A Full Explainer Of Bitcoin, In Plain English And Under 10 ...

Bitcoin explained in plain English (so that you can explain this voodoo magic money to your mom)

Bitcoin explained in plain English
Like Paypal and Visa, Bitcoin is a system that can send money digitally. The innovation that sets Bitcoin apart is that it isn’t controlled or operated by a single company. Instead of having a company like Visa run the system, anybody can join the Bitcoin network and participate in the record keeping that keeps Bitcoin running. Nobody owns the Bitcoin software or the Bitcoin network. If an oppressive government wants to shut down Bitcoin, it can’t simply go after a single company. An oppressive government would (in theory) have to go after everybody running Bitcoin server software on their computer to shut it down.
In practice, the decentralization doesn’t actually work. Most people buy Bitcoins through exchanges run by private companies, which are subject to government-imposed laws and regulations. While Bitcoin’s innovation is interesting, it doesn’t actually do anything useful in the real world. However, very few people actually understand Bitcoin. So, journalists and cryptocurrency fanatics can make up fancy stories about how Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will change the world.
What Bitcoin is
Bitcoin was originally designed to be a “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System“. Think of other peer-to-peer systems like Napster or BitTorrent, except that users can exchange Bitcoins instead of files. Instead of having a single set of records controlled by one company, the set of records is copied to all the volunteer record keepers in the Bitcoin network. There can be hundreds or thousands of copies of the Bitcoin ledger distributed around the world. Changes to the ledger (from people sending Bitcoin to one another) are distributed throughout the network and each participant duplicates the record-keeping process on their copy of the ledger. This is the “distributed ledger” that everybody keeps talking about.
All of this means that the Bitcoin network can run by itself. Anybody can join the network and help keep it running.
Bitcoin in the real world
Unfortunately the key benefit to Bitcoin (the “decentralization” everybody keeps talking about) doesn’t actually pan out in the real world. Most people get Bitcoins by buying them via a centralized exchange, which are all private companies that can be shut down or bullied by the government. As all developed countries have laws against money laundering, banks will enforce these laws and will refuse to do business with exchanges that may be enabling questionable activities like online gambling with Bitcoins. Cryptocurrencies are effectively regulated by governments around the world. The only practical alternative to exchanges is to trade Bitcoins in person. However, this defeats the main benefit of digital money as face-to-face transactions are inconvenient. It’s unlikely that a system that involves trading paper money for Bitcoins will revolutionize the world.
Currently, the trend is that banks and credit card companies have been cutting off access to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Banks have to comply with anti-money laundering regulations so that they don’t intentionally or unintentionally help criminals profit from illegal activities. A key part of fighting money laundering is knowing who your customers actually are. Criminals are less likely to use a bank as part of their illegal activities (e.g. to trade stolen Bitcoins for cash) if the bank knows their true identity. However, Bitcoin was designed to be anonymous as stated by its inventor’s white paper. (Bitcoin doesn’t fully succeed in allowing for anonymous payments. However, the anonymity that it does offer is enough to be problematic.) Bitcoin’s design makes it difficult for banks to obey the law if they are to allow access to Bitcoin exchanges. This is one of the many reasons why Bitcoin is unlikely to become a mainstream payment method for goods and services.
You can safely ignore the hype
If somebody tries to explain Bitcoin to you and you don’t understand it, the problem isn’t you. The person explaining Bitcoin likely has some misguided understanding of Bitcoin because there are certain things that they want to believe. Some people want to look smart by being early believers in new technology that they don’t understand. Some journalists want to write clickbait stories. Some people want to believe in get-rich-quick schemes. Some people are getting rich quick through cryptocurrency-related scams. Whatever the case is, I wouldn’t worry about it. You aren’t missing out on a revolutionary new technology. Bitcoin’s only innovation is interesting but useless in the real world.
Appendix A: What Bitcoin mining is (and why everybody is saying it’s bad for the environment)
The problem with a set of records delivered over the Internet is that you don’t know if some stranger on the Internet has nefariously tampered with the version that they sent you. It is possible for somebody to cheat the system by spending Bitcoins and then distributing a copy of the ledger that leaves out their spending, allowing them to spend their Bitcoins again. Other users somehow have to figure out which version of history is correct. To prevent shenanigans, each node on the Bitcoin network will determine trust based on “proof of work“. Trust will go to the side that has spent/wasted the most computing power to back up their version of events. The theory is that the honest users will always control more computing power than dishonest users.
To perform proof of work, Bitcoin “miners” do a set of very difficult mathematical calculations to try to find results with a certain number of zeroes in it. It’s basically computers competing over their ability to produce special numbers with a really long series of zeroes. Record keepers in the Bitcoin network (“nodes”) will trust the side that has wasted the most computing power. Because the math needed to find the special numbers is much harder than the math needed to verify the numbers (sort of like how Sudoku puzzles are harder to solve than to check), participants can easily verify which side wasted the most computing power. This is the key idea behind “blockchain“, the technology that tries to solve the problem of not being able to trust what strangers send you over the Internet. Honest record keepers will continue to add valid pages (blocks) to the Bitcoin journal. If the honest side controls more computing power, they will produce a longer chain of valid pages (blocks) than dishonest record keepers. Eventually, the honest record keepers’ version of events will be considered the authoritative one.
This system works as long as honest users throw more computing power at the problem than dishonest users. A dishonest user cannot pass off a bogus version of events (such as one that omits their spending) unless that user has more computing power than all of the honest users combined. To make attacks from dishonest users very difficult, the Bitcoin system provides incentives to its users to maintain a large standing army of computers that are ready to waste more computing power than people trying to cheat the system. Bitcoins are given out to users who devote computing power towards the Bitcoin cause. This is called Bitcoin “mining”, as the miners exert effort and are rewarded with digital “gold”. The creation of new Bitcoins is part of Bitcoin’s design.
If Bitcoin’s price averages $10,000, Bitcoin miners will receive $6.57 billion dollars worth of newly-printed Bitcoins in 2018 (1800 Bitcoins will be created every day in 2018). Bitcoin miners will also receive transaction fees from people who pay extra to have their transactions added to the ledger first (their transactions will be confirmed first). This might sound crazy but Bitcoin mining is on track to being a multi-billion dollar industry. Various companies will fight over their share of newly-printed Bitcoins. Competition will cause them to use a lot of electricity since electricity is the main ingredient needed to mine Bitcoins. Digiconomist has a webpage that estimates Bitcoin’s power consumption, which is currently about 1.3% of the United State’s energy consumption- that’s the same as millions of Americans. Bitcoin mining will consume as much energy as entire countries like Bangladesh.
While Bitcoin mining is one way to get Bitcoins, it is very expensive for most people compared to buying Bitcoins on an exchange. This is because Bitcoin mining benefits from scale. Big companies such as Bitmain will spend millions of dollars on designing computers that do one thing and one thing only: mine Bitcoins. Think of a calculator: it is a computer that does only one thing. Because it is designed for only one task, it does it very well. A calculator is incredibly energy efficient and cheap compared to your smartphone or laptop computer. Similarly, a computer that is designed specifically for mining Bitcoins does it more cost-effectively than everyday computers. Without millions of dollars spent designing special computers, access to very cheap electricity, and large data centers, normal citizens can’t compete against Bitcoin mining juggernauts. These companies drive up the cost of mining Bitcoins (Bitcoin is designed so that fewer Bitcoins are produced if more computing power is spent on mining), pushing out the small fish. You will likely lose money if you try to mine Bitcoin on your home computer.
Appendix B: Buzzwords and technobabble explained
ICO: Initial coin offering, or “it’s a con offering”. Generally speaking, these are investment scams where investors exchange real money for fake money (or a stake in a fake business or Ponzi scheme).
Immutable: can’t be changed. In theory, Bitcoin is designed so that the ledger can’t be changed. In the past, the ledger has been changed by the Bitcoin community banding together to fix bugs. One such bug allowed a hacker to give him or herself 184 billion Bitcoins.
Trustless: This refers to a trust problem that only decentralized systems have; centralized systems don’t have this problem. For Bitcoin specifically, the problem is this: some stranger on the Internet sent me a journal of all Bitcoin transactions and I don’t know if I should trust it. Bitcoin’s key innovative technology, the blockchain, attempts to solve that problem so that decentralization can work.
Blockchain: a journal of all (Bitcoin) transactions since the very beginning. Transactions are grouped together into chunks called blocks, which form the ‘pages’ of the journal. Miners solve difficult math puzzles so that they can attach special numbers to each block, proving that they spent a lot of computing power. A series (or chain) of blocks with the most computing power spent on ‘proving’ that chain will become the authoritative blockchain. This system works as long as the honest users waste more computer power and electricity than dishonest users.
Decentralization: a system that works without a trusted central authority.
Double spending: Cheating the system to spend the same Bitcoin two or more times, ultimately resulting in spending Bitcoins that you don’t have.
Secure: An adjective that describes systems other than Bitcoin. For starters, Bitcoin was hacked to create 184 billion Bitcoins. When the Mt. Gox exchange was hacked, at least 5% of all Bitcoins at the time (at least 650,000) were stolen. Many people also lose Bitcoins due to their computer being hacked, being tricked into giving away their passwords or identity, or from malicious browser add-ons. Bitcoin also has outstanding security issues that haven’t been fixed. If a single party controls 51% of the world’s Bitcoin mining power, that mining power can be used to disrupt the Bitcoin network. Currently, more than 51% of the world’s mining power is controlled by Chinese companies.
submitted by glennchan to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin explained in plain English

Bitcoin explained in plain English submitted by SAtechnewsbot to SAtechnews [link] [comments]

Bitcoin and Blockchain explained in plain english

I published an article on Medium to explain What Bitcoin is all about and the basics of Blockchain in plain English so everyone can easily understand how Bitcoin and Blockchain works! Check it out.
https://medium.com/the-capital/what-really-is-bitcoin-466f2b076c4f?source=friends_link&sk=c95f95f09ff08cf8bcdf6c8c6221bfa6
submitted by robinhood_jack to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english submitted by stephenyo101 to btc [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english submitted by HiIAMCaptainObvious to BitcoinAll [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english

Bitcoin Basics: The phenomenon explained in plain english submitted by stephenyo101 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

TIL - This awesome presentation by Gregory Maxwell exists and explains many great upcoming bitcoin concepts in plain english.

TIL - This awesome presentation by Gregory Maxwell exists and explains many great upcoming bitcoin concepts in plain english. submitted by biturd to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Could someone please explain in plain English how Bitcoin is secure against 51% attack from a conglomerate of bankers or a government with unlimited funds?

Could someone please explain to me in plain English how Bitcoin is secure against a 51% attack if the adversary had unlimited funds (like a few mega-billionaires) couldn't they just buy up all the mining operations for say $100Biliion and shut the Bitcoin system down via corrupting the blockchain and eliminating confidence in the system to protect the existing financial structures?
Yes it would be expensive, but from their pov it would be the cost of preserving their existing monopolies. A justifiable cost in their POV.
Thoughts?
submitted by Questual-Ion to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

TIL - This awesome presentation by Gregory Maxwell exists and explains many great upcoming bitcoin concepts in plain english.

TIL - This awesome presentation by Gregory Maxwell exists and explains many great upcoming bitcoin concepts in plain english. submitted by BitcoinAllBot to BitcoinAll [link] [comments]

Coinbase Pro Limit Order

Hi Guys, sorry if this seems like a dumb question to the more experienced Bitcoin investors here. When I place a limit order on Coinbase Pro, there is a section of the order that says allow taker ? What exactly does this mean? I looked it up on the website and the explanation made me even more confused. If someone could explain in plain English that would be great! Thanks
submitted by Daleedge to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Why did I build AmputatorBot?

Why did I build AmputatorBot?
AmputatorBot.com | Remove AMP from URLs in just one click! - More info
Open-sourced on GitHub - More info
Summon AmputatorBot by mentioning it like this: u/AmputatorBot

Why AMP is a threat to the Open Web

What is AMP?
AMP is an open-source web component framework developed by the AMP Open Source Project, first announced by Google in 2015 as a reaction to Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News. While it was originally aimed at accelerating mobile pages (hence AMP), it’s now a much broader project aimed at improving the UX of websites, stories, ads and mail. The AMP framework consists of three components: AMP HTML, which is standard HTML markup with web components; AMP JavaScript, which manages resource loading; and AMP caches, which serves and validates AMP pages.
In plain English: AMP is Google’s attempt at making pages (and more) faster. They did a good job, pages built with the AMP framework will normally load faster. However, as this article explains, you won’t notice much of a difference unless the AMP library is served using the AMP cache, but more on that later.
The controversies with cached AMP pages
The AMP format is itself not much of a problem. In fact, we should applaud search engines that give ranking preference to fast-loading pages like AMP, but four aspects of its implementation are flawed:
  1. Google mobile Search’s Top Stories carousel has a premium position above of all other results, which is only accessible for AMP pages. These pages have to use a technology that was build and maintained mostly by Google (of the top 10 contributors to the AMP project on GitHub, 9 are Google employees), are then served by Google from their infrastructure and placed within a Google controlled user experience. And since this carousel generates a lot of clicks and revenue, publishers are left no choice but to embrace AMP. This has the effect of further reinforcing Google’s dominance of the Web. Fortunately, Google has announced that it's working on opening up the Top Stories carousel to non-AMP pages in 2021.
  2. The biggest performance boost doesn’t come from the AMP framework, but from preloading the page. It begs the question: Should preloading really be exclusive to AMP? They could introduce a way for publishers to allow or disallow preloading and if Google sees fit, they could preload those pages too, alongside AMP.
  3. When a user navigates from Google to a piece of content Google has recommended (or when a user clicks on a shared cached AMP link), they are, unwittingly, remaining within Google’s ecosystem and the publisher’s domain is obscured by the google.com/amp prefix. To work around this Google introduced Signed HTTP Exchanges ([Draft], [1], [2]), a web-standard that allows the browser to display the original site's URL, instead of the actual one (the one with the google.com/prefix). This would solve the original issue, but while doing so it introduced new ones (e.g. it obfuscates the fact that they're delivering the AMP page you're visiting). Interestingly enough, Google's Chrome already has support for this technology, but parties not involved with AMP are not so enthusiastic: Mozilla has deemed it a harmful web standard [2], and Apple has taken a similar stance.
  4. Google’s entire business model is about collecting as much personal data as possible, AMP is just another tool to do so. As described in Google’s Support article:
“When you use the Google AMP Viewer, Google and the publisher that made the AMP page may each collect data about you.”
The controversies with non-cached AMP pages
To be clear, the above flaws are only with AMP pages cached by Google (or another party like Bing or Cloudflare) but there are also plenty of pages simply utilizing the AMP framework, recognized by URLs such as bbc.com/news/amp/. However, these are also problematic, mainly because there's only a small performance improvement when AMP pages aren't cached and AMP pages tend to be less feature-rich and less diverse than their originals. And in some edge cases, it breaks stuff.
One could argue that the more popular the AMP framework becomes, the more AMP threatens the open web. That said, it should be clear that the biggest problem lies with the cached AMP pages.
AMP is open source, but that doesn't make it holy. Or as Ferdy Christant puts it quite nicely in his blog:
Google’s main defense is that AMP is open source. Which isn’t just a weak defense, it’s no defense at all. I can open source a plan for genocide. The term “open source” is meaningless if the thing that is open source is harmful.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not claiming Google or the AMP project is evil (hell, they might even have good intentions!), but the fact is that AMP and it's implementation have some major flaws that threaten the Open Web. And as long as that's the case, AmputatorBot will be there to remove AMP from your URLs.
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Ethereum's future is bright, the DApps are coming!

The DApps are coming, the DApps are coming!

Chin up boys and girls – the DApps (Decentralized Apps) are finally coming. Utility, not speculation/manipulation/shilling etc., is what, in the end, will give/justify the value of blockchains.
 
Of the top 100 tokens, 91 of them are on the Ethereum blockchain (ERC-20). The most valuable non-Ethereum tokens by market cap are USDT (4) and GAS (25). Eventually, ICX (6), VeChain (3) and EOS (1) and several others will be migrating to their own blockchains. Still, this leaves Ethereum with an overwhelming market dominance for tokens (aka DApps) and Ethereum has been clearly recognized as the blockchain to launch ICOs/DApps.
 
We have already seen several DApps successfully launch on mainnet including CrytptoKitties, Crypto Sportz, Edgeless, Etherbots, Ethercraft, Etheremon, Etheroll, ETHLend, Forkdelta (RIP Etherdelta), 0xBitcoin and Ethlance among others. Check out a whole list on DappRadar and track the progress of some lesser known, smaller projects on StateoftheDApps (Note: I cannot vouch for all of these DApps. There have been and always will be scammers in the crypto space. Please, always do your own research!)
 
For the rest of March + Q2 (April - June) we are going see the biggest implementation of DApps on the Ethereum mainnet to date. Below I’ve laid out, in alphabetical order and in varying detail, what’s happening between now and the end of Q2 of this year. (I’ve also added some info, where especially relevant, of big stuff coming after Q2). I hope any biases I may have do not come through too much in the writing.
 
To hammer home on utility once more: One year ago today, the daily transaction count was at 57,000. Yesterday, the network confirmed over 752,000 transactions (a 13x increase) (And remember, ATH in January was 1.349 million txns!) [Source]
 

On to the DApps:

 
Airswap
Subreddit
 
Aragon
Subreddit
 
Augur
Subreddit
 
BlockCAT
Subreddit
 
Digix
Subreddit
 
Ethorse
Subreddit
 
FunFair
Subreddit
 
FundRequest
Subreddit
 
Giveth
Wiki
 
Golem
Subreddit
 
iExec
Subreddit
 
Kyber
Subreddit
 
MakerDAO
Subreddit
This project can take a little time to understand, so here's a thorough ELIM5 walkthrough.
 
Melonport
Subreddit
 
OmiseGO
Subreddit
 
Request
Subreddit
 
Spankchain
Subreddit
 
status.im
Subreddit
 
Streamr
Subreddit
 
The 0x Protocol
Subreddit
 
Also, an informative article about some of the differences between the various decentralized exchange protocols here.
 
Some general Ethereum news to be excited about:
 
  • Vitalik recently hinted, in a since deleted tweet, that the sharding testnet will be coming online in the near future (I think Q2 isn’t too early a guess).
    • What is sharding? Sharding is where the entire state of the network is split into a bunch of partitions called shards that contain their own independent piece of state and transaction history. In this system, certain nodes would process transactions only for certain shards, allowing the throughput of transactions processed in total across all shards to be much higher than having a single shard do all the work as the mainchain does now. [Source]
 
  • Alpha Casper FFG testnet has been successfully running since Dec. 31, 2017.
    • What is Casper? Casper FFG aka Vitalik’s Casper is a hybrid POW/POS consensus mechanism. This is the version of Casper that is going to be implemented first. In a Proof of Stake system, validators stake a portion of their Ethers and start validating blocks. Meaning, when they discover a block which they think can be added to the chain, they will validate it by placing a bet on it. [Source]
 
(To stay up-to-date on Ethereum research development, check out Ethresear.ch)
 
  • The Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) is March 8-10 in Paris. Talks will focus around “scalability, anonymity, development tools, governance compliance” among other topics.
    • Speakers include representatives from the Ethereum Foundation, Ledger, Metamask, Shapeshift, Oraclize, Uport, Web3Foundation, Melonport, ConsenSys, JP Morgan, Coinbase – Toshi, Parity, SpankChain, FunFair, Aragon, AirSwap, EEA, IExec, Cosmos, OmiseGO, Circle, Gnosis, among others.
    • UPDATE: EthCC was a resounding success! If you missed it or want to re-watch any of the talks, check out this handy thread of videos, painstakingly culled and timestamped by u/alsomahler.
  • The Ethereum Developer Conference (EDCON) is May 3-5 in Toronto. This will be the biggest ETH dev conference since DEVCON 3 last November. The agenda is still being worked out, but speakers include representatives from the Ethereum Foundation, Polkadot, Parity, Plasma, OmiseGO, Cosmos, Tendermint, Giveth, Maker, Gnosis, and many others.
  • The Enterprise Ethereum Foundation (EEF) just keeps growing and growing and growing.
 

More, because I just can’t stop:

  • MetaMask recently passed 1 million installs!
  • 5.6 billion requests per day for Infura.io (Decentralized web3 infrastructure)
  • 280,000 downloads of TruffleSuit (ETH development framework)
    [Source]
 
  • ConsenSys has grown to over 600 employees in six major offices located around the world. I personally think ConsenSys is important (and awesome) because they are huge Ethereum evangelists and provide (in)valuable resources to help bring DApps come to life!
    • From their website: “The ConsenSys “hub” coordinates, incubates, accelerates and spawns “spoke” ventures through development, resource sharing, acquisitions, investments and the formation of joint ventures. These spokes benefit from foundational components built by ConsenSys that enable new services and business models to be built on the blockchain.”
    • Several of the projects I listed above are ConSensys formations including AirSwap and MetaMask.
 
Thanks for reading this far! Hopefully it wasn’t too exhausting of a read.
 
I am certain I have forgotten some DApps, so please feel free to comment/PM any and all suggestions/corrections to make this list more informative/inclusive/accurate and I will update it.
TL;DR
submitted by GetYourAssToPluto to ethtrader [link] [comments]

Top 7 books about bitcoin and blockchain

Top 7 books about bitcoin and blockchain
https://preview.redd.it/0xmmrt7ik5f41.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=2edb885873bebfbabbf77d52b5a91657a56771b7
To nudge you towards crypto, we prepared the list of top-rated books that shed some light on what bitcoin and blockchain bring about:
📚 “Bitcoin: The future of money?” by Dominic Frisby.The author takes a step back to look at where Bitcoin came from. He also gives a unique perspective on who the fabled Satoshi Nakamoto might be.
📚 “Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps” by Daniel Drescher.The book is the right fit for non-technical readers. Drescher breaks down all complex notions into simple pieces and explains general principles that make a blockchain what it is.
📚 “The Dark Net” by Jamie Bartlett.The book goes far beyond a traditional explanation of cryptocurrency. Bartlett spends a solid portion of the book examining the Silk Road and how it used Bitcoin as a means for users to buy things.
📚 “The Internet of Money” by Andreas Antonopoulos.While many other books pinpoint the How of bitcoin, The Internment of Money delves into the Why part. The author contextualizes the significance of the matter through a series of essays.
📚 “Digital Gold” by Nathaniel Popper.Here the title speaks for itself. Popper compares Bitcoin to gold as a store of value and takes a critical look at the history of this cryptocurrency. The book was nominated for the Financial Times book of the year in 2015.
📚 “The Book of Satoshi” by Phil Champagne.It’s a good reading piece for those who are big into Bitcoin. The author piled up everything Nakamoto every wrote online about Bitcoin and added some valuable comments on these remarks.
📚 “Blockchain for Babies (Baby University)” by Chris Ferrie and Marco Tomanichel.We are quite well aware of the fact that blockchain is going to change the world. So, make sure your kid is ready for the disruption that’s on its way. The book explains in plain English the critical notions of decentralized technology, cryptocurrency, and other useful crypto stuff.
What is your favorite book about blockchain?
submitted by JasBBB to Plark_Wallet [link] [comments]

Why do people respect Weiss Ratings? Look at these cringeworthy emails they send

Weiss has steadily earned press among the crypto community for scoring coins as if they were 1st grade homework papers, which is telling enough, but you really need to see what their corporate communications look like. Do not give these clowns the time of day.
Subject: Will this bring down social media as we know it?
Dear Investor,
My head is spinning.
This morning, I spoke to two cryptocurrency experts who will join me for our Emergency Cryptocurrency Briefing this coming Wednesday, February 28.
If what they told me is true, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook shareholders should be scared out of their wits.
They told me there’s a dire threat to Facebook’s entire business model. Facebook could become obsolete, replaced by the same technology that burst onto the world stage with the rise of Bitcoin.
And they also explained how to make a LOT of money from this trend.
I insisted that they explain exactly why and how at our Wednesday briefing. You NEED to hear this for yourself.
If you thought cryptocurrencies are just a new form of money, think again.
Banking. Social media. Email. Even entire governments. All could be broadly disrupted by cryptocurrency technology.
And investors who get involved now can profit handsomely from this sweeping paradigm shift.
If what I just said sounds like Chinese, I get it. It’s taken me quite a while to completely wrap my head around it too.
That’s one of the reasons I put together our Emergency Cryptocurrency Briefing.
Investors need to hear – in plain English – the ins and outs of cryptocurrencies and the massive implications.
That way, you can get all the facts and decide for yourself if this is a space you want to invest in.
And in addition to a bit of “Crypto 101,” my team and I will defend our C+ Bitcoin rating from a long-time Bitcoin veteran who will hold our feet to the fire. Plus, we will:
Name the 3 cryptocurrencies currently at the very top of our rankings and how to play them. Warn you about 5 popular cryptocurrencies to avoid. Give you the 7 questions you need to ask before you buy any cryptocurrency. Show you how our Bitcoin rating could have helped you avoid devastating losses in recent weeks. Reveal the breakthrough cryptocurrency strategy that could have turned $10,000 into $599,512 since January 2017, over seven times better than Bitcoin.
submitted by ChampramBenjaporn to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Upcoming SDEX changes: ask us anything about them

Hello everyone, Nicolas from SDF here. I wanted to try something new on how we can better engage with the broader community on upcoming changes to the protocol (and not just limit it to the hard core techies).
Quick recap before jumping into what those changes are about.
A few months ago some members of the community started discussing how some features of the SDEX were not meeting their expectation. I can't find the link to the thread on reddit - but here's a github thread discussing the issue. In particular the fact that currently offers in the exchange can be "shadow" offers that are there but get updated or deleted when somebody tries to take them.
When we originally designed the SDEX we thought of this as a feature: if somebody wants to sell an asset (like MOBI) in exchange for any combination of other assets (like apay.BTC and stronghold.BTC, ie "I just want BTC"), they can just create competing offers to sell the same asset.
Some of the concerns raised were around how this makes it a little too easy for people to manipulate what the various clients display in terms of market liquidity. We don't want to make it easier for people and bots in particular (I'm with team humans) to manipulate our books - you can read this post to get some idea of what bots can do when given too much freedom.
At first we thought that people should "just run a stellar-core node", or "write some code to get a more realistic view of the order book" - but this raises the bar quite significantly on how to write good trading wallets, how most people experience the SDEX.
In hindsight I think that we designed a feature for the expert user at the expense of the normal user, and I don't like it when we give unfair advantage to very few :)
So we've been busy designing updated semantics for the SDEX that should give power back to the majority of users.
So what are those changes in plain English?
Short version: you can only sell what you have (shout out to captain obvious).
Longer version: we are making this happen by introducing the notion of "liabilities" that are enforced across the board.
Outbound liabilities keep track of what an account is selling via offers.
Keeping track of those liabilities stops people from:
We are also introducing inbound liabilities that represent the amount of an asset the account can potentially buy which in some cases is the limiting factor, just like for most people the number of garage spots they have access to is the limiting factor in how many cars they can buy regardless of the amount of money they are willing to pay for a car (reason is a bit more technical, read the CAP document for the gritty details).
What happens when this change is adopted? If this new version of the protocol gets adopted by validators, offers that are selling too much of something will all get deleted (this is to avoid situations where you are left with the one offer you didn't really want).
After that, the protocol will enforce all rules: in some cases operations will fail, in others it will cause offers to get deleted (such as when an issuer de-authorizes a user).
How can you prepare for this? If you want to ensure that your offers stay on the order book on "upgrade day", you need to make sure that the amounts in the offers don't exceed your balance. That's it. If you’re a developer you’ll want to play with testnet or a private instance to ensure that you’re dealing with the new failure modes.
Technical version: here's the actual protocol document with all changes explained cap-0003
We're looking for feedback here
Like or don't like? You have a different idea? This will break something beyond repair?
We will try to respond to as many comments as possible related to this feature over the next few days.
As usual, thank you for being an awesome community.
submitted by MonsieurNicolas to Stellar [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to nosleep [link] [comments]

Welcome to Komodo. A Beginner's Guide.

Overview: the basics of the Komodo ecosystem.
 
1. Privacy: a mighty privacy coin that protects your data and rewards you 5% annually.
 
What is a privacy coin? Privacy coins implement various protocols to create a layer of privacy between blockchain transactions. This can be utilized to prevent blockchain traceability or provide different levels of privacy for data stored on the blockchain.
 
What is Jumblr? A decentralized cryptocurrency shuffler that allows your transactions to become incognito and protects them from being traced through a time or knapsack attack. It adds a privacy layer to your transactions because after your coins are Jumbled, an analysis of the amounts that went in or times that they came out is futile. This function is unique to Komodo and does not require third parties.
 
2. Security: a secure and robust consensus mechanism called delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) that protects your funds and our ecosystem. This unique technology uses a notarization process to create a backup of the entire Komodo blockchain onto the Bitcoin blockchain thereby increasing security and resilience. This happens roughly every ten minutes. The backups are then saved (notarized) onto the Bitcoin blockchain because it has the highest hashrate available. So even if Komodo suffered a devastating attack (which is extremely unlikely), the Komodo blockchain would merely revert to the most recently notarized copy of the chain. If Bitcoin loses superiority in terms of hashrate the dPOW mechanism can be switched to another blockchain on demand. Hence, Komodo is the most flexible platform to build on and one of the most secure.
 
What is hashrate? A proof of work blockchain needs a lot of calculations. Hashrate is the way it is measured. The amount of data hashed in a given time by a machine. It is a unit used to define the amount of calculations made by a machine. When you add all the machines together you have the hashrate for that blockchain (here’s a great chart that illustrates it). It's like a river of transactions and the broader and wider it is, the harder it is to manipulate it.
 
Hashrate historical chart: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/hashrate-btc-eth-bch-ltc.html#1y.
 
3. Freedom from middlemen: a decentralized exchange (DEX) called BarterDEX, with a fully working order book, powered by our world-class atomic swap technology. This reduces risk and transaction fees. Komodo’s atomic swaps work between Bitcoin protocol and ERC20 tokens which means we can support over 95% of all the tokens and coins in existence. Our decentralized exchange offers ‘liquidity power-ups’ which mean that you can place more than one buy order with the same funds (i.e. pick your top 5 coins and if any of them drop below 50% of their value you’ll buy it and cancel the other orders at the same time) which means your funds have a greater value! On top of all that, Komodo’s DEX has fast transaction speeds and super low transaction fees (0.15%). You can find live BarterDEX and Komodo Stats here: https://dexstats.info/index.php.
 
What are atomic swaps? Atomic swaps are a method of trading cryptocurrencies peer-to-peer, directly from one blockchain to another, without the need to trust a third-party. Here is a good article to read that will take you about 11 minutes ‘Atomic Swaps & Etomic Swaps, Explained in Plain English’ written by John Westbrook on Medium.
 
Why do YOU want an exchange to be decentralized? A centralized exchange is a third party and requires you to trust them with your funds. If they’re hacked you’re at risk of losing your funds. Centralized exchanges also require you to trade between pillars (i.e. BTC or USDT) which can involve higher transaction fees and a greater number of trades than necessary to swap the token you have for the one you want (i.e. DOGE sell to BTC to buy KMD is two trades when all you really want is DOGE to KMD).
 
4. Independence: decentralized ICO crowdfunding and scalability solutions for blockchain startups.
You can think of a blockchain as a motorway and if you build a project on the same blockchain as other projects you will be impacted by how well the other drives behave, or by the motorway introducing tolls, or you could suffer from congestion (i.e. if you’re familiar with how crypto kitties caused ETH transaction fees to greatly increase and transaction speeds to slow down then you’ll understand multiple projects on one blockchain cause a scalability and independence problem ).
Komodo offers parallel chains which mean a project or decentralized ICO is given its own chain which uses Komodo’s technology. This also solves the scalability issue because using the motorway analogy we can simply open more lanes for a project with a high amount of congestion. This is possible because of the dPOW notarisation. It allows projects to launch completely independent blockchains.
Every independent blockchain created on Komodo Platform is automatically integrated into Komodo’s BarterDEX (DEX) which means they have instant access to liquidity for their token and their community can buy and trade immediately. If you compare this to a centralized exchange where projects are often met with a list of onerous demands and fees to be listed and risk being delisted then you’ll understand how important this is for any project especially smaller teams and decentralized apps (dAPPS).
 
5. Universal Wallet: the Agama Wallet is a universal secure, multi-coin wallet to store funds on and claim the 5% reward for your $KMD tokens. There is also a paper wallet available if you would prefer a cold storage option for those who want to maximize their security.
 

Read the Whitepaper

Join the Community

 

FAQs for BarterDEX

 

FAQs for Wallets

Where to buy $KMD

Mining Komodo

Thank you for reading this far. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve this guide or any questions please leave your commments below.
submitted by benohanlon to komodoplatform [link] [comments]

Ethereum's future is bright, the DApps are coming! (x-post from r/ethtrader)

The DApps are coming, the DApps are coming!

Chin up boys and girls – the DApps (Decentralized Apps) are finally coming. Utility, not speculation/manipulation/shilling etc., is what, in the end, will give/justify the value of blockchains.
 
Of the top 100 tokens, 91 of them are on the Ethereum blockchain (ERC-20). The most valuable non-Ethereum tokens by market cap are USDT (4) and GAS (25). Eventually, ICX (6), VeChain (3) and EOS (1) and several others will be migrating to their own blockchains. Still, this leaves Ethereum with an overwhelming market dominance for tokens (aka DApps) and Ethereum has been clearly recognized as the blockchain to launch ICOs/DApps.
 
We have already seen several DApps successfully launch on mainnet including CrytptoKitties, Crypto Sportz, Edgeless, Etherbots, Ethercraft, Etheremon, Etheroll, ETHLend, Forkdelta (RIP Etherdelta), 0xBitcoin and Ethlance among others. Check out a whole list on DappRadar and track the progress of some lesser known, smaller projects on StateoftheDApps (Note: I cannot vouch for all of these DApps. There have been and always will be scammers in the crypto space. Please, always do your own research!)
 
For the rest of March + Q2 (April - June) we are going see the biggest implementation of DApps on the Ethereum mainnet to date. Below I’ve laid out, in alphabetical order and in varying detail, what’s happening between now and the end of Q2 of this year. (I’ve also added some info, where especially relevant, of big stuff coming after Q2). I hope any biases I may have do not come through too much in the writing.
 
To hammer home on utility once more: One year ago today, the daily transaction count was at 57,000. Yesterday, the network confirmed over 752,000 transactions (a 13x increase) (And remember, ATH in January was 1.349 million txns!) [Source]
 

On to the DApps:

 
Airswap
Subreddit
 
Aragon
Subreddit
 
Augur
Subreddit
 
BlockCAT
Subreddit
 
Digix
Subreddit
 
Ethorse
Subreddit
 
FunFair
Subreddit
 
FundRequest
Subreddit
 
Giveth
Wiki
 
Golem
Subreddit
 
iExec
Subreddit
 
Kyber
Subreddit
 
MakerDAO
Subreddit
This project can take a little time to understand, so here's a thorough ELIM5 walkthrough.
 
Melonport
Subreddit
 
OmiseGO
Subreddit
 
Request
Subreddit
 
Spankchain
Subreddit
 
status.im
Subreddit
 
Streamr
Subreddit
 
The 0x Protocol
Subreddit
 
Also, an informative article about some of the differences between the various decentralized exchange protocols here.
 
Some general Ethereum news to be excited about:
 
  • Vitalik recently hinted, in a since deleted tweet, that the sharding testnet will be coming online in the near future (I think Q2 isn’t too early a guess).
    • What is sharding? Sharding is where the entire state of the network is split into a bunch of partitions called shards that contain their own independent piece of state and transaction history. In this system, certain nodes would process transactions only for certain shards, allowing the throughput of transactions processed in total across all shards to be much higher than having a single shard do all the work as the mainchain does now. [Source]
 
  • Alpha Casper FFG testnet has been successfully running since Dec. 31, 2017.
    • What is Casper? Casper FFG aka Vitalik’s Casper is a hybrid POW/POS consensus mechanism. This is the version of Casper that is going to be implemented first. In a Proof of Stake system, validators stake a portion of their Ethers and start validating blocks. Meaning, when they discover a block which they think can be added to the chain, they will validate it by placing a bet on it. [Source]
 
(To stay up-to-date on Ethereum research development, check out Ethresear.ch)
 
  • The Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) is March 8-10 in Paris. Talks will focus around “scalability, anonymity, development tools, governance compliance” among other topics.
    • Speakers include representatives from the Ethereum Foundation, Ledger, Metamask, Shapeshift, Oraclize, Uport, Web3Foundation, Melonport, ConsenSys, JP Morgan, Coinbase – Toshi, Parity, SpankChain, FunFair, Aragon, AirSwap, EEA, IExec, Cosmos, OmiseGO, Circle, Gnosis, among others.
    • UPDATE: EthCC was a resounding success! If you missed it or want to re-watch any of the talks, check out this handy thread of videos, painstakingly culled and timestamped by u/alsomahler.
  • The Ethereum Developer Conference (EDCON) is May 3-5 in Toronto. This will be the biggest ETH dev conference since DEVCON 3 last November. The agenda is still being worked out, but speakers include representatives from the Ethereum Foundation, Polkadot, Parity, Plasma, OmiseGO, Cosmos, Tendermint, Giveth, Maker, Gnosis, and many others.
  • The Enterprise Ethereum Foundation (EEF) just keeps growing and growing and growing.
 

More, because I just can’t stop:

  • MetaMask recently passed 1 million installs!
  • 5.6 billion requests per day for Infura.io (Decentralized web3 infrastructure)
  • 280,000 downloads of TruffleSuit (ETH development framework)
    [Source]
 
  • ConsenSys has grown to over 600 employees in six major offices located around the world. I personally think ConsenSys is important (and awesome) because they are huge Ethereum evangelists and provide (in)valuable resources to help bring DApps come to life!
    • From their website: “The ConsenSys “hub” coordinates, incubates, accelerates and spawns “spoke” ventures through development, resource sharing, acquisitions, investments and the formation of joint ventures. These spokes benefit from foundational components built by ConsenSys that enable new services and business models to be built on the blockchain.”
    • Several of the projects I listed above are ConSensys formations including AirSwap and MetaMask.
 
Thanks for reading this far! Hopefully it wasn’t too exhausting of a read.
 
I am certain I have forgotten some DApps, so please feel free to comment/PM any and all suggestions/corrections to make this list more informative/inclusive/accurate and I will update it.
TL;DR
submitted by GetYourAssToPluto to ethereum [link] [comments]

melville charitable has been created

By Herman Melville I AND MY CHIMNEY (i.) I and my chimney, two grey-headed old smokers, reside in the country. We are, I may say, old settlers here; particularly my old chimney, which settles more and more every day. Though I always say, I and my chimney, as Cardinal Wol- sey used to say, I and my King, yet this egotistic way of speak- ing, wherein I take precedence of my chimney, is hardly borne out by the facts; in everything, except the above phrase, my chimney taking precedence of me. Within thirty feet of the turf-sided road, my chimney——a huge, corpulent old Harry VIII of a chimney——rises full in front of me and all my possessions. Standing well up a hill-side, my chimney, like Lord Rosse's monster telescope, swung verti- cal to hit the meridian moon, is the first object to greet the ap- proaching traveler's eye; nor is it the last which the sun salutes. My chimney, too, is before me in receiving the first-fruits of the seasons. The snow is on its head ere on my hat; and every spring, as in a hollow beech tree, the first swallows build their nests in it. But it is within doors that the pre-eminence of y chimney is most manifest. When in the rear room, set apart for that ob- ject, I stand to receive my guests (who, by the way, call more, I suspect, to see my chimney than me), I then stand, not so much before, as, strictly speaking, behind my chimney, which is, indeed, the true host. Not that I demur. In the presence of my betters, I hope I know my place. From this habitual precedence of my chimney over me, some even think that I have got into a sad rearward way altogether; in short, from standing behind my old-fashioned chimney so much, I have got to be quite behind the age too, as well as running behindhand in everything else. But to tell the truth, I never was a very forward old fellow, nor what my farming neighbors call and forehanded one. Indeed, those rumors about my behindhandedness are so far correct, that I have an odd sauntering way with me sometimes of going about with my hands behind my back. As for my belonging to the rear-guard in general, certain it is, I bring up the rear of my chimney—— which, by the way, is this moment before me——and that, too, both in fancy and fact. In brief, my chimney is my superior; my superior by I know not how many heads and shoulders; my superior, too, in that humbly bowing over with shovel and tongs, I must minister to it; yet never does it minister, or in- cline over to me; but, if anything, in its settlings, rather leans the other way. My chimney is grand seignior here——the one great dom- ineering object, not more of the landscape, than of the house; all the rest of which house, in each architectural arrangement, as may shortly appear, is, in the most marked manner, accom- modated, not to my wants, but to the chimney's, which, among other things, has the centre of the house to itself, leaving but the odd holes and corners to me. But I and my chimney must explain; and, as we are both rather obese, we may have to expatiate. In those houses which are strictly double houses——that is, where the hall is in the middle——the fireplaces usually are pon opposite sides; so that while one member of the household is warming himself at a fire built into a recess of the north wall, say another member, the former owner's brother, perhaps, may be holding his feet to the blaze before a hearth in the south wall——the two thus fairly sitting back to back. Is this well? Be it put to any man who has a proper fraternal feeling. Has it not a sort of sulky appearance? But very probably this style of chimney building originated with some architect afflicted with a quarrelsome family. Then again, almost every modern fireplace has its separate flue——separate throughout, from hearth to chimney-top. At least such an arrangement is deemed desirable. Does this not look egotistical, selfish? But still more, all these separate flues, instead of having independent masonry establishments of their own, or instead of being grouped together in one federal stock in the middle of the house——instead of this, I say, each flue is surreptitiously honey-combed into the walls; so that these last are here and there, or indeed almost anywhere, treacherously hollow, and, in consequence, more or less weak. Of course, the main reason of this style of chimney building is to economize room. In cities, where lots are sold by the inch, small space is to spare for a chimney constructed on magnani- mous principles; and, as with most thin men, who are generally tall, so with such houses, what is lacking in breadth must be made up in height. This remark holds true even with regard to many very stylish abodes, built by the most stylish of gentle- men. And yet, when that stylish gentleman, Louis le Grand of France, would build a palace for his lady friend, Madame de Maintenon, he built it but one story high——in fact, in the cot- tage style. But then, how uncommonly quadrangular, spacious, and broad——horizontal acres, not vertical one. Such is the pal- ace which, in all its one-storied magnificence of Languedoc marble, in the garden of Versailles, still remains to this day. Any man can buy a square foot of land and plant a liberty- pole upon it; but it takes a king to set apart whole acres for a Grand Trianon. But nowadays it is different; and furthermore, what origi- nated in a necessity has been mounted into a vaunt. In towns there is a large rivalry in building tall houses. If one gentleman builds his house four stories high, and another gentleman comes next door and builds five stories high, then the former, not to be looked down upon that way, immediately sends for his architect and claps a fifth and a sixth story on top of his pre- vious four. And, not til the gentleman has achieved his aspira- tion, not till he has stolen over the way by twilight and observed how the sixth story soars beyond his neighbor's fifth——not till then does he retire to rest with satisfaction. Such folks, it seems to me, need mountains for neighbors, to take this emulous conceit of soaring out of them. If, considering that mine is a very wide house, and by no means lofty, aught in the above may appear like interested pleading, as if I did but fold myself about in the cloak of a gen- eral proposition, cunningly to tickle my individual vanity be- neath it, such misconceptions must vanish upon my frankly conceding that land adjoining my alder swamp was sold last month for ten dollars an acre, and thought a rash purchase at that; so that for wide houses hereabouts there is plenty of room, and cheap. Indeed, so cheap——dirt cheap——is the soil, that our elms thrust out their roots in it, and hang their great boughs over it, in the most lavish and reckless way. Almost all our crops, too, are sown broadcast, even peas and turnips. A farmer among us, who should go about his twenty-acre field, poking his finger into it here and there, and dropping down a mustard seed, would be thought a penurious, narrow-minded husbandman. The dandelions in the river-meadows, and the forget-me-nots along the mountain roads, you see at once they are put to no economy in space. Some seasons, too, our rye comes up, here and there a spear sole and single like a church- spire. It doesn't care to crowd itself where it knows there is such a deal of room. The world is wide, the world is all before us, says the rye. Wees, too, it is amazing how they spread. No such thing as arresting them——some of out pastures being a sort of Alsatia for the weeds. As for the grass, every spring it is like Kossuth's rising of what he calls the peoples. Mountains, too, a regular camp-meeting of them. For the same reason, the same all-sufficiency of room, our shadows march and countermarch, going through their various drills and masterly evolutions, like the old imperial guard on the Champs de Mars. As for the hills, especially where the roads cross them, the supervisors of our various towns have given notice to all concerned, that they can come and dig them down and cart them off and never a cent to pay, no more than for the privilege of picking blackberries. The stranger who is buried here, what liberal-hearted landed proprietor among us grudges him his six feet of rocky pasture? Nevertheless, cheap, after all, as our land is, and much as it is trodden under foot, I, for one, am proud of it for what it bears; and chiefly for its three great lions——the Great Oak, Ogg Mountain, and my chimney. Most houses are are but one and a half stories high; few exceed two. That in which I and my chimney dwell, is in width nearly twice its height, from sill to eaves——which accounts for the magnitude of its main content——besides showing that in this house, as in this country at large, there is abundance of space, and to spare, for both of us. The frame of the old house is of wood——which but the more sets forth the solidity of the chimney, which is of brick. And as the great wrought nails, binding the clapboards, are unknown in these degenerate days, so are the huge bricks in the chimney walls. The architect of the chimney must have had the pyramid of Cheops before him; for after that famous structure it seems modeled, only its rate of decrease towards the summit is con- siderably less, and it is truncated. From the exact middle of the mansion it soars from the cellar, right up through each suc- cessive floor, till, four feet square, it breaks water from the ridge-pole of the roof, like an anvil-headed whale, through the crest of a billow. Most people, though, liken it, in that part, to a razeed observatory, masoned up. The reason for its peculiar appearance above the roof touches upon rather delicate ground. How shall I reveal that, foras- much as many years ago the original gable roof of the old house had become very leaky, a temporary proprietor hired a band of woodmen, with their huge, crosscut saws, and went to saw- ing the old gable roof clean off. Off it went, with all its birds' nests, and dormer windows. It was replaced with a modern roof, more fit for a railway wood-house than an old country gentleman's abode. This operation——razeeing the structure some fifteen feet——was, in effect upon the chimney, something like the falling of the great spring tides. It left uncommon low water all about the chimney——to abate which appearance, the same person now proceeds to slice fifteen feet off the chimney itself, actualyl beheading my royal old chimney——a regicidal act which, were it not for the palliating fact that he was a poulterer by trade, and, therefore, hardened to such neck- wringings, should send that former proprietor down to pos- terity in the same cart with Cromwell. Owing to its pyramidal shape, the reduction of the chimney inordinately widened its razeed summit. Inordinately, I say, but only in the estimation of such as have no eye to the pic- turesque. What care I, if, unaware that my chimney, as a free citizen of this free land, stands upon an independent basis of its own, people passing it wondering how such a brick-kiln, as they call it, is supported upon mere joists and rafters? What care I? I will give a traveler a cup of switchel, if he ants it; but am I bound to supply him with a sweet taste? Men of cultivated minds see, in my old house and chimney, a goodly old elephant- and-castle. All feeling hearts will sympathize with me in what I am now about to add. The surgical operation, above referred to, nec- essarily brought into the open air a part of the chimney previously under cover, and intended to remain so and, there- fore, not built of what are called weather-bricks. In con- sequence, the chimney, though of a vigorous constitution, suffered not a little from so naked an exposure; and, unable to acclimate itself, ere long began to fail——showing blotchy symp- toms akin to those in the measles. Whereupon travelers, passing my way, would wag their heads, laughing: "See that wax nose ——how it melts off!" But what cared I? The same travelers would travel across the sea to view Kenilworth peeling away, and for a very good reason: that of all artists of the picturesque, decay wears the palm——I would say, the ivy. In fact, I've often thought that the proper place for my old chimney is ivied old England. In vain my wife——with what probable ulterior intent will, ere long, appear——solemnly warned me, that unless something were done, and speedily, we should be burnt to the ground, owing to the holes crumbling through the aforesaid blotchy parts, where the chimney joined the roof. "Wife," said I, "far better that my house should burn down, than my chimney should be pulled down, though but a few feet. They call it a wax nose; very good; not for me to tweak the nose of my superior." But at last the man who has a mortgage on the house dropped me a note, reminding me that, if my chimney was allowed to stand in that invalid condition, my policy of insurance would be void. This was a sort of hint not to be neglected. All the world over, the picturesque yields to the pocketesque. The mort- gagor cared not, but the mortgagee did. So another operation was performed. The wax nose was taken off, and a new one fitted on. Unfortunately for the expression ——being put up buy a squint-eyed mason who, at the time, had a bad stitch in the same side——the new nose stands a little awry, in the same direction. Of one thing, however, I am proud. The horizontal dimen- sions of the new part are unreduced. Large as the chimney appears upon the roof, that is nothing to its spaciousness below. At its base in the cellar, it is precisely twelve feet square; and hence covers precisely one hundred and fourty-four superficial feet. What an appropriation of terra firma for a chimney, and what a huge load for this earth! In fact, it was only because I and my chimney formed no part of his an- cient burden, that that stout peddler, Atlas of old, was enabled to stand up so bravely under his pack. The dimensions given may, perhaps, seem fabulous. But, like those stones at Gilgal, which Joshua set up for a memorial of having passed over Jor- dan, does not my chimney remain, even unto this day? Very often I go down into my cellar, and attentively survey the vast square of masonry. I stand long, and ponder over, and wonder at it. It has a druidical look, away down in the umbrageous cellar there, whose numerous vaulted passages, and far glens of gloom, resemble he dark, damp depths of primeval woods. So strongly did this conceit steal over me, so deeply was I penetrated with wonder at the chimney, that one day——when I was a little out of my mind, I now think——get- ting a spade from the garden, I set to work, digging round the foundation, especially at the corners thereof, obscurely prompted by dreams of striking upon some old, earthen-worn memorial of that bygone day when, into all this gloom, the light of heaven entered, as the masons laid the foundation-stones, peradventure sweltering under the August sun, or pelted by a March storm. Plying my blunted spade, how vexed was I by that ungracious interruption of a neighbor, who, calling to see me upon some business, and being informed that I was below, said I need not be troubled to come up, but he would go down to me; and so, without ceremony, and without my having been forewarned, suddenly discovered me, digging in my cellar. "Gold-digging, sir?" "Nay, sir," answered I, starting, "I was merely——ahem! merely ——I say merely digging——round my chimney." "Ah, loosening the soil, to make it grow. Your chimney, sir, you regard as too small, I suppose; needing further develop- ment, especially at the top?" "Sir!" said I, throwing down the spade, "do not be personal. I and my chimney——" "Personal?" "Sir, I look upon this chimney less as a pile of masonry than as a personage. It is the king of the house. I am but a suffered and inferior subject." In fact, I would permit no gibes to be cast at either myself or my chimney; and never did my visitor refer to it in my hearing, without coupling some compliment with the mention. It deserves a respectful consideration. There it stands, solitary and alone——not a council -of-ten flues, but, like his sa- cred majesty of Russia, a unit of an autocrat. Even to me, its dimensions, at times, seem incredible. It does not look so big——no, not even in the cellar. By the mere eye, its magnitude can be but imperfectly comprehended, because only one side can be received at one time; and said side can only present twelve feet, linear measure. But then, each other side also is twelve feet long; and the whole obviously forms a square; and twelve times twelve is one hundred and forty-four. And so, and adequate conception of the magnitude of this chim- ney is only to be got at by a sort of process in the higher math- ematics, by a method somewhat akin to those whereby the surprising distances of fixed stars are computed. It need hardly be said that the walls of my house are entirely free from fireplaces. These all congregate in the middle——in the one grand central chimney, upon all four sides of which are hearths——two tiers of hearths——so that when, in the various chambers, my family and guests are warming themselves of a cold winter's night, just before retiring, then, though at the time they may not be thinking so, all their faces mutually look towards each other, yea, all their feet point to one centre; and, when they go to sleep in their beds, they all sleep round one warm chimney, like so many Iroquois Indians, in the woods, round their one heap of embers. And just as the Indians' fire serves, not only to keep them comfortable, but also to keep off wolves, and other savage monsters, so my chimney, by its ob- vious smoke at he top, keeps off prowling burglars from the towns ——for what burglar or murderer would dare break into an abode from whose chimney issues such a continual smoke_— betokening that if the inmates are not stirring, at least fires are, and in case of an alarm, candles may be lighted, to say nothing of muskets. But stately as is the chimney——yea, grand high altar as it is, right worthy for the celebration of High Mass before the Pope of Rome, and all his cardinals——yet what is there perfect in this world? Caius Julius Caesar, had he not been so inordinately great, they say that Brutus, Cassius, Antony, and the rest, had been greater. My chimney, were it not so mighty in its magni- tude, my chambers had been larger. How often has my wife ruefully told me, that my chimney, like all English aristocracy, casts a contracting shade all round it. She avers that endless domestic inconveniences arise——more particularly from the chimney's stubborn central locality. The grand objection with her is that it stands midway in the place where a fine entrance- hall ought to be. In truth, there is no hall whatever to the house ——nothing but a sort of square landing-place, as you enter from the wide front door. A roomy enough landing-place, I admit, but not attaining to the dignity of a hall. Now, as the front door is precisely in the middle of the front of the house, inwards it faces the chimney. In fact, the opposite wall of the landing- place is formed solely by the chimney; and hence——owing to the gradual tapering of the chimney——is a little less than twelve feet in width. Climbing the chimney in this part, is the princi- pal staircase——which, by three abrupt turns, and three minor landing-places, mounts to the second floor, where, over the front door, runs a sort of narrow gallery, something less than twelve feet long, leading to chambers on either hand. This gallery, of course, is railed; and so, looking down upon the stairs, and all those landing-places together, with the main one at bottom, resembles not a little a balcony for musicians, in some jolly old abode, in times Elizabethan. Shall I tell a weak- ness? I cherish the cobwebs there, and many a time arrest Biddy in the act of brushing them with her broom, and have many a quarrel with my wife and daughters about it. Now the ceiling, so to speak, of the place where you enter the house, that ceiling is, in fact, the ceiling of the second floor, not the first. The two floors are made one here, so that ascend- ing this turning stairs, you seem to go up into a kind of soar- ing tower, or light-house. At the second landing, midway up the chimney, is a mysterious door, entering to a mysterious closet; and here I keep mysterious cordials, of a choice, mys- terious flavor, made so by the constant nurturing and subtle ripening of the chimney's gentle heat, distilled through that warm mass of masonry. Better for wines is it than voyages to the Indies; my chimney itself a tropic. A chair by my chimney in a November day is as good for an invalid as a long season spent in Cuba. Often I think how grapes might ripen against my chimney. How my wife's geraniums bud there! Bud in December. Her eggs, too——can't keep them near the chimney, on account of hatching. Ah, a warm heart has my chimney. How often my wife was at me about that projected grand entrance-hall of hers, which was to be knocked clean through the chimney, from one end of the house to the other, and as- tonish all guests by its generous amplitude. "But, wife," said I, "the chimney——consider the chimney: if you demolish the foundation, what is to support the superstructure?" "Oh, that will rest on the second floor." The truth is, women know next to nothing about the realities of architecture. However, my wife still talked of running her entries and partitions. She spent many long nights elaborating her plans; in imagination build- ing her boasted hall through the chimney, as though its high mightiness were a mere spear of sorrel-top. At last, I gently reminded her that, little as she might fancy it, the chimney was a fact——a sober, substantial fact, which, in all her plannings, it would be well to take into full consideration. But this was not of much avail. And here, specially craving her permission, I must say a few words about this enterprising wife of mine. Though in years nearly as old as myself, in spirit she is young as my little sorrel mare, Trigger, that threw me last fall. What is extraordi- nary, though she comes of a rheumatic family, she is straight as a pine, never has any aches; while for me with the sciatica, I am sometimes as crippled up as any old apple tree. But she has not so much as a toothache. As for her hearing——let me en- ter the house in my dusty boots, and she away up in the attic. And for her sight——Biddy, the housemaid, tells other people's housemaids, that her mistress will spy a spot on the dresser straight through the pewter platter, put up on purpose to hide it. Her faculties are alert as her limbs and her senses. No danger of my spouse dying of torpor. The longest night in the year I've known her to lie awake, planning her campaign for the mor- row. She is a natural projector. The maxim, "Whatever is, is right," is not hers. Her maxim is, Whatever is, is wrong; and what is more, must be altered; and what is still more, must be altered right away. Dreadful maxim for the wife of a dozy old dreamer like me, who dotes on seventh days as days of rest, and, out of sabbatical horror of industry, will, on a week-day, go out of my road a quarter of a mile, to avoid the sight of a man at work. That matches are made in heaven, may be, but my wife would have been just the wife for Peter the Great, or Peter the Piper. How she would have set in order that huge littered em- pire of the one, and with indefatigable painstaking picked the peck of pickled peppers for the other. But the most wonderful thing is, my wife never thinks of her end. Her youthful incredulity, as to the plain theory, and still plainer fact of death, hardly seems Christian. Advanced in years, as she knows she must be, my wife seems to think that she is to teem on, and be inexhaustible forever. She doesn't believe in old age. At that strange promise in the plain of Mamre, my old wife, unlike old Abraham's, would not have jeeringly laughed within herself. Judge how to me, who, sitting in the comfortable shadow of my chimney, smoking my comfortable pipe, with ashes not unwelcome at my feet, and ashes not unwelcome all but in my mouth; and who am thus in a comfortable sort of not unwel- come, though, indeed, ashy enough way, reminded of the ul- timate exhaustion even of the most fiery life; judge how to me this unwarrantable vitality in my wife must come, sometimes, it is true, with a moral and a calm, but oftener with a breeze and a ruffle. If the doctrine be true, that in wedlock contraries attract, but how cogent a fatality must I have been drawn to my wife! While spicily impatient of present and past, like a glass of gin- ger-beer she overflows with her schemes; and, with like energy as she puts down her foot, puts down her preserves and her pickles, and lives with them in a continual future; or ever full of expectations both from time and space, is ever restless for newspapers, and ravenous for letters. Content with the years that are gone, taking no thought for the morrow, and looking for no new thing from any person or quarter whatever, I have not a single scheme or expectation on earth, save in unequal resistance of the undue encroachment of hers. Old myself, I take to oldness in things; for that cause mainly loving old Montaigne, and old cheese, and old wine; and eschewing young people, hot rolls, new book, and early potatoes, and very fond of my old claw-footed chair, and old club-footed Deacon White, my neighbor, and that still nigher old neighbor, my betwisted grape-vine, that of a summer evening leans in his elbow for cosy company at my window- sill, while I, within doors, lean over mine to meet his; and above all, high above all, am fond of my highmanteled old chimney. But she, out of that infatuate juvenility of hers, takes to nothing but newness; for that cause mainly, loving new cider in autumn, and in spring, as if she were own daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, fairly raving after all sorts of salads and spin- aches, and more particularly green cucumbers (though all the time nature rebukes such unsuitable young hankerings in so elderly a person, by never permitting such things to agree with her), and has an itch after recently-discovered fine pros- pects (so no grave-yard be in the background), and also after Swedenborgianism, and the Spirit Rapping philosophy, with other new views, alike in things natural and unnatural; and immortally hopeful, is forever making new flower-beds even on the north side of the house, where the bleak mountain wind would scarce allow the wiry weed called hard-hack to gain a thorough footing; and on the road-side sets out mere pipestems of young elms; though there is no hope of any shade from them, except over the ruins of her great granddaughters' grave-stones; and won't wear caps, but plaits her gray hair; and takes the Ladies' Magazine for the fashions; and always buys her new almanac a month before the new year; and rises at dawn; and to the warmest sunset turns a cold shoulder; and still goes on at odd hours with her new course of history, and her French, and her music; and likes young company; and offers to ride young colts; and sets out young suckers in the orchard; and has a spite against my elbowed old grape-vine, and my club-footed old neighbor, and my claw-footed old chair, and above all, high above all, would fain persecute, unto death, my high- manteled old chimney. By what perverse magic, I a thousand times think, does such a very autumnal old lady have such a very vernal young soul? When I would remonstrate at times, she spins round on me with, "Oh, don't you grumble, old man (she always calls me old man), it's I, young I, that keep you from stagnating." Well, I suppose it is so. Yea, after all, these things are well ordered. My wife, as one of her poor relations, good soul, intimates, is the salt of the earth, and none the less the salt of my sea, which otherwise were unwholesome. She is its monsoon, too blowing a brisk gale over it, in the one steady direction of my chimney. Not insensible of her superior energies, my wife has fre- quently made me propositions to take upon herself all the responsibilities of my affairs. She is desirous that, domestically, I should abdicate; that, renouncing further rule, like the vener- able Charles V, I should retire into some sort of monastery. But indeed, the chimney excepted, I have little authority to lay down. My wife's ingenious application of the principle that certain things belong to right to female jurisdiction, I find myself, through my easy compliances, insensibly stripped by de- grees of one masculine prerogative after another. In a dream I go about my fields, a sort of lazy, happy-go-lucky, good-for- nothing, loafing old Lear. Only by some sudden revelation am I reminded who is over me; as year before last, one day seeing in one corner of the premises fresh deposits of mysterious boards and timbers, the oddity of the incident at length begat serious meditation. "Wife," said I, "whose boards and timbers are those I see near the orchard there? Do you know anything about them, wife? Who put them there? You know I do not like the neighbors to use my land that way; they should ask per- mission first." She regarded me with a pitying smile. "Why, old man, don't you know I am building a new barn? Didn't you know that, old man?" This is the poor old lady that was accusing me of tyrannizing over her. To return now to the chimney. Upon being assured of the futility of her proposed hall, so long as the obstacle remained, for a time my wife was for a modified project. But I could never exactly comprehend it. As far as I could see through it, it seemed to involve the general idea of a sort of irregular arch- way, or elbowed tunnel, which was to penetrate the chimney at some convenient point under the stair-case, and carefully avoiding dangerous contact with fireplaces, and particu- larly steering clear of the great interior flue, was to conduct the enterprising traveler from the front door all the way into the dining-room in the remote rear of the mansion. Doubtless it was a bold stroke of genius, that plan of hers, and so was Nero's when he schemed his grand canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Nor will I take oath, that, had her project been ac- complished, then, by help of lights hung at judicious intervals through the tunnel, some Belzoni or other might have suc- ceeded in future ages to penetrate through the masonry, and actually emerging into the dining-room, and once there, it would have been inhospitable treatment of such a traveler to have denied him a recruiting meal. But my bustling wife did not restrict her objections, nor in the end confine her proposed alterations to the first floor. Her ambition was of the mounting order. She ascended with her schemes to the second floor, and so to the attic. Perhaps there was some small ground for her discontent with things as they were. The truth is, there was no regular passage-way up stairs or down, unless we again except that little orchestra-gallery before mentioned. And all this was owing to the chimney, which my gamesome spouse seemed despitefully to regard as the bully of the house. On all its four sides, nearly all the cham- bers sidled up to the chimney for the benefit of a fireplace. The chimney would not go to them; they must needs go to it. The consequence was, almost every room, like a philosophical sys- tem, was in itself an entry, or passage-way to other rooms, and systems of rooms——a whole suite of entries, in fact. Going through the house, you seem to be forever going somewhere, and getting nowhere. It is like losing one's self in the woods; round and round the chimney you go, and if you arrive at all, it is just where you started, and so you begin again, and again get nowhere. Indeed——though I say it not in the way of fault- finding at all——never was there so labyrinthine an abode. Guests will tarry with me several weeks and every now and then, be anew astonished at some unforeseen apartment. 
from Herman Melville : Selected Tales and Poems Edited, with an introduction by Richard Chase Rinehart Edition paperback, seventh printing, 1959; pp. 159 —173.
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