Ethereum Classic Volume Soars Past Ethereum Volume: The End of Ethereum?

The crypto-currency industry has been watching closely a recent hard fork on the Ethereum blockchain, a smart contract project that has received praise from the world’s biggest technology firms and banks. Now, an alternative version of the Ethereum blockchain, dubbed Ethereum Classic, has taken the crypto-world by storm…

Ethereum Classic, which many top crypto-currency enthusiasts dismissed as a scam or knockoff, has morphed into a meaningful blockchain project with a higher trading volume than ethereum itself. Continue reading

Manually recovering private keys from HD wallet conversion disaster

If you’re reading this, you may be one of the few unlucky souls who inadvertently converted their legacy-style wallet to the new HD-style wallet. If you just so happened to have > 1000 addresses in your legacy-style wallet, the conversion process will render your entire wallet unusable due to some limits set in the internal API.

If it seems support is unwilling to help you recover the keys to your legacy wallet, you’re not alone. I just helped someone recover quite a few coins that would have been seemingly lost otherwise. Read on to reclaim your coins…

Once logged into the bricked wallet, the following steps can be taken from inside the javascript debug console in any browser (I used Firefox) to extract private keys for a given address to import elsewhere.

Step 1: dump all active addresses in the wallet:


Run the command above in the debug console to return an object of all the addresses, including legacy, in the wallet, with the following structure:

Find the appropriate address and locate the value inside the _priv field (the private key). This is likely a base58 encoded representation of the address’s private key.

Step 2: confirm what format the private key is in using the following command:


This will output a value into the console, typically base58.

Step 3: run the following command to convert the private key into wallet import format:

var key = Blockchain.Helpers.privateKeyStringToKey("_THE_PRIVATE_KEY_FROM_STEP_1", "base58"); var uWIF = key.toWIF(); console.log(uWIF);

Note if you got a different value than base58 for step 2, replace base58 with the appropriate value. This will output the private key for the address in wallet import format.

You can then import this into Bitcoin Core using:

bitcoin-cli importprivkey {the output of step 3} “from” false
Note: if you have more than one private key to import, you will save a lot of time by attaching false onto the end of each importprivkey call, only setting the blockchain rescan flag to true after the last key has been imported.

You can also encode this private key into a QR code and import it into Mycelium for easy sweeping.

Hope this saves some headaches for some others out there!


Is Timothy Geithner A Bro?

Br·o (noun)-  

“Smart Bros can turn the broness on and off when they have to. They are not truly dedicated but parts of them resemble a bro. If they had to they could get rid of the bro accent and swagger and be a normal guy.”

  • Urban Dictionary

PD29566892_8854320_2352689bTimothy Franz Geithner, born August 18, 1961 in New York, traveled widely in his youth, having lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China and Japan. Upon graduating from Dartmouth College, where he studied Chinese and Japanese and obtained degrees in government and Asian studies, he would go onto earn a master’s. Continue reading

Some thoughts on Ethereum

I’ve spent some time now following Ethereum and studying the system. Ethereum is a general-purpose open-access globally-distributed computer that can’t be shutdown. It includes an economic system where computer operations are paid for with “gas” which is a derivative of the network’s native and crowd-funded currency token, Ether. Here are some of my thoughts on the technology in outline form.

  1. Ethereum is not a DevOps play
  • It’s slow and currently equivalent to the CPU in a mobile phone from 1999, making it cumbersome and unnecessary as a backend for most applications
  • If the network were to accommodate an app like Facebook, the inferred computing power requirements of each node would result in a highly centralized topology, so why not use Amazon RDS in the first place?
  • What gains can a decentralized computing network of unknown and untrusted peers realistically achieve through sharding and parallelization? Given the ambigious performance characteristics of each peer, what is the data distribution model?

2. Unclear what the killer app is

  • Resources in the real-world can already be allotted on an individual basis by any number of other payment mechanisms.
  • It’s trivial to handle digital payments to open the door to an AirBNB or unlock the passenger door to a self-driving car
  • The maid oracle snitching on the AirBNB tenant based on the sensor levels on the smoke detector sounds kind of fantastical
  • The self-regulating-renting-and-optimizing car or condo contract still has human owners, how is liability handled in the event of an accident?
  • It’s a general purpose programming language so it can ‘do anything’ which creates low signal:noise (do I really need it or am I just using it because I can?)

3. The blockchain-enabled Internet of Things is a market that approaches near perfect informational symmetry

  • Near frictionless machine to machine payments and transparent public markets means there is very little ‘edge’ or market disconnects to capitalize on
  • If you aren’t taking advantage of disconnects in the market the marginal revenue approaches the marginal cost
  • At equilibrium would result in limited or fleeting opportunities for most participants

4. It’s not clear a peer-to-peer Uber running as an autonomous-corporation on Ethereum would be an improvement over the existing service

  • Enhanced privacy for user/provider but at what sacrifice?
  • Cut out the middle man but you enable a transparent market (bid/offer) which will likely lead to lower prices and less profit for the driver, and then what if you get in an accident?
  • Ultimately the driver ceases to exist and the age of Minority Report is upon us, so who owns the self-driving car and who holds the liability in the event of an accident or bodily harm?
  • Not clear if the surface-level cost savings and transparency of the open market outweigh the ambiguous risk-profile

5. Contract law is a function of government, not everyone is a perfect coder, and not everything is legally disrupt-able

  • The trend is towards consolidation of legal power
  • Businesses rely on courts to interpret law which is outpaced by innovation
  • Individual contracts aren’t directly modifiable once deployed, but if you try to build a modular architecture you change the trust model
  • The barriers to auditing contract behavior will be prohibitive for most people, so the trustlessness for users of the system decreases at scale
  • Impossible to test for every edge case in code (it’s what you think you know that just ain’t so)
  • The ‘sharing economy’ already fights an uphill battle against the establishment providers (taxis, banks, etc), and decentralized applications will likely be far less funded while still keeping harpoon-able maintainers and contributors

6. Ethereum is really good for running lightweight programs where you need extreme redundancy and security, or for the transfer of value between two unknown parties

  • perfect for peer to peer wagers and gambling (trivial to write a rock, paper, scissors game with money involved and distributed between strangers)
  • crowd-funding the release of information
  • building your own custom wallet protocols (programmatically guarantee that only X amount of Ether can be moved from account Y per given interval)

7. Ethereum’s programmability does not inherently improve p2p finance over existing technology

  • if I loan you money you need access to it in order to earn me a rate of return
  • if the money is tied up in an Ethereum contract you won’t be able to take advantage of it
  • if the money leaves the Ethereum contract, there’s no recourse no matter how smart the contract may be
  • it’s hard to imagine the disbursement of significant amounts of value being triggered by oracle-scraped external events, and multi-sig is not a groundbreaking technology

Blythe, Master of the Financial-verse

Blythe Masters rise from a young woman in England to top-Dog at Yank-run JPM has been nothing short of meteoric.

Born in Oxford, England, she grew up in a family of means that lost money. Educated at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, Ms. Masters started with the bank as an 18-year-old intern on the London commodities desk. While still in her 20s, she was among a team that sold regulators and investors on the use of newly invented credit-default swaps to shift risk off the bank’s books. At 28 she became a managing director, the youngest woman to achieve that status in the firm’s history. Soon after leaving JP Morgan under the scrutiny of regulators and lawmakers, she entered the Bitcoin space. In her free time, she enjoys horse-riding. wanted to know more about this former Wall Street darling turned Bitcoiner. We investigated.

Blythe Masters is a controversial figure in finance. She received considerable press as Head of Global Commodities at JPMorgan. Before that, from 2004-2006, she was the CEO of JPMorgan’s Investment Bank. Before that, she worked as the head of Global Credit Portfolio and Credit Policy and Strategy at JP Morgan.  Prior to joining JP Morgan, Masters completed numerous internships in the bank’s derivatives business starting in 1987.

After working in derivatives, she was put in charge of the JP Morgan commodities operation. Her division, despite much financial support and investment, did not succeed like the banking firm had planned. By 2010, she was feeling pressure to succeed in a bearish commodity market.

In 2010, her division fell $1.78 billion short of the revenue goal. Her commodities division was one of JP Morgan’s largest divisions, and since 2008 had spent over $2 billion buying commodities-trading operations, like Bear Stearns, UBS commodities and RBS Sempra Commodities. The JP Morgan commodities desk traded everything from power to precious metals.

Masters was known as an opinionated person during her time on Wall Street. For instance, at a 2009 meeting with White House economic adviser Larry Summers, she vocally opposed the financial overhaul proposed by the administration. She was the only person in the room who told Mr. Summers that she didn’t agree with his agenda, said Tim Ryan, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association trade group. “She said things everyone else in the room felt but they weren’t willing to say,” Tim Ryan, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said.

Called “the woman who built financial weapons of mass destruction,” Masters once acknowledged this claim in an October 2008 speech: “It is important to distinguish between tools and their users,” she said.

In a summer 2008 meeting with US senators, she disagreed with an expert who argued JP Morgan had an incentive to drive up oil prices.

“Are you calling me a liar?” she said, according to a person who witnessed the exchange.

“She is definitely not a shrinking violet,” Bart Chilton of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

While building the commodities arm of JP Morgan, she once told employees their competitors are “scared s—less of us” and said “we are going to build and finish building the No. 1 commodities-trading franchise on the planet.” This never turned out to be so.

Masters had to eventually appear before a board to discuss the coal trade and the state of the business, among other subjects. That was after she assured her bosses that, despite the disappointing results for the second quarter, the bank remains on track to unseat larger rivals. Her superiors had her back: “You are one stough kid,” one executive wrote. According to Urban Dictionary, stough means “one who rocks, parties hard.” Masters assumed this to be  a typo.

“I think he meant I was one ‘tough’ kid,” she told employees. “I will be checking that with him.”

Her commodities division wouldn’t last much longer. After a $3.5 billion sale of units she oversaw, Masters left the firm.

Masters, at the age of 45, “has informed us of her intention to leave the firm, take some well-deserved time off and consider future opportunities,” Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 58, and investment-banking head Daniel Pinto, 51, said today in a memo.


JPMorgan sold physical commodities business to Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. due to the scrutiny of regulators and lawmakers who accused the firm of manipulating prices.


While Mercuria executives were impressed with her negotiating ability, Master’s never worked at the company. She instead returned to the spotlight in July of last year, when JPMorgan agreed to pay $410 million to settle U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that her division manipulated power markets from 2010-2012. That was not the last the world would hear of Masters. She entered into the Bitcoin space.


Master’s Digital Asset Holdings – a block chain technology firm –  recently raised more than $50 million in a new funding round. The firm announced the completion of fundraising with 13 financial institutions, including ABN AMRO; Accenture; ASX Limited; BNP Paribas; Broadridge Financial Solutions; Citi; CME Ventures; Deutsche Börse Group; ICAP; J.P. Morgan; Santander InnoVentures; The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC); and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

Digital Asset said it would expand the size of its board of directors from four to nine, adding JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Börse Group and DTCC executives. Masters said in a statement:

“Our strategic investors have come together from across the financial services industry to help drive global adoption of transformative solutions which enhance the vital services that they provide.”

Her firm has found success through adoption of its technology. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) announced it plans to adopt a post-trade settlement system developed by Digital Asset, which will use a distributed ledger. Bloomberg states ASX contributed more than $10m to the round in exchange for a 5% stake.

Her dedication to her work is unparalleled. Headlines once recounted how, when she went to the hospital to give birth, she brought a wireless device in order to stay up-to-date on finance.

Masters, who was 34 years old when she became chief financial officer of JP Morgan, eventually gained quite the reputation. As The Guardian wrote:

If Warren Buffett is to be believed in his verdict that derivatives are “financial weapons of mass destruction” then Blythe Masters is one of the destroyers of worlds.

British-born Masters was considered to be a part of “JP Morgan mafia” during her later tenure with the firm. She is credited with designing credit derivatives experts cited as the reason for the 2008 financial crisis.

“I do believe CDSs [credit default swaps] have been miscast, much as poor workmen tend to blame their tools,” she told The Guardian.

Beginning in 1997, Masters, along with a team, created credit derivatives. The officially posited intention was to remove risk from the balance sheets of various companies by separating default risk on loans from the loans themselves.

“In bypassing barriers between different classes, maturities, rating categories, debt seniority levels and so on, credit derivatives are creating enormous opportunities to exploit and profit from associated discontinuities in the pricing of credit risk,” Masters explained of the instruments.

The derivatives, in part created by Masters, allowed banks to hold lower reserves against loans. This allowed Wall Street to loan more than ever. The credit derivatives market ballooned.

After her wild ride on Wall Street, Masters became one of the first – and best-known – Wall Street executives to enter into the digital currency market. She became the Chief Executive of Digital Asset Holdings. The firm, founded by Don Wilson and Sunil Hirani, builds software platforms for high financial institutions for trade settlement of digital assets.

Ms. Masters signaled part of her goal “is to build a bridge between the emerging digital-currency industry and Wall Street.”

She continued: “If you can find a way to bridge the two of them then you have something that is truly revolutionary.”

She called this “the financial challenge of our time.” At the time of taking over as CEO for Digital Assets, she expressed she believed that Bitcoin could play a role in mainstream finance, like secondary corporate loans or private equities – both trillion dollar markets.

Towards this end, Digital Assets is building software to promote financial settlement and minimize the third-party failures “that have plagued bitcoin and other digital assets,” according to Masters.

Digital Assets strives to create platforms so clients can convert traditional securities and other financial tools into a digital form made available to ledgers. The firm, in part because of its high-profile staff, is in talks with US and UK regulators.

According to Masters, her interest in digital currency stems from her creation of derivatives and insight into how they fueled the 2008 financial crisis. This has opened her eyes to the need for transparency, such as that offered by decentralized ledgers.

“We don’t think of bitcoin as being a store of value or an alternative currency or an investment,” she said. “We think of it as a medium for exchange and a mechanism for recording information.”

She went further:  “I have a deep personal commitment to the idea that we can ultimately restore confidence and trust in financial markets and I believe this type of technology can move us in that direction.”

Full Circle

If there is anything to take from Master’s career at JP Morgan, it’s that there is no ill-will between her and her former employer. This is evidenced by the fact that JP Morgan Chase partnered with Digital Asset Holdings to trial block chain technology projects. The purpose? To bring transparency and efficiency to payments.

Coinbase is charging almost $10 over Bitstamp prices today

If you’re keen on buying the dip, be careful using Coinbase right now. Prices are quoted at or near Bitstamp, until you enter in a dollar amount. For $100, you will be paying effectively $245, which is a $10 premium to Bitstamp at the moment.

coinbase_premium_ripoff scam exposed in typical “Bitcoin Conference” video

MyCoin just walked with close to $400 million in customer funds after providing exactly 0 service, or product. The video below was taken at their “MyBitcoin World Tour” conference in Thailand. Flashing lights, dancing, women, and Bitcoin? All the telltale signs to STAY AWAY.

And yet another scam company bites the dust while preying on the innocent, ignorant, greed-striken victims, once again threatening the public perception of Bitcoin around the world.

Somewhere in the British Virgin Islands, a banker deposits a check for $390 million. A criminal is relaxing on the beach sipping exotic tropical drinks while laughing about all the old Chinese people he/she/they ripped off.

What a cruel world.

Skyhook transaction success rates rival Obama re-election chances

I really wanted to like Skyhook. But after having used one about 8 times now, I have to be honest: these things should not be left unattended in public places. The Skyhook team needs to issue a serious upgrade to the software. This is not something I feel comfortable telling people represents the future of anything.

“Trying to buy Bitcoin? How about changing the admin password?”

It is really embarrassing taking a friend to use one of these and having it fail in front of you, which has happened 4 times for me so far. I’ve done nothing out of the ordinary, other than follow the instructions displayed on the screen.

Once, bills were not being taken up by the acceptor, no purchases could be made.

Another time, the QR code scanner froze and we couldn’t proceed.

A third time, the Blockchain API was down and the Skyhook froze on the “querying for balance screen”

A fourth time, the Skyhook let me insert more cash than coins were available, which led to some bugs where not only was I not able to complete the transaction after inserting money, but accidentally revealed the prompt to Exist Kiosk Mode / Change Kiosk Password.

I can’t bring myself to drink the Kool-Aid on these machines despite being very eager to see their proliferation in the wild. My experience buying Bitcoin with the Skyhook gives me the impression that it was developed in a weekend by someone with a bad hangover and a 9-5 time constraint.

Maybe this isn’t far from the truth.

I hope that Skyhook will improve their software so operators and customers alike don’t have to be embarrassed when things go wrong, trying to explain how the money of the future makes paper money literally disappear.

Birthday! Self-congratulatory Robocoin email calls competitors Shit-TMs

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of Robocoin Kiosks, and like an un-oiled roulette table the company has made sure to squeak about it. How time flies! 365 days later and Robocoin is quite impressed with themselves.

While the full text of their email can be found here:

We pulled out the best & most relevant part which perfectly summarizes Robocoin’s attitude towards Bitcoin and their industry cohorts.

Here’s the funny part: we invented Bitcoin ATM 1.0 and it was not very good. The user experience relied on third party exchanges and wallets, making it inconsistent and unstable. Customers sometimes had to wait hours to receive purchased bitcoins. Bitcoin sells often failed altogether. If customers excluded miners fees operators were forced to choose between processing high-risk or slow transactions for customers. While some transactions got delayed, paper wallets were often lost. The ATMs weren’t smart – they didn’t remember customers. And still copycats emerged! The market exploded with SHI-TMs.

It’s safe to say this email contains levels of contradictory self-loving that would have even the most Namasté’d out Yoga teacher scratching their head.

Is GAW Miners on the brink of going full ponzi?

Heed the wise words of Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder: never go full retard, man.

This statement can just as easily be extended and adapted to the gambit of “cloud mining” companies which have flourished in the Bitcoin space in recent months. Many of these companies teeter dangerously on the brink of ponzi schemes. The basic gist is:

1. You pay $X amount of Bitcoin for “managed” mining hardware — hardware you never get to hold in your hands, but whose existence is guaranteed by the hosting companies
2. You receive $X amount of Bitcoin per day from your virtual mining hardware, minus a maintenance fee
3. Your payout schedule is such that it is highly unlikely you will ever see an ROI on your cloud mining

When examining cloud mining from the triad above, it’s likely that many companies in the space are orchestrating a techno tour de heist that would make even Madoff green with envy. Given that there are no guarantees of profits, and with Bitcoin difficulty on a vertical ramp up, it’s accepted that the cloud mining product ultimately boils down to a ponzi fit for a gambler’s tastes.

Are you a betting man? Josh Garza, CEO of GAW Miners, certainly is. He recently purchased the domain name for $1.1 million dollars.

Are you feeling lucky? Josh certainly is. So lucky, in fact, that he has decided to cook up a brand new creation for the GAW umbrella : HashCoin.

Now, no one knows exactly what HashCoin is (there is no whitepaper publicly released, EDIT: Whitepaper has been released: and HashCoin isn’t guaranteed to be its final name), however there is already quite a few interesting “Get Rich Guarantees” being made to all the hapless cloud mining customers eager to turn their failing mining hardware ROI into a quick pump and dump.

A recent post by the company details this interesting tidbit:

Our Market Analyst and our banking partners have released their final market numbers for HashCoin. I will save the juicy stuff for later, but the
summary is this:
• HashCoin will go “public” for just over $20 a coin.
• Our customer ICO HashPoint round, for our mining members, will be at “less” than $4 a coin.
Legal note: Remember, this is NOT the FIAT round. This round, at these prices will be limited to purchases with HashPoints only. Our banking partners will NOT allow more coins to be purchased than with the available pool of HashPoints.
“HashCoin” is the code name for the coin, not the actual name that it will bear. We purchased the rights to the most popular name an online currency could ever have. That deal finished today.

To sum it up, GAW is releasing a new coin, which will be made available to their “banking and market analysts” as well as GAW Cloud Mining customers for a mere $4 a coin, with a target “ITO” price of $20 / coin. Josh, you should’ve listened to Kirk. Perhaps you’ve had too much a taste for the good life, buying million dollar domains and flying around on private jets without even having reached the ripe old age of 30.

It’s time to step back and realize that just by swapping the P for a T in “IPO” you are not avoiding regulatory scrutiny. Couple this with very suspicious nature of the cloud mining scheme and you have a recipe for disaster.

We don’t need another GOX, another BFL, another Mintpal. Take heed, hold your Bitcoin tight. There are snakes on this private plane.