You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following aricles/books/videos as a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoin created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly non-inflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoin resides has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - Fees are chosen by the sender - you can choose your own fee. An appropriate fee for an on-chain transaction depends on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view fee estimates here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Nearly instant - From a few seconds on the lightning network to a few minutes on-chain depending on need for confirmations. Transactions are irreversible by normal users after one confirmation and irreversible by anyone (including miners) after 6 confirmations.
Portable - Bitcoin are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can be transported by simply carrying a seed (a string of 12 to 24 words) on a device or by memorizing it for wallet recovery (while cool, memorizing is generally not recommended due to potential for forgetting the seed and the potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for most users for their ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoin are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoin
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoin OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoin for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code or a physical security key to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Physical security keys (FIDO U2F) offer stronger security than Google Auth / Authy and other TOTP-based apps, because the secret code never leaves the device and it uses bi-directional authentication so it prevents phishing. If you lose the device though, you could lose access to your account, so always use 2 or more security keys with a given account so you have backups. See Yubikey or Titan to purchase security keys. Both Coinbase and Gemini support physical security keys.
Watch out for scams
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Avoid using ad-based search engines like Google or Yahoo: ads are shown based on how much the advertiser bids, and scammers can easily outbid legitimate providers for ad space, since immoral ways of earning money are far more lucrative than moral ways. Use DuckDuckGo instead, which has no ads, and never tracks you as well.
Ignore private messages offering services.
Never enter your seed words in a website of any kind. Hardware wallets will recover by displaying possible seed words on their own interface, never on a website.
Avoid clicking on links like that look like links, such as https://www.google.com/, without first hovering over it and actually checking where they go to. Just because a link is labelled with an HTTPS address does not mean it actually sends you to that address. It is trivial for someone to comment a link on Reddit that looks like it will send you to one website when it actually sends you to another, and you might not notice the difference until a scammer has gotten all your money, or you have downloaded and installed software that steals your money.
Mining bitcoin can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoin by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoin by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoin for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoin).
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
I AM UNEARTHING A BURIED TALE OF MURDER, CORRUPTION AND HEROICS. (STORY 1 PART 2)
Agent Johnson: It is 11.34am and the date is May 19th 2007. For the purposes of the DIR, the participants in this criminal interview are myself, Agent Bill Johnson. Also present, Agent Danny Rodriguez. Under federal arrest and cautioned is Damian Ramsey. He is here today in regards to an incident in Ormewood, Georgia, that occurred on 12th august 2005. The abduction, rape and murder of 5-year-old Kyle Taylor. Mr Ramsey has waived his right to legal representation. Can everyone just confirm their presence for the purpose of the tape? Agent Rodriguez: Daniel Rodriguez, Present. Damian Ramsey: Ask and you shall receive. I am here! In the flesh. Rodriguez: please state your full name Mr Ramsey and indicate your presence. No need for the theatrics. Ramsey: Damian Clive Ramsey. Present. Johnson: Ok thank you. Mr Ramsey, do you understand the charges against you? Ramsey: Well either it’s a federal crime to be devilishly handsome or this is about that poor young ‘un who got his self gotten by that rascal of an uncle of his. It’s always a family member aint it? Yaknow I read somewhere that 82% of all child murders are committed by a parent or some other close relative! I was like ‘stop the god damn world and let me off this sumbitch.’ ya know what I mean? Johnson: yeah, that statistic is unfortunately true Mr Ramsey... But it also means that 18% of the time it isn’t. It means that 18% of the time it's an opportunistic psychopath. Someone who sees a chance to satisfy his needs and takes it. With no regard for the pain and suffering it will cause. And in the case of Kyle Taylor, we believe it was someone from the 18%. Ramsey: Meaning me I presume? Johnson: For the purpose of the DLR, Agent Rodriquez is showing Mr Ramsey Item Reference DR-342, an image capture from an internal store CCTV camera at Holdens DIY store on Beck road, Ormewood. The image shows a man matching the description of Mr Ramsey walking with a boy matching the description of Kyle Taylor. The man's left hand is on the back of the boy's neck and appears to be gloved. Ushering him in the direction of the old Ormewood freight and rail depot. Is this you in this Image Mr Ramsey? Ramsey: … Johnson: For the purpose of the tape Mr Ramsey has refused to answer this que- Ramsey: Jesus! Can't a man breath in this god damn facility of yours, agent? Now while I would love to say that is myself on that there photo, as he is one fine looking individual! But unfortunately, no Mr Johnson that is not me. Oh lord, you really have fallen from grace haven’t you boys? People talk about the Feds and word is you two ain’t shit anymore, been stuck on cases that are as cold as that Taylor boy is now. Chasing some group of boogeymen apparently, made yourself a laughing stock. I can see why though? Look atch’ you both! Bringing an innocent man like me in here with nothing but some blurry image of that kid and his uncle dressed in some snappy gloves. You two need to think about applying at the new MacDonald's in Lakewood Heights. Accusing an innocent law abiding citizen such as myself of this monstrous act. I wasn’t even in Georgia at the time. Johnson: Oh really? Where did you go? Ramsey: Oh I went for a little trip to Talladega National Forest. Ya know? See the trees, the birds, cook marshmallows out on a nice big open fire... The whole damn shebang. Johnson: Ok and what dates did you travel to Talladega and what date did you return to your registered address in Marietta? Ramsey: I took my camping gear and I headed over on the 8th and didn’t return while the 14th. Rodriguez: Say that again... Ramsey: Jesus lord almighty. It speaks. Rodriguez: Say that again... please... for the tape. Ramsey: Say what? Rodriguez: The dates you weren't in Atlanta. Not even in Georgia apparently... Ramsey: (clears throat with a cough) erm, yeah the 8th till the 14th Rodriguez: So we’ve got that on tape. You have mentioned... when questioned... something that can be used in evidence and something you may go on to rely upon in court. Johnson: Agent, please present Mr Ramsey with Item Reference WJ-242. A clip of dash cam footage from the 10th August 2005. For the purpose of the tape, we are now playing a section of film sent in to us in September 2005 after an appeal for ANY footage of the Taylor family in the days leading up to and inclusive of the 12th August 2005. This footage was first logged in the investigation into Reece Taylor. Kyles uncle who was the original prime suspect. I have paused the video of the dash cam footage from a car driving out of the Georgia Dome carpark which captures the family waiting for a shuttlebus. In said image, you can see a man matching the same description and biometrics of the man in the hardware store image. The man is staring directly at the family, notably Kyle. Facial Recognition Software indicates a 99.5% likelihood that this individual is Mr Damian Ramsey. Ramsey: … Johnson: YOU WERE THERE! YOU WEREN’T ANYWHERE NEAR ALABAMA! Ramsey: … Rodriguez: You watched them, didn’t you? You stalked them and saw he had a tendency to wonder off, making him easy prey! Ramsey: ... Johnson: You planned it all didn’t you? You knew where to take him, busy marketplace for him to get lost, panic and need a good Samaritan to help him look for his parents. You knew where to go to avoid detection by traffic cameras. You knew where you could take that poor boy and do what you did to him and no would come for him! WHERE NO ONE WOULD HEAR HIM SCREAM! Rodriguez: A search team are at your house now; they found no camping gear. They found a laptop with some pretty disgusting things on it and they found a collection of shoe laces. Ramsey: You stay away from those. Rodriguez: 11 pairs... all children's sizes. They are at the lab now being tested to see who they belong to. I put my house on one of those belonging to Kyle Taylor. Johnson: We also took some samples of DNA from your toothbrush and comb. I imagine they will match the bodily fluids found on and inside Kyle at the scene of his murder. Ramsey: … Johnson: I got you. You son of a bitch, I got you! You will rot in prison for the things you did to that poor boy. Paedophiles are like royalty in prison too I hear, so I’m sure you’ll be made right at home. Get this piece of shit of he- Ramsey: Now just you wait a cotton-picking minute, Agent Johnson. We ain’t done here. And I aint going anywhere cos I got something you need! Johnson: What on earth could a sick and twisted Al Pacino tribute act have, that I need? You’re Done. Interview terminated at twelve twenty- Ramsey: How about I could make you the biggest cat in this whole freaking alley Agent? Johnson: What are you talking about? You’re a child murderer. You can’t make anyone anything other than make innocent kids become statistics. Ramsey: Ha-ha-ha well, there is that. However, you my ‘Alec Baldwin tribute act’ friend are looking at the answer to all your issues. You are looking at a gold mine. You are looking at the guy who can prove it... Johnson: Prove what? Ramsey: THAT YOU WERE RIGHT! ALL ALONG! Johnson: … Ramsey: ahhh, you didn’t think I didn’t know all about you and your trips and falls here within this building, did you Agent Johnson? I know everything. I know you, and your little wetback friend here, are at the bottom of the food chain. I know you’ve been given the cases that these yuppies round here don’t want nothing to do with. I know you think there's a gang doing these horrible things, not some Neo-Ted Bundy. Well, (clears throat) make these charges go away... and I can turn EVERYTHING around for you! Johnson: I don’t care what you know. you abducted, tortured, raped and left a boy to die. You could know the Powerball numbers for the next 12 months and I wouldn’t trade that little boy's justice. Rodriguez: are you saying you have information that could help aid the theory that a group of criminals are behind these disappearances? Bill, maybe we should hear what he has to say? I mean, we’ve been looking for the missing link for years and ok this guy is a piece of shit but- Ramsey: I am here you know boys. Rodriguez: - But let’s be honest, beggars can’t be choosers! Don’t you want to prove that this gang exists, stop them and save 1000s of lives! Nothing can bring Kyle Taylor back buddy but-, but if this son of a bitch is telling the truth then his death could have meaning... Ramsey: Well you may just be the smartest taco muncher I ever did meet. No wonder they pulled you out of home depot. Why send me to prison where I get 3 meals a day and a gym membership so the parents can call me a monster on the news for the death of their kid who, let's face it, was BEGGING for what he got. Rodriguez: WOAH WOAH WOAH BILL, CALM DOWN! BILL, NO! UGH! COME ON! SIT DOWN HES TRYING TO RILE YOU! Ramsey: No matter how much his mum shouted at him for wondering off, the little prick kept doing it didn’t he? Johnson: You shut your goddamn mouth before I shut it for you! Ramsey: He waddled right up to me, crying, looking all scared like. Asking me ‘Mister, Can you help me find my mummy?’ Rodriguez: BILL, NO! STOP! GODDAMMIT!! CAN I GET SOMEONE IN HERE!! Ramsey: ‘I certainly can my little friend... Come with me she’s waiting down the street’ Johnson: YOU SICK FUCK, ILL KILL YOU! Ramsey: ‘Hey how about before we get to your mum...’ Unidentified Officer: AGENT JOHNSON STAND DOWN! ASSISTANCE INTERVIEW ROOM 4! Ramsey: ‘...We go have a look at some trains? Hahaha choo-choo! Like a moth...’ Unidentified Officer: SHUT THAT TAPE OFF! Ramsey: ‘...to a flame.’ Unidentified Officer: INTERVIEW TERMINATED! Bill Johnson was given a verbal warning for his assault on Damian Ramsey. This was swiftly over turned though once Ramsey corroborated the trafficking angle to the 2006-2007 string of disappearances. The details surrounding Ramsey's arrest over the Kyle Taylor incident were buried. The incident remains officially unsolved. There was a follow up interview 2 days later between Johnson, Rodriquez, Ramsey and two FBI mediators. Ramsey under legal guidance and federal caution confirmed Agent Johnsons hypothesis that the abductions were carried out by a group he was a part of. He agreed to divulge details about the group's operation. In return for this information, he would receive a new identity, full immunity for any past crimes and he would be relocated to a safe house. On the U.S tax payers dime of course! I managed to obtain the transcripts of his second interview. Below is a large section from the interview. Johnson: Ok now we’ve got the legal stuff out of the way. How about you start and tell us who ‘The Swarm’ are? And what is your relationship with them? Ramsey: (sips water and clears throat) They are the stuff nightmares wake up all sweaty from. They are a group of very bad people Agent. Johnson: Well, you would fit right in then, wouldn’t you? Lawyer: My client is co-operating, Agent. There’s no need for hostilities here. Ramsey: Yeah, Bill. Let's all just settle down ya know? No hard feelings... Rodriguez: Please tell us everything you know about ‘The Swarm’. We don’t need your personal opinion on their morale compass. Ramsey: Very well Agent. The Swarm are a group of individuals who hide in the shadows. They have no faces; they have no names. What they do have though, is a complete disregard for the human race. They take what they want and do what is necessary in order to further the interests of the ‘Queen’. Johnson: The Queen? Like in England? Ramsey: As much as the sarcasm of that question wasn’t lost on me Agent, I do have to answer the question with an honest response and that answer is...Maybe. Rodriguez/Johnson: Huh? Ramsey: The truth is I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone really does. Hell, I don’t even know if it’s a bitch. Johnson: So, what is ‘The Queen’? Ramsey: The Queen is the top of the chain. The person who started this whole thing. It’s someone with elite connections. Someone financially motivated because everything the Swarm does is to make money. Johnson: Ok, well let's keep with what you do know. Tell me how the gang further the financial interests of the high-ranking members of the organisation. Ramsey: Pain, Misery, Torture, Intimidation. Rodriguez: Specifics... Ramsey: The Swarm, from what I know, has 4 units. Unit 1. They take people. Johnson: Take people? Ramsey: Yeah, you know? Those types that who all the cute little youtubers make all the videos about. People who are walking home and never make it. Then ya get all the crackpots saying it was aliens or some shit. Well, this unit. They just come out of nowhere and snatch you up. You don’t even know they’re there. Until it's too late, that is. Johnson: Ok, Unit 2? Ramsey: Unit 2, They hurt people. Rodriguez: Hurt people? Ramsey: Yeah. When Unit 1 bring someone in, they are taken to ‘The Hive’- Johnson: Wo-woah, what on earth is ‘the Hive’? Ramsey: Again, it's all up for speculation... I don’t know if its’s a fixed location or its just where they set up shop for the time being. Either way, it’s not somewhere you’d want to be finding yourself. Johnson: Ok so what do Unit 2 do at ‘The Hive’? Ramsey: I’m sure your all not ancient enough to know the basic computer term ‘The Dark Web’. Johnson: I do. Rodriguez: Hm-hmm. Ramsey: Well one of the ‘resources’, shall we say? Of the Swarm are the ‘Red Rooms’. Johnson: Sorry, what now? Rodriguez: ‘Red Rooms’ are what our cybercrime team describe as Live Feed Torture and Execution Sessions. Usually there's a group chat box where site members can pay bitcoin or other encrypted currencies in return for having their requests inflicted on the victim. Ramsey: Wow, very nice work Agent ‘Taco-Bell'. Bill, I thought you were meant to be the senior agent here and your little brown buddy here is showing you up. Rodriguez: I’m showing you a lot of patience here Ramsey. It's going to take a lot more than some racist white trash child murderer to make me lose my cool. Johnson: One more comment like that Ramsey and this immunity deal... dead. Ramsey/Attorney: (inaudible whispers) Attorney: My client apologizes for any light-hearted teases taken to heart. He is 100% on board with co-operating with the Buruea in return for the guarantee of his safety. Johnson: Yeah. More like in return for getting off with raping and killing a five-year-old fu- Mediator 1: Agent cool yourself. Neither the time or the place. Mediator 2: We’re here to obtain information on the OCG carrying out these violent acts. I understand there is some animosity between you guys from your previous interview but can we please just keep this professional. Johnson: Fine. Ramsey: Absolutely Mr. Fancy Tie, whatever you say. Rodriguez: Please, continue about Unit 2 and the ‘Red Rooms’. Ramsey: Well, most of the time, you get these paid snuff sites. Nothing special. Usually just some old tramp in an underpass or some drugged party girl. Then, of course you get the more shall we say ‘Premium’ sites. These are your migrants, run-aways, stow-aways, refugees who trust the wrong people and find themselves strapped to a chair Infront of a webcam. These are the more interactive sites. As you mentioned, the chat boxes and requests being carried out. But then you have the sites these guys run. Extremely hard to find. VIP members only. Johnson: what's so special about these sites then? Ramsey: The content mainly. The people they have in those rooms. They’re hmm special... Rodriguez: Special? Ramsey: Cops. Federal Witnesses. Politicians. Johnson: … Rodriguez: … Ramsey: For the DIR, Agents Johnson and Rodriguez are looking at me like they’ve just shit their pants. Attorney: (inaudible whisper) Ramsey: Hmm, sorry guys. Couldn’t resist. Johnson: Did you say Cops and Witnesses? Rodriguez: Politicians? Ramsey: Hmm-hmm. Cops who maybe take their job a little too seriously. ‘Dog with a bone’ types. Gets to a point where maybe someone, somewhere thinks that things would go more smoothly if this person went away. Johnson: Someone? ‘The Queen’? Ramsey: Maybe. I don’t imagine anything gets done without her sanction. Either way, there’s a ‘process’ other groups can follow and with a bit of planning and prep, in a few week they can be watching that giant pain in the ass getting his limbs ripped off on camera. Swarm takes a fee, and they make a bucket load of bitcoin from the viewers. Johnson: Sons of bitches. Ramsey: Outside the dark web, they also use there ‘skill-set’ to make videos that might be hard for rich parents to watch their kids in. The type of video that makes you pay a shit load of money so that you don’t get another one. Johnson: God damn, I fucking knew it. March 2006, Two kids. Video sent to parents of them being tortured. Requested a large payment in exchange for their suffering to end. I knew it was connected. Rodriguez: Jesus Christ Bill, you were right. Mediator 1: Sorry to interrupt but Mr Ramsey, you also said Federal Witnesses? Ramsey: Yep. Johnson: ...Like you? Mediator 1, 2 and Attorney: Agent! Johnson: That wasn’t a dig. I’m being serious. Surely you must have thought about this when you decided to testify against them? Ramsey: Listen, Agent Johnson. You let me worry about me and you can worry about you not being one of the ‘dogs with a bone’. We all as safe as each other from these guys. Johnson: … Ramsey: Besides anyway, I’m a little more confident I'll be ok in the hands of the Bureau. Johnson: What makes you say that? Ramsey: Let's just say the people who go the cops... are playing a dangerous game. Rodriguez/Johnson: What? Attorney/Ramsey: Inaudible Whispers. Attorney: I have advised my client to only give out information that he has witnessed with his own eyes. Speculation is not part of the WITSEC/Criminal Informant agreement Johnson: Look ok we won’t include it as part of the official statement but come on Damian. What's your take? Ramsey: … Johnson: For the DIR, Mr Ramsey just received a non-verbal confirmation from his attorney. Ramsey: I think ‘The Swarm’ has a little help from the boys in blue. Johnson: Jesus Christ, what's your basis for that? Ramsey: A while back I was watching this girls house. Took some snaps, few videos. Not really my type ya know. Little old for my taste. I sent the info on, My job was done and I got a payment for my work. Anyways a few days later, I heard through the news and a contact of mine that there was a witness to the take. A couple of high school kids were making out in a car in a blind spot when the girl was being thrown into the van. I heard that they went to the police and gave an officer a very detailed statement about the van and 3 men. Those two people went missing 10 days later. Johnson: So how does that mean that the police betrayed them? Ramsey: Well, I guess it don’t but hell, the fact I even knew the couple made the statement suggests that the gang found out some way. I scouted that street. I watched that girl, her family and neighbours for days. The way that make-out spot was situated and where those car was parked, in relation to where the house was, there’s no way the Unit would have known that the witnesses were there. Surely if the cops didn’t screw them, then they would have remained anonymous and there would have been some arrests but there was nothing. No arrests, No investigation. I think they gave their statement to the wrong cop. They passed that to their ‘guy’ and the evidence was destroyed and the witnesses taken. But ya know, it's completely circumstantial. I get that. Johnson: ‘His guy’? Ramsey: Well, I’ll get to that shortly but for now let me just tell you about Unit 3. Johnson: Ok. What do Unit 3 do? Ramsey: They move people. Rodriquez: Move people? Ramsey: Yeah. Move, Trade, Sell, Swap. Ya know Trafficking? Johnson: This is the gang's bread and butter? Ramsey: Yep. This is where I came in to things. Unit 3, which I am not a part of by the way! Unit 3 are a go between for The Swarm and the buyers of the ‘Livestock’ Johnson: What type of buyer we talking? Paedo-Rings? Grooming Gangs? Ramsey: Sometimes but mainly, and hold on to your hat's gentleman, it's rich old white pervs. CEOs, Judges, Senators. Johnson: You’re fucking kidding, right? Ramsey: Ha-ha what's wrong, Bill? Think everyone who likes to have a bit of fun wi’a young un is a creepy monster like me? Johnson: Basically, yeah. Ramsey: WELL, THEY AIN’T! They are rich, old, white privileged socialites who moonlight as Satanic Worshippers and nothing tells the big red horny bastard downstairs that you're on his team more than a group of the country's most rich and powerful starting their evening with a nice little banquet at their private country club followed by a ritual of gang rape and human sacrifice. Johnson: What the fuck. Rodriguez: If this is true then can you provide the names of this people? Ramsey: hmm. All in good time gentlemen. Memory's a little foggy right now but down the line who knows? Johnson: Son of a bitch, you played your card and it's got you off the murder of Kyle Taylor. Don’t be holding back from us. Attorney: Agent, my client has been extremely co-operative and has given you a comprehensive insight into this organised crime group. He’s said he can’t remember the names of the buyers but you will be the first to know once he can recall them. Johnson: That right Damian? Got a fuzzy little memory there, have you? Ramsey: Well, I didn’t used to but you know agent, it has been a little foggy ever since you clocked me. Mediator 2: Guys! Can we just settle down and try wrap this up quickly so we can separate you two? Johnson: Fine by me. Ramsey: By all means. Rodriguez: Ok so we’ve covered Units 1, 2 and 3. Unit 4? Ramsey: Well, that’s just it. I don’t know. Johnson: ‘Their Guy’... Rodriguez: Huh? Ramsey: I see you gone and catched on there, Billy Boy. Well done. Rodriguez: Can someone tell me what you're both talking about? Johnson: Unit 4. Corrupts people. Ramsey: If I was to hazard a guess. Yes. Rodriguez: Corrupts who? Johnson/Ramsey: The Police. Rodriguez: You said that was speculation though. Ramsey: Well, it is. However, Unit 4 is kept so close to the chest it's got to be something juicy right? There was once a spotter like myself, who asked a few too many questions about the mysterious Unit 4. Next thing I know, me and another guy are being tasked with dumping a body. We were told not to look who was in the plastic. The other did as he was told but me, I’ve never been able to resist things that make me curious. It was the guy who asked too many questions. Johnson: Do you know his name? Or is your memory still foggy? Ramsey: No, I remember. You have my word I will provide his name in my official statement. Rodriguez: Thank you. Please, can you tell me something? Ramsey: Shoot... Rodriguez: This guy who helped you bury the body. The guy who asked too many questions. Yourself. What Unit do you belong to? Ramsey: Oh agent, I and those men have no official affiliations to those people. See? Johnson: For the DIR, Mr Ramsey is lifting up his shirt to show us he does not have a tattoo. Ramsey: The fact I don’t bear the mark should be enough to show you I'm what you might call ‘freelance’. Rodriguez: The mark? Johnson: The Butterfly. Rodriguez: The Brand? Johnson/Ramsey: Yeah. Ramsey: Besides, if I was a member. We wouldn’t be sat here talking. Rodriguez: Why not? Ramsey: ‘cos like I've said these guys. They have no names. They have no faces. Johnson: How do they not have faces? Ramsey: Well I've worked with at least 1 guy from each unit apart from unit 4. I never learnt their name and they never took it off. Rodriguez: Took what off? Ramsey: Their mask. Johnson: … Rabbit or a Bunny, By any chance? Ramsey: Some yes. The newbies wear a black ski mask or a balaclava. Once they’ve proven themselves, they move up in rank. Rodriguez: What do they wear when they move up? Ramsey: Unit 1, the takers. They wear the mask of an eagle. Sometimes a falcon. Either way it’s a bird of prey. Then yes, Unit 2. They wear the mask of a bunny or rabbit. Then Unit 3, the movers. They wear the mask of a sheep. Johnson: Why those animals? Ramsey: Who knows? I guess eagles swoop in and snatch their prey. The bunny masks are anything but cute and the sheep masks could symbolise Livestock. There is another mask though... Johnson: Go on... Ramsey: A goat or a ram. Johnson: Unit 4? Ramsey: Not sure. I just know that if you wear that mask, then boy! You have some serious clout. Rodriguez: So, the goats and rams, they are the high-ranking members of the group? Ramsey: Yeah. Pretty much so. Rodriguez: So, would you say one of the people in the goat mask is ‘The Queen’? Ramsey: There are 2 goats and 2 rams. 1 commanding officer for each of the 4 states the group operate in. Florida, Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana. But none of them are ‘The Queen’. The ‘Queen’ is someone with a name. Someone with a face. Someone with a lot of power. Someone with a lot of influence. Someone no doubt with a nice family, important job, big reputation, maybe even someone in the public eye. Rodriguez: Ok well thanks. We will be sure to include your testimony about the group's hierarchy. I have a Question, though. Ramsey: Go on. Rodriguez: What level are you in the gang? Ramsey: Me?! No. Guys like me, we just sell information. You see through our (cough) ‘hobbies’, we spot potential targets. You know the types, kids who get left home alone, kids who sneak out at night to go drink, kids who wonder off from their parents. Johnson: Like Kyle Taylor? Ramsey: Hmm yes. Except one thing Bill. Johnson: What's that then? Ramsey: Kyle was just my type so I decided to keep him for myself. (Unidentified Commotion) Mediator 1: Can we all just settle down! Jesus. Johnson: You know Ramsey, you’re a sick piece of shit. You’re a slimy son of a bitch who has stuck his nose in all the right places and now you know you’re a goldmine. Ramsey: Well sorry Bill, but let's not stand here on ceremony Agent Johnson- Mediator 2: I think we are done for now. Rest of the testimony can be writ- Ramsey: You had a chance to have me halfway to Macon State by now but instead you sold out that boy too. Just to prove you were right- Johnson: … Mediator 1: Ramsey, that’s enough! Counsellor, I suggest you control your client. Ramsey: - Just to prove that all along, you had it nailed and all these other guys were chasing ghosts. Johnson: … Attorney: Come on Damian, let’s leave it there. Ramsey: No! Fuck you all. I hope the DIR is still running because I will be heard! Johnson: ... Rodriguez: Come on Bill, let's go get you a coffee. Ramsey: Me and you ain’t so different, Bill. We both had chance to do right by that boy and we didn’t. Johnson: you fucking piece- Mediator 2: I’m calling this interview to a close. Ramsey: You could have caught his killer and got his family justice but instead you’ve given me freedom, a new life and a killer, government funded pad. Just so you can be the top Agent at the Bureua... Mediator 1: I agree, this is getting out of hand now. Ramsey: … And when that silly, sniffling, whiney, little prick wandered over to me asking me if I could help him find his mummy, I could have shown him back to his parents... Rodriguez: Yep, come on Bill. Let's get you out of here. Ramsey: But I didn’t... Instead, I led him down to the train tracks. Johnson: One day Ramsey, One day... I swear to god- Ramsey: The look on his face when he knew what I was going to do... Johnson: One day, you will PAY for what you did to that boy! Karma finds all man! Ramsey: … Priceless. Mediator: Interview Terminated at 16.32! The formalities following these initial interviews included Damian Ramsey providing a fully comprehensive statement of his working knowledge of the OCG known as ‘The Swarm’. In return for his co-operation, he was set up in a safe house in Fort Worth, Texas. He was given a new alias, Dave Miller and was granted total immunity from any crime relating to ‘The Swarm’ and also Kyle Taylor. Over the course of 14 months, Dave Miller went on to live a life of luxury but he continued to commit crimes in this time however. In September 2007, he was caught in the process of trying to abduct a 7-year-old girl from a county fair. On his arrest he was also in possession of class A narcotics and stimulants. In December 2007, he was reported for exposing himself to a group of kids who were playing in a park. In March 2008, he was arrested for getting drunk and hitting someone with a bottle I’m sure you all now wondering, how on earth this guy was still within the limits of his WITSEC agreement? Well due to the nature of his interviews and the speculation over the mysterious Unit 4 potentially being a group of individuals working as go betweens for high-ranking state police officers and the influencing members of The Swarm, The FBI set up a MOPI re-route on anything relating to Damian Ramsey or Dave Miller. A MOPI re-route is an encryption programme used by the FBI to manage sensitive information with the police. Any reports, complaints or searches made in regards to Dave MilleDamian Ramsey were encrypted to anyone outside the FBI and digitally rerouted to the Bureau for them to handle. This was to protect the FBI’s Golden Goose from a potential corrupt officer handing him over to the Swarm from them to slaughter him. Every time the FBI pulled Dave Miller in for questioning on the charges listed above, they’d threaten to terminate his WITSEC agreement. However, on each occasion just as the Bureau were about to pull his deal, he would proclaim that his memory had cleared up and he could remember more details about the people who dealt with ‘The Swarm’. In October 2007, The FBI set up a sting operation on a grooming gang in Jackson, Mississippi. The investigation yielded evidence that the group was being bankrolled by one, Roger Marshall. The Republican Senator for the state. In November, the gang members were taken down and the organisation was folded under the RICO act and all defendants served sentences between 7-25 years. They also arrested Roger Marshall on November 25th on the following charges. Malfeasance in a public office, Conspiracy to commit murder, Conspiracy to commit rape and Conspiracy to sexually exploit a child. The FBI covered up the details of the arrest, posing it as a tax fraud scandal so to try not to alert ‘The Swarm’ they were looking into them. In January 2008, Dave Miller provided a lead about a group of rich socialites in Chicago who were exploiting young boys for sexual acts who they’d purchased from Unit 3 of the Swarm. There were 13 people arrested in regards to the investigation but the core members were... Alan Davies, 45, CEO of a stocks and bonds broker. Sentenced 10 years. Jim Pipe, 59, Supreme Court Judge. Sentenced 11 years. Mike Roland 49 and James Roland 47, Criminal Lawyers. Sentenced to a combined 19 years. And the club president, John Paul Richards, 64. The archbishop of the catholic church of Illinois. Sentenced to 15 years with no chance of parole. In May 2008, Dave Miller provided a lead on a potential Satanic Cult with close ties to the ‘Queen’ based in California. Unfortunately, he claimed his memory was ‘fuzzy’ again and couldn’t think of the names. It was enough to get him off the drunken assault charge however. By this point however, the FBI had used the information provided by Ramsey/Miller to get two highly sensitive operations sanctioned. On October 2007, the undercover and sensitive operations unit of the FBI assigned an agent to be immersed into the OCG known as ‘The Swarm’. That man was Joe Clayton. An experience undercover agent who has worked to bring down biker gangs in Canada and a violent cartel in Mexico. The details of his integration, immersion and investigation will be included in his journal. I intend to post Claytons journal once I can crack the encryption on the 2nd half of it. Having viewed the first half, trust me It’s honestly quite the read. Two other key pieces of evidences were entered against the gang after a serious event occurred in July 2008. On Thursday 27th July 2008, Dave Miller attempted to abduct another child, Kim Summerfield aka Olivia Matthews, with the sole intention of inflicting as much pain and suffering as his did to Kyle Taylor in 2005. This is the girl who I referenced earlier with the link to her story. As Dave Miller tried to force Kim into her empty home to violently rape and murder her, he was abducted by Unit 1 of the Swarm and drove away in a white Ford Transit van to the ‘Hive’, where Unit 2 made him pay for his betrayal. On Friday 5th July 2008, Unit 1 of the Swarm attempted to take Kim Summerfield from her home but after an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, her friend Grace Blake aka Jessica, was kidnapped instead. Unit 3 of the group attempted to trade her to the same group who ordered Kim but the mystery organisation only wanted Kim. Grace was then handed over to Unit 2. Later that evening, at 00.23 am, a botched FBI sting was ambushed by Unit 1 and FBI Agent Ray Daniels was also kidnapped. He was also handed over to Unit 2. Grace Blake, Ray Daniels and Damian Ramsey were all brutally killed on Livestream sites on encrypted websites. This is where the other two pieces of evidence came in to play. Two 16-year-old boys, Liam Brookes and Mark Neill, we’re urban exploring and unwittingly stumbled into ‘The Hive’. They witnessed the three murders of Blake, Ramsey and Daniels. They also saw faces and vehicles. The boys took their information to the police. This is where the suspicions of Damian Ramsey and Agent Johnson about corrupt police involvement was sadly confirmed. Liam Brooks left a detailed letter documenting the week between his discovery of the Gang and the day he disappeared from his home on July 12th 2008 This evidence was paramount in proving a link between ‘The Swarm’ and high level police corruption. I am 90% finished decrypting his letter. I am excited to read and post this brave young man's sacrifice. And finally, after Ramsey/Miller was kidnapped and taken away, this prompted the FBI to hire Dave Peterson. A freelance cybercrime expert who had extensive experience in unearthing the most hidden pathways on the hidden web. He’d been hired all over the world by M15, the CIA and Interpol to help bring down one of ISIS’ recruitment site. He’d also done work for the DEA to help bring down illicit drug sites like Silkroad. When an eyewitness to the Ramsey kidnapping called the police to report the incident, the MOPI notice alerted the FBI of Ramsey’s situation. They shut the police out of it immediately and on Saturday June 28th 2008, Peterson was hired to do an independent investigation to try and locate the missing Federal Witness Damian Ramsey and, in the process, find the main haunt of the Swarm known as The Hive. On July 6th, after Agent Johnson and his team had taken investigatory control of the Grace Blake abduction, A botched sting to try reclaim her at an arranged meet with a unit of the gang resulted in the abduction of Ray Daniels. Peterson was then tasked in finding him too before it was too late. David Peterson recorded his findings on a Dictaphone, whilst searching the deep web. This has since been transcripted and again, I have obtained the file. I will just need some time to decrypt it. Unfortunately, David Peterson along with Liam Brookes and Joe Clayton all suffered horrible fates due to their involvement in the investigation. The Important thing is however, that they still managed to get the job done and submit enough evidence for this group to be brought to its knees eventually in April 2012 when the ‘Queen’ was unmasked and there was enough evidence to crush the organisation and all its units and associations under the RICO act. Before you ask, no I don’t know who the ‘Queen’ was. I imagine it will be revealed in one of the coded submissions so I am working day and night to crack the FBIs encryption. If you’re wondering what happened to Agent Johnson. After, the FBI sting was ambushed, he faced a disciplinary board in regards to his judgement to send a team of just 5 agents to a potentially combustible stand-off with a criminal organisation with a known history of extreme violence. He argued that any larger FBI presence would have potentially scared off the Swarm and they would have lost the chance to save Grace Blake. The board agreed his actions were justifiable and the operation was authorised by the Strategic Firearms Commander. However, 5 Agents lost their lives and the Bureau needed a scapegoat. As punishment, he was removed as Senior Commanding Officer of the Major Violent Crimes Department and replaced with his protégé, Danny Rodriguez. Agent Johnson, never a man who measured himself on status and titles, took it on the chin and was pleased Danny got the promotion. He deserved it. He continued to serve with Agent Rodriguez, giving his life to the cause of bringing down the Swarm. Travelling 250 miles a week, working 16 hours a day, surviving on flat whites and big macs. In July 2011, Agent Johnson was Diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. He was given 6 months to live. He refused to take early retirement on medical grounds. He also refused treatment and medication so not to effect his work performance. Agent Johnson was present 9 months later when the FBI arrested and charged ‘The Queen’. Agent Johnson was present when 87 violent criminals who had all were part of the OCG known as ‘The Swarm’ were brought to justice. 42 arrested. 45 shot and killed by federal operatives. Agent Johnson was present when 268 young boys and girls were released from captivity after being sexually exploited and abused across 7 different locations in 5 different states. Each and every single of them thanked him for his hard work to save their lives. Agent Johnson was then present 2 months later when the surviving gang members, known associates, accomplices and their remaining leaders were ALL sentenced to indefinite years in separate maximum-security prisons. 2 days after the last sentencing, Agent Johnson was admitted to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital after he fainted in his own home. He died 23rd June 2012. People say once he brought down the group. He had nothing else to live for. The Agents at the Bureau all say that the man was born to bring down the Swarm. Despite all the set-backs, despite all the grief, the man never lost sight of his goal. His photo is on the Wall of Fame at FBI HQ, Quantico. This story has been untold outside the FBI for 8 years! Due to the horrific nature of the level of institutionalised corruption in the state police departments and the state political scene, the details of this investigation have been buried, including the tremendous sacrifices of the people involved. This was to protect the public's trust in their local police, mayors and senates. As the findings of this investigation, we’re eye opening to say the least. This is the first of 4, I need time to decrypt the other pieces of evidence but once I crack the codes, I will submit all the other stories. Please watch out for the next one!
Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect? https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player This is the second part ofCrypto Banking Wars— a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become thebank of the future. Who is best positioned toreach mainstream adoptionin consumer finance? --- While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this verypowerfultechnology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town. So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future? In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank. We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.
Users & Audience
These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank. In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case. https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613 Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank. These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.
Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.
Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.
One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing. I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much. https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557 The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets. So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future? No. They are designed for a very different audience. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
PROJECT BLOCKCHAIN VALLEY My name is Morgan Rockwell, I am CEO of Bitcoin Kinetics Inc. Now founder of Kinetics - Blockchain, Automation & Energy. I created the first Bitcoin Operated Service Machine to allow Bitcoin to be used in the real world in all machines & businesses. We are rapidly expanding & growing into new territories, industries and concepts to help build the Bitcoin & Blockchain based industries into a competitive & profitable environment. We have began the process of issuing equity on the NYSE in New York City. We have purchased a new building to house the buildings office & factory. We have made several partnerships with many Bitcoin Business Leaders, Ethereum, Micro-controller & Chip Makers, DIY companies and many more important players in the new technology industries. We now need your help before we are forced to ask help from the banking sector, tyrants or billionaires.. We now need 10000 Bitcoins to create the greatest Bitcoin Based Economy the world will ever see, including the first Bitcoin Town... Ill give you keys to the company, all of the equity, I do not want a dollar. There will be always be a loan offer out there for the purchase of the main street property of 1000 BTC for immediate purchase & payback with base interest rate of 15% on the 1000 BTC - giving 1150 BTC payback in 5 years or equivalent in USD value of equity in the corporation we are creating to be listed on the NYSE. When that loan contract is fulfilled by someone there will be another 1000 BTC loan contact available within 7 days for someone else to bid on. The bidding price will be based on a lower competitive interest rate and this will be done Over The Counter through personal communications. We require an immediate range of 7000-10000 BTC to build the entire region into a fully functional Blockchain based industry zone. This will be self sustaining in regards to energy consumption & economic production. A am building partnerships with many smart people, strong businesses and influencers in industry to get these goals accomplished. I need the lending community, the Bitcoin community, the cryptocurrency communities to help make Blockchain Valley become a reality. Anyone up for that offer? It would be able to change the world if you can contact me & send me that I have contracts ready and waiting.
We are in the process of filing with the SEC & NYSE to issue the countries first REAL Bitcoin IPO on wall street.
I have personally acquired a 3000+ sqft $200,000 gas station/garage to move Bitcoin Kinetics into a more productive environment.
On the main street in an empty, no industry town, that has lost its only industry & now needs a new one.
This is where the future begins. Along side that move a NEW company is created, to compete with the likes of Google, Apple, GE, Visa & CHASE. It will be called "KINETICS Inc". Kinetics - Blockchain, Automation & Energywww.Kinetics.cc KINETICS is facilitator of several Bitcoin & Blockchain projects including:
The Bitcoin Academy
CoinSheriff / CoinEnforce
and much more...
KINETICS is going to be incorporated in Delaware as a C Corporation. The fully functional business such as #BitcoinKinetics, #BitcoinAcademy & #Axiomity will be managed, funded and operated by KINETICS Inc. KINETICS Inc & Bitcoin Kinetics Inc will both be located at our new shop in Upper Lake, CA in Lake County. 9450 Main St, Upper Lake, CA 95485 This buildings rent is $800 per month, to be reduced from $200,000 price for full cash purchase of property. I have plans to purchase the entire building full cash in the next 90 days, until then i'm moving in 7/13/2014 SUN & paying rent to own for 90 days. I have been told I can purchase the entire block including over 20 different store fronts, garages, a bank, a post office, a saloon, a large antique shop, several window display store front shops and even large areas of land for crypto mining data centers, fields of solar panels & wind generators, as well as the fact that all of California's fresh water is within 2000 yards of the building in several lakes. There is over 100,000 sq ft of empty store & office spaces on the main street. All of it has been personally offered to me.
This Town NEEDS YOU, ME & ALL OF US Bitcoin community.
We are committed to partnering with #TeslaMotors to convert the old gas station into a Tesla Super Charger Station equipped with SuperChargers, solar power & a lounge to busy the drivers as they charge their vehicle. We will be creating a Bitcoin ATM friendly lounge where customers can purchase all things Bitcoin, Hardware & even use Bitcoins at all the local shops. Ill be putting www.CryptoCrates.com in one of the shops on the block giving the worlds first Bitcoin Record Store a physical location. There are now many possibilities with this HUGE opportunity here before us all. We are in talks with #Ethereum and several lenders, venture capitalists, bankers & Bitcoin investors to make this dream of a physical Bitcoin world a reality. We can turn Upper Lake into the start of what will be the home of #BitcoinTOWN, a place where all Bitcoin Business will want to come and have their offices. Eventually growing into a "#BlockchainValley" There is so much money involved & needed for this long term 100 year plan, In the next 10 years up to 10,000 BTC will be needed to pay:
payroll for up to 2000 new employees,
purchase more buildings to give to the Bitcoin Community,
pay for licensing, contacts,
down payments for construction teams,
graphic design, marketing,
advertisement & PR materials,
SEC & NYSE filings will have many fees & collected costs,
inventory must be expanded rapidly in many areas to allow services, products & customers to flock to the new town.
If you build it, they will come. There is much to be done, its is all the start of jobs, money & Bitcoins value going to the moon. Building something in the real world with Bitcoins lending technology. I have over 15 years of construction, civil engineering, electrical engineering & business development. I am the best human on earth to get this mission accomplished and to get the job done. We are in a state ware Bitcoin is now legal tender, the time is NOW. I can make everything happen, i talk well, i don't sleep and work non stop until the goal is reached, i have networked with everyone from the rich to the poor, to the entire Bitcoin community. This is an opportunity to be within 1 1/2 hours of San Francisco and 2 hours from Sacramento. This deal with Tesla Motors gives me the ONLY charging station in this North California region giving the loop from San Francisco, Mendocino, & The i5 to Sacramento a complete loop allowing the Tesla vehicles to travel up into the Forest Area. This will bring HUGE revenue, HUGE partnerships & many many new Bitcoin users and Kinetics customers will all be flocking up from San Francisco to the new land of Bitcoin... All of you should help us and ill personally make you a very rich Bitcoiner, and you will save the world from fiat, from centralization & from tyranny...
I personally dont WANT or need money, im a minimalist.
I DO want to give everyone a Bitcoin paying job, thats my passion & my goal in the end.
I DO own the first historic Gas Station on the main street, soon to be Tesla Charging Station
I DO own pretty much the main street soon as I have a few $100-500K USD
I have been committed to working on www.BitCongress.org to help democracy & voting, it needs a home!
I have created over 50 BitSwitch Units for Bitcoin Kinetics Inc to allow any machine to accept Bitcoin directly.
I have successfully funded the first Bitcoin Corporation in California from the ground up using nothing but Bitcoins.
I DO have equipment, 3D Printers, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Tools, Materials, Washing Machines Parking Meters, CNC, Mill
I DO have up to 30 people in hand ready to build, work and get paid in Bitcoin to buid Bitcoin machines.
I DO have millions of dollars of resources at my access in both Lake County, Mendocino County & Sanoma County.
I have communicated with people from Tesla, Virgin, BitPay, Goldman Sachs, USPS, Treasury, DHS, & the SEC
I Am MOVING into the new building on SUNDAY 7/13/2014
To purchase the main street property only need 1000 BTC as soon as possible with 1150 BTC payed back in 5 Years. That is a 15% payback on a 1000 BTC loan that can be bid on by lenders If you can even participate in this loan in fractions, partial or full, please contact us ASAP as moves need to be made immediately. This allows us to acquire the main drag of Main Street, Upper Lake, CA and all of its shops. We will convert it into a Solar Roadway/SolarCity filled block, with Bitcoin ATMs on every corner, Bitcoin Laundromats, Bitcoin Bank, Bitcoin Friendly Shops, A Blockchain Node in every business, A Tesla Charging Station right in front of the 1920s original Gas Station, a Restaurant Called Satoshi's Grill, with 5 star Chefs already ready to join the team, a record and music shop that takes all crypto currency, The Bitcoin Academy giving a local education center for all to access the newest information, technologies and educators, a Coffee shop friendly to all things Bitcoin & The Blockchain, giving rise to Bitcoin Gift card usage, lounge environment with data center tools. The entire town will have a 4G tower system with the first going behind the Gas Station in the yard & FREE WIFI, LIFI & MESH networking covering the entire area. We ask you the #Bitcoin Community for funding before we ever ask a Banker, so please help us before we are forced to go ask Goldman Sachs for fiat... The community can gather 1, 10, 100, 1000 or 10000 Bitcoins to make Bitcoin usable in all machines. As a loan of 15% would be very helpful to us and to you in circulating Bitcoin & funding this community venture. Contact us if you are willing to support this new venture as time is of the essence, moves need to be made NOW, and your Bitcoin's future depends on people like us & you giving Bitcoin real world use. Help us bring the future into the now... THE BITCOIN TOWN / BLOCKCHAIN VALLEY PLAN
PHASE 1, Purchase & Acquire the Main Street Buildings.
PHASE 2, Modify Town Power, Communications & Energy Usage
PHASE 3, Create New City Plan With Sheriff, Mayor, City Council & Locals
PHASE 4, Create, License, Employ, Inventory & Market New Businesses
PHASE 5, Purchase & Acquire Surrounding Land for Clean Energy Production
PHASE 7, Advertise Town In San Francisco, Sacramento & Silicon Valley
PHASE 8, Create Indoor Aquaponic Towers For Plants, Chickens & Fish
PHASE 9, Create Farmers Market, Blockchain Block Party Fair, BitFest!
PHASE 10, Build Automated Transportation Systems To Cities Down South
These 10 Phases will take money, people, passion and motivation. Time will only get in the way if you don't become involved with both your Bitcoin, Your Mind, & Your Sweat, Blood & Tears. We will help make this a reality, but first comes capital, participants & the plan. We are all here to help grow into a better world, Bitcoin gives us that last chance for humanity to stand up and shake off its slack. If we can come together and show the world how this technology works in the real world, the planet will see, it will feel, it will hear and know Bitcoin as reality. Over night the world can change if we put out foot down, take a stand, and create the world as we see it to be. People are at war, starving and suffering in the most horrible ways, all I personally can do is fight the good fight with Bitcoin in my hand, there is a chance now for us to have sanctuary and a place to build our plan of attack from. We now have shelter, not just for Kinetics, but for the entire Bitcoin community of users, businesses & investors. You all now will have a safe and friendly place to live, work, shop, learn and grow... I thank you for your time and your care for the world. Thank You. MORGAN ROCKWELL
You can send any BTC / Bitcoin to this address for Kinetics Inc Seed Funding Please Send Me ALL CONTACT INFORMATION if you send us any Bitcoin.
What entity manages .com, .net, .gov, .us, .cn domains?
For the longest time I still have not a clue how this works. I am not sure if this is the right subreddit or something like networking This is all I understand so far about the web (or internet?), computers, and electronics in general (its super long just skip to bold part if you need to) INTERNET:
Computers linked to network with standard protocols, such as HTTP/ HTTPS over the world wide consortium standards, forming conglomerate of computers linked together. ISP's take information from said networks and transfer data to other ISP's via nodes, through hardwire connections and transatlantic cable.
IP addresses identify your local network through the ISP. Subnet mask, gateways, etc and traffic can be redirected via VPN. Also, on local side, you have the PC=>Router (optional) => Modem => ISP, where the router helps divide the modem so multiple PC's can connect to one line. Also WiFi operates by a specific hardware device (wifi dongle, router) and transfers information via electromagnetic waves. Same with cellphones (Via cellphone towers). Also satellites help direct cellular traffic through direct line of sight connections from user=>satellite=>user.
URL's utilize world wide consortium stsandards, using www. as the default subdomain, the web address, and the end? domain (like .com)
Domains are rented out through 3rd parties such as godaddy, and are never physically owned. Subdomains are like m.reddit.com (for mobile use) or MyWebsite.blogspot.com
Search engines like google uses properitary algorithms /datastacks/ web crawlers to build a huge database of all existing URL's and rates them through its servers (SEO)
Servers are just high powered PC's generally running Linux and processes incoming data / sends out packets of data, generally in fancy server rooms
DDoS is denial of service through botnet attacks via malware infections of computers, utilizing other people's computer resources (there's more than one way of doing this). Also, ports get overridden with lots of useless requests, denying service to legit people who want to use said site hosted on said server
Throttling occurs due to ISP's limiting data pipeline through its end, not sure what goes on here though
Deep web (or dark web?) is essentially hosting a bunch of private URLs, not visible publicly and accessed through specific private search engines.
Torrents are accessed via peer 2 peer (Seeding and leeching) and managed client-side with utorrent, rutorrent, etc which manages traffic for the requests for .torrent downloads, and public torrent links are through sites like pirate bay, kickass torrents, etc
Programming languages (Fortran, C++, Java) were generally formed originally from assembly code and binary in the form of different modules. People had different opinions of how data and protocols were made, so hence different languages
Virtual machines, its a high powered PC generally that divides its resources to host several virtual PC's. Lots of variations of how datastacks are managed
Personal computers work via motherboard, ram sticks, GPU (like nvidia GTX Titan or intel graphics 4000), Cores / hyperthreading (like corei7 from intel), monitors, etc. Say you run a PC without internet and run a game like witcher 3. You run an executable file, which is written by C++. GPU renders data supplied by executable, (e.g. render this room given this data under this game engine), ram (random access memory) is used as all the unprocessed data needs to sit somewhere?, various caches (L3) for processing common data quickly, core (i7) for processing data as a whole, motherboard and OS mediates all data being transferred.
Github is used for subversion control, and its now cloud based too (although it was originally local / lan only). Github is done via pulls , requests, call, etc. to monitor versions. You can technically emulate this on paper using sticky notes, but its not efficient
Hardware electronic wise, voltage and current is analgous to a water pipeline, where VOLUME WATER FLOW = CIRCUMFERENCE * VELOCITY WATER. In this case, POWER = VOLTAGE * CURRENT. Kerchoff's law, parallel series circuits, PCIBs, quantum theory, transistors (3 prongs), OR NAND NOT gates, arrays, resistors, potentiometers, timers, arduino, bread boards, soldering, relays, switches, that kind of thing (I'm not an EE). Anyways, hardware generally requires a specific amount of voltage and current for things to run on the computer
Operating Systems are linux, windows, macs, etc, and runs through a succession of modules created by assembly code and programming based languages such as C++.
DBMS utilizes crud (create read update delete). MySQL works. Can be emulated on a piece of paper, technically
XML (eXtensible markup language) just is used to communicate between different languages
API (application programming interface) is basically a user manual of all the functions publicly available to pull from a program, locally or on a server. E.G. imgur provides a bunch of API's, I can use its resources because I know said API, and make a program out of it. UPS has a bunch of available API, so I can pull that shit and make a ecommerce shipping module or something.
RAID (RAID 1-5) is just like how data is split into different hard drives. E.G. I have a file. File is split 3 ways into 3 different raid drives and pulled all at once when I request for it, its done this way because file transfers are faster when split into multiple data pipelines.)
Ads make the web profitable. Lots of big name companies make lots of $ selling services and goods at high margins, goes back and dumps money in marketing. Facebook CPC, youtube Ads, youtube videos with ads built into the video (techquickie), social media (instagram, kik, w/e), free game riddled with sidebar ads, banner ads, adblock letting forbe's ads through. Or 4% amazon commission based on referrals. Or Hulu plus style ads, pay to get rid of ads / pay for full service.
web services and goods. microsoft office, reddit gold, renting a server, anything on amazon, that kind of thing. Money.
bitcoin is cryptography based, and can be mined (but not profitable due to energy and hardware limitations for the average person). Bitcoin is generated through computers working out some sort of very encrpyted password node. Bitcoins stored on a server side application (Accessed via website), or through just a web URL, or a client side application (on your phone, desktop program). Bitcoin bought through local transactions, link credentials and bank account, also not easily traceable? (debatable here)
Blackhat Hacking (what people think of generally, not DIY hardware hacks, writing a program, or modifying an existing code) is done on unsecured websites. Usually said website is running some backend application like wordpress, shopify, drupal, modules commerce. Changes are made in the core code over time, and those changes sometimes lead to vulnerabilities that people aren't aware. Hackers send requests (MySQL injection is one of these?) to find more about how the server side application works, and looks for some way to override and obtain admin credentials by having server side reveal this information. White hat is the opposite. Red hat is for linux
Virus, worms, trojans. Usually runs on an attached .exe file or application, but has been known to somehow work with images too. Also worked with emails (worms) in the past. This is mostly magic to me too, I just know how to prevent it. PUP is just potentially unwanted programs (aka bloatware) that comes preinstalled from HP / ASUS/ ACER, etc, or comes along for the ride when you download a program off Cnet.
Data selling. Especially mobile apps (I mean you have to give them permission on everything), they take data, sell to data brokers, which businesses buy to make marketing decisions. Same with lots of things that don't seem to generate money, e.g. chrome plugins, you are the money generator for them via data. Insert google overlords and big 5 internet companies giving data to government via PRISM/snowden (didn't something like this go into effect in 2015?) . Also insert malicious data theft and brokers (social engineering, telemarketers trying to get your credit card, entering information on non HTTPS secured sites).
VoIP is just a specific protocol (like https) for how phone calls transferred over web, and maintain quality of said audio
Image compression is done via bit map rasterization. DNG files or propietary raw formats are utilized in native applications like adobe photoshop. .GIFS are simply image slideshows, actually all videos are image slideshows. Vectorization is mostly talked about when using illustrator or cad based programs (Solidworks, CATIA, AutoCAD)
Programs can be bypassed (e.g. Sony Vegas Pro) by core modification of its files (you'd need to breach password credentials though?) and be made into a "crack file" . A keygen treats the program normally, but just bypasses security checks externally (e.g. preventing company server from doing checks by blocking certain URLs, and a keygen from Xforce that is made by finding security criteria for successful serial# installs)
Rooting your phone is like getting full super user access on linux, but also comes at a price leaving you vulnerable to security breaches
Domain name service managers like namecheap just helps you manage how you rent your domain.
FTP is file transfer protocol to transfer files from one computer to another. SFTP is just secured FTP, whatever that means. SSH is shell access, e.g. almost like your sitting on that computer over on the other side of the world as opposed to just accessing files only.
Email servers are done by IMAP, POP3, email is transferred purely text based (attached files go through a different channel) to be sent from one email to another via email. POP3 is stored more localish side, IMAP is more server based (its slower, but easily accessible anywhere)
Windows API, windows registry, Linux commands are still magic to me. Sudo super user something.
Okay, but who manages the .info, .com, .net, .cn, .rs, and .gov top level domains? There's obviously some domains that are specific to countries, and are most likely managed by that countries' government entity. E.G (.us for usa? .ws for russia, .cn for china) but aren't nearly as popular as the .net and .com domains. .Org and .gov are US? government regulated top level domains to my knowledge, where .org is mostly nonprofit. U.S.A uses .gov domains for its government organizations So I understand that some countries government manages that domain. But what about public top level domains, like .com, .info, .net, .ca? Who manages the database for those? Who gives authority to godaddy for those domains for rent? Who mediates copyright conflicts for those domains? (E.G. say my name is Mike Cro Soft, and I wanted to rent a domain called mikecrosoft, but get DMCA'd / copyrighted by microsoft.com) Like, what are the big organizations mediating internet protocols and legislation on a global scale? Who or what has access to the biggest picture of the web, and its workings and backend? sorry for the long wall of text, I've been missing some vital information on how the web? (or is it internet?) works disclaimer: I don't take CS classes and did not major in computer science. So I might be really off in what i understand about the internet as a whole. Most of this is just what I learned from browsing reddit and youtube Apologies in advance if i butchered a bunch of terms and how things work. I just wrote things as they randomly came to me
[Table] IamA founder of Tindie, "Etsy for Tech". Started on /r/Arduino, team of 5, just finished fundraising (pitching 50+ investors), and have now closed $1m+ in funding. This is a follow up to last year's AMA, for anyone interested in startups/tech/Silicon Valley/open hardware. AMA!
Verified?(This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet) Date: 2013-12-02 Link to submission (Has self-text)
Great questions - as a maker, our rates are lower than Amazon - flat 5% of the order. We also reach a core audience of people like you, which tends to mean you'll sell more on Tindie vs Amazon. As an example, one seller sold exclusively on Amazon, opened a Tindie store, and we began out selling Amazon. He closed his Amazon store and now sells exclusively on Tindie.
As a buyer, you are joining a community of likeminded people from all over the world and in different niches. Some like audio, some drones, others lighting. In the new year we are launching more features to build out the community side of the site. We are a community marketplace - community comes first. We can do a better job on the community side, and those features are currently being built.
Sounds like you are now at the crossroad where people either keep going, or 'never have the time.' When I started, I'd get the occasional comment online, 'You'll never figure it out.' It's a pretty accurate statement for most. Most don't figure it out. If you can put your head down and just grit it out, you'll get to the other side.
If you want to grit it out, start with Learn Python the Hard Way. Then figure out a project you want to build and go build it. You'll pick things up as you go. You'll think you have it about 10 times before you really have a solid understanding. There were many times I'd talk to my friends and say "Oh I figured it out." I was wrong 10 times :)
It took 1 year to get to n00b level. The next year is when things settle in. After 2 years, you'll have a solid foundation to keep honing your skills. You won't know everything, but you can hack together projects, & figure things out.
Also checkout Stackoverflow. Learning how to properly break down my problems into questions was a great exercise. It helped me understand what the real problem is vs what I thought it was.
I did - my first job after learning how to code was as a developer advocate. Not 'coding' but putting what I learned to good use. That company was acquired, and I eventually became a web engineer at the company which acquired us. That was my last job before starting Tindie.
Good question - the only market validation I did was ask the question on /Arduino. There wasn't a marketplace for this type of hardware (we are still the only "big" site doing what we are doing). The space is emerging now.
You are right. The big question I got from investors is actually - 'How big is the market?' Unfortunately there isn't a good answer for that bc the market is growing / being defined now. Arduino/Raspberry Pi/Drones/3D printers are all just getting started and all growing like weeds. If those platforms become as big as we think they will, then a site like Tindie will have to emerge.
The one thing we look at is the components market is a massive, multibillion dollar market. The type of components that are on Tindie, generally speaking, first come to market on Tindie. The market potential is entirely untapped. However having orders from gov't agencies & large businesses is very reassuring that there is a much greater opportunity than just hobbyists (which is what most people thing on first glance).
Biggest Challenge as CEO - Communication, balancing expectations, keeping everyone on the same page from users, employees to investors. You'll constantly hear, "Did you see X?" when someone thinks it is a competitor. Chances are it isn't and they have their own idea of what the business is which is different than your own.
Wisdom to start a startup - If it is a tech startup, one of your cofounders must be technical. Either yourself or your cofounder. If you can't build the first version/ a proof of concept yourself, start there. If you aren't technical, and don't know anyone technical, learn. In the valley you hear, "I'm looking for a techincal cofounder." so many times its crazy. You either already know someone (a good friend usually) or you don't. Trust me , you won't 'find' a techincal cofounder.
Sure thing - if you hire a 3rd party, you will always have to pay someone else to iterate on the site. There is a 0% chance it will be right on the first shot. Therefore its really an invitation to spend a lot of money down the road - not just the upfront cost you are spending to get your idea made. This is what I did with Knowble - it cost something like $20k+. Please learn from my mistake :) You'll have to iterate, make changes, learn as you go. If you know how to code, then you can make those changes yourself. You'll do it in the morning/nights/weekends and it will only cost you your time.
Very cool! Getting press / outside attention is very difficult (if you don't pay for PR - we don't pay for PR). Write blog posts, like to those sites. The link love will go a long way (over time). Most of the companies that you read about on TechCrunch, PandoDaily, etc are paying for PR which is why they get listed on all of those blogs and have stories come out at the same time (embargoes). As a student, build something! Just keep building things. You have some free time - take full advantage of it. Also meet your peers. Build a network of other students in your class. Some will go to Google, Twitter, the next Google, the next Twitter. Increase your chances of doing well by meeting as many super smart people as you can. Build projects with them. Just make things and learn from experience.
The site was already live, we had products, orders, traffic. The sales early on were ~doubling month over month. Sure they were small but that seems like a very good sign. As it kept growing, people around me connected me with other people interested in the space. The first investor I got was someone that was in my network already, but I didn't know him. He also invests in early stage companies, understands marketplaces, and believes in the changes we are seeing in the hardware space. From introductory call to email saying, "I'd like to invest" was about 12 - 18 hours.
We didn't have to iterate on the site, but I did iterate on the messaging/how I frame what we are doing depending upon the investor, and how that message was received by the last investor. I was constantly iterating what I said from pitch to pitch.
Definitely - 100% worthwile. I had saved up enough to live for a year without a paycheck (without healthcare...not smart but I did it). If you are interested, go for it. While you still have a job start learning HTML, CSS, some basic things. Give yourself some sort of foundation before taking the plunge. After a year won't be able to get a job as an engineer, but it will definitely help in the long run. I have never regretted that decision.
AirPi - Two 17yr olds in London built a shield for Raspberry Pi to turn it into a weather station. Brilliant, cheap product that I never saw coming and has done amazingly. They had to incorporate in the UK, take a loan from their parents, and just shipped hundreds of preorders they got on Tindie. The only thing I know for certain is we will have tens of thousands of hardware companies emerge over the next few years because it is becoming cheaper to prototype and easier to manufacture in lower volumes. Yes "hardware is hard" but it is getting easier and that only opens the door for more people to come in.
Tapster - a robot for manual app testing on mobile devices. EVERY mobile app developer in the world should have one bc of the time you'll save.
Good question - you'll need to figure out where your initial users are and tell them what you are doing. Get people in your corner. As you build the site, give them updates, let them sign up before the site is live. If you don't have enough users on day 1, do more to drive more users to the site. Launch only when you have some amount of users (few hundred or maybe a few thousand is the best case scenario). You'll never be ready to launch but definitely give yourself some momentum before opening the doors.
I did this by keeping everyone on /Arduino in the loop. As I found a name, a domain, logo, I'd share those updates. Sellers were able to sign up and "stock the shelves" prior to launch which meant once I opened the site for transactions, we had ~20 sellers/ products on the site and orders on day 1.
Not right now. Bitcoin is too volatile. From talking with other marketplaces that implemented Bitcoin, the % of transactions that come through are very, very small. Most people seem to be holding Bitcoins as an investment strategy (the gold analogy). I think that is true. At this point, we can get a much bigger bang for our engineering buck by working on other features vs implementing/maintaing Bitcoin or a similar digital currency.
I had been in SF for 4 years, then moved to Portland after the last company I was at was acquired. I moved back bc missed friends and our head of engineering is in Mountain View too. Made sense from a personal perspective.
Would I move to the valley if I didn't already have a connection to the area? I'm not sure. It is definitely cheaper to live somewhere else. However it is more difficult to get into the community from outside the area. If you live in the the valley, you'll constantly hear about startups/tech and meet people who are part of the scene. It's easier to be a part of the conversation if you are in the area.
Very true. It is very common for people to stay at a job for one year, vest 25% of your options, and leave for the next hot startup. It is valuable to have a presence in the valley - but not necessary for your team to all be there. I'm a huge fan of distributed businesses.
Hey Chris! I think it will gain in complexity - esp as parts come down in price, and manufacturing lower quantities becomes more accessible. The opportunities only get magnified as those two trends accelerate.
I think we will always have low level / low end products, but the sky is the limit - in terms of price point and customers. We already have products that cost pennies to $1k+. We will begin to have more consumerish products - but I think those will fuel growth in hardware. The more interesting products emerge, the more interested people will jump into diy. Very cyclical. Arduino & Raspberry Pi just make that first step so much easier. Gateway hardware drugs.
It is difficult but not impossible. Things to plan for: taxes & attorney fees. You'll want to set up your business correctly if you plan on raising outside investment. If you don't do that right up front, you'll get bit when you fundraise. The legal fees we'll have for this financing round will be over $10k I bet (probably more)
Google is your best friend. There are books, tutorials, but just dive in. If you have some coding background just get started. Fortunately that is where I started so its more a process of picking something up and playing around (vs starting from 0).
Thanks! A this point it is just closing and collecting checks so the final % will be set in a few weeks once we have a definitive amount closed with this round. However the answer you are looking for is 20%-25%.
At this time last year, I forget where we were with users but we had $3600 in sales that month which would be about 100 orders. When talking to early stage investors, it is very much a gamble. The chance of failure much higher, but then again the opportunity is great. I haven't asked them point blank, but I think it ultimately boils down to they have an idea of how the world will work in the future, and you fit in that narrative.
We don't right now and don't have any plans to in the future. Copying answer from another question "Bitcoin is too volatile. From talking with other marketplaces that implemented Bitcoin, the % of transactions that come through are very, very small. Most people seem to be holding Bitcoins as an investment strategy (the gold analogy). I think that is true. At this point, we can get a much bigger bang for our engineering buck by working on other features vs implementing/maintaing Bitcoin or a similar digital currency."
Good question - once you are ready, you can list it as a Fundraiser (our version of crowfunding which really is just accepting preorders). It has to hit the min # of units sold to 'live' where we bill the orders and you fulfill those ordered. That will give you a good idea of the initial demand. Shipping & handling you'll need to do a little testing on your end bc it depends where you are located & the shipping service you select. Refunds we can handle on our end. You'll just need to tell us which orders to refund. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at support(at) tindie.com. More than happy to help!
100% from networking. Friend introducing me to someone else, who says you should talk to X. That person sends the intro, and then schedule a meeting. Cold emails don't get you very far with the top investors who are constantly being bombarded with pitches.
Depends ultimately on the investor and if they are the lead or a follow on investor. The lead must believe in the space, have some idea of what is going, and therefore be passionate about the opportunity.
Follow on investors might know something about the space, might not. The one thing I didn't realize is how much they just "pile on." Most investors look for a signal by another big name investor, and if they are investing, looks good and they want in! The pile on mentality is alive and well.
Build it first. If you get traction on the idea/project, investors will be interested. If it is just an idea, you'll have a very tough time. The only real answer - build it and they will come (if it is a great project and they see potential).
I think any hardware product today should have an open equivalent. The opportunity is just sitting there for someone to build an open version of X. Open source if a flywheel. Once you get it started and there is a community to support it, it only becomes stronger and better. At the end of the day, I don't see much difference btwn producer vs educator. If you have an open project, part of your job will be education. Just start working on something. At the end of the day, if you want to produce it and sell it you can. If not, no harm/no foul.
Good question - some investors you won't get along with. You'll have different ideas/ look at the world differently/ it just isn't a fit. If that is the case, probably not a good fit as a major investor in your company. The can email you rather frequently - don't want to hate that part of your job...
Unfortunately not. Get more experienced & become a solid JS developer. Build projects, open the code, get feedback, critiqued by the JS community. You'll have a lot of value as a seasoned JS dev (esp as Node picks up traction)
I'm anti-patent. It is a huge time/money suck and ultimately hinders innovation. I'm not the best person to ask on researching your design/idea/ etc but I'd probably just go ahead build it and go for it. Any time you spend looking for conflicting patents, someone else will launch their version and get a leg up.
We can definitely do a better job on that end. Since you all have an engineering background, most likely the biggest problem will come in execution - sourcing manufacturers, parts, work abroad vs a domestic manufacturer. PM me and we can definitely help!
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