The Bitcoin Rat

. Only #Bitcoin and Cheese can save Mankind

“I’m Wrong” Says Wright – But does it matter?

This article has been submitted by someone claiming to be representing the REAL Bitcoin Rat from twitter. However we are unable to fully verify the authenticity of the signature or the provenance of the private key being used, as we have not been allowed to keep the original message or laptop.

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In a bizarre twist to the “I am Satoshi” story, Australian businessman Dr. Craig Wright has apparently now retracted his claim to be bitcoins creator and has instead publically identified himself as The Original Bitcoin Rat. According to Fox News this has shaken the bitcoin world to the ‘Core’.

Followers of the official @BitcoinRat twitter account have described the claim as astonishing, and pointed out that the evidence so far presented is far from convincing.

Dr. Wright introduced his claim using a pre-loaded screenshot from his own laptop showing one of the global travelling Rats from the #bitworldtour twitter hashtag, wearing a sun hat with corks around the rim.

corks dec 2014

Dr. Wright claims that this proves conclusively that the @BitcoinRat originally came from Australia.

As further evidence, he referred to an official tweet last Monday by the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones which stated that Dr. Wright had a little rat peeping out of his trouser pocket all the way through their recent dramatic TV interview. Which might explain why Wrights on-screen performance looked troubling.

However, strangely all traces of that particular BBC tweet seem to have now disappeared, which have led some to speculate that the BBC’s twitter account was in fact hacked into, or that the story is just a clever fabrication on Dr. Wrights behalf to cover up his on-going trouser problems.

Digital experts have also cast doubts on the authenticity of Wrights Australian cork hat picture. “It looks like a classic photo-shop cut and paste sting to me” said a spokesman for the CIA, who wished only to be known as ‘Gavin’ ***

However, in another twist Australian bitcoin documentary maker and reporter @MADinMelbourne confirmed that a bitcoin rat she once was looking after had mysteriously disappeared after someone she now believes to be Dr. Wright bumped into her in a Melbourne coffee shop some months ago. “It did seem strange at the time” she said, “especially as he didn’t even bloody stop and say sorry” she continued “I’m sure it was Dr. Wright as the whole coffee shop was full of plain clothes Tax Inspectors that morning”.

So, it is clear that there was a bitcoin rat in Australia, but was it The Original Bitcoin Rat? That is the key question facing the whole bitcoin community according to virtually all of the main street media outlets this week.  Only the Economist Magazine has raised doubts on Dr. Wrights latest claim.

So far, neither Dr. Craig Wright nor the original @BitcoinRat has returned journalists calls asking for an interview.  But a spokesman for @BitcoinRat said he wasn’t interested in fame or money and just wanted to be left alone, as only bitcoin and cheese can now save Mankind.

 

*** this is not the well-known Mr. Gavin Andersen, our Legal Team has specifically asked us to point out!

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UPDATE:

Bloomberg this morning is reporting that since Dr. Wrights second announcement the price of bitcoin temporarily fell by some $10 due to speculative selling of long positions, while shares in Swiss Cheese Makers saw an unexpected similar hike.  ”The flight to safe haven investments in Switzerland is significant” said Matt Miller of Bloomberg Surveillance who is due to compile a chart later today which will track everybody named Nakamoto against the recent rise of Banking interest in blockchain start-ups.

Bloomberg has also re-released their “tweet of the day” from January 2014 which clearly shows the Original Bitcoin Rats obsession with Cheese and world economic collapse, something omitted from Dr. Wrights own recent statements.

bloomberg-cheese

On another front, veteran bitcoin podcast host Thomas Hunt – known to all as ‘Mad Bitcoins’ – has joined voices such as Andreas Antonopoulos in saying that the true identity behind the @BitcoinRat actually doesn’t matter at all, as it’s the decentralized global nature of the project that is ground-breaking. Andreas reminds us that Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to Mankind, for which the Gods ( ie Bankers ) never forgave him.

Thomas Hunt added that he too was now getting pretty cheesed off with all the “I am the real Bitcoin Rat” stories and that this latest one seemed to have more holes in it than a slice of Swiss Cheese. “I’ve got a video of The Original Bitcoin Rat” he added “and his accent is definitely that of an English upper-class Twit. If he’s an Australian then I’m a Dingo’s Backside”

 

Editors Note:  No Dingoes were available for comment at the time of publication.

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Dear Mr Williams – Have a happy 2016

So, it is now 18 months since my last post on the “bitcoin expert” Prof. Mark Williams of Boston Uni.

As I pointed out in an early blog posting on Mr Williams his own bloging habits, up until December 2013,  was bloging at around 5 articles a month  – and didnt write on bitcoin until the 5th December 2013.  But from then on, until april 2014 he was posting around 25 articles a month on his Boston University Blog  , all critical of bitcoin.

However , since he was humiliated by his ‘bitcoin will trade for $10 or less by mid 2014’ prediction falling flat on its face, his public pronouncements on bitcoin have almost disappeared.

One of them however was an interview with Vice News June 27th 2014 on the Silk Road sell off auction where he was quoted thus –

“Those interested in bidding are the same close-knit group of buyers. They are inherently bullish on an unproven e-currency and technology,” According to Williams, only a few buyers control a majority of the bitcoin market, thus the cryptocurrency is not a deeply traded or liquid commodity. He said the auction process will make this glaringly obvious.”It is simply a speculative bet not entered by new buyers, but by the same market promoters,” Williams said.

apart from a few references to some old quotes from Williams in mid 2014,  from the end of 2014 he has kept a remarkably low bitcoin profile in the Media right through 2015.

However, he couldn’t help himself still trying to justify his failed  “$10 or less” valuation prediction.

In a report on his comments to bloomberg in May 2015 he was quoted as saying –

There’s always a risk that bitcoin can go from its current value to being virtually worthless. We’ve already seen a drop of more than 75 percent since its November 2013 market high. That price risk hasn’t declined, which is a problem. If a currency can fluctuate by 10 or 20 percent in a given day, then there’s less incentive to own or use it. When you have these extreme price movements, it also reduces the number of merchants willing to take such extreme market risk.

Banging the “virtually worthless” gong again !

How long Williams can keep his head high is an interesting question. 2015 was a very good year for bitcoin, as it finished the year with a YoY gain of nearly 75%, will good steady rises through the year.  This was particularly true when compared to both commodities and all international currencies – see charts below – ( bitcoin even well outperformed the Dollars strong global rise in 2015 )

 

commodities v bitcoin

more significantly , and probably to Mr Williams horror, the volume of bitcoin transactions on the blockchain in 2015 increased by 136%

This is an indication of the true growth of interest in bitcoin  –  and certainly can not be due to “only a few buyers controlling the bitcoin market” as Mr Williams told Vice news in June 2014.

Here’s the graph of the transaction volume in 2015 – 86,038 in Dec 2014 to 202,869 in Dec 2015

bitcoin growth 2015

So,    HAPPY NEW YEAR MR WILLIAMS , and as 2016 looks all set to be another good year for bitcoin, I doubt we will be hearing much from you in the next 12 months ( or maybe you will have the integrity to swallow your pride as say .. “I was wrong”)

just saying ….

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Andreas Antonopoulos – on why you can’t separate bitcoin from the blockchain

The following verbatim transcript has been compiled from Adam Levine s  “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” Episode E 247.  A link can be found at the end of the transcript.

Andreas talks about the current hot topic, which is the debate on whether you can have “a blockchain without bitcoin”.  He explains why this belief is essentially flawed, and that without a token driven reward, that is globally tradeable, and runs on the protocol of a decentralised open-source system,  security is inevitably compromised.  What is left, if you remove the reward/Nakamoto consensus mechanism, is basically just a slow database needing central control and oversight to work. The bitcoin blockchain consists of four elements, all of which are interdependent and required to secure a globally scaling secure network.

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Andreas starts speaking at 6min 41secs.  ….. broadcast HERE


I’ve been accused of being a bitcoin maximalist because of some statements I’ve made specifically in the entire argument about bitcoin versus “The Blockchain”

Over the last, probably six months, we’ve seen this marketing pivot to rename the cool parts of bitcoin into “The Blockchain”, remove some of the negative connotations and produce a more technology driven, less ideology driven, more palatable set of technology for perhaps Banks to consume, and obviously Banks are far more interested in what they call “The Blockchain” than bitcoin at the moment. It’s an easier pill to swallow and I’ve been highly critical of that concept and kind of ridiculed the whole “Let’s take the revolutionary technology, strip out everything revolutionary, and then pretend we are doing something disruptive” approach.

But at the same time I think that the argument here is a bit more nuanced than what we’ve discussed so far.

Here’s the big issue; The big invention behind bitcoin is not the currency, but it’s also not the blockchain. The blockchain, as a hash-chain set of blocks, is really not that novel and not that interesting. What is really interesting is the combination of all four things together, and the important thing we haven’t mentioned is the Nakamoto Consensus. The Nakamoto Consensus being the ability to agree on a set of consensus validation rules for transactions and blocks that are then implemented through a competition using proof of work.

That is the decentralised part of the technology.

So part of the funny thing here is that when people try to pick and choose which parts of bitcoin they like and which parts they don’t like , and to rename it. What I’ve been critical of is the idea that you can take the blockchain technology, which is arguably the least interesting of the innovations, and not just strip it of the currency but more importantly strip it of the Nakamoto Consensus and proof of work. And go into an environment where you have a more centralised “signing” instead of mining, a centralised closed network blockchain technology, and pretend that somehow that is really disruptive or really interesting or really revolutionary, when it is none of those things.

So, to me I think the important realisation, and part of the reason that I get called a bitcoin maximalist, is the idea that a blockchain is really really interesting when it’s open and decentralised. And its only open and decentralised when its validation works on a Nakamoto consensus system. And the reason I say that is because there has only even been one consensus system that has scaled to this level and that is the Nakamoto consensus system.

We have no other examples that can deliver open decentralised blockchain consensus. And that Nakamoto Consensus system in turn requires a token that is used as a system of reward and if you don’t follow the rules – punishment. You lose money if you are paying for electricity for a Nakamoto proof of work and not gaining reward. So you need a system of reward and punishment that aligns incentives with consensus, and that reward – the token – needs to have value and that value needs to be globally tradeable. Meaning that you can’t have a useable open decentralised blockchain without, so far as we know now, a Nakamoto Consensus mechanism. And you can’t have a Nakamoto Consensus mechanism that works – and is secure – without a currency. And you need all of those things in order to deliver security without having to have trusted third parties on a globally scalable system. So, we only know one way of doing that, still, even after six years we still only know one way – and that is – Blockchain, plus Nakamoto Consensus, plus Proof of Work, plus Currency.

So if you try to strip any of those things out, then the question is, well, how do you boot-strap something that is able to achieve the same goals as the bitcoin blockchain – and is secure?

What we know about the bitcoin blockchain is that it can support an economy, at the moment, that ranges on the low end from anywhere from four billion dollars to, we’ve seen up to ten billion dollars. Arguably because of the cost of attacking that consensus mechanism, probably more than ten billion dollars. That means you can trust the bitcoin network to execute transactions in the millions or hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now if you have an alternative, and certainly Ethereum would be one example where this is an outstanding question, how big of a transaction in monetary value can it support with its security mechanism. How big can you boot-strap a security mechanism, and do you need to build an entire mining infrastructure all over again, and is it even possible to build an entire mining infrastructure all over again, when people can attack it in the early stages before its big enough to resist attack.

I think that’s the outstanding question. Which is why I think the entire idea of Blockchain as a technology without the currency, without the open decentralised Nakamoto Consensus, is really just a slow database and really of not much use other than some narrow cases that are interesting to Banks, and not really that revolutionary.

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Link to “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” Broadcast HERE

Andreas starts speaking at 6min 41secs

For What it’s Worth … an open letter to Mark Carney, Christine Lagarde & Bill Clinton

Mark Carney, speaking at the “Inclusive Capitalism” conference in London said

“The combination of unbridled faith in financial markets prior to the crisis and the recent demonstrations of corruption in some of these markets has eroded social capital,” he said. “When combined with the longer-term pressures of globalization and technology on the basic social contract, an unstable dynamic of declining trust in the financial system and growing exclusivity of capitalism threatens.”

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Some words of reflection for Mark Carney and Christine Lagarde ,
and Bill , you can put away your Saxophone, the kids have moved on.

“Stop Children, What’s that sound, everybody knows what’s going down”  –  Buffalo Springfield, recorded on December 5, 1966. – you might know this better by its title …  ‘For What it’s Worth’

Well …..

For What it’s Worth – Be Frightened Bankers be very frightened, because,  everybody knows what’s going down now.   The Rat can “sniff the winds of change” that are coming up from the streets – its taken nearly half a decade, of spiralling debt, Fat Cat Fraud and Greed, Market Fixes and Crony Capitalism.   But finally … the financial system is broken.

For What it’s Worth – The people now have NO TRUST in Bankers … NO TRUST in Politicians … NO TRUST in Law Enforcement Agencies ..  these “sticking plaster” tinkering attempts to regain Public Trust will surely fail , as the economies of the Western World – fuelled by the drug of cheap money printed with nothing to back it –  will grind the Western World to a final halt.

For What it’s Worth – Your complacent Politicians can’t glibly condemn a generation of young people to an existence of continual stagnation and degrading unemployment,  without them fighting back .  “Stop Children, What’s that sound, everybody knows what’s going down” will once again be heard on the streets.

But this time, the kids have bitcoin!

Finally – for the first time in history –  people can interact, transfer wealth, grow businesses globally all without the need for a Sovereign Central Control.  Your financial citadels are teetering on the edge of collapse, Bail-outs wont work this time, Bail-ins will only further alienate the mass population.

For What it’s Worth Bankers & Politicians – I’m sorry, but your actions are already too late.

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Budweiser and Coinbase Team Up

Professor Mark Williams has gone rather quiet on bitcoin .. I wonder why ?

Following my last blog post on Professor Mark Williams ( the well-known FED apologist and ‘bitcoin basher’ )

see here

I had a subsequent series of email correspondences with Mr Williams. At this time I wont be revealing the contents of our exchanges, but it was very enlightening on a number of grounds.  In brief, I asked Mr Williams a number of points for him to clarify, and lets just say his answers were “guarded and cloaked in legalese” . When asked for specific responses to straight questions, he just re-quoted his earlier carefully worded answers, and refused to elaborate further … hmmmm

As we all know, Professor Williams has staked his reputation on his prediction that bitcoin will trade for $10 or less by 30th June 2014. …  Well that’s now only 40 days away !  .. and when I looked just now the bitcoin price was trading at $498

Just so Mr Williams can keep track of the days as they approach his prediction deadline, The Rat has set up a Countdown Clock on this site below

Mark Williams Prediction Countdown Clock

Now, Mark Williams is clearly not unintelligent,  head-strong maybe, arrogant maybe, and beholden to JPMorgan maybe ? .. but he has obviously recognised that staking his reputation on being able to ‘talk down’ bitcoin , was clearly a big mistake !

As I pointed out in my last posting on Williams own bloging habits, up until December 2013 he was bloging at around 5 articles a month  – and didnt write on bitcoin until the 5th December.  But from then on, until march this year he was posting around 25 articles a month on his Boston University Blog  , all critical of bitcoin.

However, since the 10th April .. thats nearly six weeks .. he has only writen four posts  .. and only one on bitcoin !

 

could this be the time for FORTY DAYS in the wilderness for Professor Williams  ?

you might also notice that Mark Williams has disabled comments on his blog – unlike The Rat

Free Speech ? ..  apparently not in ‘bitcoin bashers land’

Williams2

 

 

 

Repost from Richard Brown, IBM UK – Bitcoin and Bankers: Reflections on a panel discussion

The Bitcoin Word Game – reposted from Jon Matonis

A simple explanation of why HFT is rigged

nascar-martinsville-auto-racing.jpeg-620x412

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High Frequency Trading ( HFT ) is finally being openly debated in the media , ( mainly thanks to Michael Lewis and Bloomberg News) and there are on-going investigations by the FBI currently in progress.

Traders and Bank Insider are protesting like snarling lions at any suggestion that the market is ‘rigged’ in favour of High Speed Traders. However, anyone who has read Michael’s new book,  Flash Boys, and has taken the time to understand the consequences of absorbing HFT’s into the fabric of the Exchanges themselves, will clearly see that their arguments are founded on very dubious grounds.

The main contention from the HFT lobby is that the ‘system’ currently operating gives beneficial liquidity to the Market and has lead to a significant fall in trading costs to “Joe Public” .  This is certainly correct, and on the face of it does not seem to indicate a “rigged” market. (ie falling transaction costs and substantial capital fluidity usually indicate a free and un-rigged Marketplace )

Their second contention is one of  “free market innovation” ;  by which they mean that the mechanisms that have brought about this liquidity – the nanosecond buy/sell order book transactions – have come about as a natural result of their own capital investment in new trading technologies, algorithmic-driven bots and advanced computerization etc.  They contend that it is “natural’  for major players who invest heavily going forward to have a competitive edge over others who fail to adapt and invest.  This all sounds very plausible.

But …. and its a very big but … The assertion by High Frequency Traders that all they are doing is essentially benefiting from their own shrewd capital investment and innovation-driven practices and policies is a fundamental deception, because – in reality – it is allowing them to bypass the regulations that are in place to protect the operation of a free market.

A level playing field, everyone knowing and abiding by the same rules, are essential for on-going public confidence in any activity. Insider trading,  benefiting from prior knowledge obtained secretly, or let’s not be prudish “Cheating” ,  is quite rightly outlawed and a criminal offence.

So, here is a simple sporting analogy that explains why High Frequency Trading should be seen for what it rightly is .. a rigging of the game. Or more accurately, a knowing deception to cheat against ‘Joe Public’ by those HFT players over non HFT players.  All trading is essentially ‘placing a bet’ that your chosen option will win over somebody else looking at the same set of circumstances. High Frequency Traders merely say they can predict the market results better, and act sooner, because of their advanced technology and investment. So let’s examine that claim.

In NASCAR, – or say Formula One Racing outside the USA  – huge capital investment is needed to run successful teams. The winning teams almost always are those with the biggest innovation budgets, most up-to-date technologies and RD development. The drivers are of course part of that mix, but if you put a top driver in a third rate car, he isnt going to win The Race.

We all can accept that variation, because that’s part of a capital and investment-driven free market activity. But there are “rules and regulations’ that are put on The Race.  The most important being that ALL drivers race on the same track, all start at the same time, and the “winning post” is at a universally pre-determined point.

So, if  HFT’s were watching their screens and betting on a NASCAR race they would have no advantage over a ‘Joe Public ‘ Punter watching the same Race on his own TV screen.   But what is actually happening is that they are on a more rapid “cable feed”, than anyone else, so their information on the Race is arriving ahead of the “Joe Public” punter.

What makes this even more ‘rigged’ is that the HFT players are in fact actually associates in the betting office, so not only do they know the result of the Race in advance of Joe Punter, but they know which bets all the other “Joe Punters”  have placed and are able to cream off the odds by placing their own “winning odds” bets,  as they know already know the result.

Now, explained like that, everybody would say that was “cheating” and “rigging the market”. So I would love the HFT’s themselves to try and explain why this isnt actually what they are doing ?

Oh, and by the way,  does the FBI watch NASCAR ?

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Bitcoin is the New “Rock ‘n Roll” ! !

rolling_stones_01

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The emerging bitcoin community is today at the turning point of mass acceptance, and the evolution of bitcoin is very reminiscent to me to the history of the rise of Rock and Roll. ( I’m old enough to remember those days – will be 65 in a few months !)

The roots of Rock and Roll grew out of a disenfranchised underclass, with no voice in the mainstream, and sharing the need to articulate their ideas, hopes and aspirations among their own community. ( ie similar to the early geeks in their ‘bitcoin basements’ )

The early ‘musical vibe’ of rhythm and blues was picked up and introduced to a youthful white audience anxious to also express their dissatisfaction with the status-quo  through the “safe and sanitized” Colonel Parker/Elvis promotional model.

This isn’t knocking The King, just pointing out that he wasn’t really an ‘infant terrible’. However, Elvis in his early years was equally vilified and ridiculed by the Main Stream Media and the entrenched ‘musical establishment’, very much as bitcoin has been in its own second phase.

In the mid-sixties, The Beatles Revolution brought mass music to the world-wide teenage population, and spawned thousands of bands – ‘ kids in their garages ‘ – but the Beatles weren’t really “rock and roll’.

In the sixties, teenagers were split into two camps. The mop-top supporters of the Beatles listened to music that even had their parents tapping their feet , they were adored by the Media and received OBE’s at the Palace from Her Majesty the Queen of England. Whereas the long-haired Rolling Stones were the ‘bad boys’, outspoken, drug taking, anti-establishment figures. Pure evil ‘rock and rollers’ – someone you certainly couldn’t take home to Mom and Dad.

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So let’s examine the career of these adolescent bad boys of rock and roll – epitomized by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards – from rebels into their existence today as probably the Iconic Surviving Rock Band, adored by celebrities , still playing at Presidential Parties and fund-raisers , almost unrecognizable from their early roots.

You could certainly make the case that the career of the Rolling Stones closely mirrors how bitcoin has developed up to now, and where it will be going in the coming decades.

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Phase One – an articulate unrepresented underclass , communicating among themselves, nerdy kids in garages and basements, ridiculed for partaking in activities that were incomprehensible to the Main Stream.

Phase Two – rebellious, now ‘out in public ‘ loud, kicking the boundaries, some arrested for drug related activities ( Yes, Charlie Shrem is the new Keith Richards !)  bitcoin is now feared by the establishment, but growing in momentum with every month, and surviving all the ‘bad publicity’. Indeed , in the Rock and Roll World the saying goes – “there is no such thing as bad publicity, any publicity is good publicity” and this seems to be true also for bitcoin. Bitcoins adoption has certainly not been hurt by the recent ‘bad publicity’ of all the Main Stream Media reporting of Mt Gox, etc

Phase Three – getting invitations to the ‘top table’ (moving away from the Beggars Banquet ) . This is essentially where bitcoin is moving today. For example , see Barry Silberts quote on twitter on march 23
“Had requests from 38 institutional investors representing +$250 billion to meet with me re bitcoin at Barclays Emerging Payments Forum tomorrow”

Phase Four – Mainstream Acceptance, “I can’t imagine what the rock world would have been like without the Rolling Stones “.   This is where the bitcoin community is going.   Before the end of this decade it will be impossible to imagine a world without bitcoin and the blockchain protocol.
Bitcoin truly is “The new Rock and Roll”

 

keith-richards-rolling-stones-wallpaper-normal-wallpaper-1786106481

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Richards

 

The 66-year-old lead guitarist has recently written” Life”, a memoir about his early musical influences, his time on the road with , his run-ins with the law and his occasionally contentious relationship with Jagger, the Stones’ lead vocalist.

 

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I’d like to think that in 40 years time , a similar memoir will be written by Charlie Shrem –  Go Charlie !

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