Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
Got this email appearing to be from blockchain.info - I was suspicious because it came to and email address not registered with Blockchain. The email looks very much like the Blockchain interface. Check it out: http://imgur.com/c4bCH3J The link prompts the user to download a version of the Bitcoin-QT client, which I assume is an infected wallet application. The link for the software is hxxp://accv.mx/Mail-Attachment/wallet/download.php - DO NOT USE THIS SOFTWARE. Just posting for others to be aware. I've never gotten an email like this from Blockchain.info. The hackers are getting smarter. Be vigilant. Be suspicious.
From this writing prompt again: "murder is legal, once a permit has been obtained from the local police department. Permits require a declaration of a target victim and justification to commit the act. Once a permit has been issued it is valid for 72 hours. Once expired you can never get another for the same target victim." ----- "Dear sir, I am writing in order to inform you that I received permission from the police to end your life. Please see certificate reference number below. For further details check email." I reread the sticky note left on the fridge yet again, shocked. A quick web search led me to the national search database. I looked up the reference number and found nothing. "Hey Tommy, it's a false alarm," I told my friend over the phone. "The reference number came in as non-existent in the national database." "Did you search for local? Someone did break into your apartment for this." "Local?" "State databases are not shared with the federal government, and we are in New York after all." "Yeah, yeah... give me a second here." I clicked on the speaker and put my phone on the table. "New York state murder certificate database. Got it." It was there. "It's here, Tommy. Someone got a certificate for my murder. They even paid the expediting fee." "Shit." "Shit." I agreed. "Who would want to kill you, man?" I go over the certificate, seeking the relevant details. "This certificate has been issued in accordance with the Cross-jurisdiction Collaboration Act of 2020," I read aloud. "The name of the certificate holder has been held for privacy concerns by request of the issuee, according to the Privacy in Government Interactions Act, 2019." "WTF." "Yeah. The government randomly decides to help you when you least expect it. Just our luck it's your murderer-to-be who is getting helped." "Well," Tommy sighed, "I suppose going to the police won't help you much. Did you get any email?" "Checking. No. What do I do now?" What do I do now? I started daydreaming, imagining scenarios of running after a hooded figure begging to pay it, only to be laughed at." "Hey man, you there?" "FUCK!" "I know man. Check your spam folder." "It's here!" A wave of relief washed over me. Funny how the human mind works, that I'd feel relief over finding my own death sentence. I clicked on a message titled 'following up on the sticky note', and read aloud. "You have 24 hours by which to transfer two bitcoin to the wallet listed below. Do that, and I'll void the certificate by not killing you, and will be disallowed by law to attempt getting a new one.." "You've been cryptolocked? Holy." "Dude, this isn't even funny." "A single Bitcoin is now worth seven thousand dollars. Do you have the cash?" I found myself shaking my head. This just wasn't right. "This is fraud. I can go to the police now," I said, but I wasn't even convincing myself. "I heard about this type of thing. There's nothing the police can do. Not in time anyway." I didn't respond. Seconds passed as I was lost in my own thoughts. "I have no money. I have no assets. What do I do?" Tommy was silent. "Tommy?" "I'm not saying your life is worth more than my vacation plans, but most of it is already paid. I might be able to scrounge up 10K. I'm sorry." "Dying over four kay? That's ridiculous!" I felt my desperation grow. I wasn't panicking. I felt helpless. "What am I supposed to do? Beg at Penn Station?" Tommy took a deep breath. I waited. "Maybe start a KillStarter on Facebook? I'm sure at least some people like you," Tommy smirked. "Seriously dude?" I hit reply, grumbled to myself, and wrote a message back. "Bring it on."
Mike Hearn, Chair of the Bitcoin Foundation's Law & Policy committee is also pushing blacklists behind the scenes
Bitcointalk discussion: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=333824.msg3581480#msg3581480 Hearn posted the following message to the legal section of the members-only foundation forum: https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/505-coin-tracking/ If you're not a member, you don't have access. I obtained this with the help of a foundation member who asked to remain private. He's promoted blacklists before, but Hearn is now a Bitcoin Foundation insider and as Chair of the Foundations Law & Policy committee he is pushing the Foundation to adopt policies approving the idea of blacklisting coins. I also find it darkly amusing that he's now decided to call the idea "redlists", perhaps he has learned a thing or two about PR in the past few months. All Bitcoin investors need to make it loud and clear that attacking the decentralization and fungibility of our coins is unacceptable. We need to demand that Hearn disclose any and all involvement with the Coin Validation startup. We need to demand that the Foundation make a clear statement that they do not and will not support blacklists. We need to demand that the Foundation support and will continue to support technologies such as CoinJoin and CoinSwap to ensure all Bitcoin owners can transact without revealing private financial information. Anything less is unacceptable. Remember that the value of your Bitcoins depends on you being able to spend them.
I would like to start a discussion and brainstorming session on the topic of coin tracking/tainting or as I will call it here, "redlisting". Specifically, what I mean is something like this: Consider an output that is involved with some kind of crime, like a theft or extortion. A "redlist" is an automatically maintained list of outputs derived from that output, along with some description of why the coins are being tracked. When you receive funds that inherit the redlisting, your wallet client would highlight this in the user interface. Some basic information about why the coins are on the redlist would be presented. You can still spend or use these coins as normal, the highlight is only informational. To clear it, you can contact the operator of the list and say, hello, here I am, I am innocent and if anyone wants to follow up and talk to me, here's how. Then the outputs are unmarked from that point onwards. For instance, this process could be automated and also built into the wallet. I have previously elaborated on such a scheme in more detail here, along with a description of how you can avoid the redlist operator learning anything about the list's users, like who is looking up an output or who found a match. Lately I was thinking about this in the context of CryptoLocker, which seems like it has the potential to seriously damage Bitcoin's reputation. The drug war is one thing - the politics of that are very complex. Extortion is something else entirely. At the moment apparently most people are paying the ransom with Green Dot MoneyPak, but it seems likely that future iterations will only accept Bitcoin. Specifically, threads like this one concern me a lot. Summary: a little old lady was trying to buy bitcoins via the Canada ATM because she got a CryptoLocker infection. She has no clue what Bitcoin is beyond the fact that she needed some and didn't know what to do. The risk/reward ratio for this kind of ransomware seems wildly out of proportion - Tor+Bitcoin together mean it takes huge effort to find the perpetrators and the difficulty of creating such a virus is very low. Also, the amount of money being made can be estimated from the block chain, and it's quite large. So it seems likely that even if law enforcement is able to take down the current CryptoLocker operation, more will appear in its place. I don't have any particular opinion on what we should talk about. I'm aware of the arguments for and against such a scheme. I'm interested in new insights or thoughts. You can review the bitcointalk thread on decentralised crime fighting to get a feel for what has already been said. I think this is a topic on which the Foundation should eventually arrive at a coherent policy for. Of course I know that won't be easy. -Mike Hearn
Hello! At muun we are working on a new bitcoin wallet, and we are analyzing the wallet market in order to give you the best experience. Can you give us a hand?
What have you used bitcoin for in the last 6 months?
1.- Online purchases 2.- On-site purchases 3.- Payments to friends, relatives, acquaintances 4.- Trading 5.- Savings or holding 6.- As a way to buy other cryptocurrencies 7.- Payments on Tor 8.- Online service payments (hosting, vpn, etc.) 9.- Bill payments 10.- Get paid salary 11.- Pay virus rescue (cryptolocker) 12.- Online gambling 13.- Money transfer to family abroad
A while back (2013 apparently) I setup an Armory offline wallet setup. It was pretty slick. Had a netbook that had never been online, yadda yadda yadda. Well, I ended up hating it, because Armory always takes 19 years to sync back up if you don't run it constantly, so it was not convenient to move stuff in and out of. I messed with electrum a little- was going to go that route, and then decided to go with one of the commercial hardware wallet solutions. Before I did that, and got things moved, Armory did some kind of update, I couldn't get my online and offline versions to play nicely together, and I ended up having to recover my wallet to my online PC to access my funds. The recovery worked- and I had everything there I was expecting. In early March of this year, a friend who owns an IT company had a client that needed help with one of the cryptolocker viruses. We sent 3 bitcoins to the company, and the files unlocked. But this is where I'm confused about my balance. It's 3 bitcoin short. This is my entire recovered wallet-- it was at 16.77ish bitcoins at the begining of March. Then I sent 3.0001 bitcoins. The incoming .35ish is probably change from an address? The transaction itself is not confirmed for some reason, and my balance (also not confirmed) is off by 3 bitcoins from what I think it should be. It's showing about 10.77. Should be 13.77BTC. http://imgur.com/5vCVr9I So when I get my hardware device today- what is the BEST method to sweep my keys or whatever I need to do to ensure I've got each and every bitcoin I'm expecting, especially the missing 3BTC. Thanks for your help. Edit: Imgur link
ok i know this isn't great, but can somebody explain to me in simple terms how to get bitcoins into my wallet so I can pay somebody? - URGENT
Hi guys, a client that I have, got hit with cryptolocker, they have one option they have to pay the ransom, so can somebody explain to me easily how I can get bitcoins into a wallet that I have setup so I can pay this thing?
Please help, I'm going crazy.. bought a bitcoin at an ATM and can't figure out what to do with it.
I read everything I could and this seems like the best place to post. Long story short, we were hit with cryptolocker. We've been hit before and we were fortunate to have shadow copy enabled, but this time it hit a very obscure part of our network that wasn't being backed up in the same fashion. I've read all kinds of things and tried to avoid scams as suggested by several articles. The thing is that I can't really find exactly how to get the bitcoin and pay these guys. After reading so much, it seemed like the best thing was to use an ATM, so I did, and now I have a neat little piece of paper with a QR code on it and all the details about it, but it doesn't appear to have an online wallet or something where it would be "tangible". So, that's my question, how to I get the bitcoin into a wallet like coinbase? I have a public and a private key, but not sure what to do with it? The ATM does have a website but no option to login, I can sell it to a human, but in reality I just want to move it from this address to another address. I've called their support and haven't heard back yet. Am I on the right track here? Any help is truly appreciated. I'm in the USA. EDIT: Thanks everyone for the quick responses, I was in panic mode trying to figure all this out. For anyone else that might find this thread in the same panic mode, the ATM was my preferred solution after figuring out how easy it really is versus all the confusing options to buy online, credit card scams and stuff. The whole bitcoin thing is really overwhelming and there's so much information out there that it starts to get cloudy. This was super simple, go to the ATM, buy the bitcoin, import it into your wallet, and you're done. What took us tons of hours to figure out would have probably only been about a half hour if that. And with that, all I'd like to say is FU cryptolocker people, seriously, FU very much, I can't wait for the FBI to shut you down.
Bitcoin fee + confirmations question with 'Green Address'
Hi all, I work at an IT department. One of our customers got infected with a cryptolocker virus, and had no backups. He decided to pay the 3 BTC asked, and asked me to help. I know bitcoin, even mined them in the early days, but never really used them. Upon buying 3 bitcoins, I decided it would be a good idea to get them transferred to our own wallet and be sure nothing went wrong at that step. This was not the best idea. Apparantly you have to pay a fee (and I don't have enough bitcoins for that), but you don't if the priority of your coin gets high enough. Upon calculating that, it seemed that I should be OK by tomorrow, so there isn't a real issue. Of course, Green Address is way behind on the number of confirmations (17 showed vs ~40 actual), so I'm not sure that I'll make it. Another problem is that users seem to experience problems when paying (excessive confirmation times). This all might be a problem, since there is a deadline of 96 hours to pay (we've used roughly 36 hours now). I'm not sure what would be the best way to proceed. Buy 3 coins again, directly to the attackers address, with my own money (and try to recuperate the 3 coins some way, but probably lose ~50 eur), or wait it out a bit (how reliable is green address?), or buy a bit more coins to cover the transfer fees? I can't mess this up, as it would be a HUGE loss to that person (university prof, multiple years of research/courses/presentations/....). What do you guys think? EDIT: my wallet seems to update again. I have 65 confirms on my 3 BTC. I still can't send it using the automatic settings, and I'm not sure if I should risk sending without a fee (as there is a time limit, and I'd like to avoid having to pay twice). How does the priority compare to the fee-amount, in transaction times? UPDATE: It took a while before my Green Address confirmed the extra transaction for the handling fee, but the payment to the hacker was verified very fast (1mBTC/kB must've helped). The files seem to be decrypted, and our 'customer' is relieved he got his stuff back. The HD should be backed up by now, ready for a reinstall on Monday. And we'll help him to setup backups to a remote server :) Thank you very much for the information and the assistence! It was greatly appreciated!
Bitcoin thefts are costing you a fortune even if your coins are still in your pocket
As a small scale entrepreneur who is passionate about bitcoin because of the freedom it gives to get a business going there is one thing I haven't really seen people discuss and judging from many comments it seems like its something that a lot of people overlook. More or less every week there is someone who lost bitcoins to theft. Sometimes is just some poor dude who had a virus on his computer, another time its a online wallet that in fact is run by criminals who create a good wallet service which over time is trusted by enough people and then they run off with the coins and then there are the bigger thefts when exchanges run off or simply are so clumsy so they lose all their coins to hackers. The response from the community is often "dont be stupid and trust X with your coins, you only have yourself to blame". Every time you read about someone being goxxed you should also realise that you've been goxxed too even if your coins are still in your wallet. The hacker is going to sell those coins and keep the price from going up and the price increase is still the most important engine to pull new users to bitcoin which in turn drive the adoption rate. The whole wheel is slowed down. If someone is sitting on 800.000 bitcoins stolen from mtgox he can keep bitcoin at $500 for the rest of 2014 even if there is a great adoption rate and that would slow down the adoption rate a lot. I read somewhere that the creator of the cryptolocker virus is one of the most profitable people in bitcoin. The problem here is that hackers and thiefs are drawn to bitcoin like flies to .... And the community are almost helping them out because people are more afraid of any form of control or system that could make it harder for scammers than of the whole system turning into a circus of criminals scamming people. I think the biggest problem with bitcoin is that scammers roam free and the best way to deal with that is that the community and / or bitcoin protocol finds a way to handle it instead of countries cracking down and banning bitcoin or regulate it. What possible solutions could there be to create some form of validation system?
What is the safest and easiest method for my client to pay a cryptolocker variant?
Hey bitcoiners, I currently do support for a business that got hit hard by cryptolocker. For those of you who don't know, cryptolocker is a virus that encrypts a host system's user data and holds the private key that can be used to unlock it ransom- You must pay them to get your files back. Almost all of these have historically received payment through prepaid cards like Walmart CashPak and the like, but interestingly enough this one is demanding to be paid in bitcoin. My question is this: What would be the safest and easiest way for my client to convert usd into bitcoin and ten transferring it to their wallet. I would want to avoid things like setting up their own wallet and syncing with the blockchain (so if there are any BTC banks/broker services that do this well I am all ears). Thank you guys in advance for all of your help and consideration.
Here's an idea for driving bitcoin adoption. Most of us know about Cryptolocker, the virus that takes your computer data hostage and makes you pay a ransom in bitcoin to get it back. Obviously this is not helping make bitcoin look good, but there is a way to turn it around into a net positive Gorilla Marketing campaign for bitcoin that benefits everyone: For this, we would write an Honourable version of Cryptolocker. Instead of making you pay a ransom, Honourable Cryptolocker would simply make you prove you are HODLing 5 BTC in order to get your data back. This could be verified easily thanks to the blockchain (for example, by asking the user to make a specified transaction using a wallet holding >= 5 BTC). The bitcoin community would of course be immune to this "virus" :D. More importantly, for the fiat-using masses, it's a win-win-win: 1) They learn a valuable lesson in computer safety, and get a valuable primer on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology 2) They get their files back, instantaneously, and for free (or, depending on the markets, with a profit, even!). By passing up an easy chance to get a ransom, we the bitcoin community prove that bitcoin is not solely for criminals. 3) We know the biggest hurdles to bitcoin adoption are convincing someone to learn the basics of cryptocurrencies, sign up with an exchange, set up a connection to a bank account, and buy the coin. Now that they already did all of that (and with exchange fees a sunk cost), the victim simply has no rational reason not to keep on using their bitcoin for their day-to-day expenses. And once they try it out, they'll see how superior bitcoin is to fiat. Also, they will no doubt be tracking BTC prices and see the benefits of bitcoin as an investment. Basically, they will have no choice but to become one of us :) What do you think? Could someone with some coding experience whip something up?
What effect is Cryptolocker likely having on Bitcoin price?
A friend recently claimed that CryptoLocker is the main driving force behind the latest (as of a few days ago) Bitcoin price rocket. While I don't really believe this, and my friends perspective is likely warped (he's a Malwanalyst rather than a BTC enthusiast) I'm wondering is there much information or analysis of CryptoLocker's success and effect? I can well imagine it impossible to know, each transaction going to a different wallet etc. Just wondering :)
For the last week I've been wondering if a unified effort from the bitcoin community could end cryptolocker. First let me say I'm just interested in the theory. I don't think this could actually be done currently. Second I don't have much of an understanding of Bitcoin. I've looked into it a couple times in the past. But I'm hardly educated on it. So my understanding is you can send payment for the original cryptolocker to one of two BTC addresses. When ever a transaction is made, that transaction gets vetted by miners. So then could miners say they won't verify transactions for banned wallets? I expect this is counter to the idea of bitcoins in some ways. Would probably require new software, and a lot of coordination from the miners. Now with so many different versions of the virus there are too many wallets to block. But is it possible for a community effort to block transactions?
There has been a flood of discussion lately about protective measures that may be used with bitcoin (or in bitcoin). I'm personally of the opinion that all suggested measures so far will either be ineffective or will be a sacrifice of freedoms do some degree. The discussion centers mostly on what degree of sacrifice is acceptable. My personal opinion is that no sacrifice is reasonable. Sacrifice for protection has given us the patriot act and Global NSA surveillance. I propose the following as a basis of guidelines for bitcoin related policy: 1.)Bitcoin software will not be modified for any special interest minority (This is enforced by the technocracy of the miners) 2.)People are free to build and use Bitcoin in whatever means they desire. The public will decide what is valuable. Innovation should always be encouraged. 3.)The subversion of rights and freedoms inherit in Bitcoin should not be tolerated. (once again decided by the public) Number 3 is of course debatable on degree. And its important to have these discussions. Do a small number of people implementing Cryptolocker warrant extreme measures which could stop them? Such as authenticated wallet addresses and boycott of unauthenticated ones? I personally believe no. But this is a public forum for debate. The ultimate in democracy (with the exception that there is very little power in reddit). Let know hear your opinions. Please keep it civil there isn't a right answer to this. And open minded debate (If thats possible in today's world) is healthy.
Cryptolocker Ransomware makes different Bitcoin wallet for each victim October 29, 2013 Anonymous When you're online, you expose your vulnerability to malicious virus that have been growing in virulence and ferocity over the last few years. Performing link analysis using Bitcoin addresses is accurate and valuable, especially since the shelf life of a seed Bitcoin address for severe attacks such as the CryptoLocker seems to be of the order of days even months. In fact, some CryptoLocker seed addresses were still receiving payments weeks after the start of the campaign on Sept 5, 2013. (See Figure 4). All Bitcoin transactions and addresses for malware CryptoLocker Malware Rescue – Cryptolocker Ransomware Makes a Bitcoin Wallet per Victim Bitdefender Labs […] Tech Web Links 2013-12-24 Update Tech Web Links says: December 24, 2013 at 8:55 am Decrypt Bitcoin Wallet Bitcoin . Decrypt Bitcoin Wallet . Mar 28, 2018 DTN Staff. twitter. pinterest. google plus. facebook. Notpetya Ransomware Hackers Want 100 Bitcoins For Decryption Keys ...
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