The Quest to Liberate $300,000 of Bitcoin From an Old Zip ...

A few thoughts - Tuesday, June 17, 2013

A few thoughts over lunch for today:


An interesting project came up in /bitcoin yesterday. Announced by alsomahler at, Eris is a distributed autonomous corporation designed to replace the Bitcoin Foundation. I'll withhold my judgement until I actually look at the source code and see this running, if this turns out to work as advertised, then perhaps my criticism of the $100k bounty from a month ago was a mistake. The text on the project's official website is well-documented and the developers clearly know what they are talking about.
However, I can't help but be extremely disappointed in that they chose Ethereum as the network for this project. Why would a replacement for the Bitcoin Foundation not use the bitcoin network as the foundation for the project? If the authors could not develop on the bitcoin network because there were features missing that they needed, then why not use one of the many platforms built on top of bitcoin instead of Ethereum? There are no features Ethereum provides that bitcoin cannot provide given a platform on top of the network. Unlike Ethereum, bitcoin is not premined, and it just seems odd that this new platform would be not be built on top of the protocol it represents.
Unfortunately, the simple fact that the platform is built on Ethereum makes it unlikely that it will gain traction among bitcoin users. However, if the code is as modular as advertised, then perhaps the lowest level could be modified to run on bitcoin wouldn't know the difference.

Altcoins are all the same

Take a look at this:
As you can see, altcoin mining is a mess. This chart would be easier to view if you could mouseover the graphs, but you should be able to get the point by just looking at the image.
Basically, the market seems to have decided that no altcoin has any feature that is any better than the others. Otherwise, it would not be profitable to mine and sell about 30 different coins in the course of a week. Unless I'm missing something, it would seem to me that if everyone decided that a certain coin had great future prospects, then its value would be soaring and it would be a goldmine. But that isn't the case.
Profitability was at $1.18/Mh/day for most of this weekend, which is the lowest it's been in a while. The profitability decline was mostly due to declining bitcoin prices, rather than an increase in difficulty. However, there are periodic spikes to numbers which may seem absurd (like $40) because of the way that these latest coins work.

Get rid of many problems at once

I stated in response to one of moral_agent's posts yesterday that the 51% attack risk can be averted by implementing the same paper that's been out since January. Incidentally, the paper also gets rid of the 1MB transaction limit, which is a bigger risk than the 51% attack issue.
In simplistic terms, the idea is that you basically have many miners mining "sub-blocks" with a much lower difficulty, and then these blocks are combined into larger blocks, and finally they get included in the existing blocks that currently appear every 10 minutes. The reason why both problems are eliminated is because more transactions can be quickly processed into the many smaller blocks, and since the difficulty of the smallest blocks is low, there is no need to join to mine them. The two greatest threats to bitcoins can be reduced in one fork.

How the 1MB transaction limit is like the problem

The problem is instructive of what is going to happen as the 1MB transaction limit disaster approaches. As with all things in life, people don't care about putting up a guardrail until someone drives off the road and dies. Nobody cared about the 51% attack issue until last week, and now that it has passed, nobody will care until it comes up again.
The 1MB transaction limit is an issue which nobody cares about at the moment. When transaction fees reach $2.00, then people will start to care. The reason why I think the limit will crash a bubble is because people will think that bitcoin isn't as cheap as was promised, and cost is one of the greatest advantages of the network. But once the crash occurs, fees will decline as transactions decline, so people will forget about the issue until the next bubble.

Never pay full price for anything

With the advent of bitcoin services, you shouldn't be paying full price for anything anymore. The minimum you should expect at most businesses is a 5% discount. Here are the ways that I reduce my costs, in order of effectiveness:
  1. If available, go to places like Gift Card Zen, where used gift cards are available at prices as much as 15% off. Then, buy them with a credit card to get more cash back. In October, DISCOVER offered 5% off online purchases, so you could get gift cards for >20%.
  2. Use credit cards with rotating categories to earn 5% cash back, and then compound that by depositing the cash back into gift cards or a bank account. For example, Chase offers 5% at restaurants this quarter, which allows me to save hundreds of dollars and buy time to work on my mining pool.
  3. If the bitcoin gift card sites are offering 6%, and no credit card has rewards in that category, then you can get slightly less than 5% cash back by using bitcoins to buy gift cards (because 1% minus $0.15 is lost to Coinbase).
  4. Search the Internet for online coupons. Last week, there was a coupon for Papa Johns that provided 50% off any order. I stacked that coupon with the restaurants bonus on Chase, and stacked that with a redemption for gift cards at another store, so in the end I ended up paying 44%, or $4.35, for a large Pepperoni pizza including tax.
I estimate that I increase my salary by at least $3k/yr by using these strategies. The advent of bitcoin gift card sites will probably make it possible for me to reach $4k in savings this year.


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PART 2: Summary (transcript) of Wednesday's AMA given by the Particl Team - Thank you to all who participated!

Below is a summary (PART 2) of our AMA held Wednesday, 2017.06.28. Thank you for everyone who participated!
Please refer to /Particl/wiki/faq for our maintained collection of questions. We ask you make sure your question hasn't already been answered before submitting. Thank you.


How far are you with the Gui ? Will it be in Testnet 4 and if yes when is testnet 4 ?

right now we are working towards getting the GUI ready for public testing. Based on our estimates we will have some GUI elements ready for testing next week.

What you mean with "some elements" you mean the gui like back in sdc but like say without widgets ?

there will be basic functionality, but it won't be complete as its still in development.

There will be a marketplace app on app store or google play? If so, when?

Any mobile version of the marketplace will come after the second funding round. This first seed round is to get the MVP to market. Greater enhancements will come with additional funding and larger focused teams.

Will there be a way to run the wallet at launch on Mac OS X?


Will there be a browser-based market or do users always have to use a dedicated particl software to make purchases?

Particl wallet will work both in browser and as an application .. to ensure privacy you require your own particld daemon running within the same network. Whilst it is possible for it to work with external/shared daemons that is not part of the current scope to effects it has on ones privacy

Who do you see as your main customer base? Average people that use or work with Crypto Currencies?

To start it'll be trend setters so crypto users. Big picture we'll be reaching out to vendors, sellers and buyers in countries that don't have access to the ease of amazon or ebay due to political positioning and restrictions on where they live. That's the big goal of the market

Will TOR, I2P be integrated in the wallet on release?


where can we buy Particl now?

you will need to wait until PART hits the exchanges
particl will soon be available on exchanges, we just need to finalize legilities, and exchange to list them soon

does Particl have a wallet available for OTC exchanges?

particl will have a very user-friendly wallet

Will you guys make a video showcasing the wallet GUI soon?

The wallet will be on testnet soon so people can be hands on with it, much better than video

How do you overcome a vendor that is brand new to Crypto Currencies, that can't pay for his supplies or merchandise in crypto? Will you be working directly with any banks?

working with banks would not be a good strategy. as of the moment, we will make particl marketplace to be a decentralized marketplace free from paperwork etc.
we are in discussions with partners who should be able to provide us with the facility to entertain these types of transactions

The fact that you guys met in Hong Kong in the past, has something to do with the possibility of establishing contacts in the Chinese market?

Establishing a presence in China is a major reason for this Particl pivot

Private sub markets... What would prevent that developing into unfavorable things that would bypass the community governance voting?

Private markets are precisely that, no governance.

But there is a way of voting certain products out by stakers from what I've gathered?

Private markets are just that private, who is in there, what is happening, what is selling is all private. the network is unable to tell what is going on. similar to how signal or whatsapp encrypts on client side

what if someone gains access to a private market and it's determined that there are undesirable products being sold in there and they take some screenshots and post it up online like in reddit or bitcoin talk or something? Is there a governance model overseeing the private markets at all?

There will be no governance on private markets .. it is impossible todo.
the only way to "gain access" is for 1 or both parties to "give access" by posting these

it was indicated in the main thread here that 'the network will only be supported while it is being run cleanly'. is this concern not relevant within private markets? like why is it relevant within the main marketplace but not within private markets? particularly if it becomes publicly known through screenshots on public channels? Like I get into a private market and take some screenshots and put them on reddit, is that not concern about the market being run cleanly?

this has already been answered in another question ... you cannot govern something you cannot access .. the whole point of a private market place is that it is private by the creator and shared with those he wishes to only.. I am not sure what is the misunderstanding here?

I think the concern is that any private market would bypass the community governance and therefor allow any kinds of black market items that could be used to hurt particl's reputation for larger more legitimate things. Ie larger sellers on Amazon wouldn't want to have anything to do with a marketplace that had screenshots of nefarious things being sold...

I see your point and understand it however let me give you another example ... If you and I use Signal and we decide to trade Cuban Cigars ... you post that on the internet. Should Signal be held liable because they provided a secure means for you to communicate and trade? Particls Private Markets are no different, we are providing a means for people to trade in 100% privacy (anything from cigars to private paintings etc) .. in that environment you cannot govern because it is encrypted for everyone else. Is it possible people may use this for nefarious items? Yes... but it is also possible for that to happen on Signal or any other good encrypted chat platform. Should we stop developing for the good because a few bad actors might use it?

What about the case where people just don't vote?

if people do not want to vote, we cannot force them to. this however, remains a feature in the particl
the required threshold will be set quite low at first, as failed governance will be very fatal for Particl. The network will only be supported while it is being run cleanly

Is there a legal risk of staking if illegal products are traded on the platform?

the reason why we are taking a lot of time with foundation is because we want to make sure there are no loopholes in terms of legality. i'm confident that we have this covered

Is their a current partner that can re-distribute particl or another coin, back into my choice of monetary unit? (usd, eur, rupee, peso, etc)


Would you be willing to introduce that partner to the :ark: team?

i don't see any reason not to

Can you explain how the governance will work and what will prevent people from gaming the system with multiple accounts?

the governance will be based on a staking vote (not yet final) we will ensure that there are no duplications
for the market we're still researching and developing models of governance. a seller will need to pay a fee to list which can become expensive if gaming a system. voting will be an incentive for the network so it would become expensive to gain a majority % to manipulate voting

I could see spammers testing the governance then worth illicit goods

of course. there is no centralized control so the network affect will be in effect

Will the people who were gracious enough to donate 25% or more from their bonus receive any incentive outside of just having username be mentioned?

How does early access to Market sound? Open to ideas
we are actively thinking of ways to reward donators. if you can think of a reasonable reward let us know

I understand that details of particl being on what exchanges at what time is not currently possible due to the unforseen events of the delays of the terms of service. But is there still open communication with the exchanges and are they responding positively to the idea of listing particl when it's released?

a lot of exchanges are responding positively. we are actually expecting to be listed a few days after mainnet release, but could not confirm any of exchanges of course

How much % of wallets are created and how much has been donated to this day?

83% are ready for genesis with 125k Donated

125k does that include the teams donation of 40k or without?

that is without .. and the team will match upto 40k based on 5:1 formula ... so 125+25k=150k ... well short of the 250k we are aiming for

nice Im rooting for the project to achieve this goal. This is a uniqum in crypto that people give away money to help out other people. I hope you guys will provide an address for people to donate their staking rewards to so we can achieve this goal. Yea staking to address function would be nice but wont be possible im near future due another feature in the pipeline ?

we will do what we can to stake, but the priority will stil be focused on producing a marketplace
I said "it was unlikely" ... however we wont know until we get down to the nitty gritty on it ... best way to donate to the cause is the increase your donation % before the genesis block

About marketing? Are you doing it all by yourselves or are you going to work with a specialized company?

we have a few partners in terms of Pmarketing
you might have seen taizen and leon fu videos, we have hired PR firms as well
we have been ramping up and beginning contracts with professionals beginning in June. in prep for mainnet and PART tokens being live in the wild

This PR firms have any kind experience in crypto world?


Your RingCT, how far along is this in development?

RCT was on our last testnet and thus far only had minor bugs which needed addressing. We will launch a new testnet post mainnet dedicated to RCT testing ...

How do you see particl main accomplishments in say 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years?

before 1 year, we will have a fully working marketplace. before 3 years we will have mobile. i believe once we have mobile, we have the potential to go mainstream
1 year: fully audited, market place running, good reputations on the market place, fully funded 3 years: fully functional market place, gaining market share 5 years: Actual competitive market place

There was a concern raised in the particl slack channel two days ago about 110 bitcoin being taken from the transparency address. Can you comment on what this is being used for?

we don't see this as a concern and we don't know why this was raised. they were used for hedging, salaries, foundation/legal expenses etc
we will be posting quarterly expenses for this

Are there plans to use the marketplace for geotagged locational services at some point in addition to just products being sold

Its something we've thought about. We've also discussed allowing rendering of services through the market place, with micropayments, quotas, etc.. Its not something that's currently in our pipeline, but I think we'll ultimately need to head in this direction.. Digital goods will be allot easier to sell than physical goods, as escrows can be automated with tickers.

when will Particl launch?

particl mainnet will launch as soon as the foundation is completed. we should be expecting this soon, unfortunately we have no definite date

I see Ark and Particl being very similar. But the market is Enormously Huge! It would be nice to see Ark and Particle be able to team up together, and be able to dominate the market as separate entities. Particl could enter areas in the market where Ark hasn’t been able to reach. And there could be areas where Particl would enable Ark as a sidelined exchange. Maybe a faster or cheaper exchange (Hence beating ripple)

we would love to work with ark with any potential project. i personally am a fan of ark and wish the team nothing but success!
agree. With being a trading platform of goods, impowering the customer and making their life as easy as possible is the end game. +checkout, +payment
we want to integrate tokens into the market not just rely on an entity like Shapeshift to do it so getting our devs working together and having ARK as token in market gives ARK a usecase, brings in buyers sellers and allows more choices

Do you expect any difficulty in having the app approved in the app store? I ask you this because in the past Apple told to jaxx wallet to remove dash.

there is no guarantee with apple market, but we do know that they're slowly warming up to cryptocurrencies. we will put a huge amount of effort to convince them, else we can always find ways to go around this

sooo... are you still hiring or are the positions from June 6th already filled?

we are still looking to fill in a few more talents. hired a few people, but the more the merrier
We are still hiring. (job postings will be added to forthcoming website revamp)

This may be a bland question. But who comes first in making profit? Acquiring the merchants or the user-base? What obstacles will particle have to leap over to gain momentum in the marketplace (merchants and user-base) and in what ways will this be accomplished? (edited)

it should be both. i don't imagine one existing without the other. as we are a foundation, we are not interested about US making a profit, but we want to make sure both buyers and sellers would love our project
all good business side questions. I know obstacles in a marketplace revolve around the customer experience. So how easy is it to use the client? Can I view and search and buy online versus trusting a program? Is checkout easy? Is paying easy? Can I see similar products on the client or do i need to do my own research and then come to Particl to buy it?
We need to nail those to be of value, otherwise we're just a cool alternative that is uber private but lacking what people really need

In these days there are too many projects which aim on anonymity or decentralized marketplace. What is the strong competence that PART have than other projects?

Particl is fulfilling a vision set out by ShadowCash several years ago .. we have been adding the needed features to provide a complete end to end solution.
As far as I am aware we are the only ones doing this.
first we've got a robust foundation in the latest bitcoin. second we've already enhanced that with CT and governance and voting to give power to the people. third, we're more than a currency (even though we do that very well). fourth, the platform is crypto-friendly, no coin should feel like we think we're the best and only the best, we're making a use case for all coins in the market
i believe we have not seen both. this will be an end-to-end process, seamless for users, who does not need know about tech details. we also have other features not available such as crypto-agnosticism. this will make people think of a one-stop shop decentralized center

How does an anonymous marketplace, avoid outsiders (or non-participants of that marketplace) trying to look in?

You start at the outside layer of providing a secure means to communicate .. once you have that you need a way to trade with privacy and finally a currency which can complete the trade without leaving a trace .. all of these pillars are part of the Particl platform

What is your opinion on ethereum?

Not one for me, right now its all hype with gaping holes
we cannot, as a foundation comment on eth. just a personal view, i believe eth has achieved a lot and i commend them for that. i definitely can't take anything away from them

More importantly. Are there any plans to have particl feature smart contracts of some kind? Or can it communicate with the ethereum blockchain

internally we're fans of rootstock. there will be some communication with them at some point i imagine
Bitcoin currently has many of the smart contract like functionality we need .. but in the future we could leverage a sidechain like smart contract platform if needed
with native bip65 and 2-party trustless escrow we can achieve similar results already

this might sounds silly, but do you think we will see other selling other crypto-currencies on the marketplace by fully making use of the escrow system?

I 100% think we will see OTC usage on particl
Absolutely .. imagine a localbitcoin running on Particl
Especially people offering better rates than Shapeshift integration or other coins not available in shifting apps
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