Death spirals everywhere; are they real?

Chris Dannen

By Chris Dannen

As prices drop, some miners turn their machines off, lowering the threshold for attackers to gain control and start re-writing block history (to their own advantage.) Vertcoin is one small network suffering this fate now; rumors of the same for Bitcoin are exaggerated. Meanwhile: Ethereum is imploding, and Intel has won a patent on an approach to Bitcoin mining.

Vertcoin (VTC) is currently being 51% attacked
"TL;DR: In 4 distinct incidents, the latest of which is currently ongoing, Vertcoin (VTC) experienced 22 deep chain reorganizations, 15 of which included double spends of VTC. We estimate that these attacks could have resulted in theft of over $100,000. The largest reorg was over 300 blocks deep."

51% Attacks

Debunking the Bitcoin Death Spiral Theory
"In terms of the magnitude of this most recent bubble, yes it was larger than past bubbles on a nominal basis; however, it should be remembered that — as already explained — the death spiral scenario only begins to take shape if everyone decides to shut off their mining equipment at roughly the same time."

The Race Is On to Replace Ethereum’s Most Centralized Layer
"Infura handles around 13 billion code request per day and provides a way for developers to connect to ethereum without having to run a full node. And while the exact usage stats aren’t public, by creating a simpler method for interfacing with the network, it’s said to underpin the majority of decentralized applications in the ethereum ecosystem. But here’s the thing: Infura is operated by a single provider – the ethereum development studio ConsenSys – and relies on cloud servers hosted by Amazon. As such, concerns exist that the service represents a single point of failure for the entire network."

Cryptopia In Crisis: Billionaire Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?
"None of this seems to phase Lubin, who is clearly not launching projects to make profits. “The intention isn’t to create companies and send them out and make money,” he says. “The intention is to create an ecosystem. It really is very family-like.” However, Lubin also acknowledges that changes are in order and recently sent a memo to his staff about becoming leaner and more focused. 'In ConsenSys 2.0,' Lubin says, 'we’ll pay more attention' to the market-based hurdles that traditional startups have to clear. And he’s not ruling out layoffs—even in its consulting business."

Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract
"Money — in general — and Bitcoin — in particular — can be seen as social contracts between the people in society. Bitcoin is not a new contract either — in fact, it’s a new implementation of a contract that can be traced back hundreds of years. In comparison to previous attempts, the Bitcoin implementation is a dramatic improvement because it creates a hyper-competitive market for its own security. Bitcoin’s social layer and the protocol layer are mutually reinforcing. Their relationship gives us insight into little-understood concepts like rule changes, forks or protocol bugs."

Zap iOS Lighning Wallet

Aggregators and Jobs-to-be-Done
"More generally, that virtuous cycle characteristic of Aggregators, where more users attract more suppliers which attract more users, is likely most important in terms of the breadth with which a job is done. By doing more of a job, an Aggregator attracts more marginal users, which attract more suppliers on the edges of a space, which expands what jobs can be done for what users. In concrete terms, Amazon started by selling things to book buyers, then expanded to selling things to CD buyers, until it now sells everything to everyone; the job-to-be-done, though, was only ever selling things."

We’re Doing It Wrong
"AI is the revolutionary invention that breaks the market-as-machine model. It allows us to SEE narrative and sentiment and all sorts of social objects and phenomena that were, literally, previously invisible to the HUMAN eye."

Prosecutors Appreciated Panama Papers
"The allegations are sort of what you’d expect: Mossack Fonseca would allegedly set up shell companies and sham foundations to pretend to own the clients’ assets, and then when the clients needed money the shell companies would allegedly send it to them in faked transactions. One client allegedly pretended to sell a company to his offshore account in exchange for $3 million. A Mossack Fonseca lawyer allegedly asked a U.S. accountant “whether Client-1 would have to pretend to sell all of the company or just some of it,” which seems weirdly fastidious: If you’re just pretending to sell a pretend company, why bother to pretend to hang on to some of it?"

Intel Wins Patent for Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining
"Hardwiring these parameters would lower the number of computations required, it says, estimating that such a system would reduce the amount of power needed for a chip by 15 percent. The resulting chip would also be smaller than those used for bitcoin miners at present. The patent also hints that changing how much of the 32-bit nonce is compared for validity could further lower power requirements. 'Instead of comparing the final hashing result with the target value, the bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum number of leading zeros,' the patent states."

Nearly 250 Pages of Devastating Internal Facebook Documents Posted Online By UK Parliament
"The documents include details on the distribution of Facebook’s various apps; how the company worked very closely with some app developers to grant them access to user data, and how the company specifically incentivizes sharing on the platform in order to feed that data back to advertisers. They also include information about how the company tried to hide and downplay the amount of data that it collected from the Android version of the Facebook app."

On Consensus and Humming in the IETF
"Although this document talks quite a bit about the things chairs working groups, and other IETF participants might do to achieve rough consensus, this document is not really about process and procedures. It describes a way of thinking about how we make our decisions. Sometimes, a show of hands can be useful; sometimes, it can be quite damaging and result in terrible decisions. Sometimes, using a device like a "hum" can avoid those pitfalls; sometimes, it is just a poorly disguised vote. The point of this document is to get all of us to think about how we are coming to decisions in the IETF so that we avoid the dangers of "majority rule" and actually get to rough consensus decisions with the best technical outcomes."

*Follow me on Twitter @chrisdannen."