Masari (MSR) is a scalability-focused, untraceable, secure, and fungible cryptocurrency using the RingCT protocol. Masari is the first CryptoNote coin to develop uncle mining and a fully client side web wallet.
The transaction fee for a simple (250 bytes) Bitcoin Segwit transaction is already higher than the transaction fee to buy and sell one gold coin. The buy/sell spread for the physical (1 oz Krugerrand) gold coin is 8.3 %, and a 35 USD restaurant meal cost 4 USD in transaction fee, which is 11.4 %.
I remember paying a 4 USD transaction fee every time I bought a 35 USD meal at a local restaurant that accepts Bitcoin as payment. The transaction was small (250 bytes) and it still cost 4 USD when I selected the "normal" transaction fee in my Mycelium Android wallet app. That's an 11.4 % transaction fee because 4 / 35 = 0.1142. I checked what it would cost today to buy and then immediately sell a physical 1 oz Krugerrand gold coin again at a local physical gold coin merchant. I live in Sweden so the prices are in the SEK currency. It would currently cost 11 358 SEK to buy the physical gold coin and I would get 10 454 SEK if I sold it immediately again. That's a "transaction fee" (It's called "a spread") of 8.3 % because 904 / ( ( 11358 + 10454 ) / 2 ) = 0.0828. Static source: https://archive.is/dEadC Dynamic source: https://tavex.se/sv/kopa-guld/1-oz-sydafrikansk-krugerrand/ The current Bitcoin Segwit transaction fees are slightly lower but that's just temporarily so because the miners are finding blocks unusually fast this 2016-block period because they found blocks unusually slow in the previous 2016-block period, because many Bitcoin Segwit miners were attracted to mine Bitcoin Cash during BCC's higher profitability periods. The fees can reasonably be expected to rise to 4 USD / 250 bytes transaction soon again on the Bitcoin Segwit network. It can also be argued that it's even worse because in my real life example I paid two gold coin transaction fees but only one Bitcoin Segwit transaction fee. So it can be argued that a Bitcoin Segwit transaction is more than twice as expensive to execute than moving actual physical gold, in a normal restaurant meal situation. That's not what I would call a "Gold 2.0". A true "gold 2.0" would be cheaper to transact with than transacting with "gold 1.0". The best "gold 2.0" candidate currency (if you insist on focusing on this particular property of the currency) so far is Bitcoin Cash in my opinion. Tldr: To buy a 35 USD meal at a Bitcoin-accepting restaurant I pay a 11.4 % transaction fee (4 USD). To buy and then sell back a physical 1 oz Krugerrand gold coin at my local gold coin merchant store I pay an 8.3 % transaction fee (113 USD). So it's already more expensive to transact with Bitcoin Segwit coins than it is to transact with physical gold coins.
The transaction fee for a simple (250 bytes) Bitcoin Segwit transaction is already higher than the transaction fee to buy and sell one gold coin. The buy/sell spread for the physical (1 oz Krugerrand) gold coin is 8.3 %, and a 35 USD restaurant meal cost 4 USD in transaction fee, which is 1 /r/btc
[ CryptoCurrency ] I am into crypto. Bought my first bitcoin. Am I doing this right?
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Ultimate glossary of crypto currency terms, acronyms and abbreviations
I’m new to BTC and crypto in general. Despite that I grasp the basic idea of it. Buy some. So I did. I have around $5000 in BTC at the moment and plan to get more. However, I’ve seen posts a about physical ledgers to store BTC away from the exchange. I have a basic understanding to why this is a good thing but I’m not sure when it would be worth buying one? Is it worth getting one without owning a whole coin? Or is it fine to leave it where it is for now until I get a whole coin? I would appreciate any insight or advice. Thank you.
If you're a US citizen, the long-term capital gains tax you pay on Bitcoin is equivalent to a property sale (up to 15% depending on income). The long-term capital gains tax on Gold? 28%. Seems like another advantage to BTC over Gold.
Full disclosure: I hold both. But as an investor, I'm always looking at all of the various advantages in assets/positions. Tax implications are a big deal. To me and to institutional investors. I won't be surprised to see a lot of institutional investors choosing BTC as their inflation hedge in this current economic climate over gold-- or at least weighting it heavier (like I am). Time will tell though. Good luck guys!
I can’t sell my physical gold instantly while I’m at home. With bitcoin I can do it from home... naked. I can’t tell if my gold is real or fake, it could just be a tungsten bar from China. With bitcoin I don’t need to worry about such trivial things. Everything is open for me to verify without any third parties trust. I have no idea how much gold is really out there. With bitcoin I know exactly how much is being produced and how many exist. I can’t send my gold anywhere in the world instantly. With bitcoin I can do it in the middle of the ocean from a satellite to someone anywhere on the globe I can’t sell a small portion of a gold coin instantly or pay for things easily. I would have to melt it in the crucibles to buy a taco from jack in the box. I can’t mine gold in my shed out back. I can with bitcoin, if I had the funds. Gold is for boomers. Bitcoin destroys gold.
Edit: Currently writing a new version of this, dont know when it will be done. Edit: Since first post I have updated a few sections with additional information. I recommend reading it all even if it is very long, I might have placed some relevant info in different sections while thinking about what else needed to be added, plenty of steps remains mostly the same except when I comment directly on it. It is not necessary to do 100% security all the time, unless you absolutely need it, combining some high and some lower security ideas for a balance of security and convenience is useful. I will base this mostly on Windows, Linux users probably know this, and I have no idea how apple machines work (tho many things in here are still relevant for other operating systems, as they are just general tips) Disclaimer: There are certainly other steps that can make you more anonymous or safer, however I think for most people this will surfice. Any software I recommend should be independently verified for security, and examples of software are not to be taken as endorsements. I simply use examples and give recommendations when I believe it necessary, or helpful. I will not really differentiate between anonymity and security, they are often the same thing. As such the word security can mean either more anonymous, less vulnerable, or both. -------- Everyday Simple Info Sec:
Password for the device is an obvious one (8+ characters minimum, best if over +12), if there is sensitive information on any of the drives, either encrypt the entire drive or just the sensitive files, and make encrypted backups on a different memory storage device (There many programs to encrypt files and drives I'm sure a search will figure it out)
-There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password
Always use the device on a non admin account
a VPN that doesn't log (use with kill switch on, should be enough for everyday stuff, more safe stuff in the high security section) (VPNs that claim they don't log sometimes do, it's bad, but I would like to point out that not using a VPN will always expose your traffic to your ISP and also remove additional encryption. Even if the VPN tracks, there is no downside because your ISP would track anyways, and VPNs can be more anonymous, and also add extra encryption)
disable location tracking (preferably make all your privacy setting to release minimal info, get rid or cortana, change privacy settings in all of your accounts as well, there's no reason why you should allow Facebook to give you target ads. Use the setting they give you.
TOR, Firefox or similar browser, stay the fuck away from Google Chrome.
your preferred search engine should be duckduckgo (other privacy focused search engines exist as well)
use an adblocker that also prevents the adding of tacking cookies
Use pgp with all your friends or messaging services that implemented end to end encryption (Implemented services can still be bypassed, but are way more convenient so for everyday use they should suffice, some examples should be Telegraph, Signal, WhatsApp etc) (more info on pgp in high security section)
(Snapchat msgs, reddit dms, discord msgs, are just a few examples of msgs that are never encrypted) -Any info even send in encrypted msgs (and obviously non encrypted) should still be kept with possible deniability, don't say "I'm gonna do MDMA", say "I'm going out with molly."
use software (like ccleaner) that purges cookies and other data after every use, before shutting down your device
use a virus scanner daily (I like spy bot Search and destroy, many other options also exist)
never use the same password/passphrase twice (I will address what passphrase are below) (Better yet use randomized passwords that are stored in a master key chain, make them as long as possible (tho it is okay to go with the minimum of 12 never go below 7, I recommend 15+ depending on how often you have to manually enter the password instead of copying/pasting it) Don't generate too long keys for things you need to access regularly without copy/paste, except your master key ring)
its ideal to never use the same email or username as well, especially username, email is obviously tricky and also very annoying, but it would be best to always change the email.
-DO NOT STORE ANY PASSWORDS ON GOOGLE, IF GOOGLE LOGIN IS AUTHENTICATED IT WILL AUTFILL ALL PASSWORDS IT HAS SAVED (same with other similar services) (This means if you are logged in to chrome and someone has access to your machine, they can auto fill passwords without entering a single password) -use a rememberable passphrase, especially for your master key ring aka password manager A long sentence that is memorable makes an okay password (decent example,: "I met my wife at Little Ceasers for the first time on 07/09/20" better even if it's just something you know, if its impersonal, and if you can add special characters or numbers that you won't forget) (A better example for a passphrase is: "There is 0nly 0ne letter that d0esn’t appear in any U.S. state nameQ")
for your main password manager(key ring), I highly recommend Keepass 2, make backups of the file save to separate devices and drives (Flash drives, phone, PC, laptop, etc, if you loose that file, you lose all of your passwords) (Other good password managers exist as well, I don't recommend online password managers as you lose the control over passwords)
-Purge your internet activity frequently, there's a reason why I only have one post, and a few comments appearing in my account, but thousands of kama. Exposing information needlessly is not good. -Never post private information publicly, and if you do, do it vaguely as possible. (Example: Not "I'm 15", say "I'm a teenager") Do not post any vital information ever, no birthdays, mother's maiden name, age, or anything you have ever seen in a security question. Never post your current activities while they are ongoing. You going on a vacation? Don't announce it to the world, taking picture there? Post them when you are home.
Any account that is supposed to remain anonymous and as secure as possible should only be used on secured devices. A unsecured device can link you to the account.
always shutdown your machine when leaving it (To prevent access, and to prevent a possible attack vector)
2 factor factor authentication is not great anymore. Unless you can do it over a anonymous source. A cell phone is usually directly connected to you, so it is not a anonymous device. There might still be secure/anonymous 2 factor authentication methods that won't expose you, for example over a secure email. (If there is 2FA that doesn't need a device that removes anonymity and is secure, use it.) (Please don't misunderstand, 2FA is great, however it can remove the anonymity that you worked hard to establish)
-Rethink how you do security questions. Many answers to security questions can be found in your internet history. One could use the first word of the security question as an answer, or a different sceme that will mean you always remember it. (Security question need to go, the amount of personal info an average person puts on the internet makes it easy to attack anything using security question) -------_ High level crimimal information security: The motto here is, "All the Security, All the Time" As one fuck up can end with you leaving a lick of traceability, and you could be fucked. Pre Note: All of your software should always be up to date. Also even perfect info sec does not guarantee you are completely safe, a new zero day (exploit) can still fuck you, but good info security makes you significantly safer, by eliminating as many attacks as possible. -Get a new device (or make a already owned device seem like you never owned it, do this only if you know how to, there's a lot of stuff that goes into that, like changing your mac adress etc) buy with cash, and your face covered, preferably far away from where you live. (Do I need to specify to not bring your phone or anything else that tracks your location to anywhere you want to go anonymously?) (Be aware that even hardware can have vulnerabilities, many cpus have known vulnerabilities, I can't list them all, do some research before buying)
Do not EVER use a high security device at any lower level of security. There are unique identifiers to your device, exposing them once can expose you for everything you do.
-If you know how to use Tails (A linux distro designed for Info sec) use that, preferably on a USB. (Or learn how to use tails, its better, but complicated) Otherwise a clean copy of windows (make sure its not in any way associated with you) can do the job too, tho not as well. (Using a VM might give extra security, since VMs usually erase all data and RAM they were using on shutdown) -Get a non tracking VPN, Enable the kill switch (a setting that disables all traffic that doesn't go through the VPN) (change your firewall settings to only allow the traffic from the VPN, windows guide (Change settings so only traffic from the tor application is send) Edit: (Due to complaints: do not use vpn over tor, use tor over vpn. tor over vpn has no notable downside, if the VPN logs it makes no difference, your ISP will always log anyways, and vpns remove other attack vectors and also provide backup security should tor fail. Again even if the VPN tracks you only change the people doing the tracking, but now you are further removed making it more anonymous and also with less vulnerabilities) -rember privacy settings, cookie cleaner, and antivirus, password (There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password) -Always use the device on a non admin account
-Ideally use this device only on networks that are not connected with you. Such as public networks (try to never use the same public networks twice, move around) (a home network should be fine now, as it should never be exposed, but more security is always better) (Its just a conveniences vs security trade) -Never use accounts that have been exposed to lower security on higher security machines -your browser is now TOR (or your preferred security focused browser, if you dont plan on using onion ) Make sure you get the standalone version of tor not the addon build (the standalone is safer, because there are less settings and options to tweak) -Change your tor settings, to safest mode, enable a bridge (to my knowledge there's no difference in security between the build in bridges in tor), enable automatic updates, set duckduckgo onion as your primary browser. Set dark.fail onion page as your home page. (Or your preferred privacy search engine and onion directory)
set up a new pgp (can't use the same one you use for regular use, again less safer accounts are never used on safer devices) Cleopatra is my choice, its simple to use. Make sure you back up the private key multiple times, on safe devices. (Dont let the private key fall into anyone's hands) Give it a generic name like "HighSecurityPGP" do not give the pgp key pair a name that could identify you. (No initials etc) (Some pgp key pair programs want an associated email for a key pair, you can create a safe email, or which I recoend you can use a different program (like Cleopatra) (Feds & LEOs are known to copy private keys if they have your machine, so you will need to set up a new key pair if they ever take a device with a private key copy)
a high security machine that facilitates criminal activity can not use many programs. Many programs collect your devices mac adress, which is a unique identifier, amongst other things. It's should be used only for the activity you want to do.
-------_ How to use dark net markets (DNMs) If you finished your High Security setup, we can dive right in. Otherwise go do that. This is where all that is essential. Quick info on Tor, and onion sites. There is no search engine. It's all based of directories and addresses you are given by others. Tor will likely not be very quick, it has to pass through multiple networks to get to the destination. DNMs sometimes exit scam, an exit scam is when a market shuts down completely and takes all the money, this is a risk when using DNMs, it's not too common but happens maybe 0-4 times a year. The admins of thoese servers need to get out at some point, before they get jailed, so they exit the game, and scam everyone out of their money. -A very useful onion directory is dark.fail it has a lot of links, for all kinds of stuff. News, email, DNMs, Psychonautwiki (harm reduction website), forums etc. (Other directories also exist) -Pick a market, preferably one that handles secure connection server side instead of requiring you to establish the secure connection. Then create an account. Your account once created should include an entry box in your profile for a pgp key, post your PUBLIC key in there. (Verify the link is not a scam, most markets should provide a pgp signature) -Next is currency setup. All major cryptocurrency exchangers can be used, I can recommend coin base but there could be better ones out there. Unless you find a small non U.S., exchange, they will always ask for your identity. So unless you can find a trustworthy exchange that doesn't ID, you will need to give it to them. (Side note, all major crypto exchangers report to the IRS, if the IRS asks you if you bought cryptocurrency and you bought while having IDed yourself SAY YES, DO NOT COMMIT TAX FRAUD WHEN THEY KNOW YOU DID)
I recommend using Monero, it's hard to track, so it makes your job a lot easier. (If you use bitcoin you should run it through a scrambler, because BTC is tracable to anyone who knows what they are doing)
-Transfer (monero you can send directly, btc you should scramble) to your wallet. There are two options a cold wallet (physical) or a software wallet. Software wallets usually dont cost anything so I recommend them, even if often less safe. Electrum is easy to use, and pretty safe. You can also do your own research and find a wallet that fits your needs.
decide where you want to ship it. You can send to your home, to a PO box, to a PO box that you opened with a fake ID (I don't recommend), an abandoned house, general mail (sending to a post office instead of a street adress) pickup up with fake ID, use a remailing service. These are some options, sending it to your own home, isn't ideal, but its pretty much the only easy way.
-now you are ready to buy, only buy using escrow (it means the money is held by the market as a middle man until the product is delivered, they will also handle any issues like wrong quantity, cuts, etc), judge the reviews for a product, and if available look at the history of the vendor, until you find a product from a vendor you trust. (I recommend to buy within your country as much as possible, so it doesn't go through customs, it's very rare that something is found, but it can happen) -now you get to buy, depending on market, you either have cryptocurrency stored in their wallets (not recommend, you will lose it in an exit scam) or you can send it every order. When you send your delivery adress (or the one you want it to go to) encrypt the adress using the sellers public key. Make sure the adress is correct. -wait for the product, make sure to extend the escrow until the product arrives, if you can't extend it anymore dispute the order, and a moderator will step in -test the product, use it, and leave a review. PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW, DNMs only work because of reviews. Edit: Didn't imagine I would write over 15000 words. Oh well, it was fun. Hope it helps, if you have any questions feel free to ask. No idea how long this will stay up, I might purge it in 7 days, or never.
NFT hidden gem with HUGE partners and advisors already signed
A NFT (non-fungible token) blockchain project called VIMWorld (www.VIMWorld.com) will allow for all types of gaming including older Board games and newer AAA games to store game IP in a NFT. The NFT's are called VIMS which are linked into the ecosystem VIMWorld, and the token used is called EHrT (Eight Hours Token) currently available on Bitrue (rumor - new exchange listing is imminent, maybe Binance). Game developers and Partners can quickly utilize the NFT VIM and integrate their IP which is then stored on the blockchain and can be used across games including their already selling product called the PlayTable (www.playtable.com). The team just paid out $250 ad-hoc rewards to their S-Tier node holders, not part of the VIMPool rewards which will be released soon paying out 5% every 2 weeks of all $EHrTs spent in the gaming ecosystem. A VIM can be described as Virtually Integrated Metadata which is the core of the 8Hours (www.8hoursfoundation.org) platform meta system that is built on VeChainThor blockchain and stores metdata such as data and transaction history and functions as a memory capsule, a collectible, a digital wallet (storing $EHrTs, the token) and a tool for game play and human connection. VIMS can also be linked to a physical object in the real world. Partners Advisors to the project include:
Glen Schofield - Prolific name in AAA game industry, 3x Call of Duty, grossing $1B+
Sean Barger - Gaming industry veteran who has published over 55 titles, most notably "Tetris"
Kris Alexander - Chief Strategist at Akami, Built business from $0 to $100M+
Jateen Parekh - First employee worked on the Kindle project. Co-founded Jelli and was acquired by the largest media company, iHeartMedia.
Shen Bo - Founding partner of Fenbushi. He is with Bitcoin and DACs. He first worked with Shanghai Huaji Internet Holding as CEO
Kai Huang - Co-creator of the multi-billion dollar Guitar Hero franchise, and co-founder of RedOctane.
Ray Hatoyama - Ex-Pokemon advisor, Ex-Hello Kitty CEO and director of LINE and Mitsubishi
Michael Katz - with 25 years experience in the video game entertainment sector. Industry experience includes Mattel, Coleco, (Donkey Kong and Pacman), Atari’s video game division, President ofSEGAEntertainmentUSA.
Competitors: enjin coin is more of a market place to buy gaming items whereas 8Hours aims to store your gaming life/history on an NFT which is unique and can contain special colored tokens/companions which add to the value of it and utilized across games on any device where a partner has integrated their IP. From an AMA with CEO John Dempsey of 8Hours Foudation, this stood out for me: "we're under NDA for several major companies with big household name brands. These are companies that everyone is familiar with and we can flood their communities with our EHrTs and VIMs. We can't name any right now, but these titles are under development. We've already worked with huge board game brands like Asmodee for Catan and Ticket to Ride. Our partnership deals are being made to create revenue, which we are feeding back into the ecosystem to create more and more value. Larger IPs are being signed which aren't board games, but a greater firt for EHrTs and the VIM economy in general. We do work with smaller indie firms, too, for the creation of unique content (over a dozen developers have submitted / created games for PlayTable) Circulating Supply - 1,854,037,961 Max Supply - 10,000,000,000 Market Cap - $27,549,886
Proof: https://imgur.com/a/7xQGIbC All prices based on spot price of gold @ $1,970/oz , silver @ $24.25/oz, platinum @ $915/oz (7/31/20). Prices good with gold spot below $1990, silver below $25. I am not a coin grader. The condition of any coin listed is how it was listed when I acquired it. I will be more than happy to provide any detailed, unedited photos for any coin. Unless specifically mentioned, assume coins are in generally good condition. Noticeable defects potentially affecting the value will attempt to be noted. I try to price my items substantially below the lowest price I can find online from a national dealer. If you see a legitimate cheaper price, let me know and I may very well adjust my price. FYI, I am in Eastern time zone if I do not respond, may be sleeping. PLATINUM LISTINGS Proof:https://imgur.com/a/FcUg9BV Physical platinum has been hard to come by and premiums have been high. Lucky to have these to list: 1 oz Argor-Heraeus Platinum Bars in assay x 10 9 8 — $990/ea (spot plus $75) GOLD LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/bGofCRx 2009-W Ultra High Relief Proof St. Gauden 24K in OGP. Quite simply, this may be the coolest coin I have ever seen! — $2,250 1 oz slabbed American Gold Eagle 25th Anniversary Early Release, MS70 NGC (2011) — $2,150 (Note: slab has some scratches on it, the coin is fine) 1924 slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS63 PCGS — $2,050 1925 Slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS64 PCGS -- $2,275 1911-S Slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS63 Blanchard — $2,200 1910 Raw $20 St. Gauden gold double eagle — $2,025 $10 Gold Liberty Head x 2 (1894, 1899) — $1,010/ea 2018-W Slabbed First Strike PCGS MS70 American Gold Eagle — $2,175 Cleaned 1899 $5 Liberty head gold coin — $535 2002 slabbed Salt Lake City Olympics $5 gold commemorative, MS69 PCGS (0.2419 oz) — $485 Proof: https://imgur.com/a/bGofCRx 100gm (10x10) Valcambi Combicard in assay. Individually @ $73/ea x 100. I will risky ship up to 3 of these in an envelope for $1 @ buyer’s risk. It will not be tracked and I do not like doing it. Would prefer $4 bubble mailer, but buyer’s choice. 1 oz gold bars in assay [Valcambi x 2 1, Sunshine Mint, PAMP Religious Romanesque (Note: some peeling of clear cover for PAMP — pictures if desired)] — $2,030 1 oz Credit Suisse gold bar, in plastic but not assay — $2,030 Sterngold, 99.95%, used in making dental alloys, 1gm each x 30. This is a unique item not likely to be found in many collector’s stash. I will risky ship up to 3 of these in an envelope for $1 @ buyer’s risk. It will not be tracked and I do not like doing it. Would prefer $4 bubble mailer, but buyer’s choice— $71/ea Proof: https://imgur.com/a/wa1mLWZ 1oz American Gold Eagle, BU (1989, Roman numerals) — $2,060 1oz American Gold Eagle (1986, Roman numerals) — $2060 1 oz gold Pandas (1987, 2011) — 1987 sealed, BU — $2,175 ; 2011, uncirculated — $2,250 1 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 42 (1975 x 2, 1977, 1978, 1979 x 27, 1980, 1981 x 8, 1982, 1984) — $2,040/ea 1 oz Gold American Buffalos (2016 x 1, 2006 x 2) [NOTE: both 2006 have a slight ding on the rim. Sealed in plastic, not ex-jewelry, but slight ding. Photos if desired)] — $2,070 for 2016, $2,065/ea for 2006’s with ding 1 oz Gold Brittania, BU (2020) — $2,065 1 oz unique Canada Golden Eagle, BU (2018). This is .99999 pure (that is five 9’s). Highest purity I am aware of — $2,070 1 oz Gold Austrian Philharmonics, BU (1994 x 1, 1999 x 1) — $2,040/ea 1 oz Gold Canadian Maple Leafs x 8 (1980 x 2, 1981, 2002 with red on “F” of fine gold on reverse, 2002 x 3 with some small scratches, 2011) — $2050/ea 1/4 oz American Gold Eagles x 6 4 (1988 Roman Numeral, 2013, 2014, 2015 x 2, 2020) — $565/ea 1/10oz American Gold Eagles in display (5 coins), BU (2006, 2012) — $1,200/ea Empty case to display your own set of 5 1/10 oz American Gold Eagles— $10 1/4oz Gold Brittanias, BU (2013 x4) — $600/ea 50 Pesos Mexican Gold x 10 (1947 Restrikes x 8, 1943, 1944) — $2,460/ea for restrikes, $2,470/ea for ’43, ’44 1/2 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 3 (1980 x 2, 1981) — $1,100/ea 1/10 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 2524 23 (various dates 1980-1984, 2011 (not apartheid era) x 1) — $240/ea 1/10 oz American Gold Eagles (various dates x 43, Roman numeral x 11 7) x 5450 45 — $240/ea for various dates, $260/ea Roman numeral dates Proof: https://imgur.com/a/KCjdPAy 2006 American Gold Eagle Proof Set (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz — 1.85 total troy oz) in OGP — $3,875 1997 Jackie Robinson $5 gold commemorative set. Comes with COA, baseball card, pin, patch, presentation box. There are some dings on the box. Pictures if desired. (0.2419 oz) — $700 (A portion of the proceeds will go toward a reputable social justice charity) 1987 & 1988 UK Gold Sovereign Proof Sets in nice case (each set has a Double Sovereign: 28.4mm, Sovereign: 22.05mm, Half Sovereign: 19.3mm) -- $1,850/each set (NOTE: the 1988 set is missing the COA.) Austrian Ducat 4 gold coin x 2 (1915 x 2 ), 0.4438 tory oz gold — $895/ea 20 Francs Gold x 2015 6 (1110 4 — Roosters, 54 2 -- Swiss Francs, 4 1-French Empire), 0.1867 troy oz of gold/ea — $380/ea Netherlands Gold 10 Guilder x 5, contain 0.1947 troy oz/ea (1926 x 2, 1927, 1932, 1933) — $470/ea Gold Libertad 1/20 oz (2016) — $200 OBO Gold Libertad 1/10 oz, BU (2016) — $340 OBO Gold Libertad 1/10 oz proof (2016) — $350 OBO Gold Sovereigns x 5 1, contain 7.315g gold/ea (1902, 1911, 1927 x 2 x 1, 1928) — $475/ea 1/4 oz Gold Canadian Maple (2005) — $565 Proof: https://imgur.com/a/VXzaDUN Late Addition: 5 3 additional 1976 1 oz Krugerrands — $2,040/ea 6 additional Pandas: Don’t ask me why the premiums on Pandas are so high. They just are. I tried to price about $20+ dollars below the cheapest I could find them online at large dealers. If you find a legitimate lower price, let me know and I may very well adjust the price. 1985 — $2,150, 1987 — $2,120, 1988 — $2,095, 1990 — $2,150, 1991 — $2,150, 2002 — $2,200, 2011 — $2,240 26 25 1/10 oz Australian Battle of the Coral Sea Battle in the Pacific, in capsules — $225/ea 14 additional Netherlands gold 10 guilders — $470/ea LOW PREMIUM LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/jlE0Xuu All the time I see posts looking for precious metals “at or near spot.” Well here is your chance. If you don’t purchase these, then you are not really looking for gold at or near spot, you are looking for premium items without the premium. Those deals may be out there, but they are few and far between, with lines of buyers looking to snap them up, including myself. Items here will generally be available for spot + <2%. To get a physical form of a precious metal refined, assayed, and produced into an identifiable and verifiable form/weight/purity for a tad above spot is pretty darn good, regardless of the collectability of the item. I see people paying more premium for scrap gold than some of these. 1976 Canadian Montreal Olympic $100 commemorative (one in OGP (signs of wear), one loose with OGP in worn state but coin is fine, 0.25 oz each). You are not purchasing these for the packaging. — $500/ea American Arts Gold Medallion Grant Wood, 1 troy oz — $2,005 2010 US Mint First Spouse Series Gold Uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln 1/2 troy oz in OGP, NOTE: red spot on obverse (See Photo) — $1,005 Cleaned, ex-jewelry $5 Liberty head gold coin (1900, 1906 ), Note: some rim damage, will send photos if desired — $485/ea JEWELRY LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/QEVcW0F CRESCENT sterling silver pocket watch case, twist on bezel. Marked with CRESCENT, Sterling, serial number 4188. Amateur engraving with a marked name and 1919. Weighs over 100 grams!!! Pre-owned, with expected signs of tarnish and wear. A ding on back of case (see photo close up) — $75 1913 $5 Indian Head gold coin in 14K bezel, bezel weighs 1.30g — $575 2014 1/10 oz American Gold Eagle in 14K eagle pendant, bezel weighs 3.487g — $400 SILVER LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/MTK1BfP Proof: https://imgur.com/a/54maJxn 25 Slabbed and Graded American Silver Eagles — Whole lot for $1,000 OBO. May make offers on individual rounds. (SOLD '92. '93, '14W) For reference, on 8/15, APMEX wholesale site is asking $100/ea for the ‘94’s. Offering to buy ‘14-S for $50 and the NGC MS70 for $120.
—ALL NGC MS69 — 1992, 1993, 1994 x 3, 2000, 2001 x 2, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 —ALL NGC MS69 — 2007 Early Release x 7 —NGC MS69 — 2014(W) —NGC MS69 — 2013 First Release —PCGS MS69 — 2008 First Strike —PCGS MS69 — 2014(S) First Strike —PCGS MS69 — 2003 —NGC MS70 — 2003
100 oz silver bars (Engelhard x 1, Ohio Precious Metals —don’t believe they will be making either of these anymore) — $2,775 /ea 20 oz Scottsdale kit kat bars (2) — $555/ea (1 left) 10 oz Queen's Beasts Series Falcons x 4 — $400/ea 2 oz Queen's Beasts Series -- tubes of Falcons x 4 ($800/ea), Yales x 4 ($580/ea) 1 oz Sunshine Minting Silver Bars x 237 199 — $28.50/ea 1 roll 2006 90% San Francisco Mint Proof Colorado State Washington Quarters — $210 (NOTE: it looks like there might be some small surface scratches on some of the coins. Therefore, they are being priced as just uncirculated.) Men in Space Series I First Edition, .925 commemorative medals x 2 sets. These are not just sterling silver medals but history depicting the major events in the early years of NASA. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/danbury-mint-men-space-series-first-411707135 One set in original presentation packaging just like the link. One set loose with a few extra medals (2 additional medals from the 1969 Men in Space series II — 2nd Moon Landing, 1st Space Rescue; one duplicate medal from series I, and one additional First Manned Landing on the Moon Apollo 11 (slightly larger, from unknown series to me)). Sold in lots only. Lot with packaging (21 medals, 0.7 oz each) — $360. Loose lot (25 medals, 0.7 oz each plus 1 slightly larger Appollo 11 as above) — $375 Proof: https://imgur.com/gallery/hRX6XlB Mexican Silver Lot -- Sold in lots of (10) @ $175/lot. YOU MAY MIX/MATCH —1952-53 Mexican 5 Pesos Hidalgo, 72% silver, 0.643 troy oz silvecoin (x10) —1977-79 Mexican 100 Pesos, 72% silver, 0.643 troy oz silvecoin (x10) —1968— Mexican Olympic 25 Pesos, 72% silver, 0.521 troy oz silvecoin (x20) 1973 Mundinero World Trade rounds x 2 tubes — $600/ea 1973 Mundinero World Trade Rounds with 14 of the 20 being High Relief — $640 Generic Rounds (mostly buffalos, I believe ) x 10 tubes — $560/tube Few loose generic rounds x 6 — $28/ea 2 Painted American Silver Eagles — $30/ea ’84-’85 Engelhard Prospector Rounds x 2 tubes — One tube of (20) — $660; One tube of (17) — $560 Canadian Maple Tubes of 25 x 3 (2012 x 2, 2008 x 1, NOTE: 2008 rounds have some milk spots) — $725/tube Proof: https://imgur.com/a/XnRiLPW Lot of 17 premium rounds: Philharmonics x4, Brittanias x 5, 2018 Republic Of Chad African Lion x 2, Krugerrands x 3, Australian Kangaroo x 1, Super Pit Australia x 2 — $488. Sold only as a lot. Lot of fractional silver rounds, 1.35 ASW — 1/4 oz indian head, 1/4 oz walking liberty, 1/4 oz buffalo nickel, 1/10 oz indian head x 3, buffalo x 1, Morgan x 1 — $44. Sold only as a lot. LOW PREMIUM LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/R9NuZj8 All the time I see posts looking for precious metals “at or near spot.” Well here is your chance. If you don’t purchase these, then you are not really looking for silver at or near spot, you are looking for premium items without the premium. Those deals may be out there, but they are few and far between, with lines of buyers looking to snap them up, including myself. Items here will generally be available for spot + <2%. To get a physical form of a precious metal refined, assayed, and produced into an identifiable and verifiable form/weight/purity for a tad above spot is pretty darn good, regardless of the collectability of the item. I see people paying more premium for scrap than some of these. Silver war nickels @ $1.36/ea (BELOW SPOT), 8,500+ available, minimum quantity of 100 Large lot of Canadian — further info on request. Prefer to sell this in larger lots grouped together, not piecing it out or small lots. Take the whole lot for $3,000, or:
—$1.75fv, .925 — $33 —$20.25fv, ’67-’68, 50% (mostly all quarters) — $185 —$164.35fv, pre ’67, 80% (includes 65 $1) — $2,400 —1976 Montreal Olympic .925 $10 commemoratives x 9, 1.4454 troy oz/ea — $40/ea —1972 .925 $25 Cayman Island Silver Anniversary x 1, 1.5271 troy oz — $42.50
TERMS: All eligible items are verified with a sigma precious metal verifier or Kee gold tester. Prices are generally based on the underlying spot price. Large fluctuations in spot prices could affect the price of items listed. Shipping will generally be at cost. USPS first class starts @ $4, SFRB @ $8.50, signature @ $2.50. Will insure for 1.1% of purchase price. Shipping is at buyer’s risk. All items will be tracked, but I cannot be responsible for what happens on your porch. Would recommend delivery to a secure box for precious metals. Accept in order of preference: 1st — Zelle or Venmo; 2nd — PPFF (no comments), PPG&S @ +3.0%; Last resort: I have recently acquired the ability to accept Bitcoin, but am still learning. Be patient and fees will be at buyer’s expense, but I will try to work with you if other options do not suffice. Other forms of payment will be considered. Thank you!
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.
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The new releases on the merch store are awesome, and I'm looking forward to picking some of it up when things are back in stock. I'm sure more products are being prepped for the store as I make this post, so I want to throw in some suggestions for things I think people would be interested in seeing!
GP coin (I very much would buy these)
Fake stims, with various colors and labels to match the ones found in-game (maybe even have some with blank labels that you can mix with different caps/bodies to make your own)
The Interchange Object keycards, and a blank version so you can add your own object designation. To also tie into the lore behind these keycards, it'd be interesting if you also got documented "orders" for who the keycard would be issued to, with an online template to allow those who got the blank card to fill it out as they please and print the documents after
Slider keys and TG USB drives, dummy or working, either would be cool. Could also come with similar documentation to the object keycards
Chemical container from Vitamins Pt.1 and syringe from Chemical Pt.3
Fake versions of notable keys in the game, like marked key variants, lab mechanical keys, KIBA keys, and maybe even a generic blue and pink resort key
Module-3M look-alike, preferably with TARBANK printing
UNTAR gear, so some sort of look-alike vest, helmet, and possibly even the coming blue beret. I'm assuming there might be issues printing UN on stuff, so leaving that out is fine. Blue gear is just really hard to come by so it'd be cool to see if you could get someone to make some
KIBA gun accessories, so stuff like ammo cases with a good 'ol KIBA sticker slapped on. Actually, stickers for KIBA, TG, USEC, BEAR, ect. sounds fun in general for converting things...
For TG stickers, have some with both just the logo and logo with text in various sizes. More and more Tarkov airsoft events and short film projects are being attempted, and being able to slam a convincing TG logo on a hard case would make things pretty immersive
Keytool and maybe Dogtag case
Leather folder that is used in the folder with intelligence item, possibly comes with some free TG documents you can print out to fill it with
That's all that I have for now. Some TG flashdrives, blank object keycards, and a few GP coins sound like something I'd buy in a heartbeat! If I come up with more I'll add it in a section after this.
It is quite easy and possible for us to misplace money or even other things from time to time. You can lose your car keys, forget your parking spot at the mall, and so on. But what about losing something digital, like cryptocurrency? And since bitcoin doesn’t exist in a physical form, it can’t be dropped on the street or left behind somewhere. But it is still possible for us to lose our bitcoin, as many people have discovered.We are going to look at how cryptocurrency gets lost, where it goes, and how you can avoid it happening to you. And most importantly, how to recover lost bitcoin. How does Bitcoin Get Lost? The total available supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, with new ones released every day. It’s expected that we’ll reach that cap sometime around the year 2140, although it could be sooner.If you lose a coin or note of your local currency, it doesn’t matter much to the economy as a whole because your government simply mints new money on a regular basis.It’s not known exactly how many Bitcoin are currently lost, in part because the definition of ‘lost’ varies depending on who you ask, and some may be reclaimed in the future. Though going beyond the void retrieve it isn’t easy. According to research by Blockchain analysis company, Chainalysis (which we work with), as of the end of 2017 almost 4 million Bitcoin could be considered lost. It’s unlikely the number hasn’t increased much since then, as the higher price encourages people to be more careful. So, as it stands, the total circulating supply is set to be around 17 million Bitcoin. Stolen or lost Bitcoin can be recovered by hiring a Funds Recovery Expert to help you get back your lost bitcoin. There are a number of ways Bitcoin can get lost: Recover Bitcoin from Lost, Discarded or Damaged Devices Bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade now. During that time, technology has changed a lot and the average person probably isn’t still cranking up Windows Vista to trade crypto. In some cases, people will lose their laptop or throw it away, forgetting that they have Bitcoin stored on it. Broken devices and fried motherboards also lead to losses. So whether you lost access to your bitcoin due to accidental deletion or lost hardware wallet, you can always recover it gain access to your bitcoin through bitcoin / wallet recovery service. Recover Forgotten Bitcoin Yep, it is possible to buy or mine Bitcoin then forget you own it. This sounds like a caviar-and-champagne problem, but in the early days you could easily mine thousands of Bitcoin on a normal laptop and it cost almost nothing. That non-existent cost meant most people didn’t really see it as something that might ever have value, so many just forgot about it.Recover Bitcoin Sent to a Wrong AddressSending Bitcoin to an incorrect address is like mailing a letter to a sealed empty house where no one lives or ever will live. It may sound like Mary Shelley’s version of losing Bitcoin, and it’s just as bleak. It’s impossible for anyone to open the door and retrieve it. This can happen if you mistype an address and transactions cannot be reversed. Recover Forgotten Bitcoin Private Keys and Passwords Your private key gives access to your Bitcoin. If you lose this, it’s like forgetting the code for an unbreakable safe. Some people have written down their credentials, only to lose or accidentally throw away the piece of paper. Others committed them to memory, then later forgot it. It is important never to lose your bitcoin recovery phrase, but don't worry if you do. You can always recover your lost bitcoin with or without the seed phrase. Have you lost your wallet password? Don't be worried, you can easily get it back with the help of [email protected] Can lost Bitcoin be Found or Retrieved? Generally speaking, whether lost bitcoin can be found or not depends on how it was lost. Considering the quantity of missing cryptocurrency out there, people have begun offering services to help recover lost bitcoin. These include data recovery specialists, but you need a professional recovery expert like [email protected] to help you get back your lost bitcoin. Contact [email protected] to recover lost bitcoin, bitcoin cash, as well as all other forms of cryptocurrency. And you can be sure that no matter how long it has been lost, you will still get your bitcoin worth.
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.
Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness. In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning. We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs. So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?
Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition
When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her. Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him. This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques. I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people. One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models. Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world). They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs. Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”. As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing. The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all. Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs. But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined. But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.
Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism
Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness. As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?" This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold. Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.
History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes
A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions. And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure. This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”. Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda. Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.
Motivations of Fascism
Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems. Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources. Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust. They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms. Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries. This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal; Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.
Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.
I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism. I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore. So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both. The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other. Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists Greed - Libertarian Fascists There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans. But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points. With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”. Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war. It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.
A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback. Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls. Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist. This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies. Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right. Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power. With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.
The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy
While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe. A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values. In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to. Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage. If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example. Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.
Who Benefits in This Memetic War?
Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist. But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators. So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society. Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers. Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system. They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists. You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war. Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them. The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems. But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip. Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.
Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity
It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative. In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”. Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner. But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available. But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them. Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity. When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves. Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow) This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked). Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system. But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence. Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met. These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty. So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions? Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.
Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis
The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips) I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up. I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground. I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society. Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society. Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium. As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding. All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars. Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system. Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect. Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed. The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up. I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge. It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness. And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down. As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain. Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head) Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species. Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.
TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts
In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is. They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world. It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen. But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain. I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality. Thank you to my two Patrons: Carmen Jongepier E.V. Roske Original Script on Patreon
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