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How EpiK Protocol “Saved the Miners” from Filecoin with the E2P Storage Model?
https://preview.redd.it/n5jzxozn27v51.png?width=2222&format=png&auto=webp&s=6cd6bd726582bbe2c595e1e467aeb3fc8aabe36f On October 20, Eric Yao, Head of EpiK China, and Leo, Co-Founder & CTO of EpiK, visited Deep Chain Online Salon, and discussed “How EpiK saved the miners eliminated by Filecoin by launching E2P storage model”. ‘?” The following is a transcript of the sharing. Sharing Session Eric: Hello, everyone, I’m Eric, graduated from School of Information Science, Tsinghua University. My Master’s research was on data storage and big data computing, and I published a number of industry top conference papers. Since 2013, I have invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dogcoin, EOS and other well-known blockchain projects, and have been settling in the chain circle as an early technology-based investor and industry observer with 2 years of blockchain experience. I am also a blockchain community initiator and technology evangelist Leo: Hi, I’m Leo, I’m the CTO of EpiK. Before I got involved in founding EpiK, I spent 3 to 4 years working on blockchain, public chain, wallets, browsers, decentralized exchanges, task distribution platforms, smart contracts, etc., and I’ve made some great products. EpiK is an answer to the question we’ve been asking for years about how blockchain should be landed, and we hope that EpiK is fortunate enough to be an answer for you as well. Q & A Deep Chain Finance: First of all, let me ask Eric, on October 15, Filecoin’s main website launched, which aroused everyone’s attention, but at the same time, the calls for fork within Filecoin never stopped. The EpiK protocol is one of them. What I want to know is, what kind of project is EpiK Protocol? For what reason did you choose to fork in the first place? What are the differences between the forked project and Filecoin itself? Eric: First of all, let me answer the first question, what kind of project is EpiK Protocol. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution already upon us, comprehensive intelligence is one of the core goals of this stage, and the key to comprehensive intelligence is how to make machines understand what humans know and learn new knowledge based on what they already know. And the knowledge graph scale is a key step towards full intelligence. In order to solve the many challenges of building large-scale knowledge graphs, the EpiK Protocol was born. EpiK Protocol is a decentralized, hyper-scale knowledge graph that organizes and incentivizes knowledge through decentralized storage technology, decentralized autonomous organizations, and generalized economic models. Members of the global community will expand the horizons of artificial intelligence into a smarter future by organizing all areas of human knowledge into a knowledge map that will be shared and continuously updated for the eternal knowledge vault of humanity And then, for what reason was the fork chosen in the first place? EpiK’s project founders are all senior blockchain industry practitioners and have been closely following the industry development and application scenarios, among which decentralized storage is a very fresh application scenario. However, in the development process of Filecoin, the team found that due to some design mechanisms and historical reasons, the team found that Filecoin had some deviations from the original intention of the project at that time, such as the overly harsh penalty mechanism triggered by the threat to weaken security, and the emergence of the computing power competition leading to the emergence of computing power monopoly by large miners, thus monopolizing the packaging rights, which can be brushed with computing power by uploading useless data themselves. The emergence of these problems will cause the data environment on Filecoin to get worse and worse, which will lead to the lack of real value of the data in the chain, high data redundancy, and the difficulty of commercializing the project to land. After paying attention to the above problems, the project owner proposes to introduce multi-party roles and a decentralized collaboration platform DAO to ensure the high value of the data on the chain through a reasonable economic model and incentive mechanism, and store the high-value data: knowledge graph on the blockchain through decentralized storage, so that the lack of value of the data on the chain and the monopoly of large miners’ computing power can be solved to a large extent. Finally, what differences exist between the forked project and Filecoin itself? On the basis of the above-mentioned issues, EpiK’s design is very different from Filecoin, first of all, EpiK is more focused in terms of business model, and it faces a different market and track from the cloud storage market where Filecoin is located because decentralized storage has no advantage over professional centralized cloud storage in terms of storage cost and user experience. EpiK focuses on building a decentralized knowledge graph, which reduces data redundancy and safeguards the value of data in the distributed storage chain while preventing the knowledge graph from being tampered with by a few people, thus making the commercialization of the entire project reasonable and feasible. From the perspective of ecological construction, EpiK treats miners more friendly and solves the pain point of Filecoin to a large extent, firstly, it changes the storage collateral and commitment collateral of Filecoin to one-time collateral. Miners participating in EpiK Protocol are only required to pledge 1000 EPK per miner, and only once before mining, not in each sector. What is the concept of 1000 EPKs, you only need to participate in pre-mining for about 50 days to get this portion of the tokens used for pledging. The EPK pre-mining campaign is currently underway, and it runs from early September to December, with a daily release of 50,000 ERC-20 standard EPKs, and the pre-mining nodes whose applications are approved will divide these tokens according to the mining ratio of the day, and these tokens can be exchanged 1:1 directly after they are launched on the main network. This move will continue to expand the number of miners eligible to participate in EPK mining. Secondly, EpiK has a more lenient penalty mechanism, which is different from Filecoin’s official consensus, storage and contract penalties, because the protocol can only be uploaded by field experts, which is the “Expert to Person” mode. Every miner needs to be backed up, which means that if one or more miners are offline in the network, it will not have much impact on the network, and the miner who fails to upload the proof of time and space in time due to being offline will only be forfeited by the authorities for the effective computing power of this sector, not forfeiting the pledged coins. If the miner can re-submit the proof of time and space within 28 days, he will regain the power. Unlike Filecoin’s 32GB sectors, EpiK’s encapsulated sectors are smaller, only 8M each, which will solve Filecoin’s sector space wastage problem to a great extent, and all miners have the opportunity to complete the fast encapsulation, which is very friendly to miners with small computing power. The data and quality constraints will also ensure that the effective computing power gap between large and small miners will not be closed. Finally, unlike Filecoin’s P2P data uploading model, EpiK changes the data uploading and maintenance to E2P uploading, that is, field experts upload and ensure the quality and value of the data on the chain, and at the same time introduce the game relationship between data storage roles and data generation roles through a rational economic model to ensure the stability of the whole system and the continuous high-quality output of the data on the chain. Deep Chain Finance: Eric, on the eve of Filecoin’s mainline launch, issues such as Filecoin’s pre-collateral have aroused a lot of controversy among the miners. In your opinion, what kind of impact will Filecoin bring to itself and the whole distributed storage ecosystem after it launches? Do you think that the current confusing FIL prices are reasonable and what should be the normal price of FIL? Eric: Filecoin mainnet has launched and many potential problems have been exposed, such as the aforementioned high pre-security problem, the storage resource waste and computing power monopoly caused by unreasonable sector encapsulation, and the harsh penalty mechanism, etc. These problems are quite serious, and will greatly affect the development of Filecoin ecology. These problems are relatively serious, and will greatly affect the development of Filecoin ecology, here are two examples to illustrate. For example, the problem of big miners computing power monopoly, now after the big miners have monopolized computing power, there will be a very delicate state — — the miners save a file data with ordinary users. There is no way to verify this matter in the chain, whether what he saved is uploaded by himself or someone else. And after the big miners have monopolized computing power, there will be a very delicate state — — the miners will save a file data with ordinary users, there is no way to verify this matter in the chain, whether what he saved is uploaded by himself or someone else. Because I can fake another identity to upload data for myself, but that leads to the fact that for any miner I go to choose which data to save. I have only one goal, and that is to brush my computing power and how fast I can brush my computing power. There is no difference between saving other people’s data and saving my own data in the matter of computing power. When I save someone else’s data, I don’t know that data. Somewhere in the world, the bandwidth quality between me and him may not be good enough. The best option is to store my own local data, which makes sense, and that results in no one being able to store data on the chain at all. They only store their own data, because it’s the most economical for them, and the network has essentially no storage utility, no one is providing storage for the masses of retail users. The harsh penalty mechanism will also severely deplete the miner’s profits, because DDOS attacks are actually a very common attack technique for the attacker, and for a big miner, he can get a very high profit in a short period of time if he attacks other customers, and this thing is a profitable thing for all big miners. Now as far as the status quo is concerned, the vast majority of miners are actually not very well maintained, so they are not very well protected against these low-DDOS attacks. So the penalty regime is grim for them. The contradiction between the unreasonable system and the demand will inevitably lead to the evolution of the system in a more reasonable direction, so there will be many forked projects that are more reasonable in terms of mechanism, thus attracting Filecoin miners and a diversion of storage power. Since each project is in the field of decentralized storage track, the demand for miners is similar or even compatible with each other, so miners will tend to fork the projects with better economic benefits and business scenarios, so as to filter out the projects with real value on the ground. For the chaotic FIL price, because FIL is also a project that has gone through several years, carrying too many expectations, so it can only be said that the current situation has its own reasons for existence. As for the reasonable price of FIL there is no way to make a prediction because in the long run, it is necessary to consider the commercialization of the project to land and the value of the actual chain of data. In other words, we need to keep observing whether Filecoin will become a game of computing power or a real value carrier. Deep Chain Finance: Leo, we just mentioned that the pre-collateral issue of Filecoin caused the dissatisfaction of miners, and after Filecoin launches on the main website, the second round of space race test coins were directly turned into real coins, and the official selling of FIL hit the market phenomenon, so many miners said they were betrayed. What I want to know is, EpiK’s main motto is “save the miners eliminated by Filecoin”, how to deal with the various problems of Filecoin, and how will EpiK achieve “save”? Leo: Originally Filecoin’s tacit approval of the computing power makeup behavior was to declare that the official directly chose to abandon the small miners. And this test coin turned real coin also hurt the interests of the loyal big miners in one cut, we do not know why these low-level problems, we can only regret. EpiK didn’t do it to fork Filecoin, but because EpiK to build a shared knowledge graph ecology, had to integrate decentralized storage in, so the most hardcore Filecoin’s PoRep and PoSt decentralized verification technology was chosen. In order to ensure the quality of knowledge graph data, EpiK only allows community-voted field experts to upload data, so EpiK naturally prevents miners from making up computing power, and there is no reason for the data that has no value to take up such an expensive decentralized storage resource. With the inability to make up computing power, the difference between big miners and small miners is minimal when the amount of knowledge graph data is small. We can’t say that we can save the big miners, but we are definitely the optimal choice for the small miners who are currently in the market to be eliminated by Filecoin. Deep Chain Finance: Let me ask Eric: According to EpiK protocol, EpiK adopts the E2P model, which allows only experts in the field who are voted to upload their data. This is very different from Filecoin’s P2P model, which allows individuals to upload data as they wish. In your opinion, what are the advantages of the E2P model? If only voted experts can upload data, does that mean that the EpiK protocol is not available to everyone? Eric: First, let me explain the advantages of the E2P model over the P2P model. There are five roles in the DAO ecosystem: miner, coin holder, field expert, bounty hunter and gateway. These five roles allocate the EPKs generated every day when the main network is launched. The miner owns 75% of the EPKs, the field expert owns 9% of the EPKs, and the voting user shares 1% of the EPKs. The other 15% of the EPK will fluctuate based on the daily traffic to the network, and the 15% is partly a game between the miner and the field expert. The first describes the relationship between the two roles. The first group of field experts are selected by the Foundation, who cover different areas of knowledge (a wide range of knowledge here, including not only serious subjects, but also home, food, travel, etc.) This group of field experts can recommend the next group of field experts, and the recommended experts only need to get 100,000 EPK votes to become field experts. The field expert’s role is to submit high-quality data to the miner, who is responsible for encapsulating this data into blocks. Network activity is judged by the amount of EPKs pledged by the entire network for daily traffic (1 EPK = 10 MB/day), with a higher percentage indicating higher data demand, which requires the miner to increase bandwidth quality. If the data demand decreases, this requires field experts to provide higher quality data. This is similar to a library with more visitors needing more seats, i.e., paying the miner to upgrade the bandwidth. When there are fewer visitors, more money is needed to buy better quality books to attract visitors, i.e., money for bounty hunters and field experts to generate more quality knowledge graph data. The game between miners and field experts is the most important game in the ecosystem, unlike the game between the authorities and big miners in the Filecoin ecosystem. The game relationship between data producers and data storers and a more rational economic model will inevitably lead to an E2P model that generates stored on-chain data of much higher quality than the P2P model, and the quality of bandwidth for data access will be better than the P2P model, resulting in greater business value and better landing scenarios. I will then answer the question of whether this means that the EpiK protocol will not be universally accessible to all. The E2P model only qualifies the quality of the data generated and stored, not the roles in the ecosystem; on the contrary, with the introduction of the DAO model, the variety of roles introduced in the EpiK ecosystem (which includes the roles of ordinary people) is not limited. (Bounty hunters who can be competent in their tasks) gives roles and possibilities for how everyone can participate in the system in a more logical way. For example, a miner with computing power can provide storage, a person with a certain domain knowledge can apply to become an expert (this includes history, technology, travel, comics, food, etc.), and a person willing to mark and correct data can become a bounty hunter. The presence of various efficient support tools from the project owner will lower the barriers to entry for various roles, thus allowing different people to do their part in the system and together contribute to the ongoing generation of a high-quality decentralized knowledge graph. Deep Chain Finance: Leo, some time ago, EpiK released a white paper and an economy whitepaper, explaining the EpiK concept from the perspective of technology and economy model respectively. What I would like to ask is, what are the shortcomings of the current distributed storage projects, and how will EpiK protocol be improved? Leo: Distributed storage can easily be misunderstood as those of Ali’s OceanDB, but in the field of blockchain, we should focus on decentralized storage first. There is a big problem with the decentralized storage on the market now, which is “why not eat meat porridge”. How to understand it? Decentralized storage is cheaper than centralized storage because of its technical principle, and if it is, the centralized storage is too rubbish for comparison. What incentive does the average user have to spend more money on decentralized storage to store data? Is it safer? Existence miners can shut down at any time on decentralized storage by no means save a share of security in Ariadne and Amazon each. More private? There’s no difference between encrypted presence on decentralized storage and encrypted presence on Amazon. Faster? The 10,000 gigabytes of bandwidth in decentralized storage simply doesn’t compare to the fiber in a centralized server room. This is the root problem of the business model, no one is using it, no one is buying it, so what’s the big vision. The goal of EpiK is to guide all community participants in the co-construction and sharing of field knowledge graph data, which is the best way for robots to understand human knowledge, and the more knowledge graph data there is, the more knowledge a robot has, the more intelligent it is exponentially, i.e., EpiK uses decentralized storage technology. The value of exponentially growing data is captured with linearly growing hardware costs, and that’s where the buy-in for EPK comes in. Organized data is worth a lot more than organized hard drives, and there is a demand for EPK when robots have the need for intelligence. Deep Chain Finance: Let me ask Leo, how many forked projects does Filecoin have so far, roughly? Do you think there will be more or less waves of fork after the mainnet launches? Have the requirements of the miners at large changed when it comes to participation? Leo: We don’t have specific statistics, now that the main network launches, we feel that forking projects will increase, there are so many restricted miners in the market that they need to be organized efficiently. However, we currently see that most forked projects are simply modifying the parameters of Filecoin’s economy model, which is undesirable, and this level of modification can’t change the status quo of miners making up computing power, and the change to the market is just to make some of the big miners feel more comfortable digging up, which won’t help to promote the decentralized storage ecology to land. We need more reasonable landing scenarios so that idle mining resources can be turned into effective productivity, pitching a 100x coin instead of committing to one Fomo sentiment after another. Deep Chain Finance: How far along is the EpiK Protocol project, Eric? What other big moves are coming in the near future? Eric: The development of the EpiK Protocol is divided into 5 major phases. (a) Phase I testing of the network “Obelisk”. Phase II Main Network 1.0 “Rosetta”. Phase III Main Network 2.0 “Hammurabi”. (a) The Phase IV Enrichment Knowledge Mapping Toolkit. The fifth stage is to enrich the knowledge graph application ecology. Currently in the first phase of testing network “Obelisk”, anyone can sign up to participate in the test network pre-mining test to obtain ERC20 EPK tokens, after the mainnet exchange on a one-to-one basis. We have recently launched ERC20 EPK on Uniswap, you can buy and sell it freely on Uniswap or download our EpiK mobile wallet. In addition, we will soon launch the EpiK Bounty platform, and welcome all community members to do tasks together to build the EpiK community. At the same time, we are also pushing forward the centralized exchange for token listing. Users’ Questions User 1: Some KOLs said, Filecoin consumed its value in the next few years, so it will plunge, what do you think? Eric: First of all, the judgment of the market is to correspond to the cycle, not optimistic about the FIL first judgment to do is not optimistic about the economic model of the project, or not optimistic about the distributed storage track. First of all, we are very confident in the distributed storage track and will certainly face a process of growth and decline, so as to make a choice for a better project. Since the existing group of miners and the computing power already produced is fixed, and since EpiK miners and FIL miners are compatible, anytime miners will also make a choice for more promising and economically viable projects. Filecoin consumes the value of the next few years this time, so it will plunge. Regarding the market issues, the plunge is not a prediction, in the industry or to keep learning iteration and value judgment. Because up and down market sentiment is one aspect, there will be more very important factors. For example, the big washout in March this year, so it can only be said that it will slow down the development of the FIL community. But prices are indeed unpredictable. User2: Actually, in the end, if there are no applications and no one really uploads data, the market value will drop, so what are the landing applications of EpiK? Leo: The best and most direct application of EpiK’s knowledge graph is the question and answer system, which can be an intelligent legal advisor, an intelligent medical advisor, an intelligent chef, an intelligent tour guide, an intelligent game strategy, and so on.
Flatten the Curve. #18. The current cold war between China and America explained. And how China was behind the 2008 Wall Street financial Crash. World War 3 is coming.
China, the USA, and the Afghanistan war are linked. And in order to get here, we will start there. 9-11 happened. Most of the planet mistakenly understood terrorists had struck a blow against Freedom and Capitalism and Democracy. It was time to invade Afghanistan. Yet all of the terrorists were linked to Saudi Arabia and not Afghanistan, that didn't make sense either. Yet they invaded to find Bin Laden, an ex CIA asset against the Soviet Union and it's subjugation of Afghanistan. The land in the middle of nowhere in relation to North America and the West. It was barren. A backwater without any strategic importance or natural resources. Or was there? The survey for rare earth elements was only made possible by the 2001 U.S. invasion, with work beginning in 2004. Mirzad says the Russians had already done significant surveying work during their military occupation of the country in the 1980s. Mirzad also toes the line for U.S. corporations, arguing, “The Afghan government should not touch the mining business. We have to give enough information to potential investors.” Rare Earth Elements. The elements that make the information age possible. People could understand the First Gulf War and the Geopolitical importance of oil. That was easy, but it still didn't sound morally just to have a war for oil. It was too imperialist and so they fell in line and supported a war for Kuwaiti freedom instead, despite the obvious and public manipulation at the UN by Nayirah. This is some of her testimony to the Human Rights Council. While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor. It was horrifying. I could not help but think of my nephew who was born premature and might have died that day as well. After I left the hospital, some of my friends and I distributed flyers condemning the Iraqi invasion until we were warned we might be killed if the Iraqis saw us. The Iraqis have destroyed everything in Kuwait. They stripped the supermarkets of food, the pharmacies of medicine, the factories of medical supplies, ransacked their houses and tortured neighbors and friends. There was only one problem. She was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign, which was run by the American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government (fun fact, Hill & Knowlton also have extensive ties with Bill Gates). So the public was aghast at her testimony and supported the war against the mainly Soviet backed, but also American supported and Soviet backed Saddam Hussein, in his war against Iran, after the Iranians refused to Ally with American interests after the Islamic Revolution. But that was oil, this was Rare Earth Elements. There was a reason the war was called, Operation Enduring Freedom. This natural resource was far more important in the long run. You couldn't have a security surveillance apparatus without it. And what was supposed to be a war on terror was in actuality a territorial occupation for resources. Sleeping Dragon China is next, and where there's smoke, there's fire. Let's go point form for clarity. • China entered the rare earth market in the mid-1980s, at a time when the US was the major producer. But China soon caught up and became the production leader for rare earths. Its heavily state-supported strategy was aimed at dominating the global rare earth industry. • 1989 Beijing’s Tiananmen Square spring. The U.S. government suspends military sales to Beijing and freezes relations. • 1997. Clinton secures the release of Wei and Tiananmen Square protester Wang Dan. Beijing deports both dissidents to the United States. (If you don't understand these two were CIA assets working in China, you need to accept that not everything will be published. America wouldn't care about two political activists, but why would care about two intelligence operatives). • March 1996. Taiwan’s First Free Presidential Vote. • May 1999. America "accidently" bombs the Belgrade Chinese Embassy. • 2002 Price competitiveness was hard for the USA to achieve due to low to non-existent Chinese environmental standards; as a result, the US finally stopped its rare earth production. • October 2000. U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the U.S.-China Relations Act. China's take over of the market share in rare earth elements starts to increase. • October 2001. Afghanistan war Enduring Freedom started to secure rare earth elements (Haven't you ever wondered how they could mobilize and invade so quickly? The military was already prepared). • 2005. China establishes a monopoly on global production by keeping mineral prices low and then panics markets by introducing export quotas to raise prices by limiting supply. • Rare Earth Elements. Prices go into the stratosphere (for example, dysprosium prices do a bitcoin, rocketing from $118/kg to $2,262/kg between 2008 and 2011). • In a September 2005. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick initiates a strategic dialogue with China. This was presented as dialog to acknowledge China's emergence as a Superpower (which China probably insisted on), but it was about rare earth elements market price. • October 2006. China allows North Korea to conduct its first nuclear test, China serves as a mediator to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table with the USA. • September 2006. American housing prices start to fall. (At some point after this, secret negotiations must have become increasingly hostile). • March 2007. China Increases Military Spending. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says China’s military buildup is “not consistent” with the country’s stated goal of a “peaceful rise.” • Mid-2005 and mid-2006. China bought between $100b and $250 billion of US housing debt between mid-2005 and mid-2006. This debt was bought using the same financial instruments that caused the financial collapse. • 2006. Housing prices started to fall for the first time in decades. • Mid-2006 and mid-2007. China likely added another $390b to its reserves. "At the same time, if China stopped buying -- especially now, when the private market is clogged up -- US financial markets would really seize up." Council on Foreign Relations-2007 August • February 27, 2007. Stock markets in China and the U.S. fell by the most since 2003. Investors leave the money market and flock to Government backed Treasury Bills. I've never seen it like this before,'' said Jim Galluzzo, who began trading short-maturity Treasuries 20 years ago and now trades bills at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut.Bills right now are trading like dot-coms.'' We had clients asking to be pulled out of money market funds and wanting to get into Treasuries,'' said Henley Smith, fixed-income manager in New York at Castleton Partners, which oversees about $150 million in bonds.People are buying T-bills because you know exactly what's in it.'' • February 13, 2008. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was enacted, which included a tax rebate. The total cost of this bill was projected at $152 billion for 2008. A December 2009 study found that only about one-third of the tax rebate was spent, providing only a modest amount of stimulus. • September 2008. China Becomes Largest U.S. Foreign Creditor at 600 billion dollars. • 2010. China’s market power peaked in when it reached a market share of around 97% of all rare earth mineral production. Outside of China, there were almost no other producers left. Outside of China, the US is the second largest consumer of rare earths in the world behind Japan. About 60% of US rare earth imports are used as catalysts for petroleum refining, making it the country’s major consumer of rare earths. The US military also depends on rare earths. Many of the most advanced US weapon systems, including smart bombs, unmanned drones, cruise missiles, laser targeting, radar systems and the Joint Strike Fighter programme rely on rare earths. Against this background, the US Department of Defense (DoD) stated that “reliable access to the necessary material is a bedrock requirement for DOD” • 2010. A trade dispute arose when the Chinese government reduced its export quotas by 40% in 2010, sending the rare earths prices in the markets outside China soaring. The government argued that the quotas were necessary to protect the environment. • August 2010. China Becomes World’s Second-Largest Economy. • November 2011. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlines a U.S. “pivot” to Asia. Clinton’s call for “increased investment—diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise—in the Asia-Pacific region” is seen as a move to counter China’s growing clout. • December 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama announces the United States and eight other nations have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership later announces plans to deploy 2,500 marines in Australia, prompting criticism from Beijing. • November 2012. China’s New Leadership. Xi Jinping replaces Hu Jintao as president, Communist Party general secretary, and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi delivers a series of speeches on the “rejuvenation” of China. • June 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping for a “shirt-sleeves summit” • May 19, 2014. A U.S. court indicts five Chinese hackers, allegedly with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army, on charges of stealing trade technology from U.S. companies. • November 12, 2014. Joint Climate Announcement. Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issue a joint statement on climate change, pledging to reduce carbon emissions. (which very conveniently allows the quotas to fall and save pride for Xi). • 2015. China drops the export quotas because in 2014, the WTO ruled against China. • May 30, 2015 U.S. Warns China Over South China Sea. (China is trying to expand it's buffer zone to build a defense for the coming war). • January 2016. The government to abolish the one-child policy, now allowing all families to have two children. • February 9, 2017. Trump Affirms One China Policy After Raising Doubts. • April 6 – 7, 2017. Trump Hosts Xi at Mar-a-Lago. Beijing and Washington to expand trade of products and services like beef, poultry, and electronic payments, though the countries do not address more contentious trade issues including aluminum, car parts, and steel. • November 2017. President Xi meets with President Trump in another high profile summit. • March 22, 2018. Trump Tariffs Target China. The White House alleges Chinese theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property. Coming on the heels of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the measures target goods including clothing, shoes, and electronics and restrict some Chinese investment in the United States. • July 6, 2018 U.S.-China Trade War Escalates. • September 2018. Modifications led to the exclusion of rare earths from the final list of products and they consequently were not subject to import tariffs imposed by the US government in September 2018. • October 4, 2018. Pence Speech Signals Hard-Line Approach. He condemns what he calls growing Chinese military aggression, especially in the South China Sea, criticizes increased censorship and religious persecution by the Chinese government, and accuses China of stealing American intellectual property and interfering in U.S. elections. • December 1, 2018. Canada Arrests Huawei Executive. • March 6, 2019. Huawei Sues the United States. • March 27 2019. India and the US signed an agreement to "strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation" including the construction of six American nuclear reactors in India • May 10, 2019. Trade War Intensifies. • August 5, 2019. U.S. Labels China a Currency Manipulator. • November 27, 2019. Trump Signs Bill Supporting Hong Kong Protesters. Chinese officials condemn the move, impose sanctions on several U.S.-based organizations, and suspend U.S. warship visits to Hong Kong. • January 15, 2020. ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal Signed. But the agreement maintains most tariffs and does not mention the Chinese government’s extensive subsidies. Days before the signing, the United States dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator. • January 31, 2020. Tensions Soar Amid Coronavirus Pandemic. • March 18, 2020. China Expels American Journalists. The Chinese government announces it will expel at least thirteen journalists from three U.S. newspapers—the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post—whose press credentials are set to expire in 2020. Beijing also demands that those outlets, as well as TIME and Voice of America, share information with the government about their operations in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry says the moves are in response to the U.S. government’s decision earlier in the year to limit the number of Chinese journalists from five state-run media outlets in the United States to 100, down from 160, and designate those outlets as foreign missions. And here we are. You may have noticed the Rare Earth Elements and the inclusion of Environmental Standards. Yes these are key to understanding the Geopolitical reality and importance of these events. There's a reason the one child policy stopped. Troop additions. I believe our current political reality started at Tiananmen square. The protests were an American sponsored attempt at regime change after the failure to convince them to leave totalitarian communism and join a greater political framework. Do I have proof? Yes. China, as far as I'm concerned, was responsible for the 2008 economic crisis. The Rare Earth Elements were an attempt to weaken the States and strengthen themselves simultaneously. This stranglehold either forced America to trade with China, or the trade was an American Trojan horse to eventually collapse their economy and cause a revolution after Tiananmen Square failed. Does my second proposal sound far fetched? Didn't the economy just shut down in response to the epidemic? Aren't both sides blaming the other? At this POINT, the epidemic seems to be overstated doesn’t it? Don't the casualties tend to the elder demographic and those already weakened by a primary disease? Exactly the kinds who wouldn't fight in a war. Does this change some of my views on the possibility of upcoming catastrophes and reasons for certain events? No. This is Chess, and there are obvious moves in chess, hidden moves in chess, but the best moves involve peices which can be utilized in different ways if the board calls for it. Is all what it seems? No. I definitely changed a few previously held beliefs prior to today, and I would caution you in advance that you will find some previously held convictions challenged. After uncovering what I did today, I would also strongly suggest reading information cautiously. This is all merely a culmination of ending the cold war, and once I have events laid out, you will see it as well. At this moment, the end analysis is a war will start in the near future. This will be mainly for a few reasons, preemptive resource control for water and crops, population reduction can be achieved since we have too many people, not enough jobs, and upcoming resource scarcity. Did you notice my omission of rare earth elements? This is because of Afghanistan. I would wager China or Russia is somehow supporting the continued resistance through Iran. But events are now accelerating with China because the western collation has already begun to build up their mines and start production. Do you remember when Trump made a "joke" about buying Greenland? Yeah. It turns out that Greenland has one of the largest rare earth mineral deposits on the planet. Take care. Be safe. Stay aware and be prepared. This message not brought to you by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Elon Musk, Blackrock, Vangaurd, the Rockefeller Foundation, Rand Corporation, DARPA, Rothschilds, Agenda 21, Agenda 30, and ID 2020.
How to Explain Bitcoin: 3 Tips to Have Better Bitcoin Conversations
BTC Friends, Let’s be honest, Bitcoin is confusing. Not to you (you are on this / after all), but to the people who have no idea what it is. Trying to explain Bitcoin is even harder. I’m sure we’ve all had those long, complicated, drawn-out conversations which leave people more confused than when it started. To aid its adoption WE HAVE TO GET BETTER AT EXPLAINING WHAT BITCOIN IS. Here are a few tips that should, hopefully, help you manage a simple and easy to understand discussion about Bitcoin. Before we get to that, a few things to remember: Bitcoin is afundamentalchange from what most people believe. An explanation about Bitcoin shouldn’t be about “being right” or “winning the argument.” Instead, it should be about helping someone explore a new idea and begin to understand that there are actually different alternatives to the only “money” they’ve ever known. Bitcoin is complicated. It’s important to remember that this is as much of an emotion transformation for someone as it is a logical one. A CONFUSED MIND ALWAYS SAYS NO. If you leave a person confused or frustrated about what Bitcoin is, they are more likely to build up a resistance to it and become close-minded because “it’s just too complicated.” Adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t feel the need to word vomit all of your intense 1337 cypto-knowledge in a single conversation. Slow and steady. Like a good story-teller, keep them wanting more. Now, some tips to consider: 1. Start with ‘WHAT is Bitcoin?,’ not ‘WHY is Bitcoin?’ A fundamental mistake that people make is to try to justify WHY something exists before even explaining WHAT something is. Your explanations need to act as a building blocks of knowledge which means you have to have a very clear, very easily understood, fundamental premise: Bitcoin is…: Digital coins that exist on the internet that you can spend and save just like the paper money in your wallet. An alternative form of money than what you are given by your local government. That's it. That's Bitcoin. While I’m sure we can, and probably will, argue about what that base, fundamental definition is, it’s important to start with WHAT, not WHY. While hyperinflation, store of value, scarcity, the Federal Reserve, and how the printing of fiat devalues currency are all important, it does not answer the question of WHAT is Bitcoin. If you start with WHY, you are skipping a major building block in the mind of the listener and are on your way to creating confusion. And remember, a confused mind always says no! Here is an example. (Now, don’t go full-internet on me. I’m not degrading this person or this video THANK YOU PERSON FOR MAKING THIS VIDEO. This video is awesome! I only bring it up because it is a recent video that got some attention. It also demonstrates this point.) When asked to explain Bitcoin, here is the opening line: “The FED…is out of control with printing money…” This is a ‘WHY is Bitcoin’ response. Already, the listener is probably thinking, ‘what the heck does the FED have to do with anything? I just wanted to know what Bitcoin was…’ and you may just lose your listener right there. Furthermore, this video never actually says “Bitcoin IS…” While there is an implied comparison to gold, there is never a fundamental definition of WHAT Bitcoin is. Start with a clear, concise definition of WHAT Bitcoin is before moving on to WHY Bitcoin is. 2. Let Them Lead / Gauge Their Interest / Know When To Stop When explaining any topic to someone who doesn’t understand it, there is a very strong temptation to TELL everything you know. This is human nature. We are proud of what we know. We want to display knowledge and proficiency. We must, however, understand that it is counter-productive to the learning process. Imagine that certain math teacher going over that certain math problem. They explain it. They are enthusiastic about it. They write it on the chalkboard. Yet your eyes glaze over. It’s too much too fast. You are just waiting until the end when they finally tell you the answer. All logic and reasoning and understanding is gone. This is similar. Instead of telling them everything you know, LET THEM ASK! Allowing your listener to ASK demonstrates two things: an understanding of the last thing you said and, more importantly, interest! Ultimately, that’s what we want and need; their interest. Believe me, just like that little kid asking, ‘why, why, why…?’ They will give you every opportunity to share a little bit more, and a little bit more. For example: Bitcoiner – “Bitcoin are digital coins that exist on the internet that you can spend and save just like the paper money in your wallet.” (STOP TALKING AND LEAVE SPACE FOR THEM TO ASK!!!) Noob – “Oh…ok…well…why do we need that? What's wrong with the money I have now?” Bitcoiner – “Well, there is a risk that, over time, the money that you keep in your wallet or bank account will actually be worth less and be able to buy less stuff.” (STOP TALKING AND LEAVE SPACE FOR THEM TO ASK!!!) Noob – “Wait, what do you mean?” And we are now on our way to a discussion about these messy and intense concepts of inflation vs deflation, printing of fiat currency, fractional reserve lending, etc. And through it all, LET THEM LEAD. Now this is the tough part. If their eyes glaze over, YOU HAVE TO STOP! When the questions stop, YOU HAVE TO STOP! The last thing you want to do is ramble on once they’ve stopped listening. Instead, ASK them a question: “I’m sorry, did you not understand something I said?” “Did I answer your question?” “Is this interesting to you?” By doing this, you will give them an opportunity to ASK you another question: “…back up…what did you mean when you said ‘store of value’?” Or maybe even make a comment: “…wow…this stuff is pretty complicated…” In either case, this actually helps keep the conversation going. Just back up, explain it again, keeping in mind your base concepts and definitions, and see if you can talk them past where they got stuck. Maybe they shut you down entirely: “you know what, this is crazy, it can’t be true, let’s change the subject…” To which the ONLY correct response is, “Ok!” (we’ll get to this later). Keep in mind that letting your listener lead will allow you to carry the conversation much further than you trying to push it along on your own. 3. Know Your Role / A Little at a Time / Don’t Overcorrect So, what’s the end goal? Is it to have them whip out their phone, download an exchange, and make their first Bitcoin purchase right then and there?! No, of course not. The role of these conversations is to LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE. Your goal should be to spark interest and curiosity. If after talking with you they end up on The Google or The YouTube looking for more information, then you’ve done your part! Movies and TV condition us to want the big payoff at the end: the parade, the teary embrace, the triumphant symphony. That is not real life. Really, the best ending to a Bitcoin conversation might just be your listener making an audible, but clearly deeply contemplative, “…huh…”. You’ve done your job. You’ve got them noodling something they have never noodled before. Even once you understand Bitcoin, there is still an entirely different conversation about what the technology is, how it works, and how people interact with it. And let’s be honest, it’s complex and confusing. Exchanges, blockchain, forks, difficulty adjustments, miners, cold storage… More complicated ideas. More jargon. Make sure you throttle yourself back and explain just A LITTLE AT A TIME. It’s ok to have one conversation about the fundamentals of Bitcoin and then an entirely different conversation about blockchain technology or how people acquire BTC or the difference between storing Bitcoin on an exchange versus a cold wallet. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to tackle all of this at once. While all this is happening, BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCORRECT. People know what they know, right? And what people know is always correct, right?? Be sensitive. If your listener makes a comment that isn’t true or is off track, don’t scold them or forcefully correct them. If your listener feels attacked or threatened, conflict will arise, and once that happens, their minds will be completely shut off. No one listens during an argument. Don’t attack. Explain. For example: Noob – “Well, the USD is backed by gold, so that will prevent it from ever devaluing!” Bitcoiner – “You know, it’s pretty interesting, a lot of people think the same thing. The truth is that while the USD was backed by gold for a long period of time, it isn’t anymore. You see, back in 1971…” Keep it simple, factual, and non-confrontational. Going back to our example from before, even if your listener shuts you down entirely, THAT’S OK! They have now experienced a Bitcoin conversation that will percolate around in their brain. And perhaps next time they hear the word Bitcoin, whether on the news or on the internet, they’ll think back to your conversation and what you shared with them. Hopefully you didn’t over-press and their memory of your conversation isn't a negative one which leaves them feeling negative about Bitcoin: “Bitcoin is stupid and people who believe in Bitcoin are arrogant and rude.” Finally, ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH. The journey doesn’t start and end with you. You are simply a stepping stone along their path. Know that you are playing a part in their story; you are not the main character. Adoption of Bitcoin will occur over a long period of time. The conversations we have with our friends and family will create the buzz, attention, and understanding that is needed, but please be mindful that you are doing it in a helpful and productive way that leaves people wanting to know more. Oh, and step 4: Stack Sats and HODL!
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement. So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post. Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources. Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in. https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8
The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling. Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?
Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.
The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.
Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.
Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.
Coinbase Wrap Up
At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product. Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.
Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.
Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them. In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business. So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
As promised in our previous article, we wanted to provide some extra clarity on Bitcoin Unlimited financial choices. We wanted to do this as there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation within the community as to the reasons behind these choices. It has been claimed by a small number of influential people in the ecosystem that Bitcoin Unlimited does not support BCH (see the previous article debunking this claim) and that BU’s holdings are supposedly evidence of this. Background Bitcoin Unlimited was founded in 2015, and was set up as a response to the Bitcoin block size debate. More specifically, it was created to provide software that allowed on-chain scaling as originally proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto. As we all know, on-chain scaling is a vital component required for peer-to-peer electronic cash to serve the world’s population. Without it Bitcoin would be limited to serving only a small number of people willing and able to pay exorbitantly high fees. Our organisation was created to make Bitcoin unlimited. This prediction of high fees and limited capacity was played out in the BTC we know today as we predicted. Bitcoin Unlimited received a large anonymous donation in BTC in 2016 from supporters of the ‘on-chain scaling’ movement. This donation allowed our organisation to remain independent and focussed on building software that allows on-chain scaling. As you all know, in August of 2017, Bitcoin Cash was created after an unsuccessful multi-year effort to allow Bitcoin (BTC) to scale on-chain. Bitcoin Cash was created with the goal of on-chain scaling to support the world’s population right at its heart and BU has been supporting it since the idea was originally formulated. Once Bitcoin Cash was created it also meant that all funds Bitcoin Unlimited held (BTC) were forked into two equal sets of coins, BTC and BCH. This put BU into a position where we had to make an important decision on how to handle these funds in a way that was in the interest of both BCH and BU.
Any organisation that wants to be effective in its goals must aim to always be financially sustainable. Without money, achieving anything becomes significantly more difficult. Cryptocurrencies only magnify this issue even further. Highly volatile asset values, opaque and dynamic tax and regulatory environments, and the unique properties of cryptocurrencies all contribute towards making the financial operations of an organisation an extreme challenge to say the least. Navigating this challenging landscape is a necessary requirement for the success of any organisation within our industry though. While Bitcoin Unlimited’s primary goal is to make sure peer-to-peer electronic cash (as set out in the Bitcoin white-paper) becomes a reality, a secondary goal must be to make sure that it has the resources required to make its primary goal achievable, and an important part of these resources are its funds. After Bitcoin forked into BTC and BCH, Bitcoin Unlimited then held an equal number of both. Although a BUIP was passed to authorize some extra conversion, significant practical obstacles to doing so exist (although this is still being worked on). However, since the overarching reason to convert a significant number of BTC to BCH is to maintain financial prudence based on the reasons outlined below and the poor BCH price performance has heavily skewed our holdings, we do anticipate some rebalancing when these obstacles are resolved. We will further expand on these reasons below. Historic Volatility It is a fact that BCH has historically been more volatile than BTC. An organisation that wishes to maintain a lower level of risk must aim to hold a majority of funds in assets which will maintain their value over time, i.e. be less volatile in their price. It is unfortunately true that BCH has been a more volatile asset than BCH since its creation. While there has been lots of progress and maturation of the BCH ecosystem, this price volatility is likely due to BCH still being a smaller and less developed ecosystem than BTC. The graphs below show levels of volatility in the two coins compared. BTC BCH This higher volatility in BCH has meant that to significantly increase BU’s holdings of BCH would expose the organisation to a higher level of risk for ideological reasons. BTC is already a high-volatility asset and to expose the organisation funds to even higher volatility and further risk is a decision that should not be taken based on simplistic ideology, but rather with the strategy of maximising the ability for the organisation to achieve its primary goals. This meant making the decision to not take on a higher exposure to price volatility, and instead maintain a more conservative risk profile.
Lack Of Say In The Protocol
One argument that has been put forward to suggest that this decision does not make sense because it is analogous to a CEO of a company holding more shares in their competitor’s company. This analogy does not accurately reflect the current scenario for BU or BCH. In this analogy BU is the CEO and BCH is the company. Ignoring the shareholders, A CEO is able to have the largest impact on a company compared to any other stakeholder. Their actions have a direct impact on operations of the company and therefore its value and the value of the shares. Unfortunately, Bitcoin Unlimited currently has little to no input on the BCH protocol. It has no way to directly influence the direction or success of BCH. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, BCH has a mining software homogeneity that is as centralised as BTC (i.e. essentially all miners and pools run a single client, BitcoinABC). This means that, all though BU has a slight majority in non-mining and in-consensus nodes, BU has no say in protocol decisions unless a collaborative and decentralised development model were to be used by BitcoinABC. This is an unfortunate situation considering the fact that the community split from BTC for this very reason and is strongly in support of decentralised development. Secondly, BitcoinABC does not take a collaborative approach to development. All decisions and features are dictated by BitcoinABC. In fact the situation is unfortunately even worse than this. BitcoinABC has decided to take an actively hostile position against Bitcoin Unlimited (and many other valuable participants in the ecosystem) and would rather that it did not exist at all.
Game Theory: The Strategy of Betting Against Yourself
Counter intuitively, a strategy where you bet against yourself can provide a beneficial low-risk profile. When you bet against yourself, if you lose you win and if you win you win. With BU’s current asset holdings of BCH and BTC the organisation is financially hedged in a way that it wins if BCH wins, and if BTC wins then BU lives to fight another day for worldwide peer-to-peer electronic cash. If BTC goes down and BCH goes up then it means BCH is succeeding, and our funds in BCH will sustain us for longer. Not only that, but there would likely be more funds available for BCH development in this scenario. If BTC goes up and BCH goes down then BU will be sustained for longer to continue the fight for BCH and peer-to-peer electronic cash. This is very similar to the strategy of BCH-supporting miners mining on BTC and then converting the BTC block rewards into BCH in an effort to use BTC gains to support BCH price. BU is similarly using its gains in BTC and converting them to efforts and initiatives in support of BCH. In doing so Bitcoin Unlimited is able to turn any BTC win into a positive for BCH.
It has been suggested that the situation created by holding a larger portion of funds in BTC than in BCH creates negative incentives that push BU towards supporting BTC. It is important to keep in mind that Bitcoin Unlimited is not a profit driven organisation. While an increase in value of its assets is of course beneficial to the organisation, our primary goal is to accelerate the global adoption of peer-to-peer electronic cash as described in the Bitcoin white-paper, and the officials, membership and founding articles of Bitcoin Unlimited are the driving force for this. It is also important to point out that there is no evidence to support the claim that BU is in support of BTC (or BSV). In fact the voting record clearly shows the opposite of this. BU has continually worked in support of peer-to-peer electronic cash, and specifically in support of BCH since it was created. This is thanks to the strong commitment by the BU officials and members, all of whom are long time Bitcoiners and supporters of the ‘on-chain scaling’ movement. The only members who receive any payment from the organisation are those who provide significant value in the form of various skilled services, and all of these are voted on by the membership. The BUIP record also shows that compensated individuals are often compensated at far under market rates for developers of their caliber. Should the price of BTC increase, no member receives any direct benefit from this beyond any appreciation in value of any BTC they privately hold. Therefore there are no strong incentives for BU to drive the price of BTC up and push the price of BCH down as this would be counter to our primary goal.
Has This Strategy Been Successful?
Bitcoin Unlimited and its members, all being long-time Bitcoiners, are acutely aware of the need to play the long game to make sure a globally adopted peer-to-peer electronic cash becomes a reality. BU is the oldest entity within the BCH ecosystem and with good reason. The financial strategy of BU to date has been highly effective in sustaining the organisation over a long period of time, and allowing it to independently support BCH development initiatives. This is made clear by the fact that BU continues to have enough funding to provide value to the BCH ecosystem for the foreseeable future. Had BU converted all funds to BCH at, or at almost any point after, the time of the BCH/BTC fork in August 2017, then for much of the time since it would have been forced to either scale back operations or shut down support for BCH developers completely. We now see development teams such as BitcoinABC facing the prospect of being unable to fund their development of BCH, and their financial strategy may have contributed to this reality. This is despite the fact that nearly all the funds donated in the recent community funding drive sponsored by bitcoin.com were directed towards BitcoinABC. Lack of a sustainable funding model also seems to have been a major factor in pushing BitcoinABC to make the highly controversial decision to support a change to the BCH protocol that would divert 12.5% of the block reward to themselves. Being financially prudent and sticking to its principles (as defined in the founding Articles of Federation has allowed Bitcoin Unlimited to steer clear of any conflicts of interest such as this.
Through its financial strategy Bitcoin Unlimited has been able to maintain its independence and financial sustainability and has therefore remained in a strong position to support Bitcoin Cash. BU’s officials and membership have continually made good decisions that have allowed BU to provide long-term support for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.
Interview With Eddie Jiang: How CoinEx Is Adapting To The Exchange Space And Growing
Written by chaintalk.tv https://preview.redd.it/v238540taz751.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2a852e171a74e49da802d7c12fadba452cf4cf43 We recently had the opportunity to interview the VP of ViaBTC Group, Eddie Jiang. ViaBTC Group owns popular crypto exchange CoinEx and ViaBTC Pool. In this interview Eddie discusses being the first exchange to use BCH as the base currency, ViaBTC Pool and integrating with CoinEx, new features and ambassador program, and competing with other exchanges like Binance and Huobi. Please enjoy the interview below. How come you decided to open up CoinEx to other cryptos other than just BCH? Eddie Jiang: CoinEx is the world’s first exchange to implement Bitcoin Cash as a base currency. At that time, it was evident that there was a demand for BCH trading markets, and we are the first to explore this opportunity. It also shows our determination to support the BCH’s development. As CoinEx is developing, our goal becomes bigger and we are aiming at the global market. We need to constantly improve our product diversification to meet the different needs of more users, so we open up to other cryptos. In the past six months, we have listed more than 50 new tokens. Up to now, we have listed 129 cryptos and 313 markets. Besides, in addition to spot trading, CoinEx also supports perpetual contract and other derivatives trading. How does CoinEx integrate with the ViaBTC Pool? Eddie Jiang: ViaBTC Group announced a strategic upgrade, which included a new organizational structure, product innovations and service improvements, on 30 May. As part of the change, the Group has established three dedicated business units (BU): the financial services BU, consisting of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange; the infrastructure services BU, including ViaWallet and Blockchain Explorer; and the ecological development BU, focusing on the research and development of public chain technology and the construction of the ecology. After halving, the combination of mining and finance will become closer and closer. Investing in mining machines is like buying a Bitcoin option. Miners need more flexible financial products to maintain and increase the value of assets, or hedging services. Based on this judgment, the operations of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange will be integrated in the future to realize the financial empowerment of the mining pool to meet the diverse financial needs of miners. Features of this integrated product upgrade can be summarized as: “ The mining pool is the wallet, and the wallet is the transaction.” ViaBTC is the world first mining pool that has a wallet embedded in the mining pool account. Users do not need to transfer the mined coins, and can realize the function of coin exchange within the wallet. For example, they can directly convert the mined coins into USDT to pay electricity bill. What’s more, users can store, deposit and withdraw their revenue, and transfer assets to CoinEx at any time without charge, as well as complete other operations on the exchange, such as purchasing wealth management products for asset preservation and appreciation. In addition, we also provide hedging services. All of the above functions can be completed in one stop in the mining pool, without the need to transfer assets between different platforms. The exchange empowers the mining pool, and the mining pool will further bring more traffic and resources to the exchange. The two complement each other and development coordinately. CoinEx has recently added many new features. Can you talk about what new updates were made to the platform and why you made them? Eddie Jiang: We have always attached great importance to the development of overseas markets since our establishment, and one of our major goals this year is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets. To realize this and to meet the needs of more users worldwide, CoinEx has been continuously optimizing and upgrading its operating strategies, products and services. Our product diversifications are constantly improving. As I said before, we have launched leverage trading, perpetual contract trading, and wealth management products in addition to just spot trading. However, we don’t ignore the importance of spot trading. More mainstream, popular, and high-quality tokens have been listed, and up to now, there are 129 tokens and 313 trading pairs on CoinEx. During the epidemic, we have never slowed down our development. Lacking of the OTC service has always been a shortage for CoinEx. In March, we partner with Simplex to integrate the first fiat onramp to our platform. People now can buy crypto with their credit cards, which lowers the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. Moreover, we announced global strategic partnership with Matrixport to provide people with large amount of fiat to crypto needs the OTC service. These newly launched services also help to attract more users. At the same time, CoinEx has been launched in Arabic, Italian, English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and other 16 languages. Earlier we also carried out product upgrades, making the UI and function sections clearer. In terms of operations, we launched an upgraded CoinEx Ambassador program in March. To best utilize each ambassador’s personal strengths, there are four categories of CoinEx Ambassador with different responsibilities, namely Referral Ambassador, Marketing Ambassador, Operation Ambassador, and Business Ambassador, which will expand our brand’s exposure and help CoinEx grow into a more international exchange platform. From March until now CoinEx has seen a 100% increase in user registrations. Why is that and are you able to see where they are coming from? Eddie Jiang: Because of the efforts mentioned above, in 2020, we’ve seen an exponential increase in activity in just the past few months alone. In this year alone, CoinEx’s daily registered users increased by 100%. These new users mainly come from markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and more. Interestingly, we saw an uptick in traffic from the Middle East in March. User growth in Southeast Asia also picked up significantly, newly registered users increased by 133.6% in April. With Binance, BitMex, Huobi, Bybit, and Deribit, controlling most of the crypto futures and options markets, where do you see CoinEx fitting in? How do you plan to capture market share from these large exchanges? Eddie Jiang: We won’t compete with others. We focus on ourselves to improve products and our goal is to be better than yesterday. Our pace is solid and steady, instead of focusing on temporary heat and flow. We have always attached great importance of spot trading, and we are committed to be responsible for users’ investment. We have set up CoinEx Institution, which is dedicated on project research. A listing committee consist of core team members review and vote on projects recommended by the CoinEx Institution. In this way, fraud projects are avoided as much as possible. Besides, we will focus on niche areas with great potential. For example, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. CoinEx can serve users in those countries well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade, and will pay more efforts on refined operations in different countries. Moreover, CoinEx has a very complete ecosystem. Financial services, infrastructure, and ecological development, the three business units complement each other. The infrastructure BU is our cornerstone and is positioned as a defensive product; the financial service BU is a cash cow and is positioned as an aggressive product; the ecological development BU focuses on the public chain ecology and is the future infrastructure. What is the geographical breakdown of the CoinEx userbase? Eddie Jiang: The current proportion of CoinEx’s overseas users has reached 80% of the total registered users, and mainly in Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East and South Korea. Do you have plans to focus on any certain jurisdictions? How will you do that? Eddie Jiang: When we evaluate regions, two things matter: policy and potential. Whether an exchange’s business expansion in a region is smooth or not largely depends on the region’s policies. If the region is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency or has repeated attitudes, there will be more difficulties and the cost will be much higher. For a region’s development potential, we need to think about the demand and market development status. South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions are all areas with good potential for cryptocurrency development. Compared with Europe and America, policy risks in these countries are lower, and the supervision mechanism is relatively complete. The public has a high degree of awareness of cryptocurrencies. Besides, some regions or countries have inflation problems due to political and economic reasons. CoinEx will continue to focus on the Middle East and South Asia, which are relatively niche. India has just lifted ban on cryptocurrency trading this year, and there are many cryptocurrency investors in Indian. CoinEx can serve them well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade. More people in the Middle East are interested cryptos, especially in countries that are subject to economic sanctions or high inflation. For those people, cryptocurrencies are one of the best choices for asset preservation. Since the CoinEx Ambassador program launched in March, it has been almost three months. We are conducting the second round of ambassador recruitment. This time, we will use the power of ambassadors to expand our recruitment coverage and strive to attract more crypto enthusiasts from all over the world to grow together with CoinEx. Moreover, we will launch the National Expansion plan and leverage on the CoinEx and ViaBTC mining pool resources, to further explore the Russian market. At the market level, we will make more PR efforts in local markets, and start refined operations. What is CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX? Eddie Jiang: CoinEx Chain is a public chain built on the Tendermint consensus protocol and the Cosmos SDK. It consists of three dedicated public chains parallel to each other. Among these three chains, CoinEx DEX meets the most basic needs of DeFi for token issuance, transfer, and transactions. The Smart Chain is designed to meet the needs of complex financial scenarios and delivers programmable cash. The Privacy Chain facilitates privacy and security. On November 11, 2019, we took the lead in launching the Mainnet of CoinEx DEX. CoinEx DEX is the world’s first public chain dedicated to decentralized transactions. Users can easily manage their digital assets on it. CoinEx DEX can fully satisfy the following conditions: users have private keys at their own disposal; transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission; the community governance and operation is decentralized, similar to EOS, and validators are introduced to the community ecosystem construction and governance. There are currently 41 validators. It also has extreme performance. TPS reaches as high as 10,000 and transactions are confirmed within seconds. The transaction fee, 0.0001 US dollars for each transaction, is negligible. Third, it’s simple and easy to use. The new operation interface design helps beginners get started quickly; with the one-click token issuing module, users only need to fill in a few items to issue tokens; the built-in automated market-making module guarantees liquidity. How will CoinEx DEX improve the decentralized exchange space that has been unable to gain much adoption? Eddie Jiang: There are many challenges and difficulties facing centralized exchanges. The first difficulty is security. Security is a huge concern for CEXs. Over the last 10 years, hackers have stolen more than $1.5 billion from centralized exchanges. In fact, research groups estimate that hackers stole somewhere between $950 Million and $1 Billion from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone. There were also incidents of coin thefts in other exchanges in 2019. Many exchanges, such as Mt. Gox, Youbit, were forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down as a result of hacks. The second is high management costs. Centralized exchanges need to list a large number of cryptocurrencies and each of them have different trading pairs. That entails huge efforts in development and maintenance and, thus, high management costs. The last is global policies. Cryptocurrency is faced with different regulatory policies in different countries. Every time a centralized exchange enters a country, it needs to adapt itself to local regulatory policies for compliance. This is a holdback for the exchange’s rapid market expansion globally. Such adaptation will also bring a huge learning cost for the exchange team. Obviously, these problems can be well solved by DEX. CoinEx DEX is a true DEX with full open source and full community governance, as well as without depending on official nodes, websites, wallets, etc. On DEX, users are able to in charge of their own private keys and assets all by themselves. Their assets are more safe and secure. Transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; and the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission. What’s more, CoinEx DEX provides a great and convenient user experience. How will CoinEx Chain and DEX help the crypto industry as a whole? Eddie Jiang: The public chain is the cornerstone of the blockchain industry. CoinEx Chain has the parallelism of multiple dedicated public chains, each of which performs its own functions, by cross-chaining for both high performance and flexibility. CoinEx Chain is committed to building the next generation of blockchain financial infrastructure. It is a more complete ecosystem built around the DEX public chain. The DEX public chain is a dedicated public chain developed specifically for token issuance and trading and the biggest improvement on trading speed, so it only supports the necessary functions, not smart contracts. But smart contracts are the foundation for building more complex financial applications. Outside the DEX public chain, CoinEx Chain also includes a Smart Chain that supports smart contracts. Moreover, as privacy issues on the current blockchain have been criticized, it is one of the core tasks of CoinEx Chain to safeguard users’ privacy. Similar to the Smart Chain, the Privacy Chain specifically supports transaction privacy protection. With cross-chain circulation, it can improve the privacy characteristic of the entire CoinEx Chain ecosystem. Nowadays, 1.7 million people in the world have no bank accounts; however, among them, two thirds are smartphone users with huge demands for financial services. The public chain will empower DeFi applications’ development and popularization, not only help more companies to seize the huge market opportunity, but also to bring lasting transformations and improvements in people’s lives. With so many crypto exchanges, what is the future outlook of CoinEx when it comes to the crypto exchange space? Eddie Jiang: It has been nearly 3 years since CoinEx has been launched, but it’s quite young for an entrepreneurial team. We have seen too many projects’ failures due to governance issues. CoinEx has a very elite team with high technical and management capabilities. In terms of business, CoinEx has gradually developed with diversified business and a complete ecosystem. It’s clear that the market will still grow very fast in the future, and the market size is still very large. We will continue to improve our products, put more efforts in marketing and operations, as well as look for more high-quality projects, to increase the number of users and transactions on the platform. Lay a solid foundation, and I’m sure the time will come for us to shine. What updates is the CoinEx team most excited for? Eddie Jiang: We are very excited about the National Expansion Plan which will be launched later this year. It is an important part in CoinEx’s globalization strategy. We will actively explore some new markets while consolidate the original ones. CoinEx will set aside 10 million US dollars to set up a “Pioneer Fund” to support this plan. This fund will be used to support local cryptocurrency projects and promote the development of the local cryptocurrency communities through investment or cooperation. Our goal this year is to invest in projects and communities that are conducive to expanding the CoinEx ecosystem in countries with high development potential. Original article ClickHEREto register on CoinEx
Not directly Litecoin related, but Bitcoin miners lose half their revenue today, and here's what that means for the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Miners are the bedrock of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Today, as a result of the Halving, their Bitcoin-denominated revenue is being cut in half. I wrote this article to help explain the impacts of this and really hope you guys find it informative. Some quick highlights:
Miners are the most bullish participants in the Bitcoin network
Mining is pro-cyclic and miner behavior exacerbates moves
The Halving will cause inefficient miners shutting down, but the revenue drop is predictable and miners have been preparing for this
Unlike previous Halvings, mining is dominated by institutions now
Institutional mining could lead to less volatility, furthering the digital gold narrative
The Halving could have geopolitical effects with US-China and US-Iran relations
Here's the full article, thanks for taking a look! Any feedback and input would be appreciated.
Miners lose half their revenue today, and here's what that means for the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Miners are the bedrock of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Today, as a result of the Halving, their Bitcoin-denominated revenue is being cut in half. I wrote this article to help explain the impacts of this and really hope you guys find it informative. Some quick highlights:
Miners are the most bullish participants in the Bitcoin network
Mining is pro-cyclic and miner behavior exacerbates moves
The Halving will cause inefficient miners shutting down, but the revenue drop is predictable and miners have been preparing for this
Unlike previous Halvings, mining is dominated by institutions now
Institutional mining could lead to less volatility, furthering the digital gold narrative
The Halving could have geopolitical effects with US-China and US-Iran relations
Here's the full article, thanks for taking a look! Any feedback and input would be appreciated.
That time I nearly followed my younger brother's footsteps and almost OD'd on an Opioid/Benzo mix! Maybe not the most pleasant experience for one's body, but my mind got altered forever afterward! LONG ASS POST BUT A MUST READ!
Heya guys, I wrote about this last Sunday on Facebook simply because the thought popped into my head, the thought that I had never really thought about aside from the moment I managed to put fussy bits and pieces together from what I then experienced as somewhat of a blackout but in the end realized was something entirely much larger than anything I have ever come in contact with prior or since then! I want to share this with you guys. It's maybe a difficult read at first, it going into detail about my near-death experience and one breath away from being an OD, but bear with me, it turns into something so much more if you just hang on and read what I write! This is exactly what I remember happening, how I remember it happening. Me for some reason not remembering this right away but having to work this memory as the biggest, most complex Jigsaw puzzle in the world for maybe around 3 weeks in total inside my mind in order to put everything together into a whole image I can share with you guys! The only thing you guys have to know before you read this is that 22nd November 2016 my younger brother, 18 years old, OD'd on Codeine and Zopiclone, dying an Opioid/Non-Benzo overdose. Me being woken up that morning, walking outside of my room and noticing there being around 10 both cops and EMTs on the scene. I was so confused as to what had happened that I had to see it for myself, and as I walked to the door to his room and turned my head around the corner, I saw him. My sweet baby brother lying there, cold as a popsicle, dead on his floor. My father having tried CPR for the entirety of those 40 minutes it took the ambulance to reach us. That was it. I'm done talking about the hardest day of my entire life, you don't need to know more. Aside maybe from my brother's name, it being Elias. So it basically started in either late December or early January 2017-2018, with me driving some friends around who then picked up some people and before I knew it the friends had departed from my car and I was just surrounded by some people I had no idea who even were. I had recently lost my apartment and was on the streets, just living in my car, for the most part, sometimes my mother supported me with some nights at a hostel, but mostly I slept in my car. After a while, all the people cycle out of my car and I'm left with this one, maybe around 35, dude who for some reason was just a jolly fucking roger and somehow managed to always be pleasant in conversation. Very charming and so fucking nice that I could have brought him home to my parents without being gay and my parent's not even noticing him being a dude so they wouldn't resent me for "coming out of the closet"... He asked if I could take a small car ride with him out of town. I had nothing to do so I just said "Why the fuck not? I don't have any other place to be!" This was very late at night and we drove to some remote place I had never been to and didn't even know existed until just then. He offers some junkies that are waiting for us to enter the car, it being freezing outside, it being like -30°C outside. They handed him a small package of something and he handed them some cash. They counted the cash and left. We stopped a few times in the side of the road after that on our way back to the city, the first time him revealing what it was he was actually buying from those junkies. He opened the box in front of me and pulled out something that looked like a patch or something, him saying that this was a 100µg Fentanyl patch which he then cut just a little piece from and vaped on aluminum foil, sitting there next to me in the car. I had never seen anything like it, that it was possible to ingest some sort of bandaid in this manner. That there were Fentanyl patches going around my town and how absolutely SMASHED he got from inhaling some vapor from that aluminum foil. I didn't think much of it and dropped him at home. A few days later he calls me and asks me to come to the head shop he owned back then and ran alongside his father, who really did all the work, this guy only spending the profits on, apparently, Fentanyl and Oxy and some shit like that. He said he was gonna show me something special. I, again, was homeless, so I just thought to myself: "Where else would I go? At least there I have a roof over my head!" but decided to have one of my best friends back then with me as backup as I didn't know what I was about to walk into. We arrive at his shop and, there being something about this guy, his personality being absolutely one of a kind, we talked and joked some, until he drags up a glass pipe and this package of 5x Fentanyl patches as well. He then gets his scissors and starts cutting these tiny ass pieces off one of the patches he had, puts it in the pipe along with some tobacco and takes a hit. He then offered me and my friend some. Each of us just got in line thinking: "YOLO!!!" And each of us took some hits and I got to experience the single most absolutely gorgeously and best highs of my entire life! It felt amazing just getting a hit from a tiny bit of this patch. The piece he'd put into the pipe each time being so small that if you'd put it on the table, you'd never find it again! But while I felt how amazingly good it felt to breathe this shit in, I also, at the same time, felt how absolutely amazingly dangerous this substance was and how if it wanted to, it could kill me before I passed the pipe back to him if he didn't dose it correctly! It was so dangerous that I wanted to swear to myself to never do it after that night in question, but it being so fucking good as well that I lost that thought before I realized what I was thinking and just took another fucking hit of this best fucking high I've ever felt in my mind, body, and soul! While we're smoking this stuff, my friend had some pills he was constantly offering me. I was in the mindset of a 12-year-old trying Weed for the first time, I just wanted to get the fuck fucked out of my skull. Fuck it, I was homeless, he was giving us hits of one of the most expensive drugs around here, he at least never asked us for any money in return, so what did I have to lose? We partied like there was no tomorrow. At one point him offering us Oxy80 and me purchasing one pill from him, him crushing it down after having removed the film that's always on these pills and me and my friend splitting it, one line each! I didn't really feel that much from it, maybe a little heat sensation in my legs, but nothing more. Our new friend all of a sudden asking if we had any Speed on us, me remembering that I had like 10 grams stored somewhere in my car, so I went outside to get it. I got locked outside for a while but they figured it out in the end and let me in. When I handed him the bag of Speed he reached into some sort of purse and next thing I know he's holding a syringe with a needle on the end and him filling us with some bullshit about him rarely ever shooting shit up, him just needing to get some Stimulants into his arm because he had smoked too much Fentanyl. He starts IV'ing in front of us and can I say and that buddy of mine confirm that seeing it so fucking up close and personal was one of the most horrifying sights I had never thought I would be witnessing at any point in my life. This guy being then the only guy I knew who injected his drugs at some point. After that, he's feeling all better and gets a message from a Weed dealer friend of his and because I'm so fucked out of my skull, I ask my friend if he can drive, him somehow being able to take the wheel no matter how fucking fucked the both of us are and him driving perfectly in that condition. We arrive in another part of town at this apartment block which was like 5 or 6 stories tall and was I told it was a part of the University's dorms that people could rent out if they attended the school, even though the actual school was actually somewhere around 30 kilometers THAT way... I never fully understood if it was correct that it was some sort of dorm for the Uni. Because it'd be a very strange place for that dorm since there were literally 30 kilometers to the University which was exactly in the other side of town, we couldn't have been farther from it, actually! We take the elevator to the top and my friend sneaks me one pill, me just not ever giving it a second thought, just swallowing it whole and moving on. We enter an apartment on the top floor where this insane noise was coming from which sounded like a VERY loud vacuum cleaner but turned out to be an Asic Bitcoin Miner they were mining Bitcoin on for some bizarre ass reason. Upon entering the apartment two guys greet us. I didn't know either of them but after a short while realized that one of them was the guy that had been accused of sexually molesting a friend of mine in her sleep, her going to sleep with her pants on, her waking up next to him with her pants off. I didn't know the whole story but when I met her after that night I told her where he could be found so she could have her goons do some street justice on his face, repeatedly, for having tried to rape a dear friend of mine. Anyway, my friend notices a big glass jar sitting on the dinner table filled to the brim with Weed and probably the biggest fucking bong I have ever seen with my own two eyes sitting on the floor next to it. My friend asks if he can take a hit from it with some of his own Weed and does he get the owner's permission to do so. He takes a hit and then tells me to take a hit. I never having taken a hit from a bong before just try my best and without even a second thought I exhale this HUGE cloud of smoke which, according to my friend, "was the largest bong hit he'd ever seen in his life!!!" him almost thirty, having smoked Weed since he was 12! I instantly feel absolutely smashed. But I still felt as if it wasn't just the Weed causing it, that there was something more at play as I just all of a sudden feel exhausted. I find myself a sofa or a bed or something to sit on and lean my head against the wall. All of a sudden I realize what those pills my friend was always handing me actually were. Of course, had he bought like 50 Diazepam/Valium tablets from one of our friend's mother who was sometimes dealing more than an actual pharmacy would do on a good day. I realize that we were taking Diazepam, which is a Benzo, maybe a soft Benzo but still a Benzo, while we were smoking Fentanyl and snorting Oxy80 and shit. Me knowing for a fact that mixing Opioids and Benzos almost always leading to an overdose and sometimes, more often than not at least, death! I feel like I need to make my friend aware of this little fact but before I knew it, my eyes just seemed to slowly slide shut, without me having to even think about closing them. What I see under my eyelids, which usually is just this black background with this orgy of millions and millions of different colors on it, is all of a sudden just completely different! I see nothing! Absolutely nothing! There was no color, there was no background, there was no anything under my eyelids! I felt as if I was just looking right into the Void! That place where there is nothing and if something happens to go there it becomes nothing as well! Me feeling my breath always getting slower and shorter, a short while being from that moment to the moment I feel insanely dizzy from little to no oxygen entering my lungs at that moment. My breath being so short that I could have counted a 100 Mississippi's in between those few short breaths I knew I had left. I start betting on when my last and absolutely final breath is gonna kiss me goodbye and I'm just gonna die from respiratory depression like I've read about would happen in exactly this situation. I was feeling a little cocky, like I was taunting what I knew what was about to happen, me of course in the mindset that if I'm gonna die right then and there, I'd do so with a smile on my face! Me, of course, being more terrified than I had ever been before in my entire life! Basically counting down to my last breath where I'd suffocate and die without anyone at the party noticing anything being wrong. I then start to see this little white star in the middle of all that nothingness I was looking at under my eyelids, this tiny little star that I somehow felt I was supposed to move my mind closer to. As I start doing so, moving my mind closer and closer to the star, all of a sudden my entire mind goes blank! I'm thinking nothing! I'm feeling nothing! Hearing nothing and I can't feel the fact that I have skin around my bones. I'm completely Depersonalized as I have never experienced before, me being basically a blank slate for some very odd reason. I then start seeing visions of moments I had in the past with my little brother, Elias, before he died on me and left me to fend for myself in this cruel and unjust world we live in. Some of the things I saw were moments we spent together, moments I always remembered about him and loved to death, but others were these strange moments where I wasn't there and the only person able to remember something like that only being Elias himself! I'm always moving closer and closer to the star, until I realize it's not a star but a big while circle! Although I can't hear anything, I can feel my little brother, as if he's talking to me, about Rocket League or some music he was producing or something like that he always used to talk about, it all coming from that white circle which was getting larger and larger by the moment! I then feel just this overwhelming feeling that I'm standing right next to Elias, that I can feel his presence and can almost touch him! Then when the circle is about to become as big as it possibly can, I feel this insane heat all around me, like the most compassion I have ever felt in my life, like anyone has ever felt in anyone's life! And then it happens. Whatever was going on peaked and I feel every sense of my body and mind feeling as though I'm experiencing Elias with every last thread of my existence, me smelling that smell that was always of him, that smell I always connected in my mind to him and his room, that safe haven where I could check on him at any moment during the week and spew whatever nonsense I had to spew over him and he'd always meet me halfway with more understanding than I had ever gotten from anyone else in life! Then there was the taste! I could taste, or it wasn't exactly that I could taste it, it was more an emotion that I could feel in my entire mouth and tongue. I don't know what it was or felt like exactly but there was something about it which lead me to believe that Elias was just around the corner. Me feeling as though I was holding him in my arms, him holding me back, me getting that hug I always wanted to plant on him, that hug I never had the courage to give him when he was alive and was finally getting right there in that moment! As I said, every sense of my being was feeling his presence in some way! Some significant fucking way and was I lead to believe that the big white circle, which was so close to me I could almost smell it, had something to do with my sweet Elias and that he was probably inside that big fucking white circle. Him waiting eagerly to meet me again, me getting ready to kick the door that this circle actually was the fuck down because I was so fucking ready to see my best friend in the whole world again. Me just knowing that if I tore the door down, we'd meet again and spend the rest of time together, in each other's loving embrace! I know what I'm supposed to do! I'm supposed to enter this big ass white circle! And at the exact moment I had, I get pulled the fuck back by some unknown force. I try entering again but the same thing just happens. I get pulled the fuck back! So for the third time, I try and I put everything I have left into it! It resulting in me getting pulled so far back from the circle that it started looking like this white little star again in no time! All of a sudden I stop feeling all those ridiculously strong emotions and sensations, I re-enter reality once more and there it the moment I was betting on before! I just know by how my lungs felt like they had been in a huge vehicular crash that this is the last one! This breath that's coming up is the last fucking breath I'm ever going to breathe! I just know it in every fiber of my being! I'm starting to like the feeling that this is it. That I'm about to leave and never come back! That once and for all, this was how I was gonna die and even though for having tried to off myself a million times in the past, it never appearing to work properly, but it working now and I was finally gonna get a break from all the suffering which is almost the only emotion I have ever felt in my life and was gonna get to see some peace! When something hits me like I'm getting a hit from defibrillators, all of a sudden I just get this intense shock all over my body and feel my body in its entirety jump from that bed or sofa I was sitting on, my eyes finally opening up, me having to open them myself, even though that was the hardest fucking thing I have ever had to do in my entire life, it felt as if there were billions of tons of lead sitting on my eyelids, me barely being able to lift them just enough to see what's going on right in front of me. I just know and feel that I'm standing in my own two feet and am I able to walk out of the apartment, out to the open stairwell where the elevator was located and as I open the door outside I just feel the freezing cold air filling my lungs, both my insanely short breath becoming longer and stronger, along with my heartbeat beating over those two beats per minute I had felt it was doing earlier. For some reason, almost exactly as I feel like I can finally take a deep and good breath again, that I'm not suffocating from the inside, the party is over and do my friend and that Fentanyl guy walk outside and meet me, me having been feeling like I was about to die just moments prior, walking into the elevator and then into my car. The Fentanyl guy asked if he could drive, I was still recovering from the fact that I was just about a nanosecond from dying inside some guy's home I had never met before, so I tried to utter something that he took as a yes and as I layed in the back seat on the way to his headshop again, him driving like he was absolutely retarded, him never having taken any sort of driver's test, me terrified the whole time in the back that I was gonna maybe experience something like I just did again but after a car crash, it being a miracle that there were no cops around because they would have seen by how the car was driven that either he had never driven a car before, someone was drugged out of hist fucking skull under the wheel, or both, which was exactly the case! We get to the headshop and I just pass out on the couch, waking up an hour later with his dad standing over me holding a piece of aluminum foil which had obviously been used as something to vape Fentanyl from and asked me like I just fucked his wife: "WERE YOU GUYS SMOKING FENTANYL IN HERE ALL NIGHT????" Me just trying to say something, trying as hard as I could, in the end just walking out of the shop, realizing that my phone was dead and I didn't have my charger while my car wasn't anywhere to be seen on the parking lot. I was fucked! I had nothing to do, nowhere to go and my apartment had just been stolen! Everything after I almost died from an overdose the night before. I couldn't believe how much of a shit I would have become and promised myself never to reach such a low fucking place, while I cried and bought a new charger at the mobile phone store that was next door to the headshop.... So yeah! That's the story I wanted to tell you! What do you think? Me reaching a new low point in my life, me never having gone so low before and never having gone so low after this happened, thank fucking god!!! To me, all I experienced about my sweet brother Elias, all the emotions, the sensations, the feelings, everything, was my mind realizing that I was about to die and in order to make sure that I didn't suffer as much as I could have, it administered something like a pretty fucking strong DMT trip or something like that to soften the impact that dying would have been! This being very similar to every single story I have ever heard about people who have either died or escaped death by the skin on their ass. It almost being exactly like some stories, life flashing before you, you seeing some loved one's, feeling intense and otherworldly emotions and feeling you didn't think anyone was capable of feeling. Even the "tunnel of light" some people talk about was there in the form of my white circle! I gather that I was about to die, was gonna die, had basically written in hell's guestbook already, but something, probably just my body not accepting this death I was about to experience, it making a break for it in the end, which was what saved me! Even though I sometimes hate my body and even recently got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I must admit that you, body, you're all right! I want this tale to serve as a cautionary tale to anyone and everyone who has thought about mixing Benzos and Opioids! Along with being just me telling anyone and everyone who cares to hear it to stay the fuck away from fucking Fentanyl! Don't do it! I beg you! Don't even think about touching the Fent! Please! Do it for me! I hereby wish you all a happy Friday as writing this whole thing took me like two and a half hours or so, it having been Thursday when I started! Peace and love to you and everyone you care about and love! Sincerely yours, Russel Dunbar!
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