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The Dow rose 131.06, or 0.48%, to 27,665.64, the Nasdaq lost 66.05, or 0.60%, to 10,853.55, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.78, or 0.05%, to 3,340.97. Traders at /thewallstreet cheered as volatility returned to the stock market. The major averages finished Friday's trading in mixed fashion, as dip buyers provided support for the Dow and the continued tech selloff made the Nasdaq the laggard once again. The chances for another round of fiscal stimulus ahead of the election were hurt yesterday after Democrats stopped the passage of the "skinny" GOP package, but the U.S. economy looks poised for a strong rebound in Q3, corporate earnings continue to largely overshoot pessimistic forecasts and the Fed remains "all in," leaving investors to mull the cross-currents. Similar to the days before, today's price action was technically-oriented given the absence of market-moving news and the losses in stocks like AAPL, -1.3%, AMZN, -1.9%, and MSFT, -0.7% on no specific corporate news. Apple shares fell 7.4% this week. The difference today was that their losses were offset by relative strength in the cyclical sectors, namely industrials (+1.4%), materials (+1.3%), and financials (+0.8%). Still, when Apple and Amazon are down more than 1.0%, there must be more winners than losers to make a meaningful difference. There were more of the latter on Friday, as declining issues outpaced advancing issues at the NYSE and Nasdaq. The information technology (-0.8%), consumer discretionary (-0.3%), and communication services (-0.3%) sectors ended the day in negative territory due to their exposure to the mega-cap stocks. Interestingly, the S&P 500 was down as much as 0.9% intraday and fell below its 50-day moving average (3322). A broad rebound in the afternoon, however, helped the benchmark index turn positive and close above the key technical level. In TikTok news, President Trump said that the deadline established for China's ByteDance to sell video-sharing service TikTok's U.S. operations would not be extended, Reuters reported. "It'll either be closed up or they'll sell it," the president told reporters, adding, "There will be no extension of the TikTok deadline." MSFT in partnership with WMT and Oracle have been seen as the leading suitors to purchase TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Subsequently, Reuters reported that Chinese officials are so opposed to a forced sale of TikTok's U.S. operations that they would prefer to see the app shut down in the U.S. over that conclusion. Reuters noted that China was willing, if needed, to use revisions it made to a technology exports list on Aug. 28 to delay any deal reached by ByteDance. Electric vehicle hopeful NKLA continued its fight this morning with a short-seller, which now appears to be "short-sellers." Nikola issued a statement in response to claims made about the company by activist short-seller Hindenburg Research yesterday, calling the firm's report "a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed." Nikola, which added that it has "nothing to hide and we will refute these allegations," announced that it has retained law firm Kirkland & Ellis to evaluate potential legal recourse and intends to bring the actions of the short-seller, together with evidence and documentation, to the attention of the SEC. Following the company's press release regarding the response, Andrew Left's Citron Research said via Twitter, "Congrats to Hindenburg for exposing what appears to be a total fraud with $NKLA. Citron will cover half of all legal expenses. You can't SLAPP the truth away. Explains why Milton sold at $10 this June $NKLA response warrants an SEC investigation to maintain integrity of EV mkt." After having dropped 11% on Thursday, Nikola shares fell a further 14.5%. Meanwhile, CNBC reported that AAPL has updated its App Store guidelines ahead of the release of iOS 14, with one major revision relating to game streaming services. The tech giant said in its revised guidelines that services such as Google Stadia (GOOG) and Microsoft xCloud are explicitly permitted, though under the condition that games offered in the service must be downloaded directly from the App Store, not from an all-in-one app. Among the noteworthy gainers was Shares of ORCL, which was in focus after the company reported what Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow called a "surprisingly strong beat" and growth on licenses despite the continued macro uncertainty. NOG, which rose 1.3% after acquiring interests in the Delaware Basin and raising Q3 production guidance. Also higher was CX, which gained 8.3% in New York after Morgan Stanley analyst Nikolaj Lippmann upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight. Among the notable losers was AMRS, which dropped 25.8% after responding to a lawsuit filed by Lavvan against the company for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Also lower was CHWY, which declined 9.8% after reporting some cats have tried to take over the company with whiteclaws. Despite a blowout fiscal Q4 report, PTON were 4.2% lower following last night's from the fitness products and services provider. Elsewhere stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.79% to around 3,260.35 while the Shenzhen component rose 1.57% to about 12,942.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.78% to end its trading day at 24,503.31.
The U.S. Dollar Index (93.35, +0.01, unch) reclaimed its overnight loss, gaining 0.7% for the week.
EUUSD: +0.1% to 1.1828
GBP/USD: -0.1% to 1.2788
USD/CNH: -0.1% to 6.8345
USD/JPY: UNCH at 106.09
U.S. Treasuries ended the abbreviated week with modest gains across the curve. The cash session started with some light selling for the second day in a row, but the market recovered from the early dip with ease.
2-yr: -1 bp to 0.13% (-3 bps for the week)
3-yr: -1 bp to 0.15% (-3 bps for the week)
5-yr: -1 bp to 0.25% (-5 bps for the week)
10-yr: -2 bps to 0.67% (-5 bps for the week)
30-yr: -2 bps to 1.42% (-5 bps for the week)
Gold slipped on Friday on a lack of further stimulus from the European Central Bank and the U.S. government, but for the week the safe-haven metal was set to end higher. Crude remained on track for a second weekly drop as investors expected a global glut to persist if demand weakens further with rising COVID-19 cases in some countries.
WTI crude: +0.2% to $37.34/bbl
Gold: -0.8% to $1948.30/ozt
Copper: +1.3% to $3.04/lb
Bitcoin is struggling to gather upside traction despite repeated defense of support at $10,000. The top cryptocurrency’s sell-off from the August high of $12,476 looks to have come to a halt near $10,000 over the past seven days.
Bitcoin: $10,332.31 (24hr: +0.45%)
Ethereum: $369.66 (24hr: +1.48%)
Ripple: $0.24 (24hr: -0.10%)
FAAMG + some penny stocks +21.0% YTD
Spoos +3.4% YTD
Old man -3.1% YTD
Russy -10.3% YTD
Total CPI increased 0.4% m/m while core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.4%. Those gains left total CPI up 1.3% yyr and core CPI up 1.7% yyr. The key takeaway from the report, which featured the largest increase in the index for used cars and trucks (+5.4%) since March 1969, is that the increase in the all items index was broad-based; nonetheless, annual inflation rates are still running well below 2.0%, so there is still more noise than bothersome policy signal in the August report.
IPO (Most Anticipated)
Week of Sep14-18
Company: AMWL Amwell (NYSE) | Leading telehealth company enabling digital delivery of care for healthcare’s key stakeholders | Initial Shares: 35.0 M | Initial Range: $14.00-16.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Piper Jaffray, UBS, Credit Suisse, Cowen
Company: BNL Broadstone Net Lease | REIT that acquires, owns, and manages primarily single-tenant commercial real estate properties | Initial Shares: 33.5 M | Initial Range: $17.00-19.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BMO Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley, Capital One Securities, Truist Securities
Company: FROG JFrog (Nasdaq) | Developer of an end-to-end, hybrid, universal DevOps platform | Initial Shares: 11.6 M | Initial Range: $33.00 -37.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, BofA Securities
Company: SNOW Snowflake (NYSE) | Developer of a data cloud platform that enables customers to consolidate data into a single source to drive business insights | Initial Shares: 28.0 M | Initial Range: $75.00-85.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Allen & Co, Citigroup
Company: STEP StepStone Group (Nasdaq) | Global private markets investment firm | Initial Shares: 17.5 M | Initial Range: $15.00-17.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, UBS Investment Bank
Company: SUMO Sumo Logic (Nasdaq) | Pioneer of Continuous Intelligence, a new category of software, which enables organizations to address opportunities presented by digital transformation and cloud computing | Initial Shares: 14.8 M | Initial Range: $17.00-21.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, RBC Capital, Jefferies
Company: U Unity Software (NYSE) | Leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content | Initial Shares: 25.0 M | Initial Range: $34.00-42.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, BofA, Barclays, William Blair
Week of Sep21-25
Company: PLTR Palantir Technologies (NYSE) | Software developer for defense, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and commercial enterprises | Initial Shares: 244.2 | Initial Range: NA | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Direct Listing
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
How YFI came out of nowhere to become the fastest coin to reach $1B and the fastest coin to ever get listed on Coinbase
Note: As mentioned to the original 624 Reddit subscribers, there will be $YFI based Exclusive Original Content released here by myself and others from time to time. These kinds of interactive Deep Dives with a Q&A with fellow Investors / Beta Testers right afterwards is a rare thing in Crypto, and will only be found with this level of immediacy, social interaction, permanence, depth, and complexity of analysis and feedback on a platform like Reddit. A lot of projects have low innovation, just copying something that someone else has already done, but with small tweaks to things like variables in Smart Contracts. A few rare projects have genuine innovation, providing genuine value to investors and users by providing attractive new products that simplify a lot of things in this space. Even rarer are the Unicorns that not only have innovation, but they have innovation in spades, oozing out of every pore. $YFI is one of these types of Unicorns. The scope of products and rapidity of release of new revolutionary products of this project has been simply unmatched in the short history of Crypto. Since 2009, the world of crypto has never seen anything like this lightning fast pace of development spanning such a wide scope of products - optimized automated yield farming and lending that relentlessly hunts the best yields, crypto insurance on Smart Contracts, a revolutionary Stablecoin idea that essentially makes a USD altcoin "smart" with built-in yield farming capabilities for the first time, to name a few - all built by a genius Smart Contract Builder who provided the world the first Fair Launch token. Key to wrapping your head around the advantages that the yEarn Finance ecosystem has over - well, every single other option out there at this time - are the concepts below:
CeFi vs. DeFi
Smart Contract Stacking
The power of a Talented and Diverse DAO
To discuss these concepts, and to educate beginners, we have to understand what the terms above truly mean. This post doesn't discuss any particular products and their advantages, only the systemic advantages that are available only to $YFI. This project seems to attract the smartest and the highest risk taking of crypto investors, and an important thing in truly understanding all of the risks involved, is that you have to know the terms and concepts first. Even veteran crypto and DeFi users may be thrown for a loop by some of the innovative products and concepts that keep coming out of the YFI Labs. This project is going through an expansion phase, where the scope of everything and the reach of the various released products is increasing (Insurance, A truly pegged Stablecoin, yETH Version 2, ySwap, yLiquidate, etc, etc..) You know that there's some motherforker or twenty that is now just avidly waiting for every piece of code that Andre drops onto GitHub, so that they can be among the first to copy it verbatim then claim it as "their own variation" because they changed some variables and titles. Yawn. From the definitive glossary for the DeFi space - yet another $YFI innovation - I'll list their definitions below. These may not be their final definitions when I finish any V1.1 edits to it, but they're good enough for now, and at least 3 or more YFI Dev Team members have read, reviewed, or edited these definitions. I've also invited my fellow Beta testers to provide comments to my RFC on this subreddit and in the Governance forum (among the documentation volunteers). Yes, this is how early DeFi investors are in the development and maturation of the DeFi space. Anyone reading this right now is so early into DeFi's evolution that the terms used for this space are literally still being finalized by the community. I've given a little bit of a sneak peek into how technical documentation is somehow self-organized in a powerful DAO such as this one. In this example, it starts off with a call for help on Twitter to improve our documentation by tracheopteryx. Interested and qualified volunteers show up (or don't) when such a call is made. Your writers and editors have spent many a moment pondering off into space debating whether this term really means this or that, or if the term was either succinctly described, or fully sufficient. It's a usually thankless and anonymous job, that is critical in providing enough relevant information to its users and investors. [Note: Just like anything you see related to the $YFI project: You can help us improve this documentation - any of it - if you see errors or better ways of describing this information.] All terms are shamelessly plagiarized from myself and my fellow writeeditors - u/tracheopteryx and Franklin - from the draft definitions in our new DeFi glossary: https://docs.yearn.finance/defi-glossary 1. CeFi vs. DeFi CeFi - Centralized Finance. In terms of cryptocurrency, CeFi is represented by centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, businesses or organizations with a physical address, and usually with some sort of corporate structure. These CeFi businesses must follow all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in each country, state, or region in which they operate. DeFi - DeFi, or Decentralized Finance, is at its root a set of Smart Contracts running independently on blockchains such as the Ethereum network. Smart Contracts may or may not interact with other smart contracts and even other blockchains. The goal of DeFi is to enhance profitability of investors in DeFi through automated smart contracts seeking to maximize yields for invested funds. DeFi is marked by rapid innovative progression and testing of new ideas and concepts. DeFi often involves high risk investing sometimes involving smart contracts that have not been audited or even thoroughly reviewed (a review is not as comprehensive as an audit, but may be also be included as part of an audit). Due to this and other reasons, DeFi is conventionally considered to be more risky than CeFi or traditional investing. Comment: DeFi is higher risk, partly because it moves so fast. A lot of yams, hot dogs, and sushi can get lost when you move so fast that you can't even bother to do a thorough audit before releasing code. The cream of the crop projects will all have had multiple audits done by multiple independent auditors. Auditors are expensive. At such an embryonic stage, most projects can't afford to have one audit done let alone 5. But if you can live with that higher risk intrinsic in DeFi and be willing to be a part of "testing in prod," then financial innovation can truly blossom. And if you let your best and brightest members of your community focus only on doing what they do best, then they don't have to bother to try to grow a business like a Bezos, Musk, or a Zuckerberg. Innovative entrepreneurs in this mold such as Andre, don't have to even try to do this business growth on their own because the DAO sets it up so that they don't have to do this.The DAO both grows the business while supporting and allowing these innovators to simply innovate, instead of trying to get nerds to do backroom deals to gain market share and access to new customers. It turns out that nerds are much more productive when you just let them be a nerd in their labs.
Composability - The measure of the usability and ability of a product to be used as a building block (or "money lego") in the construction of other products or domains. A protocol that is simple, powerful, and that functions well with other protocols would be considered to have high composability. Comment: The maturity of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the evolution of composable building tools in the DeFi space now make new products and concepts available. $YFI would not have been possible only 2 or 3 years ago; the tools and ecosystem simply weren't ready for it yet. This is why only now are you and many other now hearing about YFI. In 2018, Andre began providing free code reviews to Crypto Briefing. Andre had to learn to walk before he could run, and the composable tools needed to work on embryonic ideas in his head were simply not ready or available then. By reading and reviewing so many Smart Contracts he learned to recognize good code from bad code at what was still a very early stage in Smart Contract development in 2018, only 3 years after ETH's launch in July 2015.
Smart Contract Stacking
Smart Contracts - A digital contract that is programmed in a language that is considered Turing complete, meaning that with enough processing power and time, a properly programmed Smart Contract should be able to use its code base and logical algorithms to perform almost any digital task or process. Ethereum's programming languages, such as Solidity and Vyper, are Turing complete. Comment: Smart Contracts have actually gotten smarter since ETH launched in July 2015. It's because Smart Contract builders needed to learn Solidity and how it functions and interoperates before they could spread their wings as designers. With more time and experience under their belts, the early SC builders that stuck to it have gotten much better. In Andre Cronje, we may have been witness to the rise of the next Satoshi or Vitalik of crypto. There is a reason that a couple of days ago, I counted 6 of 41 YF clones - nearly 15% - among the top gainers on the day. Success breeds copycats showing a ton of flattery. A smart contract is so smart, it can be used to be stacked upon other smart contracts such as at Aave or Maker. True innovation takes time, sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears. It does not come without cost to those doing the innovating. There is not a single project in DeFi, CeFi, or even all of cryptocurrency that can claim the breadth and diversity of innovation and product reach that is found in the $YFI ecosystem. As a tech investor and professional nerd who's been involved at Research Labs and around product development and testing since before the year 2000. Prior to that I've ready widely and keenly to keep up with technological changes and assess investment potential in these disruptive changes nearly my whole life. The amount of innovation shown in this project is breathtaking if you're a Tech or FinTech researcher. It's being released at a ridiculously rapid pace that is simply unmatched in any private or government research lab anywhere, let alone at any CeFi or traditional financial institution one can name. The only comparable levels of innovation shown by this young project is typically only seen during periods of epochal changes such as The Renaissance or times of strife and war, such as World War II. Unless you've been in the industry and working with coders:I don't think those that haven't been around software development and testing can understand, can truly grasp that no one, no group does this.This isn't normal. This rapid-fire release of truly innovative code and intelligent strategies would have to be comparable to some of the greatest creative periods of human ingenuity and creativity. It's truly on par with periods of brilliance seen by thinkers like Newton, Einstein and Tesla, except with software code and concepts in decentralized finance. When the history of FinTech writes this chapter in its history, $YFI may need its own section or chapter. Don't forget all of these financial instruments we take for granted all around us, all had a simple start somewhere, whether it was an IOU system of credit, insurance, stocks, bonds, derivatives, futures, options, and so on...they all started off as an idea somewhere that had to get tested sooner or later "in production." One brilliant aspect of $YFI Smart Contracts is that they're built as a profitable layer atop existing DeFi protocols, extracting further value from base crypto assets and even primary crypto derivatives. $YFI is built atop existing smart contracts to create further value where there was none before, and help maximize gains for long term investors.
The Power of a Talented and Diverse DAO
DAO - Distributed Autonomous Organization. The first DAO was started in 2016. According to Wikipedia's definition, it is an: "organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. A DAO's financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain." When implemented well, a DAO allows for real world experiments in decentralized democratic organization and control, with more freedom of action and less regulatory oversight for DAO controlled projects and products when compared to legacy corporate structures and organizations. Comment: yEarn Finance has shown us what a properly motivated and sufficiently powerful DAO can do in a short amount of time. There's many reasons why this project with an already profitable business model is the fastest original project in history to ever reach a $1B marketcap in any market - traditional or crypto - accomplishing this amazing feat in less than two months. There's reasons why this is probably the fastest coin in history to get listed on Coinbase in less than 2 months. The power of a sufficiently talented and diverse development team and community is stunning in its power, speed, and ability to get things done quickly. There are risks aplenty with parts of this project, but $YFI is now seen as a "safe" place in DeFi, because you know you that as far as yield farming you probably couldn't do it better yourself unless you took a chance on unaudited code with anonymous Devs, or you were doing the trading equivalent of throwing darts blindfolded and somehow won, except that you even more improbably kept doing that over and over and winning. Summary: There's reasons why YFI has been called the Bitcoin of DeFi and the Berkshire Hathaway Series A of crypto. I've listed some of the reasons above. The confluence of these 4 factors has helped lead to explosive growth for this project. This isn't financial advice as I'm not a financial pro but make no mistake: as a Crypto OG around crypto since early 2013, who was deeply involved in multiple community projects as an early organizer, and who was a small investor during the DotCom era investing in early giants that went on to be gorillas, I don't say this lightly that the $YFI project is lightning in a bottle and a diamond in the rough. What $YFI allows, when all is said and done, is the rapid fire implementation of great ideas that have gone through a rapid Darwinian evolution, where only the best ideas are implemented. Thoughts and ideas are powerful things. The valuation of this coin and ecosystem has to, itmusttake into account that this nascent financial innovation hub and ecosystem actually works and allows the best of these ideas to actually blossom rapidly. You just don't find too many gems like this.
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
Lessons learned - Crypto and Divorce - In January I was a millionaire thanks to BTC, then my wife divorces me and now I have $30,000 AMA
Crossreferencing u/nanoissuperior He wrote earlier today: https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/a3n6uw/in_january_i_was_a_millionaire_thanks_to_nano_now/ Title: In January I was a millionaire thanks to Nano, now I have $25,000 AMA I was replying to his post, but my reply ended up being a bit too large as a reply and steered off-topic, albeit an interesting one. So I decided to make it its own post, because there may be a good lessons to be learned and hoping some will come forward with good information to be shared. I hope it can help anyone on this sub avoid the costly mistakes that I made. Here it goes: FLAIR: LEGAL (not in the list) ---- u/nanoissuperior are you who I think you are? I won't give out any further identifying clues, but I happen to know someone in the exact same position that could have written that exact same headline. If you read the first paragraph, you'll know if you know me. The person I know bought Nano really early, based on a tip from a friend. I got in much later. By the time he told me it had already spiked to the $5 range, when I ended up buying. I then sold in the $20's so it was a good buy nonetheless. We were former colleagues at a large, large software company somewhere in the PNW, I left the company to venture out on my own and try to launch some projects I had in mind and relocated overseas for a few years. We lost contact with each other during my time away, but we connected again during the market runup and started exchanging coin information on a daily basis during the big bull run of late 2017. That was a crazy time.... the market trend was a few degrees short of vertical for pretty much all coins! Hey, guess what? Now that I think about it, I could have written that same headline myself! In January 2018 I was a Millionaire too! Not with Nano, but thanks to purchasing a good chunk of Bitcoin in 2011 at $1.20 each. I ended up a single digit millionaire with what I had left in Bitcoin around January of 2018. And, just like you, today, from all that wealth, I have about $30.000 left, with little to show for. Can we call that even? Although my disaster was not caused entirely by market fluctuation; Mine is a more complex story and I am going to mention it, because hopefully, it could serve as a lesson to be learned for any crypto holder out there, so they don't make the make mistake I made: Don't trust anyone. Always be skeptical and watch out for your own interests. Anyhow, here it goes: After 5 years overseas, I had enough and wanted to come back to the States. My wife stated her preference to stay abroad, but eventually, she conceded albeit reluctantly. We chose a small town in CO to settle, and landed in November of 2017. We had plans to settle down and considered purchasing a home with my/our new fortune, based on the market price during that period. At the same time, I was also hesitant about the inherent tax payments due caused by such large liquidation. I was trying to have to pay taxes as far away as possible. So, I decided to wait till New Year's Eve and started liquidating my crypto on January 1st, 2018 right after midnight. This way, I would have 16 months (till April, 2019) to pay any capital gains taxes, and I was confident at the time that the market would give me that for free, especially at the pace that it was going. I have been an early adopter and have since then acquired the high levels of verification and trading limits per week, with many exchanges, but for a large sum like this, I needed several separate transactions, over the course of several weeks, especially wanting to do it with a US-based exchange that was linked to a US bank accounts, to avoid overseas wire transfers, meaning more fees. (Yes, I did look at all OTC options, but for reasons not relevant to the story, I couldn't make it happen, so I had to use the traditional Exchange channels for asset liquidation). My wife and I, initially had some fundamental disagreements on the gross amount to be spent and the type of property we should be purchasing. I wanted a smaller place, with a denser, younger community, where there'd be kids our son's age for him to play. She insisted that we should go big; we had been traveling for so many years, and we had not been able to call any of our past residences our home. It was time to settle and nest; She convinced me that we should own a property of our own that we would be proud of living in for years. One that we could own outright and would not easily outgrow. We ended up splurging and purchased in cash two luxury cars for ourselves and set our sights on a large dream house in the city's Golf & Country Club, free and clear, for us and our two kids. I don't even play golf, nor do I even like it, but, if it makes her happy and it is within the safe margins of making it happen, I figured, why not? My concerns were largely financial and the numbers were adding up. It was a bit tight against my personal safe margins, but, at the same time, I was imagining to never have to make, or even have to think about, a car or home mortgage payment ever again! Bitcoin is on a roll and there is no sign of it stopping. Fine. Let's do it, before I change my mind. Now, I admit I was extremely lucky with choosing the time of when to sell the assets. I had no clue the market would take a dive in February, and so it seemed to many that I had timed the market perfectly, selling most of my coins in the first two weeks of January of 2018. Many called me a genius for selling at the very top, as if I had some sort of wisdom to know when it would drop; the truth is much less flattering; it was nothing but dumb luck, based on me wanting to pay taxes in 2018 and defer to 2019. Awesome, well done! Yeah? well, slow down, son, not so fast. So, I gather the 7-digit lumpsum in January 2018 and we write a check for the full amount at closing in February on the property of her dreams. A property that could easily be showcased on a luxury Real Estate magazine cover. Also, remember we had just moved back to the United States with just a few suitcases each from overseas. We had no furniture, kitchenware, curtains, TV's, bed sheets, winter clothing and so many other essential things that one usually purchases over time, but which we now had to purchase all at once. Not a problem, Bitcoin had dropped slightly but still well above $15k, I believe, at the time. And, earlier, in January, I had diligently taken this expense into account and effortlessly set aside a small fortune for equipping such a large house with everything we would ever need, brand new. It seemed we were protagonists of one of the Home Makeover Shows. Finally, after working day and night, prepping the house non-stop for days and when every piece of furniture had finally arrived, been unpacked and carried to its corresponding room, it seemed most of the essentials were in place and the hard work was done. I longed for pouring myself a Scotch and to finally sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I head downstairs to the dedicated walk-in, cigar-humidor / wine / Scotch cellar in the basement and grab the better bottle of Whisky of the few bottles of Scotch that I had bought earlier in the week. On my way up, I remember feeling a sense of calm, combined with a glow of excitement and this undescribable profound inner peace, all at once. This was such a rare, natural, non-drug induced high that I had never experienced. It felt so good! This sense of accomplishment of achieving that one thing I had been chasing and longing for my entire life. I had expected I would be chasing this goal for the next 15-20 years, and yet, here it was. No, where I was, was even better than expected! A place where not even my parents, who still have to make their monthly mortgage payments. I had done it! With a smile from ear to ear, I take a deep breath of relief and while looking around the property, I think to myself: "It's perfect, everything is in place and I can finally call this our home. We are so lucky and we are going to live a great life. A life that few can only dream of. So many concerns will be lifted and become redundant. Everything will be better. I'll start a fire in one of our two fireplaces and I am going to begin enjoying my semi-retired life with the first sip of my drink. That will be the official start of our new life". I head over to the kitchen to get a glass and some ice cubes, while I struggle to find which one is the freezer among the many drawers in the kitchen. It was then when I notice a handwritten note placed front and center on the kitchen counter. It is from my wife and read: "There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it..... I want to legally divorce [ ...]". It continued saying that she had taken our son, and had unequivocally decided to leave me. She had already filed the paperwork for divorce and that I should expect to be served in the morning. My bliss had lasted less than 5 minutes and in less than two seconds, it turned dark, somber and I saw it all crumbling down in front of me. Like a long-awaited rocket launch, years in preparation, which then unexpectedly explodes on the launch pad during the countdown. My stomach, heart and everything in my body just sank and melted into one ball of poison in my core. I felt like throwing up. I was completely blindsided; she had played the game all along, not giving me the slightest hint of what was being concocted in the background. She had already engaged with her lawyers weeks beforehand. Her mother was already in town from another state to help out with I don't know what. I had been gaslighted and was threatened by her that I needed to see a psychiatrist due to a change in my temper that I had supposedly developed - my temper was awesome: with BTC at that price? Everything was perfect! But I obeyed and went anyhow (this would later fit her story that she had to leave with the child because she feared for her safety due to my supposed temper for which I was under treatment, therefore, I must have this temper problem, see?). Also, the purchase of the overpriced home also seemed clearly premeditated: Price was the main driver of the decision making; not location, demographics, taxes, etc. It was the wrong neighborhood for us (people much older than us, retired, golfers and no kids the same age as our son to play with). Our house happened to also be the most expensive in the neighborhood. I can see it all so clearly now. See, your crypto coins on the blockchain, are not within the US court's jurisdiction (or, at least, it's quite debatable - a gray area - ask me for the seed and I can tell you that I may have the seed, or that I may not have the seed, I may have the wrong seed, I may have forgotten it, I may have lost it - you can't prove I did not forget, or lost it, etc). However, once it is in FIAT in a bank, or invested in a property, the courts can rule on the asset(s), freeze, disburse or order a sale of the property, etc. It's done all the time. Also, the coins were technically mine, and by definition private property (not to be divided during the divorce) as they were acquired before the marriage. I could not prove its origins (I bought many of them via direct messaging members on Bitcointalk.org and mining rather than exchanges, so no records, receipts or nothing to prove otherwise: the big exchanges like BitStamp and Coinbase didn't start operations till 2013, if I m not mistaken. Instead, I would talk to one of the forum members offering coins we'd agree on a price, I'd send a check to wherever the individual seller instructed me to (Russia, Bulgaria, Japan, UK. etc) and the coins would be deposited to whatever address I provided. Yes, it was quite crude at the time. However, once I converted my coins to cash and used that cash to buy a property for the benefit of the family, it became common property and thus she then had rights to a portion of it when divided between the two parties should a divorce occur - which ended up being almost 3/4 of all assets. I was robbed in broad daylight. By the one person, I trusted with my life. The one you should trust with your life. Your life partner. And while I was in complete denial, trying to bargain, I waited too long to obtain good legal representation. When I finally ended up getting a lawyer, I was quite distraught and I clearly did not do the proper research and this resulted in a less than stellar performance and detrimental to me at many key steps in the process. I had to switch legal representation right before mediation and I can't blame my new lawyer either, as (s)he did not have the required time to catch up on all the details, (s)he did his/her best, but I was ultimately strongarmed into conceding my soon-to-be-ex-wife to let her return to the house, in exchange to obtain 50% of my son's custody, with serious and strict clauses I had to abide by. So, I had to move out, find a hole in the wall in a student apartment, pay my rent and pay our kids pre-school, while she lives grandiose, without monthly payments in the country club, till the house sells, which will likely be in the spring of next year. Nice! Due to my delay, legal mishandling and somehow every other element in her favor, she inexplicably ended up with around 3/4 of the worth of all assets, free and clear, no taxes due. Mind you, she has never financially contributed, nor made a single $ during our entire marriage. She has never worked and had $0 in her pocket when we married. She didn't even have a checking account, well in her thirties. She is no dummy; she is street smart, knows how to manipulate people, get her way with flirting and charm, while I am more intellectual and book smart. and She beat me hands-down. She is walking away with a sum of, not quite 7 figures, but close. With what I am left with from the sale of the house, I am responsible to pay for all the capital gains taxes from the liquidation to the IRS, which are due in April 2019. I don't expect there to be more left over than the estimated $30k mentioned above. Hate the market all you want, I made peace with the market and am keeping busy at hating my ex for a while for putting me in the same situation. She tripped me 1 yard before the finish line and pushed me in the prickly bushes, to cross it by herself. Go figure. When I am done hating her, I'll get back to rebuilding my life again from scratch. I am not worried, I have done it before. Just pissed, I was so close and that I was so naive to not see it coming. Sorry, I am not meaning to hijack the thread, just wanted you to know that others may have lost more than just "free" money; money we didn't really have to work for. We were the lucky ones. It is what I keep telling myself to stop me from jumping off a bridge. PS - Woah: Sorry for the wall of text; I was just going to write the first paragraph and ended up venting about my current situation. I know, I should take this issue to /depressed, /exes or /whereisthenearestbridgeIcanjumpfrom. Hopefully, this can be a lesson to those holding crypto and some can learn what NOT to do. I learned the hard way and was left with nothing. Don't be a nice guy. Don't trust anyone with your crypto. Anyhow, I am sure either our vigilant subreddit bot, or one of the mods will remove my post for not adhering to rule, and if not, I am sure that you fine people will downvote me to hell. Go ahead. Take away from me the little Karma I left too! Thanks! I learned many lessons, but here are some key ones [IANAL - any crypto-educated AL opinion appreciated here, thanks] : - Understand the concept of private property - property you acquire before getting married. INAL - this depends on the state legislation, but it is hard to prove with crypto, especially if you obtained your crypto through foreign exchanges, outside of legal jurisdictions, the petitioner might not understand or willing to invest in obtaining subpoenas and requests to businesses operating overseas, as this may result costly. - Get a lawyer who understands, or is willing to understand crypto, its benefits of being somewhat unreachable and how that can work for you. Don't let them shortchange you with: "well, let's just convert the rest to cash, because that I understand" type of reasoning. - If you do go to mediation, the above applies as well. This arbitrator or mediator needs to be one that understands the intrinsic details of crypto - for example, during the ATH, I bought 6 digits worth in $USD of Stellar. I used the very first version of the software, supporting Stellar on my hardware device, and put it all in a cold storage wallet somewhere around January. I routinely checked on my coins on the blockchain and they are there. A few months later, I try to access my account and the device returns a different public address, which contains 0 funds. I am still trying to debug this issue with the manufacturer, but the fact is that I was accused of hiding these coins or negligence and was demanded that I paid half of what was lost. or not lost, out of my pocket for money that I didn't have access either. I tried to explain it in the simplest terms, there are risks involved with using first come software. There is no 1800 number, mo tech support. no CEO, no, you can't call the BBB and complain, etc and no one seemed to be able to understand, nor willing to either. It became a huge roadblock for which I had to concede, not cash, but a concession, I was not wanting to concede. The petitioner leaned on the fact that I was either wilfully cheating or stupid enough to lose the coins and managed to create enough doubt in my character and integrity and there was nothing rational I could explain that she, or anyone else in the room would understand. Perhaps mutually contracting a seasoned crypto expert that can offer a neutral view and give his/her opinion might be worth considering. Andreas, where were you when I needed you? :) - Other examples were some coins I had bought in 2012 and gifted to some of her family's kids. I was holding these, till they would turn 16 for them to pay themselves their college, or so I told them. These coins were demanded back by the petitioner. Ok, I suggested that I would send them, but with a CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY value with a block height of let's say,10 years from now, out of fear that she would spend the coins and the kids would never know (they are toddlers). No one understood what I was talking about, I was made out the crazy one, I gave up, sent her the coins, unlocked and, just as I expected, within 20 minutes of receiving them, she spent $1200 worth of it (for a flight, I think). If you are the only one speaking your language, no one is willing to listen or make an effort to understand you. - It appears my coins were private property, which means, that I acquired them before the marriage and in case of divorce, if I have not moved them or used them for the common good of the marriage, then they remain mine. However, I liquidated them and cash ended up in my checking account to be used to buy groceries, cars and eventually a house, and it is then that they became common property. Only once they landed in my checking account on which she is named on. It appears that had I taken proper legal precautions with documentation, or a company/trust, where that money would have gone, instead of my checking accounts, elsewhere, I would have still been able to be the legal proprietor of the resulting cash. I can't quite remember the details, but it as something that was explained to me afterward, and I honestly think I just tuned it out, because it made me sick to know I could have held on to my wealth. Perhaps a lawyer can chime in? Again, much of the lack of information and every misstep taken was because of dealing with people that are accustomed to traditional assets and will not deviate from it. Crypto is different and is treated differently. It is so important to know the strengths and weaknesses when going into litigation about something that people don't understand. - Some more I can think of, but this post is getting way out of hand in size. Feel free to comment/suggest your own and I'll add more to the comments. Credits to: u/nanoissuperior Thanks for your post, it inspired me to write this one. Anyone, any karma you feels needs to go his way, for providing the source of inspiration, please give to O-OP. TL;DR: Wife, having contributed $0 during entire marriage, waited until I cashed out all my crypto at the top of the bull market in January 2018, for a nice seven-figure amount, and then immediately divorced me for the money. Edit: added TL;DR
HUOBI – THE EXCHANGE BUILT FOR THE FUTURE - A HONEST REVIEW BY AN USER
HUOBI – THE EXCHANGE BUILT FOR THE FUTURE A HONEST REVIEW BY AN USER https://preview.redd.it/3il28cidztt41.png?width=313&format=png&auto=webp&s=b7c7ccafde202532977305d9be044ba9c7f88e42 Leon Li founded Huobi in 2013, a former computer engineer at Oracle. Huobi Global is a digital asset and crypto currency exchange headquartered in Singapore. Huobi also has local exchanges in South Korea, Japan, and through its strategic partner, the United States. The Huobi Group, the parent company of Huobi Global, has received venture capital finance from prominent Beijing based ZhenFund and American VC firm Sequoia Capital. The Huobi Global exchange serves traders in 130 countries. Through Huobi Global, traders can access almost 200 crypto and stable coin assets. Huobi users can download trading clients on both mobile and desktop devices. Huobi has traded over US$1.2 trillion in digital assets, and at one time it was the world’s leading exchange by volume, capturing 50% of all global trading volume. In terms of security, Huobi has adopted a decentralized exchange structure, which helps to resist DDOS attacks. However, Huobi has implemented the ‘Huobi Security Reserve, in which Huobi has set aside 20,000 BTC reserved for users who have lost funds either due to hacks, or exchange failures. Ease of use The UI is clean, user-friendly and perfectly designed with all the basic requirements for a crypto-trader. The charting software is provided by Tradingview, which is exactly what you want. https://preview.redd.it/nm2fr51mztt41.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=16c406a4eec33a1c28d2bcb5330bee6b043fc359 Huobi OTC Huobi’s OTC exchange is a good initiative. The Huobi OTC exchange allows users to trade funds peer-to-peer which doesn’t affect the market price of the underlying asset. The OTC trading-desk, with transfer options like bank-transfers, PayPal, WU, Paytm, UPI, IMPS, Alipay & many others, is an easy to use payment gateway. With a secure exchange to diversify your investment, right next door, too with effective list of Buy and Sell options for BTC, ETH, USDT and EOS coins. https://preview.redd.it/66c2zr2oztt41.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=41899be5c02791f9f5323b957ad13d092b5275f7 Huobi Lite Huobi Lite App provides a convenient channel for everyone to buy cryptocurrencies at the best prices. Tailor-made for beginners, traders, and users. We can download the App directly from the respective iOS Store or Google Play Store. Alternatively, we may access via the link: https://lite.huobi.com/download https://preview.redd.it/tw8p8cmpztt41.png?width=260&format=png&auto=webp&s=88f4d4d45b8b287d452f02547adfd187f2b09977 On Huobi Lite, you can buy Bitcoin with your local currencies, credit card, or exchange cryptocurrencies tokens, with zero fees at competitive prices. Huobi Lite currently supports MYR / HKD / VND / USD (Credit Card deposit only), with more to come in the future. Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM) Margin Trading Huobi Global launched Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM) exchange to selected countries. It provides margin trading, with very low daily loan interest rates of 0.1%. Margin Trading allows users to increase their investment exposure given a limited base principal to enjoy multiple returns. 3-Steps taken in Margin Trading:
Request for Loan
Trade on Margin (Long/Short)
Repay Margin Loan and Interest
With the introduction of Cross Margin on Huobi, users will have to explicitly input the respective margin type before executing the above 3 steps. Balances on the Cross Margin balance does not show on the Isolated Margin balance. Huobi Futures Huobi Futures is a kind of digital currency derivatives. Users can make a profit from the rising/falling of digital currencies prices by going long or selling short based on their own judgment. The Huobi Futures Contract adopts spread delivery. When the contract expires, all open positions will be closed at the index-based last-hour arithmetic average price, instead of physical delivery. BTC/ETH/EOS/LTC/XRP/BCH/TRX/BSV/ETC Contracts are available on Huobi DM. Contracts are priced in USD, with corresponding digital currency (BTC/ETH/EOS/LTC/XRP/BCH/TRX respectively) as margin to open positions, and PnL is also settled in corresponding digital currency. Weekly, bi-weekly and quarterly contracts are available in Huobi DM. Weekly contracts will be settled on imminent Friday; Bi-weekly contracts will be settled on next Friday; Quarterly contracts will be settled on the last Friday of March, June, September and December. Choices of leverage: 1x, 5x, 10x, 20x Huobi Perpetual Swap Huobi introduced Perpetual Swaps on March 27, 2020 (GMT+8). Huobi Perpetual swap is a kind of digital currency derivatives. Users can make a profit from the rising/falling of digital currencies prices by going long or selling short based on their own judgment. Similar to a margin spot market, its price is close to the price of the underlying reference index. The main mechanism for anchoring spot prices is the cost of funds. Perpetual swap have no delivery date. Users can always hold it. Perpetual swap are settled every 8 hours. After each settlement, the realized profit/loss and unrealized profits/losses are transferred to the user account balance. Partial Liquidation Huobi Futures adopted partial liquidation to help position holders reduce liquidation risk. Users with large positions and high leverage bear high risk. Huobi Futures releases partial liquidation with the aim to lower possible losses due to high price volatility thus giving users better trading experience. Under partial liquidation mechanism, when liquidation is triggered, instead of liquidating all positions at once, the system reduces positions gradually till a grade whose margin ratio is great than 0. Full liquidation will only occur when the margin ratio of tier 1 upper limit net position still fails to be great than 0. Trading Fees The Huobi exchange has a fair trading fee structure. Every asset traded via Huobi Global is subject to a 0.2% trade fee, for both market makers and takers. Further, Huobi Global has introduced a tiered fee system which offers competitively lower fees for high volume traders. VIP membership gives access to various fee reductions and other benefits. Huobi Prime Huobi Prime, the Launchpad platform which we can call Direct Premium Offering (DPO), does share some similarities with initial exchange offerings (IEO) like Binance Launchpad, but it is unique as it is not a fundraising platform, and any coins purchased on the platform are immediately deposited into the users’ wallets and tradable on Huobi Global. Huobi Prime offers its users early access to the coins of premium projects, which can be bought using its native crypto currency, the Huobi Token. To avoid dumping, Huobi has implemented an innovative idea of a period of tiered price limits. Huobi FastTrack Huobit FastTrack, rebranded from Huobi Prime Lite, is a new listing model. Wherein, all participants will have a direct say in what projects are listed on Huobi Global and when. In addition, winning voters will get access to quality tokens at below market rates. The program also provides much needed exposure and a straightforward listing process. Huobi Wallet https://preview.redd.it/6iux5zotztt41.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=fef6f6d6813ec82a70df28b160fe18ba2237daba Huobi Wallet is the official mobile wallet of Huobi Group, a leading global digital asset financial service provider. It is a multi-chain asset management tool that provides native support for various types of blockchains and all of the ERC20 tokens. So far Huobi Wallet supports BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, ETC, USDT and all ERC20 tokens. Huobi wallet is the first wallet to expand support to cover seven stablecoins including, Paxos Standard Token (PAX), TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Dai (DAI), Stasis EURS (EURS), and Tether (USDT). Huobi Wallet is built based on the core principle of security-first. The wallet gives back its users, complete control of their private keys. In simple terms, You own your assets. The wallet is backed up with mnemonics, so in future when you want to import your wallet, it’s just simple few clicks. Currently, the wallet is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and you can download both from here (www.huobiwallet.com/en) Huobi Chain Huobi launched Huobi Chain’s Testnet (“the Testnet”) on February 29th 2020 (GMT+8). Huobi Chain is China’s autonomous cum compliant-ready blockchain platform, and is committed to providing a global, blockchain-based, digital asset infrastructure. Huobi Chain is committed to providing a high-performance, blockchain-based, global digital asset infrastructure. Once the Mainnet goes live, Huobi Chain will announce HT- related events: e.g. pledge HT to be a Super Node, etc. HT Lock & Mine (Huobi Pool) Huobi launched HT Lock and Mine operations on 25th July 2019 (GMT+8). Users who lock HT tokens receive daily HPT rewards. Specific reward quantity will depend on lock option period selected, quantity locked and Huobi Pool’ s mining hash power and daily float. DPOS Rewards: All Huobi Global users with more than 1,000HPT holdings in their HBG account will receive DPOS mining rewards. Currently, token reward received under DPOS mining include EOS, TRX, CMT, ONG, IOST, ATOM, IRIS, LAMB。 Huobi Support Users of the Huobi exchange can access 24/7 live chat and Huobi help center. Those facing issues can also open a support ticket to have their issue resolved by an expert representative immediately. The Huobi Group has a very active YouTube channel, featuring Huobi Talk, where it posts user tutorials, detailed guides, and crypto currency information for traders. What I like the most about Huobi
An established platform that’s been operating since 2013, which is a long time in the crypto world.
Highly secured with decentralized exchange structure, which helps to resist DDOS attacks. Huobi has never suffered a large hack.
Huobi Security Reserve of 20000 BTC to compensate users’ loss of funds.
Dedicated, fast and 24/7 customer support.
Regulated in major jurisdictions.
User interface is very smooth and clean.
Over 230 crypto assets are available.
User education program is good initiative.
Separate trading desk for institution and firm size users.
Very transparent about its operations, listings and projects.
Huobi Wallet is secured and very easy to operate.
Huobi mobile app is smooth and very easy to use.
Has taken serious steps towards avoiding wash trading.
Impressive array of trading pairs.
Has given more important on community participation, like voting for listing, mining pool, Huobi Knights program etc.
I like Huobi Prime because of following reasons: -
(a) Purchased tokens are immediately deposited into user’s accounts, (b) As projects launch exclusively through Huobi Prime from day one, all users get assets at the best price. (c) Tiered price limits on the platform protect both investors and projects from immediate dump.
Huobi screen projects and launches which are only the best. I don’t have to worry about poor or scammy projects.
Burning of HT is a great move and it would benefit long term holders.
Which type of curren(t) do you want to see(cy)? A analysis of the intention behind bitcoin(s). [Part 2]
Part 1 It's been a bit of time since the first post during which I believe things have crystallised further as to the intentions of the three primary bitcoin variants. I was going to go on a long winded journey to try to weave together the various bits and pieces to let the reader discern from themselves but there's simply too much material that needs to be covered and the effort that it would require is not something that I can invest right now. Firstly we must define what bitcoin actually is. Many people think of bitcoin as a unit of a digital currency like a dollar in your bank but without a physical substrate. That's kind of correct as a way to explain its likeness to something many people are familiar with but instead it's a bit more nuanced than that. If we look at a wallet from 2011 that has never moved any coins, we can find that there are now multiple "bitcoins" on multiple different blockchains. This post will discuss the main three variants which are Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. In this respect many people are still hotly debating which is the REAL bitcoin variant and which bitcoins you want to be "investing" in. The genius of bitcoin was not in defining a class of non physical objects to send around. Why bitcoin was so revolutionary is that it combined cryptography, economics, law, computer science, networking, mathematics, etc. and created a protocol which was basically a rule set to be followed which creates a game of incentives that provides security to a p2p network to prevent double spends. The game theory is extremely important to understand. When a transaction is made on the bitcoin network your wallet essentially generates a string of characters which includes your public cryptographic key, a signature which is derived from the private key:pub key pair, the hash of the previous block and an address derived from a public key of the person you want to send the coins to. Because each transaction includes the hash of the previous block (a hash is something that will always generate the same 64 character string result from EXACTLY the same data inputs) the blocks are literally chained together. Bitcoin and the blockchain are thus defined in the technical white paper which accompanied the release client as a chain of digital signatures. The miners validate transactions on the network and compete with one another to detect double spends on the network. If a miner finds the correct solution to the current block (and in doing so is the one who writes all the transactions that have elapsed since the last block was found, in to the next block) says that a transaction is confirmed but then the rest of the network disagree that the transactions occurred in the order that this miner says (for double spends), then the network will reject the version of the blockchain that that miner is working on. In that respect the miners are incentivised to check each other's work and ensure the majority are working on the correct version of the chain. The miners are thus bound by the game theoretical design of NAKAMOTO CONSENSUS and the ENFORCES of the rule set. It is important to note the term ENFORCER rather than RULE CREATOR as this is defined in the white paper which is a document copyrighted by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Now if we look at the three primary variants of bitcoin understanding these important defining characteristics of what the bitcoin protocol actually is we can make an argument that the variants that changed some of these defining attributes as no longer being bitcoin rather than trying to argue based off market appraisal which is essentially defining bitcoin as a social media consensus rather than a set in stone rule set. BITCOIN CORE: On first examination Bitcoin Core appears to be the incumbent bitcoin that many are being lead to believe is the "true" bitcoin and the others are knock off scams. The outward stated rationale behind the bitcoin core variant is that computational resources, bandwidth, storage are scarce and that before increasing the size of each block to allow for more transactions we should be increasing the efficiency with which the data being fed in to a block is stored. In order to achieve this one of the first suggested implementations was a process known as SegWit (segregating the witness data). This means that when you construct a bitcoin transaction, in the header of the tx, instead of the inputs being public key and a signature + Hash + address(to), the signature data is moved outside of header as this can save space within the header and allow more transactions to fill the block. More of the history of the proposal can be read about here (bearing in mind that article is published by the bitcoinmagazine which is founded by ethereum devs Vitalik and Mihai and can't necessarily be trusted to give an unbiased record of events). The idea of a segwit like solution was proposed as early as 2012 by the likes of Greg Maxwell and Luke Dash Jnr and Peter Todd in an apparent effort to "FIX" transaction malleability and enable side chains. Those familiar with the motto "problem reaction solution" may understand here that the problem being presented may not always be an authentic problem and it may actually just be necessary preparation for implementing a desired solution. The real technical arguments as to whether moving signature data outside of the transaction in the header actually invalidates the definition of bitcoin as being a chain of digital signatures is outside my realm of expertise but instead we can examine the character of the individuals and groups involved in endorsing such a solution. Greg Maxwell is a hard to know individual that has been involved with bitcoin since its very early days but in some articles he portrays himself as portrays himself as one of bitcoins harshest earliest critics. Before that he worked with Mozilla and Wikipedia and a few mentions of him can be found on some old linux sites or such. He has no entry on wikipedia other than a non hyperlinked listing as the CTO of Blockstream. Blockstream was a company founded by Greg Maxwell and Adam Back, but in business registration documents only Adam Back is listed as the business contact but registered by James Murdock as the agent. They received funding from a number of VC firms but also Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman and there are suggestions that MIT media labs and the Digital Currency Initiative. For those paying attention Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman have links to Jeffrey Epstein and his offsider Ghislaine Maxwell. Ghislaine is the daughter of publishing tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell (Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, a yiddish orthodox czech). It is emerging that the Maxwells are implicated with Mossad and involved in many different psyops throughout the last decades. Greg Maxwell is verified as nullc but a few months ago was outed using sock puppets as another reddit user contrarian__ who also admits to being Jewish in one of his comments as the former. Greg has had a colourful history with his roll as a bitcoin core developer successfully ousting two of the developers put there by Satoshi (Gavin Andreson and Mike Hearn) and being referred to by Andreson as a toxic troll with counterpart Samon Mow. At this point rather than crafting the narrative around Greg, I will provide a few links for the reader to assess on their own time:
Now I could just go on dumping more and more articles but that doesn't really weave it all together. Essentially it is very well possible that the 'FIX' of bitcoin proposed with SegWit was done by those who are moral reprobates who have been rubbing shoulders money launderers and human traffickers. Gregory Maxwell was removed from wikipedia, worked with Mozilla who donated a quarter of a million to MIT media labs and had relationship with Joi Ito, the company he founded received funding from people associated with Epstein who have demonstrated their poor character and dishonesty and attempted to wage toxic wars against those early bitcoin developers who wished to scale bitcoin as per the white paper and without changing consensus rules or signature structures. The argument that BTC is bitcoin because the exchanges and the market have chosen is not necessarily a logical supposition when the vast majority of the money that has flown in to inflate the price of BTC comes from a cryptographic USD token that was created by Brock Pierce (Might Ducks child stahollywood pedo scandal Digital Entertainment Network) who attended Jeffrey Epstein's Island for conferences. The group Tether who issues the USDT has been getting nailed by the New York Attorney General office with claims of $1.4 trillion in damages from their dodgey practices. Brock Pierce has since distanced himself from Tether but Blockstream still works closely with them and they are now exploring issuing tether on the ethereum network. Tether lost it's US banking partner in early 2017 before the monstrous run up for bitcoin prices. Afterwards they alleged they had full reserves of USD however, they were never audited and were printing hundreds of millions of dollars of tether each week during peak mania which was used to buy bitcoin (which was then used as collateral to issue more tether against the bitcoin they bought at a value they inflated). Around $30m in USDT is crossing between China to Russia daily and when some of the groups also related to USDT/Tether were raided they found them in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit physical US bills. Because of all this it then becomes important to reassess the arguments that were made for the implementation of pegged sidechains, segregated witnesses and other second layer solutions. If preventing the bitcoin blockchain from bloating was the main argument for second layer solutions, what was the plan for scaling the data related to the records of transactions that occur on the second layer. You will then need to rely on less robust ways of securing the second layer than Proof Of Work but still have the same amount of data to contend with, unless there was plans all along for second layer solutions to enable records to be deleted /pruned to facilitate money laundering and violation of laws put in place to prevent banking secrecy etc. There's much more to it as well and I encourage anyone interested to go digging on their own in to this murky cesspit. Although I know very well what sort of stuff Epstein has been up to I have been out of the loop and haven't familiarised myself with everyone involved in his network that is coming to light. Stay tuned for part 3 which will be an analysis of the shit show that is the Bitcoin Cash variant...
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