want to encourage tooth decay!)
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