Morning Reading 2016-19-02

Secret Memo Details U.S.’s Broader Strategy to Crack Phones [bloomberg]

Here’s why you have to start taking bitcoin seriously [marketwatch]

Bitcoin could help cut power bills [bbc]

“I Guess It’s Food Stamps”: 400,000 Americans In Jeopardy As Giant Pension Fund Plans 50% Benefit Cuts [zerohedge]

Self-Driving Cars Could Save Millions Of Lives — But There’s A Catch [huffington post]

A 19-year-old made a free robot lawyer that has appealed $3 million in parking tickets [business insider]


Morning Reading 2016-17-02

Tim Cook A Message to Apple Customers on Government Encryption [tim cook]

Apple can comply with the FBI court order [trail of bits blog]

You Should Be Very Worried, You Should Be Prepared” Warns Jim Rogers [zerohedge]

China’s Subprime Crisis Is Here [bloomberg]

The Blockchain Gang [slate]

What can blockchain do for you? []

From Smart Contracts to Courts with not so Smart Judges []


Morning Reading 2016-16-02

It’s time to kill the $100 bill [washington post]

The NSA’s SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people [ars technica]

Why Wall Street Is Embracing the Blockchain—Its Biggest Threat [wired]

Distributed ledger technology: beyond block chain []

Linux, IBM Share Bold Vision for Hyperledger Project, a Blockchain Fabric for Business [coindesk]

Technical Roadblock Might Shatter Bitcoin Dreams [MIT technology review]

Forking a Network — Medium

Muneeb Ali of Onename has a thoughtful article which explains why Bitcoin is not like a traditional open source software project.


Forking a stand-alone software, like a browser or OS, and implementing changes is quite different from pushing changes to a networking protocol.

Historically, we’ve seen that pushing updates to networking protocols is a slow and tedious process; IPv4 to IPv6 comes to mind. You can upgrade, but other nodes also need to understand the new protocol that you’re using.

The Bitcoin network is not a typical computer network. It has built in economic incentives for people to switch to the largest network. An attempt to make nodes upgrade can result in either:

a) the network quickly converging on a single version or

b) splitting into two separate networks that use different currencies.


Read the rest at  Forking a Network — Medium

Morning Reading 2016-15-02

Researchers publish Approximate Bitcoin Mining a new technique which could improve mining profitability by 30% []

Ending the Bitcoin Civil War [Dr.Washington Sanchez]

Brazil’s 5,500 Bankruptcies in 2015 Signal Deeper Credit Crisis  [bloomberg]

AI will take the jobs of half the world’s population by 2045 []

Here’s what the future of bitcoin looks like — and it’s bright [venture beat]


Put a Fork in it. Contentious Hard Fork is  Dead

The blog post this morning by a group calling itself the Bitcoin Roundtable composed of some prominent bitcoin businesses, exchanges, wallets, miners, and mining pools, is a powerful statement that Bitcoin will impose decentralization.

This statement almost all but eliminates the likelihood of Bitcoin Hard Fork for 2016 and perhaps beyond.

Below the most crucial points of the statement;

We think any contentious hard-fork contains additional risks and potentially may result in two incompatible blockchain versions, if improperly implemented. To avoid potential losses for all bitcoin users, we need to minimize the risks. It is our firm belief that a contentious hard-fork right now would be extremely detrimental to the bitcoin ecosystem.

We must ensure that future changes to code relating to consensus rules are done in a safe and balanced way. We also believe that hard-forks should only be activated if they have widespread consensus and long enough deployment timelines. The deployment of hard-forks without widespread consensus is dangerous and has the potential to cause trust and monetary losses.

Rational actors are realizing that a Hard Fork implies leaving the protocol for a new one, and you cannot attempt this without a high level of certainty that you are bring along the entire network with you or you run enormous economic risk.

The continued failure of so many to attempt to fork the protocol is a positive event.  Bitcoin today is almost impervious to internal or external political theft. There are few assets in the world today that can make such a claim.

I will make a note however that you cannot call for consensus, when it comes to a hard rule change.  While this maybe a highly abstract point, even calling for someone to “come to consensus” implies that they must agree with your point of view.

In Bitcoin the only agreement all participants make is a self evident one, they agree to use the protocol and its rules today.

Consensus in a decentralized political system is something that arises, it cannot be imposed or coordinated. Either there is consensus or there is not. This is why hard rules changes are almost impossible to implement in the manner which many have been attempting, by trying to coordinate a sudden network change, or trying even to using the threat of majority hashing to do it.

No matter how benevolent or innovative this change is Bitcoin is anti-change, anti-political because that is what makes Bitcoin and this is what truly secures Bitcoin.

As such the approach to future changes to Bitcoin must one that focuses on working within the existing rules and  one where a hard rule change if it ever comes will be the result of organic deprecation over an extremely long time horizon.


For the full statement  A Call for Consensus — Medium


If you are still under the impression that Bitcoin “refuses” to innovate or some participants seem to be dragging their feet, it is because you are viewing Bitcoin through the lens of the existing world paradigm, and Bitcoin requires a new approach.

Please read:

Why a Hard Fork should be fought, and It’s Not Evil To Discuss

Hard Fork risks and why 95% should be the standard