PSA: Holders of BTC can now claim Richard Heart's ponzi scheme and dump it for more BCH
That's all. No reason why you shouldn't dump it for some extra cash. In fact, given the peculiar absence of the SEC in preventing this scam, it is the community's responsibility to dump whenever RH decides to fake pump with Ethers he received by gullible idiots. Anything but that will allow him to make massive pumps, resulting in undeserved publicity.
How English speaking Bitcoin community could have been if not for Theymos and censorship.
Please look at this Facebook picture: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1876575939041998&set=a.426712554028351.103101.100000688291906&type=3&theater The guy on the right, Vinicius Errero, is the administrator of Brazilian Bitcoin Cash Facebook group. He is the most vocal defender of Bitcoin Cash and bigger blocks inside another group, Bitcoin Brasil, the biggest Brazilian cryptocurrency community, with over 100,000 participants. The guy on the left, Alexandre Leite, is the most vocal defender of small blocks, Core, Segwit and Lightning Network inside the same community. It is extremely common to see both pop-up in any discussion that happens to hint at the block size debate inside the group, oftentimes with lengthy multiple pages threads (size which I am also to blame, frequently). They respect each other and they are friends. This picture was taken at Bitconf, a cryptocurrency conference happening at São Paulo over this weekend. The hero of this story is another guy, Wladmir Crippa, founding member of Brazilian Pirate Party (as you may know, the party originally founded in Sweden by Rick Falkvinge, a known face around here). Crippa also happens to be the administrator of Bitcoin Brasil group, and he is a fervent defender of free speech. He always ensured that every idea is welcomed in our community, and I never heard about anyone being banned for speaking his mind. Moderation there is limited to anti-fraud and anti-ponzi schemes. I am not saying that our community there is toxic free: is very toxic, and we have plenty of "bcash is btrash" over there, due to the fact, I guess, most people in Brazil are informed about Bitcoin via YouTube channels from people who frequent /bitcoin (I am not sure because I am not an YouTube guy). Anyway, the civil tone of the discussion when things gets serious (and technical) about the block size debate quickly chase off the trolls. I just wanted to provide you a glimpse of how things could have played different if not for Theymos and censorship in the English speaking community. And an important lesson I learned there (that I often forget when dealing low class small blockers, but I shouldn't) is: if a person disagrees with you, doesn't means she is ignorant, misguided, stupid or dishonest. It simply means she disagrees with you.
I have read some intellectuals in this field but I have mostly formulated my own view on it. My approach to property rights is simple:
Only defensive property is legitimate.
Property is a moral claim to an entity be it material or immaterial. What is morality is a different subject, but if we accept a set of moral principles, property falls inside that. A claim by itself is useless, it would be ethical if it would be respected, but it's very impractical to imagine a moralist world, most people will always be immoral, either by chance or by choice. Thus a claim needs force to be maintained. Property doesn't need force in theory, but in practice unfortunately it does. But the catch is that only defensive force is legitimate. The most basic property of a human is his own body, that is theirs by birth, it's literally impossible to confiscate, but it can be enslaved or damaged thus it must be protected defensively: self-defence. From the human body derivative properties emerge, which are also chained to it, morally. The chain of morality applies to derivatives. The property derived from the human body is that which is made by it's labor, intellect, or their combination. So you own your house and your car and your computer ,etc... Why? Because you either worked hard for them or you have inherited it (somebody else worked hard for the money and gifted it to you).
Of course you should have sovereign rights over them, but unfortunately we have a State which claims that monopoly. At best the State could protect your property, from a different State, and the property taxes would be the contribution necessary to maintain a military force strong enough that would deter or defend your property from a different State. This would be a "Night Watchman State" as it's called, only protecting property and enforcing contracts. Unfortunately in the present the State is more than this, with income taxes, pension ponzi schemes, and all sorts of immoral laws, the State in it's current form is highly immoral. At least the "Night Watchman State" can be justified as an institution collectively defending property, unfortunately since the fall of the Roman Republic in 27 BC, most States have been pretty totalitarian since. The current form of the State is very immoral, a Night Watchman State can be sort of justified, at least until other States demilitarize themselves, you have to keep a deterrent. But in my opinion it is possible to transition even beyond that. When most property is becoming electronic, you need standing armies less and less. For example international cloud computing networks storing data in blockchains make military attacks against property very impractical. You can't just send in troops in 1 location, since the data can be stored in 1 million different locations, any military ground movement against that is highly unfeasible + they would have their own defense force. Of course the new problem would by cyber-wars, that is a different issue, I am sure there are defenses against that.
Scarcity and IP
By this theory scarcity and IP right can be explained too. Can you own the air or the oceans? Well you certainly own the air in your house, not by your choice but as an extension of the property. If somebody outside is disposing something smelly nearby, you have a claim for restitution for property damages since it makes your air of degraded quality. If you collectively own a neighborhood with other property owners and share certain costs, insurance, defense ,etc... and if somebody starts up a pig farm nearby and it causes your neighborhood to smelly badly, all of you have a claim to ask for restitution for the damages. However you can’t claim ownership of air around properties you don’t own, and it would be impossible to enforce without the initiation of force. Same goes for other abundant stuff like water. Maybe you can own a river, perhaps not alone, since it’s not an object it’s a moving stream, so a river can only be collectively owned by anyone having property nearby. Also you can’t own the ocean or portions of the ocean. But if you build an artificial island, you can own that and by extension the water surrounding it. You can on a book, it’s a physical property, you can hold it in your hand, and if somebody tries to take it, by initiating force against you, you can use defensive force to defend it. However if you digitize it and start selling it online, but accidentally it leaks to a torrent site, then you are not morally allowed to stop that. I mean what are you going to do, actively assault anyone who downloads the copy of your book? This is exactly what IP law is, using the Government to assault and kidnap anyone who downloads a file. Therefore IP like this is highly immoral since it can only be maintained by coercion and intimidation. You still own the book and it’s still your “intellectual property”, it’s just that you can’t initiate violence against anyone obtaining it. It’s your property, and it’s your job to defend it. If you don’t want it public, then don’t make it public, make it your journal. If you want to sell it publicly and make money, then it’s your job to ensure the maximum profitability from the book sales, but without initiating violence. Actually studies show that pirating might even be used as positive marketing and advertising effects, several book vendors and movie makers have “leaked” their products and experienced a massive surge in audience. It could be a freeware or premiumware technique. You can leak 1 book, to get an audience and sell the other book. Or sell the book and then leak it 1 year later, anyone who didn’t buy it in that 1 year probably wont buy it later either ,but if you leak it, you might get a big audience loving your work and buy your next book. I am sure there are many marketing techniques that can be done from subscription systems to all sorts of clever monetization techniques. However coercion is not allowed that is immoral.
There are 2 caveats however for IP that I would find important:
2) Identity theft & defamation
1) So I have a non-coercive view on IP, however if the book or music leaked because a spy in your company had leaked it, or a hacker hacked your computer releasing your work, then you have a claim for restitution. While it is immoral for you to coerce other people to not use your intellectual property without paying. It’s also immoral for others to release your intellectual property before you do, that would be just plain theft. Like if you write a journal on your computer or take naked selfies, and some hacker hacks that and posts it on social media, that is clearly theft. Likewise if your company makes a movie, and a spy leaks it, or worse, leaks it to a different company who start monetizing it, that is clearly theft. 2) The second issue revolves around personality rights and trademarks. Obviously if you own company XYZ which is a reputable Bitcoin company. And then John sets up a ponzi scheme named XYZ that is defamation and it clearly damages your reputation. It will obviously steer clients away, make them confused, and when his scam collapses, the victims will confuse your legitimate business with his scam. This would be a horrible violation of your reputation and you should be able to seek restitution for this. Also identity theft, where John would say that you are his CTO, when in fact you have no affiliation with him at all. In fact there was a Bitcoin mining scam website that literally took random Facebook user’s face and put them there in the testimonials section, writing fake testimonials with their face on it, when in fact these people had absolutely nothing to do with Bitcoin nor the company. These are horrible reputation violations and even in an Ancap society people should seek restitutions for these. So I am kind of soft on trademarks, especially if they are used with malice, not necessarily negligence, and ID theft is intolerable.
So in conclusion in my view legitimate property has to have the following qualities:
List of successful bit-coin companies and services
The recent news about Abra made me think that only our Organization is qualified to prepare an authoritative list of bit-coin companies and services, classified according to their degree of success. Here is my first try: Have significant demand by non-bitcoiners
TL/DR: The founder of Bitfinex has a history of supporting ponzi schemes and the exchange was founded using stolen "swiss-cheese" source code. Read the first quote. Don't trust them. There have already been arguments on here about whether or not Bitfinex is solvent in light of their recent and past issues, so I'll approach this from a different angle. Take a look here at the first few posts in this thread. Here we see the founder of Bitfinex, "unclescrooge" - Raphael Nicolle, defending one of the biggest Ponzi scammers in Bitcoin's history and demanding apologies from those calling it out (he recently deleted the post itself, but it was quoted by the next person): https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=101345.0
INow that Pirateat40 closed down his operatations thanks to all the fud that was going on and growing on the forum, I expect everyone that spreads this fud, accused and insulted Pirate and the people that supported him to apologize. Not only did Pirate brought us a great opportunity for investors (once in a lifetime actually), he did help stabilise and grow steadily bitcoin price, volume exchange, and thus contributed to the success of bitcoin. For that, Pirate, I want to thank you. You've done a wonderful work, and I hope you're stay around here. Now, apologies on.
Here's some background on the pirateat40 Ponzi scheme for those unaware: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/lawyer-reveals-details-about-the-man-behind-bitcoins-45-million-ponzi-scheme So what does that mean? In the best case scenario, the founder of Bitfinex is a colossal moron who can't even identify a blatantly obvious ponzi scheme - and is certainly not someone you would trust with your money. Worst case scenario, he knew what was going on and was looking for more victims to feed the scam - again, not someone who you would trust with your money. Had I known about this history, I personally never would have put a dime on Bitfinex. Here's some more info on the origins of Bitfinex - the gist of it is that the exchanged was bootstrapped on the stolen, leaked, bug-ridden source code of Bitcoinica (an exchange that itself was mysteriously "hacked" and all the money disappeared): https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/2c4kkg/what_do_we_know_about_bitfinex/?st=j1o2gmfd&sh=28098796 There's much more to dig into about the exchanges history of bugs, incompetence, and questionable actions (example: https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/36uxxz/bitfinex_has_been_hacked/crhcaov/). Oh, and remember that the owners see no issues with trading on their own exchange. There are many ways to take advantage of privileged info (stops and liquidations, bfx token trading, etc.) if an owner is dishonest, let alone more serious possibilities of fractional reserve and gambling with user funds. Someone who has no issues with ponzi schemes probably has no issues with the above, either. This is just the surface of issues discovered, others here have far more knowledge of the history of issues that I do. And a final parting quote for the next time you hear someone accused of spreading "FUD" about Bitfinex - here's another "unclescrooge" quote about those calling out pirateat40 as a scammer:
Fuck everyone that spreads FUD. You could have made great profits while helping stabilising bitcoin price. Now back to scammers at 2% a week and great volatility that make bitcoin look like a laughing stocks. Fuck you. At least now you'll look ridiculous, that's my only pleasure.
In the Bitcoin space I often came across people promoting Ponzi schemes and when being called out about it, they brushed it off saying: "Yeah, sure it's a Ponzi. Everybody knows it. But if you are early in and early out, you can still make fantastic profits." The BST [email protected] pass-throughs were a prime example of that. I've even seen websites promoting their project as pyramid scheme openly. While the above is less and less common as a percentage of Bitcoin news, it still happens and most likely a lot behind closed doors, so here is a reminder that not only the initial scammer's are on the line but also those who promote the scam. From this article on "Madoff’s Victims Are Close to Getting Their $19 Billion Back":
So far he’s recovered $13.3 billion—about 70 percent of approved claims—by suing those who profited from the scheme, knowingly or not. And Picard has billions more in his sights.
Please, if you have a friend who's trying to sell you the next Bitconnect or something, showing off his new found riches, point him to this.
The Bitcoin White Paper 10 Years On: How the Coin Evolved
https://preview.redd.it/uqwjwjqa1lv11.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b30882d3c187212c4b8b8de7ac06369e6aa7f349 Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on Bitcoin came out a decade ago, presenting to the world the idea of a cryptography-based payment system. Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, “Bitcoin - a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published exactly 10 years ago, opening the door to an age of viable digital assets based on cryptography. Bitcoin was the first implementation of a cryptographically protected approach to payment processing, the aim being to displace traditional banking and ensuring a trustless but also secure transfer of funds. It took a decade and multiple steps to get to the point where Bitcoin is a legitimately traded asset (currently at above $6,300), and there is an entire ecosystem of new assets pursuing wider recognition. Bitcoin went through several phases, with growth being a constant theme in all aspects of the coin. https://twitter.com/Xentagz/status/1056973259093225472 Since the inception, Bitcoin and its network have gone through several stages of evolution. 2009-2011: Early adopters of the coin grew rapidly in number as mining spread from a handful of computers to a wider network. Bitcoin was the sole cryptocurrency and was going through a testing stage. At that point, price discovery was just beginning, and 10,000 Bitcoin for a pizza in May 2010 looked like a fair price. In 2010, the coin saw its first exchange listing and a market against the dollar, immediately jumping in price to about $1. Enthusiasts, cryptographers, and speculators started to discover Bitcoin. 2011-2013: This was the time when altcoins started to proliferate, using the Bitcoin code with some modifications. This period contained a pivotal moment for Bitcoin, one that would haunt the community for years - the spreading influence of the Silk Road, the first Bitcoin-fueled marketplace. Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, is now serving two life sentences plus 40 years without right to parole. In those years, Bitcoin gained influence, and its price quickly rose, with Mt. Gox being the central exchange. 2013-2016: After the demise of Mt. Gox, which collapsed in December 2013, Bitcoin slid from then-stunning prices of above $1,300 and would hover under $1,000 for a long time. A crypto ice age descended, and prices plunged as low as $100. It was during this time that the Bear Whale sold 30,000 Bitcoin in a capitulation move, which immediately revived the price, making it rise again to $300. Still, those years were not without growth - from 2013 onward, the ASIC race began, and Bitcoin mining turned into a competitive sport. Mining farms displaced amateur miners. 2016 until today: This Bitcoin era saw crypto assets go mainstream in earnest. In 2016, there were signs of the markets getting more active, with new exchanges proliferating. Scams and schemes had always accompanied Bitcoin, but from 2016 onward, a new brand of Ponzi schemes took aim at the asset. BitConnect, the iconic crypto-lending scheme, spread like wildfire and was actually successful, especially as Bitcoin prices kept rising. This was the era of initial coin offering (ICO) proliferation. Questions abound when it comes to the future of Bitcoin. Will institutional investors take the plunge? Will there be another ice age as the global economy exits the boom cycle and cools down, curbing appetite for risk? It is difficult to say, but the ideas of owning one’s wealth, applied cryptography, and emerging technologies of wealth transfer are already becoming accepted. A decade into the game, Bitcoin has yet to be displaced by any of the thousands of altcoins and tokens and remains the largest network of nodes and mining operators. In terms of trading, it is still the basis of price discovery for many digital assets. As it heads into its second decade, Bitcoin is bound to stick around in one form or another.
EDIT: No one has offered to accept any of the bets, so I am declaring this offer withdrawn.
BMR & Sheep have demonstrated their danger, but few black-market-users seem to genuinely appreciate this. I am publicly betting that they will fail in the near-future. If you think I am wrong, just try to take my money and prove me wrong! Otherwise, spare us your cheap talk.
Hi! I'm Gwern Branwen. You may remember me from such black-market webpages as Silk Road: Theory & Practice, and /silkroad. Today I'm here to talk to you about BlackMarket Reloaded & Sheep Marketplace. (A signed version of this 30 October 2013 post will be posted as a comment, because I wish to use Markdown formatting; my PGP key is available.)
With the fall of SR, we're all very sad: it was a good site which performed a useful function. But life goes on, so it's no surprise we're all moving on to new black markets. That said, I am concerned by the accumulating pattern I am seeing around BMR and Sheep, and by the delusional optimism of many of the users.
BlackMarket Reloaded, since the fall, has been marked by a pattern of arrogance, technical incompetence, dismissal of problems, tolerance for sellers keep buyer addresses & issuing threats, astounding tolerance for information leaks (all the implementation information, and particularly the VPS incident with the user data leak; mirrors: 1, 2), etc. We know his code is shitty and smells like vulnerabilities (programmer in 3 different IRC channels I frequent quoted bits of the leaked code with a mixture of hilarity & horror), yet somehow backopy expects to rewrite it better, despite being the same person who wrote the first version and the basic security principle that new versions have lots of bugs. (I'm not actually bothered by the DoS attacks; they're issues for any site, much less hidden services.) And then there's the things he's not telling us. Atlantis shut down because they were worried about contacts from LE, and thus far this shut down seems to have saved them; but BMR has been around several times longer than Atlantis - would it not beggar belief if LE had not made contacts, attempted SR-style stings, or infiltrated BMR staff? And remember how we were able to discover all sorts of leaks in DPR's opsec once we had the indictment and knew what to look for? Or consider the claims being made about the Project Black Flag Leaks, where someone claims to have accessed laundry list of information from its internals - only after Metta DPR decided to rip-and-run. If this is what we see publicly for BMR, what on earth is going on behind the scenes? backopy should have handed on BMR weeks ago, but is still around. He seems to plan to repeat SDPR's mistakes exactly: leak information all over the place, never retire, and just keep on until he is busted and takes who-knows-how-many people down to prison with him. He has learned nothing. What, exactly, is his exit strategy? What goals does he have and when will they ever be satisfied? He has been running BMR for more than 2 years now, and has not left. How does this story end: of a man who does not know his limits, does not have ability equal to the task, and refuses to quit while he's ahead? It ends with a party-van, that's how it ends. And hardly anyone seems troubled by this! The BMR subreddit is full of bustle; people are even hailing backopy as a "hero" for allowing withdrawal of bitcoins. (How generous of him.)
Is Sheep any better? No. BMR is troubled and probably infiltrated at this point, but Sheep may well be a dead market walking at this point. No one has a good word to say about its coding, so there may well be BMR-style issues in its future. More importantly: the veriest Google search would turn up that clearnet site, and it has beenpointed out that the clearnet Czech site hosted by HexaGeek was uncannily similar to the actual hidden service. It uses almost the same exact technology, and the official explanation is that they had "fans" (fans? who set up, many months ago, before anyone gave a damn about Sheep, an entire functioning mirror while cloning the software stack and being in a foreign non-English-speaking country just like the Sheep admins?). Ridiculous! DPR may have set up a WordPress site, but at least 'altoid' didn't run an entire SR mirror! (He left that to onion.to & tor2web.org.). Sheep's likely about one subpoena of HexaGeek away from fun party times in the party-van.
I am uninterested in seeing Sheep/BMR busted and lots of newbies caught because they can't appreciate the patterns here. People don't take mere criticism seriously, and even if I lay it all out like here, and I mention that I have an excellent track record of predictions, they still won't because anyone can doom-monger and issue warnings, it won't get through to them. I want to get through to them - I want them to understand the risks they're taking, I want them to reflexively use PGP, and I want them to leave balances on sites for as short a time as possible. So! I am putting my money where my mouth is.
I and 3 others are publicly wagering ฿4 ($816 at today's rate), ฿1 each, on the following 4 bets:
BMR will not be operating in 6 months: 25%; 1:3 (you risk ฿3 and if BMR is still operating, you win our ฿1, else you lose the ฿3 to us)
BMR will not be operating in 12 months 40%; 1:1.5 (you risk ฿1.5 & BMR is operating in a year, you win our ฿1, else lose ฿1.5)
Sheep will not be operating in 6 months 30%; 1:2.3 (your ฿2.3 against our ฿1)
Sheep will not be operating in 12 months 60%; 1:0.66 (you risk ฿0.66 against our ฿1)
The ฿4 are currently stored in 1AZvaBEJMiK8AJ5GvfvLWgHjWgL59TRPGy (proof of control: IOqEiWYWtYWFmJaKa29sOUqfMLrSWAWhHxqqB3bcVHuDpcn8rA0FkEqvRYmdgQO4yeXeNHtwr9NSqI9J79G+yPA= is the signature by 1Az of the string "This address contains bitcoins for the BMSheep bet run by gwern.").
BMR = kss62ljxtqiqdfuq.onion
Sheep = sheep5u64fi457aw.onion
The exact definition of 'not operating' includes but is not limited to this: on noon EST of 30 April 2013 (6-months) or 30 October 2014 (12-months), if Nanotube can visit the relevant black-market, create a buyer account, deposit bitcoins, and order an item, then the site is operating. If deposits or new accounts or purchases are not allowed or not possible, it is not operating. At his own discretion, the arbitrator can take into account other factors, like widespread reports that a market has been raided and turned into a sting operation.
Arbitration & escrow are being provided by Nanotube, a long-time Bitcoin user & -otc trader, who has handled some past bets (most famously, the ฿10,000 bet between the Ponzi schemer pirateat40 & Vandroiy) and I believe can be trusted to escrow this one as well; he has agreed to a nominal fee of 1%. (I am not using Bets of Bitcoin because they have a dishonest & exploitative rule-set, and I am not sure Predictious would allow these bets.)
If you disagree and are man enough to take our bets, post the amount you are betting on which bet, and Nanotube will supply an address for you to transfer your bitcoin to. When it arrives in his wallet, then our bet will be in effect. May the most accurate beliefs win.
1. Mt.Gox Amount ~650.000 BTC How We don't know, back then - CEO Mark Karpeles blaimed it on transaction malleability. Yoh Mikami has written an article on Japanes newspaper Yomiuri Shimbu and according to this article the Japanese Police assumes that an unknown insider took the money.
2. SilkRoad Amount ~180.000 BTC How FBI said they got Silkroads Server IP through a data leak within the Login Screen
3. Bitcoin Savings and Trust Amount 150.000-500.000 BTC How Trendon Shavers aka Pirateat40 aka Pirate operated a ponzi scheme, eventually in August 2012 the operation collapsed.
4. Bitfinex Amount ~119.000 BTC How We simply don't know, the story is evolving.
is this about right? whats the 5th largest sum stolen/lost? thx!
The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine
Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg. But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come. What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too. At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other. Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out. At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted. They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words. They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?" The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song. It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history. They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear. There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away. Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy." These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn. They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage. Along came bitcoin. At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West. These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable. In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data. Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008. The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm. Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century. To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules. Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night. Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab. The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot. For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland. Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt. During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000. A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis. The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows. If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold. Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world. Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away." They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up. They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million. But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange. So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it? They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves. The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you. There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond. The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures. Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness." This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal. Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo. A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate. When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged. "The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on." "Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in. "What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue." The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do. Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home. All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin. The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives. Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin. "The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency." Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone. A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge. You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing. Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself. "It's boundless," says Cameron. This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance? Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk? The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning." GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future. Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn. All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out. The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin. Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier. The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot. They ease into the run.
I saw this posted in the SR forum and figured I would repost in case others have difficulty accessing the forums. Hi all, It has come to our attention that some users on Silk Road believe the following; 1. That I am a scammer and was involved in a Ponzi scam on Silk Road. 2. The moderators at Atlantis market are deleting user comments. 3. Our forums term of use policy is aimed to arrest people and record information. 4. That we are DDoS'ing Silk Road. 5. Our PGP system is crackable. I'd like to take the time to address each point and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reply to this thread. The staff members at Atlantis and I are happy to address your questions. 1) This belief has come into existence as 'Vladimir' was a scammer on Silk Road and thus people thought I was the same person as him. Unfortunately without knowing Vladimir's past history, this is my name and the one I have chosen to use. Hypothetically if I was Vladimir, why would I use a scammers alias at a market place which deals directly with user funds? It wouldn't help build trust in our market place and doesn't make any sense at all. Its the equivalent of pirateat40 creating a new Bitcoin Savings and Trust scheme and asking people to re-invest in it. We're proud to say that in our 7 weeks of operation, we have suffered no down time, no users have lost funds and security concerns have been addressed promptly (like increasing PGP key support up to 16Kbits). 2) We have deleted posts only related to spam, posts involving unfounded claims or accusations (FUD) and have deleted no posts in which people have given us criticism, bug reports or requests about improving security. You can check the relevant forum sections to find examples of this. We actively encourage this feedback as it helps us create a better market place. We are here to help users and are happy to reply to any security concerns or criticism you have. We have also created a sticky topic in the general forums for people to post whatever conspiracy theories they like. We will not be moderating this thread however the other forum rules still apply. 3) We used the default term of service which comes with the forum software. You can find an exact replica when you download and install the SMF software. This has now been updated. 4) We believe competition is healthy and believe that Dead Pirate Roberts is a great leader. We also need to shed the light that Silk Road has had technical issues in the past, even when we weren't around. Things like item listing image hijacking, denial of service attacks, site upgrades and switching hosting providers all caused down time. Although it would assist in us gaining more market share if our largest competitor is down, we have no desire to resort to dodgy tactics. We believe that what goes around comes around. 5) The auto-encryption service only works IF the user or vendors uploads their PGP public key (we support key sizes of 1024 - 16384 bits). However, Atlantis also supports manual encryption outside of Atlantis in which users can use a PGP client to encrypt their message. Atlantis administrators and law enforcement could not decipher the encrypted message without the users private key. With all this said, the security comes down to the end user. If they don't trust the auto-encryption service, they can STILL manually encrypt the message outside of Atlantis and thus there is absolutely no risk of anyone being able to decipher the message. To this day, PGP with large key sizes (>= 4096bits) is still uncrackable, you can find more information about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy#Security_quality. Noting: 'there is no known method which will allow a person or group to break PGP encryption by cryptographic or computational means.' As stated earlier, if you have any concerns please don't hesitate to reply to this thread. Lastly, we'd like to thank all the people who have put their trust in Atlantis and believe in where we are heading. The ride is only just starting and we're glad to have you as part of Atlantis http://atlmlxbk2mbupwgr.onion/index.php?topic=235.0
Regulations or positions of some countries about cryptoworld Because governments can sometimes be a bit touchy about attempts to create alternatives to the legal tender they enjoy a monopoly on printing, a wise investor might wonder about the legal status of cryptocurrencies. Indeed, the disruptive potential of these technologies has made governments around the world nervous, as they have struggled to devise appropriate regulations for the cryptocurrency realm without stifling innovation. Most potential investors have nothing to worry about from a legal standpoint, but it pays to do one’s homework. Regulations or positions of some countries about cryptoworld Some countries have banned or ruled unconstitutional the use of cryptocurrencies within their borders, while others have embraced them or even announced plans to issue their own. Of course, due to the inherently decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, enforcement has proven difficult. Taxes levied on profits made trading cryptocurrencies vary based on their legal classification. Check the laws in your country, and make sure you abide by them when investing. Questions of legality in major markets have caused temporary dips in cryptocurrency prices over the years, but they have always recovered. Keep reading for a brief history of legal rulings and government announcements related to bitcoin that have helped shape the current ecosystem. February 2012 Payments services firms Paxum and Tradehill temporarily cease bitcoin exchange activities due to legal concerns raised by Canadian regulators. 28 March 2013 Cypriot investors drive up bitcoin prices seeking a refuge for savings when a government bailout program threatens to tap bank deposits. 14 May 2013 The United States Department of Homeland Security seizes almost $3 million from a subsidiary of the Mt. Gox exchange, claiming that the business is illegally engaged in money transmission without a license. 30 August 2013 Tradehill stops exchanging bitcoin, again due to regulatory uncertainty, indicating a growing need for government clarification on the legal status of cryptocurrency. October 2013 The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests operator of Silk Road dark web marketplace Ross Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” charges him with computer hacking, money laundering, drug trafficking and attempted murder, shuts down the site and seizes over 170,000 bitcoins. In the wake of the shutdown, numerous other illicit marketplaces emerge, but are prone to exit scams in which operators abscond with bitcoins held in escrow. 18 November 2013 U.S. Senate holds hearing titled “Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies.” Members express reservations about the potential illicit applications of cryptocurrencies so vividly illustrated by Silk Road, frustration at the difficulty of regulating something so difficult to understand, but ultimately hope that government will be able to create a system in which decent people have a “chance to try and play by the rules.” 22 November 2013 China’s central bank issues an equivocal statement on bitcoin that nonetheless greenlights Chinese participation in cryptocurrency exchange and investment, prompting huge price gains over subsequent weeks. 05 December 2013 Backpedaling somewhat in response to the widespread use of bitcoin to circumvent limits on capital outflows, China bans banks and other financial institutions from dealing with or offering services relating to bitcoin, ruling that it is not a currency. 25 March 2014 The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issues its first guidelines for bitcoin, ruling that it is to be taxed as property, not treated as currency. 10 April 2014 Under government pressure, Chinese banks begin to shut down accounts belonging to bitcoin exchanges. Prices drop 10%, but many exchanges exploit loopholes and offshore parts of their businesses to continue operating. July 2014 The state of New York announces plans to develop licensing requirements for businesses dealing in bitcoin or related services, which proves extremely unpopular with cryptocurrency advocates. 06 November 2014 Trendon Shavers, alias “pirateat40,” arrested for defrauding bitcoin investors in Ponzi scheme in 2012. 19 December 2014 Bitcoin entrepreneur and proponent Charlie Shrem sentenced to two years in prison for illegal money transmission charges related to the Silk Road marketplace. 25 January 2015 Coinbase navigates regulatory frameworks to win approval to operate a fully-fledged bitcoin exchange in 25 U.S. states and sets sights on further expansion. 25 March 2015 Hong Kong officials warn against potential fraud on exchanges, but indicate they will take a light hand regulating cryptocurrencies, classifying them not as legal tender but as “virtual commodities.” 29 May 2015 Ross Ulbricht receives sentence: life in prison without parole. Judge Katherine Forrest explicitly seeks to make an example of him and thereby discourage others from using cryptocurrency and the relative anonymity of the Internet to flout the law. 01 August 2015 Mark Karpeles, former Mt. Gox CEO, arrested in Japan and charged with falsification of records relating to the solvency of the exchange during its collapse. 10 August 2015 Deadline hits for compliance with New York regulators’ “BitLicense” rules, leading many exchanges to stop serving customers in the State. 22 October 2015 Crypto advocates hail a European court ruling that VAT does not apply to bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions, thereby classifying them as currency, not property. 10 November 2016 The state of North Carolina creates legislation to address bitcoin and money transmission, which regards businesses dealing in virtual currencies as subject to the same set of rules and licensing requirements that govern transmission 10 March 2017 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission denies Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss authorization to create a bitcoin-based ETF, citing inadequate regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. 28 March 2017 The SEC denies the Winklevoss brothers’ second request for authorization of a bitcoin ETF, again citing concerns about the lack of regulation and potential for fraud on the exchanges. 01 April 2017 Japan recognizes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tender and lays the groundwork for supportive regulations intended to permit legitimate investment while discouraging money laundering and terrorist financing. 04 September 2017 China prohibits fundraising via initial coin offerings, which it considers illegal. 07 September 2017 The European Central Bank rules out the possibility of Estonia launching its own national cryptocurrency, reaffirms the privileged status of the Euro as legal tender, and cites concerns that national cryptocurrencies would undermine financial regulations. 06 December 2017 Softening its initial stance, Russian regulators indicate that new rules may allow the purchase of cryptocurrencies, but forbid or heavily restrict mining activities. 07 December 2017 Regulators in South Korea ban trading in bitcoin futures as well as initial coin offerings(ICO), but will permit cryptocurrency exchanges to continue operations.
One of the most famous cases in the short history of Bitcoin has finally been decided in court. An American judge sentenced Trendon Shavers – best known as ‘pirateat40’ -, to pay a combined $40.7 million for running a Ponzi scheme.. Shavers was the owner of Bitcoin Savings and Trust, a company that sold investments using BTC and was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission ... A Ponzi Scheme Makes the List. How could this top 5 Bitcoin scams list be complete without a Ponzi scheme? The Bitcoin Savings & Trust was one of the first and most infamous Ponzi schemes in Bitcoin history. In 2011, a person who went by the alias of “Pirate” created a fund that promised to pay people a 7% yield on their Bitcoin deposits. Deposits are free for Bitcoin holders. It is worth noting that some in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space are calling Hex.win a scam or a Ponzi scheme. Hex.win wasn’t the only project promoted on The Pirate Bay recently. Trendon Shavers (known as Pirateat40 or simply Pirate) was the operator of the largest scam in bitcoin history: he operated a ponzi scheme which initially promised a guaranteed a daily profit of 1%, and then disappeared with an unknown amount of bitcoins in August 2012.Thoughts were that the amount was about 500,000 bitcoins, valued around US $5 million at the time. Augustus Cartens, the General Manager of the Bank of International Statements (BIS), appears to have taken a reverse in his outlook of digital currencies. In an interview with Fin
Why Bitcoin Is a Ponzi Scheme with David Heinemeier Hansson
The only industry Bitcoin has disrupted is the ponzi scheme industry. [ 40:50 ] Questions why people want a currency so detached from the real world. [ 41:12 ] People who use Bitcoin want the ... Why Bitcoin Is a Ponzi Scheme with David Heinemeier Hansson - Duration: 52:52. Make More Marbles Recommended for you. 52:52. Bitcoin: Beyond The Bubble - Full Documentary - Duration: 35:01. In 2017 bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reached an all time high. In this interview, Morten explains how we can define and characterize different forms of... La question la plus intéressante à laquelle je répond dans cette vidéo, c'est : LE BITCOIN EST-IL UNE MONNAIE ? Bref, Arnaque, pyramide de Ponzi ou opportunité du siècle, je vous dis tout ... In this video, I discuss whether or not Bitcoin is a Pyramid scheme or a Ponzi scheme. I conclude that it is neither, simply because: 1) Bitcoin is decentralized, not run by a corporation or ...