1587 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010
Re: I never knew...
Well then, you'd better tell it it's late for Ragnarok.
"(An astronomical unit is roughly distance between our Earth and the Sun – approx 1.49 billion km, or 93 million miles.)"
Ummm. No. One mile does not equal 16 kilometres.
Re: Rumors that Mt Gox was doing a bit of fractional reserve banking on the side...
"transaction malleability" sounds suspiciously like exactly that. I have no idea whether bitcoin technically allows this.
"Transaction melleability" refers to a vulnerability in the bitcoin protocol known about in 2011, and for which a fix was done then in the standard bitcoin client. For MtGox not to have applied this fix to their own code suggests a severe level of incompetence on their own part, akin to running a bank's servers on a public-facing unpatched WinXP box.
According to BitcoinAverage.com, which gives a weighted average of the current/recent prices on several exchanges, at the time of writing, the price of one bitcoin is $627.
$627/BTC x 850,000 BTC = $532,950,000
This is assuming you were able to shift those coins at a reasonable rate without causing the exchange to collapse. Given that the daily volume appears to be around 30,000 BTC, it would probably take some months to convert those to cash, but the exhange rate does seem to have stayed pretty constant over the last few weeks.
I think that falls pretty well into the 'hundreds of millions of dollars' bracket, either way, without any need to start waffling about 'street drugs', which has absolutely no relevance.
Re: Suck It Berkshire Hathaway
Yes, bnecause Lloyds took the value of a ship (e.g. £1000), multiplied it by the risk of it sinking (e.g. 0.1), and then charged that amount PLUS A BIT (e.g. £125) to each ship owner. When 10% of the ships sank, thay paid out the £1000, but in this example, on average, they made £25 profit on each. As long as insurers calculate the risks correctly, and always charge a premium over that risk, they make a profit. It doesn't matter in the least how badly the ships are built in the first place.
Re: Nice to see the gloating
So... My Space1999 cards from late '70s might be worth something?
A quick search on eBay tells me... yes.
Depending on their condition, and which cards exactly you are talking about, they're worth anything between a few quid and a few hundred.
Now, if only I'd held onto my original 'horror' Top Trumps from the same period. As you can see, scarcity, and subjective value, makes things more valuable. Whodathunkit?
Cars and stamps have real intrinsic value. If you started printing your own Monopoly-style money and using it to barter with your friends you couldn't expect the police to value it as anything other than paper and ink.
Glad to hear that anything that exists purely as a pattern of ones and zeros is fair game then. I 'm just off to download all the software, music, movies and games I feel like without paying the rights owner a penny. Either that, or your logic may have a teensy flaw in it.
Re: Leading indicator...
Please explain why, if a currency needs an army, that there are countries without standing armies, and they don't do all of their trade in barter?
What actually brings stability to national currencies is regulation. I have said it before and I will say it again, companies which provide 'financial' services (such as banking, echanges, etc.) should be covered by national legislation. This legislation should require these organisations to prove that they have the reserves they say they have, and that they keep them offline in 'cold' wallets, to avoid the risk of theft. They should provide an audit of transactions, identifying customers if required by a country's national banking laws to do so. Direct wallet-to-wallet transfers as they are, are fine - these are the equivalent of a cash transaction, an important part of which is anonymity (although there is a good chance that a bitcoin wallet address is not as anonymous as you think it might be, if it can be associated with an IP address).
Such legislation does not (yet) exist in most coutries, but it is what needs to happen before Bitcoin sees widespread use and stable exchange rates. The fact that such legislation does not yet exist does not render the concept, or execution of Bitcoin itself worthless, it just means that you shouldn't go round trusting random 'banks' or 'exchanges' with your Bitcoins, as there is no guarantee of what will happen to them. Personally, I can see no benefit to trusting someone to 'store' your bitcoins for you, when you can do it just as securely on your own computer.
Re: No sympathy.......
Which is why the missing Bitcoin were found immediately after the loss were discovered,right? If the transactions were fully audited, actual source and actual destination would be known, and this problem wouldn't exist.
About the only thing right about what you said was the word "arguably."
The block chain is a full audit of every transaction. The fact that MtGox were obviously not verifying any of their transactions against the block chain properly, or indeed doing any sort of accounting whatsoever by all appearances is another matter. This is a weakness with MtGox, not the block chain. In matter of fact, every transaction can be identified in the block chain, although the owners of the addresses involved cannot (that's the anonymous part).
Re: @ Loyal Commenter
I buy goods from abroad all the time. The currency conversion fee that Paypal charges me is pennies.
...And if you ever sell through ebay, you'll know they charge the seller 10%.
Re: No sympathy.......
That's all fair and well, but Bitcoins aren't 'left handed sky hooks'. The technology behind them is proven, and what they provide, which is arguably of some value, is a fully audited, globally distributed audit of all transations, via the block-chain.
It is up to the users to decide what this is worth to them, but consider the following - if you want to buy something from another country at the moment, for example if you were to buy a book from a seller in France, and you live the the UK, you need to carry out the transaction in Euros - assuming you have a UK bank account, it is going to cost you to do so - if you make a transfer through your bank account, you bank is likely to charge you a transaction fee (£10 for the large UK bank I happen to bank with), and the conversion rate will not be in your favour (for example, the exchange rate is hovering around 1.20 Euros to the Pound at the moment, but your bank is likely to give you a rate of around 1.15 or worse).
Alternatively, you could do the transaction through a service like PayPal, and they will take their 10%, either from the buyer or the seller depending on how you carry out the transaction.
Either way, you are going to end up paying significant transaction fees. If you buy things online, or pay your energy bills with a credit card, a lot of retailers will add on a few percent to cover the card costs here. The financial companies involved do very nicely out of this, thank you very much.
Now, consider how you might use something like Bitcoin instead. Say I have bought something from a retailer in France that costs 100 Euros, and that the current bitcoin exchange rate is around 500 euros per coin. If I buy 0.2 Bitcoins from someone here in the UK and send them to the retailer in France's wallet, and they then sell them there, they have their 200 euros, and the transaction fees involved are very small (typically 0.0001 BTC per transaction, so a total of 0.0003 BTC, or around 15 Euro Cents in this example), the transaction fees go to the network, in the sense that the miner of the next block in the block chain get these on top of the block's value.
So it can be argued that bitcoins have an intrinsic value as a financial service, along with much more reasonable rates than PayPal.
...and this is why the following list of countries with no armed forces also have no monetary system:
Re: Hello French polishers? @Loyal Commenter
My bank will actually give me (sell me) gold for the money I have there.
Really? I'm pretty sure that if I went into any high street bank and asked to see their gold supply, they would laugh me out of the building.
Re: Hello French polishers?
The currency may not technically be a Ponzi scheme but the technologically baked-in anonymity means that it's easy to operate a $commodity market in a very Ponzi-reminiscent fashion.
Where you can replace $commodity with pretty much anything you like - for instance, cash, shiny beads, bearer bonds, bottle caps, etc.
The problem here isn't with BitCoin, it was with MtGox. MtGox itself may well have been operating like a Ponzi scheme, that doesn't make BitCoin one, any more than all the stuff with Bernie Madoff a few years ago that caused so much bother makes the US dollar a Ponzi scheme.
Re: Hello French polishers?
Bitcoins may, or may not, be a safe investment. They have no more, or less, intrinsic value than a fiat currency (after all, your bank balance is just a number too - try going into your bank and asking for the gold, and see how far you get).
What it is not, is a Ponzi scheme. Read up on what a Ponzi scheme is, and what Bitcoin is, and you will see that they are not the same thing. Repeating the mantra ad nauseum does not make it any truer.
Note that I'm by no means advocating sinking all of your money into bitcoins. The whole concept of cryptocurrencies is still in its infancy, and no doubt there are still kinks to be ironed out. Writing the whole thing off as something it is not, however, is disingenious.
I will repeat myself once more, for the hard of understanding - if you think Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme, you understand neither what Bitcoin is, nor what a Ponzi scheme is, and you need to do some reading up on both subjects.
I would say it is down to the way MtGox was run, and lack of regulation thereof, such as insisting on proper accounting practices for the Bitcoin wallets, which would have showed up irregularities much sooner (some suggestions are that they have been losing money through the cracks since 2011).
As I have suggested in comments elsewhere, the real problem here appears to be lack of proper regulation fo companies that are holding coins on belahf of others. There are a whole bunch of such regulations in most countries for fiat currency, but as yet such rules for Bitcoins are few and far between.
Note that it is unlikely that any bitcoins have been 'lost' or 'destroyed' in this debacle, it is just that they have been stolen. The block chain itself, which acts as a complete public ledger, will show exactly where the coins are, just not who owns those wallets. Further investigation could conceivably throw up IP address and such, although there is no hard link between a wallet and a given address, given that a Bitcoin wallet itself doesn't physically 'hold' the coins, it is simply the crpytographic keys required to assign them to another wallet.
Yes, 20 FPS on an embedded linux system that runs on 5V and is smaller than your hand. You do realise that the 1990 linux system you are implicitly referring to would have also cost many multiples of the £24 a Raspberry Pi costs, before you even take inflation into account, and would be the size of a small piece of furniture?
To stretch an analogy, you are not even comparing apples to oranges, it is more like you are comparing apples to the cube root of 47.
Re: Actually using it for graphics is one of the more boring things
What's the Srypt hash rate like?
Re: Call *me* a cynic...
Compared to some, and to how they once were, Microsoft are actually quite good with their API documentation. They even go so far as to say, 'this will be deprecated in a future version' several versions beofre something finally goes, for instance many of the stored procedures in SQL Server have been marked as deprecated for several versions, but are still there. If you then find an SP you were using in SQL Server 2000 is no longer there in SQL Sever 2012 because they told you it would be deprecated in 2005, and it breaks your code, you only have yourself to blame.
Re: At least one Fed Reserve person has read about bitcoin
I agree. I think the one thing it is now clear that MtGox was lacking is any sort of basic accounting. After all, if they knew how many bitcoins they were supposed to have, and had transactions and sales recorded in a ledger, they would have been able to do some basic auditing to show that the number in their wallet tallied with the numebr they are expecting. Or not, as it seems in this case.
This shows the need for regulation, but only the regulation of organisations holding BitCoins on behalf of others. For example, if I were to transfer 0.1 BTC to an exchange to exchange for cash, I would like to know that this transaction increases their wallet total by 0.1 BTC, and that they have a ledger showing this, and then I would expect to see a corresponding ledger entry when the coins are sold on my behalf. This could be verified against the public ledger that is the block chain.
The important point here is that regulators, and auditors should be able to go to this organisation and say, "show me your ledgers, and show me your wallets". They should be able to confirm that the amount on the ledger tallies with the amount in their wallet, and the numbers in the block chain at a given point in time. Granted, there is the fact that transactions are not instantaneous, so transactions in progress cannot be easily audited until confirmed on the block chain, but such retrospective auditing (which could easily be automated) would have caught MtGoxs problems almost immediately, not 3 years down the line.
Re: Not what Manchin wants to hear
So to sum up, like any victim of robbery you know you have been robbed, but you don't know by whom or how to recover your lost property?
...But you do happen to know their Swiss bank account number...
Re: Interesting reading on the Senator
His degree is in 'Information Management' not actually in anything techy. For example, if I held a degree in something like 'Medical Practice Management', this would not make me a physician.
Re: You missed the real story
No, a US senator is against personal financial freedom, preferring instead for everyone to be under the financial controls of large banks, of whom one of which is his sponsor.
Re: Isn't that factually incorrect as well?
That, too, is my understanding.
IIRC, most clients accept a transaction as confirmed after 6 confirmations by the network. Officially it is confirmed after 12, but under the hood, it is 20. Essentially, after each confirmation, it becomes exponentially harder for the block-chain to 'branch' and reverse the transaction, especially if those in control of the block-chain (every single miner, in a distributed network) are widely spread, and not in cahoots.
There is a theoretical vulnerability that if a single organisation controls more than 50% of the hashing power of the network, then they could use this to 'branch' the block-chain and control transactions. However, the largest pools (shared hashing of many individuals, with shared rewards, controlled by a single point) are some way off this, and if they were to reach the threshold, then people would notice, this would affect confidence in the network and the value of BTC woudl crash, so there is no incentive to do this.
I'm sorry sir, I can't use this suitcase full of wads of $$$ to buy your suitcase full of cocaine, because the feds say it's illegal for me to make a transaction over $15,000.
Talk about aiming for the moon and shooting yourself in the foot...
Re: I'm no Frontiersman
Low end ones (such as some fot eh USb miners) can be had for around £5, so only out by 3 orders of magnitude.
Admittedly, these mine so slowly, it would take several months to get your money back, assuming no rise in network difficulty (which is a bad assumption)
Re: And people still don't think bitcoins are a scam?
Nice FUD you have there - you don't happen to work for a bank do you?
"a currency but mostly used illegally"
Sometimes used to launder money, in the same way that bundles of USD are. Not 'mostly used illegally'.
then "illegally" goes missing
Most likely to be fraud or theft. The blockchain can actually be examined to see where the funds went, just not who owns those wallets. This is actually more traceable than any conventional money laundering.
a place well known to store illegal funds
An exchange, albeit one run badly. Those storing 'illegal' funds would do so in their own wallets, not in an exchange.
people are annoyed by this because they can no longer get access to their scam wallet
People are annoyed, beacuse they can no longer withdraw funds from an organisation that said that they held those funds. A bit like if your bank lost all of its money to theives and then told you you couldn't have your life savings back. The difference, of course, being that banks are regulated, and you are covered against this happening by the FSA (to a limit, £85k IIRC). There is a strong argument then, that organisations acting as cryptocurrency exchanges should be regulated in the same way. Note that I didn't say 'banks', as there is no benefit to having someone else hold your BitCoins for you.
I am interested to hear why you think this is a 'scam wallet' any more than the number held in a computer for you by your bank, or do you keep all of your wages and savings under your bed in the form of gold ingots?
Re: Virtual currency banking has been done before
Surely one of the important points of BitCoin is that you don't need banks - if you keep your coins in your wallet, you are in charge of their security. If you put them in a bank, you are essentially trusting stranger not to steal them.
MtGox is not, in any case, a bank - it is nominally an exchange, although it is starting to look like they have not been exactly careful with the assets that are supposed to have been holding onto. Anyone with any sense would have them hold their coins for exactly the amount fo time it takes to sell them for currency - if buying them, then the sensible would withdraw them pronto.
I hate to side with various governments on this - but BitCoin is in need of some regulation in this regard. Those operating exhanges should be expected to provide a certain amount of transparency and accounting - to prove they are holding the funds they say they are. I believe that there are various things built into the block chain that provide an audit of all transactions - exhanges and escrow services need to be able to provide details of which of these transactions are theirs, and with whom they are transacted.
I'm not sure it's fair to compare BitCoin itself to other bubble investments of the past. prior to the hoo-ha with MtGox, the price had actually been remarkably stable for a couple of months, rather than the rapid growth and subsequent crash of bubbles. Compare this to some fiat currencies (Argentina's Peso springs to mind).
MtGox itself is clearly doomed - even if they do resume withdrawals, their reputation is now fatally damaged. If withdrawals do resume, we may see a burst of activity as people pick up bitcoins cheap and imemdiately withdraw them, but after that, nobody will touch it with a barge-pole.
Facebook may be overvalued, but it does have an income - albeit only really from advertising, this will continue to bring in revenue as long as people use the site; the value of its shares may drop as people get bored of it, but they're hardly going to crash.
Re: That's a lotta coins!
There are, however, sites (such as cryptsy) which operate as crytocoin exchanges. Even if you can't get $currency for your $cryptocoins, you can exchange them for bitcoins, which although not simple to do, can be exchanged for $currency (difficulty depends on $currency).
Re: Is an unencrypted wallet enough?
It may just be that most users don't have much in their bitcoin wallets. After all, when you go to bed at night, do you leave your wallet in your trouser pocket, or lock it in a wall safe? If you only have a fiver in it, the wall safe option might seem like overkill, even if you happen to have one right next to your bed.
Forget about whether we had the leaflet or not
Does anyone have the website address to opt out of this nonsense right now?
Re: All I can say is......
The first £85,000 in my bank* are backed by a country of 70 million people with nukes and a standing army.
So, if an employee of that bank were to abscond with your money, to a country without an extradition treaty with us, you would expect the government to step in and nuke them for you? Didn't think so.
Re: The thing that strikes me as odd ...
Have MtGox resumed the ability to withdraw BTC funds yet though? Otherwise, you're a bit stuck with the transferring of the funds from one exchange to the other.
presumably, this is the reason for the plummeting value of BTC on this particular exchange - anyone with funds there wants them out, and the only way at the moment is to sell them for traditional currencies. If and when they resume processing transfers, the value may bounce back, or MtGox may go under for good due to this monumental cock-up on their part.
Re: As this is a virtual currency, has a theft actually occurred?
On these grounds, if you hand me your bank login details (which does on [sic] really exist), I'll just transfer those numbers (which don't really exist) from your bank account (which doesn't really exist) into mine (yeah, this doesn't exist either...)
Re: All I can say is......
"This is what comes of using Open Source products..."
Because software where the source code is not available to the user for examination is always more secure, isn't it. There have never been any problems with the concept of 'security by obscurity'. There are no securty experts, such as Bruce Schneier, who repeatedly point out the flaws with this kind of thinking.
Also there is no crime, and everyone lives for ever.
Re: All I can say is......
You know those numbers in your bank account aren't actually backed by anything physical either, don't you? The main difference being that the authenticity of a Bitcoin transaction is verified by the network as a whole, and the authenticity of your imaginary numbers in a bank are verified by a group of sociopathic arseholes in suits. I know who I'd rather trust.
bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy and no doubt there are still issues to be ironed out. This particular vulnerability was known about, and patched, three years ago. Anyone stupid enough to still be using software that is vulnerable to it after this amount of time, especially to handle large transactions deserves what they get (including MtGox).
Essentially, as I understand it, the 'vulnerability' involves one person (Alice) requesting a payment from another (Bob). Bob does not correctly record the details of the transaction, so when Alice says, "I never got the money", Bob checks, does not see it has gone through, and sends the money again. Alice repeats the process until she has all of Bob's money.
Understandably, this has resulted in a fair loss of confidence in Bitcoin as a whole, but really the only problem lies with those who have not kept themselves up-to-date with the software. These are akin to those people who use a fresh install of Windows XP, don't install any security patches, log straight in to their bank's web site, ignore all the warnings and then act all surprised when all their money is missing a week later.
I had one of these and remember it fondly, but see no mention here of the cut corners on the printer port. If you look closely at that circuit diagram, right in the middle is the pritner port latch - see what the high bit of the output is connected to? That's right, nothing - despit the edge connector on the MOBO having a connection for the eigth bit, to save costs, the controller chip was 7-bit.
I had a fairly good (for the time) 24 pin Epson dot matrix printer. Whilst the CPC464 could print the standard ASCII characters, it couldn't send extended characters (128-255), so I was missing out on the fancy accented and box characters the printer could print. Eventually, I managed to work out that the printer itself had control codes that could tell it to set the high bit on the next character - I remember being particularly pleased with myself, as I must have been 11 or 12 at the time. IIRC, you could buy adapters that sat on the edge connector of the printer port, and in conjunction with a machine code hack to the firmware which sent two bytes per character to the port, seamlessly sent the full eight bits to your printer.
I would suggest fitting the drone with a half-silvered mirror in front of any guidance cameras, and as many reflective surfaces as possible.
Re: BCs credibility problem
To put things in perspective, the BTC price on MtGox, after falling quite a way, is now the same as it was in Mid December, and is still higher than it was at any time beofre that. Prices on other exchanges, such as localBTC have remained pretty much stable after a small drop.
Reports of the sky falling may be premature. If anything, now is probably a good time to invest, before prices bounce back up.
Re: Gas masks
The one in the picture also doesn't appear to have a filter, so its only effect would be to give you a sweaty face whilst you choke to death.
Re: Did I just read a thinly veiled mysogynistic rant or what?
No you didn't. The word you are looking for is 'misanthropic', since the BOFH's 'skills' are directed towards all of humanity, not only those with the reproductive organs on the inside. You will note that the article gives examples of where men can trigger The Crazy in women, AND vice-versa, so if it is misogynistic, it is also misandristic. I would suggest that you take the blinkers off.
You overreaction reminds me of a series of posts on FB (not by myself I hasten to add - I won't get involved with The Crazy if it can be avoided) between a supposed feminist I know, and others; she is always keen to complain about how badly men treat women, whilst at the same time posting pictures of 'hunks' and claiming that there is no such thing as misandry. Prejudice and intolerance have more than one face, even if some faces are overrepresented.
Does half of what a RPi does, costs twice as much.
Re: One does not have to be on Zuck-book
You may not be able to uninstall it, but you can probably disable it (assuming it's an Android phone)
Re: Noticed the new permissions already...
When I saw the permissions it was asking for (IIRC some time in December), I quickly unistalled this horrible piece of bloatware and disabled the pre-installed app on my phone. My thinking at the time was along the lines of, "Fuck you FaceBook, go and push your spamvertising at someone else."
Re: Few things
Bought a wireless Samsung colour laser last year which has gone through a few reams of paper and still nowhere near emptied any of the four CMYK toner cartridges. Toner ain't cheap, but lasts longer than ink, and you have no wastage with the 'head cleaning'. IIRC there are plenty of 'alternative' suppliers to the official cartridges that are either remanufactured or cheap Chinese rip-offs.
For B+W printing, I use an old Samsung ML-4500 which has been going for years. It turns out about 10k pages per toner cartridge, which can be refilled or obtained as remanufactured items.
Note that you can't refill a toner catridge forever, as the transfer drum wears out eventually, and the process is very messy - best put plenty of newspaper down first!
You have a patent on the ink-spraying bit of the cartrideg, which is all fair and good, but how in Satan's glorious name do you justify preventing the cartridges from being refilled. It's not like you have a patent on the concept of ink... yet.
On a similar note, while queueing in the local Royal Mail delivery office to collect a parcel the other day, I noticed a sign in there claiming that they have trademarked the colour red:
"Royal Mail, the Royal Mail Cruciform, the colour red and SmartStamp are all registered trademarks of Royal Mail Group plc"
Re: Missing the point
Really, you want the outer shell to be as hard and strong as possible, to prevent ingress from sharp pointy things, and the inside to be as deformable as possible and able to absorb the most impact energy in the shortest amount of time, in order to reduce the sudden deceleration your head experiences when dropped from 6 feet onto a hard surface.
IMHO, the helmet is the most important part of a bicycle, and anyone not wearing one when riding a bike is an absolute idiot of the highest degree.
Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....
I'm just wondering: is there really no way of re-purposing all this hardware? Sort of switch them over to looking for Galaxies, Protein mapping or something useful once the Bitcoin rarity threshold becomes silly?
Google can easily provide the answer to that question for you, but to save the wear on your fingers - it's "no".
The specialised chips used for mining are single-purpose ASICS. The only thing they can do is generate double SHA-256 hashes (i.e. a hash of a hash) and check if the leading digits are zeroes. They are not even any use for cryptography, since nothing else (except other similiar cryptocurrencies) uses double SHA-256 hashes, and even if it did, the application of finding a certain number of leading zeroes in the result is decidedly limited. The advantage is that these chips use considerably less power than a general purpose processor doing the same job and do it in much less time.
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