Btcst.com User pirateat40 - All Bitcoin Addresses ...
Btcst.com User pirateat40 - All Bitcoin Addresses ...
Weekly Round Up: the Bitcoin Embassy project, 'Pirateat40 ...
pirateat40 Archives - Buttcoin Foundation
pirateat40 Bitcoin News
"Pirateat40" Makes Off $5.6M USD in BitCoins From Pyramid ...
Bitfinex chapter, quick preview: an attempt to explain WTF. Doesn't include latest developments. Please nitpick.
Currently trying to do a non-shit cover for the book, which is actually a huge amount of work given I have no artistic talent whatsoever (though I'm OK at graphic design). So instead of doing that, here's what I have so far on a current rich seam of comedy gold! Please look over this and flag any inaccuracies or unclear bits. What they did is convoluted and confusing, and a good example of why bankruptcy laws exist, so we need to maximise clarity. The latest developments are not included, except the redemption. But OH BOY WILL SAID DETAILS BE FUN! Bitfinex: software competence turns out not to be optional If you’re not interested in mining or selling something to get bitcoins, exchanges unfortunately haven’t improved much since Mt. Gox. Bitfinex is one of the closer things Bitcoin has, or had, to a reputable exchange. Advocates liked and trusted it and enjoyed using it – it has margin trading and other fancy features – and recommended it to others. Its software turned out to be made entirely of copy-and-pasted cheese and string that nobody at all knew how to fix. This is quite typical of Bitcoin-related code and systems, as if financial software and systems had never happened. Bitfinex was based on the codebase from defunct exchange Bitcoinica, which was founded by sixteen-year-old Bitcointalk user “Zhoutong” and shut down after being hacked in 2012. One of Bitfinex's early developers described what the system was like when he had been working on it:
It has proved impossible to cleanly modularize and upgrade zhoutong’s spaghetti code. (Or if it is possible, Bitfinex technical team doesn’t know how to proceed.) In the current system, everything is entangled. There is no clean separation of concerns. They inherited this steaming shitpile of a codebase and they're stuck with it. Their legacy data model, as implemented in their current system is insane. The system was designed by a 16 year old FFS! Everything is ad hoc, there is no specification, there was zero documentation, there is minimal accounting for edge cases, exception handling was tacked on as an afterthought. There was no thinking things through. Everything is ad-hoc! Therefore it kinda works except when it doesn’t!
A Bitfinex representative responded stating that “a grand total of 0 lines from Bitcoinica's code exist on Bitfinex” (the site moved at least partially to the AlphaPoint platform in 2015), but the poster asked him to explain, if Bitfinex had an all-new codebase, how they had accurately reproduced bugs that dated back to Bitcoinica. The software problems were glossed over for years, because day traders are otherwise known as compulsive gamblers, and cryptocurrency day traders are the worst. I don’t often use the word “degenerate,” but if I did, they’re who I’d apply it to: reduced to a lizard brain, typing and clicking obsessively and watching for a number to change and provide a hit to the pleasure centre, all other mental and bodily functions atrophied. They make foreign exchange day traders look sober, considered and balanced. On 12 August 2016, nearly 120,000 BTC (then around US$60 million) was stolen from Bitfinex customer accounts. The accounts were secured with multiple signatures, including from third party agency Bitgo, but the hacker seemed to know Bitfinex’s systems and even overrode Bitfinex’s transaction limits. On many accounts, two of the three signatures were Bitfinex, and Bitgo routinely allowed all requests from Bitfinex because there were so many. Usually a theft of this magnitude heralds an exchange disappearing or shutting up shop with apologies, or the regulators noticing their existence and swooping in. In this case, as the supplier of gambling trading facilities not available elsewhere, Bitfinex felt there was sufficient demand for their services that a drastic action would be considered acceptable to their users. To wit: a 36% “haircut” for all customers. Depositors who had been hacked would be compensated with money from depositors who hadn’t. You might think that compensating your customers using money from other customers, while the managers or owners don’t take a hit in any way, would be grossly illegal in any reasonable financial system. Particularly as bankruptcies usually go creditors, then depositors, and equity holders last. But welcome to Bitcoin. Why on earth did the users put up with this? Secondly, because this was claimed to be the haircut they’d take if Bitfinex were to liquidate. (No, Bitfinex didn't show their working.) But firstly, because they were obsessive gamblers, desperate for more access to their strip mall casino. Bitfinex promptly went back up to No. 1 on the Bitcoin exchange volume charts, because Bitcoiners never learn. Bitfinex didn’t want its users to feel they’d been left high and dry. So it offered them Bitfinex tokens (BFX) for their losses, saying (though not guaranteeing) that they’d totally come through at some later date on these IOUs and reimburse the holders with their face value:
The token is a notional credit, is dependent on the Bitfinex Group’s recovery of Losses, and is subordinated to any claims against the Bitfinex Group not related to the Losses.
Meanwhile, you could trade these tokens – trading away your right to reimbursement if the stolen coins were recovered – and use them as collateral for financed trades! Only on Bitfinex, of course:
The token and your rights pursuant thereto may not be assigned except with notice to, and the prior consent of, the Bitfinex Group, on terms to be determined by the Bitfinex Group.
You might think this would constitute offering an unregistered security, but welcome to Bitcoin. The price for BFX dropped below its $1 face value even before release, opening at $0.80 and ending the day at $0.32. Bitfinex redeemed about 1% of the BFX in early September. As it happened, they had enabled margin trading on BFX one day before, and the price went up from $0.40 to $0.56 just before the announcement. Speculation was that they had paid for the 1% redemption using insider margin trading on the BFX itself, thus looking good for free, but I’m sure it was all just pure coincidence. Bitfinex was getting their customers coming and going, and keeping them coming and going. Around the time of the 1% redemption, 30% of trading on Bitfinex was BFX, which they collected trading fees on. Furthermore, the BFX tokens kept their customers on Bitfinex in the hope of a payout, rather than just cashing out and never coming back. In October, they came up with another layer on the scheme: the Recovery Right Token (RRT), for everyone who had converted their BFX for further gambling. Should any of the stolen coins ever be recovered, Bitfinex would first pay back the BFX holders who had not converted their BFX to something else, then pay back RRT holders with the remainder. That’s a made-up token on a made-up token on money they would normally have had to pay back. Convoluted arrangements like this are part of why bankruptcy laws, let alone financial trading regulations, exist: so that creditors and depositors get paid first and fairly in a clear and open manner, rather than having what they are owed obscured in fast-talking flimflam. In the meantime, Bitfinex set a financial and security audit in motion. Not by any such tawdry profession as actual accountants; they used “Ledger Labs Inc., a top blockchain forensics and technology firm,” which happens to be run by Vitalik Buterin, creator of altcoin Ethereum (of which more later). They also posted an open letter to the hacker, seeking “a mutually agreeable arrangement in exchange for an enormous bug bounty”, i.e., if only they would explain how they’d hacked Bitfinex: “Our interest here is not to accuse, blame or make demands, but rather to discuss an arrangement that we think you will find interesting.” It was entirely unclear to any observer what possible arrangement would be more interesting to the thief than “I have all your bitcoins now.” The stolen bitcoins are slowly being sold off through other exchanges. This is very like a bank accepting dye-marked notes known to have been stolen from another bank and deciding they don’t care. At least Bitfinex will never have to cash in those RRTs. In April 2017, Bitfinex announced they would finally redeem 100% of the BFX tokens for their $1.00 face value! This involves paying back the dollar value of the stolen bitcoins at the time of the theft – i.e., about half what it was by April. They also shut down all margin positions on BFX, putting users with insufficient collateral into debt to them (on a margin position on their own debt). The founder of Bitfinex, Raphael Nicolle, has never seemed to appreciate the problem financial regulators tend to have with schemes that pay early investors using money from later investors. He enthusiastically backed the Pirateat40 Ponzi – though at least he later apologised for that one – and came up with a high-yield scheme of his own:
So I'm thinking of the following plan: when I need more coins than I have to fill an order, I will ask everyone that previously “registered” with me to lend me some btc. After 7 days, I will return all of it, principal + 2% interests. For you to be contacted, you would have to post here or in PM to say you might lend me bitcoins, and approx. how many you'd be willing to lend me.
Nicolle has not been seen online since the 120,000 BTC hack. The Bitfinex hack does answer one common question about Bitcoin: “If you're so down on Bitcoin, why don't you short it?” “Well ...” 1 elux. Comment on “[Daily Discussion] Sunday, October 04, 2015”. Reddit /bitcoinmarkets, 4 October 2015. 2 Bitfinex. “BFX Token Terms”. August 2016. 3 e.g., 7a11l409b1d3c65. "Buttfinex pays back 1% of their debt - Butters cheer, not realizing that they have been scammed again". Reddit /buttcoin, September 2016. 4 Zane Tackett. “Bitfinex: Update Regarding Security Audit, Financial Audit, And More”. Reddit /bitcoinmarkets, 17 August 2016. 5 Giancarlo Devasini. “Message to the individual responsible for the Bitfinex security incident of August 2, 2016”. Bitfinex blog, 21 October 2016. 6 Andrew Quentson. “Bitfinex’s Hacked Bitcoins Are on the Move; 5% Recovery Bounty Offered”. CryptoCoinsNews, 27 January 2017. 7 “100% Redemption of Outstanding BFX Tokens”. Bitfinex, 3 April 2017. 8 unclescrooge. “[shame thread]The sorry and thank you Pirateat40 thread”. Bitcointalk.org Bitcoin Forum > Economy > Marketplace > Lending > Long-term offers, 17 August 2012. 9 unclescrooge. "Unclescrooge 1-week deposit program at 2%/week". Bitcointalk.org Bitcoin Forum > Economy > Marketplace > Lending > Long-term offers, 13 September 2012. 10 Andrew Quentson. “Bitfinex’s Founder Seemingly Tried to Start a Ponzi Scheme”. Cryptocoins News, 8 June 2016. hai
ICO's are the new IPO's. Making Ethereum the new GBLSE
First, I may need to provide some background, as many of you may not have been around in 2012 and 2013, so you may not remember GLBSE, BTC.TC, havelock, bitfunder and a few other "bitcoin stock exchanges". On those exchanges, companies could list securities like company shares and bonds, which where traded for bitcoin. Initially, mining bonds where the most popular security, allowing people to invest in bitcoin mining without having to own and operate any hardware, while allowing miners to raise capital and sell off the risk of future difficulty increases. Revenue from mining was then paid to bond holders as "dividends". In theory, a sound concept and the precursor to cloud mining. In practice however, these bonds quickly became a mania. They where trading at prices that made no economic sense at all, anyone with a calculator could easily see it was impossible they would yield a positive ROI. Miners and scammers quickly caught on to that, and sold more bonds then they had hardware for. But they kept rising in price, and people kept buying them, expecting to sell them later with profit. Soon after, all kinds of companies launched IPO's on these exchanges. Some where legit, many dubious, most where pretty obvious scams. It didnt matter, IPO's where as much a hype as ICO's today, and virtually never failed to sell out in record times, raising millions of dollars. Almost nothing was scrutinized, anyone scammer with a tiny amount of photoshop knowledge or anyone promising to achieve some ridiculous ROI had no problem raising millions. After the companies, came the investment funds. Someone raised bitcoins through an IPO, and used that money to trade in other securities listed on that same exchange. Then they launched a second IPO for another fund, and used fund A to buy shares in fund B, and fund B to buy shares in fund A. Prices went through the roof. You couldn't make up stuff like that, it was hilarious. Almost nothing that was traded on those exchanges, had any real value. A few notable exceptions include Asicminer, which raised money to develop an asic, actually managed to get it produced as one of the first ever bitcoin mining asics, sold in large quantities and made a huge profit, paying back investors through dividens many times the IPO value. It was the largest success story by far, but even that ended with an exit scam when the anonymous founder ran off eventually. Around 2013, the SEC intervened, closed a few of the largest exchanges, charged and fined some of the operators and issuers. Other exchanges collapsed or vanished. Tens of thousands of BTC where lost. Im not aware of any company that was launched on any of those exchanges that still operates, except for the gambling site satoshidice (which was among the ones fined by the SEC). What caused this to happen? The enormous rise in value of bitcoin created a group of early-investor millionaires, who believed in crypto currency, who where accustomed to double or triple digit gains in a very short time and who had money to burn. Many of them got rich "by accident", not because they did a lot of due diligence or understood the risk/rewards or even the technology. This gullibility was clearly seen with Trendon Shavers aka Pirateat40, who at that time operated a gigantic, half million bitcoin ponzi scheme by promising 7% weekly returns. These people where very likely to invest large sums of money in risky crypto related startups, expecting a repeat of the success of their early bitcoin investment. This created a self fulfilling prophecy where IPO's always succeeded, prices always went up, creating gigantic bubbles. Fast forward a few years. Besides bitcoin millionairs, we now have ethereum and a few other altcoin millionaires. Instead of IPO's, we now have ICO's. Instead of GLBSE, we have ethereum as the enabling platform. Instead of tradeable funds, we will soon have things like iconomi. Instead of bubbles created by funds investing in each other, we will have blockchains that are denominated in each other. And instead of thinking security regulation can be avoided by denominating an investment in bitcoin, we have people thinking regulation can be circumvented by calling something a token. Am I the only one having a terrible deja vue?
PSA: Anyone referencing Metcalfe's Law to Bitcoin will lose you money
I've been seeing Metcalfe's Law referenced a lot in regards to Bitcoin as a utility network. A lot of these people are starting to remind me of VC's and entrepreneurs of the mid and late 90's clinging to it like a bible. In fact an article I referenced in an article on IEEE states:
During the Internet boom, the law was an article of faith with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers, because it seemed to offer a quantitative explanation for the boom's various now-quaint mantras, like "network effects," "first-mover advantage," "Internet time," and, most poignant of all, "build it and they will come."
The mantras above seem familiar because you'll see it touted a lot by entrepreneurs looking to make a quick buck. I've also seen a lot of people who say "they are in the best interest of Bitcoin" reference this "law" when trying "amend" consensus rules. However, mainnet is a multidirectional network, (unlike television which utilizes Sarnoff's Law which is more accurate for obvious reasons), and on top of the network there is an economy. After seeing pirateat40, nefario, MagicalTux, etc. scam the community of millions, reducing the global BTC price in the process, I know for a fact "less than reputable" connections to the network will inevitably drain it of value. Bitcoin is about quality not quantity.
Explanation All achievements listed below are permanent upon accomplishment and stack. Achievements earned years ago are still valid today. Mining achievements Solo miner Mined a valid block all by yourself. CPU miner Earned at least 1 BTC using just your CPU to mine. Creative miner Built your own custom mining rig composed of graphics cards. Lazy miner Earned at least 1 BTC in dividend from investment in mining stocks. Virtuous miner Earned at least 1 BTC by mining in a pool that processes transactions with below standard transaction fees, thus helping out people whose transactions would otherwise get stuck. Price stabilizer achievements Silk road stabilizer Bought when the price dropped during the Silk road crash. Fork fighter Bought during the 11/12 march 2013 blockchain fork. Ponzi plunge protector Bought during the August 2012 pirateat40 Ponzi scheme collapse associated price crash. Holder Helped preserve the value of Bitcoin by not selling any Bitcoin in the six month period following the 266 dollar peak. Only valid for people who actually had any Bitcoin before the peak. Superholder Helped preserve the value of Bitcoin by not selling any Bitcoin in the six month period following the 2011 peak. Only valid for people who actually had any Bitcoin before the peak. Popularizer achievements Mother Theresa Gave away at least 1 BTC in donations and tips, expecting nothing in return. Shopaholic Spend at least 1 BTC on items not directly Bitcoin related. Businessman Sold at least 1 BTC worth of items not directly Bitcoin related using Bitcoin. Spreading the seed Sold at least 1 BTC through local Bitcoins. Bitcoin hoarder achievements Bitcoin hoarder achievements are permanent upon achievement, even if you later let go of your Bitcoin. Club Bitcoin Own at least 1 BTC. Fabulous Five Own at least 5 BTC. Interested investor Own at least 100 dollar worth of Bitcoin. Serious speculator Own at least 1000 dollar worth of Bitcoin. I did it for the children Invest at least 10.000 dollar in Bitcoin, on behalf of other people. Number of achievements unlocked 0 - You are literally Ben Bernanke. 1 - You may be new. 2 - You have a serious interest in Bitcoin. 3 - You have a serious interest in Bitcoin, and probably a serious stake in its success as well. 4 - You have a serious interest and stake in Bitcoin, and are likely partly responsible for its success. 5 - You have helped make Bitcoin the success it is today. 6-9 - You are likely a developer, early adapter or institutional investor. 10+ - You are literally Satoshi Nakamoto.
Some duped investors have taken to trying to hunt down the pesky pirateat40. There are rumors that he is based in Texas. But short of extracting some good old fashioned (and wholly illegal) vigilante justice, it's unclear what the scammed can do. Bitcoin Ponzi schemes are growing more frequent -- one lawsuit in California [Scribd] has already taken up the issue. But it remains to be seen how ... However, the Bitcoin world knows him better as the famous ‘pirateat40’. The founder and main operator of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) offered and sold Bitcoin-denominated investments through the platform, collecting a true fortune. The suspect gathered at least 700,000 BTC, what was equivalent at about $4.5 million at the time of the alleged take. However, that’s almost $63 million ... All Bitcoin transactions and addresses for user pirateat40 on Btcst.com, who stole $4.6M with their Ponzi Scheme. The SEC alleges that Trendon T. Shavers, who is the founder and operator of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST), offered and sold Bitcoin-denominated investments through the Internet using the monikers “Pirate” and “pirateat40.” Shavers raised at least 700,000 Bitcoin in BTCST investments, which amounted to more than $4.5 million based on the average price of Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012 ... Kashmir Hill – Federal Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Real Money: . Forbes.com contributor Kashmir Hill highlights a new development regarding ways existing laws can be applied to Bitcoin-related activity.Excerpts: “In defending himself against the SEC suit, Shavers argued that Bitcoin isn’t actually money and that the SEC shouldn’t be able to prosecute him.”
SEC Charges Texas Man With Running Bitcoin-Denominated Ponzi Scheme
There's a FUD every year for why Bitcoin is dead: 2011 MtGox hacked 2012 Pirateat40 ponzi implodes 2013 China bans Bitcoin 2014 MtGox insolvent 2015 Silkroad shuts down 2016 Bitfinex hacked 2017 ... http://bitcoinsmining.org/buybtc - Buy Bitcoins IDG News Service - The largest bitcoin trade said Thursday it is fighting a powerful distributed denial-of-se... Shavers raised at least 700,000 Bitcoin in BTCST investments, which amounted to more than $4.5 million based on the average price of Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012 when the investments were offered and ...