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Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
A Beginners Guide to Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
As cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology become more abundant throughout our society, it’s important to understand the inner workings of this technology, especially if you plan to use cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle. If you’re new to the crypto-sphere, learning about Bitcoin makes it much easier to understand other cryptocurrencies as many other altcoins' technologies are borrowed directly from Bitcoin. Bitcoin is one of those things that you look into only to discover you have more questions than answers, and right as you’re starting to wrap your head around the technology; you discover the fact that Bitcoin has six other variants (forks), the amount of politics at hand, or that there are over a thousand different cryptocurrencies just as complex if not even more complex than Bitcoin. We are currently in the infancy of blockchain technology and the effects of this technology will be as profound as the internet. This isn’t something that’s just going to fade away into history as you may have been led to believe. I believe this is something that will become an integral part of our society, eventually embedded within our technology. If you’re a crypto-newbie, be glad that you're relatively early to the industry. I hope this post will put you on the fast-track to understanding Bitcoin, blockchain, and how a large percentage of cryptocurrencies work.
Altcoin: Short for alternative coin. There are over 1,000 different cryptocurrencies. You’re probably most familiar with Bitcoin. Anything that isn’t Bitcoin is generally referred to as an altcoin. HODL: Misspelling of hold. Dank meme accidentally started by this dude. Hodlers are much more interested in long term gains rather than playing the risky game of trying to time the market. TO THE MOON: When a cryptocurrency’s price rapidly increases. A major price spike of over 1,000% can look like it’s blasting off to the moon. Just be sure you’re wearing your seatbelt when it comes crashing down. FUD: Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. FOMO: Fear of missing out. Bull Run: Financial term used to describe a rising market. Bear Run: Financial term used to describe a falling market.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized digital currency that uses cryptography to secure and ensure validity of transactions within the network. Hence the term crypto-currency. Decentralization is a key aspect of Bitcoin. There is no CEO of Bitcoin or central authoritative government in control of the currency. The currency is ran and operated by the people, for the people. One of the main development teams behind Bitcoin is blockstream. Bitcoin is a product of blockchain technology. Blockchain is what allows for the security and decentralization of Bitcoin. To understand Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you must understand to some degree, blockchain. This can get extremely technical the further down the rabbit hole you go, and because this is technically a beginners guide, I’m going to try and simplify to the best of my ability and provide resources for further technical reading.
A Brief History
Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of Nakamoto is unknown. The idea of Bitcoin was first introduced in 2008 when Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper - Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Later, in January 2009, Nakamoto announced the Bitcoin software and the Bitcoin network officially began. I should also mention that the smallest unit of a Bitcoin is called a Satoshi. 1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshis. When purchasing Bitcoin, you don’t actually need to purchase an entire coin. Bitcoin is divisible, so you can purchase any amount greater than 1 Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC).
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger, a distributed collection of accounts. What is being accounted for depends on the use-case of the blockchain itself. In the case of Bitcoin, what is being accounted for is financial transactions. The first block in a blockchain is referred to as the genesis block. A block is an aggregate of data. Blocks are also discovered through a process known as mining (more on this later). Each block is cryptographically signed by the previous block in the chain and visualizing this would look something akin to a chain of blocks, hence the term, blockchain. For more information regarding blockchain I’ve provided more resouces below:
Bitcoin mining is one solution to the double spend problem. Bitcoin mining is how transactions are placed into blocks and added onto the blockchain. This is done to ensure proof of work, where computational power is staked in order to solve what is essentially a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle correctly, you are rewarded Bitcoin in the form of transaction fees, and the predetermined block reward. The Bitcoin given during a block reward is also the only way new Bitcoin can be introduced into the economy. With a halving event occurring roughly every 4 years, it is estimated that the last Bitcoin block will be mined in the year 2,140. (See What is Block Reward below for more info). Mining is one of those aspects of Bitcoin that can get extremely technical and more complicated the further down the rabbit hole you go. An entire website could be created (and many have) dedicated solely to information regarding Bitcoin mining. The small paragraph above is meant to briefly expose you to the function of mining and the role it plays within the ecosystem. It doesn’t even scratch the surface regarding the topic.
How do you Purchase Bitcoin?
The most popular way to purchase Bitcoin through is through an online exchange where you trade fiat (your national currency) for Bitcoin. Popular exchanges include:
There’s tons of different exchanges. Just make sure you find one that supports your national currency.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are EXTREMELY volatile. Swings of 30% or more within a few days is not unheard of. Understand that there is always inherent risks with any investment. Cryptocurrencies especially. Only invest what you’re willing to lose.
Transaction & Network Fees
Transacting on the Bitcoin network is not free. Every purchase or transfer of Bitcoin will cost X amount of BTC depending on how congested the network is. These fees are given to miners as apart of the block reward. Late 2017 when Bitcoin got up to $20,000USD, the average network fee was ~$50. Currently, at the time of writing this, the average network fee is $1.46. This data is available in real-time on BitInfoCharts.
In this new era of money, there is no central bank or government you can go to in need of assistance. This means the responsibility of your money falls 100% into your hands. That being said, the security regarding your cryptocurrency should be impeccable. The anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies alone makes you a valuable target to hackers and scammers. Below I’ve detailed out best practices regarding securing your cryptocurrency.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication is a second way of authenticating your identity upon signing in to an account. Most cryptocurrency related software/websites will offer or require some form of 2FA. Upon creation of any crypto-related account find the Security section and enable 2FA.
The most basic form of 2FA which you are probably most familiar with. This form of authentication sends a text message to your smartphone with a special code that will allow access to your account upon entry. Note that this is not the safest form of 2FA as you may still be vulnerable to what is known as a SIM swap attack. SIM swapping is a social engineering method in which an attacker will call up your phone carrier, impersonating you, in attempt to re-activate your SIM card on his/her device. Once the attacker has access to your SIM card he/she now has access to your text messages which can then be used to access your online accounts. You can prevent this by using an authenticator such as Google Authenticator.
The use of an authenticator is the safest form of 2FA. An authenticator is installed on a seperate device and enabling it requires you input an ever changing six digit code in order to access your account. I recommend using Google Authenticator. If a website has the option to enable an authenticator, it will give you a QR code and secret key. Use Google Authenticator to scan the QR code. The secret key consists of a random string of numbers and letters. Write this down on a seperate sheet of paper and do not store it on a digital device. Once Google Authenticator has been enabled, every time you sign into your account, you will have to input a six-digit code that looks similar to this. If you happen to lose or damage the device you have Google Authenticator installed on, you will be locked out of your account UNLESS you have access to the secret key (which you should have written down).
A wallet is what you store Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on. I’ll provide resources on the different type of wallets later but I want to emphasize the use of a hardware wallet (aka cold storage). Hardware wallets are the safest way of storing cryptocurrency because it allows for your crypto to be kept offline in a physical device. After purchasing crypto via an exchange, I recommend transferring it to cold storage. The most popular hardware wallets include the Ledger Nano S, and Trezor. Hardware wallets come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key as well as any other sensitive information in a safety deposit box. I know this all may seem a bit manic, but it is important you take the necessary security precautions in order to ensure the safety & longevity of your cryptocurrency.
Technical Aspects of Bitcoin
Address: What you send Bitcoin to.
Wallet: Where you store your Bitcoin
Max Supply: 21 million
Block Time: ~10 minutes
Block Size: 1-2 MB
Block Reward: BTC reward received from mining.
What is a Bitcoin Address?
A Bitcoin address is what you send Bitcoin to. If you want to receive Bitcoin you’d give someone your Bitcoin address. Think of a Bitcoin address as an email address for money.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
As the title implies, a Bitcoin wallet is anything that can store Bitcoin. There are many different types of wallets including paper wallets, software wallets and hardware wallets. It is generally advised NOT to keep cryptocurrency on an exchange, as exchanges are prone to hacks (see Mt. Gox hack). My preferred method of storing cryptocurrency is using a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. These allow you to keep your crypto offline in physical form and as a result, much more safe from hacks. Paper wallets also allow for this but have less functionality in my opinion. After I make crypto purchases, I transfer it to my Ledger Nano S and keep that in a safe at home. Hardware wallets also come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key in a safety deposit box.
What is Bitcoins Max Supply?
The max supply of Bitcoin is 21 million. The only way new Bitcoins can be introduced into the economy are through block rewards which are given after successfully mining a block (more on this later).
What is Bitcoins Block Time?
The average time in which blocks are created is called block time. For Bitcoin, the block time is ~10 minutes, meaning, 10 minutes is the minimum amount of time it will take for a Bitcoin transaction to be processed. Note that transactions on the Bitcoin network can take much longer depending on how congested the network is. Having to wait a few hours or even a few days in some instances for a transaction to clear is not unheard of. Other cryptocurrencies will have different block times. For example, Ethereum has a block time of ~15 seconds. For more information on how block time works, Prabath Siriwardena has a good block post on this subject which can be found here.
What is Bitcoins Block Size?
There is a limit to how large blocks can be. In the early days of Bitcoin, the block size was 36MB, but in 2010 this was reduced to 1 MB in order to prevent distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), spam, and other malicious use on the blockchain. Nowadays, blocks are routinely in excess of 1MB, with the largest to date being somewhere around 2.1 MB. There is much debate amongst the community on whether or not to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit to account for ever-increasing network demand. A larger block size would allow for more transactions to be processed. The con argument to this is that decentralization would be at risk as mining would become more centralized. As a result of this debate, on August 1, 2017, Bitcoin underwent a hard-fork and Bitcoin Cash was created which has a block size limit of 8 MB. Note that these are two completely different blockchains and sending Bitcoin to a Bitcoin Cash wallet (or vice versa) will result in a failed transaction. Update: As of May 15th, 2018 Bitcoin Cash underwent another hard fork and the block size has increased to 32 MB. On the topic of Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash and which cryptocurrency is better, I’ll let you do your own research and make that decision for yourself. It is good to know that this is a debated topic within the community and example of the politics that manifest within the space. Now if you see community members arguing about this topic, you’ll at least have a bit of background to the issue.
What is Block Reward?
Block reward is the BTC you receive after discovering a block. Blocks are discovered through a process called mining. The only way new BTC can be added to the economy is through block rewards and the block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every 4 years). Halving events are done to limit the supply of Bitcoin. At the inception of Bitcoin, the block reward was 50BTC. At the time of writing this, the block reward is 12.5BTC. Halving events will continue to occur until the amount of new Bitcoin introduced into the economy becomes less than 1 Satoshi. This is expected to happen around the year 2,140. All 21 million Bitcoins will have been mined. Once all Bitcoins have been mined, the block reward will only consist of transaction fees.
Any computer that connects to the Bitcoin network is called a node. Nodes that fully verify all of the rules of Bitcoin are called full nodes.
In other words, full nodes are what verify the Bitcoin blockchain and they play a crucial role in maintaining the decentralized network. Full nodes store the entirety of the blockchain and validate transactions. Anyone can participate in the Bitcoin network and run a full node. Bitcoin.org has information on how to set up a full node. Running a full node also gives you wallet capabilities and the ability to query the blockchain. For more information on Bitcoin nodes, see Andreas Antonopoulos’s Q&A on the role of nodes.
What is a Fork?
A fork is a divergence in a blockchain. Since Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, there’s an overall set of rules (protocol) in which participants within the network must abide by. These rules are put in place to form network consensus. Forks occur when implementations must be made to the blockchain or if there is disagreement amongst the network on how consensus should be achieved.
Soft Fork vs Hard Fork
The difference between soft and hard forks lies in compatibility. Soft forks are backwards compatible, hard forks are not. Think of soft forks as software upgrades to the blockchain, whereas hard forks are a software upgrade that warrant a completely new blockchain. During a soft fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules. Nodes that do not upgrade will still accept the new blockchain. Examples of Bitcoin soft forks include:
A hard fork can be thought of as the creation of a new blockchain that X percentage of the community decides to migrate too. During a hard fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules, Nodes that do not upgrade are invalid and cannot accept the new blockchain. Examples of Bitcoin hard forks include:
Note that these are completely different blockchains and independent from the Bitcoin blockchain. If you try to send Bitcoin to one of these blockchains, the transaction will fail.
A Case For Bitcoin in a World of Centralization
Our current financial system is centralized, which means the ledger(s) that operate within this centralized system are subjugated to control, manipulation, fraud, and many other negative aspects that come with this system. There are also pros that come with a centralized system, such as the ability to swiftly make decisions. However, at some point, the cons outweigh the pros, and change is needed. What makes Bitcoin so special as opposed to our current financial system is that Bitcoin allows for the decentralized transfer of money. Not one person owns the Bitcoin network, everybody does. Not one person controls Bitcoin, everybody does. A decentralized system in theory removes much of the baggage that comes with a centralized system. Not to say the Bitcoin network doesn’t have its problems (wink wink it does), and there’s much debate amongst the community as to how to go about solving these issues. But even tiny steps are significant steps in the world of blockchain, and I believe Bitcoin will ultimately help to democratize our financial system, whether or not you believe it is here to stay for good.
Well that was a lot of words… Anyways I hope this guide was beneficial, especially to you crypto newbies out there. You may have come into this realm not expecting there to be an abundance of information to learn about. I know I didn’t. Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg, but now that you have a fundamental understanding of Bitcoin, learning about other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, and Ethereum will come more naturally. Feel free to ask questions below! I’m sure either the community or myself would be happy to answer your questions. Thanks for reading!
$KMD can often be used to buy into decentralized ICOs launched on our platform at a discounted price.
KMD can also be traded with absolute privacy using Komodo’s Jumblr tool
What is a privacy coin? Privacy coins implement various protocols to create a layer of privacy between blockchain transactions. This can be utilized to prevent blockchain traceability or provide different levels of privacy for data stored on the blockchain.
What is Jumblr? A decentralized cryptocurrency shuffler that allows your transactions to become incognito and protects them from being traced through a time or knapsack attack. It adds a privacy layer to your transactions because after your coins are Jumbled, an analysis of the amounts that went in or times that they came out is futile. This function is unique to Komodo and does not require third parties.
2. Security: a secure and robust consensus mechanism called delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) that protects your funds and our ecosystem. This unique technology uses a notarization process to create a backup of the entire Komodo blockchain onto the Bitcoin blockchain thereby increasing security and resilience. This happens roughly every ten minutes. The backups are then saved (notarized) onto the Bitcoin blockchain because it has the highest hashrate available. So even if Komodo suffered a devastating attack (which is extremely unlikely), the Komodo blockchain would merely revert to the most recently notarized copy of the chain. If Bitcoin loses superiority in terms of hashrate the dPOW mechanism can be switched to another blockchain on demand. Hence, Komodo is the most flexible platform to build on and one of the most secure.
What is hashrate? A proof of work blockchain needs a lot of calculations. Hashrate is the way it is measured. The amount of data hashed in a given time by a machine. It is a unit used to define the amount of calculations made by a machine. When you add all the machines together you have the hashrate for that blockchain (here’s a great chart that illustrates it). It's like a river of transactions and the broader and wider it is, the harder it is to manipulate it.
3. Freedom from middlemen: a decentralized exchange (DEX) called BarterDEX, with a fully working order book, powered by our world-class atomic swap technology. This reduces risk and transaction fees. Komodo’s atomic swaps work between Bitcoin protocol and ERC20 tokens which means we can support over 95% of all the tokens and coins in existence. Our decentralized exchange offers ‘liquidity power-ups’ which mean that you can place more than one buy order with the same funds (i.e. pick your top 5 coins and if any of them drop below 50% of their value you’ll buy it and cancel the other orders at the same time) which means your funds have a greater value! On top of all that, Komodo’s DEX has fast transaction speeds and super low transaction fees (0.15%). You can find live BarterDEX and Komodo Stats here: https://dexstats.info/index.php.
What are atomic swaps? Atomic swaps are a method of trading cryptocurrencies peer-to-peer, directly from one blockchain to another, without the need to trust a third-party. Here is a good article to read that will take you about 11 minutes ‘Atomic Swaps & Etomic Swaps, Explained in Plain English’ written by John Westbrook on Medium.
Why do YOU want an exchange to be decentralized? A centralized exchange is a third party and requires you to trust them with your funds. If they’re hacked you’re at risk of losing your funds. Centralized exchanges also require you to trade between pillars (i.e. BTC or USDT) which can involve higher transaction fees and a greater number of trades than necessary to swap the token you have for the one you want (i.e. DOGE sell to BTC to buy KMD is two trades when all you really want is DOGE to KMD).
4. Independence: decentralized ICO crowdfunding and scalability solutions for blockchain startups. You can think of a blockchain as a motorway and if you build a project on the same blockchain as other projects you will be impacted by how well the other drives behave, or by the motorway introducing tolls, or you could suffer from congestion (i.e. if you’re familiar with how crypto kitties caused ETH transaction fees to greatly increase and transaction speeds to slow down then you’ll understand multiple projects on one blockchain cause a scalability and independence problem ). Komodo offers parallel chains which mean a project or decentralized ICO is given its own chain which uses Komodo’s technology. This also solves the scalability issue because using the motorway analogy we can simply open more lanes for a project with a high amount of congestion. This is possible because of the dPOW notarisation. It allows projects to launch completely independent blockchains. Every independent blockchain created on Komodo Platform is automatically integrated into Komodo’s BarterDEX (DEX) which means they have instant access to liquidity for their token and their community can buy and trade immediately. If you compare this to a centralized exchange where projects are often met with a list of onerous demands and fees to be listed and risk being delisted then you’ll understand how important this is for any project especially smaller teams and decentralized apps (dAPPS).
5. Universal Wallet: the Agama Wallet is a universal secure, multi-coin wallet to store funds on and claim the 5% reward for your $KMD tokens. There is also a paper wallet available if you would prefer a cold storage option for those who want to maximize their security.
We are a free society united by the basic idea of freedom and justice, separated from geographical, religious, ethnic and gender prejudices, we reaffirm this document, and we promise to protect freedom and benefit people always and everywhere.
The PORTBITX project team creates a service whose main idea is to provide a mobile and convenient system where users and cryptocurrency owners can receive a wide range of services.
1 The essence of the project
The project team asks you to support the creation of a high-tech, simple, convenient and honest ecosystem for people who need to protect their rights and freedoms and use the right to be anonymous and financially independent. The mission of the project is to create a service for storing and exchanging cryptocurrency assets, and also to become a tool allowing to conduct trading operations regardless of geographic location or language skills. Advantages of the project:
Affordable and user-friendly interface;
More than 1500 types of cryptocurrency assets;
A large number of types of cryptocurrency pairs;
The possibility of profit from the service PORTBITX;
The ability to influence the strategy and operation of the service
PORTBITX, by voting;
Anonymity and confidentiality of the person;
Investing in other projects on the PORTBITX platform;
Creating your own projects;
Minimum commission for exchange operations;
Minimum commission in trade operations;
No or minimal transfer fee for PORTBITX.
2 State of affairs
Owing to ignorance or low awareness of people about the nature of cryptocurrency assets, cryptoindustry is mythologized in modern society. This applies to both ordinary people and officials in authority. As a rule, in the minds of people there is more confidence in traditional financial instruments than in technology during their development, for example blockchain (the inability to change the information block / blockchain chain).History knows many examples when the governments of different countries, guided by the interests of their citizens, inadvertently led to the decline of advanced civil initiatives. This time is a period of complex formation of crypto-economics and state relations, which is still in the making. The project that we present to your attention has no borders between countries and peoples. And we, a group of enthusiasts, would very much like to cooperate with large government organizations. But, to our deep regret, the states currently at the stage of formation of their cryptocurrency policies make mistakes that negatively affect the crypto community. The market of cryptocurrency assets, which has a ten-year history of development, is very sensitive to various statements by officials. However, unqualified criticism cannot withstand the global trend. And no one can stop the future. With all the desire, time does not stand still, technologies themselves continue to evolve, new technologies, new projects, new views that can be upgraded in the distant future, as well as processes of government and regulation themselves, to introduce innovative elements into them. We do not expect the distant future, and many tools are available now. And we have something to offer you. This is especially relevant against the backdrop of the upcoming global financial crisis, with the inevitable decline in trust in state financial institutions; cryptocurrency have high chances of becoming more popular in the absence of other technological alternatives. As we noted earlier, there is a lack of awareness among people about Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. These technologies are extremely undervalued, since there is much more benefit in them than one can imagine. In the cryptocurrency assets industry itself, there are fraudsters at this time who are trying to steal or fraudulently get your money. At the same time, there are many honest crypto projects that can not be realized due to stereotypes of perception of them as fraudulent. Objectively, they could be judged by their work and projects that have been successfully implemented. In principle, it is necessary to be cautious in terms of investing in any projects, even if they are guaranteed by reputable people or companies. No reputable person or company can match the level of guarantee and security of your assets, as in the Bitcoin blockchain.In any case, the decision to invest is yours, not imposed by restrictions, and the responsibility lies with you. According to Road Map, we intend to fulfill all the terms of the agreement with our participants. We do not promise you a high yield of our tokens, we put all our experience into the overall welfare of the project and each user. There will be no delisting on the service until the community votes for the opposite. Our risk is collective. We urge you to make an adequate and balanced choice, instead of imposing any other opinion on you. We are not supporters of aggressive marketing. There are many cryptocurrency assets and it’s difficult for a regular user to store and exchange them, as well as use them in everyday life.
User choice is limited, since most centralized services such as crypto exchanges, have only 3-4 major currencies for converting all the others;
the inability to use a large number of different pairs – many exchange services cannot provide such an exchange;
many centralized services require identity verification;most services do not provide remuneration for owning company tokens or users do not share company profits among themselves;
some centralized services hide revenues earned during Hardfork;
almost no one service does not give the right to address strategic issues
for the service. The right is always for the service;
public opinion can not affect the cryptocurrency service;
There is no way to verify the accuracy of data provided by a cryptocurrency service.
These are problems that affect users and cryptocurrency in general.
The PORTBITX project guarantees compliance with all of its obligations and user rights. We integrate community communications into our PORTBITX service. Users are offered the following functions:
We do not limit users in choosing their currency conversion. the ability to exchange and trade any cryptocurrency assets. The user can exchange one cryptocurrency asset for any other. For such operations in the PORTBITX service, a multitude of cryptocurrency pairs is presented;
No verification. Anonymity will be respected under any circumstances. The right to conceal one’s identity is necessary primarily for people living in countries that do not respect human rights, where freedoms are violated and where the law does not work for the benefit of people;
distribution of service profit for all members of the PORTBITX community under the terms of the user agreement;
obtaining additional coins or tokens received in consequence of Hardfork (fork). Disclose all income received during the occurrence of a fork, the distribution takes place on the conditions provided by the company performing the fork;
affect portbitx. Members of the PORTBITX community have the right to vote on the terms of the user agreement. Voting is closed, the results are publicly announced after the end of the voting;
we update the local blockchain online, which contains information on all movements of funds;
facilitating and expanding the functions of exchange operations. We are designed to solve difficulties in the exchange or sale of any cryptocurrency asset to the desired;
transaction speed of more than 20,000 per second within the ecosystem, which will instantly make online purchases with a minimum commission;
the creation of a sub-ecosystem is intended to facilitate the popularization of the crypto world and expand the horizons for trade and manufacturing enterprises;
for cryptoindustry, we create a new kind of cooperation with users and set a new trend in the formation of a conscious and free society.
Direct market competitors are all decentralized and centralized services related to the purchase or sale of cryptoactive assets, as well as services that provide storage services on a cold or hot crypto wallet. More than 16 thousand services and more than 2 thousand types of cryptocurrency assets. We have the opportunity to offer our clients a reliable and open service for the storage and exchange of cryptocurrency assets. The main competitors are such large cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Bitfinix, Bitrix, etc. These multibillion-dollar projects that can affect the entire market and regulate pricing also have millions of crypto communities. This position is deserved by their work. There are, of course, disadvantages associated with the opacity of their activities, unlike us, but in general they play an important role in the cryptoindustry. Their trading volumes are impressive and inspiring, their mistakes lead to sharp price fluctuations in the crypto market. There are still crypto exchange. In comparison with the leaders, they are significantly inferior in the volume and number of users. These exchanges include the bulk of all crypto exchanges on the market. There are also exchange services on the market that allow you to exchange fiat money for cryptocurrency assets. Most often the commission is quite expensive. For example, they can range from 1% to 20%. Such a high commission can be explained by the fact that the locations where buyers and sellers are located have government restrictions or are prohibited. In addition to all of the above, there are closed groups in social networks or instant messengers. There, people discuss and agree on the price and method of payment. Commissions are often not high from 0% to 5%, but one should not hope that such operations can be safe, since personal meetings are always accompanied by a risk to life or health. Exchange transactions in the onion network may have no guarantees at all that the transaction will be successful. In deep web, everything works on credibility / reputation, and the higher the seller’s rating, the higher the likelihood of a successful outcome of the transaction. In the same place, you can sell tagged or stolen cryptocurrency assets. For this, there are special mixing sites to hide the criminal trail. These types of exchange operations are the most unreliable. For this reason, one of the safest types of exchange operations is large centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. Such centralized services, sometimes using their position, impose their own rules, which leads to a loss of users’ material values. PORTBITX is designed to empower cryptographic protection for maximum convenience and simplicity, as well as to protect the funds and personal data of users. PORTBITX connects all cryptocurrency assets into one transport hub and creates highly efficient curvilinear isolation of the currency to make cryptocurrency as safe and close to people as possible.
A registered user of the PORTBITX portal can be any person supporting the general idea of a free society. Our users are anonymous and financially independent, with the right to vote and the right to receive common incomes obtained by the operation of the portal and the activity of the crypto community PORTBITX. For whom we create a service:
owners of cryptocurrency assets;
people who want to participate in the development of the crypto industry;
people who want to make a profit in the crypto market actively or passively;
people who want to maintain their right to anonymity;
people want transparency and publicity;
It can be ordinary housewives, entrepreneurs, unemployed, self-employed, freelancers, people who invest in the future, wealthy investors, etc. One of the advantages of the service is anonymity, which gives anyone the right to save and earn around the world online, without fear that tomorrow they will be forced to pay some strange fees or licenses. Service users are interested in the distribution and real use of cryptocurrency. Self-regulating community PORTBITX, respecting the rights of all project participants. Service users are:
The user of the service does not have PORTBITX tokens frozen in his account;
Service user with the right to profit;
User with the right to profit and the right to vote.
For trust in the trade service there will be a seller rating for all types of goods and services presented. There will be a book of reviews about each seller, where each buyer has the right to leave a review about the product or service. This scheme is actively used in Darknet. The basic principle: the more positive reviews, the more trust. Each seller values his authority and thus provides the best possible product or service. The expression “customer is always right,” works because no one wants to lose their customers.Currently, according to blockchain.com, there are used 34 million people who hold their funds in Bitcoin. The remaining number of users is difficult to calculate, but according to our modest calculations, there are at least 2 times more other users in any other currency. This suggests that there is still a great demand on the market for services of safe storage and exchange of cryptocurrency assets.
Bounty is a reward of users for PR-activity: subscriptions on forums, maintenance of topics in local language versions, translation of documents into a local language, publications in social networks, blogs and so on. The terms of the bounty are published in the user profile of the section Terms and conditions of the bounty campaign. To participate in the bounty campaign, bounty hunter, you need to register on the site PORTBITX. You agree to the terms and conditions of the Bounty campaign if you register and do Bounty Hunt. Tasks and their description are listed in the special section “Bounty Hunt”. Each task is individual and has its own characteristics, so bounty hunters are invited to carefully study the conditions of each task. Rewards are described in each task separately. The results of remuneration depend on the correct execution of the task.The remuneration is charged to the user’s personal account in the personal account. There is also a payment history for completed tasks. After the last fundraising stage, all information will be deleted in favor of the anonymity of users. We will also delete information about site visits and personal information that was required to specify to receive a reward. In the case of a request by third parties for data, we did not have information that could harm bounty hunters. The bounty budget is 14,325,893 PORTBITX. The distribution of tokens in stages is as follows: Stage 1 – 6,325,000 PORTBITX; Stage 2 – 4 000 000 PORTBITX; Stage 3 – 4 000 893 PORTBITX. Distribution of PORTBITX tokens:
Remuneration for completed tasks – 9,283,178.7 PORTBITX;
Referral system by activity – 1 031 464.3 PORTBITX;
Investment Referral System – 11,250 – 4,011,250 PORTBITX.
If the ICO is not successful, the invested funds will be returned to investors, and the reward for bounty hunters will be canceled. For this reason, we regulate and monitor the social activity of the bounty hunters so that the conduct of all ICO stages is successful. For bounty campaigns, an application to the technical department is provided in order to correct them immediately in case of errors, as well as to assist the bounty hunters in carrying out their tasks. We are building a healthy community, so we ask that the personal opinion and evaluation of the project PORTBITX of each participant be objective and adequate. Each participant in the campaign bounty is our representative, and for us it is important to have a clear understanding of the face of responsibility and benefit that the community carries out.
On the market there are many companies involved in the exchange and storage of cryptocurrency assets. The number of such services is more than 16,000 and this is not the limit, but it is precisely in the face of fierce competition that truly unique and competitive projects are born. This market situation motivates us to create a truly useful and necessary service in order to make the range of our service available to a wide range of people. Recently, according to Google Trends, interest in cryptocurrency has fallen significantly. Now interest has rolled back to the area of 2016-17. Cryptocurrency industry continues to function and develop. Now on the blockchain, you can create your own e-government, your own elections and currency, everything is limited only by the imagination of all industry participants. The ecosystem is actively developing for the use of cryptocurrency in trading operations. Governments and regulators in different countries are seeking greater transparency in the cryptocurrency industry. Some, such as the Japanese government, license and regulate crypto exchange and services. In Japan, cryptocurrency has long been accepted as a means of payment in many outlets. In states with despotic regimes and an unstable economy, one of the few tools for the preservation and enhancement of assets is Bitcoin, for this reason in these countries the rate can differ greatly from the average market rate. The financial crisis and the instability of markets around the world continues to cause fear among people. In some countries want to ban circulation of dollars. Gold cannot be bought in the usual way and owners may experience some difficulties in working with it. Gold has long ceased to be a means of payment. The priority for us is the safe storage of cryptocurrency assets, maximum user convenience and integration, the popularization of the cryptoindustry in everyday life. In order for cryptocurrency assets to be used and an integral part of human activity, we want to form a stable market. At the moment, the capitalization of the entire market for a number of years fluctuates in the range of $ 100– $ 300 billion. The range of exchange operations ranges from $ 13-16 billion per day. The number of cryptocurrency assets represented on the markets is more than 2000 types. The dominance of the main cryptocurrency Bitcoin is in the range of 49-52% of the entire market. The tendency to reduce the main quotes scares potential investors, but this is not a reason for surrendering positions to a multi-million dollar audience of crypto enthusiasts. The reason why people continue to create new projects and new systems for exchange and transactional systems is the benefits they bring to humanity. In the market, as well as around the world, there are many unscrupulous developers who need to fight. We are engaged in creating and securing the credibility of the cryptoindustry so that the user can choose a reliable service or network, and not imposed by anyone. This is one of the fundamental aspects of a free community. The right of choice for the user, “the client is always right” is an integral part of the philosophy of the PORTBITX project. By the level of their responsibility, transparency, advanced thought, innovation, in the future, the work of PORTBITX will judge all cryptomir. The better we, PORTBITX work for the good of society, the more trust we have and the more users use the PORTBITX service. PORTBITX is part of a new culture, part of an ecosystem where the core value is reputation based on trust. This is a project where reputation is more important than money, and utility and service to people is more important than ostentatious hospitality and external gloss, and the safety of the assets of our project participants is more important than our profit indicators. Capitalization is growing steadily from year to year. At the beginning of 2017, the capacity of the crypto market was around $ 19 billion. Now capitalization has grown to $ 200 billion. The growth is colossal, but the market is still young and there will be many more challenges on the way to which all market participants will have to respond. And our participants will be the most prepared. The number of new blockchains and new projects is growing, and the number of participants in the crypto market is also growing. As a result, the attitude of people to the cryptoindustry is changing for the better, just like the cryptoindustry itself. In 2017, the known cryptocurrency assets were less than 800 species, but now their number has grown. Now on the market represented more than 2,000 species. Not all assets are honest, there are those whose purpose is to obtain short-term profits, which badly affects the reputation and trust in the cryptoindustry. But, if we recall the story of the beginning of our amazing world, then the price for one Bitcoin was $ 0.00000003. Since then, the situation in the cryptoindustry has changed dramatically.In the future, the cryptoindustry market is waiting for great popularity and that is why reliable and honest services for the storage and exchange of cryptocurrency assets like our project will be needed. Sharp volatility is such because the market is relatively young and has not reached even a tenth of its potential and capitalization. Therefore, the time in which we live is just a starting point. The world has already passed the Rubicon and there is a long and interesting road ahead. The potential market we can serve in the future is more than one billion users. Now this market is slightly less than 50 million users. Experts expect that in the future cryptocurrencies will replace the official fiat money.
PORTBITX is a digital portal for storing, exchanging and trading cryptocurrency assets, as well as a platform for selling goods and services for cryptocurrency. The service is managed by the community by voting. Voting topics are offered through a special application in the voting section. Service has three main areas. Secure storage of cryptocurrency. Secure storage of over 1500 different cryptoactive assets. Safety is ensured by safe cold the repository. The service itself is not directly connected to the repository to prevent the penetration of potentially dangerous programs. The security of user data in the service itself is protected by a local block chain. The entire database and operations are recorded on the principle of a distributed registry. Hacking one server should do this with hundreds of others located in different places. Mining in this block chain is not performed because all the costs of maintaining such security are borne by the service itself. The PORTBITX development team is fully responsible for the security of cryptocurrency assets and for the operation of the service. One of the most vulnerable links in the safety chain is the human factor (concerns not only users, but also developers). For this reason, it is necessary to double-check scenarios, conduct stress testing and carefully select personnel. Exchange This is a portal for exchanging all available cryptocurrency assets for any other. The number of assets available on the portal will be recorded in the blockchain for a reliable display of the volume, the number of wallets, users and information on all the operations performed since the launch of the main network will also be indicated in the blockchain. Any cryptocurrency asset can be exchanged for any other if it is in demand. The market decides for itself how and in what to trade. All exchange orders will be visible in online charts. Potentially, we will add more than 2,500,000 pairs to the portal, but not immediately, but in parts and as each cryptocurrency asset is checked. Also the choice for coins or tokens will always be behind the PORTBITX community. After each vote, all results will be published in the section “Voting” and on the official website of the service. The portal has a convenient interface and an open registry, i.e. users will be able to monitor and control the network with developers. Also, with certain voting results, there may be additions to the network.In the future, we want to release the service in free navigation and stop controlling the network. If we succeed, we will open source code and create jobs for miners. Marketplace Marketplace is valid for the sale of services and products for cryptocurrency. High-quality and convenient service. All transactions on the Marketplace are recorded in the main register of the local blockchain. A wide range of products available advertising products and services, two types of payment (with a guarantee and with a reputation) to choose from. The following portal functionality: Voting / referendum An important component of the PORTBITX portal is voting / referendum. A variety of topics and surveys can be submitted to a vote, directly related to the PORTBITX community and the portal itself. For example, changes in tariff rates, adding new tokens, adding new services and additions to the service. The right to vote is the right to decide the fate of the community, the right to find the best solution to the problems, the right to be free, honest and fair. One voice is 5000 PORTBITX. (this limit can be lowered if the community decides on a general vote). Since tokens can be sold on third-party services, they cannot automatically take part in voting. Also, all available tokens on the portal should be frozen for a period of voting that lasts no more than 24 hours, starting at 00:00 Central European Time. Tokens are frozen through the user’s personal account in the voting section.Persons who do not have enough tokens for voting, but having the right to profit PORTBITX have the opportunity to see the voting results, as well as to make their proposals for the next vote. Persons who do not have enough tokens for the right to vote and the right to profit will have the opportunity to group together for collective voting. Results and coverage of all voting results will be immediately published after the end on the portal’s main page. A vote is considered legitimate if a quorum gains 65% of the total number of votes. The decision on the outcome of the vote can be made if the number of those who agreed to 100% of those who participated in the vote is 60%. Voting can be repeated if uncrowded by a majority. In this case, the proposal will be revised. The deadline for a deferred vote may pass unplanned within two weeks after the end of the first vote. If, in the second ballot, the majority of votes will also not reach the bulk of 60%, then this issue will be postponed or canceled and will not be considered within the next 6 months. The right to vote is not just an opportunity to influence the portal, it is the will of the community that developers must obey. The right to profit The right to profit is obtained by freezing tokens through the user’s personal account for a period of at least one month. The number of tokens needed to make a profit of at least 1000 PORTBITX. The calculation of the distribution of profits are as follows. All profits from all services provided by the service for a certain period of time in the tokens in which the activity was performed are distributed in relation to all community members who have frozen the tokens directly on the service portal. The profit is distributed in the same currencies in which it was received on the service. In the event that the frozen asset of the PORTBITX tokens is defrosted ahead of time, then the profit it receives during this period will be distributed among the other participants whose tokens remain frozen. Participation in the project is proved by deed and rewarded, in all fairness. All profits, namely the estimated profits of users during and at the end of the period can be tracked and seen in the registry on the main page accessible to all interested parties. PORTBITX developers do not hide revenues and honestly share them with the community. Each user has the opportunity to check the registry and find their own account.Maximum openness and transparency is the key to trust and success of the service.
10 Road Map
Website creation ICO PORTBITX.com;
Conducting and forming a trust sheet (trust list is the journalists and investors who will participate in the ICO);
Stress tolerance testing;
Starting a Bounty Company;
1st stage ICO: Software;
Creation and improvement of software for the portal;
Testing and announcement of results in the form of a report, publicly;
Running a test version of the portal;
Launch of the 2nd Bounty Company;
2nd stage ICO technical equipment of the portal;
Technical equipment and process debugging;
Create mobile version;
Expansion of cryptocurrency pairs;
Launch of beta portal version;
Launch of the 3rd Bounty Company;
3rd stage ICO final part of the main project;
Creating a cryptocurrency exchange;
Creating an ecosystem (attracting entrepreneurs and trading companies to the project);
Creating a trading platform for entrepreneurs and freelancers;
Testing the trade portal;
Maximum expansion of cryptocurrency pairs;
Adaptation and testing of the mobile version;
Launch of a commercial portal for entrepreneurs and freelancers;
Launch of the mobile version of the portal;
Enhance user data security;
Official launch of the portal (second birthday).
11 Economy and Demand
All information on the movement of funds and their spending will be published on the official website of the company in a special reporting form. All actions performed by PORTBITX will be covered in the news section of the company’s website.The voting results and the timing of their holding, as well as the topics discussed for voting will be in the user’s personal account in the “voting” section.To date, only about 80 million people have a cryptocurrency, store it or use it in payments. Now there’s practically no way to find a person who hasn’t heard about bitcoin or blockchain at least once. The cause of mistrust is people who undermine the true face and good intentions of the founding pioneers of the cryptoindustry. The market is too small and hypervolatil, but this trend will continue only for some time, until the total market capitalization reaches 1 trillion. USD This milestone will further open the way to even more people who want to be part of the crypto world. A larger number of participants will make this market more stable and less prone to hypervolatility.Unfortunately, there are many scammers and individuals who undermine the basis of the industry, and its usefulness. Therefore, the PORTBITX development team creates a service safe for the safety of users’ funds. According to statistics provided by Blockchain.com from March 2018 to February 2019, the number of new users who registered new cryptocurrency wallets increased from 23 million to 33 million. Based on the data obtained, it can be concluded that there is a need for reliable storage of their cryptocurrency assets. The year 2019 is a preparatory platform for an even larger number of users, so we decided to create a portal for the ecosystem of the cryptocurrency industry.
12 Project Team
One of the important factors in the decision making for an investor is the transparency and fame of the team that works on the project. An investor can check team members, evaluate and decide on investments. The knowledge and experience of the team is a kind of guarantee that the project will be implemented, but as is often the case in real life, this may be far from reality. In the cryptoindustry, nothing can be 100% sure. Any ICO defaults to scam. If you have doubts about our decency, we suggest investing a small amount. By collecting the minimum amount, we will demonstrate in practice that we are credible, because our goal is to benefit the community. Founders of PORTBITX Co-founder and Technical Director Steve Man Co-founder and CEO of CharleySJ Director of Marketing and Public Relations MAD Phoenix Director of Methodology and Legal Support at PenA
The minimum capitalization of the project at the first stage is 1,450 ETH. The minimum total capitalization of the project will be 56,000 ETH. The maximum capitalization of the project can reach more than 160,450 ETH. Tokens will be issued in the amount of 143,258,928.57142. Share will be up to 8 decimal places. ICO is calculated in three stages. We create a product that meets modern requirements and market challenges. Additional issue is not provided. After the last stage of the ICO, all assets not sold will be destroyed. We initially limit the emission of tokens in order to avoid a large amount of excess asset. Being part of the PORTBITX community means having the privilege of voting and profit of the service. And that means – to understand the idea and share the philosophy of the cryptoindustry and with full responsibility to approach the decisions that will affect the community. The opportunity to receive a bonus will be among the participants of the Bounty campaign and among ICO investors, but by decision of the crypto community. Return of investment will be carried out in several ways. By obtaining distributed service profit Due to the possibility of selling a token at the market price, which can be ten times higher than the initial cost. The token will be based on the ERC20. The predicted price of a token at the end of an ICO can be about $ 3.7. The projected service revenue for the first year may be more than $ 500 million. Pricing can be changed if there is an ETH price manipulation before release. The news about the name and the release of tokens will be announced in the official news, so you should not give in to manipulation.
14 ICO Features
Jurisdiction: Blockchain The number of tokens is 143 million. On ICO 80.225 million On a bounty campaign of 14.3 million The developers and founders of 34.382 million, and the maintenance of the service 14.3 million. Distribution will be carried out automatically. The following fundraising is provided: Stage 1 – 1,450 ETH Stage 2 – 10,000 ETH Stage 3 – 149,000 ETH Pricing and limits 1st stage ICO 1 PBX = 0.002 ETH 1 ETH / 0.002 = 500 PBX 5 ETH / 0.0015 = 3 333.33333333 PBX 10 ETH / 0.001 = 10,000 PBX Rules of the first stage: The minimum amount to raise funds 1,450 Price is limited to pricing policy. Bounty company 6 million Refund in case of not reaching the minimum amount to raise funds 2nd stage ICO 1 PBX / 0.003 ETH 1 ETH / 0.003 = 333.33333333 PBX 5 ETH / 0.0025 = 2,000 PBX 10 ETH / 0.002 = 5,000 PBX 3rd stage ICO 1 PBX / 0.004 ETH 0.5 ETH / 0.004 = 125 PBX 1 ETH / 0.0035 = 285.71428571 PBX 5 ETH / 0.003 = 1 666.66666666 PBX 10 ETH / 0.0025 = 4,000 PBX
15 Legal aspects
Placement of the company – Blockchain. This is due to the fact that we approach the project with full responsibility and are aware of the consequences of our actions, as well as due to pressure from some states and their unfriendly policy to the cryptoindustry. Also, the service will not be present fiatnye currency, as their existence is not combined with the philosophy of our company. We will temporarily not specify the location of the company, as well as disclose the names of developers for the safety of their rights to life, health and freedom. Since we consider ourselves a free community, some data for the sake of security for the sake of this freedom will be hidden from outsiders. We guarantee a refund in case of unsuccessful first stage at 100% minus the miners commission. This is important because the tools incorporated in the first stage are necessary for creating the kernel and the subsequent imposition of software modules. We considered options for direct investment in the project from private investors, but since these investors could influence our strategy and policies, and since they could take some of the functions from the community, we decided to invest in our project as a community by Ico. The risk of investing in our project, of course, is great, but we want to build a really useful service for the industry as a whole and for each user of the service separately. Therefore, we enable the community to judge us by our work.
How to Hide Your Bitcoin - Opsec, Anonymity, Cold Storage, Brainwallet, Dexes and Non-Custodials . In an era of increasing economic uncertainty, surveillance, specialized cybercrime and hacking ... However, Bitcoin cold wallets, much to the disappointment of some, are mere paper notes, things or devices that are kept offline. They take the form of hardware wallets, paper wallets, USB sticks, encrypted data storage devices, ... Bitcoin cold storage might sound like storing your cryptocurrency inside of a fridge, but the reality is quite different.. When it comes to cryptos, hot and cold storages refer to the wallets that hold them. There are many different ways to store your Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency at that), so it might be confusing as to which methods are the best and which are the worst, especially if ... Paper wallets were very popular between 2011 and 2016, but their use is now being discouraged due to the many risks associated with it. Owing to the physical fragility of paper, they are subject to being damaged or destroyed fairly easily. It is also important to consider the security of the devices used to generate them, i.e., a clean computer and a printer that does not store file data after ... As outlined by the incomparable David Perry in his blog coding in my sleep, paper wallets are not “proper” cold storage because they do not provide an offline signing functionality – or in other words, they do not allow transactions to be completed without compromising the storage. To spend bitcoin from a paper wallet, you will need to import the private key to an online wallet. At that ... Binance; Paper Bitcoin Wallets (aka Cold Storage Wallet) Paper wallets are a piece of paper with a public address and the private address printed on them. You can use the public address to send any amount of bitcoins. You can then save the piece of paper as it also contains the private key which can be used to transfer/spend bitcoins or sweep the Bitcoin paper wallet completely to another ... Best Hot & Cold Bitcoin Wallets (Updated 2020) Author: ... It also has an option to create cold-storage paper wallets and also has integrations to the Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets. Recently we added a dedicated guide to Mycelium, follow this link. Jaxx – the Jaxx app offers a wide range of options: it can be used as both a web and an app wallet. Jaxx supports a wide variety of ... So-called “cold storage,” however, puts a wall between your digital assets and hackers. In this article, you will discover the best bitcoin cold storage options you can use to secure your crypto in 2020. Avoiding Theft with Cold Storage. When bitcoin is stored in a wallet that’s connected to the internet, it is exposed to cybercriminals ... Paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of saving cryptocurrency they are one of the most popular and cheapest options for keeping your bitcoins safe. It includes printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper and the keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. After that, you store the paper and save it in a ...
Safepal review: the Safepal S1 hardware wallet is a low-cost but feature-packed wallet to store your crypto off of an exchange. The wallet's development was invested in by Binance through their ... The Crypto Dad shows you how to buy Litecoin on Coinbase and move it to a Paper Wallet using GDAX to save on fees! Purchase crypto-currencies at your own ris... Binance giving America the cold shoulder? Or is Binance a blessing? Ionomy the peoples coin! Mr_Kristof. Loading... Unsubscribe from Mr_Kristof? Cancel Unsubscribe. Working... Subscribe Subscribed ... In this video I show you how to use Bitaddress.org to create a Bitcoin paper wallet to store your funds safely offline. NOTE - To have the highest level of s... The Coldcard Wallet enables Bitcoin users to have true cold storage and can be utilized with Wasabi Wallet and Electrum. This tutorial goes through setup, using the device with Wasabi wallet, and ... If you are new to Crypto, my suggestion is that you start with buying ~$150 worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin @ Coinbase and get familiar with storing it, moving it around, etc. Binance considered rolling back the Bitcoin chain in order to recover stolen funds. How would that have happened? How likely is it that such a recovery method would be executed in the future? Today I take a look at “Sentinel” – a watch-only Bitcoin wallet from the devs behind Samourai Wallet. It allows you to track paper wallets and accounts from your Ledger, Trezor, and other ... Paper Crypto Wallets Explained ... MrSotko CryptoCurrency 8,797 views. 9:27. 15$ Bitcoin Cold Storage Wallet - Duration: 5:00. Kingcolex 38,476 views. 5:00. How to Store Cryptocurrencies Safely ... Binance Academy 13,341 views. 6:03. How To Use A Bitcoin Hardware Wallet: Ledger Nano X - Duration: 39:02. BTC Sessions 45,266 views. 39:02. Bitcoin 101 - Getting Your BTCs out of Your Paper ...