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A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on Ethereum

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself on the DeFi Pulse website.

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie tokenized his own NBA contract.)

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (Jitsi for the zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethtrader [link] [comments]

A detailed summary of every reason why I am bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethfinance [link] [comments]

If you are a Crypto beginner - read this!

If you are new to investing into Cryptocurrencies this summary might help you.

Knowing basic terms:

You'll stumble across a lot of terms and expressions some are of technical & some of financial nature, for example:
It's also important to know what are some basic terms concerning investing in general:

Following Crypto News:

May it be our beloved cc, twitter, big new-sites like cointelegraph - stay up to date. Knowing what is going on in the sphere can give you an edge but also mind the saying "buy the rumor, sell the news"!

Having an investment strategy:

Strategies will help you to control your emotions - act as rational as possible.

Be prepared & don't get scammed:

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin.asp
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketcapitalization.asp
https://cointelegraph.com/
https://coinmarketcap.com/
https://www.coingecko.com/en
https://www.ledger.com/
https://trezor.io/
This content was written and summarized by me. I'am hoping for helpful comments to add to this post.
submitted by Badeindi to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!

If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.

Previous threads: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/search?q=common+scams+master+post&restrict_sr=on
Blackmail email scam thread: https://www.reddit.com/Scams/comments/jij7zf/the_blackmail_email_scam_part_6/
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.

Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing
It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you.
Email spoofing
The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created.
SMS spoofing
SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.

The most common scams

The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding
If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Cartel scam
You will be threatened by scammers who claim to be affiliated with a cartel. They may send you gory pictures and threaten your life and the lives of your family. Usually the victim will have attempted to contact an escort prior to the scam, but sometimes the scammers target people randomly. If you are targeted by a cartel scam all you need to do is ignore the scammers as their threats are clearly empty.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Employment certification scams
You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
Craigslist Carfax/vehicle history scam
You'll encounter a scammer on Craigslist who wants to buy the vehicle you have listed, but they will ask for a VIN report from a random site that they have created and they will expect you to pay for it.
Double dip/recovery scammers
This is a scam aimed at people who have already fallen for a scam previously. Scammers will reach out to the victim and claim to be able to help the victim recover funds they lost in the scam.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
Phishing
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious.
The blackmail email scam part 5: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/g8jqnthe_blackmail_email_scam_part_5/
PSA: you did not win a giftcard: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/fffmle/psa_you_did_not_win_a_gift_card/
Sugar scams
Sugar scammers operate all over the internet and usually come in two varieties: advance-fee scams where the scammer will ask for a payment from you before sending you lots of money, and fake check style scams where the scammer will either pull a classic fake check scam, or will do a "bill pay" style scam that involves them paying your bills, or them giving you banking information to pay your bills. If you encounter these scammers, report their accounts and move on.
Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a messaging platform used extensively by all kinds of scammers. If you are talking with someone online and they want you to switch to Hangouts, they are likely a scammer and you should proceed with caution.
Publishers Clearing House scams
PCH scams are often advance-fee scams, where you will be promised lots of money after you make an initial payment. You will never need to pay if you win money from the real PCH.
Pet scams
You are looking for a specific breed of puppy, bird, or other pet. You come across a nice-looking website that claims to be breeding them and has some available right now - they may even be on sale! The breeders are not local to your area (and may not even list a physical location) but they assure you they can safely ship the pet to you after a deposit or full payment. If you go through with the payment, you will likely be contacted by the "shipper" who will inform you about an unexpected shipping/customs/processing fee required to deliver your new pet. But there was never any pet, both the "breeder" and the "shipper" are scammers, typically operating out of Africa. These sites are rampant and account for a large percentage of online pet seller websites - they typically have a similar layout/template (screenshot - example)
If you are considering buying a pet online, some easy things to check are: (1) The registration date of the domain (if it was created recently it is likely a scam website) (2) Reverse image search the pictures of available pets - you will usually find other scam websites using the same photos. (3) Copy a sentence/section of the text from the "about us" page and put it into google (in quotes) - these scammers often copy large parts of their website's text from other places. (4) Search for the domain name and look for entries on petscams.com or other scam-tracking sites. (5) Strongly consider buying/adopting your pet from a local shelter or breeder where you can see the animal in person before putting any money down.
Thanks to djscsi for this entry.
Fake shipping company scams
These scams usually start when you try to buy something illegal online. You will be scammed for the initial payment, and then you will receive an email from the fake shipping company telling you that you need to pay them some sort of fee or bribe. If you pay this, they will keep trying to scam you with increasingly absurd stories until you stop paying, at which point they will blackmail you. If you are involved in this scam, all you can do is ignore the scammers and move on, and try to dispute your payments if possible.
Chinese Upwork scam
Someone will ask you to create an Upwork or other freelancer site account for them and will offer money in return. You will not be paid, and they want to use the accounts to scam people.
Quickbooks invoice scam
This is a fake check style scam that takes advantage of Quickbooks.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
Digit wallet scam
A variation of the fake check scam, the scammer sends you money through a digital wallet (i.e. Venmo, Apple Pay, Zelle, Cash App) along with a message claiming they've sent the money to the wrong person and a request to send the money back. Customer service for these digital wallets may even suggest that you send the money back. However, the money sent is from a stolen credit card and will be removed from your account after a few days. Your transfer is not reversed since it came from your own funds.
Cam girl voting/viewer scam
You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories.
Amateur porn recruitment scam
You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer.
Hot girl SMS spam
You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card.
Identity verification scam
You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to.
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Phone scams

You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls.
Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
[Legal Documents/Process Server Calls]
Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Chinese shipping scam
This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators.
Social security suspension scam
You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.
General family scams
Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money.
One ring scam
Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Influencer scams
A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Instagram influencer scams
Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing / direct shipping
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

General resources

Site to report scams in the United Kingdom: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Site to report scams in the United States: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Site to report scams in Canada: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Site to report scams in Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Microsoft's anti-scam guide: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds
https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

End of day summary - 09/11

The Dow rose 131.06, or 0.48%, to 27,665.64, the Nasdaq lost 66.05, or 0.60%, to 10,853.55, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.78, or 0.05%, to 3,340.97.
Traders at /thewallstreet cheered as volatility returned to the stock market.
The major averages finished Friday's trading in mixed fashion, as dip buyers provided support for the Dow and the continued tech selloff made the Nasdaq the laggard once again. The chances for another round of fiscal stimulus ahead of the election were hurt yesterday after Democrats stopped the passage of the "skinny" GOP package, but the U.S. economy looks poised for a strong rebound in Q3, corporate earnings continue to largely overshoot pessimistic forecasts and the Fed remains "all in," leaving investors to mull the cross-currents.
Similar to the days before, today's price action was technically-oriented given the absence of market-moving news and the losses in stocks like AAPL, -1.3%, AMZN, -1.9%, and MSFT, -0.7% on no specific corporate news. Apple shares fell 7.4% this week.
The difference today was that their losses were offset by relative strength in the cyclical sectors, namely industrials (+1.4%), materials (+1.3%), and financials (+0.8%). Still, when Apple and Amazon are down more than 1.0%, there must be more winners than losers to make a meaningful difference.
There were more of the latter on Friday, as declining issues outpaced advancing issues at the NYSE and Nasdaq. The information technology (-0.8%), consumer discretionary (-0.3%), and communication services (-0.3%) sectors ended the day in negative territory due to their exposure to the mega-cap stocks.
Interestingly, the S&P 500 was down as much as 0.9% intraday and fell below its 50-day moving average (3322). A broad rebound in the afternoon, however, helped the benchmark index turn positive and close above the key technical level.
In TikTok news, President Trump said that the deadline established for China's ByteDance to sell video-sharing service TikTok's U.S. operations would not be extended, Reuters reported. "It'll either be closed up or they'll sell it," the president told reporters, adding, "There will be no extension of the TikTok deadline." MSFT in partnership with WMT and Oracle have been seen as the leading suitors to purchase TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Subsequently, Reuters reported that Chinese officials are so opposed to a forced sale of TikTok's U.S. operations that they would prefer to see the app shut down in the U.S. over that conclusion. Reuters noted that China was willing, if needed, to use revisions it made to a technology exports list on Aug. 28 to delay any deal reached by ByteDance.
Electric vehicle hopeful NKLA continued its fight this morning with a short-seller, which now appears to be "short-sellers." Nikola issued a statement in response to claims made about the company by activist short-seller Hindenburg Research yesterday, calling the firm's report "a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed." Nikola, which added that it has "nothing to hide and we will refute these allegations," announced that it has retained law firm Kirkland & Ellis to evaluate potential legal recourse and intends to bring the actions of the short-seller, together with evidence and documentation, to the attention of the SEC. Following the company's press release regarding the response, Andrew Left's Citron Research said via Twitter, "Congrats to Hindenburg for exposing what appears to be a total fraud with $NKLA. Citron will cover half of all legal expenses. You can't SLAPP the truth away. Explains why Milton sold at $10 this June $NKLA response warrants an SEC investigation to maintain integrity of EV mkt." After having dropped 11% on Thursday, Nikola shares fell a further 14.5%.
Meanwhile, CNBC reported that AAPL has updated its App Store guidelines ahead of the release of iOS 14, with one major revision relating to game streaming services. The tech giant said in its revised guidelines that services such as Google Stadia (GOOG) and Microsoft xCloud are explicitly permitted, though under the condition that games offered in the service must be downloaded directly from the App Store, not from an all-in-one app.
Among the noteworthy gainers was Shares of ORCL, which was in focus after the company reported what Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow called a "surprisingly strong beat" and growth on licenses despite the continued macro uncertainty. NOG, which rose 1.3% after acquiring interests in the Delaware Basin and raising Q3 production guidance. Also higher was CX, which gained 8.3% in New York after Morgan Stanley analyst Nikolaj Lippmann upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.
Among the notable losers was AMRS, which dropped 25.8% after responding to a lawsuit filed by Lavvan against the company for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Also lower was CHWY, which declined 9.8% after reporting some cats have tried to take over the company with whiteclaws.
Despite a blowout fiscal Q4 report, PTON were 4.2% lower following last night's from the fitness products and services provider.
Elsewhere stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.79% to around 3,260.35 while the Shenzhen component rose 1.57% to about 12,942.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.78% to end its trading day at 24,503.31.

Currency

The U.S. Dollar Index (93.35, +0.01, unch) reclaimed its overnight loss, gaining 0.7% for the week.

Treasury

U.S. Treasuries ended the abbreviated week with modest gains across the curve. The cash session started with some light selling for the second day in a row, but the market recovered from the early dip with ease.

Commodity

Gold slipped on Friday on a lack of further stimulus from the European Central Bank and the U.S. government, but for the week the safe-haven metal was set to end higher. Crude remained on track for a second weekly drop as investors expected a global glut to persist if demand weakens further with rising COVID-19 cases in some countries.

Crypto

Bitcoin is struggling to gather upside traction despite repeated defense of support at $10,000. The top cryptocurrency’s sell-off from the August high of $12,476 looks to have come to a halt near $10,000 over the past seven days.

YTD

  • FAAMG + some penny stocks +21.0% YTD
  • Spoos +3.4% YTD
  • Old man -3.1% YTD
  • Russy -10.3% YTD

CPI

Total CPI increased 0.4% m/m while core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.4%. Those gains left total CPI up 1.3% yyr and core CPI up 1.7% yyr.
The key takeaway from the report, which featured the largest increase in the index for used cars and trucks (+5.4%) since March 1969, is that the increase in the all items index was broad-based; nonetheless, annual inflation rates are still running well below 2.0%, so there is still more noise than bothersome policy signal in the August report.

IPO (Most Anticipated)

Week of Sep14-18
  • Company: AMWL Amwell (NYSE) | Leading telehealth company enabling digital delivery of care for healthcare’s key stakeholders | Initial Shares: 35.0 M | Initial Range: $14.00-16.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Piper Jaffray, UBS, Credit Suisse, Cowen
  • Company: BNL Broadstone Net Lease | REIT that acquires, owns, and manages primarily single-tenant commercial real estate properties | Initial Shares: 33.5 M | Initial Range: $17.00-19.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BMO Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley, Capital One Securities, Truist Securities
  • Company: FROG JFrog (Nasdaq) | Developer of an end-to-end, hybrid, universal DevOps platform | Initial Shares: 11.6 M | Initial Range: $33.00 -37.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, BofA Securities
  • Company: SNOW Snowflake (NYSE) | Developer of a data cloud platform that enables customers to consolidate data into a single source to drive business insights | Initial Shares: 28.0 M | Initial Range: $75.00-85.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Allen & Co, Citigroup
  • Company: STEP StepStone Group (Nasdaq) | Global private markets investment firm | Initial Shares: 17.5 M | Initial Range: $15.00-17.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, UBS Investment Bank
  • Company: SUMO Sumo Logic (Nasdaq) | Pioneer of Continuous Intelligence, a new category of software, which enables organizations to address opportunities presented by digital transformation and cloud computing | Initial Shares: 14.8 M | Initial Range: $17.00-21.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, RBC Capital, Jefferies
  • Company: U Unity Software (NYSE) | Leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content | Initial Shares: 25.0 M | Initial Range: $34.00-42.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, BofA, Barclays, William Blair
Week of Sep21-25
  • Company: PLTR Palantir Technologies (NYSE) | Software developer for defense, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and commercial enterprises | Initial Shares: 244.2 | Initial Range: NA | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Direct Listing

What's next?

Beer o'clock
Summary scraped from the interweb. Took 0.41 seconds.
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How to Recover Lost Bitcoin

It is quite easy and possible for us to misplace money or even other things from time to time. You can lose your car keys, forget your parking spot at the mall, and so on. But what about losing something digital, like cryptocurrency? And since bitcoin doesn’t exist in a physical form, it can’t be dropped on the street or left behind somewhere. But it is still possible for us to lose our bitcoin, as many people have discovered.We are going to look at how cryptocurrency gets lost, where it goes, and how you can avoid it happening to you. And most importantly, how to recover lost bitcoin.
How does Bitcoin Get Lost?
The total available supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, with new ones released every day. It’s expected that we’ll reach that cap sometime around the year 2140, although it could be sooner.If you lose a coin or note of your local currency, it doesn’t matter much to the economy as a whole because your government simply mints new money on a regular basis.It’s not known exactly how many Bitcoin are currently lost, in part because the definition of ‘lost’ varies depending on who you ask, and some may be reclaimed in the future. Though going beyond the void retrieve it isn’t easy.
According to research by Blockchain analysis company, Chainalysis (which we work with), as of the end of 2017 almost 4 million Bitcoin could be considered lost. It’s unlikely the number hasn’t increased much since then, as the higher price encourages people to be more careful. So, as it stands, the total circulating supply is set to be around 17 million Bitcoin. Stolen or lost Bitcoin can be recovered by hiring a Funds Recovery Expert to help you get back your lost bitcoin.
There are a number of ways Bitcoin can get lost:
Recover Bitcoin from Lost, Discarded or Damaged Devices
Bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade now. During that time, technology has changed a lot and the average person probably isn’t still cranking up Windows Vista to trade crypto. In some cases, people will lose their laptop or throw it away, forgetting that they have Bitcoin stored on it. Broken devices and fried motherboards also lead to losses. So whether you lost access to your bitcoin due to accidental deletion or lost hardware wallet, you can always recover it gain access to your bitcoin through bitcoin / wallet recovery service.
Recover Forgotten Bitcoin
Yep, it is possible to buy or mine Bitcoin then forget you own it. This sounds like a caviar-and-champagne problem, but in the early days you could easily mine thousands of Bitcoin on a normal laptop and it cost almost nothing. That non-existent cost meant most people didn’t really see it as something that might ever have value, so many just forgot about it.Recover Bitcoin Sent to a Wrong AddressSending Bitcoin to an incorrect address is like mailing a letter to a sealed empty house where no one lives or ever will live. It may sound like Mary Shelley’s version of losing Bitcoin, and it’s just as bleak. It’s impossible for anyone to open the door and retrieve it. This can happen if you mistype an address and transactions cannot be reversed.
Recover Forgotten Bitcoin Private Keys and Passwords
Your private key gives access to your Bitcoin. If you lose this, it’s like forgetting the code for an unbreakable safe. Some people have written down their credentials, only to lose or accidentally throw away the piece of paper. Others committed them to memory, then later forgot it. It is important never to lose your bitcoin recovery phrase, but don't worry if you do. You can always recover your lost bitcoin with or without the seed phrase. Have you lost your wallet password? Don't be worried, you can easily get it back with the help of [email protected]
Can lost Bitcoin be Found or Retrieved?
Generally speaking, whether lost bitcoin can be found or not depends on how it was lost. Considering the quantity of missing cryptocurrency out there, people have begun offering services to help recover lost bitcoin. These include data recovery specialists, but you need a professional recovery expert like [email protected] to help you get back your lost bitcoin.
Contact [email protected] to recover lost bitcoin, bitcoin cash, as well as all other forms of cryptocurrency. And you can be sure that no matter how long it has been lost, you will still get your bitcoin worth.
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[ Bitcoin ] Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

Topic originally posted in Bitcoin by almkglor [link]
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given private key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

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