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[Guide] How to make money in EFT
EDIT : Thanks to everybody for pointing out the few mistakes/improvements that can be made in this new-player level guide. For the sake of summarizing here : - Intel documents are NOT worth 250k. I didn't check them on the flea before writing this and for some reason I always remembered them at 250k. Game is in maintenance so I can't check the real price. That being said, it's still profitable to craft USB into Intel, it's just not x2 profitable. - Scav case : moonshine / intel docs, some people seem to say they've never been profitable. I personally *did not* measure those, I eyeballed it. I'm working on so much shit that I didn't bother. On average I think that I'm in a net positive, but it's as believable as people saying they're not : without proof we can't really say for sure. That bein said, it's certainly more profitable to run lower-tier scav runs that are *faster* when you're online, and to run a moonshine or intel when you log off. It's more efficient to get a lot of runs while you can re-start them every time. - Crafting moonshine : It's not profitable to spam it ; I was under the assumption that the average player who will read this will usually not play for 4-5 hours straight and will end up collecting yesterday's moonshine, craft a new one, and that's it. If that's you're rythm then yes, spam it. If you intend to play more than one craft worth's of time, then you will craft moonshine faster than you can spend it, and it's not really worth to sell it on the flea except to up your market reputation for a small loss (about 10k). So in short : craft moonshine to be able to start a moonshine run for when you log off, but you don't *need* more than that.
Check this out
Here is some actual data on the lavatory !! Hey everybody ! I know it can be a struggle to get a stable economy in this game, especially when you die a lot. Today I'm gonna try and give a few guidelines on how to make money safely, efficiently, fast, or in any other way we can think of. If you're struggling to stay above the 15-20 million rouble treshold, this guide is definitely for you. Very often I'll hear newer players say "Damn I can't seem to make money, I keep loosing. Every time I take gear I die instantly". There is some truth in that. Today I'll help you improve your survival rate, but most importantly I'll unbalance the other side of the equation. When you complain about losing a lot of money, I will help you spend less by a significant margin, as well as earn more. You'll also get rid of gear fera naturally. Remember this throughout this very, very long read : It all depends on how you want to play, and how much. Some of these tips will not fit how you want to play the game, and like Nikita always says : this game is supposed to be fun before anything else.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Moderate but very stable. Maxing your hideout should be one of your top priorities, probably before telling your mom how much you love her every now and then. If you're not doing either of those, the big gamer in you knows what to do. Early wipe, save your fuel for when you're online and playing. If you're playing, your generator should definitely be running and all your stations should be crafting something. Once you have Medstation 1, Workbench 1 and Lavatory 2, you really have no reason to turn your generator off when you're playing. Once you have the bitcoin farm, you should never turn off the generator. Medstation : Craft salewas and/or IFAKs permanently. They cost 8k and sell for 15k. That's a net profit of about 25k / hour for salewas, as well as never having to buy any. Lavatory : Always be crafting Bleach. If you have 2 empty blue fuel, use those empty cans to craft a Magazine case. You can then keep the magazine cases until you've enough for your liking and sell those for a good profit. The bleach you will use to buy the 6B47 helmets which are better than the SSh-68 helmets. Buying from 2x bleach barter at ragman level 1 means you get the helmet for 18k (instead of 33k on the market). This helmet has better head coverage, less slow/negative effects, less weight, has a slot for a mount, has +11 ergonomics AND is cheaper than the 22k SSh-68. That being said, it has a slight noise reduction that the Ssh does not have. If you wear headphones I'd say this is negligible but debatable. I prefer to have the extra protection and ergonomics for sure, considering it's slightly cheaper. You can also barter for that helmet and instantly sell it back for a profit (five times) and level up ragman money requirements. Bleach can also be traded for the Blackjack backpack at level 4, as well as the TTV rig at level 2. You should definitely do it. Sell excess bleach on the flea market when the prices are around 10.5k or more. (around midnight Central European Time). Workbench : You can buy Power Cords and craft Wires forever and always make a profit. Buy in the morning and sell in the evening for better profits (CET timezone). For even more profit, you can craft gunpowders and ammo which tend to also be ridiculously pricy at night. Buying grenades from Peacekeeper and crafting green (Eagle) gunpowder is a good way to make a lot of money and level up Peacekeeper. Intel Center : You main objective is to get this one to level 3 for reduced fees and better quest rewards, but also access to the bitcoin farm at level 2. If you need FiR for quests, craft that. When you're done craft Intel Documents at all times (buy the USB), and use it for scav case or sell for a x2 profit. ( 3x40 for USB = 120, documents sell for 250) Bitcoin Farm : Once you have it, spend all your money on GPU until its maxxed, then level it up even more. The BTC farm is definitely worth it. At 50GPU you need to connect every 15 hours to clic. If you can't, keep it level 2 and connect every 24 hours to clic. Even at level 1 its worth. But its much, much faster at higher levels. From 0 to 50 GPUs it takes about 30 days to pay for itself. GPUs should not be sold until you maxxed it. Water Collector : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Booze Generator : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Scav Case : Always have it running on moonshine, and use intel documents once you're done crafting one. Nutrition Unit : It's not really worth crafting sugar to put in the Booze gen, as the price for chocolate is pretty much = the price of sugar. So buy the sugar instead and craft something else. I tend to craft Hot Rods when the prices are good (morning) and then use them to barter 5.45 BS Ammo with Prapor or sell for a profit. If you do all that, you should have about 150k an hour fairly easily. Don't forget to check it between every raid.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Quite good. Once your mom has received all the love she deserves and your hideout is taken care of, you should have max traders (traders are a requirement for most of the hideout anyway). Traders level 4 will net you much better prices on most mods and open very good barter trades. Buy as much as you can from barter trades. You can buy almost everything from it, and it's usually at least 25% cheaper to buy the requirements and then do the barter. Ragman4 has the CPC Armored Rig which is level 5 armor, you'll get it for about 200k instead of 250k on the flea. The Slick is also much cheaper. The Blackjack backpack is literally half priced. You can also NOT use what you barter and just sell it back to a dealer (sometimes the same from which you bartered) for a profit as well as having 2 times the loyalty money increase (from bartering then from selling). Another good example is buying a Recbat 14k from the market, getting an ADAR for skier, selling it to Mechanic and winning 8k just like that. You can find every single barter that nets a profit yourself and just buy-resell and you'll probably make another 100k every reset, if you really are struggling and have the patience. I personally advise to just use the equipment for yourself unless you're levelling traders, but I wouldn't go as far as buying all profitable items every reset. Every trader at every level has good barters. You can make a full decent kit at level 1 traders for about 40k roubles on barter, instead of 90 if you buy it all. (Paca for masks, helmet for bleach, ADAR for recbatt, salewa from craft, backpack, etc. all barters) Bleach is beautiful and is coveted in the real world for its ability to cure diseases.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very profitable. Don't mod out of your reach. Don't mod Meta. If money is an issue for you, having +1 ergo won't change your life. For example, Priced at 10k roubles Priced at 45k Roubles See where I'm going with this? If you have money, sure, go for the Shift. If you wanna have fun and try, sure, go for it as well. But if you're struggling, buy 4 cobras and mod 4 guns for the price of 1% recoil which will not make you a gamer god anyway. Also, do NOT buy mods from the flea market when you see you can buy them from traders. Look at the top of the market, if the mod is greyed out, look at the price. It means you don't have access (yet). If the price is too inflated for you, find another mod. There are always other mods. You can make 2 AKMs that have a difference of 2% recoil and 4 Ergonomics and have a 150k price difference. It's up to you. When money is the issue, this was the answer. Note : Some guns are inherently much more expensive. Guns shooting 5.56 or 5.45 tend to be more expensive than 7.62. AKMs are VERY good budget guns. They're a bit harder to handle, but you can get a fully modded AK for 150-200k, where as you will have an entry level M4 for that price. 7.62 PS ammo is also incredibly cheap while being decent. Play 7.62 if you're struggling with money. It's not meta, but it's far more than enough, trust me. You'll rarely lose fights exclusively because you had PS ammo in an AKM. Rarely.
How much you usually extract with, on average, per map
How much you usually go in raid with, on average, per map
These will help us measure how much you fuck up or not. Lets make it simple. If you have a 500k loadout and you usually extract with 100k, at 10% survival rate, that means you will spend 500k x 10 = 5.000.000 roubles over 10 raids on average, die 9 times, and earn 100k once. This very obvious example shows the loss. Basically we're gonna try and balance that equation so that you never lose money on average. You'll have ups and downs obviously, but over a week or two, it'll smooth things out for you, like math always does in a pleasant conversation with a girl. So what can you do to improve that equation ?
4.1 Improve survival rate
Seems simple enough, DIE LESS. You do not need to be good, smart, or special to die less. If you die a lot, do something different. If you die less, try more of that. Explore statistical advantages through different gameplay. What can you do to die less practically? Here is a list of checkboxes you can tick depending on your money, skill, mood, or any other factor like the map and sheer luck:
Fight from a bigger distance. People miss more from far (so will you, but killing less is irrelevant when you want to die less)
Fight with better gear (supressed, better armor, better ammo, etc.). Its expensive, but it technically helps
Don't fight at all. Avoid fights, run away from gunshots. 99.3% of people who didn't get shot survive a raid.
Wait more, play slowly. If you go with the flow of players, you'll be with the players. Avoid that "wave" and stay behind it. When you come across players trying to extract to where you spawned, hide.
Play with friends if you have any. If not, your mom loves you and so do I. I do coaching so do a lot of other decent players, look it up.
Whenever you die, look at what killed you. Did you take a risk ? Did you lack skill ? Were you out of position ? Were you unlucky ? Try to be as OBJECTIVE as possible even in the frustration. It's pretty much always your fault if you died, avoid toxicity and learn something from that instead. If you took a fight with good gear and ammo and just lost, its probably skill/positioning. It's fine. Learn the game, fight differently, and with time it'll get better. If you were in the open, don't go in the open. If you were sprinting in the middle of interchange and got ambushed, well. Don't do that. Learn.
Do all that, it'll give you a LOT of data to actually improve by just doing something different without really being fastestronger, just smarter. And I repeat : you can do some of it, all of it, it depends on what you like, what you're comfortable with, and the time/investment you're putting in the game. It's okay to play at your own pace.
4.2 Reduce gear cost
The second part of our "profit equation" above is how much gear you take with you. Using previous tips, reduce that cost. Barters, cheaper mods, etc.
4.3 Increase extracted value
This one is not as tricky as it sounds. Basically there are two ways to extract with more money in the backpack :
Know what/where to loot
Have a bigger backpack.
The goal is to pay for the gear you will loose when you die while making a profit on top. That one time you extract if you have a MBSS backpack, you'll need items worth like 50k per slot to break even. If you take a tri-zip, suddenly it's only 30k per slot. If you take a blackjack and blackrock from good old ragman, suddenly it's 10k per slot. So you can break even by looting crickents and DVD players almost. See where I'm going ? Always take a tri-zip or bigger unless you're doing something special. That way you can afford to loot shitty areas, take less risk, and survive more while having a little less value. We'll cover that in a minute, but there are ways to loot high value items, moderate value and low value. Those have also different risk/reward. All of those are also map specific. In woods I'll often go with a 6B3TM armored rig for 40k, no helmet, 20k headphones and a sniper rifle. Rest is pouched so does not count. That's less than 100k investment. All players tend to have low value gear so I never extract with a lot either so it balances out. But on Woods, my survival rate is 20% instead of my overall 40%. So I know it's not a map I can reliably make money on, because I measured that accurately over time. This example is very common and should make sense to you. Same goes for interchange where I have more about 50% survival but will tend to go in with 600k worth of gear, but will also often extract with over 500k quite regularly. Different ratios, different values, different purposes. You can measure your own data if you're willing to do so, or you can eyeball it. Eyeballing it is much faster but very inaccurate because you will tend to include emotions in the mix when you die. You'll remember losses ~2x more than your wins (that's somewhat scientifically proven), and if you're eyeballing your loadout you might think you have 600k but really you might have only 450k. I would advise to go hardcore and measure it all for price, initial loadout, losses and earnings, for each map.
5. Money runs
Now money runs are vast and numerous. All include different levels of risk and reward. It's up to you once again to find what you're willing to do for the time it takes, the fun it will give you and how much it will actually help you. You can always try them all for ~50 raids the sake of trying something different and see how your data is impacted. it doesn't have to be 50 in a row if you don't want to. As long as you keep track of it it can be over a whole wipe. You'd have your data ready for the next wipe :) Faster is better though.
5.1 Hatchling runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very Variable. Mentally exhausting. Those are incredibly money efficient. You're investing a gear of 0 value, so whatever you extract with is 100% win, so you cannot possibly lose money that way. Is it fun? Is it rewarding? I don't care, to each is own. Statistcally speaking, hatchling runs are an efficient way to make money. They do however require a little bit of knowledge, but not skill. You'll be much more efficient at doing these kind of runs if you know where to go, what to look for, and how to get there depending on your spawn. That being said, such knoweldge is easily found ; it's nothing complex, it just takes time to learn. Once again, depends on how much you're willing to invest (if not roubles, time).
5.2 Scav runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Low-ish Scav runs are also incredibly efficient for the same reason as hatchlings. Except those have a cooldown. Statisticall speaking I have noticed you should always run your scavs as fast as possible on the map where you extract both the fastest and most frequently. The explanation is simple, lets make it simpler : The scav is a button that makes you earn free money. When you press it the button becomes unpressable for some time, when you release the button you earn money (sometimes). That means you want to release the button as often as possible. And for that, you need to release it as fast as possible. It's that simple. So make scavs incredibly fast. I'm talking "Run through" fast. Unless you're looking for FiR items or doing something specific like annoying a streamer, you should literally run straight to the extract every single time, and loot what you have that doesn't make you go out of your way too much. Usually I suggest factory, go in, kill a random scav, loot it, get out. Two weapons is at LEAST 50k, 100 if they have a scope. There you go. That's 100k every 20 minutes (or less with intel center). That's MUCH BETTER than going up to 150-200k but taking 30 minutes to extract, and taking more risk by spending more time in the map. Every second you're in someone can shoot. Nobody can shoot you in the hideout. The exception to that rule is Scavs with a pilgrim which you can take on your favourite loot-run map, probably interchange or reserve. There you should just fill everything you can and extract once you're full, no matter what you have. 30 crickents and an extra gun is fine.
5.3 Stash runs
Safety Score : Very Reward : Okay Those are very very safe and can be done with a pistol and a backpack only. Very cheap, quite unchalleneged, for a moderate reward. Just go on a map that you like and run around and loot all stashes until you're full, then get out. You can vary the map/route depending on the traffic of players. Interchange and shoreline are good contenders for that. It'll net you easy money. Not great money, but definitely safe.
5.4 Loot Runs
Safety Score : Moderate Reward : Quite alright Once you have better knowledge/skill you can start having a specific route in a specific map, depending on a specific spawn. So it'll take time to learn. Usually very similar than a hatchling run except this time you bring moderate gear and go for moderate loots. For example, instead of going for fast techlight, in-and-out interchange, you can decide "alright I'll loot 100% of Oli and the computers in the back", it'll take time, but it'll make good loot. More money than stashes, definitely will see scavs to kill, and most probably some more pvp. More risk. If you win that PvP you have even more loot as well. But overall good reward. Loot runs need to be "scheduled" and thought of after several tries, so you know how much you can take per person depending on backpack size. For example you can't say "lets loot oli" if you have a 5-man with blackjacks, you'll all be empty. Adapt.
Safety Score : Insane Reward : Unreliably moderate This one is pretty obvious. Very risky, unpredictable rewards. Usually better than loot runs when you survive. I won't elaborate on this, because if you're reading this far you're probably struggling in PvP. And the rest of this guide already covers a fair bit.
Safety Score : "Meh" Reward : Very profitable. Now this is very, very important. Always insure your gear. Always. If you die you will get stuff back, pretty much for free. If you're really struggling people won't loot your "trash", so you WILL get it back. If you play in a group it's very likely that people will hide your stuff too. And most importantly : you can insurance fraud. This is the best way to balance the equation we talked about earlier. If you find a decent-ish gun, replace yours. You drop your initial investment by a significant margin, you will definitely get it back, and if you extract it's a flat profit. Weapons don't take inventory slot, so if you have two weapons that are not yours initially they will usually pay for your whole gear. I have quite often left my super-mega-modded HK just for an average M4 or other weapon that I can fight with, just so I can reduce my investment by 350k and up my reward by like 200k instantly. Replace your headphones all the time too, that's an easy -30+30k, same with helmets. even if it's a bit broken or slightly worse. If you're struggling with money, try to leave every raid with at least 3-4 pars of your equipment that aren't yours initially. But value the risk behind this. I won't leave my slick for a Paca at the third minute of a raid just to have that extra 28k. I won't leave my meta-modded HK for a naked mosin. But if it seems decent/doable, do it. It will pay off. Because even if you die, you still get your shit back, and gun is usually the most expensive part of the gear.
7. Final notes
It's all about balance. Find what works *for you* and try shit out. Really, try. You'll die, you'll learn, you'll adapt with data to back that up. I find it crazy that people will die and not try to learn from it. That's how you will improve as a player. First you gotta get smarter, then you'll get better. And with time, skill, mechanics, gamesense, all that will improve on the side. Earning more will snowball in your favour. And if you know you're statistically okay, you will have a much smaller gear fear and enjoy the game more. Sorry for the wall of text, you guys should be used to it with me by now :D I made these guides in video but not in english, so here I am typing it all for you guys. Enjoy :)
Edit: Currently writing a new version of this, dont know when it will be done. Edit: Since first post I have updated a few sections with additional information. I recommend reading it all even if it is very long, I might have placed some relevant info in different sections while thinking about what else needed to be added, plenty of steps remains mostly the same except when I comment directly on it. It is not necessary to do 100% security all the time, unless you absolutely need it, combining some high and some lower security ideas for a balance of security and convenience is useful. I will base this mostly on Windows, Linux users probably know this, and I have no idea how apple machines work (tho many things in here are still relevant for other operating systems, as they are just general tips) Disclaimer: There are certainly other steps that can make you more anonymous or safer, however I think for most people this will surfice. Any software I recommend should be independently verified for security, and examples of software are not to be taken as endorsements. I simply use examples and give recommendations when I believe it necessary, or helpful. I will not really differentiate between anonymity and security, they are often the same thing. As such the word security can mean either more anonymous, less vulnerable, or both. -------- Everyday Simple Info Sec:
Password for the device is an obvious one (8+ characters minimum, best if over +12), if there is sensitive information on any of the drives, either encrypt the entire drive or just the sensitive files, and make encrypted backups on a different memory storage device (There many programs to encrypt files and drives I'm sure a search will figure it out)
-There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password
Always use the device on a non admin account
a VPN that doesn't log (use with kill switch on, should be enough for everyday stuff, more safe stuff in the high security section) (VPNs that claim they don't log sometimes do, it's bad, but I would like to point out that not using a VPN will always expose your traffic to your ISP and also remove additional encryption. Even if the VPN tracks, there is no downside because your ISP would track anyways, and VPNs can be more anonymous, and also add extra encryption)
disable location tracking (preferably make all your privacy setting to release minimal info, get rid or cortana, change privacy settings in all of your accounts as well, there's no reason why you should allow Facebook to give you target ads. Use the setting they give you.
TOR, Firefox or similar browser, stay the fuck away from Google Chrome.
your preferred search engine should be duckduckgo (other privacy focused search engines exist as well)
use an adblocker that also prevents the adding of tacking cookies
Use pgp with all your friends or messaging services that implemented end to end encryption (Implemented services can still be bypassed, but are way more convenient so for everyday use they should suffice, some examples should be Telegraph, Signal, WhatsApp etc) (more info on pgp in high security section)
(Snapchat msgs, reddit dms, discord msgs, are just a few examples of msgs that are never encrypted) -Any info even send in encrypted msgs (and obviously non encrypted) should still be kept with possible deniability, don't say "I'm gonna do MDMA", say "I'm going out with molly."
use software (like ccleaner) that purges cookies and other data after every use, before shutting down your device
use a virus scanner daily (I like spy bot Search and destroy, many other options also exist)
never use the same password/passphrase twice (I will address what passphrase are below) (Better yet use randomized passwords that are stored in a master key chain, make them as long as possible (tho it is okay to go with the minimum of 12 never go below 7, I recommend 15+ depending on how often you have to manually enter the password instead of copying/pasting it) Don't generate too long keys for things you need to access regularly without copy/paste, except your master key ring)
its ideal to never use the same email or username as well, especially username, email is obviously tricky and also very annoying, but it would be best to always change the email.
-DO NOT STORE ANY PASSWORDS ON GOOGLE, IF GOOGLE LOGIN IS AUTHENTICATED IT WILL AUTFILL ALL PASSWORDS IT HAS SAVED (same with other similar services) (This means if you are logged in to chrome and someone has access to your machine, they can auto fill passwords without entering a single password) -use a rememberable passphrase, especially for your master key ring aka password manager A long sentence that is memorable makes an okay password (decent example,: "I met my wife at Little Ceasers for the first time on 07/09/20" better even if it's just something you know, if its impersonal, and if you can add special characters or numbers that you won't forget) (A better example for a passphrase is: "There is 0nly 0ne letter that d0esn’t appear in any U.S. state nameQ")
for your main password manager(key ring), I highly recommend Keepass 2, make backups of the file save to separate devices and drives (Flash drives, phone, PC, laptop, etc, if you loose that file, you lose all of your passwords) (Other good password managers exist as well, I don't recommend online password managers as you lose the control over passwords)
-Purge your internet activity frequently, there's a reason why I only have one post, and a few comments appearing in my account, but thousands of kama. Exposing information needlessly is not good. -Never post private information publicly, and if you do, do it vaguely as possible. (Example: Not "I'm 15", say "I'm a teenager") Do not post any vital information ever, no birthdays, mother's maiden name, age, or anything you have ever seen in a security question. Never post your current activities while they are ongoing. You going on a vacation? Don't announce it to the world, taking picture there? Post them when you are home.
Any account that is supposed to remain anonymous and as secure as possible should only be used on secured devices. A unsecured device can link you to the account.
always shutdown your machine when leaving it (To prevent access, and to prevent a possible attack vector)
2 factor factor authentication is not great anymore. Unless you can do it over a anonymous source. A cell phone is usually directly connected to you, so it is not a anonymous device. There might still be secure/anonymous 2 factor authentication methods that won't expose you, for example over a secure email. (If there is 2FA that doesn't need a device that removes anonymity and is secure, use it.) (Please don't misunderstand, 2FA is great, however it can remove the anonymity that you worked hard to establish)
-Rethink how you do security questions. Many answers to security questions can be found in your internet history. One could use the first word of the security question as an answer, or a different sceme that will mean you always remember it. (Security question need to go, the amount of personal info an average person puts on the internet makes it easy to attack anything using security question) -------_ High level crimimal information security: The motto here is, "All the Security, All the Time" As one fuck up can end with you leaving a lick of traceability, and you could be fucked. Pre Note: All of your software should always be up to date. Also even perfect info sec does not guarantee you are completely safe, a new zero day (exploit) can still fuck you, but good info security makes you significantly safer, by eliminating as many attacks as possible. -Get a new device (or make a already owned device seem like you never owned it, do this only if you know how to, there's a lot of stuff that goes into that, like changing your mac adress etc) buy with cash, and your face covered, preferably far away from where you live. (Do I need to specify to not bring your phone or anything else that tracks your location to anywhere you want to go anonymously?) (Be aware that even hardware can have vulnerabilities, many cpus have known vulnerabilities, I can't list them all, do some research before buying)
Do not EVER use a high security device at any lower level of security. There are unique identifiers to your device, exposing them once can expose you for everything you do.
-If you know how to use Tails (A linux distro designed for Info sec) use that, preferably on a USB. (Or learn how to use tails, its better, but complicated) Otherwise a clean copy of windows (make sure its not in any way associated with you) can do the job too, tho not as well. (Using a VM might give extra security, since VMs usually erase all data and RAM they were using on shutdown) -Get a non tracking VPN, Enable the kill switch (a setting that disables all traffic that doesn't go through the VPN) (change your firewall settings to only allow the traffic from the VPN, windows guide (Change settings so only traffic from the tor application is send) Edit: (Due to complaints: do not use vpn over tor, use tor over vpn. tor over vpn has no notable downside, if the VPN logs it makes no difference, your ISP will always log anyways, and vpns remove other attack vectors and also provide backup security should tor fail. Again even if the VPN tracks you only change the people doing the tracking, but now you are further removed making it more anonymous and also with less vulnerabilities) -rember privacy settings, cookie cleaner, and antivirus, password (There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password) -Always use the device on a non admin account
-Ideally use this device only on networks that are not connected with you. Such as public networks (try to never use the same public networks twice, move around) (a home network should be fine now, as it should never be exposed, but more security is always better) (Its just a conveniences vs security trade) -Never use accounts that have been exposed to lower security on higher security machines -your browser is now TOR (or your preferred security focused browser, if you dont plan on using onion ) Make sure you get the standalone version of tor not the addon build (the standalone is safer, because there are less settings and options to tweak) -Change your tor settings, to safest mode, enable a bridge (to my knowledge there's no difference in security between the build in bridges in tor), enable automatic updates, set duckduckgo onion as your primary browser. Set dark.fail onion page as your home page. (Or your preferred privacy search engine and onion directory)
set up a new pgp (can't use the same one you use for regular use, again less safer accounts are never used on safer devices) Cleopatra is my choice, its simple to use. Make sure you back up the private key multiple times, on safe devices. (Dont let the private key fall into anyone's hands) Give it a generic name like "HighSecurityPGP" do not give the pgp key pair a name that could identify you. (No initials etc) (Some pgp key pair programs want an associated email for a key pair, you can create a safe email, or which I recoend you can use a different program (like Cleopatra) (Feds & LEOs are known to copy private keys if they have your machine, so you will need to set up a new key pair if they ever take a device with a private key copy)
a high security machine that facilitates criminal activity can not use many programs. Many programs collect your devices mac adress, which is a unique identifier, amongst other things. It's should be used only for the activity you want to do.
-------_ How to use dark net markets (DNMs) If you finished your High Security setup, we can dive right in. Otherwise go do that. This is where all that is essential. Quick info on Tor, and onion sites. There is no search engine. It's all based of directories and addresses you are given by others. Tor will likely not be very quick, it has to pass through multiple networks to get to the destination. DNMs sometimes exit scam, an exit scam is when a market shuts down completely and takes all the money, this is a risk when using DNMs, it's not too common but happens maybe 0-4 times a year. The admins of thoese servers need to get out at some point, before they get jailed, so they exit the game, and scam everyone out of their money. -A very useful onion directory is dark.fail it has a lot of links, for all kinds of stuff. News, email, DNMs, Psychonautwiki (harm reduction website), forums etc. (Other directories also exist) -Pick a market, preferably one that handles secure connection server side instead of requiring you to establish the secure connection. Then create an account. Your account once created should include an entry box in your profile for a pgp key, post your PUBLIC key in there. (Verify the link is not a scam, most markets should provide a pgp signature) -Next is currency setup. All major cryptocurrency exchangers can be used, I can recommend coin base but there could be better ones out there. Unless you find a small non U.S., exchange, they will always ask for your identity. So unless you can find a trustworthy exchange that doesn't ID, you will need to give it to them. (Side note, all major crypto exchangers report to the IRS, if the IRS asks you if you bought cryptocurrency and you bought while having IDed yourself SAY YES, DO NOT COMMIT TAX FRAUD WHEN THEY KNOW YOU DID)
I recommend using Monero, it's hard to track, so it makes your job a lot easier. (If you use bitcoin you should run it through a scrambler, because BTC is tracable to anyone who knows what they are doing)
-Transfer (monero you can send directly, btc you should scramble) to your wallet. There are two options a cold wallet (physical) or a software wallet. Software wallets usually dont cost anything so I recommend them, even if often less safe. Electrum is easy to use, and pretty safe. You can also do your own research and find a wallet that fits your needs.
decide where you want to ship it. You can send to your home, to a PO box, to a PO box that you opened with a fake ID (I don't recommend), an abandoned house, general mail (sending to a post office instead of a street adress) pickup up with fake ID, use a remailing service. These are some options, sending it to your own home, isn't ideal, but its pretty much the only easy way.
-now you are ready to buy, only buy using escrow (it means the money is held by the market as a middle man until the product is delivered, they will also handle any issues like wrong quantity, cuts, etc), judge the reviews for a product, and if available look at the history of the vendor, until you find a product from a vendor you trust. (I recommend to buy within your country as much as possible, so it doesn't go through customs, it's very rare that something is found, but it can happen) -now you get to buy, depending on market, you either have cryptocurrency stored in their wallets (not recommend, you will lose it in an exit scam) or you can send it every order. When you send your delivery adress (or the one you want it to go to) encrypt the adress using the sellers public key. Make sure the adress is correct. -wait for the product, make sure to extend the escrow until the product arrives, if you can't extend it anymore dispute the order, and a moderator will step in -test the product, use it, and leave a review. PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW, DNMs only work because of reviews. Edit: Didn't imagine I would write over 15000 words. Oh well, it was fun. Hope it helps, if you have any questions feel free to ask. No idea how long this will stay up, I might purge it in 7 days, or never.
I feel like sharing these thoughts because I’m having a contemplative evening and they’re coming together really nicely right now. I think having a currency, be it physical money or even a virtual currency like bitcoin or anything along those lines turns humans against themselves by making them betray their very own nature. Here’s a simplified and true example. Condensed. Scientists taught monkeys to use a currency. One of the first things that happened is a female monkey had sex with a male monkey and used the earned currency to buy a grape. So within about one day of monkeys having money the first monkey prostitute was born. You’re welcome and have a nice day. How does money turn is against our own nature? It’s a simple trick of our reward system. It’s the psychology behind money that keeps it going. Without the thought behind it it’s just useless inedible paper, metal or a bunch of tiny bits of information on a hard drive. Human reward systems are wired to go after the things that give us the greatest perceived reward and to spend the least amount of effort possible doing it. In nature, if you have two options, eat the apple that just fell on the ground in front of you or swim across a river to eat a grape on the other side, you will pick the apple on the ground. Why? Because the apple is a bigger reward and requires less energy. If you kept swimming across rivers to eat things on the other side instead of eating what’s right in front of you, you would put yourself at greater risk of drowning and eventually drown, starve or both. So our minds are geared towards finding the simplest solution. We’re also geared towards solutions that solve the most amount of problems with the least effort. For example we could keep wearing fur coats and walking around in the bush and keep getting wet and cold and making a fire to stay warm...toughing it out every day...getting attacked by predators. Or we could build a shelter and solve all of our wet and cold problems forever...and then also not have to worry about predators while we sleep. Although building a shelter requires more energy initially, you do it once and most problems are solved. So we will pick options that require more energy if the reward is greater. When our brains logical center picks up on the fact that we have done something that was easier and worked out better for us they will release chemicals that make us feel good. The reward for surviving a night in the forest is good. But the reward for building a shelter is much greater. More dopamine. That’s the reason people get hooked on crack. You do very little and you get a massive dopamine boost. Your mind learns that this minimal effort gives you the biggest perceived reward...and it keeps going. Why not? Less effort, massive reward. It’s in your nature. It’s how evolution favoured us for millions of years. It never changed. So what does this have to do with money? Money is a dopamine shortcut. You acquire money. The perceived reward of the money is much greater than the perceived reward of anything else. Your mind clues in like this: “Wait? There is something called money and all I have to to is get enough of it and ALL my needs will be met because I can buy anything I want?” That’s the biggest dopamine reward possible without inducing a chemical into your brain. Money = All Needs Met Our brains are meant to get tunnel vision when there’s an opportunity for a reward. That’s how they work. That tunnel vision is meant to blind us to the adversity we will have to face to get the reward. For example, if you are at the base of a cliff and you haven’t eaten for two days, but at the top of the cliff you can see that there is enough food to last you a year, you’re going to climb that cliff. You will set aside your fear of heights. You will set aside your hunger and aching muscles. You will pump up adrenaline and you will climb that cliff. Your body will numb the pain in your hands and feet from the sharp rocks. And you get to the top of that cliff. And you’re set for a whole year. If it wasn’t for the tunnel vision because you perceived a reward, you wouldn’t have climbed that cliff. This is all perfect in a natural environment. But we also evolved a special part of our brain that uses all kinds of logic and worst of all allows for abstract thinking. Suddenly, vague concepts in our brain can seem just as real as reality itself. This was meant to enable us to problem solve. So that if there is a problem, the perceived solution creates the same focus and tunnel vision and enables us to get things done. Let’s say I am hungry. I find some food. But it’s honey. It’s inside of a beehive. All that exists in reality is me and the bees that will sting me as I approach. But then my mind will create an alternate reality in a sense. It starts throwing abstract concepts around until it finds a solution that works. It presents the solution to the reward system the same way that that the senses themselves are hooked up to it. Suddenly, I see myself lighting a fire and smoking out the bees and eating the honey. This now seems just as real to me as reality itself. It takes that solution and tells me “if you do this you will get your dopamine reward”. The mirage in my mind that shows me the solution by meddling with the part of my brain that processes my senses blinds me a bit to other sensory input because it has to take up that space in the brain to create a fake reality in the hopes it will become real. It’s a phenomenon that’s been proven over millions of years to work. It’s what gives humans an edge over most animals. Instead of just instinct, theres now a processing edge that takes in a ton of data and performs advanced risk vs reward calculations and tells us what to do. It’s better than instinct. Instead of fight or flight, there’s now focused intention. It works. So I light a fire and smoke out the bees ignoring the odd minor sting because I know this is sure to work and I will get my honey in the end. So now we are a species that is meant to specifically expend energy to problem solve ways to best meet the most of our needs as easily as possible. And we have a currency that exists as a social concept that presents a solution to rapidly meet all our needs. We also have a reward system that will easily justify making sacrifices to meet our needs. This is a massive problem. A reward as great as money doesn’t exist in nature. However it exists as an abstract concept in our head that carries just as much weight in our decision making as something that exists for real. And the abstract concept presents a perceived reward far greater than anything we could attain from out environment. Basically, money only exists as an abstract concept. But our brains are wired to work with abstract concepts as if they were real because it enables our survival and is a part of how our thoughts work. So at some point in everyone’s life they are exposed to the abstract concept of money through language. The language creates thoughts that enable us to fall into a dopamine trap looking for a reward thats greater and requires less effort to attain. So now our brains do what they do best. They generate a strong focus. They get tunnel vision. They prepare your body and mind to go through the hurdles necessary to attain a reward. And worse, our minds reprioritize. In the example with the cliff, reprioritization plays a role. Normally avoiding heights and not cutting myself is high up on my list if things I want to avoid. We are wired to avoid pain. But the years worth of food creates a reprioritization. Suddenly a couple cuts don’t seem like a big deal. The thought of falling to my death, a risk normally avoided at all costs, suddenly is an afterthought in the quest for food. In the example with the cliff though there are limitations. There’s an upper limit to how far it will go. So if the rocks turn out to be way too sharp or it’s seemingly impossible to climb, I will look for a way around it and it all else fails give up and look for food elsewhere. But once inna while I will think of the cliff and maybe come up with a solution some day. But with money because we aren’t aware of it for what it really is and we haven’t given much thought to it, it basically slowly corrupts us. Every time we get money we get a dopamine hit. The more money we get, the bigger that dopamine hit is. The more we get the reward, the more the behaviour we chose to acquire it is reinforced. Just like the example with the beehive. I got the honey. I’ll remember it and find another beehive later. It just works. This is good for survival. We remember that getting money worked. We will do it again. Especially once we have experienced the moment of spending it and seeing that it does in fact work and that other people are all in on the secret. And because money gives us the greatest reward possible, we will go after it harder than we will go after everything else. The reprioritization and tunnel vision this causes are the biggest problem. The more money you get, the more you repeat the cycle, the more of a cash junkie you become. Why do addicts lie, cheat, steal, neglect their kids and ruin their lives? Because their minds have reprioritized to a bigger hit of dopamine by getting it the easiest way possible. It’s the same with money. But almost worse because it actually does work. And the reward is bigger. But the reprioritization seems to know no bounds. Here is the evil this brings into the world. It creates a conflict of interest. Everyone is out to get money as their primary goal. Or almost everyone. Only those who are intelligent and see through the dopamine trap tend to avoid it. And they usually end up cast aside by society because the society has reprioritized money over these individuals health and happiness. We reprioritize our own children out of our lives. Suddenly we can justify making them go to school with complete strangers and we honestly don’t know what their day is like. But it’s okay because the money we’re making solves all problems after all. It can solve their problems too that’s why they have a college fund. So we raise lonely damaged kids who will have money and no happiness and we go against our own nature. Naturally mothers and fathers are wired to spend 100% of their time with their children and take them with them unless they are doing something dangerous. We now to against out own wiring and dehumanize ourselves and our children because money is around the corner. Let’s say you have to get therapy. The fact that the therapist, who is supposed to be helping you, earns money to help you creates a conflict of interest. They will have a dopamine system that naturally drives them to want to earn more money. Which means instead of helping you the best they can, they will want to help you in a way that earns them the most cash. To the point where if you go through a crisis and need help the most but can’t pay because you’re short rent, they will literally sever a 2 year long relationship when you’re in your biggest time of need. Sadly, money has taken priority over actually helping the client. Lets say a police officer responds to your call for help. If it’s something that is less likely to get them ahead in their career, like a burglary in a poor area, they will be less motivated to help you even if the crime is more serious. They want to advance in their career to get more money so they will be less motivated to spend time and effort on you even if a terrible crime has been committed. Our whole healthcare system isn’t motivated to find cures for diseases but just treatments. As that solution makes the most sense when viewed through the skewed lens of the money dopamine taking precedence over all else. Money is now valued over the health and wellbeing of the patients. So there’s a conflict of interest with the healthcare system, pharmaceutical system and so on. The people working for those companies all want to make money and whether doing it consciously or subconsciously they will tend to lean towards options that get them more money because again it’s a he quickest way to the greatest reward. I hope you see where I’m going with this. Money is like a fucking drug. It doesn’t exist in nature and just in our heads which actually makes it worse than a drug. At least you can see drugs and the effect they are having on someone’s life. Money is much more insidious. You can tell how high someone is by looking at them. But you can’t tell how much money they have. And even if you can tell they have money because they’re flaunting it, your goal will suddenly become to be just like them. Because you think that it they have money, you can have money too if you do what they do. No one looks at Joe the crackhead and thinks “Oh my God I want to be like him when I grow up.” But everyone looks at Trump the billionaire, whose ONLY redeeming factor is that he’s the biggest junkie to cash on Earth. He put kids in fucking modern day concentration camps. And we’re all ignoring it. Because we’re all focused on other things. Saving those kids will probably be inconvenient for us anyway because we might get a criminal record which will make us less likely to earn money later. Or we might ruin our social status by talking about it which will ruin our ability to earn money later. So basically in short the whole world is completely fucked because about 90% of the population has an addiction to a currency that only exists in out heads, is probably on par with crack addiction as far as the severity it causes us to reprioritize our lives around it, and instead of seeing it as a problem we see it as something to aspire to because it’s in our nature to do that. You see someone fishing you want to learn how to fish because it’s an easier way to get food. You see someone making money and you want to do what they’re doing damn you and their and everyone else’s humanity because your dopamine is now hijacked by a concept your mind will never drop because it gives the greatest reward with the least energy expenditure. We hurt ourselves by neglecting our own needs because or the tunnel vision. We willingly hand our lives and most of our time over to people who have more money than us or a greater ability to earn money than us (we call them employers to cushion the blow and to feed into our own junkie like denial that we have a problem). There’s a lot more money to be made in cutting down the rainforest than there is to be made in saving it. And here is the worst part of all of this: There is no way out. Because the majority of the world is ruled by money there is nowhere to go to get away from it. If you decide you don’t want money you’re going to be hated by all the people who want money first and foremost and are in denial. People don’t like people who don’t care about money. Because they think like junkies. Their minds are so reprioritized that they can see someone freezing to death on the street and just think... Well I could help them but it would be inconvenient because it might get in the way of my sleep which would get in the way of work which would get in the way of me getting money. That’s basically what this is doing to us. So when the fuck are we going to realize that as a species at this point in time on planet Earth we collectively have an addiction which is destroying us and the entire planet we live on? When are we going to put down the proverbial crack pipe and realize “we have a problem” and go do a fucking cashaholics anonymous group and say... “I need to make amends to all the people I’ve hurt and the planet I’ve destroyed because of my problem. I’m destroying myself and my children. I’m ruining everyone’s life including my own. Because I have an addiction to money.”
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/ Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners? And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess. First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
You the HODLer should be the one who controls where your money goes. Your keys, your coins.
You the HODLer should be able to coordinate and make contracts with other people regarding your funds.
You the HODLer should be able to do the above without anyone watching over your shoulder and judging you.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so). So, how does Taproot affect those principles?
Taproot and Your /Coins
Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash). (technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input). However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits! Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh? With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save! And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well! (P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1) Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service! So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win! (even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot) And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!
Taproot and Your Contracts
No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade. So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust. Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade. However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade. In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address. Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants). But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer). Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos). (technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).
Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo
Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code. This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded. And you can do that, with HTLCs, today. Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Privacy. Everyone scraping the Bitcoin blockchain can see any HTLCs, and preimages used to claim them.
This can be mitigated by using offchain techniques so HTLCs are never published onchain in the happy case. Lightning would probably in practice be the easiest way to do this offchain. Of course, there are practical limits to what you can pay on Lightning. If you are buying something expensive, then Lightning might not be practical. For example, the "software" you are activating is really the firmware of a car, and what you are buying is not the software really but the car itself (with the activation of the car firmware being equivalent to getting the car keys).
Even offchain techniques need an onchain escape hatch in case of unresponsiveness! This means that, if something bad happens during payment, the HTLC might end up being published onchain anyway, revealing the fact that some special contract occurred.
And an HTLC that is claimed with a preimage onchain will also publicly reveal the preimage onchain. If that preimage is really the activation key of a software than it can now be pirated. If that preimage is really the activation key for your newly-bought cryptographic car --- well, not your keys, not your car!
Trust requirement. You are trusting the developer that it gives you the hash of an actual valid activation key, without any way to validate that the activation key hidden by the hash is actually valid.
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar". Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you. Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige). (Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key). So:
Privacy: PTLCs are private even if done onchain. Nobody else can learn what the private key behind the public key is, except you who knows the adaptor signature that when combined with the complete onchain signature lets you know what the private key of the activation key is. Somebody scraping the blockchain will not learn the same information even if all PTLCs are done onchain!
Lightning is still useful for reducing onchain use, and will also get PTLCs soon after Taproot is activated, but even if something bad happens and a PTLC has to go onchain, it doesn't reveal anything!
Trust issues can be proven more easily with a public-private keypair than with a hash-preimage pair.
For example, the developer of the software you are buying could provide a signature signing a message saying "unlock access to the full version for 1 day". You can check if feeding this message and signature to the program will indeed unlock full-version access for 1 day. Then you can check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose private key you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that getting the private key (by paying for it in a PTLC) would let you generate any number of "unlock access to the full version for 1 day" message+signatures, which is equivalent to getting full access to the software indefinitely.
For the car, the manufacturer can show that signing a message "start the engine" and feeding the signature to the car's fimrware will indeed start the engine, and maybe even let you have a small test drive. You can then check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose privkey you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that gaining knowledge of the privkey will let you start the car engine at any time you want.
(pedantry: the signatures need to be unique else they could be replayed, this can be done with a challenge-response sequence for the car, where the car gathers entropy somehow (it's a car, it probably has a bunch of sensors nowadays so it can get entropy for free) and uses the gathered entropy to challenge you to sign a random number and only start if you are able to sign the random number; for the software, it could record previous signatures somewhere in the developer's cloud server and refuse to run if you try to replay a previously-seen signature.)
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script. (technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)
Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable?? Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not. It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash. When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key. So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key. (public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL) And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions. So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort. Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers. For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
Current quantum computers can barely crack prime factorization problem for primes of 5 bits.
The 256-bit elliptic curve use by Bitcoin is, by my (possibly wrong) understanding, equivalent to 4096-bit primes, so you can see a pretty big gap between now (5 bit primes) and what is needed (4096 bit primes).
A lot of financial non-Bitcoin systems use the equivalent of 3072-bit primes or less, and are probably easier targets to crack than the equivalent-to-4096-bit-primes Bitcoin.
Quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin are still far off.
Pay-to-public-key-hash is not as protective as you might think.
We will probably see banks get cracked before Bitcoin, so the banking system is a useful canary-in-a-coal-mine to see whether we should panic about being quantum vulnerable.
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).
If you are a singlesig HODL-only Bitcoin user, Taproot will not affect you positively or negatively. Importantly: Taproot does no harm!
If you use or intend to use multisig, Taproot will be a positive for you.
If you transact onchain regularly using typical P2PKH/P2WPKH addresses, you get a minor reduction in feerates since multisig users will likely switch to Taproot to get smaller tx sizes, freeing up blockspace for yours.
If you are using multiparticipant setups for special systems of trade, Taproot will be a positive for you.
Remember: Lightning channels are multipartiicpiant setups for special systems of lightning-fast offchain trades!
I Wanna Be The Taprooter!
So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!
If you have developer experience especially in C, C++, or related languages
Review the Taproot code! There is one pull request in Bitcoin Core, and one in libsecp256k1. I deliberately am not putting links here, to avoid brigades of nontechnical but enthusiastic people leaving pointless reviews, but if you are qualified you know how to find them!
But I am not a cryptographeBitcoin Core contributomathematician/someone as awesome as Pieter Wuille
That's perfectly fine! The cryptographers have been over the code already and agree the math is right and the implementation is right. What is wanted is the dreary dreary dreary software engineering: are the comments comprehensive and understandable? no misspellings in the comments? variable names understandable? reasonable function naming convention? misleading coding style? off-by-one errors in loops? conditions not covered by tests? accidental mixups of variables with the same types? missing frees? read-before-init? better test coverage of suspicious-looking code? missing or mismatching header guards? portability issues? consistent coding style? you know, stuff any coder with a few years of experience in coding anything might be able to catch. With enough eyes all bugs are shallow!
If you are running a mining pool/mining operation/exchange/custodial service/SPV server
Be prepared to upgrade!
One of the typical issues with upgrading software is that subtle incompatibilities with your current custom programs tend to arise, disrupting operations and potentially losing income due to downtime. If so, consider moving to the two-node setup suggested by gmax, which is in the last section of my previous post. With this, you have an up-to-date "public" node and a fixed-version "private" node, with the public node protecting the private node from any invalid chainsplits or invalid transactions. Moving to this setup from a typical one-node setup should be smooth and should not disrupt operations (too much).
If you are running your own fullnode for fun or for your own wallet
Be prepared to upgrade! The more nodes validating the new rules (even if you are a non-mining node!), the safer every softfork will be!
If you are using an SPV wallet or custodial wallet/service (including hardware wallets using the software of the wallet provider)
Contact your wallet provider / SPV server and ask for a statement on whether they support Taproot, and whether they are prepared to upgrade for Taproot! Make it known to them that Taproot is something you want!
But I Hate Taproot!!
Raise your objections to Taproot now, or forever hold your peace! Maybe you can raise them here and some of the devs (probably nullc, he goes everywhere, even in rbtc!) might be able to see your objections! Or if your objections are very technical, head over to the appropriate pull request and object away!
Maybe you simply misunderstand something, and we can clarify it here!
Or maybe you do have a good objection, and we can make Taproot better by finding a solution for it!
Transcript of how Philip the tyrant admin of the Bitcoin Cash Telegram group called Spoice stupid, an idiot, a parrot among other insults then banned her instead of discussing Bitcoin Cash. That Telegram group is hostile, ABC/IFP shills run and follows the rBitcoin toxic censorship modus operandi.
David B., [18.10.20 01:46] https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/jdagi3/whats_up_with_the_bchn_hypocrisy/ David B., [18.10.20 01:47] Wut x2 J Stodd, [18.10.20 01:49] [In reply to David B.] Their words are meaningless. They have no principles. Wish i could comment but bitcoinxio banned me from rbtc and never told me why David B., [18.10.20 01:59] These comments are so toxic Spoice, [18.10.20 01:59] In reality, the real continuation of Bitcoin as we all know it is what is carried on by BCHN, BU, BCHD and others Spoice, [18.10.20 02:00] ABC is changing the rules to something that is not Bitcoin Spoice, [18.10.20 02:00] anyone denying those facts is selling you snake oil Spoice, [18.10.20 02:00] If Blockstream tried to take some % to their own benefit, we would have never needed BCH in the first place Spoice, [18.10.20 02:00] everyone would have rejected them in a second J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:01] [In reply to Spoice] Bitcoin Cash is not Bitcoin to start with, so who cares? David B., [18.10.20 02:01] [ Album ] Spoice, [18.10.20 02:01] yet we have ABC trying to pull this theft and all those puppets think it's ok Spoice, [18.10.20 02:01] JSTodd that's bullshit David B., [18.10.20 02:01] Like trying to talk to a core maxi about altcoins Spoice, [18.10.20 02:01] Bitcoin Cash is the most Bitcoin out of all Bitcoins Spoice, [18.10.20 02:01] it is the continuation of what Satoshi started David B., [18.10.20 02:02] Tbh they aren't even toxic Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:02] [In reply to Spoice] If the hash follows then it is Bitcoin Cash. Only if it doesn't is your claim true J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:03] [In reply to Spoice] Bitcoin is Bitcoin. Bitcoin failed to be Peer to Peer Cash, so Bitcoin Cash attempted to fix this by forking Bitcoin and attacking the root of the problem. This does not mean Bitcoin Cash is literally Bitcoin. Adopt a different argument. Sorry if you bought into that bc of Rogers rantings J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:05] Bitcoin Cash can replace Bitcoin, and if Bitcoin dies and BCH wins then sure maybe it can take its name from its grave, but they are different products, trying to say Bitcoin stopped being "Bitcoin" and became BCH is a self contradiction. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:08] Jstodd's got some good points. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:08] He's learnt so much in the last year ☺️ Spoice, [18.10.20 02:08] "Bitcoin is Bitcoin" is a false statement. BTC is just an instance of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the set of rules defined in the whitepaper first and foremost, it is peer to peer electronic cash. BTC no longer fits that criteria. Bitcoin Cash meets them. The fork proposed by ABC also fails to meet that criteria. Therefore the continuation of Bitcoin is in whatever BU, BCHN, Flowee and others will continue. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:09] What rules were defined in the WP? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:10] Let's see which rules aren't: 1) No coinbase tax going to any centralized entity such as ABC 2) No throttling of TX throughput such as BTC Spoice, [18.10.20 02:10] therefore they both fail the simple "Is this Bitcoin?" test Spoice, [18.10.20 02:11] Finally, Michael, if you think Hash rate defines what Bitcoin is, you should stick to BTC Jingles, [18.10.20 02:11] 21 million coins isn't in the WP Jingles, [18.10.20 02:11] I asked what rules did the WP define. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:12] Because BCH failed that criteria since it forked, therefore your point is wrong Spoice, [18.10.20 02:12] https://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2009-January/014994.html Spoice, [18.10.20 02:12] The announcement of the white paper included the 21 million limit, close enough Jingles, [18.10.20 02:12] HIs announcement isn't the WP Spoice, [18.10.20 02:12] show me where Satoshi said that Amaury shoudl tax the chain? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:12] Doesn't matter- close enough Jingles, [18.10.20 02:12] Bitcoin is the set of rules defined in the whitepaper first and foremost - You Jingles, [18.10.20 02:13] My ears pricked up on that comment, so I'm asking you what you meant. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:13] Correct. Changing the 21 million hard limit is still more Bitcoin than taxing the Coinbase, yet both will never ever happen. Not to Bitcoin anyway Jingles, [18.10.20 02:13] If you meant Satoj's writings pre and post WP then you should be clear about it Spoice, [18.10.20 02:13] some bastardized chain might, just not Bitcoin Jingles, [18.10.20 02:14] The closest we have to anything to indicate what is "Bitcoiness" is general things like "the longest chain" Spoice, [18.10.20 02:14] No, it is never a single thing David B., [18.10.20 02:15] REEEE Jingles, [18.10.20 02:15] trustless, no single trusted third parties, and rules can change due to incentives via consensus Spoice, [18.10.20 02:15] it is a set of common sense and experiment driven and historical relevance and initial parameters and "peer to peer electronic cash" definition indicators Spoice, [18.10.20 02:15] never a single thing Jingles, [18.10.20 02:16] [In reply to Spoice] This is like the exact opposite of what you said earlier Jingles, [18.10.20 02:16] Bitcoin is defined by the rules in the WP, I mean common sense. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:16] 🤷♂️ Spoice, [18.10.20 02:16] Nope, the rule set is defined in the white paper should never change, but I never said all rules are defined in the white paper Jingles, [18.10.20 02:16] What rules? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:16] It is a union Jingles, [18.10.20 02:17] What rules are there? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:17] Rules in the white paper + what continued to define Bitcoin thereafter J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:17] [In reply to Spoice] > "Bitcoin is Bitcoin is a false statement." Alas, if we cannot agree on the law of identity, aka A=A, then i dont understand how to hold a conversation with you using logic. > BTC is an instance of Bitcoin No, BTC is a ticker used optionally by exchanges. Other common tickers for bitcoin include XBC, XBT, BC (correct me if im wrong on any of these) > "Bitcoin is a set of rules in the whitepaper" Super hard to defend this. Theres no mention of a 21M supply cap, no blocksize limit *at all*, and it also says additional rules and incentives can be enforced (implying maybe they should). Jingles, [18.10.20 02:17] I go through this with BSVers all the time. We have no spec sheet of rules defining what Bitcoin is from Satoshi. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:18] Rules such as what defines a correct block, miners receiving the full incentive of mining it, etc Jingles, [18.10.20 02:18] The WP is a highlevel document Spoice, [18.10.20 02:18] The WP is a description of a scientific experiment Spoice, [18.10.20 02:18] if you want to start your own experiment, be my guest Jingles, [18.10.20 02:18] [In reply to Spoice] Valid tx rules aren't defined in the WP Spoice, [18.10.20 02:18] just don't try to call it Bitcoin Jingles, [18.10.20 02:19] The word majority is in the WP an awful lot wouldn't you say? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:19] Not valid TX rules, but what a proof of work block is and how it diverts the reward to the miner, etc Jingles, [18.10.20 02:20] [In reply to Spoice] and? what about BTC doesn't apply? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:20] I'm not arguing for any fork of BCH here. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:20] It no longer meets the very title of the white paper experiment, "Peer to peer electronic cash" Spoice, [18.10.20 02:20] The BTC instance of the experiment is destined to move away from the very title of the white paper Jingles, [18.10.20 02:20] It's electronic, and I use it like cash. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:20] that the maintainers even wanted to edit the white paper (Cobra and co) because of this fact J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:20] u/Spoice When did BTC stop being Bitcoin in your view? The day Amaury decided to launch the fork, before Segwit happened? If someone else launched a fork first, they would have been "the real bitcoin"? This is a game of whoever forks first becomes the real Bitcoin? What if two people launched a fork at the exact same time, maybe even with identical specs? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:21] Where did I go wrong? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:21] [In reply to Spoice] Did they? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:21] Doesn't matter if you use it today, its very technical fabric will have to move your transactions to 2nd layers and it will no longer be peer to peer electronic cash on chain Jingles, [18.10.20 02:21] peer to peer electronic cash on chain - Not in the wp Jingles, [18.10.20 02:22] We have satoj talking about HFT with sidechannels. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:22] So what? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:23] I think this is a good discussion Phil, nothing disrespectful is being said. I hope this is ok? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:23] Doesn't matter, the rule of common sense, which is closer to that title? Increasing a simple variable (Blocksize) to stay on track of the title and experiment, or introduce IOUs and Watchtowers and channels and locked BTC and that whole LN Bastardization? Which is close to the title? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:23] No one said that can't happen Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:24] [In reply to Spoice] Congratulations you've made an argument which isn't an argument. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:25] The whole thing that was said was the system is based on majority rules, and incentives can be changed. Majority breaks any deadlock. David B., [18.10.20 02:25] How to kill a coin 101 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:25] Logic fails anyone who tries to claim BTC, ABC, BSV or any similar standalone experiments as Bitcoin, because of simple sanity checks and logic checks, often stemming out of common sense - If what you have moves you a single step away from what is otherwise the same old experiment which Satoshi wrote about and unleashed, you're not Bitcoin. If what you have moves you a step closer, it is Bitcoin. and so on and so forth. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:25] Wow, really fanatical almost religious statements. I guess its Sunday morning. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:27] [In reply to Spoice] There's nothing common about common sense. You point to the WP to make a point, and your point isn't in there. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:27] Throttled and you need off-chain IOUs and always-on services to function (BTC) ? Not Bitcoin. Requires permission to be used and could be centrally confiscated on the whim of the organization behind it (BSV)? Not Bitcoin. Premined (Bitcoin Gold, Diamond)? Not Bitcoin. Taxing the miners through Coinbase and changing the incentives which were at play since day 0 (ABC)? Not Bitcoin Spoice, [18.10.20 02:27] simple checks really, yet those who are set to benefit will of course be oblivious to these Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:28] This whole “Bitcoin Cash is the true Bitcoin - see whitepaper” is really stupid. It also ignores the history of how Bitcoin Cash came into existence Jingles, [18.10.20 02:28] Phillip, remove anyone here that has said Bitcoin Gold was the original Bitcoin immediately Jingles, [18.10.20 02:28] ^^^^ Jingles, [18.10.20 02:29] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] It falls to pieces the moment it's questioned. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:29] It is not about "True" Bitcoin Spoice, [18.10.20 02:30] It is about the Bitcoin closest to the experiment which always was Spoice, [18.10.20 02:30] I don't care about "True" or not, they all are true Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:30] [In reply to Jingles] Sorry, I hve stopped reading all the sillyness above. Will reread later Jingles, [18.10.20 02:30] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] I'm joking around 😂 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:30] but the rule of entropy says I shouldn't place my money nor effort in experiments which are set to fade eventually, because they have skewed incentives Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:31] [In reply to Spoice] You get to chose that for yourself but you do not get to dictate it for others David B., [18.10.20 02:31] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] Don't read it. You will have no braincells left Spoice, [18.10.20 02:31] Bitcoin as we know it has a long track record of incentives which work Spoice, [18.10.20 02:31] I won't ever dictate it for others Spoice, [18.10.20 02:31] I only would dictate it for myself, just like how I never use BTC or BSV today, I won't use ABC tomorrow Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] only because they're new experiments Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] interesting, and I wish them luck Jingles, [18.10.20 02:32] "Bitcoin is Bitcoin" is a false statement - Spoice 2020 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] but I would rather stick to the Bitcoin I know Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] that's all Jingles, [18.10.20 02:32] I won't ever dictate it for others - Also Spoice Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:32] Bitcoin Cash came with a plan snd goals. They were clearly presented in two presentations that happened before viabtc announced they would mine with ABC software and create a coin and chain named Bitcoin Cash Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] Yes, because he means BTC is Bitcoin, and that's a false statement Jingles, [18.10.20 02:32] How is it false? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:32] It is an instance of Bitcoin Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:33] [In reply to Michael Nunzio] you're looking intimidatingly handsome in your new profile picture Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:33] [In reply to Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ]] Lol Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:33] [In reply to J Stodd] actually a good question Spoice, [18.10.20 02:34] Anyway, those are my two cents Spoice, [18.10.20 02:34] Everyone is free to choose which experiments to pour their effort on and their money in Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:34] [In reply to Spoice] You are entitled to your opinion. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:34] Andreas is publishing Lightning Network books, I mean Spoice, [18.10.20 02:34] So to each his own Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:35] [In reply to Spoice] Lets leave it at that Spoice, [18.10.20 02:35] but Bitcoin as I know it continues with no Tax, and that in my opinion is BCH with no tax Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:35] Ah you had to continue Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:36] Good thing no tax is proposed by anyone Spoice, [18.10.20 02:35] Isn't this the Bitcoin Cash telegram? Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:35] 😅 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:36] If I don't discuss Bitcoin Cash here, where should I? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:36] Tax, IFP, call it what you will Spoice, [18.10.20 02:36] from my perspective as a user, it's one the same J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:36] [In reply to Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ]] I bet nobody will answer it, either Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:37] [In reply to Spoice] Apparently btc /s David B., [18.10.20 02:37] [In reply to Spoice] As a user what do you care? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:37] Ooh, can I shill the Bitcoin room in here? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:37] Nah, I prefer quick responses and chats Spoice, [18.10.20 02:37] Reddit is broken Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:37] [In reply to Jingles] Lol J Stodd, [18.10.20 02:37] [In reply to Spoice] Nobody even pays it, it just comes out of the block reward. The block reward is not sentient, it cannot be stolen from or wronged Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:37] Dont push your luck 😉 Jingles, [18.10.20 02:37] [ 😀 Sticker ] Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:38] [In reply to Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ]] You too brother. 🙏 Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:38] [In reply to Michael Nunzio] but mine is the same....i need new ones everyone always calls me fat because of this one Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:38] literally if i say 1 thing to any troll anywhere first thing they say is "ok fatass" Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:38] i blame this dumb photographer Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:38] [In reply to Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ]] Don't listen. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:39] u/spoice maybe write a read.cash article if you really feel you need to educate people Spoice, [18.10.20 02:39] David, as a user I believe that each new experiment carries risk with it, why should I take part in a new fork of Bitcoin which has a new set of game-theory rules which doesn't even benefit me, rather it benefits some other entity which will take 5% of any effort or economic activity I produce on this chain? They're also off-loading the risk to me as a usebuildebusiness who choose to join their experiment. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:40] Why should I take that risk while the Bitcoin I know and have known for over 10 years worked perfectly for me thus far? (BCH, that is) Jingles, [18.10.20 02:40] small fees and empty blocks? Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:41] It will insure that a centralized group has control over development and they are by decree in the code, it's a literal take over. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:41] [In reply to Spoice] “BSV-freeze the protocol - true Bitcoin” sounds like more your thing David B., [18.10.20 02:41] [In reply to Spoice] Better run bitcoin core 0.1 Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:41] Imagine if satoshi keyd his address in the code to be paid out of every block, but instead of paying himself started a company "Bitcoin Dev Co" Spoice, [18.10.20 02:42] Not really, BSV kills the incentives I am discussing too Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:42] [In reply to Jingles] Please stay nice now Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:42] No one would ever be able to say Bitcoin was Decentralized, Bitcoin Dev Co would get paid directly from the reward. Jingles, [18.10.20 02:42] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] "BSV: We have all the Bad Idea. On chain" Spoice, [18.10.20 02:42] The Nash equilibrium we have tested for the past 10 years will be changed with ABC, it changed with BTC and BSV too Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:42] "Bad Solutions Verified" Spoice, [18.10.20 02:42] that game-theory set of incentives Spoice, [18.10.20 02:43] why would I want to take a risk with any of those experiments when I gain 0? David B., [18.10.20 02:43] Better run bitcoin core 0.1 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:43] Nope, you're talking technical freezing of development, that's not what I am addressing Jingles, [18.10.20 02:43] [In reply to David B.] Thats the BTC chain though Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:43] [In reply to Spoice] O please share with us your background in the subject. Or are you now just parroting others Spoice, [18.10.20 02:44] BSV wants to freeze the technical development and they want a stable protocol from an API/development perspective Spoice, [18.10.20 02:44] but from an incentive ruleset perspective, they already butchered the equilibrium Bitcoin had Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ], [18.10.20 02:44] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] That's one of those phrases, when you hear it you know they are just a parrot of someones propaganda. "MUH NASH EQUILIBRIUM!" David B., [18.10.20 02:44] Stable = bad? Jingles, [18.10.20 02:45] [In reply to Jc Crown [ I DON'T DM PEOPLE - DON'T GIVE ME MONEY! ]] I love you Spoice, [18.10.20 02:45] Philip, for an admin you are ought to be nicer, if you think I am parroting others you're free to think that, but to state it so bluntly in your position is just... wrong Spoice, [18.10.20 02:46] If you think the point I made is wrong, discuss it Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:46] [In reply to Jingles] Maybe talk to him in DM about that?😉 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:46] not me Jingles, [18.10.20 02:46] [In reply to Phlip - Not giving away coins] working on it. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:46] [In reply to Spoice] I ought to be nicer...😂😂😂 Spoice, [18.10.20 02:47] Also, anyone who studied Bitcoin at length and its set of incentives and game-theory ruleset should know what a Nash Equilibrium is and who the players are in the Bitcoin game Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:47] [In reply to Spoice] You state as fact. You get to dhow why your statements or opinions are even relevant. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:48] If it's not a fact, highlight how Spoice, [18.10.20 02:48] don't attack me Spoice, [18.10.20 02:48] prove me wrong Spoice, [18.10.20 02:48] if you fail that simple debate test David B., [18.10.20 02:48] How's that breakfast helping? Spoice, [18.10.20 02:48] you should rename from Janitor to Tyrant Jingles, [18.10.20 02:48] I'm still waiting to see the defined rules as per the wp Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:49] [In reply to Spoice] Didn't know this was stand up comedy night in here. Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:49] I missed the memo Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:49] If I have to prove all idiots on the internet wrong I would have a hard time. You are starting to really waste everybody’s time. You state, you prove. Or you are just generating noise Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:50] [In reply to Spoice] Be careful now. Michael Nunzio, [18.10.20 02:50] Noisy bugger. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:52] Getting close to just do some cleaning up. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:52] If you can't debate technical points I am making about Bitcoin Cash on a Bitcoin Cash Telegram, and within the span of 10 minutes you called me stupid, idiot, noisy and a parrot, you absolutely are a tyrant and I stand by my point: You should not be an admin here, nor anywhere actually. If you think I should be careful for the fear of you banning me, go ahead. You still fail to debate the simplest technical point and yet claim you can "but can't be bothered to". You remind me of that Thermos guy. Spoice, [18.10.20 02:53] How do people with 0 technical know how end up in these admin positions is beyond me Jingles, [18.10.20 02:53] I challenged your comments and you just changed the goal posts. Phlip - Not giving away coins, [18.10.20 02:53] [In reply to Spoice] Ok. You are not paying me and you are free to create noise elsewhere
List of current UI/UX issues & possible QoL improvements (Megathread?)
As some of you know, I only make stupidly long posts and also like to humbly brag about being a software engineer with fairly decent experience in QA, automated testing and testing in general (6+ years a C# dev). This is my personal list of things that either make no sense, are unpleasant, incoherent, or could be improved. Please feel free to add to the list, I will come back and edit every day. Numbers are also here to help you quote & provide your own criticism. Note that is is done with the following optimization mindset, in order of importance :
Remove redundancy / incoherence
Reduce time spent in menus/inventory (out of raid)
Reduce number of clicks / interactions
As you can see I worked under the assumption that the average player wants to spend more time in raid rather than in inventory ; obviously this falls apart if that is not the case. To do that I try to improve time spent on searching / arranging things without creating unecessary automation or remove important/immersive aspects of the game, even in inventory. I also try to improve time spent clicking through various windows as currently a lot of them are done to be fast & easy to for the devs, not for the players. I want to emphasize that I'm okay with that. I know the importance of having sub-optimal navigation to help you find out what your better navigation is. I also know a complete rework is not always possible, that is why I made my list without changing too much of the menus as well as keeping the vibe/current feel of those menus. Keywords like should & could are used as intended ; since this is not a professional report I'm emphasizing here, the meaning of the word is important. Should means it is adding an improvement over an existing issue, could means it's a possible improvement but requires further investigation. Would means investigation was done and is just one possible outcome usually relevant within the context. Please note that most of us now are very used to the current UI/UX, which will generate two reactions: - "It's fine as it is because I can do it quite fast." - "I don't want it to change again, I'm used to it now." I cannot emphasize how unefficient it is to let those emotions get the best of you. UI/UX is the study of common sense & ease of use in an interface. You should never have to get used to anything, it should be fluid and intuitive. If you think you're fast now, that means it's possible to be slow. This is extremely bad for a UI/UX standpoint. Everybody should be able to navigate/understand the menus just as fast the 1st time than the 100th time (ideally). Keep this in mind when you read everything down here, because some stuff you probably won't like at first glance, but you will get used to it very fast, and you will gain a lot of time in the future, as well as new players.
Currently when in the workbench (and I think others? now I doubt), the list of craftable items appears to be random. The order should always be the same for consistency. Does not provide meaningful gameplay experience to have to "look for the recipe" every time.
4. Collecting crafts
Hideout stations could display the finished craft on top for easy collection of craft, or there could be a "Get Items" or "Receive All" elsewhere to avoid unecessary scrolling. This is uncessary if ongoing crafts are moved on top of the list, or if the list is autoscrolled to the ongoing craft. "Collect All" on station level is not the best idea. If you go in a station, it's probably better that you know what you're collecting. I suggest moving the relevant craft on top or auto scrolling and not adding "receive all" on station level, although it would be a good help. This should be investigated. Receive All or Get Items could be moved or added at the top or bottom of the window.
5. "Receive All" could exist at hideout level
The same way we "receive all" from a trader, it would be nice to "Receive all" from the hideout. Either in the form of a trader (in which we can receive all / pick manually from) or by instantly putting it in inventory. If there is enough space it just works. If there isn't, it displays an error like it already does. This is not mutually exclusive with the previous suggestion.
6. Display crafts readyness/collection
6.1 Hideout The current behaviour is partially coherent. You get notified when an item is sold, and you get notified when a craft is finished. You have a display notification "Attachment" style when a trader has something for you, and you should get a display notification "attachment" style when the hideout has something for you. Ideally, there should also be such notifications for currently unused station Receive all on the right, Nutrition unit has finished crafting and Lavatory is currently NOT crafting 6.2 Traders There should be a way of knowing if something is waiting in trader inventory on a global level (quest rewards, money, insurance, unsold market items returns), like the nofication. The "new item" notification could be always visible as long as items are in the trader inventories, compared to now where it disappears as soon as you either click it or visit the messenger. In this hypothesis, there could be a change of color in the notification to show that there are still item waiting including some that haven't been seen yet (to still fulfill the current role of the notification)
Note : CTA = Call to Action, it's the button your user will press 99.3% of the time. Example, in the launcher, it's the "Start Game". Clearly visible, easily accessible, highlighted, much bigger, and at a very common CTA spot. That one is great. Some others are not. 7.1. "Receive All" should not be displayed when there is nothing to receive. 7.2 "Get" in single transaction messages from Ragman could be removed. There is no reason to take single items from the window when you can receive it all at once. 7.3 A "group collect" Receive all action could be added when you click on the attachment notification, or as an extra action next to the notification (just like shown on the Hideout in figure 6.0) that would specifically collect all. it would loop through all conversations and collect all and dump at the top of stash, either until its finished or there is not enough room, in which case it displays an error. It could also work like the scav case and not pick up anything until you have room, and in that case you would go in the window manually and/or make room (like we do now). 7.3 The "Receive all" is at the bottom when most CTAs in the game is at the top (dealer tabs, market tabs, character sheet tabs, settings...). Save in the settings is at the bottom too. It is incoherent. It would make more sense to have all CTAs at the bottom and options/tabs/menus at the top. 7.4 The "DEAL" button in trader view is much smaller and less visible than the "Fill Item" checkbox. The CTA should be getting more attention than a setting. New players pretty much *never* see it first and look around the "Fill Item" with eyes & mouse. DEAL should be at the bottom in the current \"Fill Item\" box. Fill Items should be removed entirely. 7.5 Quests could be automatically accepted (no need for CTA). I don't see a reason why someone would not accept a quest. The only reason we're Accepting them now is to let the user know he has a new quest. There are other means of notifying players of new stuff : usually notifications. If not, that button should at least be more visible/highlighted. Every new player ( 100%! ) I coach does not see it at first and never looks at the right spot the first time. 7.6 "Insure All" is the most commonly used button in the insurance screen and could be emphasized more. Example 7.5
8. Remove "Fill Items"
The Fill Items to automatically fill the trader's requirements should be removed and set as the default behaviour. There is no need to fill items manually nor tell the game to do so.
9. Expire / Delete pending requests
Friend requests should be cancellable and could expire. Requests should not be stuck until another user acts on them. Right clicking the request could display a "Cancel" or "Delete" request button. Ideally, the cell should include a CTA on the right, as the only action I would ever do in a cell in this context is cancel. Opening a submenu with only 1 item means youshould notbe opening a submenu, but displaying a button where the user right clicked instead. I can only re-send a friend request to someone that already denied me. This is incoherent.
10. Market Rows
From my somewhat small sample (about 60 players), nobody uses the expand button on the top right of a cell (see below). I think everybody uses the right click on item instead. An expanded cell with context menu opened, and a collapsed cell The extra information available on the right is the exact same as a right click, but is hidden behind a left click. This is incoherent. The only difference is the profile picture that I only get from expanding, but currently we all have the same one. This would need to be investigated. This could be an improvement, displaying the CTA's immediately (although BUY is definitely way too small). Notice profile picture on the left 10.1 The expandable cell feature should be removed altogether, as the other options are available on right click. 10.2 The whole row should provide the same context menu (right click). 10.3 The "Send friend request" could be included in the row's context menu, or could be removed entirely, as right now most requests are missclicks. Adding the Send Friend Request at the bottom of the context menu on the row would reduce the amount of missclicks. 10.4 Left clicking should not open the context menu. This is mostly the reason behind missclick friend requests, people double clicking slightly off the item icon sending a friend request by mistake. Now I have 4 just because I was trying to make a screenshot. F's in the chat. This would be resolved with 10.2 and 10.3. 10.5 Barter items have a "Barter" icon that is redundant, the first and second column are completely irrelevant to the player. Example 10.5
11. Filtering search
11.1 "Filter by Item" should not filter the browse list. If you're writing a valid keyword in the search field it should display the correct suggestions. Filtering content is good, filtering suggestions is incoherent. 11.2 Filters could be cleared as soon as you type text in the search field. This would resolve 11.1 Example 11 11.3 "My Offers" could not be affected by filters, or could reset filters. It is more trouble to remove the filter manually every time rather than browsing through the offer list. Currently we never have more than ~10 offers at the same time for most players, which is okay to display without filter. 11.4 Filters should not overlap with other UI elements, they could be resized to fit or the expandable filter list could include more elements so the visible ones fit. Example 11.4 11.5 The Remember Selected Filter / Reset Filter is unclear. Looks great, feels weird, and should be investigated to be more useful.
12. Context Menu in player lobby
The current lobby with context menu open All players in this list are looking for a group, there is no need to write a status "Looking for group", it's redundant. The exception is friends, which 99.633...% of the time is the group i'm about to play with. Those are displayed on top. The only action we do on the list on this screen is the "Invite to group" context menu action. It's a CTA and should not be hidden in a context menu, especially if the context menu only has one option. Since recently it has two, but we'll come to that in a minute. 12.1 The invite CTA should be on the player cell itself. 12.2 The report action should not be the default one from the context menu 12.3 Since there could be only one item in the context menu according to 12.1, the report action could be on the cell as well. A low quality suggestion for 12.x
13. Trader Buy/Sell
Trader screen needs to be reworked. I won't provide a solution that doesn't completely change how everything looks/works as I stated at the start of the post. That being said this should be improved. Example 13.1 13.1 Buying UI should be reworked. When buying, the price of the item is already displayed on the item itself in the trader view. The price is also displayed a second time in the tooltip of the item if you mouse-over. The price is also displayed a third time in the barter area on the right of the image (middle of the screen in game). This is redundant. I understand the item on the right is the physical item "Roubles" in a stack that is paid, like a barter, but it does not need to be displayed a third time. 13.2 Quantity limit (red box in the image) could be shown in the tooltip ; most of the time people will hit "DEAL" until they get an error insted of actually reading the red box. 13.3 The red box looks like an error even when at 0/x, this is not intuitive. Limited items can be listed in different ways that are not so invasive. We could add "out of X" at the right side of the quantity box. 13.4 Barter item prices (if we assume 13.1) would need to also displayed differently. This needs to be investigated 13.5 Selling UI should be reworked Example 13.5 Currently selling an item still displays the full available items to BUY, this is incoherent. Especially from the "Sell" tab. The whole left side of the screen is wasted, and cannot be used. 13.6 Items on the left are not greyed out (even though I can't buy them), but items on the right are greyed out (because I can't sell them). This is incoherent. 13.7 Trader sell space should be infinite 13.8 Buy/Sell could be done in a single tab if the whole screen is reworked. There are different levels to this. An easy one I could think : "Trade" Tab instead of "Buy". Displays the same as the current "BUY" tab. If you ctrl+click an item from your stash, it instantly sells without confirmation. The second tab would be a "Buyback" where you can see what you sold in the current trade session. If you leave the screen your buyback is reset and items cannot be recovered. Another way would be to keep buybacks for the last X items. You would need to pay what you received to get back. The item would not lose it's FiR status. This preleminary and simplistic rework has issues, notably that you have to know to right click to sell. One way to fix that would be to make right click sell to trader instead of control click, but that would definitely make missclicks the first few days (and buyback would be mandatory). This could be investigated. 13.9 Currency exchange rates should be easily available in relevant areas (Peacekeeper, Therapist and flea market) for all currencies (Rouble, Euro, Dollar, Bitcoin)
Items should be boxables and moved around. At least to be dropped in boxes, ideally to be moved around freely. There is a limit of 20 images. 🤷♂ Example 14
15. Quest inventory
If you loot too many quest items in a raid, you can end up not being able to loot it. I assume this is by design and it is why you have limited quest item space. The quest inventory could be infinite if it's not by design to be limited. The quest inventory should be manageable. In my case i had a 1 slot item blocking me from taking the suitcase, I should have been allowed to move that 1 slot item to the top or to the right of my inventory, clearing a whole line and letting me take the case. Quest items could be stored in backpack (and resized) ; since you lose them on death it's not relevant to the players looting you or you dying and that issue would be gone. Storing it in your stash would also prevent you from losing it by going in raid with it by mistake. Taking it in raid or giving it to trader would be a volontary action. It also makes much more sense that way as other quest items (that are also usable items) work that way. Alright this ended up taking more time than my lunchbreak, and there is *much* more to write but for the time being I'll leave it at that and come tomorrow to add your suggestions or mine. See you in 24 hours.
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
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