You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
Some Bitcoin Analysts and Prediction Today and Yesterday & Why "It's not the Price, Dummy"
This is just for fun, I generally have no strong feelings toward bitcoin price (I'm just fundamentally against zero-sum get rich schemes). But today I decided to do a little bitcoin search in news.google.com and see what today's bulls were predicting in 2018. Side note, almost all of the news articles came from crypto sites. I tried my best to stay away from them. Farming magazine telling you agriculture is the future isn't exactly shocking. To people who invest, please don't consider this as a prediction that price will fall. I'm not astute or smart enough to predict either way. The only possible use is to make sure you are more skeptic regarding predictions. Keep in mind, a rich CEO or consultant can lose 100 million and not really affect his life that much, but a 10k or 100k lose for some people can be devastating. And remember, some of these rich hedge managers don't believe their own bullshit, and hopefully, some of these quotes will emulate that. (Note, I won't waste time linking them all, but by quoting them directly, it should be easy to google) (another side note, I didn't purposely search out specific names. I went by the first names I came across, and only ignoring those that I couldn't find anything regarding crypto in past years)
Present: Business Inside: Bitcoin is like 'digital gold' and won't be used the same as a traditional currency in at least 5 years, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz says Past: On Nov, 2017, he said: "Bitcoin could ‘easily’ reach $40,000 by the end of 2018, hedge fund legend Novogratz says" 2018: "Michael Novogratz calls a bottom in cryptocurrencies" (it wasn't) Novogratz started a crypto funding in 2018. First 9 months "Mike Novogratz’s Crypto Trading Desk Lost $136 Million in Nine Months" (Bloomberg). Quarter 4: "Galaxy Digital Posts $32.9 Million in Net Loss for Q4 2019". Feb 2020 "Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Slashes 15% Staff"
Present: "For Raoul Pal, CEO of Real Vision, the bullish atmosphere had been reinforced, and further gains were more likely than ever. “There are literally only two resistances left on the #bitcoin chart - 14,000 and then the old all-time high at 20,000,” he tweeted." In a tweet today, he said, "Bitcoin is eating the world... It has become a supermassive black hole that is sucking in everything around it and destroying it. This narrative is only going to grow over the next 18 months. You see, gold is breaking down versus bitcoin...and gold investors will flip to BTC" Past: 2014: "Put them in the same kind of equation we get a value of bitcoin and that value is a million dollars. Now, you'll never hear an analyst say this—but I don't mind this—I could be wrong by 90%, and it's still worth $100,000." (to be honest, that's a bit of an impressive prediction in 2014) On the other hand, he probably didn't really believe his own prediction because in June, 2017 (when it was 2000 USD or so), he said: " “This is the most exponential move we have seen. I don’t know how far it goes, but I sold out last week… and I’ve [owned Bitcoin] since it was $200. Anything that moves exponentially, always [blows up].”" In 2016, "This view brings Pal to the asset he favors most over the next year out of bonds, equities, currencies and commodities: the dollar."
Eh, that was just two. I was hoping to mention several people, but it appears not many people are actually making predictions anymore, and anyone mentioned are basically not big people so I couldn't find much on them regarding bitcoin before 2019. So, the main thing I like to highlight are the analysts and such are going to make money whatever happens. Fund managers are playing with people's money and, as long as they are not involved in frauds, there is no real harm to them against wrong predictions. Generally, successful business people are successful because they were loud, confident, and were able to convince others that they had the right idea. Even when wrong, they bounce back. Most of us aren't like that. Some bitcoiners come here to boast when price goes up, as if the increase in price is an indication that argument against bitcoin has been proven wrong. While some people here are fanatically anti-bitcoin, I am not one of those. I have nothing against people making money (why would I be upset that people I don't know around the world became wealthier??). But since bitcoin investing is by design a zero sum game, certain people will eventually lose, and it is most likely it is the people who were listening to predictions by experts that would ultimately be financially hurt, and not the experts making the predictions. Crypto investing has been a platform where the average person works hard in his day to day life, and then brings the fruits of his labor into this field. The actual productive part of that person's life is the one outside crypto, where they had been productive for the community, and in exchange, they receive wages. Crypto investing's promise is for this wage to increase without the actual productivity. The concern is mainly that the result of all that labor will be misused by crypto "experts" who's own income (their labor) is directly linked to predictions on crypto. The above paragraph is badly explained, but the main point is that the average person brings in outside money they worked hard for, while "experts" there is generally no outside money, crypto fund management or consulting itself is their job. --- Money can be made, of course, but money being made isn't necessarily an argument for something. Bitcoin, and crypto, has for the past 1.5 decades still largely just about numbers going up. Google trend on "bitcoin" show top related queries being "bitcoin price", "bitcoin usd", "bitcoin usd price". When people come here when it hits a particular arbitrary price point thinking it's their gotcha moment, it actually just reinforces my argument that it is only about the price. Nothing in the history of human economy has ever lasted based only on the economic model of who you could resell it for at a higher price. Even DeFi's smart contracts (as much as I could understand it) is about prices going up. It's like for these people the concept of contracts are based purely on money exchanging hands, and no actual task being done. Almost all contracts globally are based on specific productive tasks being done, such as employee contract, supplier contract, property contract, and so on. Only a tiny amount of it is based on "if this currency goes up, then give me that currency" contracts. ---
Let's set aside the tickename issue for a second and think as scientists about the upcoming experiment. Assuming there will be a split, I think it's going to be interesting. (If the split is somehow avoided, then all of the following makes no sense, of course) I frankly think the experiment of "hashrate-funded centrally-developed Bitcoin Cash" vs "hodler-funded multi-team-developed Bitcoin Cash" is very interesting. I don't mean "centrally-developed" as an offence here, it's just a fact - ABC will be developing it. Before you start throwing in tomatos, let's think about it. We all have front-row seats - each gets equal amount of both coins, so either coin wins - you have your cut. It might even be that BOTH coins will be winners, since unlike the BSV situation, this is going to be probably developed under MIT license, so either side can copy code from other side. (Unless, of course, ABC goes BSV-way and protects their code with a restrictive license, while the other side will be using MIT/BSD licenses for sure) Let's consider both sides' pros and cons.
I don't really like IFP, but I think what Amaury did was pretty clever and worth considering. With this plan he gets to control his coin fully and impose any rules he sees as best for his coin, be it drift correction, 6-month releases or whatever else. He believes in his power to make this coin the best, so let's see if he can. [+] Corporations are often pretty efficient at what they do. Usually, with capitalism and democracy they will perfect their game like no one, because of competition. [-] But this won't be exactly like capitalism, more like socialism, because ABC/Amaury will get paid no matter their performance. They will always get 8%. That makes people lazy. Why bother if you get your salary anyway? [+] ABC has a track record of 3 years and BCH didn't die, which gives them some credit that they could do it. [+] Amaury and ABC will get paid in their own coin, so the more valuable it is, the richer they get. (Unless they sell for USD immediately) Also, they will get close to $8 million in funding in first year alone (at the current price), which would allow him to hire, well, best of the best in their class (cryptographers, developers, etc...). Amaury knows that and he's right - developers are freaking expensive ($100,000+/year). (Well, again, assuming Amaury will be hiring...) [-] They don't have to listen to the community, so they have no force feedback if what they do is of any value or is it a useless distraction.
BCHN + others
[+] Hodler-funded means that you don't get paid unless you promise to deliver useful value and have proven to provide value in the past. So you have to perfect your game always - that's much closer to capitalism. [-] Very hard to raise funds. Amaury will get $8m/year while BCHN and other nodes barely managed to collect $100-200K, probably for the next year or so. Hodlers don't want to give away their money too much, because it might 10x or 20x in very short amount of time. [+] If BCHN/other nodes do their job well and the coin value raise - their money becomes more valuable, so $100K might become $1M in a year. Assuming they haven't sold for USD. Something tells me they didn't. [-] Grass-roots things can be short-lived. People are free to join and leave any time, so eventually you get tired of everything.
Potential problems with the experiment
Tickename, obviously pretty bad issue;
Reputation/community loss (BCH splitting again);
Confusion for next few years about what Bitcoin Cash is (just like it was with BCH/BTC split);
No replay protection (this one is nasty), so it's hard to split your money at fork time, you need to wait to get some miner dust to mix in with your coins to split them properly;
Potential that one side might be without wallets at first (i.e. if all wallets and services like Fountainhead/rest.bitcoin.com, which are used by wallets, leave ABC - how would you transfer your money?) - that surely will be a blow, but it's fixable. BCH started this way too.
EDIT: Merchant dis-adoption. Many will be tired of non-stop drama and leave. Maybe, stability of BCHN site will lure some back later. (comment about this)
I don't see miners as an issue (I explained why here and here) I'm actually curious. Whether corporate efficiency (but with a bit of socialism) or grass-roots (barely with any funding in comparison) will get ahead. Even though there is already a similar experiment going (BSV), but it's still interesting - each corporation is different and where Apple succeeded, many other phone/computer companies failed. Is listening to market critical? Remember Henry Ford: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." On the other hand we have plenty of coins with a lot of funding not even in Top 10. Get your tickets (coins) ready, we're in for a ride!
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
I'm a medical student wanting to eventually work in the USA mainly for the superior pay/low tax. Although I haven't sat the USMLE yet my academics are very, very good (although not good enough to get a greencard easily) so I don't foresee any issues in getting into residency, my concerns are what comes next. Mainly 1) Hospitals clearly only hire h1bs/j1s out of desperation. While the most desirable places are obviously off limits am I likely to be able to get a job in a 100k+ city? 2) Am I guaranteed a greencard after working on h1b for a certain period? It sounds like indians have to wait hundreds of years, how bad is it for Brits? 3) Can I just pay for a greencard? Sorry if this is really dumb, I'm worth about £200k due to luck with bitcoin. As far as I'm aware it's about £800k through the investors visa which I obviously can't afford and think I it's unrealistic to bet on bitcoin providing me with that sort of wealth. Thanks. Looked at all this for so long and just can't anymore. So damn complicated.
08-18 03:45 - 'People, stop saying bitcoins is going to destroy "the financial system as we know it" (STORY)' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/graydoggames removed from /r/Bitcoin within 291-301min
''' The last month I actually worked, I was earnings $2,165 per week. After taxes, I got to take home... $965. I don't even pay child support. Federal tax, provincial tax, employment insurance, parental insurance, mandatory retirement plan (taken "from source" as they say it), medical insurance (mandatory), union fee, professsional order fee.... ... all taken right from my pay and I couldn't say a word about it. Of course, in addition to all that, I still needed to pay sales taxes (15%), property taxes (5k a year), gas taxes, school taxes................................................... Likewise, I had to pay parking at work every day, gas to go to work, dinner lunches, etc etc etc. I did the math once, and from $2,165, after you count everything, I got to take home $500 IF I was lucky. Less than 25% of what I earned was actually mine. So, why am I telling you this? Because at some point, I just... gave up. I didn't see it as "being worth it" anymore. This is when I quit my job to pursue other passions. I ended up, amongst other things, on poker and cryptocurrencies. Today, I earn way less than back when I was working, but I actually take a lot more home. I don't have to spend 2+ hours per day in traffic, find parking, obey bullshit orders from idiots that don't know anything but got higher positions because they are better at licking boots, and I don't have the frustration that I get from work. I have a lot more free time and am generally WAY happier. __________________ So, again, why am I telling you this? Because as long as people are willing to pull up with this bullshit, nothing will change. I have a friend who STILL partake in that "rat race" ... except that he also has to pay child support. He takes even less home, yet he never even THINK about bitching about it. To be clear, I am not anti-taxes, but can we fucking agree than if I earn $110,000 a year, I should take home more than $25,000? Can we AT LEAST agree on that? That it's not worth it? My boss' daily BONUS (not even his wages) is more than $25,000 AND that is not taxable (it's a capital gains). Do you think that's even remotely close to fair? I see people here being VERY optimistic about bitcoins and to be honest, so am I. I made a promise to myself I wouldn't sell bitcoins until they reach 100k. I took cash advances on my credit card to buy bitcoins. That's how much I fucking love bitcoins. I really believe in it (And ether). But even if bitcoins hits $1M, which I hope, it's not going to cause a dent in the financial system until people decice they have enough. At $100,000 per bitcoins, the entire bitcoin market cap would be less than $2T, which is less than Apple, ONE company. Add in the lost bitcoins (4M?) and we can see that even if bitcoin reaches $1,000,000, the entire market cap will be around $20T which, while huge, is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In the last four months alone, the FED has printed $6T. They basically created that money out of thin air and trust me, they are nowhere near done yet. That's 30x the current market cap of bitcoins, printed, invented, made up, you pick your own word. Trump sent $1200 to every working american (and then some). Do the math. To say that bitcoins can disrupt the financial system is simply fake. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's insanely unlikely. It will not unseat banks, big corporations and other entities trying (and suceeding) to enslave us. Simply because these people can invent as much money as they want. THIS is why I paid 75% in taxes by the way. Because my province keeps printing more and more money to give to their buddies. I could go on about how horrible this province is mismanaged (most corrupt in the country) or how they waste trillions year after year, how they give themselves huge bonuses and billions (see: Trudeau WE, commandites scandal, etc etc etc). That's money that they rob from YOU AND I. They take your 75% income tax and fuck you in the ass with it. Trust me, you get far fewer services that you think you do. Again I'm not against taxation but 75% while those people steal billions is ludicrous. And as long as people are willing to put up with it, nothing will change. Bitcoins cannot change the mentality of "I slave every day to enrich billionaires who don't give a shit about me." I quit working because it just wasn't worth it, but the vast majority show up day after day to enrich CEOs, corporations, shareholders, and the government. The dollar is not backed on gold. It's backed by good will. Meaning, the faith that the printed money is backed by the economy. If people refuse to take part in the economy, or even use loopholes to partake in it as little as possible, THEN the financial system will crash. But as long as people obey orders and allow themselves to get ripped off (that $6T printed money will lead to either of two things: higher taxes, or higher inflation, or both), the system will survive, bitcoins or not. Yes, bitcoin can help that financial system crash, but by themselves, no matter the price, they cannot "start" or "achieve" anything, even if they reach $1,000,000. Bitcoin entire market cap is peanuts compared to how much those people rob, year after year. I'll conclude by saying the bitcoin's most important attribute is that there is a fixed number. Obviously you cannot print unlimited bitcoins like the FED is doing with money right now and in 5-10 years I would bet new bitcoins will be very, very rare. Bitcoin isn't going anywhere but up and I'm holding until it hits 100k MINIMUM. But to conclude, don't think it's anything but a blimp for the world's economy. An important blimp, but a blimp nonetheless. ''' People, stop saying bitcoins is going to destroy "the financial system as we know it" (STORY) Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link Author: graydoggames
Please help me understand the addiction. I understand drug addiction but I'm constantly so confused how I did this.
I almost have 1 year since my last gamble. So glad this hell finally seems over. But I don't understand how I did this. I also suffer from drug addictions and those make sense to me. The drug hijacks my dopamine reward system and I crave and keep using. But I constantly am so puzzled how this happened with gambling. It all started when I was using drugs and couldn't think properly to begin with. I put all my savings in Bitcoin in 2017 during the bubble. I had nearly 140k from like 40k "invested". Then it all crashed early 2018. I was left with 50k. Then had a great idea while high to try gambling on a bitcoin casino to get my money back. Then had a horrible gambling addiction start after I won 10k one night in 30 mins. Then lost 20k in the next 30. Then over the next 1.5 or whatever years I kept gambling to try to get it back. I lost 100k to the casinos during this period. Now having stopped gambling for almost 1 year, and off drugs for half a year, I just can't comprehend how I did this. I understand that it effects dopamine just like any other addiction, but it still doesn't make sense to me how I did this. When I put all my savings in Bitcoin it made sense to my drug influenced mind since it was going up like crazy for a year. But I never took anything out. I was already addicted to gambling and honestly didn't recognize that was gambling or I was in denial. I never took anything out. Told myself if it crashed I would be fine long term with my job, and it was worth the risk since "Bitcoin could go to 1 million." But I couldn't handle it when it crashed and turned to the casinos. Just so angry how stupid these markets are. I love the technology which is why I got into it to begin with. But how its all literally insane speculation is so frustrating. I wish it never existed now. Im mad for being addicted to drugs. I was sober for a while and was really cautious about bitcoin. Never thought i would put all my money in it. But then I relapsed on drugs at the start of the bubble and it seemed like a good idea.
Just Hit $300k NW! 26 Years Old. $82k Income. Here's My Story.
Hi guys. I've been a subscriber and lurker here for over 5 years and one of my favorite things to read are the "how you got to where you are" stories. I told myself that once I hit $300k, I'd tell the first ~5 years of my FIRE story. I hate lack of transparency and ambiguity, so I'll try to be as open as I can. I tried to include everything that I would want to know if I was reading someone else's post. Feel free to ask me any questions. There is a TLDR at the bottom of this post. You probably want to read that first to see if you're interested before investing your time in conquering this wall of text. Also, you can skip the wall of text below about my childhood/college/relationship stuff if you're just interested in the "numbers". I just wanted to include this background to provide context and credibility.
Age: Current age is 26. Discovered FIRE via MMM in October 2012 at the age of 19. It blew my mind.
Childhood: I come from a rural, solidly middle-class background. I owe all my success with my academics, career, and finances to my parents. My dad is a mechanic and my mom is a nurse. Both are very frugal and they passed that down to me. They are natural savers and maxxed out their 401(k)s and IRAs every year on their modest incomes. We never had the "nicest" things growing up, but they gave me an amazing childhood. They also valued "experiences" more than "things", so we would grow up going on trips to Washington DC, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc. instead of buying me the latest video game console or Abercromie clothes. They also pushed upon me the value of education. They had high academic expectations for me and I was always at the top of the class because of it. #thanksmomanddad
College Years: I received a bachelors in business from a top public in-state university. I was in-state, so it was already a great value, but I was also very fortunate to receive a full-ride academic scholarship from the university. In high school I was valedictorian. I also had good test scores and very good extracurriculars. My parents saved about $20k for me to go to college in a 529 plan. They gave $10k of that to my sister since she didn't receive any scholarships and gave me the other $10k as a college graduation gift. This is the only "windfall" that I've ever received (other than my scholarships). I also received another ~$1,000 a year from a couple other small scholarships that I won. Those scholarships obviously covered my tuition and books, but I still worked a few jobs in college to pay for living expenses and save the extra. My last 3 years of college I was an RA for campus housing. The way this worked was that I lived in the dorm with freshman students as a student leader and in return I got my dorm housing and meal plan paid for. Since I already had a full scholarship, I essentially got to "bank" this money (roughly $4k a semester) for 8 semesters. Starting my 2nd year of college I also got a job working 10 hours per week at a local law office making $10 per hour. I did this job for about 2 years. After my 2nd year I got a summer internship working for a local Fortune 500 company making $19 per hour. I worked this job all summer and then convinced them to let me stay on part time working 20 hours per week for my entire 3rd year of college. So my 3rd year of college I worked as an RA in student housing (very little "work"), at the law firm 10 hours per week, at the Fortune 500 20 hours per week, and took a full course load (~15 credits). This was the first time in my life that I really started making money and was getting addicted to making money and saving money. At the end of my 3rd year of college I left my corporate internship and got a different summer internship at a different local Fortune 500 company making $29 per hour. I quit working at the law office around this time, but was still an RA. I worked this internship all summer and at the end of the summer I received a full-time job offer to work for this company once I graduated the next May. I really liked this company and this industry so I accepted the offer. I also convinced them to let me stay on part-time working 30 hours per week while I finished my last year of college. My senior year I was only working this internship and my RA job while taking a full course load. This only worked because I would work from ~7am-1pm every day because I scheduled my classes so that they were all in the afternoon. Because of all these jobs and the scholarships, I graduated with no student debt and was able to save ~$60k after my other expenses. I maxed out my Roth IRA my last 3 years of college and also put some extra money in a taxable account. The rest I saved in cash. I didn't graduate with a perfect GPA, but it was still above a 3.50.
Relationship: The most important part of my life is my SO. We went to high school together and college together. We've been dating for 9 years. She is (now) very frugal and a great saver. She comes from a low-income household and received a few grants and scholarships every year, which paid for most of her college. The other half was paid from her working a co-op ($16/hr), summer internship ($18/hr), and part-time job on campus ($8/hr). She graduated with no debt, an engineering degree, and $20k saved up. We've lived together for the past 4 years (splitting rent!) and are getting married in a couple months. Since this is a financial subreddit, I'll just go ahead and tell you that our wedding will cost $9k-11k. All of the numbers below about my budget/income/savings do not include her numbers. We split everything 50/50 even though my income is a little higher. She is dead-set on the path to FIRE (after a couple years of brainwashing ;D) and she has a similar budget. She just crossed over the $100k net worth milestone last week, so together we're right at $400k net worth.
Income: I graduated college at age 22. First full-time job was making $55k. Now I make $82k at age 26. I'm a typical "financial analyst/project manager" for a Fortune 500. It's a pretty low-stress, 40 hour per week job, with 10-20% travel to support clients. If I had never negotiated twice for more money, I'd be at ~$68k right now instead of $82k. I'm still at the same company that I started at and not necessarily looking to change anytime soon. I really love my team, boss, work-life balance, and the work that I do. I also live less than 1 mile from my office, so I walk to work everyday.
Home: We live in a lower-cost-of-living city in the south (not the crazy HCOL areas like NYC or SF). Our rent for the first two years out of college was $1,500 per month ($750 each) for a 1-bedroom apartment in the nicest area of the city (and walkable to my office). About 1.5 years ago we bought a 435 square-foot, 1-bedroom condo in the nicest part of the city for ~$125k. We did this as a way to maximize the efficiency of our monthly budget, not necessarily as a long-term investment. We plan on living here for at least the next 5 years (we want to have kids in our early 30s), then keep it as an investment property. After living here for 1.5 years we absolutely love it. It seems "too good to be true".
Food/Dining/Groceries: $100 (my half. Since it has been a common question, take a look at my replies to several comments below to see a deeper explanation on how we only spend $200/month for 2 people. TLDR: Shop at Aldi and Kroger, always buy generic, eat out less than once per month, cook every meal, and bring lunches to work everyday).
Car Insurance: $61 (2004 Scion xB with 180k miles that I bought for $4k in 2015. This will go up because I want to start paying for umbrella insurance soon...)
Gas: $0 (I walk to work, rarely drive, and when I do, its normally for my job and I get my miles reimbursed).
Vacation: $100 (carries over if we don't use it)
Fun Money: $100 (my catch-all category if it doesn't fit in a category above: video games, concerts, movies, Amazon Prime, Netflix, extra vacation money if we go over, etc.)
Debt: Our only debt is our $98k mortgage.
Net Worth: $300k
I have 11k in cash in an Ally savings account, $251k in index funds with Vanguard ($124k in my 401k, $54k in my Roth IRA, and $73k in my taxable account), $38k in home equity.
Here's a Mint graph of my net worth over time (going back to my 2nd year of college when I first learned about the concept of FIRE from MMM): https://imgur.com/GvsF7vM.
Age 20: $1k
Age 21: $20k
Age 22: $61k
Age 23: $84k
Age 24: $161k
Age 25: $213k
Age 26: $300k
Savings Rate: My savings rate has been between 70-85% pretty much every year since college. I don't have an ultra-high income, but I do have pretty ultra-low expenses. My SO's savings rate is around 50-65% because her income is a little lower and expenses are a tad higher.
FIRE Goal: $1.5-2.0 million. Right now our expenses are very low, but we expect them to rise in 5 years when we have kids and move into a larger house in a good school district. We hope to hit this amount by age 35-40, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Post-FIRE Aspirations: I've always dreamed of being a high school US History teacher. I'd like to at least try it once to see how I like it. Since I'm FIRE I could easily quit If I don't like it. I've also always dreamed of being some kind of not-for-profit financial adviser for the "Average Joe" American. More of a "financial coach" where I could help people everyday with the basics (budgeting, index investing, etc.). Never sell any products. Just share my story and try to inspire people to make positive change. And most of all, I want to be a great dad. One of the biggest drivers of our FIRE goal is to be very close to FIRE by the time we have kids in our early-mid 30s. I just want to be a part of my child's life every step of the way and just be "there" the way my parents were for me. And of course I have a ton of "bucket list" items that I'd love to try out (thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, thru-hike the John Muir Trail, thru-hike the Vermont Long Trail, summit Kilimanjaro, build a camper-van and road trip to all the National Parks again, etc.).
My Advantages: Amazing parents who taught me the importance of education, frugality, and having a good head on my shoulders; a frugal & fulfilling childhood that showed me what's most important in life; being born in the U-S-of-A baby!; a full academic scholarship to college; a SO who shares my values and aggressive FIRE goals; the 2013-2019 bull market; supportive friends; learning about FIRE at such a young age; and many, many more things.
General Habits Worth Mentioning:
I've maxxed out my 401(k), Roth IRA, and HSA every year since starting work, plus invested the excess in a taxable account.
I've never invested in bitcoin or anything like that, just boring old Vanguard index funds. Vanguard is showing my personal rate of return since 2013 as exactly 10.0%, which is only slightly better than the S&P 500 during that time.
We love to travel. We go on 3-5 trips per year to National Parks, European cities, etc. that we fund via "credit card travel hacking" courtesy of /churning.
Unlike a lot of people on this sub, we've introduced the idea of FIRE to most of our close friends. Our parents, siblings, and close family also know our FIRE goals, but we set clear boundaries. My family is very understanding (my parents are basically FIRE-ing next year at age 53). Her family still thinks we're a little crazy. We're pretty open about our journey and try to help others if they are interested. Because of this, our 10-20 closest friends are all into FIRE as well. We hang out with friends 2-3 nights per week, but instead of "going out for drinks" (we don't drink alcohol anyways...) we go over to each other's homes for home-cooked dinners, board games, and video games. I say this because we have a good social network, but don't have to spend a ton. Having a like-minded SO and like-minded friends have been two of the most important contributors to my happiness and high savings rate.
Saving this much and maintaining a 70%+ savings rate hasn't been "hard" for me. I don't have to try very hard to accomplish these goals - it's just who I am. I'm a natural saver. Saving EXCITES me. I don't feel like I make any sacrifices in my life to meet these goals. I buy everything that I want...I just find that I don't "want" a lot of the typical things that other people "want" (luxury cars, eating out, 5-star hotels, brand-name clothes, $30k wedding, huge home, etc.).......And the best part is that I can't believe that I found a SO who is arguably more frugal that I am.
EDITS: 1) Added a little more explanation in the budget section about spendng $200/month on food for 2 people since that has been a recurring question. 2) Added a section on my post-FIRE aspirations since that was another question that people kept asking. TLDR: Hit $300k net worth at age 26. Frugal, middle-class upbringing. Got a full scholarship to top in-state university. Worked 2-3 jobs every week while attending college to pay for living expenses and saved the rest. Got degree in business. Graduated with no debt and $60k saved up. Parents gave me $10k as a graduation gift. Made $55k/year at my first full-time job after college. 4 years later I currently make $82k at the same company. My monthly budget is ~$820/month. I have been dating my SO for 9 years, living with her for 4 years, and I'm getting married to her in a couple months. She's dead-set on the FIRE path as well. #blessed
My wife (32F) is threatening to leave me if I (30M) don't get what she considers help for my depression. This isn't the first time she has threatened to leave me.
This is going to be a long post. I met my wife online 8 years ago. We lived across the country from each other and kept a long distance relationship going well, and go the opportunity to see each other every few months for weeks at a time. We would fall asleep on Skype together every night, text each other throughout the day, and phone each other when we had time to talk or wanted to play games together. In 2013 after a year and a half of dating I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I was overjoyed! I had spent my highschool years as the guy that everyone avoided because my mother had been sending me to therapy for over 10 years for issues that may have been real at the time of my childhood, but regressed as I grew into adulthood. I would routinely take a cocktail of 8 different medications in the morning and before bed, and my friends are the time would better describe me as a zombie over a functional human being. I had issues holding conversation, would regularly space out, could not perform sexually, and could not get good grades in college. After I got married to my wife, we got an apartment together, and I stopped my medication cold turkey of my own volition. I was a new man, I no longer any of my previous issues and I felt free and full of life. I never resented my mother because she only had my best interests in mind, and was not doing sending me to therapy and keeping me medicated for her own peace of mind. My parents gave me a great life growing up and gave me everything I ever wanted, being from an upper class household, they bought me a brand new car for college, anything I wanted growing up, and would support me financially on almost anything I wanted within reason. My college was fully paid for and I went to one of the best private schools in the area while growing up. I had been to every continent in the world, visited tons of grand architecture and theme parks, and seen so many wonderful things, and I was looking forward to sharing that life with my new wife. My wife did not have the upbringing I did. She was the second oldest of 6 children. Growing up, she did not get any luxury. From having to work a summer job to buy her own school supplies and clothes, to dealing with an elder brother that sexually assaulted her every month while her parents slept, to a junkie father that would work odd jobs only to get money to get high, and a mother that worked 3 jobs to keep a roof over her children's head, her child hood was not easy. Her parents got divorced when she was 17, after being together for 23 years. Her father never gave her any love despite her efforts, she would regularly make love notes and lunches for him growing up, only to find them crumpled up and thrown in the trash and never responded to. Her elder brother would force her to give him oral at least a few times a month from the age of 15-16 while everyone in the house was asleep. Her father left and had no contact with her since she was 19, only showing back up in her life for our wedding, just to disappear again. He hasn't spoken to her in 4 years now. Before we got married, I flew out to meet her, and we packed up everything she owned and put it in her car. We drove 2900 miles across the US to move her into our house with my parents, and after we got married, my parents paid for us to get an apartment near their house. We were so happy! After we moved in together after getting married, we both were young, only 23 and 25. We worked fast food and don't have a lot of money, surviving on only a hundred dollars of food a month. But, because we were together, everything was ok. Or so I thought. My wife has constantly struggled with insecurity since we got married. We made sure when we got married that we would keep our finances separate. She was a bad money manager and didn't want to "ruin me" like she had ruined herself. She would break down sometimes for no reason begging me not to leave her, and I have never done anything to make it seem like I was. My parents decided that since I had gotten married and was doing OK, they were going to give me part of my inheritance up front. I took this money to pay off all our debt, I paid off half her student loans, and I would take care of any issues that came up for her that she couldn't handle without complaint. She crashed her car, I helped her buy a new one, she couldn't pay a bill, no problem, I've got her covered. Anything she felt she couldn't handle, I was always right there to support her. Near the end of our first year together, my wife for some reason had reached the end of her rope. If we didn't move out of the big city where she didn't have any friends or know how to get anywhere, she was going to leave me. It wasn't me, but she said was devastatingly homesick, and said she couldn't live here any longer. She had made a real home away from her parents at her college town, and her best friend of 6 years lived there, who had supported her through thick and thin. Despite my aversion to this at first, I could tell that moving back home where her best friend lived and what was familiar to her was important. After 2 weeks of talking about it, I agreed to move with her back to what she considered home. My parents were planning to move around this time as well, as they no longer had any children and we're looking to downsize their home. So, for her, I left my hometown of 25 years, and all my friends that I grew up with. My parents gave me money for us to buy our first house, and another 30 thousand on top. My wife and I found a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom single family home, and bought it outright with cash. Because there was money left over, we used that for moving costs, and I began searching for a job I knew I would enjoy, while living off the interest on my savings. We were working on having a child and I knew that a kid was going to be expensive, so I was trying to make sure we had the money to support our child, and I could still make my wife happy. In 2015, 2 years after we moved into our house, my wife said she was going to leave me again. Despite her only ever needing to pay her bills (she had gotten herself into more credit card debt), despite her crashing another car and me paying a $5,000 down payment to buy her another new one (she had to get a loan out), despite me spending time with her every night and never going anywhere without her, taking her on trips and little date nights to make her happy, she was threatening to leave again. A month after her telling me this, my father passed away from early onset Alzheimer's. I was having a rough few months. We were having trouble conceiving and she was having severe body confidence issues. She was convinced that before I left her for someone else, she was going to have to leave me. Since we had gotten married, she had gained over 100 pounds, and I had never made an issue about it, other than showing concern for her health (her family has a history of diabetes and heart disease). She said that despite me continuing to support her in all her hobbies (she likes dancing and volunteering at the pet shelter), me not having a job was stressing her out because she wasn't sure that I could keep helping her. Despite my reassurances, she believed that I was going to leave her for someone better, and that she needed to leave before I did. No re-assurance I gave her would stop her from believing that I was going to be gone the next time she came home from work. She started self harming. When she was younger, she frequently thought that the reason that her mother was never around, her father left, her brother abused her, was all her fault. Hurting herself made her feel like she was being punished, and that her sins were being forgiven. Her church growing up was very abusive. They would make people stand up in front of the entire congregation and "confess" their sins in front of everyone. When she had premarital sex with her first boyfriend, she almost killed herself after when her mother found out and made her "confess" to the congregation. She hospitalized herself with a suicide attempt after this happened, and has never respected her mother since. I called up our PCP and told her that my wife dseperately needed help. After an appointment, blood work, and a CT scan for the issues with concieving, she was diagnosed with Severe Depression, Insulin Resistance, and PCOS. She was put on medication and around this time I had found a job, so I told her that she could cut back on her hours and I would start helping her with her bills. We also started looking for a therapist for her. She started going to the therapist and she seemed a lot happier. We were having fun with friends again, and she felt like the happy, bubbly woman I married again. In early 2016, we got great news! We were pregnant! Because I was making enough money at the time to pay her bills and mine, she was able to only work 20 hours a week through her pregnancy, and then her job gave her 6 months leave when the baby was due. While she was a few months along, she unfortunately got into another car accident, and so again, I helped her buy a new care, this time a minivan, because she wanted it for our kids. She was going to pay for it again, because she said she was tired of me paying for everything for her again. I have no issues with this as I never have, because whenever I try to pay for something, she doesn't let me. When we had our child, I had saved up enough money to start my own business. Using the money I had saved, I started up a computer system building company, and servicing the local area, I was able to be home a lot more than working my job, and still make the same amount of money. The business started doing extremely well, and I hired a few employees and a friend of mine to work for me, letting me spend more time with my wife and newborn daughter. Then, we started having problems again. My wife was in a lot of credit card debt from not managing her money ($30,000), and she had been hiding it from me. She was having issues breastfeeding our kid and would break down for hours at a time over not being able to do it. She was diagnosed with post-partum depression and started going to a different therapist. I wasn't making enough money for paying for our insurance, electrical, car payments, taxes and the credit card debt she had built up. I was upset, but it's extremely uncharacteristic for me to get mad about money, because I have always had money. I offered to use our house savings (we were saving up for a bigger house to have more kids) and pay off her debt again. She said no. She decided she was going work full time again. I helped her get a debt consolidation loan for her cards, and she began working full time while I took care of our daughter. This was in the beginning of 2017. Towards the middle of 2017, our life was going great. My business had taken off, and I was making $10,000 dollars profit a month. I had gotten early in on cryptocurrency back in 2013, and was riding high on the bull run from Bitcoin. My company made crypto mining machines due to having a ton of stock from system building, and we were selling those for record amounts. My wife had cut down to part time because I could afford the extra to help her bills, and she could spend more time with me and our daughter. Things couldn't of been better. Then in 2018, the crypto market crashed. My cryptocurrency that had been worth almost $500k crashed down to $60k of value in the span of a month and a half. I had to start selling it to pay off debt the company had taken on to expand, or else it was going to hurt me more. But I kept holding onto the majority of it. I kept my business running, but things were winding down because the crypto run was over. We were operating on razor thin margins. In May of 2018, I stopped paying myself while still running the business to make sure I could keep paying my employees. I was still getting a stipend from investments every month in the amount of a few thousand, so I could afford to not pay myself. I was still taking care of my daughter, but my wife had to go back up to full time. I started looking for jobs, figuring with my 2 associates degrees and my master degree, I could get a good job easy. In the beginning of 2019, I found out my wife had gotten another $25,000 of credit card debt she was hiding from me. She was eating out daily, bringing home for us to eat, and telling me she was making enough money to afford it. She was now up to almost $45,000 of debt, not including her car. I was upset. I told her she can't keep spending money like we have millions. My business wasn't going well, and we needed to cut back our spending so we can get a bigger house to have another kid like she wants. She broke down again. She admitted she had a money management issue. She locked all her credit cards up in the house safe, and she agreed to only spend money off her debit card. Then, the trade wars hit. Our stock account took a huge hit, and because I didn't have strong hands, I sold, at a loss of almost $55,000 dollars. Our stock brokerage trading account that had almost 70k of assets was only worth around $15k dollars. I no longer had the money to cover paying off my wife's debt in an emergency. In April of 2019, we just received our income taxes, due to my losses from last year, and reduced income, we were due back a large amount. I had unfortunately cut down the business to only myself working for it, as the company still had debt that was used a few years ago to expand to pay off. I still have kept the business operating, unable to pay myself for close to a year now, having to sell crypto to cover bills when business wasn't good enough. The first day of May, I took this money and put it back in the stock market, but due to weak hands again, I lost 60% of it again before the markets rebounded. The trade wars had taken a ton of my wealth again. Our brokerage account was now worth less than $10k, and I withdrew the rest to put it into my checking account. Over the past 6 months, I've had to sell off all my remaining cryptocurrency. I have none left. I have to continue running my business in it's dilapidated state, only making enough to pay the bills at the end of the month. I have gotten down to my last $5,000 in cash, and my monthly inheritance stipend, barely pays the bills for the house. All of the money my wife makes goes to paying off her credit card debt, her student loans, and her car payment. When she comes home, she sits down and plays video games while letting our 3 year old run wild and destroy the house while I sleep. We are trying to potty train, but that's not going well, and when I'm sleeping, our daughter will routinely use the bathroom on the floor then smear it on the walls. My wife will not always notice, and I will wake up having to clean up shit off the walls. I have been breaking down nonstop. I cannot handle the level of stress I have been having. I have interviewed for 12 jobs in the past 6 months, and not gotten hired. I have applied to over 30. I have lost over $100k of our savings in the past year alone. I never get to see my wife because when she is working, I have to take care of our daughter, and when she gets home, I have to sleep so I can make sure I'm able to work while they are sleeping, because I am unable to work while they're both awake. I make it a priority to make sure I spend a few hours with my wife and daughter a day, so they have time with me. My wife has not been a responsible adult for months now. She doesn't do her small part of the chores, which is simply do the laundry every week. Every week I take out the trash, clean up the yard, do all the dishes, cook dinner daily, vacuum the house daily, clean up my daughters shit and piss off the floor daily, clean up the mess that my daughter makes when she's playing. We recently found out my daughter is going to need speech therapy. Our house looks like a disaster zone. Our PCP said the speech therapist will come to our house to make it a more "secure environment" for our daughter to get help in. I'm terrified that we're going to get social services called for the state of our house and lose our daughter, but I physically cannot keep up with keeping it clean by myself, because every time I clean something, something else gets destroyed because my wife doesn't watch our daughter. My wife will throw trash on the floor in the house. She won't pick up dishes. She won't clean up the toys or help our daughter do that when I'm sleeping. There is shit caked on the wall in the nursery because almost every day I can't find it all and clean it all up when my daughter is awake. I cracked. I cursed at her for the first time in my life. She broke down, she said she's been so stressed and she's trying. I understand how it is to be stressed, I'm stressed too, but I said we need to try harder for our daughter. I told her I don't want to lose her. Then 2 weeks ago, a text sent late. I'm sure everyone heard about the Verizon bug where texts got send late. You can read about it https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/7/20953422/text-messages-delayed-received-overnight-valentines-day-delay I had an old text get sent that said "Do you still need me?" My wife thought I was going to commit suicide. She said that if I don't get help she's going to leave me and take our daughter with her. She didn't believe me when I showed her the text issue. She says I've been having depression issues for months, and that she's been asking me to get help. She said her therapist has been telling her for months that I need to go get help, and that the idea to threaten to leave me was her THERAPIST'S IDEA, because that threat has MOTIVATED ME BEFORE. This made me extremely upset. I tell her the same thing I did every time, unless they are going to give me a well paying job or hand me a million dollars, therapy is not going to help me. But I need advice. I love my wife. I have no reason to leave her. In the almost 8 years we've been married, I've never told her I was going to leave her. I pointed this out to her, she still says she can't trust me when I tell her that. I told her why am I being punished for her insecurity. I have done nothing but try to give her a great life. Yes, we've been having a hard time with money for the past year, and I've been very frustrated, but all couples have issues throughout their relationships. She says she doesn't want our daughter growing up hearing her daddy talk about suicide and her maybe hear that. I'm just trying to figure out how to handle this. I have friends telling me I should leave her. I don't see why I should. I love my wife. I would never leave her, and I feel like now she needs help again. She has gotten happier in person or at least it seems so, but her therapist telling her to threaten me to make me take action seems like a flag for her therapist. But she likes her therapist and likely wouldn't listen if I asked her to find a new one. I asked her to get therapy when she was severely depressed because she didn't seem like the woman I fell in love with anymore. Maybe part of her has come back, but the woman I fell in love with wouldn't be so irresponsible with our daughter, and wouldn't ignore her chores like she does. I just don't know what to do. I'm scheduled to see our PCP in Janurary for depression, but I don't think it's going to go like she expects, and she hasn't set any expectations of what she's expecting me to get out of this. She says I'm not the man she married any more, but of course I'm not when I'm broke and at the end of my rope with trying to find a job. I feel like anyone would be frustrated and upset if they were in the same position as me. Every day I wake up, work for my failing business that doesn't pay me, take care of my toddler while my wife works, and never get to do anything fun with my family because we have no money and no one will hire me. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to lose my wife. I have sacrificed so much for her. I want to make her happy. I want my daughter to not have a broken family like my wife had and grow up happy. After her threatening to leave me again, it feels like she doesn't need me anymore. It hurts me severely that she can say that so easily after everything I have done for her. I know she is stressed, and I feel like her saying she's going to leave me helps her cope somehow. I'm resenting her still seeing the same therapist, giving her advice on her home life off my wife's singular perspective. I just don't know what to think anymore. I want to make the people I love happy.
36m, $2m, Last Day of Work Today. Lessons Learned from a 12 Year Road to FI
I was debating if I should post/celebrate this here, but after seeing /fierymillennialslessons learned from a break, and after posting here in /fi for the last 4 years, I thought I'd share some of my lessons from my career (and maybe sneak in a few questions while I'm at it).
Where I Am Now
As the title (and my flair says) I'm sitting right around FI now! Our household consists of me, my wife who's a year younger and our 11-year-old poodle mix, living in the western US. I'm a software engineer (full-stack web development) turned Product Manager working a career in tech - but never in what I'd "high tech" cities. Orlando and Salt Lake City have a great tech presence, but they're not exactly in the top 5 (or 10?). With around $2m saved up and yearly expenses somewhere between $60-$100k, it's looking like we're in decent shape! Over the last 2-years, our expenses have risen as we got married, fixed up a house, went on 2 honeymoons, moved across the country, furnished a new place and settled in. I'm optimistic it'll drop down closer to the $60k side now. Today is my last day at my job of almost 8 years (!). My wife is continuing to work at this time, with me on her insurance We've talked about it, and she knows she could leave as well. Her working right now makes this much more flexible as we test out our spending levels with one of us not working.
How I got Here Financially
Luck. Hard work at times for sure, and lots of planning, but no one retires in their 30s without luck (windfalls or high income) or cutting expenses so deep that your lifestyle borders some hobo-chic. My luck came in a few specific fortuitous financial events:
Had parents that raised me with a ton of self-control. Learning to have money (even if you're not rich) but not spend it from an early age is a huge benefit.
Went to a state school for college and graduated with no student debt. Scholarships and parents paid for everything for the first 2 years, then started working to take over all expenses by the end. I was soooo lucky to not get into the expensive colleges I applied for and have parents who could chip in that $1k/month to live on.
Started working on side projects non-stop starting in high school, which helped my marketable skills continue developing (even if they didn't make money).
Received an inheritance of $100,000 at age 24 when my mom passed away. Add to that another $150,000 from selling her house. That was in 2007, and the $250k promptly dropped to $150k a year later during the great recession.
Worked, without gaps and saved at least 50% of my income each year from age 24 on.
Also increased my expenses significantly during that time.
Went from startup to startup, eventually landing at one where I worked as hard as I could (sometimes 90 hours a week).
That startup was eventually acquired, which was a nice $400k windfall.
The company that acquired us went public, which was a nice $800k windfall.
There's a lot of luck to this. I was on my own FI path before this acquisition with a higher FI date in mind (40 if things went well, but probably closer to 44 realistically). Luck and events completely outside my control brought that date down 4-8 more years.
After years working at startups, I absolutely love creating things and providing value to people. One thing I'm most excited about is the time to learn and build things without the need for them to make money. I've done some side projects, but hope to do many more now. Other than that, the usual winter recreation! Playing Red Dead Redemption 2, rewatching all of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, going skiing and traveling to see family. Long-term though, time will tell. If our spending is low enough, then we won't need additional income. If it ends up being higher than we expect and we decide we'd rather now lower it, I'd like to find a way to make a little side income without a job through side projects. Luckily there is no rush on that today. We have options, and time to find a passion that makes a little money is one of the best ones. I do have a few things that I'm trying to do immediately. I'd be curious to hear how others have handled these:
Stop identifying myself by my job role, accomplishments or work.
Stop setting unachievable expectations for myself.
Stop trying to optimize every day and be OK with progress.
Start setting boundaries between side projects and personal life.
Being OK with the idea that there are days I'm going to wake up where I don't want to do anything.
These are the immediate things I'm working on in my head right now.
What Did I Do Well?
For things that I had control over at least, here's a few that stand out:
I think the number one thing was making myself invaluable to companies I worked for. I did whatever needed to be done strategically in the companies - even if that meant changing roles or learning new skills.
Stuck with low-fee index fund investing for 95% of my portfolio long term. I made investing mistakes (oh, hi Bitcoin), but they were limited to at max 5% of my portfolio.
Tracking spending quarterly.
Didn't try to over-optimize investments. Just let time do their thing (helps that this was the best bull market ever).
Developed a strong sense of what I wanted out of life outside of work. I have no shortage of things I want to do.
What Could I Have Improved On?
I didn't max out my 401k for about 5 of my working years. I didn't have access to a 401k for another 4 years.
My spending grew way more than I thought. I should've been looking at my spending monthly.
My wife and I have been together for almost 12 years, but we didn't fully join our finances until year 11. We knew about each other account balances/debts, but not as much each others cash flow. Would've been useful in planning to know each other's total spending.
Tracking spending monthly would've helped see trends faster.
Creating another source of income would have been really nice.
Thinking too much about FI at times was a distraction from other, more important goals and parts of life.
Whew, that's a lot. It's been 11 years since I started investing and 9 years since I opened a Vanguard account. Without additional lucky (in the form of those windfalls) I don't know how FI would've been possible without drastically cutting spending during my earning years far more than I did. That might not be the most optimistic takeaways, but it's an honest one. There's a sliding scale between compromise and luck for retiring in your 30s. I was able to lean more on luck, but that's not a reproducible takeaway. If you do what you can with what you're given that's all you can do - just do your best and be OK with the results. Edit On acquisition/IP money: From the comments, I realized I did a poor job of taking credit for my part in those events. As a long-time developer, I don't do a great job of taking credit for my accomplishments. As I mentioned in some comments below, I was an early employee at the startup and led the largest team which was responsible for our main product, and was a key part of why we were acquired. On windfall/Why don't you have more money: I wish I could say I just put the windfall money in low-cost index funds and called it day, but that wasn't the case. I bought a house (which I sold for a $70k loss), lost a bunch of money due to load funds and taxes on trades my financial advisor put me in (before I started managing my own money) and saw my investments drop by almost half in 2008. All that to say that in 2008 my net worth was much closer to $70k. Couple that with a lower income (since I was right out of college) and it's not too much being set aside each year.
IamA High School drop out that had a million dollar bet with his parents that if I made a million before I'm 18. I did not have to go to college! I won! AMA!
Hello Reddit! You may have seen me at the top of /technology the other day and I got a lot of messages telling me to do an IAMA about this article on CNBC so here I am! So I made a bet with my parents that if I turned 18 and was a millionaire, my parents wouldn't force me to go to college. I’m proud to say I won that bet! Thanks to some clever investments, making money from projects, and as is the case with everyone who has any kind of success (or even failure) a little bit of luck. Here’s the story of how it happened: When I was 12 years old in May 2011, my older brother showed me this technology that I fell in love with and found fascinating. The technology was called Bitcoin. At that stage in life I had a $1000 saved up, solely a gift from my Grandma to use for my scholarship fund. It did not go to my scholarship fund. I asked my brother to help me put it into Bitcoin at $12 because I knew it would be huge in someway. At that point I had about a 100 bitcoins. I continued to do ‘day trading’ buying low and selling high over the coming years as well and reinvesting the money. Fast forward to when I was 14 in high school I was not enjoying school. I was in a small town in Idaho living on a llama farm. So the quality of the school system, was let’s say, not the highest grade. I found the classes to be boring, valuable to some people, but at least for me boring and teaching me in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Lessons that did not seem applicable in my life. My teachers would constantly criticize people in the classroom. Especially me. One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald's because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. Another would force us to read other student’s grades out to the rest of the class to shame them for failing. Another roasted me (me in particular) for the full hour of class. No teaching. It was literally the “Roast of Erik Finman”. Which now seems kind of funny actually but still very bad to do. I went to a summer program to prepare me for the next year and found the best teacher ever in my life that changed my life who was from the UK. I got an A+ in advanced physics when I got a C- in basic physics the previous year. With that knowledge. Since I didn’t have access to good teachers in my small town in Idaho. I wanted to fix it. So I learned how to code and created an educational website that would allow you to connect with Tutors/Teachers/Mentors online over video chat to teach you any subject you wanted to learn. You could search for Spanish. And find someone to teach you from Ecuador. You could type in programming and you’d find a CS college student that is trying to pay tuition by doing this on the side. Or a retired expert who is a veteran in his field that just wants to impart his knowledge onto others. It became very popular in the local community! I told my teachers about it, but they did not like it because it felt like competition. Maybe they thought they might have to do better? At this point I was 15 and this got some initial traction and I was using it to teach myself. I asked my parents to let me drop out of High School to focus on this because I was miserable in school. They agreed and were supportive, but they made a bet with me that I can drop out of High School, but I have to go to college if I don’t make a million dollars by the age 18. I agreed and I dropped out of High School to work on this. A little bit after I dropped out of High School, and I had traction with my project. Bitcoin was shooting up! It was going big! $800! $900! $1000!!!! So I sold a lot of my Bitcoins which resulted in me gaining a $100,000. I used that money to put into my business so I could hire more professional programmers and I moved to Silicon Valley. I even caught the attention of Alexis Ohanian of Reddit because his book at the time Without Their Permission is what got me started. He helped me in many ways! Fast forward to early 2015. Eventually I found a buyer for the companies code & technology in January 2015. The investor offered either $100,000 or 300 bitcoin, which had dropped in value at that time to a little more than $200 a coin. I took the lower cash value bitcoin deal because I believed it was the next big thing and an official buyout would’ve been very difficult for someone under 18 and it was good tax planning to use Bitcoin. Also continuing to do day trading on a daily basis. I used some of that money in the coming years to travel the world. Going to London, Dubai, Australia, and more! I used that to start a VR company using crowdfunding and that did well. I shipped all those out. It was incredible! Now I’m doing a satellite as part of a NASA award which is launching in November out of New Zealand! I'll probably do another post about this soon because it's so cool. Elon Musk has always been hero of mine. He's such a talented guy changing the world with Tesla and SpaceX. I'm a great admirer of his and respect him immensely. He's the closest we have yet to a real life Iron Man. But who knows maybe I'll beat him one day haha ;-) After all we stand on the shoulders of giants right? haha that's a big goal though and I say it as such. It’s been a fantastic few years! I’ve used that money to learn how to do a business, invest, and learn about the world! I didn’t do investing all the time and I used that money to build things that I thought were important! I haven’t done everything perfectly, no one has! I’ve made some humbling mistakes, but had lots of exciting successes! I’ve really launched my career in exciting ways and have met mentors that help me and advise me along the whole way! Which I’m so thankful for! I’ve learned so much outside the education system and have been so much happier. Although I’m unique, I’ve met many many people that weren’t satisfied and unhappy — ranging from students with the lowest and highest GPAs. My GPA was a 2.1 in school! And I’m happy I’m not going to College! College wasn’t for me but it was the ‘life path’ you are supposed to go on and I did not want to go nor felt it would’ve helped me too much in life — especially the $250,000 in debt! Or $249,000 with my scholarship fund if I had not used it on Bitcoin and my projects ;-) I really believe the education system needs to be reformed and I think technology is the way to do that. I think it’s wonderful how society allows you to be a ‘student’ so that you can learn for many years and that’s your full time job. The infrastructure would just ideally be much better so you could do that without being in sometimes a bad environment and crippling debt. I can say today that I own 403 bitcoins which is currently valued at $1,092,678.08 with the price per Bitcoin being at $2,711.36 plus some other money invested in other things. Can’t have all your eggs in one basket! So I won the bet! If you have any questions let me know! And if you want any advice on cryptocurrency or your own educational route, or anything else let me know! Also on reddit! People have made Pepe memes of me! I feel like I've finally made it: http://imgur.com/gallery/06dWK If you want to keep updated with everything I’m doing! Follow me on twitter! Proof: Proof of the bet: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/erik-finman-botangle-after-100k-bitcoin-score-15-year-old-creates-startup/ Travel proof: http://imgur.com/a/kvlzR Proof: I went through rigorous proof verification and fact checking with CNBC as you can see with this article. I keep my Bitcoin is super secure places spread out across multiple wallets across multiple machines. I'm so paranoid after all this media attention someone is going to steal it all! haha Proof of growing up on the llama farm: http://imgur.com/gallery/6scF5 ---- ASK me about the time the llama came into my house! Proof of the 100k initially made: http://mashable.com/2014/06/10/botangle/ Proof it's really me: http://imgur.com/a/zc3eu Edit: Wow! Thanks for the gold guys! Edit: Was on for the first few hours of the AMA and had a meeting to go to and I just came back now to see all these great questions! Questions I all have answers to! I will respond to them tomorrow as it's midnight here now. Edit: That's it for me! A lot of great questions and a lot of great feedback.
I'm not really sure if I should go through with buying ahome. I been renting a room out for almost the last two years adn rent keeps getting pumped up, now it's $600 a month for rent. But Why should I pay rent when I can pay my own mortgage? I saw a house for about 100k. Hell, I could get a house for $400k if I reallly wanted to with the VA loan. Is it worth it? At least my money is going into me, adn not someone else's mortgage. But what if I lose my job? This job is the main reason why I moved and it pays quite a pretty penny. If I lose it, idk what I would do with this house. I can sell it on the market correct? Can we get some examples here? If the house is 100k adn lets say I lived there and payed mortgage for two years and paid lets say $15,000 of that 100k. How does the whole selling thing go? Do I just sell the house for $100k and pay the last $85,000 to the bank? (or do I spend it all on Bitcoin adn get rekt?) I know I could also rent the house out. I think I can figure that option out if I need to cross that bridge. I just don't understand selling the house when I never paid it all off in the first place. But VS renting, at least I am getting some money back for those two years of paying mortgage, right?
hey. im posting this here because idk what else to do, and thought that someone out there could possibly help, or that my story could help someone avoid mistakes i've made i started playing poker professionally in mid 2017, and for a while it was pretty great. i started out grinding live 1-2 at a local casino while living at home, quickly spun up a roll, and eventually moved to one of the bigger 2-5 NL hubs in the u.s. my first month there was arguably the worst month of my life. my girlfriend of 4 years had just broken up with me, and that coincided with my biggest career downswing (almost 10k, probably had 55k at start of downswing). dealing with all of these external stressors was not easy for me. I have a history of depression, and all of these things lining up together threw me into one of the deepest holes i've been. there were days (prob less than 5) i spent 20+ hours in bed; only getting up to smoke some weed or find some shit food to eat. i took some steps to pull myself out of this zone. hired a therapist, regular exercise, attempting to eat healthier, self-help books, etc. all of this, and some run-good on the poker tables, had me back to a fully-functional (and arguably stronger) 2-5 grinder. i basically god-moded for the next 6 months or so. I prob made 45k with one or two 5-8k downswings thrown in along the way. I'd begun playing 1-2 on ignition (initially for practice/ studying, but then continued bc games were good my hourly there was comparable to my hourly grinding live 2-5) and consequently got my hands on some bitcoin. i was already somewhat familiar with what it was and was generally bullish (still am) so figured i'd hold on to a couple of the fuckers since the roll was so healthy and it seemed like a decent mid-long term investment. well, what fucking timing this turned out to be, as price soared from 4k to rougly 8k by end of may. it was around this time that i think my success began to go to my head a bit. i mean, not that i had done anything particularly grand, but i def had a somewhat constant euphoric buzz going on basically around the clock. I was 25, had over 100k nw, had investments that seemingly were going to be worth millions in the not-so distant future (/s), and worked my dream job in which i was able to get away with whatever the fuck i wanted. "Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta," was like my life theme song, playing wherever i went. is this kind of phenomenon experienced by other pros when upswinging? it's summer now, and the dreams of shipping a tournament are abundant. i create a ~15k package, and sell about a 1/3 of myself to maintain sanity in case things go poorly (net worth >100k at this point, abi mtt is probably 1100). my lease expires at my current spot, so i'm off to vegas to bluff johnny chan or something. ...or something indeed! i cashed just 1 out of probably 12 tournaments and broke even in cash. it felt not good, but I think i had/have a better understanding as to how big variance is (especially in mtts) relative to most, so I was pretty ok with this. not to mention, btc had topped at 14k, which def made dealing with the negative mtt variance a bit easier. the highlight of my wsop was day 1 of the main event (didnt initially plan on playing, but I was able to sell 75% and it'd been a dream of mine to play since i was a kid, so fuck it, ill take a shot). my table is a joke. it is unfathomable to me that these types of players both exist AND somehow have $10k to light on fire in a poker tournament. one of my table mates felt the need to heavily exemplify the lack of fucks he gave about this $10k. the dude showed up for the tournament pretty drunk (started at 10am, LOL). first, he has this weird interaction with the dealer where he sits down in seat 5 and dealer tells him he's in the wrong seat, and to move to 6. it takes the guy an abnormal amount of time to understand, but eventually he figures it out and moves over. ok, let's run it. few hands go by and the drunk guy scoops a small pot (probably less than 1k chips and we started with 50k). the seat next to him is unoccupied but there is a stack in front of the seat that is blinding out. as drunk guy scoops his pot, he "accidentally" scoops the chips next to him, in what appeared to either be an extremely slick (/s) attempt to find an early double, or an attempt at a bad joke. imo, it was most likely either a poorly timed joke or the dude was just so fucked up that he just didn't realize what he was doing, but we will never know for sure. either way, jack effel promptly dq'd the guy, which i think was absolutely too harsh. i still regret not jumping to this guy's defense, as i really doubt there were any truly ill intentions behind his actions. one more quick highlight from my day 1 : i mentioned my table being a dream, and it was, with the exception of one player. a former main event champ, joe mckeehen. i didn't know much about him prior to this except that he was a part of chance's Chip Leader Coaching team, which made me think he was prob a beast. and i was right... the guy undoubtedly had an edge on me (and ofc rest of table) and both played and carried himself extremely well. i played one hand vs him that was noteworthy, particularly because of what he said to me afterwords. cant remember exact sizing's so bear with me: joe opens hj 2.2x, button call, i call bb with td8h. flop: q67r. i check, joe cbet 1/3 pot, button fold, i call. turn: 4x (i think i could do some leading on this card since i improve to straights and 2p at higher frequency than joe, but who tf am i to just lead into the former champ??) i check, joe bets 2/3. i think x/c and x/r are both fine, but decide on x/r this time. sizing was something where i'd set myself up for 80-90% jam on the river if he called. joe takes a few seconds, and as he's picking up his cards to throw them into the muck, says something like, "i really don't believe you, but i'm not going to call you down. don't do that again, kid." what a thing to fkn say man, absolutely legendary. he folds. i think to myself, "i've bluffed the champ! call me mike mcd mother fkers." in all seriousness though, he obv did pick up on some sort of live read, but even with whatever that was, i think over-folding a high-variance, bluff-catching spot vs the only other competent player at the table makes a lot of sense given this is day 1 of the main event and our table is a complete and total joke. wp joe, and thank you for the story. a true legened, imo. anyway.. fast forward to day 3 of the main and i'm out a few hours before making the money. talk about maximum pain, man. i felt i'd basically avoided any real feelings of tilt/ disappointment prior to this despite a pretty brutal summer, but busting the main was a scratch on the surface of the negative emotions/ tilt i'd buried during the bad downswing i had after my initial move away from home. the roll is still healthy. the price of btc is falling, but my nw is still around 95k. even though i still have plenty of money and am well-rolled for the main game i want to play (1500 cap 5/t), i have this weird psychological block where it feels like i dont have enough. i think i began to feel this more so when i dipped below 100k. it's like my brain has this weird obsession or belief that i need to be over 100 to be complete (i know, sounds insane, but again, im curious if others experience this kinda thing?) somewhat dejected, i head back home to spend a few weeks with the family before i head out to boston to set up a new home-base. fast forward to now: i've been renting a room at an air bnb for a little over a month. i'm breakeven over my last 700 hours of live poker (about 175 of those are me losing ~15k at mtt's). i've played about 135 hours of 5-t since moving to boston and an stuck about 6k. pretty normal i think. btc price back down to 8k though, so that + life expenses has brought the networth down to about 85k (70k liquid). i know, i know... plenty of money, even for playing 5-t. but holy fuck man, it does not feel that way. i feel like i did a year and a half ago when i first moved to the 2-5 hub and was dealing with downswing + major breakup. it's quite difficult to even get out of bed and take a shower. forget getting my ass down to the casino and actually putting in some volume in the volatility-chamber. it simply doesnt feel possible. it feels especially risky. like i want to avoid even giving myself the chance to book another losing session because i know how much it'd hurt. do other pros deal with shit like this? if so, what kinds of techniques do you use to combat these feelings? is there a way i can trick my brain into thinking more rationally? idk how i feel about actually posting this shit. i'm pretty self-concision in general. i will say that writing this out has been therapeutic in some way, and i do feel a bit better. maybe tomorrow will try and do a low-volatility online session. going to try to get outside and get some sun while i still can today. enjoy the spew/ wsop main event weirdness
Weekly Update: Parachute Townhall, Welcome $GET to ParJar, Uptrennd reaches 50k members, Fantom on IncognitoChain... – 6 Dec - 12 Dec'19
Hi Parachuters! As part of 2 of 3 from today's rapid catch up series of pending updates, here’s your week at Parachute + partners (6 Dec - 12 Dec'19): As mentioned last week, Cap and Ice hosted a townhall to talk about where we are at and where we are heading along with ample feedback and Q&A from the community. We covered a lot of ground: "value hypothesis for ParJar, Product Market fit, and our growth approach for 2020...performance of two key PAR utility metrics, staking and gas, and how we see growth for each in 2020...questions from the community and reviewed upcoming community initiatives". Click here to catch up on all that happened. GET Protocol’s $GET token was added to ParJar this week. Belated Birthday wishes to Doc Vic from Cuba. Jason lost a 5k $PAR wager with Cap on Victor’s age. Haha. Congratulations to Martha for winning this week’s Parena. As per the latest Fantasy Premier League (#FPL) update shared by LordHades this week, he is still ruling the charts at the top with NovelCloud and Alexis hot on his heels. From next week, "You can now view your first opponent in the 2019/20 FPL Cup on the My Team page - under Leagues". While you slay those miles with the Parachute Running Club (which has done 44 miles so far BTW), here’s a podcast to listen to. Cap’s recommendation: "It's geared towards people building products - but super super useful to think about any products you use. Skip to like 9 minutes in to skip through all the advertiesments ". Yes, I know. Cap wouldn’t be Cap without typos. Typos FTW! Parachute townhall Parachute-themed shirts designed by Doc Vic and Alejandro on Doc’s birthday. These are sick! If you want to see yourself on the Parachute world map, make sure to enter your location here. The entries are anonymous. In this week's Parachute Fantasy Football League update, Hang is in the first position followed by Clinton and Andy. Connor made it to the playoffs and is now in 4th position. So it means farewell to Nilz, Ken, Kamo and Cap from this season. CoD mobile players, don't forget to join the Parachute WarZone hosted by Doc Vic from Cuba. I hear there's $PAR and $AMGO to be won! The TTR Hat Contest ended this week with some solid entries running in the lead. Epic creation Wendell! In this week’s creative prompt by Jason, Parachuters had to “do 3 nice things for a total stranger”. Basically, be a true blue Parachuter 😊. For this week's Two-for-Tuesday, Gian made it free-for-all. No theme. Post music as you wish and win 500 $PAR. Cool! Benjamin and Charlotte hosted trivias in TTR this week. Those were loads of fun! Andy announced the start of a College Football Bowl Game Pickem contest in Parachute. 100k $PAR prize pool. Doc Vic hosted another round of Champions League wager this week in TTR. So much epicness in one picture. Jose, you are a genius! Andy's Advent Calendar journey continues Catch up on the latest aXpire update and 20k AXPR burn here and here respectively. As you would already know, instead of pitting both startups against each other, XIO decided to accept both Opacity and Uptrennd into the incubator program and opened up staking for them. This marks the official launch of the XIO Blockchain Incubator and it’s been a roaring start with USD 7k worth of tokens locked up in one hour and Opacity portal getting oversubscribed in no time. Video instructions for staking can be found here. Read up on the startups here. In three days, the total staking crossed 1M XIO levels. Insane! That is a great metric to measure performance. How does the $XIO token play a role in all this? The crew explained in this tweet thread. And with that a series of related discussions got off starting with the possibility of self-nomination for startups. Have a sub-100 CMC project that you think should be part of the incubator? Don’t forget to tag them. Plus, a cool 25k $XIO giveaway was launched. Remember, meaningful conversation is always welcome at the incubator and more often than not, they get rewarded. Check out the latest update on the Birdchain App SMS feature along with an expanded list of supported countries. Silent Notary reduced the $LAW token requirement for running a Masternode from 100M to 20M this week. Russian research company sudexpa.ru also gave its vote of confidence to Silent Notary in terms of its immutability. Wibson Marketing Manager Fi Scantamburlo attended the Latin American Bitcoin Conference Uruguay to speak on Data privacy, monetisation and how Wibson helps achieve these. Opacity now allows shared file preview for uploaded docs. Shared File Preview on Opacity Fantom's foray into the Afghan Ministry of Health's efforts to fight counterfeit drugs and other public health initiatives were covered by Forbes this week. Last week, we shared that Sikoba's e-voting platform, Itugen, which is based on Fantom’s Lachesis consensus was released. This week, they published its technical whitepaper. With so many moving parts in the project and so much happening all around, a recap is always a welcome refresher to catch up. $FTM got listed on South Korea’s Coinone with a $KRW pairing. It was also integrated with the IncognitoChain project’s pDEX with a $pUSDT pairing (remember, Harmony was added to the same platform a few days back?). IncognitoChain allows cryptos to be transacted privately using sidechains including those coins/tokens which are not privacy-oriented. Fantom also launched a developer portal and technical documentation ahead of the XAR Network mainnet release. The interoperability bridge is out as well. This allows both ERC20 and BEP2 token holders to move their tokens to the XAR Network. The wallet allows both staking and delegation. For the guide to joining XAR Network as a validator node, click here. A simple guide to staking on XAR Network can be found here. The team also sat down for an AMA with COTI this week. Blockchain Magazine’s interview of Michael was published. Continuing with Uptrennd’s 24 Days of Celebrations started last week, this week they hosted an Escape Room contest and Photo contest. The latest $1UP tokenomics update can be seen here. After 11 months, the platform now has 50k users across 177 countries. Wowza! And wicked stats on the engagement metrics as well. Jeff’s interview with Crypto Beadles came out this week. A few entries for the Uptrennd Photo Contest Click here and here for the latest District Weekly and Dev Update from District0x. In case you missed this week’s Dapp Digest, you can watch it here. Aragon fans will be in for a treat since it features Aragon Co-Founder Luis Cuende as a special guest. Remember, we had discussed last week that the Shuffle Monster Raffle had crossed a 10k $SHUF pool. Turns out it got to 13k+. Wow! The latest Hydro developer update is a comprehensive roundup from the entire ecosystem. VCC Exchange listed $HYDRO with a $BTC pairing. Hydro’s security tokenisation protocol, Hail, moved to mainnet this week. The team travelled to Boston for MassChallenge Fintech. Hydro will be hosting a Banking-as-a-Service happy hour next week to talk on how they are building solutions in the BaaS space. For starters, don’t forget to read their article on blockchain applications in finance. The team appeared for an AMA with Apache Traders which also featured a 45k $HYDRO giveaway. Digital payments platform VoPay is now partnered with Hydro for end-to-end payment solutions using Hydrogen API and other Hydro tools. Hydro’s smart contract was audited by Callisto and passed their test with flying colours except for one "low severity" issue. The result: "The contract can be deployed". CTO Tim Allard was interviewed by Ethereum Network Nigeria as part of their Ethereum personality chat series. For the latest update on the community explorer Frost, click here. In Pynk’s first guest blog post, community member (or, Pynkster) Alistaire Wallace talks about what the coming year could hold for Pynk and its community of predictors. Check out the transcript of Sentivate’s AMA with tehMoonwalkeR here. Sentivate’s new office in PA is shaping up quite well This week at OST was all about the Pepo app: from angel investor Kartik to Rocket NFT’s Alex Masmej joining the platform, accelerator The Fledge using Pepo Conversations to power community-sourced improvements to businesses, Home for the Holidays Challenge to explain crypto/blockchain to relatives (with a total USD 2k in Pepo coins in prizes) and a “best lifehack” bounty posted by Jason on the app. If you’ve missed all SelfKey news from the past month, you can catch up from the November progress report. Also, did you know that the group Legion of Doom which was once considered to be the most capable hacking group in the world was in a long drawn feud with Masters of Deception in what is now known as the Great Hacker War? Learn more info like this from SelfKey’s latest article on hacking groups. Constellation CEO Ben Jorgensen will be speaking at the Crypto 2020 Summit. If you’re attending, make sure to say Hi. Arena Match announced a trading competition on DDEX with 4M $AMGO tokens to be won. Lucky Bluff Poker will be sponsoring next week’s Arena Match Raffle. The latest Harmony update compilation from the whole team can be found here. In the latest Pangea statistics (Harmony’s experimental staking game to test the limits of its tech), the average staking position is 1.8M $ONE with 75% of participants operate nodes themselves while the rest use delegates. Plus, check out the newest upgrades here. Honest Mining announced mainnet support for the native $ONE token swap. $ONE is also in consideration for listing on Binance US. The token was listed on Pionex this week. The Intellishare website registration and login functions will be down next week for a scheduled upgrade. Also, $INE traders make sure to keep a note of WBFex temporarily disabling the $ETH trading pair. Jobchain’s $JOB token got listed on Bilaxy exchange, P2PB2B exchange, SWFT Blockchain wallet and SWOP.SPACE exchange. The project was also given an A+ score by Xangle. Congrats! And with that, it’s a wrap. See you again soon with another weekly update. Bye!
Digital money that’s instant, private, and free from bank fees. Download our official wallet app and start using Bitcoin today. Read news, start mining, and buy BTC or BCH. The Bitcoin price has been on a tremendous run in 2019, roughly tripling its price in U.S. dollars since the start of the year. That said, Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano thinks ... Blockchain engineers—who are categorized as system software developers, unlike their peers working in other sectors, easily earn over $100k per year. On the contrary, developers in other departments earn an average of $77k. This could rise because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16 percent growth in blockchain through to 2026. The value of bitcoin hit an all-time high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017. Less than a year later, however, its value has dropped to about $6,400, according to digital-currency website CoinDesk ... Last year bitcoin price dropped 10% in the first month of the year and only September has been worse on average over the past nine years. So far the case has been different for 2020 with BTC gaining 21% to current levels in just three weeks. The month is not over yet but a dump back to $7,150 looks pretty slim at the moment. Bitcoin blogger Sylvain Saurel has conducted an in-depth analysis ...
“You MUST Invest In Bitcoin Before 2020 For 5 KEY REASONS” BTC Bull Run Soon [Mike Novogratz] - Duration: 14:03. Bitcoin Money Maker 1,211 views Stock-to-Flow’s creator, the analyst known as PlanB, originally suggested that Bitcoin would hover at an average of in the year before its block reward halving in May 2020. At that point, a 50% ... The major event is coming….1 year away. In May 2020, the next Bitcoin Halving event takes place! Each prior halving event has pushed Bitcoin’s price to levels never seen before. Could this be ... Investigative journalist Ben Swann joins Rick Sanchez to discuss reports that Bitcoin is expected to reach $100,000 by the year’s end. He argues that institu... “People underestimate how quickly Bitcoin will go from $20k to $50k and then $100k. Most of the new people have never seen a full bull market. They have no idea how much Bitcoin will pump once ...