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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions and you: What's going on, where are your bitcoins, and what you can do about it

If your transaction is not being confirmed, and you did not use replace-by-fee (you almost certainly did not, very few bitcoin wallets support this) then you will have to wait for the network nodes to drop your transaction from their mempool before you can attempt to resend your transaction.

After 72 hours of being unconfirmed, most mempools will drop it (nodes with default settings). If volume is particularly high and mempools are completely filled up (beyond 300MB for default settings) then it will be dropped sooner. However there is no way to know if your transaction is being dropped or not, beyond just going to common blockchain explorers and seeing if they have it. has very liberal node configurations, they keep almost every transaction. is an example of one with conservative settings, they are likely to drop your transaction before other explorers and nodes.

Why isn't the price of Bitcoin surging even more now that Brexit has been decided?

Big money moves ahead of news.

Small money moves after news.

Why isn't the price of Bitcoin surging even more now that Brexit has been decided?

Big money moves ahead of news.

Small money moves after news.

Bitcoin is not well known, and very few people consider it a safe haven asset (even though it has demonstrated these qualities for several years).

It is difficult to understand and purchasing can require several days of verification.

If you follow "financial news" you'll often see "journalists" say "DOW down 100 points after jobs report" or "DOW up 100 points on leaked earning data"

What is really entertaining is watching the news reports on volatile days. You'll get a news report in the morning when the market is up saying "Market up 3% after positive earnings report" and then in the afternoon "Market falls 2% while OPEC uncertainties loom"

And if you notice very carefully, they never say definitively that it is up or down BECAUSE of these factors, just that they occur at the same time.

The market moves along a stochastic walk, and sometimes that walk crosses certain margin thresholds which activate certain behaviors, which in turn causes large players to make large decisions.

The news is correlative at best, and big money moves ahead of the news.

Why did the stock market rally the day before Brexit? It got within 100 of the right shoulder for the 18month trend, just to be slapped down. It was a final opportunity to get out of the market ahead before the big crash. Big money pumped the market up, and big money cashed out. The market didn't fall on Friday because a bunch of mom and pops with a couple stocks sold, it fell because giant institutions sold. Monday is when we will start seeing some repercussions. If the market doesn't do a 180 we are looking at banks going under and an entire global game of dominoes coming to a close.

Bitcoin will continue being bitcoin. Sure I'd love it if it were higher, and I dream about it regularly, but as it stands right now at $650, I couldn't be more pleased to be involved in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin represents much more than a vehicle to wealth, it is the most powerful weapon against the modern nation-state, and the most powerful peacemaker on Earth. Bitcoin is far more powerful than any bomb, nuclear or otherwise. No traditional weapon has the potential to cause every nation to fall to its knees without bloodshed.

Brexit will make Bitcoin more popular

I think the media and press coverage Bitcoin is getting as being a safe-haven asset will increase investor awareness and eventually make it a recognized safe-haven asset as investors reevaluate options. But I expect that to occur over a more gradual timespan of months to years as investors encounter long-term global financial instability. Very few people had their finger on a trigger to buy BTC the way traders were ready to shift GDP to USD or gold.

Until Bitcoin has an ETF or Forex presence (on major Forex brokers) I don't expect markets to react on a similar timescale.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drastic shortening of attention spans

I teach at a university and since Facebook I see a drastic shortening of attention spans allowed for reading and listening. If I cannot say it in less than 3-5 minutes, then I've lost them. Before Facebook and smart phones, I had 20-30 minutes. Attention span planning is forcing major changes in education. It's our world... journalists have to adjust too.SusieMach

Thursday, June 16, 2016

When you print important crypto stuff (private keys) make sure you use a proper font and don't leave traces on your printer's hard drive and your computer's hard drive

When printing your keys make sure you use a proper font (that don't have similar characters - like "I" and "l", zero and big O).

Also don't trust your printer - some printers have hard drives. And copy of all printed documents is saved on your hard drive (and then "erased" but it still revocable using "undelete" programs) - even in Linux.

You can use this trick to prevent copies of printed pages to be written on the computer's hard drive (this is NOT applicable for printer's hard drive):

mount -t tmpfs -o size=1G tmpfs /var/spool/cups
chmod 0710 /var/spool/cups
chown root:lp /var/spool/cups
mkdir /var/spool/cups/tmp
chmod 1770 /var/spool/cups/tmp
chown root:lp /var/spool/cups/tmp

Also you need encrypted home folder (/home/yourusername) to be safe.

Confessions of a former employee at a financial institution - why you should not make transactions of exactly $10 000 USD (or equivalent) in USA

Used to work in compliance, specifically AML/BSA. Sorry, ton of words coming...

There's a pretty blurry line between informing the client of a delay regarding a compliance investigation and what's known as "tipping off".

If a financial institution is found to have tipped off, the penalties are stiff. Jail time and big fines to the person who did it, and potential loss of MSB licensure for the business.

Again, that line boils down to interpretation. Most FIs won't say anything other than, "sorry for the delay," and nothing about compliance.

This is especially true if the investigator has found something they find to be suspicious. What's suspicious is also muddy. Could be that the amount is the "magic number" of 10,000.

Despite the rule that all cash deposits "larger than $10,000" must be reported, most suspicious activities like fraud, account takeover, etc are exactly $10,000, even if they aren't in the form of cash.

If you get an overzealous AML officer or investigator, any transaction using that magic number is enough to set off a full investigation of the client. If that investigator also finds your Facebook has pictures/posts of weed, gambling, etc... you're going to be the subject of a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Regardless of how legitimate the activity actually is, it's all about how it appears to their AML people.

The red flags the investigator sees could be as nonsensical as an ID that was just a blurry picture that didn't look as crisp as the comparison from the book. Or maybe the client's identity has been compromised (is an ID theft VICTIM) and the investigator can't tell which person they're dealing with. Or even as stupid as "the client is uncooperative", which I've seen used by investigators that were pissed that the client was upset about all of the questions and requests for their firstborn.

Say again, it's all open to the interpretation of the investigator.

Once it is determined that a SAR will be filed, there's a wall of silence that goes up, and it's a tremendous pain to get your money back from the institution because they have no incentive to hurry. The client might not get a response AT ALL to their calls or emails. This is up to the policies of the company, and it's pretty fucked.

So glad I don't do that shit anymore.

Context: Follow up on BitGold - they still have my 10,000USD and have stopped responding since I provided all the requested documents 13 days ago.
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