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The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history

The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history
The original intention of this article is to let readers understand the causes and consequences of Bitmain internal fighting, but after writing it, I found that it is not so much internal fighting as it is a long history of self-help.
The story is very long. Let's adjust the timeline to the eve of December 17, 2018. That was one of Bitmain's most critical moments and the beginning of a series of subsequent stories.
1. Self-immolation In September 2018, Bitmain's financial department warned management that the company's cash flow has become very tight and operating costs must be reduced to allow the company to continue. The blockchain unicorn, which is valued at more than 15 billion U.S. dollars, is crippled in the run and struggling to break the corner.
In 2017, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars In the first half of 2018, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars Three rounds of financing, a total of 800 million US dollars Net assets should exceed 3 billion U.S. dollars In September 2018, Bitmain had tight cash flow and was on the verge of bankruptcy
A simple comparison, it is not difficult to see that Bitmain's ability to make money is incredible, and its ability to burn money is even more extreme.
How does Bitmain burn money? Do you pour cash into gasoline and burn it, or hire a lot of employees to stuff the banknotes one by one into the shredder? The actual situation is closer to the latter.
The following data can help readers quickly learn Bitmain's money burning skills.
At the beginning of 2018, the entire cryptocurrency market has entered a bear market, but Bitmain's monthly operating costs have been rising wildly. Operating costs have risen from 10 million US dollars at the beginning of the year to 50 million US dollars at the end of the year.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
Operating costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Excessive chip trial production can become a classic case of project management courses. Readers who pay attention to Cryptocurrency mining can easily find that Bitmain is still working hard to clear the inventory of Antminer S9 in 2019. As the co-CEO, Ketuan Zhan did not listen to the advice or even warnings of the Finance Department, insisting on the implementation of Excessive chip trial production, resulting in a large accumulation of inventory and tight capital turnover. Another CEO, Jihan Wu, once revealed that the loss of Excessive chip trial production to the company was approximately US$1.5 billion.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
The BM1393 chip incident is even more incredible. Chip expert Ketuan Zhan invested a lot of money on a failed chip, and finally failed again. From 2017 to 2018, Bitmain has failed Trial production of mining machine chips at least 4 times, including 16nm, 12nm and 10nm chips, of which 16nm Trial production failed twice, thus losing at least US$1.2 billion.
It is rumored that Bitmain still holds a billion U.S. dollars worth of cryptocurrency in a state of floating loss. In view of the rebound in the market in 2020, we will not comment temporarily, waiting for the correct answer from the cryptocurrency market. But the losses pointed out in the previous article are all irreversible.
2. Sole power
In September 2018, Bitmain's management realized the seriousness of the problem. It turned out that the company's money could be squandered. As a result, the management began to discuss self-help plans, and the most reasonable and effective way was obviously to lay off employees.
The probation period for newly hired employees at Bitmain is half a year, and the probationary salary is 100% of the official salary, there is no difference. Once layoffs are made, new employees who have not passed the probationary period will be the main layoff targets. The department managed by Ketuan Zhan will face large-scale layoffs. The layoff plan is strongly opposed by Ketuan Zhan. Bitmain can only temporarily abandon the layoffs and replace it with continuous reductions. For marketing and travel expenses, a budget committee was established to strictly approve every expenditure. At the same time, employee benefits, such as reimbursement of taxi expenses, breakfast supply, snacks and drinks, etc., have also been abolished, and even the tradition of giving employees 400 yuan worth of BTC/BCH every month has been stopped.
In the face of huge cash flow pressure, trivial savings is obviously of no avail. Soon, the management again discussed the layoff plan, and it has reached the point where it has to be laid off.
In December 2018, Jihan Wu began to organize all entrepreneurial veterans and business backbones to persuade Ketuan Zhan to agree to layoffs, but Ketuan Zhan still insisted not to layoffs. The persuasion process was very unsuccessful. After many meetings and intense debates, Bitmain executives were caught in a dilemma of wasting time with Ketuan Zhan.
In this process, the shortcomings of the dual CEO system began to appear, and the relationship between the two CEOs gradually deteriorated.
On the night of December 16th, Ketuan Zhan reconvened the management meeting, and more than 30 managements who were present were asked to hand over their mobile phones. At this time, Jihan Wu was on a business trip in Hong Kong and was busy with listing related work.
In the meeting, Ketuan Zhan's core content was three items:
(1) Bitmain cannot have two CEOs, only one CEO and must be Ketuan Zhan. Ketuan Zhan said that he met an old leader during a business trip. He hadn't seen each other for many years. The old leader suggested that the company can only have one CEO, and it must be him. Ketuan Zhan feels that this is a kind of fate, an opportunity given by God.
(2) Ketuan Zhan believes that the company's cash flow problems, the biggest responsibility is the inability of the financial department. To prove his point, Ketuan Zhan announced Bitmain's financial data at the meeting. In the evening, employees in Taiwan began to post messages on social media, saying that the company's capital chain was broken and the top management was split.
(3) If Ketuan Zhan is not supported, the option will be cancelled and the equity will be voided.
Hearing about this, Jihan Wu, who lives in Hong Kong, sent a WeChat message to the management who are attending the meeting.

https://preview.redd.it/zkj2d44tqid51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9251c1f7308e155d7911d5969e71091a5ad5e14a
On the afternoon of December 17, 2018, Jihan Wu returned to Beijing to negotiate with Ketuan Zhan all night, and finally reached a consensus in the early morning. Bitmain co-founder Yuesheng Ge announced the results of the negotiations. Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan ceased to serve as CEOs, and Haichao Wang served as CEO. Jihan Wu voluntarily backed down and Ketuan Zhan served as chairman.
The "12.17 Incident" had a very bad impact on Bitmain, especially the disclosure of Bitmain's financial status, which caused vendors to start dunning. The loan that had just been negotiated with the Bank of Beijing was cancelled the next day. Jihan Wu's resignation as CEO caused an uproar in the industry, and it became a hot topic among Cryptocurrency mining, blockchain practitioners, and investor communities. The media focused their interpretation on Bitmain's series of incidents, and generally looked down upon its ongoing Hong Kong IPO, believing that the high-level changes had already signaled the failure of the IPO in advance.
On Christmas December 24, 2018, Bitmain finally began to implement the layoff plan. This long-delayed “correct decision” was achieved after a stalemate for nearly three months. The AI ​​teams in Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan, and Shanghai have laid off more than 50% of their employees. The Israeli R&D center was closed and Shenzhen New Species Technology Co., Ltd., which had been acquired for only ten months, was dissolved, and all employees were laid off. Copernicus, Bitmain's top blockchain development team, was not spared and was wiped out in this layoff. Copernicus and some of the laid-off employees joined the new company Matrixport co-founded by Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge, headquartered in Singapore.
3. Past events when starting a business
After the "12.17 Incident", Jihan Wu gradually faded out of Bitmain's management affairs and turned his attention to the IPO and new company. And this is one of Jihan Wu's major mistakes, he began to let Ketuan Zhan manage Bitmain alone.
In fact, as early as 2013, Jihan Wu planted hidden dangers.
Jihan Wu, an investment banker, was the earliest translator of the Bitcoin white paper. He began to get involved in the cryptocurrency mining industry in 2012. The disappearance of Kaomao and Nangua Zhang's ticket skipping led Jihan Wu to decide to develop his own chip.
In 2013, Jihan Wu established his own mining machine company. Together with Yuesheng Ge, who was only 20 years old, he found Ketuan Zhan, an integrated circuit designer of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to create the protagonist of this article, and later the digital Cryptocurrency mining giant, Bitmain.
Jihan Wu promised Ketuan Zhan that every time a mining machine chip was successfully developed, he would give some shares to the Ketuan Zhan team. At that time, the company founded by Ketuan Zhan was on the eve of falling apart. In order to regroup the team, Ketuan Zhan promised to share half of his shares with the team members. Unfortunately, this is just a bad check. With the rapid development of Bitmain and higher and higher valuations, the expanding Ketuan Zhan almost monopolized all the shares.
Like many startups, Bitmain encountered many difficulties in its early days, and many jobs had to be done by the boss. For example, in the chip design and production process in the second half of 2013, Bitmain was caught in a dilemma of insufficient funds. Jihan Wu personally raised funds and met with TSMC’s sales to persuade TSMC to accept the production needs of a start-up company. Jihan Wu also participated in the selection of the thermodynamic parameters of the heat sink in the Antminer S1.
In 2014, Jihan Wu discovered that this company was independently operated by Ketuan Zhan, which had huge problems. Forcing Jihan Wu to continue to participate in company management.
At that time, Bitmain's mining machine chips had just achieved a certain lead in the standard design process. Jihan Wu believes that the next step must be to develop full customization technology, but Ketuan Zhan plans to invest resources in the research of mobile payment chips.
Ketuan Zhan met a mysterious person from the Party Central Security Bureau who claimed to be able to manipulate the Party Central Committee’s decision-making process for the next generation of mobile payment cryptography standards, but this direction is likely to lead to the fact that Bitmain has just gained the lead in the mining machine market. Regained.
Jihan Wu said that as a graduate of the School of Economics, with a little memory of his high school stage and the knowledge reserve of a computer technology amateur, he retrieves various materials and papers every day, learns theories related to full customization, and goes to Ketuan Zhan conducts persuasion work there.
Fortunately, in the direction of full customization technology, Ketuan Zhan finally listened to Jihan Wu's opinion. Bitmain quickly integrated the technical experts from the United States and Russia introduced by Jihan Wu, which greatly improved the design level of chips and complete machines.
In 2015, Jihan Wu suggested that Ketuan Zhan consider the direction of artificial intelligence. But Ketuan Zhan is not here, he prefers the CPU direction. After staying asleep at night, coupled with in-depth analysis by the Bitmain investment team, Ketuan Zhan finally agreed with this direction. It is a pity that after the Tianshi Chen brothers made major breakthroughs in theory and practice, Bitmain officially invested in the relevant direction, and it was still a step behind.
In the two years from 2016 to 2017, Bitmain's business performance has achieved rapid development, becoming a unique super unicorn in the blockchain industry. According to Froth & Sullivan, in 2017, Bitmain Technology Holdings was the second largest fabless chip design company in China and the tenth largest fabless chip design company in the world, and the fourth largest fabless ASIC chip design company in the world, accounting for 74.5% of global cryptocurrency market share.
However, the huge crisis has long been buried in the early days of entrepreneurship.
Ketuan Zhan's decision on major directions revealed his weakness of extremely lack of business understanding. But every mistake he made was blocked by the company's core employees. His overconfidence in his management ability led to the gradual intensification of conflicts, and the management differences between the two founders became more serious.
4.The giant gets lost
The contradiction between the two broke out on December 17, 2018. Ketuan Zhan used extreme means to force the management to compromise with him by canceling the option, so as to achieve the goal of sole control of the company. Jihan Wu returned to Beijing from Hong Kong overnight and negotiated with Ketuan Zhan all night. In the end, the two resigned as CEO. Jihan Wu retired. Ketuan Zhan has the exclusive rights of chairman in exchange for the implementation of the layoff plan.
Jihan Wu's voluntary retreat has intensified Ketuan Zhan's management to do whatever he wants.
A Bitmain employee commented on Ketuan Zhan's management skills, summed up in two letters-SM.
After becoming the sole helm of the company, Ketuan Zhan quickly "rectified" the department in charge of Jihan Wu as the chairman of the board. He guided the sales of mining machines at the dinner, and pointed out that the sales performance is not due to the sales staff. Ability is strong, but the company provides opportunities. Take two sales leaders as examples, saying that if the company hadn't given the opportunity, they would still be losers. In addition, Ketuan Zhan also instructed the sales staff on how to toast and imparted the wine table culture and experience.
After the meal, Ketuan Zhan came to the conclusion that the quality of Bitmain sales staff was too poor, and Huawei’s blood needs to be injected to drive the company’s progress. Soon, the marketing and sales director from Huawei officially took over Bitmain, opening the era of brand premium for Antminer.
In order to further understand and guide the sales work, Ketuan Zhan asked to meet the customers with the sales staff. During the negotiation process, Ketuan Zhan had a heated discussion with customers on the issue of Chinese and Western medicine, and had also forced the sales staff to be able to ship 10,000 machines due to insufficient production capacity.
Although the requirements for sales personnel are strict, Ketuan Zhan has provided a lot of convenience for "Mainland Ark". In addition to selling mining machines at a more favorable price, Bitmain's mining machines are also hosted in Ming Wang at a higher price than the market price. Mine. It is reported that both Ketuan Zhan and Ming Wang are shareholders of Ark.
The new sales strategy of Huawei's executives has also brought very obvious changes to Bitmain. The self-righteous brand premium reduces the price-performance ratio of Antminer, causing competing products to eat away at Bitmain's market share. Later, Bitmain found that the strategy was wrong and started to cut prices, and found that the mining machine market was saturated and the purchase demand of miners had decreased.
More dangerous than the sales strategy is that the technical advantages of Antminer are being chased by competing products, and even overtaken. At the same time, the two mining pools under Bitmain also lost their first and second positions. The AI ​​business, which Jihan Wu placed high hopes and Ketuan Zhan personally supervised, became a laughing stock in the industry. Not only did it fail to make a profit, it almost brought down Bitmain.
Blindly introducing senior executives from Huawei to occupy important positions completely destroys the company's internal cultural foundation. The bureaucracy within Bitmain began to corrode from high-level employees to ordinary employees. Ketuan Zhan is not aware of this. He is still keen on recruiting Huawei employees, imitating Huawei's organizational structure and strategy, letting HR do sales and R&D personnel to do HR.
The organizational structure adjustment in October 2019 was the fuse for Ketuan Zhan to completely anger Bitmain management. This time, Ketuan Zhan completely marginalized Bitmain’s veteran employees, and suddenly promoted some of the “airborne soldiers” who had just joined the company to the position of person in charge, which caused the former person in charge to report to the new employees. The two managers who were originally equal The hierarchy becomes the subordinate relationship, the operation and development of different business lines are merged into a large department, the upward reporting process becomes more cumbersome, and the relationship between employees becomes delicate.
5. Headwind
On October 29, 2019, Jihan Wu urgently held a staff meeting. Prior to this, the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain has been changed to Jihan Wu, including the parent companies Hong Kong Bitmain and Cayman Bitmain. Jihan Wu stood in the lobby of Building 25, B1, announcing that Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Any employee in the Bitmain Group shall no longer execute Ketuan Zhan’s instructions and participate in any meetings convened by Ketuan Zhan. If there is any violation, the company will demotion and expel the company based on the severity of the circumstances. If losses are caused to the company, the company will be held accountable.
Jihan Wu's speech is very long, which can be summarized as follows:
(1) Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Also expelled from the original Huawei company HR Zhi Wang introduced by Ketuan Zhan at the end of 2018. Zhi Wang’s reputation on Bitmain was extremely poor and was ridiculed by employees as "nine thousand years" (In ancient China, the emperor was called "ten thousand years old", and the prince was "eight thousand years old." However, in the Ming Dynasty, there was an eunuch who caused harm to the country and the people. He called himself "nine thousand years old", meaning that he was only A little lower than the emperor's level).
(2) Ketuan Zhan's ability to control the company's option incentive plan has disappeared, and it is no longer possible to cancel employees' options at will.
(3) The organizational structure adjustment plan led by Ketuan Zhan was suspended.
(4) We are optimistic about the future of AI business, but the premise is that the main business can continue to make profits in order to support the company's continued investment in AI business.
In the speech, Jihan Wu also told employees the whole story of the "12.17 Incident" and bluntly said that the company is not in good condition. If no measures are taken, Bitmain is likely to go bankrupt in three quarters and he must come back to save the company.
At this time, Ketuan Zhan, who was on a business trip in Shenzhen, finally experienced the situation of Jihan Wu in the "12.17 Incident".
After the official return, Jihan Wu began to clearly point out the company's various problems in operation and management, and went deep into each business line to understand the situation. In the mining machine sales department meeting, employees spoke enthusiastically, reflecting on the difficulties and opinions encountered in the work, the marketing and sales director from Huawei asked with a surprised look, "Why didn't these issues be reported to me before?", and soon , The director was interviewed and "voluntarily resigned."
On November 2, 2019, Jihan Wu announced a salary increase for all employees. Bitmain’s last salary increase dates back to 2018. In principle, Bitmain has two salary increases every year.
On November 7, 2019, Ketuan Zhan spoke on social media for the first time, describing his hardship in starting a business, and condemning Jihan Wu for “stabbing a knife in the back”. At the end of the article, he also set himself a KPI for 2020, that is, the mining machine market share will reach 90%, and the AI ​​business will earn 1 billion.
But Ketuan Zhan's majestic plan did not make Bitmain employees feel emotional, but ridiculed him instead. Employees exposed that he insulted employees, advocated Chinese medicine, believed in Buddhism, drank in meetings, practiced Qigong...
However, there is less than half a year before the halving of Bitcoin production, and the cryptocurrency market shows no signs of recovery, which makes Bitmain management very anxious.
On January 6, 2020, Bitmain ushered in another round of layoffs, with a layoff ratio of about 1/3. This time the layoffs have caused many employees who have just increased their salaries to feel very grieved. On the one hand, they were looking forward to Jihan Wu's return. On the other hand, the compensation for this layoff was less than 18 years.
Ketuan Zhan, who has been unable to enter the Bitmain office area, once again spoke on social media and firmly opposed to layoffs. We do not need to lay off staff and we cannot commit suicide.
During the Spring Festival, Covid-19 broke out. Mainland China has begun to extend the Spring Festival holiday and advocate working from home. Under the chain reaction caused by Covid-19, most companies have chosen to cut salaries or even lay off employees. In the first two months of 2020, China's exports fell by 17%, U.S. stocks were broken four times in a row, Bitcoin plunged 40% in 24 hours on March 12, 2020, and crude oil futures fell by 300% on April 20, 2020...
Obviously, Jihan Wu can't predict, but this layoff seems to be the right decision again. In addition, from January to April 2020, Bitmain's revenue exceeded US$400 million amid the spread of Covid-19 and the collapse of the financial market.
6. Fight to the death
When Jihan Wu tried to get the company back on track, Ketuan Zhan was not helpless. On April 28, 2020, Ketuan Zhan finally rolled back the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain to before October 28, 2019 by repeatedly submitting administrative reconsiderations, and restored his status as a legal representative.
On the morning of May 8, 2020, a piece of news about Bitmain quickly appeared on the real-time hot search rankings, and even dominated the headlines of the day. At window 52 on the second floor of the Haidian District Government Affairs Center, when Ketuan Zhan, the legal person of Beijing Bitmain Company, was receiving the business license, a group of unidentified people snatched the business license from the industrial and commercial administrative staff. A source at the scene said that the number of unidentified people in the group was about 60 people, of which Luyao Liu was directing at the scene.
This is a skillful piece of news. It first leads readers to think that Ketuan Zhan is a victim, using 60 people to grab business licenses as the focus. The masses accused Jihan Wu of lawlessness, but ignored whether the government affairs center could have 60 personnel. As for Hong Kong Bitmain to have the right to appoint a representative to obtain a business license, this is a deeper level of thinking.
The follow-up report restored the real situation at the scene. Only more than ten people were present, and both sides were equipped with security personnel. Bitmain employees also broke the news in the circle of friends, claiming that Ketuan Zhan's bodyguard had injured Bitmain's authorized person, and said in a threatening tone, "Be careful!"
However, the subsequent plot reversal did not have much effect. Jihan Wu's reputation has been greatly affected. From a bloody soldier who rescued the company in trouble to a lawless criminal, it can be said to be a world of war. do not.
Ketuan Zhan, who succeeded in the first battle, began to counterattack Bitmain continuously. On the afternoon of June 3, 2020, Ketuan Zhan led a team to pry open the back door of the Beijing Bitmain office and formally occupied the deserted Beijing headquarters.
On June 4, 2020, Ketuan Zhan called on Bitmain employees to resume work and promised to expand the company's market value to more than US$50 billion within three to five years. After that, Ketuan Zhan began to contact employees by phone, trying to acquire the options in the hands of employees at a valuation of 4 billion US dollars.
Subsequently, Ketuan Zhan recalled Huawei's executives and issued a series of personnel appointments and removals. As of June 9, 2020, Ketuan Zhan has successively eliminated CFO Luyao Liu, and Wenguang Wang, the head of the mining center. Luyao Liu is responsible for controlling Bitmain's IPO plan. He also appointed Yanwu Ma as the HR director, Gang Ren as the head of the mining center, Yonggang Sun as the head of the supply chain, Ling Gu as the financial director, and Bin Zhu as the head of the mining machine business department. Bin Zhu is the senior executive of Huawei who was interviewed and left as mentioned in the previous article. During his tenure, he reduced Antminer’s 90% market share to 50%, and received a large number of complaints from miners. Internal employees once speculated that he might be Compete against the spies sent by the company.
In addition to recalling senior executives of Huawei, Ketuan Zhan also urged employees to return to work. They can receive a bonus of 10,000 yuan when they return to work on the same day, which is only half the next day. Ketuan Zhan showed a very kind side. Every time the elevator door is opened, Ketuan Zhan's hot gaze can be met, shaking hands, taking photos, and receiving money. As there is no personnel information, Ketuan Zhan does not know whether the person receiving the money is a Bitmain employee, and these people did not resume work the next day.
The effect of gentleness was not good, Ketuan Zhan began to force employees to return to work. Seeing that there are still very few respondents, Ketuan Zhan threatened employees through SMS, phone calls, EMS, emails and other harassment, issued multiple threats such as termination of contract, suspension of payment of social insurance, suspension of wages, and even used personal information saved by employees to form a group of employees. Domicile threats, requiring employees to perform "work handover", trying to force employees to return work computers, etc.
On June 10, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan had controlled Bitmain's Shenzhen factory and prohibited employees from delivering normal shipments to paid customers, which caused difficulties in the operation of the Bitmain mining machine department.
On June 13, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain, the parent company of Beijing Bitmain, issued a statement accusing Ketuan Zhan of signing a "Sales Agency Agreement" with the Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd. in which it holds shares, in an attempt to embezzle Beijing Bit's assets.
On June 17, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan started selling 14,000 T17+ series mining machines at low prices.
On June 20, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain officially suspended the supply of chips to the Shenzhen factory.
On July 13, 2020, in the "A Letter to All My colleagues in the Shenzhen Factory" released by Bitmain in Hong Kong, more details were added on the series of Ketuan Zhan's actions in June.
The legal person Feng Zhou of the Shenzhen plant is related to Ketuan Zhan. After being relieved of Ketuan Zhan's post, Jihan Wu flew to Shenzhen to have a long talk with Feng Zhou. Jihan Wu believes that Feng Zhou is the right person to manage the factory and help the company overcome difficulties, and decides to leave Feng Zhou to continue to manage the factory.
This wrong decision staged a story of a farmer and a snake. When Ketuan Zhan began to counterattack Bitmain, Feng Zhou was also quickly instigated and began to assist Ketuan Zhan in seizing customer machines and transferring 17,000 T17 mining machines in the warehouse. Hainan Continental Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd., which is held by Ketuan Zhan, sold them at a low price.
In order to protect the interests of customers, Jihan Wu had to make a compromise and paid the payment for some goods to a bank account controlled by Ketuan Zhan in exchange for delivery. However, after the other party received a payment of 109 million, the delivery stopped. On July 8, 2020, 5600 mining machines have been overdue.
At the same time, the factory defaulted on suppliers’ accounts payable as much as 200 million yuan. Bank acceptance bills issued by the factory, exceeding 36 million yuan, will expire on July 17, and more than 34 million yuan will expire on July 23. It is understood that Ketuan Zhan, after receiving the bank's dunning call, made it clear that he would not repay the loan, which would destroy the company and the entire group's credit in financial institutions.
7、 This is not the end
So far, the power struggle between the founders of Bitmain has been more than half a year. The office building already occupied by Ketuan Zhan is still empty, and most employees choose to work from home. Some chip developers returned to the office with the acquiescence of Jihan Wu and continued to maintain research and development to reduce the impact of infighting on technological iteration and competitiveness.
This giant ship that once stood on top of the supercomputer chip is crashing into the iceberg due to the madness of the former helm. Ketuan Zhan's madness and Jihan Wu's compromise made mistakes again and again. Bitmain tried to save himself many times, but was unable to get out of the black hole.
If the time goes back to that day in 2013, would Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge still choose to dial Ketuan Zhan?
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The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history

The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history
The original intention of this article is to let readers understand the causes and consequences of Bitmain internal fighting, but after writing it, I found that it is not so much internal fighting as it is a long history of self-help.
The story is very long. Let's adjust the timeline to the eve of December 17, 2018. That was one of Bitmain's most critical moments and the beginning of a series of subsequent stories.
1. Self-immolation In September 2018, Bitmain's financial department warned management that the company's cash flow has become very tight and operating costs must be reduced to allow the company to continue. The blockchain unicorn, which is valued at more than 15 billion U.S. dollars, is crippled in the run and struggling to break the corner.
In 2017, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars In the first half of 2018, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars Three rounds of financing, a total of 800 million US dollars Net assets should exceed 3 billion U.S. dollars In September 2018, Bitmain had tight cash flow and was on the verge of bankruptcy
A simple comparison, it is not difficult to see that Bitmain's ability to make money is incredible, and its ability to burn money is even more extreme.
How does Bitmain burn money? Do you pour cash into gasoline and burn it, or hire a lot of employees to stuff the banknotes one by one into the shredder? The actual situation is closer to the latter.
The following data can help readers quickly learn Bitmain's money burning skills.
At the beginning of 2018, the entire cryptocurrency market has entered a bear market, but Bitmain's monthly operating costs have been rising wildly. Operating costs have risen from 10 million US dollars at the beginning of the year to 50 million US dollars at the end of the year.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
Operating costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Excessive chip trial production can become a classic case of project management courses. Readers who pay attention to Cryptocurrency mining can easily find that Bitmain is still working hard to clear the inventory of Antminer S9 in 2019. As the co-CEO, Ketuan Zhan did not listen to the advice or even warnings of the Finance Department, insisting on the implementation of Excessive chip trial production, resulting in a large accumulation of inventory and tight capital turnover. Another CEO, Jihan Wu, once revealed that the loss of Excessive chip trial production to the company was approximately US$1.5 billion.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
The BM1393 chip incident is even more incredible. Chip expert Ketuan Zhan invested a lot of money on a failed chip, and finally failed again. From 2017 to 2018, Bitmain has failed Trial production of mining machine chips at least 4 times, including 16nm, 12nm and 10nm chips, of which 16nm Trial production failed twice, thus losing at least US$1.2 billion.
It is rumored that Bitmain still holds a billion U.S. dollars worth of cryptocurrency in a state of floating loss. In view of the rebound in the market in 2020, we will not comment temporarily, waiting for the correct answer from the cryptocurrency market. But the losses pointed out in the previous article are all irreversible.
2. Sole power
In September 2018, Bitmain's management realized the seriousness of the problem. It turned out that the company's money could be squandered. As a result, the management began to discuss self-help plans, and the most reasonable and effective way was obviously to lay off employees.
The probation period for newly hired employees at Bitmain is half a year, and the probationary salary is 100% of the official salary, there is no difference. Once layoffs are made, new employees who have not passed the probationary period will be the main layoff targets. The department managed by Ketuan Zhan will face large-scale layoffs. The layoff plan is strongly opposed by Ketuan Zhan. Bitmain can only temporarily abandon the layoffs and replace it with continuous reductions. For marketing and travel expenses, a budget committee was established to strictly approve every expenditure. At the same time, employee benefits, such as reimbursement of taxi expenses, breakfast supply, snacks and drinks, etc., have also been abolished, and even the tradition of giving employees 400 yuan worth of BTC/BCH every month has been stopped.
In the face of huge cash flow pressure, trivial savings is obviously of no avail. Soon, the management again discussed the layoff plan, and it has reached the point where it has to be laid off.
In December 2018, Jihan Wu began to organize all entrepreneurial veterans and business backbones to persuade Ketuan Zhan to agree to layoffs, but Ketuan Zhan still insisted not to layoffs. The persuasion process was very unsuccessful. After many meetings and intense debates, Bitmain executives were caught in a dilemma of wasting time with Ketuan Zhan.
In this process, the shortcomings of the dual CEO system began to appear, and the relationship between the two CEOs gradually deteriorated.
On the night of December 16th, Ketuan Zhan reconvened the management meeting, and more than 30 managements who were present were asked to hand over their mobile phones. At this time, Jihan Wu was on a business trip in Hong Kong and was busy with listing related work.
In the meeting, Ketuan Zhan's core content was three items:
(1) Bitmain cannot have two CEOs, only one CEO and must be Ketuan Zhan. Ketuan Zhan said that he met an old leader during a business trip. He hadn't seen each other for many years. The old leader suggested that the company can only have one CEO, and it must be him. Ketuan Zhan feels that this is a kind of fate, an opportunity given by God.
(2) Ketuan Zhan believes that the company's cash flow problems, the biggest responsibility is the inability of the financial department. To prove his point, Ketuan Zhan announced Bitmain's financial data at the meeting. In the evening, employees in Taiwan began to post messages on social media, saying that the company's capital chain was broken and the top management was split.
(3) If Ketuan Zhan is not supported, the option will be cancelled and the equity will be voided.
Hearing about this, Jihan Wu, who lives in Hong Kong, sent a WeChat message to the management who are attending the meeting.

https://preview.redd.it/c5cxea2lqid51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3d6a0388408f6b8abe10648e5e4b7a3a5434c821
On the afternoon of December 17, 2018, Jihan Wu returned to Beijing to negotiate with Ketuan Zhan all night, and finally reached a consensus in the early morning. Bitmain co-founder Yuesheng Ge announced the results of the negotiations. Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan ceased to serve as CEOs, and Haichao Wang served as CEO. Jihan Wu voluntarily backed down and Ketuan Zhan served as chairman.
The "12.17 Incident" had a very bad impact on Bitmain, especially the disclosure of Bitmain's financial status, which caused vendors to start dunning. The loan that had just been negotiated with the Bank of Beijing was cancelled the next day. Jihan Wu's resignation as CEO caused an uproar in the industry, and it became a hot topic among Cryptocurrency mining, blockchain practitioners, and investor communities. The media focused their interpretation on Bitmain's series of incidents, and generally looked down upon its ongoing Hong Kong IPO, believing that the high-level changes had already signaled the failure of the IPO in advance.
On Christmas December 24, 2018, Bitmain finally began to implement the layoff plan. This long-delayed “correct decision” was achieved after a stalemate for nearly three months. The AI ​​teams in Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan, and Shanghai have laid off more than 50% of their employees. The Israeli R&D center was closed and Shenzhen New Species Technology Co., Ltd., which had been acquired for only ten months, was dissolved, and all employees were laid off. Copernicus, Bitmain's top blockchain development team, was not spared and was wiped out in this layoff. Copernicus and some of the laid-off employees joined the new company Matrixport co-founded by Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge, headquartered in Singapore.
3. Past events when starting a business
After the "12.17 Incident", Jihan Wu gradually faded out of Bitmain's management affairs and turned his attention to the IPO and new company. And this is one of Jihan Wu's major mistakes, he began to let Ketuan Zhan manage Bitmain alone.
In fact, as early as 2013, Jihan Wu planted hidden dangers.
Jihan Wu, an investment banker, was the earliest translator of the Bitcoin white paper. He began to get involved in the cryptocurrency mining industry in 2012. The disappearance of Kaomao and Nangua Zhang's ticket skipping led Jihan Wu to decide to develop his own chip.
In 2013, Jihan Wu established his own mining machine company. Together with Yuesheng Ge, who was only 20 years old, he found Ketuan Zhan, an integrated circuit designer of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to create the protagonist of this article, and later the digital Cryptocurrency mining giant, Bitmain.
Jihan Wu promised Ketuan Zhan that every time a mining machine chip was successfully developed, he would give some shares to the Ketuan Zhan team. At that time, the company founded by Ketuan Zhan was on the eve of falling apart. In order to regroup the team, Ketuan Zhan promised to share half of his shares with the team members. Unfortunately, this is just a bad check. With the rapid development of Bitmain and higher and higher valuations, the expanding Ketuan Zhan almost monopolized all the shares.
Like many startups, Bitmain encountered many difficulties in its early days, and many jobs had to be done by the boss. For example, in the chip design and production process in the second half of 2013, Bitmain was caught in a dilemma of insufficient funds. Jihan Wu personally raised funds and met with TSMC’s sales to persuade TSMC to accept the production needs of a start-up company. Jihan Wu also participated in the selection of the thermodynamic parameters of the heat sink in the Antminer S1.
In 2014, Jihan Wu discovered that this company was independently operated by Ketuan Zhan, which had huge problems. Forcing Jihan Wu to continue to participate in company management.
At that time, Bitmain's mining machine chips had just achieved a certain lead in the standard design process. Jihan Wu believes that the next step must be to develop full customization technology, but Ketuan Zhan plans to invest resources in the research of mobile payment chips.
Ketuan Zhan met a mysterious person from the Party Central Security Bureau who claimed to be able to manipulate the Party Central Committee’s decision-making process for the next generation of mobile payment cryptography standards, but this direction is likely to lead to the fact that Bitmain has just gained the lead in the mining machine market. Regained.
Jihan Wu said that as a graduate of the School of Economics, with a little memory of his high school stage and the knowledge reserve of a computer technology amateur, he retrieves various materials and papers every day, learns theories related to full customization, and goes to Ketuan Zhan conducts persuasion work there.
Fortunately, in the direction of full customization technology, Ketuan Zhan finally listened to Jihan Wu's opinion. Bitmain quickly integrated the technical experts from the United States and Russia introduced by Jihan Wu, which greatly improved the design level of chips and complete machines.
In 2015, Jihan Wu suggested that Ketuan Zhan consider the direction of artificial intelligence. But Ketuan Zhan is not here, he prefers the CPU direction. After staying asleep at night, coupled with in-depth analysis by the Bitmain investment team, Ketuan Zhan finally agreed with this direction. It is a pity that after the Tianshi Chen brothers made major breakthroughs in theory and practice, Bitmain officially invested in the relevant direction, and it was still a step behind.
In the two years from 2016 to 2017, Bitmain's business performance has achieved rapid development, becoming a unique super unicorn in the blockchain industry. According to Froth & Sullivan, in 2017, Bitmain Technology Holdings was the second largest fabless chip design company in China and the tenth largest fabless chip design company in the world, and the fourth largest fabless ASIC chip design company in the world, accounting for 74.5% of global cryptocurrency market share.
However, the huge crisis has long been buried in the early days of entrepreneurship.
Ketuan Zhan's decision on major directions revealed his weakness of extremely lack of business understanding. But every mistake he made was blocked by the company's core employees. His overconfidence in his management ability led to the gradual intensification of conflicts, and the management differences between the two founders became more serious.
4.The giant gets lost
The contradiction between the two broke out on December 17, 2018. Ketuan Zhan used extreme means to force the management to compromise with him by canceling the option, so as to achieve the goal of sole control of the company. Jihan Wu returned to Beijing from Hong Kong overnight and negotiated with Ketuan Zhan all night. In the end, the two resigned as CEO. Jihan Wu retired. Ketuan Zhan has the exclusive rights of chairman in exchange for the implementation of the layoff plan.
Jihan Wu's voluntary retreat has intensified Ketuan Zhan's management to do whatever he wants.
A Bitmain employee commented on Ketuan Zhan's management skills, summed up in two letters-SM.
After becoming the sole helm of the company, Ketuan Zhan quickly "rectified" the department in charge of Jihan Wu as the chairman of the board. He guided the sales of mining machines at the dinner, and pointed out that the sales performance is not due to the sales staff. Ability is strong, but the company provides opportunities. Take two sales leaders as examples, saying that if the company hadn't given the opportunity, they would still be losers. In addition, Ketuan Zhan also instructed the sales staff on how to toast and imparted the wine table culture and experience.
After the meal, Ketuan Zhan came to the conclusion that the quality of Bitmain sales staff was too poor, and Huawei’s blood needs to be injected to drive the company’s progress. Soon, the marketing and sales director from Huawei officially took over Bitmain, opening the era of brand premium for Antminer.
In order to further understand and guide the sales work, Ketuan Zhan asked to meet the customers with the sales staff. During the negotiation process, Ketuan Zhan had a heated discussion with customers on the issue of Chinese and Western medicine, and had also forced the sales staff to be able to ship 10,000 machines due to insufficient production capacity.
Although the requirements for sales personnel are strict, Ketuan Zhan has provided a lot of convenience for "Mainland Ark". In addition to selling mining machines at a more favorable price, Bitmain's mining machines are also hosted in Ming Wang at a higher price than the market price. Mine. It is reported that both Ketuan Zhan and Ming Wang are shareholders of Ark.
The new sales strategy of Huawei's executives has also brought very obvious changes to Bitmain. The self-righteous brand premium reduces the price-performance ratio of Antminer, causing competing products to eat away at Bitmain's market share. Later, Bitmain found that the strategy was wrong and started to cut prices, and found that the mining machine market was saturated and the purchase demand of miners had decreased.
More dangerous than the sales strategy is that the technical advantages of Antminer are being chased by competing products, and even overtaken. At the same time, the two mining pools under Bitmain also lost their first and second positions. The AI ​​business, which Jihan Wu placed high hopes and Ketuan Zhan personally supervised, became a laughing stock in the industry. Not only did it fail to make a profit, it almost brought down Bitmain.
Blindly introducing senior executives from Huawei to occupy important positions completely destroys the company's internal cultural foundation. The bureaucracy within Bitmain began to corrode from high-level employees to ordinary employees. Ketuan Zhan is not aware of this. He is still keen on recruiting Huawei employees, imitating Huawei's organizational structure and strategy, letting HR do sales and R&D personnel to do HR.
The organizational structure adjustment in October 2019 was the fuse for Ketuan Zhan to completely anger Bitmain management. This time, Ketuan Zhan completely marginalized Bitmain’s veteran employees, and suddenly promoted some of the “airborne soldiers” who had just joined the company to the position of person in charge, which caused the former person in charge to report to the new employees. The two managers who were originally equal The hierarchy becomes the subordinate relationship, the operation and development of different business lines are merged into a large department, the upward reporting process becomes more cumbersome, and the relationship between employees becomes delicate.
5. Headwind
On October 29, 2019, Jihan Wu urgently held a staff meeting. Prior to this, the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain has been changed to Jihan Wu, including the parent companies Hong Kong Bitmain and Cayman Bitmain. Jihan Wu stood in the lobby of Building 25, B1, announcing that Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Any employee in the Bitmain Group shall no longer execute Ketuan Zhan’s instructions and participate in any meetings convened by Ketuan Zhan. If there is any violation, the company will demotion and expel the company based on the severity of the circumstances. If losses are caused to the company, the company will be held accountable.
Jihan Wu's speech is very long, which can be summarized as follows:
(1) Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Also expelled from the original Huawei company HR Zhi Wang introduced by Ketuan Zhan at the end of 2018. Zhi Wang’s reputation on Bitmain was extremely poor and was ridiculed by employees as "nine thousand years" (In ancient China, the emperor was called "ten thousand years old", and the prince was "eight thousand years old." However, in the Ming Dynasty, there was an eunuch who caused harm to the country and the people. He called himself "nine thousand years old", meaning that he was only A little lower than the emperor's level).
(2) Ketuan Zhan's ability to control the company's option incentive plan has disappeared, and it is no longer possible to cancel employees' options at will.
(3) The organizational structure adjustment plan led by Ketuan Zhan was suspended.
(4) We are optimistic about the future of AI business, but the premise is that the main business can continue to make profits in order to support the company's continued investment in AI business.
In the speech, Jihan Wu also told employees the whole story of the "12.17 Incident" and bluntly said that the company is not in good condition. If no measures are taken, Bitmain is likely to go bankrupt in three quarters and he must come back to save the company.
At this time, Ketuan Zhan, who was on a business trip in Shenzhen, finally experienced the situation of Jihan Wu in the "12.17 Incident".
After the official return, Jihan Wu began to clearly point out the company's various problems in operation and management, and went deep into each business line to understand the situation. In the mining machine sales department meeting, employees spoke enthusiastically, reflecting on the difficulties and opinions encountered in the work, the marketing and sales director from Huawei asked with a surprised look, "Why didn't these issues be reported to me before?", and soon , The director was interviewed and "voluntarily resigned."
On November 2, 2019, Jihan Wu announced a salary increase for all employees. Bitmain’s last salary increase dates back to 2018. In principle, Bitmain has two salary increases every year.
On November 7, 2019, Ketuan Zhan spoke on social media for the first time, describing his hardship in starting a business, and condemning Jihan Wu for “stabbing a knife in the back”. At the end of the article, he also set himself a KPI for 2020, that is, the mining machine market share will reach 90%, and the AI ​​business will earn 1 billion.
But Ketuan Zhan's majestic plan did not make Bitmain employees feel emotional, but ridiculed him instead. Employees exposed that he insulted employees, advocated Chinese medicine, believed in Buddhism, drank in meetings, practiced Qigong...
However, there is less than half a year before the halving of Bitcoin production, and the cryptocurrency market shows no signs of recovery, which makes Bitmain management very anxious.
On January 6, 2020, Bitmain ushered in another round of layoffs, with a layoff ratio of about 1/3. This time the layoffs have caused many employees who have just increased their salaries to feel very grieved. On the one hand, they were looking forward to Jihan Wu's return. On the other hand, the compensation for this layoff was less than 18 years.
Ketuan Zhan, who has been unable to enter the Bitmain office area, once again spoke on social media and firmly opposed to layoffs. We do not need to lay off staff and we cannot commit suicide.
During the Spring Festival, Covid-19 broke out. Mainland China has begun to extend the Spring Festival holiday and advocate working from home. Under the chain reaction caused by Covid-19, most companies have chosen to cut salaries or even lay off employees. In the first two months of 2020, China's exports fell by 17%, U.S. stocks were broken four times in a row, Bitcoin plunged 40% in 24 hours on March 12, 2020, and crude oil futures fell by 300% on April 20, 2020...
Obviously, Jihan Wu can't predict, but this layoff seems to be the right decision again. In addition, from January to April 2020, Bitmain's revenue exceeded US$400 million amid the spread of Covid-19 and the collapse of the financial market.
6. Fight to the death
When Jihan Wu tried to get the company back on track, Ketuan Zhan was not helpless. On April 28, 2020, Ketuan Zhan finally rolled back the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain to before October 28, 2019 by repeatedly submitting administrative reconsiderations, and restored his status as a legal representative.
On the morning of May 8, 2020, a piece of news about Bitmain quickly appeared on the real-time hot search rankings, and even dominated the headlines of the day. At window 52 on the second floor of the Haidian District Government Affairs Center, when Ketuan Zhan, the legal person of Beijing Bitmain Company, was receiving the business license, a group of unidentified people snatched the business license from the industrial and commercial administrative staff. A source at the scene said that the number of unidentified people in the group was about 60 people, of which Luyao Liu was directing at the scene.
This is a skillful piece of news. It first leads readers to think that Ketuan Zhan is a victim, using 60 people to grab business licenses as the focus. The masses accused Jihan Wu of lawlessness, but ignored whether the government affairs center could have 60 personnel. As for Hong Kong Bitmain to have the right to appoint a representative to obtain a business license, this is a deeper level of thinking.
The follow-up report restored the real situation at the scene. Only more than ten people were present, and both sides were equipped with security personnel. Bitmain employees also broke the news in the circle of friends, claiming that Ketuan Zhan's bodyguard had injured Bitmain's authorized person, and said in a threatening tone, "Be careful!"
However, the subsequent plot reversal did not have much effect. Jihan Wu's reputation has been greatly affected. From a bloody soldier who rescued the company in trouble to a lawless criminal, it can be said to be a world of war. do not.
Ketuan Zhan, who succeeded in the first battle, began to counterattack Bitmain continuously. On the afternoon of June 3, 2020, Ketuan Zhan led a team to pry open the back door of the Beijing Bitmain office and formally occupied the deserted Beijing headquarters.
On June 4, 2020, Ketuan Zhan called on Bitmain employees to resume work and promised to expand the company's market value to more than US$50 billion within three to five years. After that, Ketuan Zhan began to contact employees by phone, trying to acquire the options in the hands of employees at a valuation of 4 billion US dollars.
Subsequently, Ketuan Zhan recalled Huawei's executives and issued a series of personnel appointments and removals. As of June 9, 2020, Ketuan Zhan has successively eliminated CFO Luyao Liu, and Wenguang Wang, the head of the mining center. Luyao Liu is responsible for controlling Bitmain's IPO plan. He also appointed Yanwu Ma as the HR director, Gang Ren as the head of the mining center, Yonggang Sun as the head of the supply chain, Ling Gu as the financial director, and Bin Zhu as the head of the mining machine business department. Bin Zhu is the senior executive of Huawei who was interviewed and left as mentioned in the previous article. During his tenure, he reduced Antminer’s 90% market share to 50%, and received a large number of complaints from miners. Internal employees once speculated that he might be Compete against the spies sent by the company.
In addition to recalling senior executives of Huawei, Ketuan Zhan also urged employees to return to work. They can receive a bonus of 10,000 yuan when they return to work on the same day, which is only half the next day. Ketuan Zhan showed a very kind side. Every time the elevator door is opened, Ketuan Zhan's hot gaze can be met, shaking hands, taking photos, and receiving money. As there is no personnel information, Ketuan Zhan does not know whether the person receiving the money is a Bitmain employee, and these people did not resume work the next day.
The effect of gentleness was not good, Ketuan Zhan began to force employees to return to work. Seeing that there are still very few respondents, Ketuan Zhan threatened employees through SMS, phone calls, EMS, emails and other harassment, issued multiple threats such as termination of contract, suspension of payment of social insurance, suspension of wages, and even used personal information saved by employees to form a group of employees. Domicile threats, requiring employees to perform "work handover", trying to force employees to return work computers, etc.
On June 10, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan had controlled Bitmain's Shenzhen factory and prohibited employees from delivering normal shipments to paid customers, which caused difficulties in the operation of the Bitmain mining machine department.
On June 13, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain, the parent company of Beijing Bitmain, issued a statement accusing Ketuan Zhan of signing a "Sales Agency Agreement" with the Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd. in which it holds shares, in an attempt to embezzle Beijing Bit's assets.
On June 17, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan started selling 14,000 T17+ series mining machines at low prices.
On June 20, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain officially suspended the supply of chips to the Shenzhen factory.
On July 13, 2020, in the "A Letter to All My colleagues in the Shenzhen Factory" released by Bitmain in Hong Kong, more details were added on the series of Ketuan Zhan's actions in June.
The legal person Feng Zhou of the Shenzhen plant is related to Ketuan Zhan. After being relieved of Ketuan Zhan's post, Jihan Wu flew to Shenzhen to have a long talk with Feng Zhou. Jihan Wu believes that Feng Zhou is the right person to manage the factory and help the company overcome difficulties, and decides to leave Feng Zhou to continue to manage the factory.
This wrong decision staged a story of a farmer and a snake. When Ketuan Zhan began to counterattack Bitmain, Feng Zhou was also quickly instigated and began to assist Ketuan Zhan in seizing customer machines and transferring 17,000 T17 mining machines in the warehouse. Hainan Continental Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd., which is held by Ketuan Zhan, sold them at a low price.
In order to protect the interests of customers, Jihan Wu had to make a compromise and paid the payment for some goods to a bank account controlled by Ketuan Zhan in exchange for delivery. However, after the other party received a payment of 109 million, the delivery stopped. On July 8, 2020, 5600 mining machines have been overdue.
At the same time, the factory defaulted on suppliers’ accounts payable as much as 200 million yuan. Bank acceptance bills issued by the factory, exceeding 36 million yuan, will expire on July 17, and more than 34 million yuan will expire on July 23. It is understood that Ketuan Zhan, after receiving the bank's dunning call, made it clear that he would not repay the loan, which would destroy the company and the entire group's credit in financial institutions.
7、 This is not the end
So far, the power struggle between the founders of Bitmain has been more than half a year. The office building already occupied by Ketuan Zhan is still empty, and most employees choose to work from home. Some chip developers returned to the office with the acquiescence of Jihan Wu and continued to maintain research and development to reduce the impact of infighting on technological iteration and competitiveness.
This giant ship that once stood on top of the supercomputer chip is crashing into the iceberg due to the madness of the former helm. Ketuan Zhan's madness and Jihan Wu's compromise made mistakes again and again. Bitmain tried to save himself many times, but was unable to get out of the black hole.
If the time goes back to that day in 2013, would Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge still choose to dial Ketuan Zhan?
submitted by paulcheung1990 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Some hard truths about the real cost of running the Bitcoin network and how every active participant pays for it.

So I keep seeing comments lately that the sellers are exhausted and the bottom is in, and bull run is right around the corner. I'm not saying it's not, but I want to run some numbers with you, since I see many of the Bitcoin users are not aware of them:
Miners are currently adding 54k BTC to supply every month. They need to at least cover their running costs. Let's say that the average mining cost is ~$3000, that would mean miners take ~$160 million out of the market each month. According to a study made by Cambridge university, in 2017 there were AT MOST 5.8 million unique active crypto users (with the drop in price, I think it's safe to assume there are less now, but let's ignore this). IF everyone of them would DCA each month, it would mean each one of them would have to put on average $28/month just to keep the NET inflow of cash at 0 and keep the price stable (you can call it hidden monthly fee), and this is if we ignore the regular people that sell and leave the market (if you are from a developed country and think $28 is not much, consider that a big part of the crypto users are from emerging countries, have a low standard of living and dream that Bitcoin is their way out of misery. For them, $28/month is A LOT). Judging from the price move, the Bitcoin believers are having a hard time keeping up with the miners. And as price goes sideways, or drops, more of them will abandon DCAing, and this will put more pressure on price, even if they continue to HODL. So in order to keep the price at current level, they either need to continue buying every month or convince someone else into becoming a Bitcoin believer (sounds sad but it's the truth).
So the cost of keeping the network running is still too big, considering it's barely used at anything else other than speculation at the moment. Let's look a bit in the past. The total value of BTC mined/month, after the halv(en)ing in 2016, was around $32 million/month (average price of $600/BTC). And the miners had a bigger profitability margin back then or were simply casual miners that didn't even sell to cover costs, so assuming the recovered running cost was around $20 million/month, 8 times less than it is now, it was way easier to start a bull run with that selling pressure. Are you a pre-halving DCAer? Are you now putting 8 times more fiat in Bitcoin every month than you were doing back then? If not, have you convinced 7 other people to put aside every month at least the amount you put back then?
Some more food for thought: remember that McAfee guy that predicted $1 million/BTC by 2020? Well, after the halving that would translate into $27 billion given to miners EVERY MONTH. Which means there has to be a NET inflow of fiat of this amount just to keep the price at that level. So EVERY person on this planet needs to contribute ~$3.5/month to keep the price stable. Good luck with that. Gold, which has been an actual store of value for a long time and is used as a reserve by states, has an annual addition of 3000 tones which translates to ~$10 billion/month worth of gold sold by mining companies. So, in easy to understand terms, ~$10 billion are poured in by gold bugs every month just to keep the value of it stable (inflation adjusted). If all these gold bugs would switch to Bitcoin, the price at which 1 BTC could be sustainable would be ~$185k now and $370k after halving. Do you think gold will be abandoned for good and that money will be put in BTC? If so, congratulations, you're going to be rich. But the hard reality is that you may be just a day dreamer. Are you a bit more level headed person (but still optimist) and think Bitcoin will take 5% of gold monthly inflows? That would value it somewhere around $9k before halving and $18k after. Good value compared to now, but won't make you rich. BTW, the VanEck CEO disagrees with you. He recently said gold bugs are starting to abandon Bitcoin and return to their first love.
Right now it's not easy to see these costs because they are hidden from the user due to BTC being rewarded directly to miners. But as block rewards will go down, these costs will be reflected in transaction fees. What people don't realize is that the halving won't magically cut 50% of running costs, it will either transfer it to the users through transaction fees or will result in hash rate dropping, which if price won't drop with it, will make the network highly vulnerable to attacks). Fun fact: if both price and hash rate remain stable until the halving, the transaction fee would need to be increased by ~$8 just to keep everything the same as it is now. At $20k/BTC, fee would have to be increased by ~$50, and there are no plans in the near future for serious on-chain scaling to combat that. Would you open a LN channel for 50$ just to load it with 5$ to have fun with micro-payments?
So in conclusion, even if in the short run, price can deviate from the actual NET inflow of cash, creating potential bubbles, in the long run it will stabilize so that the price actually reflects it. And once the price reflects the true inflow of cash, and you add up all the numbers, you start to wonder if the cost of running it is actually worth it.
submitted by gicafranaru to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

The New Crypto Order & Escaping Financial Repression

The Vigilante’s View
It is our first issue in months that bitcoin hasn’t hit an all-time high! And it’s the last issue of the year. And what a year for cryptos it was.
To put it in perspective, bitcoin could fall 90% from current levels and it will still have outperformed stocks, bonds and real estate in 2017.
Bitcoin started 2017 at $960.79.
At the time of this writing it is near $13,000 for a gain of 1,250% in 2017.
And, bitcoin was actually one of the worst performing cryptocurrencies in our TDV portfolio in 2017!
Ethereum (ETH) started 2017 at $8. It has since hit over $800 for a nice 10,000% gain in 2017.
That’s pretty good, but not as good as Dash which started the year at $11.19 and recently hit $1,600 for a nearly 15,000% gain.
I hope many of you have participated in these amazing gains! If not, or you are new, don’t worry there will be plenty more opportunities in the years ahead.
It won’t all be just home runs though… in fact, some of the cryptos that have performed so well to date may go down dramatically or collapse completely in the coming years.
I’ll point out further below why Lightning Network is not the answer to Bitcoin Core’s slow speeds and high costs. And, I’ll look ahead to 2018 and how we could already be looking beyond blockchains.
Yes, things are moving so fast that blockchain just became known to your average person this year… and could be nearly extinct by next year.
That’s why it is important to stick with us here at TDV to navigate these choppy free market waters!
New Years Reflection On The Evolution Of Consensus Protocols
Sooner or later crypto will humble you by its greatness. Its vastness is accompanied by a madness that is breathtaking, because you quickly realize that there is no stopping crypto from taking over the world. The moment you think you have everything figured out, is the moment the market will surprise you.
We are for the first time living and witnessing the birth of the first worldwide free market. Throughout this rampage of innovation, we all are implicitly aiming for the best means of harnessing consensus. As we leave this bountiful 2017 and aim at 2018, it is important for us to meditate and appreciate the progress we have made in transforming the world through the decentralization of consensus. It is also important to reflect on the changes in consensus building we have partaken in and those yet to come.
Consensus is the agreement that states “this is what has occurred, and this is what hasn’t happened.”
Throughout the vastness of history, we humans have only really had access to centralized means for consensus building. In the centralized world, consensus has been determined by banks, states, and all kinds of central planners. As our readers know, any centralized party can misuse their power, and their consensus ruling can become unfair. In spite of this, many individuals still praise the effectiveness of consensus building of centralized systems.
People from antiquity have had no other option but to trust these central planners. These systems of control have created still-water markets where only a few are allowed to compete. This lack of competition resulted in what we now can objectively view as slow innovation. For many, centralized consensus building is preferred under the pretense of security and comfort. Unfortunately, these same individuals are in for a whole lot of discomfort now that the world is innovating on top of the first decentralized consensus building technology, the blockchain.
Everything that has occurred since the inception of bitcoin has shocked central planners because for the first time in history they are lost; they no longer hold power. We now vote with our money. We choose what we find best as different technologies compete for our money.
What we are witnessing when we see the volatility in crypto is nothing more than natural human motion through price. The innovation and volatility of the crypto market may seem unorthodox to some, because it is. For the first time in history we are in a true free market. The true free market connects you to everybody and for this reason alone the market shouldn’t surprise us for feeling “crazy.” Volatility is a sign of your connection to a market that is alive. Radical innovation is a sign of a market that is in its infancy still discovering itself.
In juxtaposing centralized consensus building with decentralized consensus building, I cannot keep myself from remembering some wise biblical words; “ And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” – Luke 5:37
The centralized legacy financial system is akin to old wineskins bursting to shreds by the new wine of crypto. Decentralized consensus building has no need for central planners. For example, think about how ludicrous it would be for someone to ask government for regulation after not liking something about crypto. Sorry, there is no central planner to protect you; even the mathematical protocols built for us to trust are now competing against one another for our money.
These new mathematical protocols will keep competing against one another as they provide us with new options in decentralizing consensus. As we look unto 2018, it is important that we as investors begin to critically engage and analyze “blockchain-free cryptocurrencies.”
HASHGRAPHS, TANGLES AND DAGS
Blockchain-free cryptocurrencies are technologies composed of distributed databases that use different tools to achieve the same objectives as blockchains.
The top contenders in the realm of blockchain-free cryptos are DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs) such as Swirlds’ Hashgraph, ByteBall’s DAG, and IOTA’s Tangle. These blockchain-free cryptos are also categorized as belonging to the 3 rd generation of cryptocurrencies. These technologies promise to be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than blockchain cryptocurrencies.
Blockchains were the first means of creating decentralized consensus throughout the world. In the blockchain, the majority of 51% determine the consensus. The limits of blockchains stem from their inherent nature, whereupon every single node/participant needs to know all of the information that has occurred throughout the whole blockchain economy of a given coin.
This opens up blockchains to issues akin to the ones we have been exposed to in regards to Bitcoin’s scaling. It is important to make a clear distinction in the language used between blockchains and blockchain-freecryptocurrencies. When we speak about blockchains it is more proper to speak about its transactionconsensus as “decentralized”, whereas with blockchain-free cryptocurrencies it is best if we refer to transaction consensus as “distributed.”
Swirlds’ Hashgraph incorporates a radical and different approach to distributing consensus. Swirlds claims that their new approach will solve scaling and security issues found on blockchains. They use a protocol called “Gossip about Gossip.” Gossip refers to how computers communicate with one another in sending information.
In comparison to the Blockchain, imagine that instead of all of the nodes receiving all of the transactions categorized in the past ten minutes, that only a few nodes shared their transaction history with other nodes near them. The Hashgraph team explains this as “calling any random node and telling that node everything you know that it does not know.” That is, in Hashgraph we would be gossiping about the information we are gossiping; i.e., sending to others throughout the network for consensus.
Using this gossiped information builds the Hashgraph. Consensus is created by means of depending on the gossips/rumors that come to you and you pass along to other nodes. Hashgraph also has periodic rounds which review the circulating gossips/rumors.
Hashgraph is capable of 250,000+ Transactions Per Second (TPS), compared to Bitcoin currently only allowing for 7 TPS. It is also 50,000 times faster than Bitcoin. There is no mention of a coin on their white paper. At this moment there is no Hashgraph ICO, beware of scams claiming that there is. There is however a growing interest in the project along with a surge of app development.
IOTAs DAG is known as the Tangle. Contrary to Hashgraph, IOTA does have its own coin known as MIOTA, currently trading around the $3 mark. There are only 2,779,530,283 MIOTA in existence. The Tangle was also created to help alleviate the pains experienced with Blockchain scaling. IOTAs Tangle creates consensus on a regional level; basically neighbors looking at what other neighbors are doing.
As the tangle of neighbors grows with more participants the security of the system increases, along with the speed of confirmation times. IOTA has currently been criticized for its still lengthy confirmation times and its current levels of centralization via their Coordinators. This centralization is due to the fact that at this moment in time the main team works as watchtower to oversee how Tangle network grows so that it does not suffer from attacks.
Consensus is reached within IOTA by means of having each node confirm two transactions before that same node is able to send a given transaction. This leads to the mantra of “the more people use IOTA, the more transactions get referenced and confirmed.” This creates an environment where transactional scaling has no limits. IOTA has no transaction fees and upon reaching high adoption the transactions ought to be very fast.
Another promising aspect about IOTA is that it has an integrated quantum-resistant algorithm, the Winternitz One-Time Signature Scheme, that would protect IOTA against an attack of future quantum computers. This without a doubt provides IOTA with much better protection against an adversary with a quantum computer when compared to Bitcoin.
ByteBall is IOTA’s most direct competitor. They both possess the same transaction speed of 100+ TPS, they both have their own respective cryptocurrencies, and they both have transparent transactions. ByteBall’s token is the ByteBall Bytes (GBYTE), with a supply of 1,000,000; currently trading at around $700. ByteBall aims to service the market with tamper proof storage for all types of data. ByteBall’s DAG also provides an escrow like system called “conditional payments;” which allows for conditional clauses before settling transactions.
Like IOTA, ByteBall is also designed to scale its transaction size to meet the needs of a global demand. ByteBall provides access to integrated bots for transactions which includes the capacity for prediction markets, P2P betting, P2P payments in chat, and P2P insurance. ByteBall’s initial coin distribution is still being awarded to BTC and Bytes holders according to the proportional amounts of BTC or Bytes that are held per wallet. IOTA, ByteBall and Hashgraph are technologies that provide us with more than enough reasons to be hopeful for 2018. In terms of the crypto market, you don’t learn it once. You have to relearn it every day because its development is so infant. If you are new to crypto and feel lost at all know that you are not alone. These technologies are constantly evolving with new competitive options in the market.
As the technologies grow the ease for adoption is set to grow alongside innovation. We are all new to this world and we are all as much in shock of its ingenuity as the next newbie. Crypto is mesmerizing not just for its volatility which is a clear indication of how connected we are now to one another, but also because of the social revolution that it represents. We are experiencing the multidirectional growth of humanity via the free market.
Meanwhile Bitcoin Is Turning Into Shitcoin
It is with a great degree of sadness that I see bitcoin is on the cusp of destroying itself. Bitcoin Core, anyway. Bitcoin Cash may be the winner from all of this once all is said and done.
Whether by design or by accident, bitcoin has become slow and expensive.
Many people point out that IF the market were to upgrade to Segwit that all would be fine. I’ll explain further below why many market participants have no incentive to upgrade to Segwit… meaning that the implementation of Segwit has been a massively risky guess that so far has not worked.
Others say that the Lightning Network (LN) will save bitcoin. I’ll point out below why that will not happen.
Lightning Networks And The Future Of Bitcoin Core
If you’ve been following bitcoin for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the significant dispute over how to scale the network. The basic problem is that although bitcoin could be used at one time to buy, say, a cup of coffee, the number of transactions being recorded on the network bid up the price per transaction so much that actually sending BTC cost more than the cup of coffee itself. Indeed, analysis showed that there were many Bitcoin addresses that had such small BTC holdings that the address itself couldn’t be used to transfer it to a different address. These are referred to as “unspendable addresses.”
In the ensuing debate, the “big blockers” wanted to increase the size of each block in the chain in order to allow for greater transaction capacity. The “small blockers” wanted to reduce the size of each transaction using a technique called Segregated Witness (SegWit) and keep the blocks in the chain limited to 1MB.
SegWit reduces the amount of data in each transaction by around 40-50%, resulting in an increased capacity from 7 transactions per second to perhaps 15.
The software engineers who currently control the Bitcoin Core code repository have stated that what Bitcoin needs is “off-chain transactions.” To do this, they have created something called Lightning Networks (LN), based on an software invention called the “two-way peg.” Put simply, the two-way peg involves creating an escrow address in Bitcoin where each party puts some bitcoin into the account, and then outside the blockchain, they exchange hypothetical Bitcoin transactions that either of them can publish on Bitcoin’s blockchain in order to pull their current agreed-upon balance out of the escrow address.
Most layman explanations of how this works describe the protocol as each party putting in an equal amount of Bitcoin into the escrow. If you and I want to start transacting off-chain, so we can have a fast, cheap payment system, we each put some Bitcoin in a multi-party address. I put in 1 BTC and you put in 1 BTC, and then we can exchange what are essentially cryptographic contracts that either of us can reveal on the bitcoin blockchain in order to exit our agreement and get our bitcoin funds.
Fortunately, it turns out that the video’s examples don’t tell the whole story. It’s possible for the escrow account to be asymmetric. See:. That is, one party can put in 1 BTC, while the other party puts in, say, 0.0001 BTC. (Core developer and forthcoming Anarchapulco speaker Jimmy Song tells us that there are game theoretic reasons why you don’t want the counterparty to have ZERO stake.)
Great! It makes sense for Starbucks to participate with their customers in Lightning Networks because when their customers open an LN channel (basically a gift card) with them for $100, they only have to put in $1 worth of Bitcoin. Each time the customer transacts on the Lightning Network, Starbucks gets an updated hypothetical transaction that they can use to cash out that gift card and collect their bitcoin.
The elephant in the room is: transaction fees. In order to establish the escrow address and thereby open the LN channel, each party has to send some amount of bitcoin to the address. And in order to cash out and get the bitcoin settlement, one party also has to initiate a transaction on the bitcoin blockchain. And to even add funds to the channel, one party has to pay a transaction fee.
Right now fees on the bitcoin blockchain vary widely and are extremely volatile. For a 1-hour confirmation transaction, the recommended fee from one wallet might be $12 US, while on another it’s $21 US. For a priority transaction of 10-20 minutes, it can range from $22-30 US. Transactions fees are based on the number of bytes in the transaction, so if both parties support SegWit (remember that?) then the fee comes down by 40-50%. So it’s between $6 and $10 US for a one hour transaction and between $11-15 for a 15 minute transaction. (SegWit transactions are prioritized by the network to some degree, so actual times may be faster)
But no matter what, both the customer and the merchant have to spend $6 each to establish that they will have a relationship and either of them has to spend $6 in order to settle out and get their bitcoin. Further, if the customer wants to “top off” their virtual gift card, that transaction costs another $6. And because it adds an address to the merchant’s eventual settlement, their cost to get their Bitcoin goes up every time that happens, so now it might cost them $9 to get their bitcoin.
Since these LN channels are essentially digital gift cards, I looked up what the cost is to retailers to sell acustomer a gift card. The merchant processor Square offers such gift cards on their retailer site. Their best price is $0.90 per card.
So the best case is that Lightning Networks are 600% more expensive than physical gift cards to distribute, since the merchant has to put a transaction into the escrow address. Further, the customer is effectively buying the gift card for an additional $6, instead of just putting up the dollar amount that goes on the card.
But it gets worse. If you get a gift card from Square, they process the payments on the card and periodically deposit cash into your bank account for a percentage fee. If you use the Lightning Network, you can only access your Bitcoin by cancelling the agreement with the customer. In other words, you have to invalidate their current gift card and force them to spend $6 on a new one! And it costs you $6 to collect your funds and another $6 to sell the new gift card!
I’m sure many of you have worked in retail. And you can understand how this would be financially infeasible. The cost of acquiring a new customer, and the amount of value that customer would have to stake just to do business with that one merchant, would be enormous to make any financial sense.
From time immemorial, when transaction costs rise, we see the creation of middlemen.
Merchants who can’t afford to establish direct channels with their customers will have to turn to middlemen, who will open LN channels for them. Instead of directly backing and cashing out their digital gift cards, they will establish relationships with entities that consolidate transactions, much like Square or Visa would do today.
Starbucks corporate or individual locations might spend a few USD on opening a payment channel with the middleman, and then once a month spend 6 USD to cash out their revenues in order to cover accounts payable.
In the meantime, the middleman also has to offer the ability to open LN channels for consumers. This still happens at a fixed initial cost, much like the annual fee for a credit card in the US. They would continue to require minimum balances, and would offer access to a network of merchants, exactly like Visa and MasterCard today.
This process requires a tremendous amount of capital because although the middleman does not have to stake Bitcoin in the consumer’s escrow account, he does have to stake it in the merchant’s account. In other words, if the Lightning Network middleman wants to do business with Starbucks to the tune of $100,000/month, he needs $100,000 of bitcoin to lock into an escrow address. And that has to happen for every merchant.
Because every month (or so) the merchants have to cash out of their bitcoin to fiat in order to pay for their cost of goods and make payroll. Even if their vendors and employees are paid in bitcoin and they have LN channels open with them, someone somewhere will want to convert to fiat, and trigger a closing channel creating a cascading settlement effect that eventually arrives at the middleman. Oh, and it triggers lots of bitcoin transactions that cost lots of fees.
Did I mention that each step in the channel is expecting a percentage of the value of the channel when it’s settled? This will come up again later.
Again, if you’ve worked in the retail business, you should be able to see how infeasible this would be. You have to buy inventory and you have to sell it to customers and every part that makes the transaction more expensive is eating away at your margins.
Further, if you’re the middleman and Starbucks closes out a channel with a $100,000 stake where they take $95,000 of the bitcoin, how do you re-open the channel? You need another $95,000 in capital. You have revenue, of course, from the consumer side of your business. Maybe you have 950 consumers that just finished off their $100 digital gift cards. So now you can cash them out to bitcoin for just $5700 in transaction fees, and lose 5.7% on the deal.
In order to make money in that kind of scenario, you have to charge LN transaction fees. And because your loss is 5.7%, you need to charge in the range of 9% to settle Lightning Network transactions. Also, you just closed out 950 customers who now have to spend $5700 to become your customer again while you have to spend $5700 to re-acquire them as customers. So maybe you need to charge more like 12%.
If you approached Starbucks and said “you can accept Bitcoin for your customers and we just need 12% of the transaction,” what are the odds that they would say yes? Even Visa only has the balls to suggest 3%, and they have thousands and thousands of times as many consumers as bitcoin.
The entire mission of bitcoin was to be faster, cheaper and better than banks, while eliminating centralized control of the currency. If the currency part of Bitcoin is driven by “off-chain transactions” while bitcoin itself remains expensive and slow, then these off-chain transactions will become the territory of centralized parties who have access to enormous amounts of capital and can charge customers exorbitant rates. We know them today as banks.
Even for banks, we have to consider what it means to tie up $100,000/month for a merchant account. That only makes sense if the exchange rate of bitcoin grows faster than the cost of retaining Bitcoin inventory. It costs nothing to store Bitcoin, but it costs a lot to acquire it. At the very least the $6 per transaction to buy it, plus the shift in its value against fiat that’s based on interest rates. As a result, it only makes sense to become a Lightning Network middleman if your store of value (bitcoin) appreciates at greater than the cost of acquiring it (interest rate of fiat.) And while interest rates are very low, that’s not a high bar to set. But to beat it, Bitcoin’s exchange rate to fiat has to outpace the best rate available to the middleman by a factor exceeding the opportunity cost of other uses of that capital.
Whatever that rate is, for bitcoin, the only reason the exchange rate changes is new entry of capital into the “price” of bitcoin. For that to work, bitcoin’s “price” must continue to rise faster than the cost of capital for holding it. So far this has happened, but it’s a market gamble for it to continue.
Since it happens because of new capital entering into the bitcoin network and thus increasing the market cap, this results in Bitcoin Core becoming the very thing that its detractors accuse it of: a Ponzi scheme. The cost of transacting in Bitcoin becomes derived from the cost of holding bitcoin and becomes derived from the cost of entering bitcoin.
Every middleman has to place a bet on the direction of bitcoin in a given period. And in theory, if they think the trend is against Bitcoin, then they’ll cash out and shut down all the payment channels that they transact. If they bought bitcoin at $15,000, and they see it dropping to $13,000 — they’ll probably cash out their merchant channels and limit their risk of a further drop. The consumer side doesn’t matter so much because their exposure is only 1%, but the merchant side is where they had to stake everything.
If you’re wondering why this information is not widely known, it’s because most bitcoin proponents don’t transact in bitcoin on a regular basis. They may be HODLing, but they aren’t doing business in bitcoin.
Through Anarchapulco, TDV does frequent and substantial business in bitcoin, and we’ve paid fees over $150 in order to consolidate ticket sale transactions into single addresses that can be redeemed for fiat to purchase stage equipment for the conference.
For Bitcoin to be successful at a merchant level via Lightning Networks, we will have to see blockchain transactions become dramatically cheaper. If they return to the sub-$1 range, we might have a chance with centralized middlemen, but only with a massive stabilization of volatility. If they return to $0.10, we might have a chance with direct channels.
Otherwise, Lightning Networks can’t save bitcoin as a means of everyday transaction. And since that takes away its utility, it might very well take away the basis of its value and bitcoin could find itself truly being a tulip bubble.
One final note: there are a some parties for whom all these transactions are dramatically cheaper. That is the cryptocurrency exchanges. Because they are the entry and exit points for bitcoin-to-fiat, they can eliminate a layer of transaction costs and thus offer much more competitive rates — as long as you keep your bitcoin in their vaults instead of securing it yourselves.
Sending it out of their control lessens their competitive advantage against other means of storage. It comes as no surprise, then, that they are the least advanced in implementing the SegWit technology that would improve transaction costs and speed. If you buy bitcoin on Poloniex, it works better for them if it’s expensive for you to move that coin to your Trezor.
In fact, an exchange offering Lightning Network channels to merchants could potentially do the following…
1) Stake bitcoins in channels with merchants. These coins may or may not be funds that are held by their customers. There is no way to know.
2) Offer customers “debit card” accounts for those merchants that are backed by the Lightning network
3) Establish middle addresses for the customer accounts and the merchant addresses on the Lightning Network.
4) Choose to ignore double-spends between the customer accounts and the merchant addresses, because they don’t actually have to stake the customer side. They can just pretend to since they control the customer’s keys.
5) Inflate their bitcoin holdings up to the stake from the merchants, since the customers will almost never cash out in practice.
In other words, Lightning Networks allow exchanges a clear path to repeating Mtgox; lie to the consumer about their balance while keeping things clean with the merchant. In other words, establish a fractional reserve approach to bitcoin.
So, to summarize, Bitcoin Core decided increasing the blocksize from 1mb to 2-8mb was “too risky” and decided to create Segwit instead which the market has not adopted. When asked when bitcoin will be faster and less expensive to transfer most Bitcoin Core adherents say the Lightning Network will fix the problems.
But, as I’ve just shown, the LN makes no sense for merchants to use and will likely result in banks taking over LN nodes and making BTC similar to Visa and Mastercard but more expensive. And, will likely result in exchanges becoming like banks of today and having fractional reserve systems which makes bitcoin not much better than the banking system of today.
Or, people can switch to Bitcoin Cash, which just increased the blocksize and has much faster transaction times at a fraction of the cost.
I’ve begun to sell some of my bitcoin holdings because of what is going on. I’ve increased my Bitcoin Cash holdings and also increased my holdings of Dash, Monero, Litecoin and our latest recommendation, Zcash.
Other News & Crypto Tidbits
When bitcoin surpassed $17,600 in December it surpassed the total value of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency.
Meanwhile, Alexei Kireyev of the IMF put out his working paper, “ The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing ,” where he advises abolishing cash without having the public aware of the process.
Countries such as Russia are considering creating a cryptocurrency backed by oil to get around the US dollar and the US dollar banking system. Venezuela is as well although we highly doubt it will be structured properly or function well given the communist government’s track record of destroying two fiat currencies in the last decade.
To say that the US dollar is being attacked on every level is not an understatement. Cryptocurrencies threaten the entire monetary and financial system while oil producing countries look to move away from the US dollar to their own oil backed cryptocurrency.
And all this as bitcoin surpassed the value of the IMF’s SDR in December and in 2017 the US dollar had its largest drop versus other currencies since 2003.
And cryptocurrency exchanges have begun to surpass even the NASDAQ and NYSE in terms of revenue. Bittrex, as one example, had $3 billion in volume on just one day in December. At a 0.5% fee per trade that equaled $15m in revenue in just one day. If that were to continue for 365 days it would mean $5.4 billion in annual revenue which is more than the NASDAQ or NYSE made this year.
Conclusion
I never would have guessed how high the cryptocurrencies went this year. My price target for bitcoin in 2017 was $3,500! That was made in late 2016 when bitcoin was near $700 and many people said I was crazy.
Things are speeding up much faster than even I could have imagined. And it is much more than just making money. These technologies, like cryptocurrencies, blockchains and beyond connect us in a more profound way than Facebook would ever be able to. We are now beginning to be connected in ways we never even thought of; and to some degree still do not understand. These connections within this completely free market are deep and meaningful.
This is sincerely beautiful because we are constantly presented with an ever growing buffet of competing protocols selling us their best efforts in providing harmony within the world. What all of these decentralized and distributed consensus building technologies have in common is that they connect us to the world and to each other. Where we are going we don’t need foolish and trite Facebook’s emojis.
As we close a successful 2017 we look with optimism towards a much more prosperous 2018. The Powers That Shouldn’t Be (TPTSB) can’t stop us. As we move forward note how much crypto will teach you about ourselves and the world. In a radical free market making our own bets will continue to be a process of self discovery. Crypto will show us the contours of our fears, the contours of our greed, and will constantly challenge us to do our best with the knowledge we have.
Remember, randomness and innovation are proper to the happenstance nature of a true digital free market.
Happy New Year fellow freedom lovers!
And, as always, thank you for subscribing!
Jeff Berwick
submitted by 2012ronpaul2012 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

"Code is Law": Comedy Gold Survey on Ethereum

Survey ID: 00001 Coin: Ethereum Client: Tyler Durden

Executive summary:

Ethereum is almost certainly the number 2 coin in comedy gold. It will likely surpass Bitcoin in comedy gold long before it passes it in market cap. Thanks in large part to a spam-based marketing campaign on Reddit, it also has a dedicated base of critics.
After its IPO, it was known as “Inthereum” for a while, infinitely powerful of course, as vaporware can do anything. It had a major version release, then another. Finally, a major smart contract, in terms of valuation, came along: The DAO. Not to be confused with other DAOs, before and after. The DAO was the biggest. It was going to be the best; it already was the best! Euphoria was off the charts.
Until just a few months in, a bug was found. And the killer app became the flash point. What could they do? Well, hard fork and give the money back, of course! And so they did.
“Code is Law”; but this is actually good for Ethereum because “[a]lthough some do question the analogy ‘code is law’. I do not. We just found out that we have a supreme court, the community!” [1]
After the D'OH, Ethereum struggles to top its ATH comedy gold, but there is still a bright future for popcorn and comedy gold from Ethereum.

5 Largest Veins of Comedy Gold

Here are the largest comedy gold veins in Ethereum in potential reserves in our estimation in approximately descending order:
  • Cultlike euphoria - Now, this can certainly be said to be common to almost all cryptocurrencies. But Ethereum seems special here, even more than Bitcoin's community. There is a real belief here that this coin is going to change the world. This helps play into a "this is very good for Ethereum" mindset, wherein even the D'OH fork was a great success!
There is no greater terror than a fiend on ether.
  • Vitalik Buterin - The best name in cryptocurrency! Young genius central to Ethereum and almost universally seen as the most important leader in the project. In our view, his endorsement and leadership during the D'OH fork led to that route being taken. That is, we believe if he had opposed it from the start, he may have been able to prevent it or at least have led to what is now called ETC being the dominant of the two.
And so in our view, Mr. Buterin runs a billion dollar cryptocurrency right now. He and his team seem to have done reasonably well so far; it seems likely they'll continue to thrive. To the best of my knowledge, confirmed on /ethereum, there hasn't been a drug market implemented in Ethereum or trading with ETH so far. But while it seems like a terrible idea, because of the lack of privacy and proven mutability of contracts, it seems like eventually there's going to be a major drug market accepting ETH just because it has such a high value. And, they point out, monero and zcoin’s core privacy feature will apparently be available on ETH after this next fork, so look forward to anonymous ETH fueling drug markets!
And then the interesting question will be raised of how Chief Justice Buterin will rule on the case, whether it is worthy of an intervention or not. If not a drug market, then another buggy and hacked contract. Or a hacked exchange, and the question of whether to make it or its users whole, or "let the hacker win".
  • DAOs - From the beginning, it was proposed that Ethereum itself and its reserve fund would be turned into a DAO. How exactly this was going to happen would be figured out later of course. There was an initial estimate of 2016 for the transition.
Of course, in 2016, The DAO and the D'OH happened. I'm not aware of a current further push to put all of ETH's future funding into a DAO. But I'm sure the topic will resurface. And it will be hilarious on so many levels. The DAO actually collapsed too soon for peak comedy gold extraction. It had been predicted that there would be no consensus on any proposals and that nothing would be funded, and that there would be gold from that. But it was just a few months in when the bug was found. And while the D'OH fork was certainly a rich vein of comedy gold, it wasn't as rich as what the DAO could have been if it had floundered around for a year or so before the hack.
Surprisingly, there's actually a running, apparently working DAO on ETH that was started even before The DAO: digixDAO. If it keeps on running, it will continue to be hilarious as other DAOs fail to learn from it. If it fails, there's all the more hilarity for Ethereum, making it the platform where anything complicated enough to look like an original use case will break. The very existence of digix is proof-of-comedy-gold.
  • Immutability - The whole central notion of immutability is going to be a recurring question for Ethereum after the D'OH. While there was a lot of sentiment of "just this once and never again" at the time, there will someday be another major issue, and the precedent will mean that at least a major debate among the community will be had. Ethereum is "mostly immutable". Bitcoin is far better protected here, because while it's true they've hard forked to fix a bug before, that was years ago and the community is far more fractured now. Ethereum has a demonstrated capacity to do both routine and controversial hard forks. This strength is also a challenge, as it will invite constant legal and ethical questions about when it's appropriate to modify the chain itself with a fork: that is, rolling back some or all transactions after major bugs, thefts, frauds, and so forth.
  • Concentration of funds - This one I'm just guessing at. Although rich lists do exist, obviously one entity like an exchange could pool funds in an address without one person owning that much, or one person could splits their coins among many accounts. But it gives a rough guide. In Bitcoin, the top 113 addresses, having more than 10,000 BTC, in total are 17.46% of the current supply [ 2 ]. And in Ethereum, it's true that the top two accounts are marked as exchange accounts [ 3 ]. Still, having lots of funds concentrated in a single exchange wallet seems to still have some potential for comedy gold. In Ethereum, the top 50 addresses have more than double the proportion of the top 113 in Bitcoin, a bit over 40% of the current supply. My guess would be there are still a lot of people who invested heavily in the initial ICO who have held onto a significant portion of their initial ETH. While some of these top addresses are exchanges, I think there are probably many individuals represented in here as well, and every one of them is a multimillionaire from this account alone.
Of course, so far, because ETH is still smaller than BTC in overall market cap, these top addresses aren't as huge as the top addresses in Bitcoin in current market value. But if ETH were to overtake BTC's current position with a relatively unchanged distribution, there would be some real comedy gold coming off this factor. Cribs could have a spin-off Ethereum series.
This concentration was a part of making The D'OH what it was in my view as well: in Bitcoin, there would never have been so much of the coin tied up in one particular venture, at least not now. But in Ethereum, this concentration and groupthink can combine to hilarious effect.

A Brief History of Comedy Gold in Ethereum:

“Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” - John Godfrey Saxe
In the beginning, there was an offering. The greatest coin the world had ever seen; step right up and buy it! There was even code; this is no vaporware! Sure, there was more work to be done, but the ICO would fund that work, the founders would get a little, and create a reserve for the future and the rest would be mineable.
There was also some of the most vociferous objections on BCT, declaring that the stake allocated to the founders was too large, pointing to other coins which had done smaller or done without. Arguing against the reserve; arguing against having a presale at all. Some people, of course, completely failing to read the documentation accurately to see what was even being proposed. And an almost complete radio silence from this large team working around the clock on Ethereum.
It took some months from when the initial ANN was made until the sale actually started, but by the time they had their sale, they had perhaps the best documentation at launch to-date. Of course, there were some areas which seemed to lack some detail, like the budgeting, but never mind that, it was finally launching!
Launching the sale, at least. In July and August of 2014, Ether was first sold. It was described as “fuel” for the virtual machine they were going to build [ 4 ].
And then, a year later, Ethereum was released live. By July 2016, it had already had its first major crisis after The DAO was hacked and the D’OH fork introduced in response.
But the fact that Ethereum was ever released, and that it was released so quickly, is truly incredible. There was more than one person who thought that the stated goals of Ethereum were not possible. And, of course, many initial goals and deadlines didn’t happen. But unlike the railbirds on BCT were convinced, the team did not fail nor did it run off with the money. They were given a blank check, and they actually delivered a working product which has been successful so far financially.
Of course, having its flagship smart contract go belly-up quite so quickly after having finally gotten a “killer app” seems rather unfortunate. The oracle problem (the question of how to reliably relate smart contracts to the outside world) seems unresolved, but partial solutions are inevitable and can only serve to make increasingly complex and thus popcorn-loaded contracts possible.
Right now, all seems relatively quiet. But rest assured, there remains plenty of euphoria and gas to drive many more cycles of comedy gold production. Ether huffers need something to throw their ETH at. The more complicated; the better! Given some of the creations that have been made in NXT, for instance, a few more years of creativity on ETH should yield some very complicated and pop-corn rich smart contracts.

Researcher’s Narrative:

I was relaxing in my office, waiting for business. It was a dingy little one-room affair, but it would serve for now. Particularly with no clients. I had poured myself a double shot, and was about to enjoy it, when suddenly the door opened.
A man walked in, familiar somehow although I couldn't place him. I reached out my hand instinctively, and instead of shaking it, he handed me a dollar.
"Hello?"
He pointed at the sign in the window, advertising a promotional one dollar gold survey for the first client. Always astute, I quickly surmised he wished to hire me.
"Of course, sir! What coin would you like?"
"Ethereum."
"Certainly! And may I have your name for the log?"
"Tyler Durdan."
And with that, my newest client left. I downed my double and poured a generous triple to follow it. This was going to be a long day.
Ethereum was the ultimate prize in my line of work. The coin which proved the adage that truth is stranger than fiction; which had proved itself a lucrative source of comedy gold.
And who am I? Guy Noir, private comedy gold surveyor. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Premined scamcoins crashing on noname exchanges. I watched popcorn glitter in the dark on forgotten the BCT threads. Popcorn junkies strung out on a high, and I've delivered them more comedy gold, popcorn, salt and butter. There is never enough.
A dark night in a world that never sleeps and knows how to keep its secrets...But on the 12th Floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, private comedy gold surveyor.
Thank you, Narrator. Now, as I was saying, Ethereum is overloaded with gold. But the core is pretty straightforward:
Ethereum promised "smart contracts". Immutable. Turing-complete. This was what Bitcoin lacked. The bee's knees. Crypto 2.0. What could go wrong?
We'll skip over the "Inthereum" period. Perhaps the vaporware criticism was never fair: from their version, they had Proof-of-Concept code; they went through some iterations and eventually got to release.
Let's note clearly that there was plenty of time to determine some sort of official policy for what to do about a buggy or improperly written contract losing money. In Bitcoin, every hack has been a SFYL event, although it’s true that a bug in the coin itself was hard forked away before. Mt. Gox tried to blame malleability, but there was never a fork to try to recover funds. In Ethereum, immutability was often talked about. So far as I saw in skimming, “what if” scenarios to undo bugs wasn’t brought up front-and-center. Nor was immutability being debated that I saw.
So Ethereum releases. A major contract is launched, The DAO, which gets an astonishing portion of ETH invested. The world's largest crowd sale as they ultimately called it. All the major players in ETH buy into it, including Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum and the best name in cryptocurrency.
Just as they're starting to get into the comedy gold that The DAO doesn't really have a purpose, a bug is discovered. And just as its leader is assuring everyone that no funds are at risk, the funds start being drained out of the contract by an unknown party.
And suddenly immutable means "immutable unless we screw up on the biggest contract which everyone important has invested in heavily". Ethereum ultimately hard-forks to return investor funds and basically unwind The DAO. After claiming that the bug was in the contract, the coin itself is hard forked to fix the issue. And the first Ethereum clone results, one which simply does not follow the new hard fork.
So the natural question is: when can a contract be changed? In the first page of the Ethereum launch, this question was implied by asking about what would happen if there were an assassination market hosted by a smart contract on Ethereum. Of course, in reality, Ethereum is not really functional enough at present to enforce such a contract, but the question remains in case Ethereum were to actually attain a functioning smart contract platform.
Attempted reference to Tears in rain monologue, credit to Rutger Hauer
Guy Noir and narrator text lovingly stolen from Prairie Home Companion's Guy Noir, by Garrison B. Keillor.

Researcher’s Rant

Filed for psych eval
Twenty pages into the BCT ANN, I believe I have contracted cancer, again. I’m reminded of why I don’t generally go on BCT. As bad as altcoin forums tend to be for their circlejerking, it’s almost better than the, well, there’s really no way to put it other than FUD that inevitably appears in response to anything. Of course, it’s not paid shilling so much as it is willful and vocal ignorance. For all the critiques in that thread, most of them are utter nonsense and simply are misreading the initial information. On the other hand, it’s January 27th in the thread by now, with February 1st and the pre-sale start, and they don’t have their “prospectus” up yet. I also haven’t seen the change in mining rate yet.
Side note: eMunie; wtf? I guess I missed something? Either it’s gone through a namechange or it’s dead, because a quick coinmarketcap search didn’t find anything. A comedy gold mining project for another day.
Great; spoiler alert: fundraiser delayed apparently, so even more cancer to read through in that thread on the way to getting to a prospectus!
The first 44 pages of the thread was summarized thus: “I want to believe. Why are you not speaking to us? Throw me a bone. Just tell me what I want to hear, and I'll gladly throw my money in.” [ 5 ] Would that I had only had to read that quote rather than all 44 pages, and facing many more.
Pages and comments dragged on as I waded through the low-grade popcorn. When would this prospectus be released, so my torment would end? Oh god: a side-thread shows that by the time they get to April, there’s still no prospectus or presale date or estimate of when there may be a date [ 6 ]. It’s time to give up on reading through the cancerous mainthread on BCT and start jumping ahead pages to find the pre-sale and prospectus.
Okay, finally, in July, they release documents and start the sale [ 7 ]. Good enough.
I have mountains of links on my desk. Comedy gold is overflowing, but this is a survey expedition, not a mining operation. But by the time it’s surveyed, there’s always so much gold lined up to mine it gets hard to leave it behind and leave with the samples.
It’s time to hammer out some copy and close this file.
Folks, we hope you’ve enjoyed this descent into madness and comedy gold brought to you by the Comedy Gold Survey Company and our patron Tyler Durden. Do you need more comedy gold in your life? Of course you do! So please donate today; every $1 helps! I’ve added a new special: $5 lets you choose the next coin to be surveyed!
Thanks again to Tyler Durden, and I will now be re-watching Fight Club and questioning my sanity. Cheers y’all!
Resources:
Edit: 3/26/2020: Removed a link to a comment per request from the user.
Footnotes and other links:
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As we speak, cryptocurrency is experiencing a kind of cultural revolution

The blockchain, "an interesting organism" Vitalik, then 17, initially rejected the idea, before doing his own research on virtual currency. Soon, he wrote articles - paid in bitcoins - while studying computer science at the University of Waterloo in Canada, which eventually led him to co-found Bitcoin Magazine. In 2011, bitcoin was considered a technology so radical that many were convinced that governments would ban it, denouncing the black market that could flourish through this system. However, bitcoin survived, until it managed to negotiate at $ 19,000 stratospheric level at Christmas, despite the ensuing crash.
"For simplicity, a blockchain is a large distributed accounting register, stored on thousands of computers"
The blockchain is "an interesting organization, a new kind", says Vitalik Buterin after having walked with me the floor of the living room to cross the open space to a wooden dining table. It's an understatement, I say to myself. For simplicity, a blockchain is a large distributed accounting register, stored on thousands of computers. Thanks to the dispersion of these recordings and their security via Byzantine mathematical tools of cryptography, the blockchain is more difficult to forge than the traditional databases. Centralized pandora boxes, like your brain, are at risk of loss - and vulnerable to attack, as Equifax found from piracy of its client files. On the other hand,
Ethereum culture Vitalik Buterin's stroke of genius is to have perceived the potential behind the creation of his own blockchain, Ethereum, on which other companies of all types could rely, from payment services to games. The project quickly came to life, and everyone began to insist on the possibility of relying on this technology, from scientists to banks to entrepreneurs. At 19, Vitalik Buterin left the university to concentrate on the management of Ethereum.
We will sit down; after some awkward hesitation, he bends his bone frame in a chair. We procrastinate on food. I suggest tacos or pizzas. His associate, Thomas Greco, a developer who says he has worked with Vitalik Buterin for years, suggests Thai. Before I had time to find a menu on my phone, Greco went around the options to set his sights on the nearby Chaiya Thai Restaurant and order a boost.
Vitalik Buterin is the first to admit that he has spent a strange year 2017. The entrepreneurs backed by the Ethereum protocol started to use it to issue new chips to organize huge fundraisers in cryptocurrency for their projects, through an innovative financing mechanism called "initial coin offering" (ICO). The prices of bitcoin and ether broke records and ICOs exploded; but they have also fueled fears of a speculative runaway of the same type as tulipomania, speculation on tulip bulbs in the Netherlands, in the past. "We've created a culture where any hazardous project can raise $ 8 million, and we say 'oh yes, it's peanuts'," he says, "that's how you know. that you are in a bubble! "
"We've created a culture where any risky project can raise $ 8 million, and we say 'oh yes, it's peanuts, that's how you know you're in a bubble!'
The rise in the price of ether has made him a multimillionaire, but unlike Bitcoin fans who have tended to hang on to their assets, he was never convinced that crypto-currencies would take. When the prices seemed right, he cashed; and he "paid dearly for it financially," he notes cheerfully. He estimates that on paper, its fictitious capital, based on the value of its assets, would be three to four times larger if it had sold less cryptocurrency. After spending between $ 1 and $ 100, bitcoin jumped from less than $ 1,000 in January 2017 to more than $ 19,000 in December (the excitement has subsided, however, and has now stabilized at around 8 $ 1,000).
The young prodigy is under a lot of pressure to transform the test and move from the excitement of the blockchain to real results. He quickly explains his efforts to improve the Ethereum network, which recently became congested by the influx of users who exchange virtual chats in a game called CryptoKitties, where players raise and trade digital felines. The various tracks envisaged to increase the capacity of the blockchain bear names such as "sharding", "state channels" and "plasma". I am relieved when we move to simpler things, like his desire for immortality.
Vitalik Buterin dismayed Since childhood, Vitalik Buterin has been thinking of eternal life. When he was six, shortly after his family emigrated from Russia arrived in the United States, he came upon a book by Aubrey de Gray, a controversial British scientist with radical ideas to defeat aging. . While we sip a green tea prepared Thomas Greco while waiting for our meal, I ask him: why does he want to live forever? Vitalik Buterin is "puzzled enough to ask the question". If it is possible to live forever, then choosing not to do so is "the equivalent of jumping off a cliff," he explains. He will then reassure me: if life extension solutions have been slow in coming, they could be ready by 2060, which means it will be "probably still time for you". (I am 25.)
But then, "what would he do with eternal life?", I questioned him, imagining he might aspire to unlock the secret of unresolved mathematical puzzles. Not quite. "The most important thing is to enjoy it," he replies. During his flights, he studied languages ??he did not yet master watching French, German or Chinese films.
"If it is possible to live forever, then choosing not to do it is" the equivalent of jumping off a cliff ""
As we speak, cryptocurrency is experiencing a kind of cultural revolution. The first idealistic coders, who wanted the blockchain to transfer power from the hands of corporations and governments to those of individuals, began last year to be overtaken by intriguers motivated by the lure of a quick gain. Some ICOs have turned out to be scams. It is with consternation that Vitalik Buterin watched his blockchain be flooded by mercenaries in search of easy money.
"There are projects that have never had a soul, it's just, vroum-vroum, the price goes up," he says and typing in his long hands: "Lambo [rghini], vroum, vroum, buy, buy now! "Suddenly escaping a sharp remark about the Tron digital token, my host relaxes the atmosphere laughing loudly. Tron's market valuation reached $ 17 billion without any sign of life from a real underlying product.
Wacky valuations are, he says, "far ahead of what this field has actually done for society".
While we await delivery, the cryptocurrency markets are in full collapse. At the end of the day, the ether will have dipped by 30%. Such volatility would give traders cold sweat, but it's nothing for veterans of crypto-currencies like Vitalik Buterin - he does not even watch his phone.
Pragmatic against the system Vitalik Buterin may be disappointed by the boom, but he has welcomed the massive investment in the blockchain from the general public. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) was founded in 2016 to explore potential blockchain applications for the corporate world. It counts among its members BP or JPMorgan. The EEA reflects the changing mentality of the creator of Ethereum. As a teenager, he shared the general opinion of the cryptic crusader community: "the system," that is governments, banks, and big business, "is fundamentally bad, and we must resist completely and build something new "(Vitalik Buterin has a childish tic: he adds a" s "at fault to certain verbs).
But he realized that these people "are not so different from others everywhere else". Purists might see it as a betrayal of the historical roots of the blockchain; But Vitalik Buterin describes this as pragmatism, tinged with anxiety over governments with "hundreds of billions of dollars in physical weapons, many prisons ... increased surveillance of the Internet".
Vitalik Buterin a de quoi se faire du souci?: il a vu comment les premiers spécialistes du bitcoin, qui utilisaient la monnaie pour le trafic de drogue, ont fini par se faire prendre. Il évoque Ross Ulbricht, l’incroyablement jeune libertarien américain qui dirigeait Silk Road, ce marché noir du darknet spécialisé dans l’échange de substances et de marchandises illicites, tournant en grande partie grâce au bitcoin. Par sa tristement célèbre décision de recruter des tueurs à gages, Ross Ulbricht aurait fait basculer le destin du bitcoin, selon Vitalik Buterin, transformant l’histoire d’“un éventuel martyr de la désobéissance civile” en celle d’“un véritable criminel et ennemi public”. Ross Ulbricht, qui entame aujourd’hui la trentaine, a perdu l’année dernière une bataille judiciaire qui a duré cinq ans, et il risque aujourd’hui la prison à vie.
"Even if your goal is to overthrow part of the system, you need to have a vision of how it can promote human progress, and convey that vision"
"Even if your goal is to overthrow part of the system, you need to have a vision of how it can promote human progress, and convey that vision," he says. "The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars could send people a very, very misleading picture of social conflict." His reference to Hobbits and Jedi evokes childish morality, which opposes righteousness to absolute evil; Vitalik Buterin has adapted to a world without villains or heroes.
Diplomatic tour in progress So who is the most important person in his life? For once, he is at a running class. "Hmmm." There is a white. "It's hard to think of one person. Yeah. "We are saved by the arrival of the delivery.
Two women on sofas strum on laptops covered with stickers. The atmosphere is that of a student house during the revision period before the end-of-year exams. Vitalik Buterin picks plates and forks (but no knives). We unpack spicy shrimps with a pasta dish and sautéed for him, and a curry of green vegetables with wormwood and rice for me.
I ask him about his memories of Russia, a country he left at the age of six. While peeling the shrimps from his long fingers with gnawed nails, he recites a description of his hometown, Kolomna: 140,000 inhabitants, 115 km from Moscow. He went to Moscow and St Petersburg last year, met with Vladimir Putin, and spoke with Russian officials about a "cryptorouble" project. He explained how he was siding with the system these days, but I can not understand why he would help an authoritarian government. He quotes Frederick Douglass, who has been criticized for being allied with slave owners, but said: "I would unite with anyone to do good; and with no one to do evil. " He later confided to me that he encourages the Kremlin to make "the people benefit from the benefits of cryptography", but adds, resignedly, that he "does not know how far the message actually passes".
"He encourages the Kremlin to make" the people benefit from the benefits of cryptography ", but adds, resignedly, that he" does not know how far the message actually passes ""
This willingness to discuss has propelled Vitalok Buterin on a diplomatic tour, apparently for an indefinite period. During the last month, he visited four countries: Thailand, Singapore, China, the United States. He does not have a fixed address. "At this moment, I flutter everywhere," he summarizes. So where does he leave his things while he travels? He leaves the room at full speed. Baffled, I stuck an eggplant with my fork. He returns with a bright pink travel bag overflowing with t-shirts. He does not have books? He points to his Android phone.
When his fortune went from 1 million to more than 10 to 20 million dollars (for once, he fixes a little the numbers), he did not say "youpi, I'll have more stuff". "It's rather that I will not have to worry about money for a long time," he says. He donates to the Bill Gates Foundation, GiveDirectly, and Aubrey de Gray's anti-aging organization, the SENS Research Foundation.
The weight of celebrity His most important source of inspiration, he says, is the Internet. And last June, the Internet killed him: a viral rumor that he was dead plunged Ethereum's $ 4 billion market capitalization, revealing how Vitalik Buterin is intrinsically linked to the Ethereum system in the spirit traders in cryptocurrency. "It's like OK, wow, it's weird," he recalls. "My family sent me WeChat messages to ask me if it was okay."
I notice dark circles under his piercing blue eyes. Despite all his public appearances, he struggles to become famous.
"Last year, it came to a point where [celebrity] has become more embarrassing than positive," he says. He remembers a man chasing him on a plane and across an airport, trying to talk to him.
This position of power, is it something he desired? "No," he answers quickly, without hesitation. So, how could this happen? "Hmmm. Ethereum has grown. "He lowers his head as if I have scolded him. "It turned out that Ethereum has evolved without other figures as important as me emerging, I guess."
"Last June, the Internet killed him: a viral rumor that he was dead plunged Ethereum's market capitalization by $ 4 billion, revealing how Vitalik Buterin is intrinsically linked to the Ethereum system."
Vitalik Buterin seems depressed. To try to relax the atmosphere, I ask him where he would like to be in five years. "I have no idea," he sighs. "I do not usually plan more than three months in advance, let alone five years." It is clear that Ethereum started as a project, not a career plan. He ridicules bitcoin millionaires who surfed the crypto-tsunami wave until they hoarded a fortune, boasting about it as an investment feat.
"It's Russian roulette, and everyone who won the lottery seems to have the impression that they deserved it because they would be smarter," said Vitalik Buterin. He imitates an enthusiastic "bull", having bet on bitcoin: "I was loyal and I was virtuous and I stood firm and so I deserve to have my five villas and 23 lambos!" We laugh.
After making just a bite of shrimp, he begins to pick up crumbs with his index finger and describes his recent wanderings in a dilapidated neighborhood in China. He makes a fixation on "shabby grocery stores, with five-year-olds helping mom and dad rearrange water bottles." These meetings reminded him that "these are the people to whom you can really be useful".
Facebook Marketplace in the United States soon available with crypto currency? The uses of a Facebook cryptocurrency could be numerous. One thinks of a use of the corner on the Facebook Marketplace, this home platform launched in August 2017 and which competes with Le Bon Coin; in the United States maybe first and then all over the world. The advantage of no longer backing transactions on a fiduciary currency would be a simplification of international trade. But remember that Facebook is also WhatsApp, Instagram or Oculus and a cryptocurrency on Facebook social network could also decline on its multiple subsidiaries.
Although Facebook, like Google and Twitter posted a rather hostile position with regard to virtual currencies by prohibiting the advertising of crypto-currencies on its network, the deal seems to have changed. Unless, as many commentators had predicted at the time, the Facebook decision was actually motivated by the launch of a house cryptocurrency that will not have to compete with other tokens. What totally upset the cryptocurrency sector when the FaceCoin out!
What is certain is that this project should not succeed in the immediate future. Indeed, last February David Marcus had said in an interview that Facebook had not planned to integrate cryptocurrency in its applications soon. At issue: the technical difficulties crypto-currencies currently face: "payments using virtual currencies are currently very expensive, very slow," said David Marcus, pointing out that when all these problems would be resolved, " maybe we'll do something. "
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Is Bitcoin a Good Investment (Updated for 2016)

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