Note: Previously the Evolution Whitepapers were linked in this section. These papers were written back in 2015 and are outdated, because Dash Evolution has seen a massive re-design and has been developed much further than those papers could have predicted. A new version will be posted here and elsewhere as soon as it is available.
"Dash rebranded from Darkcoin to distance itself from its dark history!!" -> Not at all. Nothing about its history is "dark" and more importantly this thread called "The Birth of Darkcoin" is stickied by Evan Duffield himself on the official main forum.
Why saying "Dash is a company" is false: Dash Core Inc., a company based in Scottsdale, Arizona is not the decentralized network called Dash. The network, consistent of over 4.5k globally distributed, decentralized Masternodes decided to hire and fund the company Dash Core Inc. to develop said network. This is the distinguishing property of Dash being a DAO, so it's understandable people have difficulty grasping the concept. Similarly Dash does not have a CEO, while Dash Core Inc. -obviously- has.
Dash does not and never had a "dev tax": Dash has a Treasury and its distribution is being voted on each month. Only those funds that have been approved by the Masternode network go to proposal owners. The Treasury is capped at 10% of the accumulated block reward of one month. There is no central authority non-requested or non-approved funds go to and there never has been. Those funds are simply not created. So you can have months in which only 8% of the budget is being paid out, with the remaining 2% going to nobody due to not being mined.
"B-but Evan Duffield can roll back the last 24 hours of the blockchain with the flick of a button!" Complete bullshit. The key in question refers to requiring a Masternode to re-validate its pre-existing blockchain in order to ensure it's on the right chain. Masternodes have nothing do with putting or removing transactions into or from the blockchain, only the miners can do that, thus claiming someone can "roll back the blockchain" in Dash is a malicious lie and a desperate attempt to make Dash look centralized when it's not. In short: No such button exists, ever existed or will ever exist.
The Dash community is well aware that during most of its history this project has been under attack by competitors, many of which are trying to portray Dash (among many other things) as a failure. This is oxymoronic, because nobody hates on failures, especially not for 4 successful years in a row. If you want a quick history lesson, here's a comment I made on where the Dash hate originated from back in 2014 Another, longer history lesson Remain skeptical towards sensational accusations without evidence. Our community is helpful, knowledgeable and more than happy to answer any questions, as we have done many times on this subreddit. Still, we're all only human, have limited resources and we're just one project among many (always among the top, though!). Stakeholders and investors of other projects will always have an agenda to smear what they perceive as competition (I have yet to see our community actively go after other projects, though). Just remember the Bullshit Asymmetry: "The amount of energy required to refute bullshit is at least an order of magnitude larger than to produce it." So it would be very unjust to expect a refutation on the spot all of the time. Prefer taking the initiative by asking the community directly about the claim you're confronted with. This community has proven many times to possess the integrity required to admit to technological shortcomings, but at the same time we'll never hesitate to call out illegitimate claims and accusations, of which there are many, for what they are. The most common and most empty attack is "Dash is a scam".
Dash has surpassed its all-time high price several times
Its developers are publicly known, many by full name
It's still being developed after almost 4 years with an incredible track record of under-promising and over-delivering, a game-changing roadmap & a clear vision of the future
Its technology works as advertised and remains objectively superior to Bitcoin and many other currencies
Myriads of projects copied Dash's features
Look at the wealth of in-depth information linked on this page alone. Look at all the interviews, articles, news shows, podcasts, presentations, conferences, infrastructure, the people and all the money invested into all of this: Does this all really look like a grandiose scam? Why the effort?
More importantly you have to ask the critic just this one question: Who was scammed? The answer usually consists of complete silence or attempts to change the topic. This may sound all very defensive to someone who has never experienced the kind of FUD Dash has faced over the years, but the falsehoods we've refuted above are still being perpetuated by a very lonely but also very loud minority.
Not an ICO project
Regarding Dash's finances: Despite what many people assume influenced by the ICO insanity of the recent past, Dash did not have an ICO and Dash does not depend on 3rd party funding/investors. It is self funded from the blockchain and thus an entirely independent organization that does exactly what it wants, not what any angel investors want us to do. Dash is the first currency in history to achieve that.
Quick incomplete rundown of Dash's features
In fact Dash pioneered almost every single one of its features making it one of the most prolific innovators in the cryptocurrency space. Before Dash invented them, none of these features existed:
X11: power saving hashing algorithm
Dark Gravity Wave: highly reliable difficulty adjustment
Sporks: Multi-phased forking technology avoiding hard forks during network upgrades
Masternodes: Incentivized full node infrastructure through split of mining reward
PrivateSend: protocol level coin mixing without the flaws of CoinJoin
Treasury: Self-funding by splitting of block reward
Blockchain Governance: Voting rights for those who provide our network's backbone
Evolution platform technology: Under heavy development but making rapid progress towards true digital cash so user-friendly that even your grandmother could use it
To re-iterate a previous point: Dash has been copied by several dozen other projects either completely or through selected features indicating a strong approval of its technology within the wider cryptocurrency industry. The most copied feature by far is the Masternode system and the financial self-reliance it provides.
A lot of people are talking about this project and as a potential investor i decided to run some checks on it and see if it's worth. Everyone is pumped about it but after a closer look I'm not sure it's worth its price. Therefore let's have a look at the facts : Medicalchain.com LTD The company was incorporated on 28/06/2017 under the name MEDICALCHAIN.IO LTD as a private company limited by ordinary shares. Three directors are appointed: Mr. Mohammed Tayeb, Mr. Abdullah Dafir Albeyatti and Mr. Bara Mustafa. The initial shareholdings (total of 999) are split in 3 equal parts: 1/3 (333) owned by Mr. Abdullah Dafir Albeyatti 1/3 (333) owned by Mr. Bara Mustafa 1/3 (333) owned by XL CAPITAL VENTURES LTD (owned by Mohammed Tayeb and Omar Tayeb) At 24/07/2017 the number of shares is increased to 1332, with XL CAPITAL VENTURES LTD holding 666 ordinary shares. At 13/08/2017 XL CAPITAL VENTURES LTD cease to be a shareholder, with MR Mohammed Tayeb now holding the 666 shares previously held by XL Capital. At 14/08/2018 MEDICALCHAIN.IO LTD becomes MEDICALCHAIN.COM LTD Below you can find a bit about every member of the team starting with the top dogs. MOHAMMED TAYEB :: Director MR MOHAMMED TAYEB description taken from medicalchain.com. Mr. Mohammed Tayeb is a Partner at Hearn Capital Limited. Mr. Tayeb co-founded ReadyCache. In 2010, he headed up the development side of morethan.com. During his time there, Mr. Tayeb architected and developed a system to drive down online fraud, saving its over £40 million. Prior to that, he ran a boutique consultancy business in the field of mobile web and application development. Together with his brother and Co-Founder, they own over eight games and utility applications on the Apple and Google Play apps market, with over 10 million downloads. Mr. Tayeb is an internet entrepreneur, investor, and founder of several technology and e-commerce start-ups. As well being a Partner in Hearn Capital, he is also a Non-Executive Director on the board of Salic. Mr. Tayeb specializes in bringing together technological efficiencies to the business world. He has a degree in e-commerce from Brunel University and an Executive MBA from the University of Oxford. I’ve done an extensive background check and noticed that Mr Mohammed Tayeb has had his fingers in many pies since 2010 being appointed director in and out of more than 15 companies. I am not sure if I would trust him with my money as it looks like he cant commit to something for a longer period of time. Below you can find part of his work history: MONSTER TECHNOLOGIES LTD :: Director since 9 January 2017 :: Active - no information found HEARN CAPITAL LIMITED :: Director since 21 January 2016 :: Active
Hearn Capital was incorporated in January 2015 by a group of key technology investors and operators. It aims to provide early stage and growth funding to exciting companies with disruptive IP within the data analytics sector - data mining, dashboarding, predictive analytics and reporting.
Investments of £1.2 mil with a creditor balance of £1.2 mil.
The company is owned from background by Influential (Holdings) Limited owning more than 50% of shares with a total equity of £1.7 mil. Basically Influential Holding has lent Hearn Capital 1.2 million to invest in different companies. To me it looks like Mohammed has no skin in this as Influential Holdings Limited is owned by Mr Andrew Richardson and Mr John Edward Simpson. GOODSHAW CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LTD :: Director since 6 January 2016 :: Company still active Dormant company aka not carrying any business activity DYNISTICS LIMITED :: Director since 03/03/2015 :: Company still active Acquisition of Dynistics https://www.dynistics.com/ :: a software company that Hearncapital bought in 2015 which counts colleges, NHS Foundation Trusts and recruitment agencies as clients. Link for acquisition:https://www.insidermedia.com/insidemidlands/141513-hearn-capital-buys-solihull-software-company Dynistics is listed as a “small company” and the directors have elected not to include a copy of the profit and loss account within the financial statements. Total equity registered at the end of 2016 : £16.557 SALIC(UK)Limited :: Director since 22/01/2015 :: Company still active Saudi Agricultural and Livestock investment company: this company belongs to Ministry Of Finance (Saudi Arabia) and financed with over 300 million pounds in capital and 75% or more ownership. The Travel booking Company LTD :: Director since 19/11/2014 : Dissolved 29/03/2016
previously known as red travel LTD
no other information found
XL Capital Investment LTD :: Director 17/03/2014 :: Dissolved : 04/07/2017 - no other information found Global Labs Technology Limited :: Director since 10/12/2013 –Dissolved : 18/07/2016 - No record, probably westernlabs.com which has no track record nor an online presence Ready Cache Technologies LTD :: Director since 01/10/2013 :: Dissolved : 04/07/2017 - ReadyCache is a website that accelerates your online content and delivers the best possible speeds to you. Pepperstone Limited :: Director 13/02/2017 – 22/06/2017 :: Resigned (former 123FX.COM LTD) Pepperstone acquired 123FX.COM LTD what is now its UK subsidiary from Mohammed Tayeb, who alongside his broker Omar Tayeb established an FCA regulated shell with plans to launch a retail forex brokerage called 123FX.com. The business was never launched, and instead was sold to Pepperstone in late 2015. Pepperstone has suspended trading for clients in its UK subsidiary as the company is making some changes to its management structure and processes, and bringing on some additional resources in its UK office. To comply with its FCA obligations Pepperstone has had to temporarily suspend trading in the UK until all of the changes are complete and the additional resources are in place. http://www.checkdirector.co.uk/directomohammed-tayeb/https://www.leaprate.com/forex/brokers/pepperstone-swaps-phil-horner-mohammed-tayeb-board-uk-fx-relaunch/ Some other companies he had been involved with: • Director House of Choice Stores LTD :: 2013 – 2016 Disolved • Director XI Capital Ventures LTD :: 2014-2017 Disolved • Director UR Trading :: 2002 – 2010 Disolved • Director LOVEFRAGRANCE INTERNATIONAL LTD :: 2012 – Dissolved 2013 • Director DAR FIRST LIMITED :: 2007 – Dissolved 2011 • Director BLACKSTONE E-COMMERCE LIMITED :: 2011 – Dissolved 2013 All this information can be found at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ . You just lookup his name or company names and access the records. ** Mr. Abdullah Dafir Albeyatti :: Director** Enthusiastic doctor with a wide range of skills and interests. Currently completing my general practice training in Leeds. Previous surgical trainee in the London Deanery. My ambition is to continue improving as a doctor and to develop myself in other fields of medicine and aesthetic training. He is also the founder of dischargesummary.co.uk. The website is described as a website designed to streamline and lessen the work load placed on junior doctors by standardising the content of discharge summaries produced when a patient is discharged from hospital. This platform has allowed hospital departments to establish quality assurance and accurately produce reliable discharge summaries to effectively commute between hospital and community medicine. I checked the website and 3 out of 6 features are under development. The site is now redirected to https://ds.medicalchain.com/ Mr. Bara Mustafa :: DirectoCTO There is no mention of Mr Bara Mustafa on the mediclchain.com which is weird as he is one of the directors and shareholder. It looks like Mr Bara occupation is CTO, which surely would be of interested to the public. Mr Bara is also a OwneDirector of ENETIDEAS LTD since 2010 rendering services as IT Consultant. https://www.enetideas.com :: the website is not functional, none of the products links are working. Jay Povey :: Blockchain developer at medicalchain His introductory linkedin line : Self taught programmer, programming for 7+ years. BA(Hons) from Buckinghamshire New University. Since January I joined Medicalchain to help create a world class blockchain platform for electronic health records. Previously worked on forex trading algorithm using deep learning / pattern recognition techniques. I have had a keen interest in blockchain technology over the past 2 years. I have been learning the ins and outs of the technology and Im very excited about the future of blockchain. I see great potential for revolutionizing the way businesses are run. He started coding for Medicalchain in 2017 previously working for 2 years for one of Mohammed companies ReadyCache which was dissolved. I’m not sure about his experience developing “on forex trading algorithm” as at the previous company ReadyCache they were “building software that is making a difference to webmasters and large companies. We accelerate our customers’ websites, save our customers money and enhance user experience” Before ReadyCache he worked for a college as an IT technicial and e-learning advisor. Also I’m not sure what to make out of his facebook profile, he comes across a bit weird. Also on one of his facebook posts he was asking where you can buy bitcoin in may 2017 but on his summary : “I have had a keen interest in blockchain technology over the past 2 years. I have been learning the ins and outs of the technology and Im very excited about the future of blockchain” https://www.facebook.com/jaypov Robert Miller :: Director Of Business Development Looks like his CV is somehow better than the rest, again worked alongside Mohammed at Goodshaw Capital for 1 year. Freelanced a few blockchain projects so I would say he is the one who will drive the project as longs as the money are coming in. Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/bertcmiller Natalie Furness :: Communication Director She has a background in healthcare industry, namely working as a physiotherapist since 2010. She also lectured for Physiotherapy and Sports Exercise Scientist students at Birmingham University and currently working as a project manager for a company offering solutions to the occupational health sector. The rest of the team occupies either associates or consultants positions for a short period of time 2-3 months. To sum it up : the initial £5000 pre-ICO investment is way way exaggerated based on the fact that there is nothing to show for at the present moment, just ideas. Mr Mohammed has started 15+ companies and most of them are dissolved which doesn't sound very promising. On top of that he now owns half the company whereas initially the company was split in thirds. Their CTO is not mentioned anywhere on the website but he is a shareholder in the company. I would not recommend investing in the project right now and I would wait to see if the project would ever gain traction and materialize. Below I listed some of the videos related to Medicalchain at different conferences / interviews : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4Bc4RiugMg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6WbFMt6Ic4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT-vRXZ2k-o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=devzmfzsh7E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA91OAaNZUo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_OdMREOpBI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebP5ZzQView If you want me to run any other checks on other upcoming ICO please let me know.
S&P Futures Slide, Europe Jumps As Traders Beg For End To Turbulent Week
There is a sense of almost detached resignation amid trading desks as we enter the last trading day of a chaotic, volatile week that has whipsawed and stopped out virtually everyone after the Nasdaq saw the biggest intraday reversal since Thursday and pattern and momentum trading has become impossible amid one headline tape-bomb after another. After yesterday furious tumble and sharp, last hour rebound, US equity futures are once again lower expecting fresh developments in the Huawei CFO arrest and trade war saga while today's payroll report may redirect the Fed's tightening focus in wage growth comes in hotter than the 3.1% expected; at the same time European stocks have rebounded from their worst day in more than two years while Asian shares posted modest gains as investors sought to end a bruising week on a more upbeat note. While stock trading was far calmer than Thursday, signs of stress remained just below the surface as the dollar jumped, Treasuries rose and oil whipsawed amid fears Iran could scuttle today's OPEC deal. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.3% on the day, on track to end the week down 2%. After Europe's Stoxx 600 Index sharp drop on Thursday, which tumbled the most since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016, Friday saw Europe's broadest index jump 1.2% as every sector rallied following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall Street where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Technology stocks lead gains on Stoxx 600 Index, with the SX8P Index up as much as 2.3%, outperforming the 1.1% gain in the wider index; Nokia topped the sector index with a 5.9% advance in Helsinki after Thursday’s public holiday, having missed out on initial gains from rival Huawei’s troubles that earlier boosted Ericsson. Inderes said the arrest of Huawei CFO over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran will benefit Nokia and Ericsson, who are the main rivals of Huawei and ZTE. Similarly, Jefferies wrote in a note on Chinese networks that China may have to offer significant concessions to buy Huawei an “out of jail” card and reach a trade deal, with China’s tech subsidies and “buy local” policies potentially under attack. "For example, why would Nokia and Ericsson have only 20% share in China’s 4G market," analysts wrote. Meanwhile, energy names were volatile as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). The news sent Fresenius BBB- rated bonds tumbling, renewing fears of a deluge of "fallen angels." On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Earlier in the session, Japanese equities outperformed as most Asian gauges nudged higher. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.2%, though that followed a 1.8 percent drubbing on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8 percent. Chinese shares, which were up earlier in the day, slipped into negative territory with the blue chips off 0.1 percent.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 also started firmer but were last down 0.4 percent. Markets face a test from U.S. payrolls data later in the session amid speculation that the U.S. economy is heading for a tough patch after years of solid growth. Will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. DB's economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confused traders when late on Thursday, he emphasized the strength of the labor market, throwing a wrench into trader expectations the Fed is poised to pause tightening - arguably the catalyst for Thursday's market-closing ramp following a WSJ article which reported Fed officials were considering whether to signal a new wait-and-see mentality after a likely rate increase at their meeting in December. While Friday's market has stabilized, for many the recent gyrations are just too much. For Dennis Debusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI, there’s still far too much risk to wade back into a market this riven by volatility. “Overall still untradeable in our opinion, until we get more clarity on trade and we think it will pay to wait this out,” he wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “That being said, our desk is open for business if you’re feeling up to trading this backdrop.” Meanwhile, the big question is what happens next year: “The big question mark still is what’s going to happen in 2019” with the Fed, Omar Aguilar, CIO of equities and multi-asset strategies at Charles Schwab, told Bloomberg TV. “The jobs report could easily be the catalyst that will tell us a little more about what the path may be.” Expecting that a big slowdown is coming, interest rate futures rallied hard in massive volumes with the market now pricing in less than half a hike next year, compared to just a month ago when they had been betting on more than two increases. Treasuries extended their blistering rally, driving 10-year yields down to a three-month trough at 2.8260 percent, before last trading at 2.8863 percent. Yields on two-year notes fell a huge 10 basis points at one stage on Thursday and were last at 2.75 percent. Investors also steamrolled the yield curve to its flattest in over a decade, a trend that has historically presaged economic slowdowns and even recessions. The seismic shock spread far and wide. Yields on 10-year paper sank to the lowest in six months in Germany, almost 12 months in Canada and 16 months in Australia. Italian debt climbed as European bonds largely drifted. The greenback advanced against most of its Group-of-10 peers ahead of U.S. jobs data that are expected to show hiring slowed last month. The pound fell as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be weighing a plan to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal. In commodity markets, gold firmed to near a five-month peak as the dollar eased and the threat of higher interest rates waned. Spot gold stood 0.1 percent higher at $1,239.49 per ounce. Oil was less favored, however, falling further as OPEC delayed a decision on output cuts while awaiting support from non-OPEC heavyweight Russia. Brent futures fell 0.5 percent to $59.77 a barrel, while U.S. crude also lost half a percent to $51.19. Cryptocurrencies continued their collapse with fresh losses after U.S. regulators dashed hopes that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund would appear before the end of this year. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures down 0.4% to 2,680.00
STOXX Europe 600 up 1.3% to 347.69
MXAP up 0.2% to 151.21
MXAPJ up 0.2% to 485.67
Nikkei up 0.8% to 21,678.68
Topix up 0.6% to 1,620.45
Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 26,063.76
Shanghai Composite up 0.03% to 2,605.89
Sensex up 0.9% to 35,631.53
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 5,681.49
Kospi up 0.3% to 2,075.76
German 10Y yield rose 0.8 bps to 0.244%
Euro down 0.05% to $1.1368
Italian 10Y yield rose 13.9 bps to 2.835%
Spanish 10Y yield unchanged at 1.46%
Brent futures up 0.2% to $60.16/bbl
Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,239.70
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.88
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran has triggered a debate in China over whether to carry on with trade talks with the U.S. or link the two issues and retaliate; Meng will have a bail hearing Friday to determine whether she is a flight risk and should remain in detention during proceedings on extradition to the U.S.
Oil extended losses near $51 a barrel after OPEC entered a second day of talks in an attempt to draw up a deal to cut output. Iran sees no possibility of agreeing to reduce its output, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Friday
Theresa May met with her top ministers in London on Thursday to discuss options of delaying the Dec. 11 Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal to avoid a landslide defeat that would risk a major U.K. political crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter
EU leaders are poised to turn their next summit into a Brexit crisis meeting, but so far, it doesn’t look like they’re willing to offer her anything that could help to break the deadlock in the U.K. Parliament
Angela Merkel’s long exit from politics begins Friday when her party gathers in Hamburg to decide whether to appoint her chosen successor as its new leader or break with the legacy of her 13 years in charge of Germany
Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria has complained that he is the victim of one ambush after another as his future is called into question amid tensions with populist leaders over a spending spree to fund election policies, according to newspaper Il Giornale
Asian stocks saw cautious gains with the region getting an early tailwind after the sharp rebound on Wall St, where most majors inished lower albeit off worse levels as tech recovered and the DJIA clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. ASX 200 (+0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.8%) were both higher at the open but gradually pared some of the gains as the risk tone began to turn cautious heading into today’s key-risk NFP jobs data. Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp (U/C) were indecisive amid further PBoC inaction in which it remained net neutral for a 5th consecutive week and with the upcoming Chinese trade data over the weekend adding to tentativeness, while pharmaceuticals were the worst hit due to concerns of price declines from the government’s centralized procurement program. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid a similar picture in T-note futures and although early selling pressure was seen in Japanese bonds alongside the strong open in stocks, prices later recovered as the risk appetite somewhat dissipated. Top Asian News - China’s FX Reserves Rose Despite Intervention, Outflow Signs - Hong Kong May Slip Into Recession in 2019, Deutsche Bank Warns - SoftBank Seeks to Assuage Investors on Pre-IPO Mobile Outage - Southeast Asia Reserves Recover a Bit in November as Rout Eases European equities extended on gains from the cash open (Eurostoxx 50 +1.2%) following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall St where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Meanwhile, energy names are volatile (currently marginally underperforming) as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Top European News
LandSec, Undeterred by Brexit, Makes New Bet on London Offices
Danske Says It’s Looking Into Selling Its Swedish Pension Assets
Chinese Group Agrees to Buy Amer Sports in $5.2 Billion Deal
Bad Air Warnings in London And Paris Peak With Fish And Chips
DXY- Typically rangebound trade in the run up to US labour data, and with markets also monitoring OPEC+ headlines as a decision on whether to cut output and if so by how much remains highly uncertain. The index is hovering just under the 97.000 handle within a 96.767-96.931 band, and well within nearest technical support and resistance levels at 96.300 and 97.311 respectively.
GBP- A marginal G10 underperformer as Cable retreats back below 1.2750 from just above 1.2800 at one stage, but this could be more flow-related rather than anything fundamental as EuGbp rallied towards 0.8930 peaks from just under the big figure into the Frankfurt fixing before drifting back again. However, Halifax house prices were much weaker than expected and latest Brexit news is hardly Sterling supportive given more speculation about delaying the meaningful vote to try and avoid a resounding rejection, even though the Government appears to be resolute and standing firm on December 11.
NZD/AUD- The Kiwi is at the opposite end of a relatively narrow Usd/Major spectrum, and like the Pound also impacted by indirect factors to a degree, if not in the main. Indeed, Nzd/Usd remains capped ahead of 0.6900, but Aud/Nzd is pivoting 1.0500 as the Aussie unit continues to feel the adverse effects of recent bearish impulses, namely softer than forecast Q3 GDP and a more dovish RBA via Debelle. Hence, Aud/Usd is softer between 0.7210-40 parameters and bound to be wary of huge option expiries from 0.7250-60 in 6.6 bn that form a formidable barrier ahead of circa 1.2 bn up at 0.7300.
EUJPY- In the pre-NFP ‘hiatus’ and awaiting anything further on the Italian budget front, option expiries may also exert directional impetus on EuUsd and Usd/Jpy, as the former faces 2+ bn at the 1.1400 strike and latter is flanked by 1+ bn at 112.50 and 113.00.
CAD- The Loonie has pared a bit more lost ground from recent lows, albeit partly due to a broad Usd retracement, eyeing OPEC and also Canada’s jobs report given latest BoC guidance indicating even greater data dependency. Usd/Cad currently just shy of the 1.3400 mark vs 1.3440+ at one stage yesterday.
In commodities, WTI (+0.2%) and Brent (+0.9%) are choppy in what was a volatile session thus far as comments from energy ministers emerged ahead of the key OPEC+ meeting, after yesterday’s OPEC talks ended with no deal for the first time in almost five years. Brent rose after source reports noted that Moscow are ready to cut output by 200k BPD (below OPEC’s desire of 250k-300k but above Russia’s prior “maximum” of 150k) if OPEC are willing to curb production by over 1mln BPD. Prices then fell to session lows following a less constructive tone from Saudi Energy Minister who reiterated that he is not confident there will be a deal today, which came after delegates noted that OPEC talks are focused on a combined OPEC+ cut of 1mln BPD (650k from OPEC and 350k from Non-OPEC). Markets are awaiting the start of the OPEC+ meeting after delegates stated that talks are at deadlocked as Iran appears to be the main sticking point to an OPEC deal, though sources emerged stating that Iran, Venezuela and Libya are set to get exemptions from cuts, adding that OPEC and Russia are looking for a symbolic production commitment from Iran as fears arise that Iran may not be able to follow-through on curb pledges due to US sanctions. In terms of metals, gold hovers around session highs and is set for the best week since August with the USD trading in a tight range ahead of the key US jobs data later today, while London copper rose over a percent is underpinned by the positive risk tone. US Event Calendar
8:30am: Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 198,000, prior 250,000
Unemployment Rate, est. 3.7%, prior 3.7%; Underemployment Rate, prior 7.4%
Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.2%; YoY, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
8:30am: Average Weekly Hours All Employees, est. 34.5, prior 34.5
10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 97, prior 97.5; Current Conditions, prior 112.3; Expectations, prior 88.1
3pm: Consumer Credit, est. $15.0b, prior $10.9b
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The age of innocence has truly gone in financial markets after a turbulent 24 hours but one that saw a spectacular rally after Europe closed last night and one that has steadily carried on in Asia overnight (more on this below). Before we get to that I’m on an intense client marketing roadshow at the moment on the 2019 Credit outlook and there are a litany of worries out there from investors. Maybe I’m trying to be too cute here but I think the problems we’re seeing in credit at the moment are more of a “ghost of Xmas future” rather than a sign of an imminent disaster scenario. However my overall confidence that credit will blow up around the end of this cycle has only intensified in the last couple of weeks. Liquidity is awful in credit and it’s been a broken two way market for several years (probably as long as I’ve worked in it - 24 years). However this has got worse this cycle as the size of the market has grown rapidly but dealer balance sheets have reduced. As such you can buy massive size at new issue but your ability to sell in secondary is constrained to a small percentage of this. This didn’t matter much when inflows dominated - as they mostly did in this cycle pre-2018 - but in a year of outflows across the board the lack of a proper two way market is increasingly being felt. As discussed I don’t think this is the start of the crisis yet but be warned that when this economic cycle does roll over or even starts to operate at stall speed the credit market will be very messy and will influence other markets again. On the positive side and despite a very steep mid-session selloff, US markets ultimately closed well off the lows. The DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ finished -0.32%, -0.15% and +0.42% respectively, though they traded as low as -3.14%, -2.91%, and -2.43% respectively, around noon in New York. At its lows, the S&P 500 was on course for its worst two-session stretch since February, and before that you’d have to go back to August 2015 or 2011 to find the last episode with as steep a two-day drop. The DOW and S&P 500 dipped into negative territory for the year again, but clawed back and are now +0.92% and +0.84% YTD (+3.16% and +2.69% on a total return basis). The NASDAQ has clung to its outperformance, as it is now up +4.13% this year, or +5.20% on a total return basis, though of course the difference is narrower in the low-dividend paying, high-growth tech index. Unsurprisingly, the moves yesterday coincided with higher volatility with the VIX climbing as much as +5.2pts to 25.94 and pretty much back to the October highs, though it too rallied alongside the equity market to end close to flat at 21.15. Meanwhile, the price action was even uglier in Europe as the US lows were around the close. The STOXX 600 plunged -3.09% and is down -4.22% in two days – the most in two days since June 2016. Nowhere was safe. The DAX (-3.48%), CAC (-3.32%), FTSE MIB (-3.54%) and IBEX (-2.75%) all saw huge moves lower. The DAX has now joined the Italy’s FSTEMIB in bear market territory, as it is now -20.49% off its highs earlier this year. The FTSEMIB is down -24.04% from its highs. European Banks – which were already down nearly -27% YTD going into yesterday – tumbled -4.29% for the biggest daily fall since May and the third biggest since immediately after Brexit. The index is now at the lowest since October 2016 and within 17% of the June 2016 lows all of a sudden. US Banks fell -1.87%, though they had dipped -4.3% at their troughs to touch the lowest level since September 2017. As for credit, HY cash spreads in Europe and the US were +8.5bps and +14.8bps wider respectively. For context, US spreads are now at the widest since December 2016 and this is the best performing broad credit market over the last couple of years. In bond markets, 10y Treasuries rallied-2.4bps but was as much as 9bps lower intra-day. Thanks to an outperformance at the front end (two-year fell -3.7bps), the 2s10s curve actually ended a shade steeper at 13.0bps (+1.3bps on the day). However that move for the 10y now puts it at the lowest since September at 2.89%, and only +48.6bps above where we started the year. The spread on the Dec 19 to Dec 18 eurodollar contract – indicative for what is priced into Fed hikes for next year - is down to just 16bps. It was at 60bps in October. This certainly appears to be too low, though a Wall Street Journal article yesterday seemed to signal a willingness by the Fed to moderate its pace of rate hikes. Finally, in Europe, Bunds closed -4.1bps lower at 0.236%. Quite amazing moves with Bunds continuing to defy all fundamental logic and trading instead as a risk-off lightning rod. There was some talk that the sharp moves lower at the open yesterday were exaggerated by the unexpected midweek close for markets in the US which resulted in futures systems failing to be programmed to adjust and orders backing up. However the combination of a -2.25% drop for WTI (-5.2% at the lows) post the OPEC meeting (more below) and the Huawei story that we mentioned yesterday certainly aided to the initial malaise. There was some talk that both the Chinese and US authorities would have been aware of the arrest before last weekend’s talks and as such this story shouldn’t be necessarily a threat to the truce, though Reuters reported last night that President Trump did not know about the planned arrest. The implications of this are unclear, since it could mean that Trump has less direct control over the arresting agency, but it could also indicate that the move is not part of trade policy. Either way, how this development will be key for the market moving forward, especially any response from Chinese officials. This morning in Asia markets are largely trading higher with the Nikkei (+0.60%), Hang Seng (+0.21%), Shanghai Comp (+0.08%) and Kospi (+0.51%) all up. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (-0.11%) are pointing towards a flattish start. Meantime crude oil (WTI -0.39% and Brent -0.60%) prices are continuing to trade lower this morning. It wouldn’t be an EMR worth it’s place in the daily schedule without an Italy and Brexit update. As we go to print Italian daily La Stampa has reported that the Italian Premier Conte and Deputy Premier Di Maio are in favour of the resignation of Finance Minister Tria while Deputy Premier Salvini is against his resignation. So signs of tension. In the U.K. a few press articles (like Bloomberg) are suggesting that PM May is considering postponing Tuesday’s big vote. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to the story at the moment but it mentions going back to the EU for concessions on the Irish backstop as one possibility. How the EU will feel would be the obvious question. As mentioned earlier, oil had a difficult session yesterday, falling back to its recent lows with WTI touching a $50 handle and Brent trading back below $60 per barrel. The first day of the OPEC summit did not appear promising for the odds of a new production deal, as the ministers apparently discussed a 1 million barrel per day cut, below the 1.5 million needed to balance the market.The Libyan oil minister abruptly left before the day’s meetings concluded, and the organization canceled their scheduled press conference. The Russian delegation will join the OPEC contingent today in an effort to finalize a deal, but Saudi Energy Minister al-Falih said that “Russia is not ready for a substantial cut.” Watch this space today. Overnight, the Fed Chair Powell delivered an upbeat message on the US economy and the Job market ahead of today’s payrolls release. He said, “our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,’’ while adding, “in fact, by many national-level measures, our labour market is very strong.’’ Elsewhere, the Fed’s John Williams said yesterday that the biggest challenge which the policy makers are facing is achieving a soft landing. He said, “we have a pretty strong economy -- unemployment pretty low, inflation near our goal -- it’s just managing a soft landing, keeping this expansion going for the next few years.” So will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. Our US economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Going into that, yesterday’s ADP employment change report for November was a tad disappointing at 179k (vs. 195k expected) while more interestingly the recent tick up in initial jobless claims held with the print coming in at 231k. The four-week moving average is now 228k and the highest since April having gotten as low as 206k in September. So the climb, while not yet at concerning levels, is certainly notable and worth watching now on a week to week basis. As for the other interesting data points yesterday, the October trade deficit was confirmed as reaching a new cyclical wide. The ISM non-manufacturing print for November was a relative positive after coming in at 60.7, up 0.4pts from October and ahead of expectations for a decline to 59.0. Worth noting is that the three-month moving average of non-manufacturing ISM is now the highest on record which is a fairly reliable lead indicator for private nonfarm payrolls. US durable goods orders for October were revised slightly higher to -4.3% mom from -4.4%, though the core measures stayed at 0.0% mom. Factory orders declined -2.1% mom, though both were nevertheless higher year-on-year. As for the day ahead, the aforementioned November employment in the US will no doubt be front and centre, however, prior to that, we’ve October industrial production prints in Germany and France, along with Q3 labour costs in the former, and the final Q3 GDP revisions for the Euro Area (no change from +0.2% qoq second reading expected). We’ll also get the monthly inflation reporting for November in the UK. Also due out in the US is October wholesale inventories and trade sales, the preliminary December University of Michigan survey and October consumer credit. November foreign reserves data in China is also expected out at some point. Away from that the OPEC/OPEC+ meeting moves into the final day while the ECB’s Coeure and Fed’s Brainard are scheduled to speak. Today is also the day that Germany’s ruling CDU party elects a new chair to succeed Merkel. Our FX strategists noted yesterday that according to polls, the result should be a close call between general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karranbauer (AKK) and Friedrich Merz. Broadly speaking, AKK stands for a continuation of the Merkel-era strategy of positioning the CDU at the centre of the political spectrum, whereas Merz stands for a sharpening of the party's traditional profile as a centre-right party. Last night our German economics team put out a piece explaining the event and suggesting that Merz would be good for the DAX and AKK good for the Euro.
Abstract We make several contributions that quantify the real-time hash rate and therefore the consensus of a blockchain. We show that by using only the hash value of blocks, we can estimate and measure the hash rate of all miners or individual miners, with quanti able accuracy. We apply our techniques to the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains; our solution applies to any proof-of-work-based blockchain that relies on a numeric target for the validation of blocks. We also show that if miners regularly broadcast status reports of their partial proof-of- work, the hash rate estimates are signi cantly more accurate at a cost of slightly higher bandwidth. Whether using only the blockchain, or the additional information in status reports, merchants can use our techniques to quantify in real-time the threat of double-spend attacks. References  2015. The Bitcoin Lightning Network: Scalable Off-Chain Instant Payments. https://lightning.network/lightning-network-paper.pdf. (July 2015).  2016. 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Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist
Ether Thief Remains Mystery Year After $55 Million Digital Heist 2017-06-13 08:00:18.224 GMT By Matthew Leising (Bloomberg Markets) -- Summer colds are the worst, and Emin Gün Sirer had caught a wicked bug from his 1-year-old son. So it was with watering eyes and a stuffy nose that the associate professor of computer science at Cornell found himself working from his sickbed on Monday, June 13, 2016. Gün—everyone calls him Gün—couldn’t tear himself away from his laptop. He had another type of bug in his sights, a flaw in a line of computer code he feared put $250 million at risk of being stolen. It wasn’t just any code. It was the guts of the newest breakthrough in software design related to blockchain, the novel combination of decentralized computing and cryptography that gave life to the virtual currency bitcoin in 2009. Since then, the promise of blockchain to transform industries from finance to health care has captured imaginations in corporate boardrooms and governments alike. Yet what the Turkish-born professor was exploring that Monday was the next leap forward from bitcoin, what’s known as the ethereum blockchain. Rather than moving bitcoin from one user to another, the ethereum blockchain hosts fully functioning computer programs called smart contracts—essentially agreements that enforce themselves by means of code rather than courts. That means they can automate the life cycle of bond payments, say, or ensure that pharmaceutical companies can authenticate the sources of their drugs. Yet smart contracts are also new and mostly untested. Like all software, they are only as reliable as their coding—and Gün was pretty sure he’d found a big problem. In an email sent to one of his graduate students, Philip Daian, at 7:30 p.m., Gün noted that the smart contract he was looking at might have a problem—on line 666. (They say the devil is in the details.) Gün feared the bug could allow a hacker to make unlimited ATM-like withdrawals from the millions, even if the attacker, who’d have needed to be an investor, had only $10 in his account. This staggering amount of money lived inside a program called a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Dreamed up less than a year earlier and governed by a smart contract, the DAO was intended to democratize how ethereum projects are funded. Thousands of dreamers and schemers and developers who populate the cutting edge of computer science, most of them young, had invested in the DAO. This was real money, a quarter of a billion dollars, their money, meant to build a better version of the world, and every cent was at risk. Gün, who wears his dark hair short and looks a decade younger than his 45 years, had already been tracking and publicizing flaws in the DAO’s design. A few weeks earlier, on May 27, along with two colleagues, he’d urged investors to stop buying into the DAO until security issues could be fixed. It had been too late, however, and the program went live the next day. Smart contracts such as the DAO are built to be entirely reliant on their code once released on the ethereum blockchain. That meant the DAO code couldn’t be fixed. Other blockchain experts—including Peter Vessenes, co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation—had also pointed out security flaws in the smart contract, but Gün appears to be the first to pinpoint the flaw that put the money in jeopardy. The problem was the code was so new that no one knew what to expect—or even if there was actually a problem in the first place. Gün had his doubts, too. This wasn’t even his job. He does this for fun. Daian didn’t think they’d found anything either. Over email, he said, “We might be up the creek ;).” Later, when Gün pointed to the error in line 666, Daian replied, “Don’t think so.” Gün says, “We don’t sound the alarm bell every time we find a bug that seems suspicious.” Instead, he went to bed to try to kill his cold—the one bug he knew to be real. “I was too miserable to sort it out,” he says. Four days later, Christoph Jentzsch lay on the floor of his home office, taking deep breaths, trying not to panic. It was Friday morning, and software developers all over the Western world were waking up to the news that the DAO, which Jentzsch had created, was being attacked. Gün had been right. Jentzsch, who has dark hair and a perpetual five o’clock shadow, lives with his family in the Mittweida region of Germany, a rural spot not far from the Czech border. Mornings in the Jentzsch household are a whirlwind as he and his wife get their five children—age 2 to 9—fed and off to school. Yet today, after his brother Simon woke him with a call that the DAO was being hacked, Jentzsch had to ignore his familial duties. “You’ve got the kids,” he told his wife. “I have an emergency.” This is the story of one of the largest digital heists in history. And while you may have heard last year that hackers breached Swift, the bank-to-bank messaging system, and stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank, the DAO attack is in a different category altogether. It played out in front of anyone who cared to watch and couldn’t be stopped. Just as the global WannaCry ransomware attack in May laid bare weaknesses in computer operating systems, the DAO hack exposed the early frailties of smart-contract security and left many in the community shaken because they hadn’t found the bug in time. The aftermath would eventually pit good hackers against bad ones—the white hats vs. the black hats—in the strange and futuristic- sounding DAO Wars. The roots of the DAO belong to an idea Jentzsch borrowed from another internet-fueled phenomenon: crowdfunding. The 32- year-old Jentzsch, a theoretical physicist by training, and a few colleagues started Slock.it in 2015. As they considered how to fund the company, Jentzsch approached it as many had—sell a digital currency, effectively a token, to raise cash. But why should each new startup have to program its own initial coin offering? Jentzsch wondered. What if one huge fund ruled them all? He introduced his idea to the world at DevCon 1 in London in November 2015. “What is the blockchain way of creating a company?” Jentzsch asked his audience. “Of course, it has to be a DAO.” It would work like this: Ether, a virtual currency like bitcoin, would be used to fund and develop applications on the ethereum blockchain—things such as making a music app similar to iTunes or a ride-sharing service along the lines of Uber. Investors would buy DAO tokens with their ether; the tokens would allow them to vote to fund projects they liked. If the app they backed made money, the token holder shared in the profit. In the six months he spent creating the DAO, Jentzsch thought it would raise $5 million. From April 30 to May 28, the DAO crowdfunding pulled in $150 million. That’s when ether traded just below $12. As the price of ether rose in the following weeks to $20.75 the day before the attack, so too did the value of the DAO, putting a $250 million target on this thing Jentzsch had unknowingly brought into the world with a fatal, original sin. “Our hope was it would be the center of a decentralized sharing economy,” says Jentzsch, who now regrets not capping the amount raised. “For such a big experiment, it was way too early.” In the weeks after the attack, Jentzsch and the rest of the ethereum community would come to grips with their own crisis that, writ small, echoed the bank bailouts and government rescues of 2008. “It became too big to fail,” he says. But why would anyone invest in the DAO in the first place? It has something to do with the strain of digital libertarianism at the heart of the ethereum community, much like the set of beliefs that led to the birth of bitcoin. Think of bitcoin as the first global currency whose use can’t be stopped by governments or corporations; on top of that, bitcoin is almost impossible to hack. Ethereum, then, is another level beyond. It’s an uncensorable global computer. As amazing and unprecedented as that is, it’s also a bit terrifying. Brought to life, the DAO ended up staggering off the table and turning on the community that wanted it so badly. Accustomed to working into the night to stay in touch with colleagues in North America, Jentzsch blows off steam by jogging or kayaking on the nearby Zschopau River. Yet on that Friday morning, he had the more pressing task of pulling himself up off the floor and dealing with the attack. “I went into emergency mode: Don’t try to save the DAO,” he says. “No, it’s over.” It was far from over. Several hours later and half a world away from the Jentzsch household in Mittweida, Alex Van de Sande was waking up in his apartment in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. The baby-faced ethereum developer had been born in the small fishing village of Santa Cruz Cabrália in the Bahia region of Brazil and moved with his parents to Rio when he was about 3 years old. These days he’s known as “avsa” on Reddit and Twitter. After reaching for his phone to see why it was blowing up with Skype messages, he turned to his wife and said, “Remember when I was telling you about that huge unhackable pile of money?” She nodded. “It’s been hacked,” he told her. His first thought was to get his DAO tokens out. He owned about 100,000 of them, valued at about $15,000 at the time. He’s the lead designer of the Ethereum Wallet app, a program that allows him and anyone else to interact with the blockchain. Van de Sande scrambled to log in to it, but his password didn’t work. It was glitching, and as he worked to fix it, his panic subsided. He realized he shouldn’t be bailing on the DAO but trying to save it. And to do that, he needed Griff. Griff Green, who’s worked variously as a massage therapist in Los Angeles and a community organizer in Seattle, is one of only a handful of people in the world who holds a master’s degree in digital currencies. He got it online, natch, from the University of Nicosia. A self-described “dreamer,” the 32-year- old is the closest thing Ethereumville has to a mayor. Green knows everybody; in fact, he’d been the first to relay word of the attack to Simon, Jentzsch’s brother and a co-founder of Slock.it. Green had been working for Slock.it for about six months by then and woke up that morning in the house belonging to Jentzsch’s mom in Mittweida. Jentzsch is one of nine children, so his mother had a spare bedroom where she could put Green up for a few days. Using his extensive contacts, Green started identifying as many people as he could who were interacting with the DAO—going so far as to ask strangers to send pictures or scans of their IDs—in an attempt to sort friend from foe. And then something strange happened: The attack stopped working. In the six hours since the attack began, the thief had managed to steal 30 percent of the DAO’s 12 million ether—which that day equaled about $55 million. “We don’t even understand why the guy had stopped,” says Van de Sande. Now Green raced to protect the remaining 70 percent of the DAO the attacker hadn’t stolen. Once Van de Sande got in touch with Green in Germany, along with two or three others, the foundation was laid for what would become known as the Robin Hood group—white hat hackers who’d devise a bold good-guy plan to drain the remaining DAO. To save the DAO, they’d have to steal the remaining ether, then give it back to its rightful owners. And yet as they scrambled that Friday, qualms emerged within the group. “What does it even mean to hack something?” Van de Sande asks. No one knew if what they were about to do was legal. Also, wouldn’t their hack look just as bad as the theft they were trying to stop? Then there were the practical issues. “Who pushes the button?” he remembers wondering. Doing so would initiate their counterattack and alert the community. “Someone has to push the button.” The price of ether the night before the attack had hit an all-time high of just above $20. News of the hack sent it tumbling to $15 by the end of Friday, wiping out almost a half- billion dollars in market value. At that price, the DAO still held $125 million, and the Robin Hood group worried the attack would resume. They might be the only line of defense if it did, so Van de Sande agreed to use his DAO tokens to fuel their counterattack, thereby becoming a public face of the group. At this point, it might help to think of the DAO as the spacecraft in Alien after Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence. To flee, she’s forced to use an escape pod. DAO investors had to initiate a similar sequence to deploy escape pods that would allow them to get their ether out of the DAO. The code that dictated the escape pods’ behavior is where the bug lived, so to steal the remaining DAO funds the Robin Hood group would have to be in a pod to exploit the flaw—and because of the way Jentzsch wrote the DAO, they had only a short window of time and just a few pods to choose from. A few minutes before launching the attack, Van de Sande joked on the group’s Skype chat, “Let’s go rob a bank!” No one laughed. “Not everyone really appreciated the humor,” he says. In his Copacabana apartment, Van de Sande readied to push the button on his laptop. Then, suddenly, he lost his internet connection. His router was down. “I was like, What the f--- is going on here?” he says. He had less than 30 minutes left to execute the Robin Hood hack. He frantically called NET, his Brazilian internet service provider, but couldn’t get past the automated customer service experience. He says the robotic voice told him, “We see there’s an internet issue in your neighborhood.” The irony was not lost on him: Here he was trying to steal millions of dollars from a robot but was being waylaid by another robot. “Then we missed,” he says. The window closed. He went from the high of feeling like they were about to come to the rescue of the vulnerable DAO to the crushing low of having their international connection severed by NET’s breakdown. He took his dog, Sapic—named after the one in Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother—for a walk, then crawled into bed, defeated. The next morning was Saturday, and Van de Sande tried to reconvene the Robin Hood group to infiltrate another escape pod. But folks were busy and couldn’t get together. “We felt like the worst hackers in history,” Van de Sande says. “We were foiled by bad internet and family commitments.” Who, exactly, were they at war with? No one really knows, but there are some clues. One address the attacker used is 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7c C785051a77D. Got that? Like everything else in a blockchain, a user’s address is an anonymous string of characters. But every address leaves behind a history on the blockchain that’s open for examination. Not that it makes sense to 99.9 percent of humankind, but Green gets it. To pull off his heist, the attacker needed to create a contract that would interact with the DAO. He did so on June 15 and deployed it in the early morning hours two days later, according to Green. Once activated, the attack contract started sending about $4,000 worth of ether through the attacker’s account every three or four minutes to drain the DAO. But where did the original money to fund the attack come from? To interact with the ethereum blockchain, every contract must be funded by an amount of ether. This attack contract was funded by two addresses, but tracing it further back becomes tricky. That’s because the second address used an exchange called ShapeShift to send 52 ether into its account on June 14. ShapeShift doesn’t collect any information on its users and says it turns one virtual currency, such as bitcoin, into another, like ether, in less than 10 seconds. While there are valid reasons for using ShapeShift, it’s also a great way to launder digital assets and cover your tracks. After the attack contract stopped working, the thief needed to deploy it again, says Green. He tried but failed, and after a few more transactions, the hack whimpered to an end. (One possible reason the attack stopped, Green says, is that the hacker’s tokens became corrupted, which means he had no way to exploit the bug.) We know this limited amount of one-sided information from the blockchain’s public record. Digital asset exchanges see both sides. An internal investigation by one such exchange concluded that the DAO attacker was likely part of a group, not a lone wolf, based in Switzerland, according to an executive there who wouldn’t speak on the record or allow the company’s name to be used. Exchanges are in the unique position of being able to analyze the trading activity of their customers because they know who they are, even if they’re anonymous on the blockchain. The executive says the exchange shared the analysis with the Boston office of the FBI, though there’s been no further contact since October of last year. Cornell’s Gün says he also spoke to the Boston office of the FBI—and to agents in the New York office and to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. “It’s very difficult to coordinate an attack of this kind without leaving breadcrumbs behind,” Gün says. He encouraged the FBI to look at the ethereum testnet, where programmers can run their code in a safe environment to work out kinks. The attacker wouldn’t just launch such a complicated hack without testing it, Gün says he told federal officials, and the feds might be able to get clues to his identity there. Gün says he also pointed them to addresses linked to the attacker, such as the one described above, that were listed by his grad student Daian on his blog. (The FBI declined to comment.) “I’m absolutely amazed. Why has no one traced this back and found out who did it?” asks Stephan Tual, the third co-founder of Slock.it. “It still bugs me to this day, because what that person has done is incredibly unethical.” On Tuesday, four days after the initial attack, the hacker returned and somehow resumed the heist. The Robin Hood group had feared this moment would come and was ready. Early Sunday morning they’d finally managed to convene online and successfully infiltrate an escape pod, but had held off their counterattack. Now they had no choice. One strike against the group was their distance from one another—one in Rio, others scattered about Europe. (Some of the group’s members didn’t want to be identified for this story.) It was important that they coordinate their activities because, like in Charlie’s Angels, they all had different specialties: Green the community organizer, Van de Sande the public face, others who wrote the Robin Hood group attack contracts. So Van de Sande needed to be walked through the step-by-step hacking process they were about to unleash, because that wasn’t his area of expertise. “I’ll be honest, I was excited,” Green says. “This is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me. This is the craziest thing that’s almost ever happened to anyone.” Whether it was legal remains an unanswered question. “You literally have cyber ninjas warring on the blockchain,” says Vessenes, the programming expert. “What they’re doing is almost certainly illegal, but they’re claiming it’s for the greater good.” And now it was Van de Sande’s job to let the community know that the Robin Hood group counterattack was benign. He took to Twitter, where he wrote “DAO IS BEING SECURELY DRAINED. DO NOT PANIC.” A nod to the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, his plea to not panic was met with all the snark and real-life concern Twitter can handle. “NOTHING SAYS DO NOT PANIC LIKE ALL CAPS,” one user responded. “#RealLife is more exciting than
MrRobot !!” tweeted another. Yet as the Robin Hood group attack
gained steam, they noticed something strange and worrisome—the attacker was with them in every escape pod. “We escaped the mother ship, but now we’re alone in space with the alien we were trying to escape,” says Van de Sande. This was a big problem. Because of how Jentzsch wrote his code, the Robin Hood group would have to wait several weeks before they could secure the ether they recovered. Yet if the attacker was in that escape pod with the group, he could just follow them—what’s known as a stalking attack. If the hacker stalked the Robin Hood group, the ether wasn’t really safe after all. “The game only ends when one of these parties doesn’t show up to fight,” Van de Sande says. This, in essence, is the heart of the DAO Wars, the never-ending battle that would have to be waged to keep the recovered ether safe. If only there were a way to reverse the theft once and for all. What happened next is one of the strangest and most contentious episodes in blockchain’s early history. The morning of July 20 dawned cool and clear in Ithaca, N.Y., the home of Cornell. A weeklong ethereum boot camp on campus had brought developers and programmers from all over the world to town. The mood was anxious, but not because the workshops were about to begin. This was the day the ethereum community would decide to rewrite the past. The weeks since the DAO hack had been filled with acrimonious debate as developers, coders, investors, and other community members considered their options to undo the theft. As the Robin Hood group battled the attacker mostly in private, a public debate was raging. The white hat hackers weren’t the only ones trying to save the DAO. Jentzsch worked almost around the clock, fielding hundreds of requests from DAO investors on what they should do. Vitalik Buterin, 23, who created the ethereum blockchain before he was 20, became a focal point as he led the community through their options. In short, what they could do was change the ethereum blockchain to fix the DAO, but only if they got a majority of computers running the network to agree to a software update. Pull that off, and it’s as though the attack never happened. This is known as a hard fork. The decision stirred such strong reactions that it remains controversial a year later, both within the ethereum community and with bitcoin users who insist a blockchain’s history is never to be tampered with. In an interview in October, Buterin was unapologetic about pushing for the change. “Some bitcoin users see the hard fork as in some ways violating their most fundamental values,” said Buterin, who didn’t respond to requests to speak specifically about this story. “I personally think these fundamental values, pushed to such extremes, are silly.” Within the ethereum community, at least, Buterin’s views won the day, and computer nodes all over the world accepted the fork. Contained in block 1,920,000, the fix to the DAO was simple and did only one thing—if you had ether invested in it, you could now get it out. But why hadn’t the attacker made off with his money? It had been more than a month. The same code that exposed the DAO to the theft, in the end, enabled the ether to be returned. Everything to do with the DAO is a parameter: rules, if-then statements, and more rules that are all finalized before the program is set loose. One of these parameters stated that anyone wanting to get their ether out of the DAO had to wait a certain amount of time—27 days after the initial request, then another seven days. This fail-safe, written by Jentzsch, applied to the attacker as well. So even though somebody had effectively robbed a bank, he then had to wait 34 days before crossing the street to make his getaway. While he was waiting, the money was stolen back. A month after the original heist, the ether thief now had nothing to show for his caper. Back on the Cornell campus, ethereum boot camp attendees celebrated. The next day, Gün brought Champagne to the session he was teaching. He’d pasted makeshift labels on the Chandon bottles with a picture of the utensil that said, “Congratulations on the successful fork.” Then something else unexpected happened. The original ethereum blockchain, the one with the DAO attack in it, kept growing. Imagine a hard fork is a branch of a tree that sprouts in a different direction at the end of the main limb. The end of that limb is supposed to wither after a hard fork, but here it continued to grow as a small group of users continued to process transactions on that version of the blockchain. Instead of dying, this became a second form of ethereum, quickly dubbed ethereum classic, complete with a digital currency that now had value. Even in the science fiction world of blockchain, this was an unprecedented turn of events. It meant the DAO attacker suddenly had about 3.6 million ethereum classic coins in his DAO account, known as the DarkDAO, which were slowly gaining in value. The Robin Hood group held about 8.4 million, because in this parallel universe they still controlled 70 percent of the DAO funds they had recovered. The Robin Hood group couldn’t believe it. “We did everything to avoid this, but now we’re being dragged back into this fight,” Van de Sande says. Now, the bitcoin supporters who viewed the hard fork as a violation of the core values of blockchain could back up their belief by buying ethereum classic. That’s exactly what entrepreneur Barry Silbert, a heavyweight in bitcoin circles, did. “Keep in mind, the original chain is ethereum classic,” he says. “The fork is ethereum.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Silbert’s firm, Grayscale Investments, recently issued an investment thesis outlining the benefits to ethereum classic over ethereum. A section heading sums up the rationale: “The DAO and the Death of Principles.” Alexis Roussel, co-founder of Bity.com, a digital currency broker in Switzerland, still marvels at the aftereffects of the hard fork and the wild world of the blockchain. “This is something that doesn’t happen in traditional finance,” he says. “If something happens with Apple, you don’t suddenly have a clone of Apple.” It’s been about a year since the DAO attack, enough time to take stock of what went wrong. Van de Sande is eager to move on. “It was really just a blip,” he says. “We are ready to move past it and leave the DAO story behind us.” Green, who’s organizing an ethereum conference at this summer’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, has kept a sense of humor about it. “The Robin Hood group was just a s--- show,” he says with a laugh. “I hope the movie portrays it better than it actually was.” As for the bug itself, apparently many smart people looked at the code before Gün but missed one major flaw. The order of commands in the code allowed DAO token holders to withdraw any profit they’d made from their investments. It reads “withdrawRewardFor(msg.sender)” and adds, almost improbably, a note to anyone reading the code that says, “be nice, and get his rewards.” That’s line 667—let’s call it “The Neighbor of the Beast Bug.” If the withdraw line had come after these lines: totalSupply -= balances[msg.sender]; balances[msg.sender] = 0; paidOut[msg.sender] = 0; return true; the attack wouldn’t have been possible, Jentzsch says. But if the code had been in the correct order, the reward parameter wouldn’t have worked. As for the note, this line of code was meant to allow investors to withdraw any profit—“Reward”—their investments had earned. Instead it became one of the biggest backdoors in hacking history. It would have been better to not pay rewards during the split function from the DAO, what we’ve been referring to here as the escape pods, according to Jentzsch. Another decision he made when he had no idea of the bug shows how quirky and unforgiving code can be. “If the capital ‘T’ in line 666 had been a small ‘t,’ that would also have prevented the hack,” he says. Jentzsch has many regrets but insists no one was aware of the specific problems in lines 666-667 (other observers had pointed to flaws in other lines, just not here). Had more people looked, “it would have made no difference at all,” he says. “If you don’t know what to look for in a security audit, you won’t find it.” Even Gün, who had it in his grasp, let it go. “I still missed it,” he says. Green’s emotions are still raw related to Gün. “I actually got really pissed at him about this,” Green says. “He started bragging about how he found the bug.” He adds that it was “very irresponsible of him to not tell anyone of his inkling.” Still, Green “respects the hell out of Gün” and says they’ve since made amends. Asked to recount that night last June as he lay sick in bed, Gün says, “I came away from this thinking there’s potentially an issue.” But he’d consulted Daian, his grad student (“whom I trust”). Daian had said it’s “not exploitable.” Gün says that had he been certain of the danger, “I would have told people.” In a blog post that explained the mechanics of the DAO heist Daian published the night of the attack, he gave a shoutout to his professor in the acknowledgments. “Gün, we were so damn close—sorry it wasn’t quite enough this time :),” Daian wrote. As for the attacker (whoever he or she or they are) and the ethereum classic booty, Gün says, “Great, wonderful, he should cash out.” The hard fork proved it wasn’t just the DAO that needed to be fixed, but the ethereum blockchain itself. He says: “The fault lies somewhere on the system side as well.” But the fear that smart contracts are too clever by half and that by extension so is the ethereum blockchain itself—prevalent in the days following the DAO attack—has dissipated. At least that’s the market’s verdict, judging by the price of ether. After the attack, it traded from $10 to $12 for about nine months. Then in March it took off; it’s valued at $341.19 as of June 12. (That would have valued the DAO at $4.1 billion, but let’s not even go there.) Ethereum classic has risen as well, and it now trades for $18.71. Both versions of ether remain viable, in other words. The thief holds one; the revisionists, the other. Going forward, the choice is really: Whom would you rather believe? Since the hard fork, the attacker ended up making off with his ethereum classic. That means he got away with about $67.4 million, assuming the stash hasn’t been sold. Not too shabby, 0xF35e2cC8E6523d683eD44870f5B7cC785051a77D. Leising covers market structure at Bloomberg News in New York. To contact the author of this story: Matthew Leising inNew York at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joel Weber at [email protected]
US Futures Jump On Fresh Hopes For China Trade Deal, Dovish Powell Speech
In a generally quiet overnight session, renewed hopes for a thaw in U.S.-China trade relations at the upcoming G20 summit helped global shares rise to a one-week high on Wednesday, though lingering fears of a no-deal outcome weighed on European bourses. U.S. futures rose, extending on Tuesday's rebound and tracking gains in Asia as investors rekindled their risk appetite before a key speech by Fed chair Powell who many hope will reverse yesterday's hawkish rhetoric by Clarida, and come off as dovish, especially after this morning's report that Steve Mnuchin has been pushing for a shift from hiking rates to balance sheet reduction. The dollar and Treasuries were steady. While President Donald Trump talked tough on the trade tariffs issue ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, markets focused on comments by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who held open the possibility that the two countries would reach a trade deal. Kudlow’s comments helped Wall Street close higher and allowed Chinese and Japanese shares to rally 1% as the MSCI index of Asian shares ex-Japan gained 0.7%. The mood however fizzled into the European session, with the pan-European index giving up opening gains to trade flat and Germany’s DAX trading unchanged. Technology companies and retailers were the best performers in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, which struggled to maintain early gains as a Tuesday report that Trump may soon decide about new taxes on imported cars, still weighed on sentiment, keeping Europe’s auto sector shares 0.6 percent in the red. "An expectation is being priced into markets ahead of the G20 meeting that we will see some deal or at least a framework for a deal between Trump and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping,” said Bernd Berg, global macro strategist at Switzerland-based Woodman Asset Management. “But if they come out with nothing this weekend, it’s going to be very bad." Traders are also focusing on a speech at 12pm ET by Fed Chair Jerome Powell to see if he offers clues on how many more times the Fed could raise interest rates, following yesterday's modestly hawkish if cautious take from vice chair Clarida. While Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida took a less dovish stance on Tuesday than some had expected and backed more rate rises, Powell and his colleagues have in recent weeks alluded to global volatility, leading many to speculate the bank’s three-year-long rate rise campaign could pause in 2019. Continued uncertainty over global trade as well as Brexit and Italy’s ongoing conflict with the European Union, have supported the U.S. dollar, which rose to a two-week high and approached the highest level hit in 2018. While the main driver for the greenback is the U.S. interest rate path, Rodrigo Catril, senior strategist at National Australia Bank, said it was also benefiting from the uncertain mood. “Markets seem to be jumping at shadows at the moment and against this backdrop of uncertainty, the dollar remains the preferred option for weathering the storm,” Catril said. Investors are also monitoring developments in Italy’s row with the EU over its budget spending, with Germany’s Handelsblatt and Italy’s La Stampa quoting EU commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis as saying the draft budget needed “substantial correction”. The 10-year Treasury yield drifted ahead of Jerome Powell’s speech as European bonds nudged higher and the Euro was range bound. Italian bond yields flatlined after sharp rallies that were triggered by what appeared to be a more conciliatory stance from the government over the issue. The dollar was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, trading in narrow ranges ahead of key events this week and EUUSD hovered below 1.1300; Treasuries were little changed with the 10-year yield at 3.05%. Sweden’s krona gained even after retail sales and an economic tendency survey missed estimates. The pound trimmed some of the previous session’s losses as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to back down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament. Brent crude handed back earlier gains to trade little changed. Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time which instead focused on the larger than expected gasoline draw. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market. Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive. On other markets, cryptocurrency bitcoin jumped 6 percent to above $4,000, its biggest one day jump since the summer, and extending its rebound from a low of $3,475 touched on Sunday. Today's expected data include mortgage applications, wholesale inventories, and new home sales. Burlington Stores, Royal Bank of Canada, Tiffany, and Weibo are among companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures up 0.1% to 2,686.75
STOXX Europe 600 up 0.06% to 357.60
MXAP up 0.7% to 152.77
MXAPJ up 0.7% to 490.34
Nikkei up 1% to 22,177.02
Topix up 0.6% to 1,653.66
Hang Seng Index up 1.3% to 26,682.56
Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 2,601.74
Sensex up 0.8% to 35,785.59
Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.06% to 5,725.08
Kospi up 0.4% to 2,108.22
German 10Y yield fell 1.3 bps to 0.337%
Euro down 0.05% to $1.1283
Italian 10Y yield rose 2.0 bps to 2.92%
Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.2 bps to 1.556%
Brent futures down 0.3% to $60.05/bbl
Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,213.28
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.38
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin privately asked bond dealers and investors in October whether they want the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates or through faster cuts in its securities portfolio, six people familiar with the matter said; Mnuchin’s question could be seen as suggesting a way for the central bank to accomplish its goal of preventing a strong economy from overheating without triggering the ire of President Donald Trump
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has backed down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament, ditching moves to stop lawmakers trying to re-write her plans, according to an official. Risk of no-deal Brexit choking ports rising, U.K. lawmakers say
President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will meet over dinner Saturday evening in Buenos Aires marking a pivotal moment in the escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump-Xi meeting puts emerging markets on pain-or-pleasure watch
President Donald Trump renewed his attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, telling the Washington Post he’s “not even a little bit happy” with his choice to head the central bank
Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday sprinkled small doses of concern into otherwise upbeat assessments of the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Clarida backs Fed’s gradual hikes with neutral rate uncertain
The U.K.’s effort to rejoin a key World Trade Organization agreement that governs public procurement opportunities worth $1.7t a year gained provisional backing on Tuesday
Credit Suisse Group AG is set to make Madrid its post-Brexit trading hub in the European Union after initially planning to move only some investment banking positions to the Spanish capital from London, according to people with knowledge of the matter
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the budget negotiations with the European Union “won’t be easy,” as the government sticks to its spending plans, according to an interview published by Corriere della Sera
Asian equity markets traded mostly positive following a similar lead from Wall St. but with the session initially mired by lingering uncertainty regarding US-China trade relations. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) outperformed as the index coat-tailed on the recent advances in USD/JPY, while ASX 200 (-0.1%) was subdued by weakness in miners after the metals complex felt the brunt of the recent USD strength and with financials subdued by AMP Capital amid risk of further mischarging cases and provisions. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+1.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) were higher but with price action choppy in early trade amid tentativeness heading into the Trump-Xi showdown at this week’s G20 and as participants mulled over various comments from officials including White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who affirmed that Trump could hike tariffs if no constructive talks occur at G20 and that the White House is disappointed in China's response to the trade issue. However, Kudlow also noted that Trump is open to a deal with China and there were recent comments from China’s Vice Premier Liu that China wants a negotiated solution on trade based on mutual respect. Finally, 10yr JGBs weakened amid a lacklustre tone in T-note futures and with the BoJ’s presence in the bond market overshadowed by the outperformance of Japanese stocks. China's US envoy said selling or reducing purchases of US Treasuries would be very dangerous like playing with fire, while the envoy doesn't think anybody in Beijing is seriously thinking about pulling back from US Treasury debt market should tensions worsen. Furthermore, there were reports that China’s Ambassador to the US warned of dire consequences if the trade war leads to economic separation and that China prefers a negotiated solution, while the Ambassador warned that China will retaliate in proportion to any US sanctions regarding Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. Top Asian News - Bank of Thailand Minutes Signal an Interest-Rate Hike Is Coming - Furor Over Gene-Altered Babies Deepens With China Project Halted - Pakistan’s Umar Says No Hurry for IMF Deal as Talks Resume - Turkey Sinks to Last on Emerging-Market Scorecard; Malaysia Tops - Brookfield Is Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Dubai’s Meraas In a slightly choppy session thus far, European equities (Eurostoxx 50 +0.3%) have held on to opening gains seen in the wake of the upbeat US and Asia-Pac sessions, despite lingering trade concerns. The most recent interjection came from White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who commented that Trump is open to a deal with China and that the raising of tariffs to 25% is not a "certainty" but will be implemented if no constructive talks occur at the G20. In terms of sector specifics, IT names are the clear outperformers at this stage of the session with Wirecard (+1.3%) and Dialog Semiconductor (+3.1%) notable gainers in the tech-space after trying to recoup recent losses with not much else in the way of key newsflow. Noteworthy individual movers include EDF (+3.1%) with shares buoyed by reports that that a potential increase in the French government’s stake in the Co. would take place next year. To the downside, Tenaris (-8.2%), sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Co.’s chairman was indicted in a graft case, whilst Continental shares (-5.4%) have been weighed on by negative comments from Redburn who have warned over the group’s EBIT prospects in 2019. Top European News
Continental AG Falls After CFO Sees Margin Pressure Persisting
Italy Premier Says Social Stability Takes Priority Over Finances
LafargeHolcim Says Cost-Cutting Drive Will Lift 2019 Profit
Commerzbank, Helaba Are Said to Drop Out of NordLB Bidding
In FX, the DXY was off bet levels but retaining an underlying bid with supportive month end flows alongside HIA and SOMA redemption (24.9bln comes due on Friday) all impacting, while market participants keep a close eye on Fed Chair Powell’s speech scheduled for later today where he may stop the USD in its tracks or exacerbate the rally. The index has gained more ground above 97.000 to just over 97.500 before losing some momentum but still on the course to challenge the YTD high at 97.693, technically if not fundamentally. EUR: more choppy trade for the single currency with EUUSD trading around the middle of a 1.1267-1.1304 range having taken out stops at 1.1275. Italian politics keep weighing on the currency with the European Commission unimpressed as it will begin disciplinary actions on Italy regarding debt before Christmas. EU Commissioner Dombrovskis also added that a cut of 0.2% of the 2019 budget target is not enough. EUUSD is being drawn towards a large amount of option expiries between 1.1275 – 1.1300 (1.5bln). Looking ahead, markets will be keeping a close eye on the budget discussion between the Italian PM, two Deputy PM and Finance Minister for any hints of a budge towards EC’s direction. CAD – Another victim of the USD strength and global trade jitters as Trump’s economic advisor Kudlow said the USMCA agreement is to be signed on Friday at the G20 summit, but sticking points remain in regards to dairy. Note, choppy oil prices have hardly helped the Loonie slide to fresh multi-month lows around 1.3330. JPY - Edging closer to 114.00 vs. the buck with heavy option expiries around 113.50-55 (1.47bln) and 114.00 (1.9bln). EM – Mostly weaker as the greenback hold firm with RUB as the standout underperformer amid the ongoing escalation between Russia and Ukraine, though Germany and France stated they are against stricter Russian sanctions for now, while there were witness reports of a Russian minesweeper ship heading towards the Sea of Azov share by Russia and Ukraine. On the flip side, the Russian Central Bank governor emerged earlier with a hawkish tilt whilst keeping options open for the next meeting. Note, USD/RUB is at 67.4000. In commodities, Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market. Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive. Looking at the day ahead, the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results. US Event Calendar
7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -0.1%
8:30am: Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%, Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.1%
8:30am: GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 3.5%, prior 3.5%; Personal Consumption, est. 3.9%, prior 4.0%
8:30am: Core PCE QoQ, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6%
10am: New Home Sales, est. 575,000, prior 553,000
10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 15, prior 15
12pm: Fed’s Powell Speaks to Economic Club of New York
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap One thing I haven’t heard much about this year is a Santa Claus rally but the US has now had two up days in a row for the first time since mid month so maybe Santa is trying to get some momentum going. In fact given the conviction with which markets have moved in recent weeks, yesterday was a actually a rare calmer day with US equities opening lower but floating upward into their close. The S&P 500 ended +0.33% despite opening down -0.66%, while the DOW gained +0.44% and the NASDAQ closed flat. Attention continues to focus on this weekend’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi. The White House’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed today that the two leaders will have dinner on Saturday night at the G-20 in Buenos Aires. He said that “there is a good possibility that we can make a deal” and “I don’t want to go overboard, but he [Trump] has indicated some optimism.” So hopes are continuing to build, and emerging market equities, which would benefit from a benign trade outcome, outperformed yesterday gaining +0.70%. Apple continues to struggle and traded -0.22% lower yesterday as concerns continue regarding the company’s demand outlook and possible tariffs on components for their goods. Notably, Microsoft overtook it to become the world’s largest company by market cap again for the first time since October 2003! The last time Microsoft was larger than Apple was back in May 2010 (though at that time, Exxon Mobile was larger than either of the tech giants). Since Apple peaked in early October, it has shed around $300 billion of market cap, while Microsoft has shed ‘only’ $60 billion, or the equivalent of Pakistan’s GDP to the equivalent of Panama’s respectively. So in 7 weeks Apple has lost the entire annual GDP of a country with 197 million people in terms of market cap. Europe struggled after an early positive open to close slightly lower across the board with the STOXX 600 ending -0.26%. Part of the reason for the dip in Europe seemed to lie with a story in the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche (WiWo) which reported that President Trump may, as soon as next week, impose tariffs on cars imported into the US. However the details of the story appeared vague with the source also referencing “EU circles,” while the EU later rebutted the story. That said, autos lagged the wider market in the STOXX 600 yesterday with the sector down -2.52% with EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom also repeating the warning of the risk of US tariffs on cars. Making much less of impact on markets yesterday than his speech from two weeks ago were the comments from Fed Vice-Chair Clarida. It’s hard to argue that there was much new information for the market with many of his points a rehash from the October speech. Interestingly, there was no mention of financial conditions, global growth, or recent market volatility which is perhaps a touch hawkish at the margin, as it potentially signals the Fed isn’t hugely concerned about recent developments. Also, Clarida had previously outlined both upside and downside risks to the inflation outlook, but yesterday he dropped his reference to the downside scenario. The flip side however was Clarida’s mention that market- and survey-based measures of inflation expectations had slipped and also that, with an uncertain r-star, the Fed should infer its level from incoming market and economic data. Treasuries appeared fairly nonfussed though with 10-year yields moving as much as +1.8bps higher but quickly snapping back before ending the session close to flat at 3.055%. The USD index gained +0.31%. Later in the session, Chicago Fed President Evans highlighted that inflation is at target and said he favours getting policy back to neutral. The market did not react, but his comments are significant as he will be a voting member of the FOMC in 2019. His most recent vote was a dissent against the rate hike in December 2017. Staying with the Fed, today the baton passes to Fed Chair Powell when he speaks at the Economic Club of New York at 5pm GMT on “The Federal Reserve’s framework for monitoring financial stability.” Our US economists previously highlighted that they expect Powell to reiterate the Fed’s plan to get back to neutral. However, since Powell has previously emphasized that neutral is highly uncertain, they are also watching for any hints that Powell sees recent market developments and/or slower activity in rate sensitive sectors like housing and capex as evidence that neutral could be lower than previously thought. This morning in Asia markets are following Wall Street’s lead with Nikkei (+0.96%), Hang Seng (+0.91%), Shanghai Comp (+0.86%) and Kospi (+0.30%) all up with a rally largely driven by technology shares. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (+0.03%) are pointing towards a flat start. Moving on. Yesterday’s slew of data in the US was unlikely to move the dial for policy makers much at the Fed. The S&P CoreLogic National Home Price Index rose 0.33% mom and 5.15% yoy on a seasonally adjusted basis, roughly in line with expectations. The FHFA purchase only house price index rose +0.2%, the third weakest month since January 2015. Higher interest rates and tax changes continue to weigh on the housing sector. On the other hand, consumer confidence and the labour market continue to look strong, with the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index printing at 135.7 as expected, down 2.2pts but near its multi-decade high. The labour market subindex rose to 34.4, a new cycle high. In other news, the daily Italy update consisted of another comment from the League suggesting that the deficit could be lowered to the 2.2% to 2.3% range, this time from Armando Siri. Reuters also reported that EU government delegates are today expected to back the EC’s disciplinary move against Italy, however a formal disciplinary proceeding may not begin until February. Also out yesterday was an MNI article suggesting that the ECB might be willing to consider OMT as an option for Italy should spreads come under further pressure. The story did appear to be rightly ignored by the market however, especially considering that OMT is conditional on an ESM programme. We are not close to being there yet, even if our head of research David Folkerts-Landau believes that the ESM and structural reforms will need to eventually be negotiated together in a grand bargain to deal with the Italian problem (see the op-ed here from David). After a good run, BTPs were slightly weaker yesterday with two-year yields closing +3.3bps higher and 10-year yields +2.0bps. As we go to print Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported PM Conte as saying that dealing with the EU over the budget wont be easy while adding that Italy will push ahead with reforms as social stability is more important for Italy. Elsewhere, the EC VP Dombrovskis said in an interview with La Stampa that Italy needs a “significant correction” of its budget. Indeed as we’re pressing the send button HB is reporting that the EU will open deficit procedures before Christmas. So the pressure is still high even if the news flow has improved of late. Over to Brexit, where Prime Minister May continues to try to sell her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to the public and to lawmakers. The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, said yesterday that “as far as I can see, this [deal] is not going through parliament” and the pound dropped -0.73% versus the dollar, as passage looks less and less likely and a hangover from the Trump comments the previous night on it being a better deal for the EU and that it precludes a UK/US free trade deal percolated. Nevertheless, a reminder that we turned bullish on the pound on Monday due to two key factors: first, the Government will allow amendments during the legislation process, and second, Labour has signaled their willingness to work through the amendment channel rather than try to topple the government. Together, these ingredients should enable the ‘soft Brexit’ majority in Parliament to coalesce around a non-disruptive exit plan. Voting on the motion to accept or reject the Brexit deal will start in the House of Commons at 7 p.m. on December 11 but the “Meaningful Vote” debate will start on December 4. There will be five days of 8hrs debate, each led by a different cabinet minister. So we may get an idea of potential amendments from next week. As far as the day ahead is concerned, as noted earlier the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. This morning in Europe it’s quiet with December consumer confidence in Germany and the October M3 money supply reading for the Euro Area the only data due. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results.
Q: What is your relationship with Blockstream now? Are you in a Cold War? Your evaluation on BS was pretty high “If this amazing team offers you a job, you should take it,” tweeted Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist, Bitcoin Foundation.” But now, what’s your opinion on BS? A: I think everybody at Blockstream wants Bitcoin to succeed, and I respect and appreciate great work being done for Bitcoin by people at Blockstream. We strongly disagree on priorities and timing; I think the risks of increasing the block size limit right away are very small. I see evidence of people and businesses getting frustrated by the limit and choosing to use something else (like Ethereum or a private blockchain); it is impossible to know for certain how dangerous that is for Bitcoin, but I believe it is more danger than the very small risk of simply increasing or eliminating the block size limit.
Q: 1) Why insist on hard fork at only 75%? You once explained that it is possible to be controlled by 5% if we set the threshold at 95%. I agree, but there should be some balance here. 75% means a high risk in splitting, isn’t it too aggressive? Is it better if we set it to 90%? A: 1)The experience of the last two consensus changes is that miners very quickly switch once consensus reaches 75% -- the last soft fork went from 75% support to well over 95% support in less than one week. So I’m very confident that miners will all upgrade once the 75% threshold is reached, and BIP109 gives them 28 days to do so. No miner wants to create blocks that will not be accepted by the network. Q: 2) How to solve the potentially very large blocks problem Classic roadmap may cause, and furthur causing the centralization of nodes in the future? A: 2)Andreas Antonopoulos gave a great talk recently about how people repeatedly predicted that the Internet would fail to scale. Smart engineers proved them wrong again and again, and are still busy proving them wrong today (which is why I enjoy streaming video over my internet connection just about every night). I began my career working on 3D graphics software, and saw how quickly we went from being able to draw very simple scenes to today’s technology that is able to render hundreds of millions of triangles per second. Processing financial transactions is much easier than simulating reality. Bitcoin can easily scale to handle thousands of transactions per second, even on existing computers and internet connections, and even without the software optimizations that are already planned. Q: 3) Why do you not support the proposal of RBF by Satoshi, and even plan to remove it in Classic completely? A: 3) Replace-by-fee should be supported by most of the wallets people are using before it is supported by the network. Implementing replace-by-fee is very hard for a wallet, especially multi-signature and hardware wallets that might not be connected to the network all of the time. When lots of wallet developers start saying that replace-by-fee is a great idea, then supporting it at the network level makes sense. Not before. Q: 4) . Your opinion on soft fork SegWit, sidechain, lighnting network. Are you for or against, please give brief reasons. Thanks. A: 4) The best way to be successful is to let people try lots of different things. Many of them won’t be successful, but that is not a problem as long as some of them are successful. I think segregated witness is a great idea. It would be a little bit simpler as a hard fork instead of a soft fork (it would be better to put the merkle root for the witness data into the merkle root in the block header instead of putting it inside a transaction), but overall the design is good. I think sidechains are a good idea, but the main problem is finding a good way to keep them secure. I think the best uses of sidechains will be to publish “write-only” public information involving bitcoin. For example, I would like to see a Bitcoin exchange experiment with putting all bids and asks and trades on a sidechain that they secure themselves, so their customers can verify that their orders are being carried out faithfully and nobody at the exchanges is “front-running” them. Q: 5) Can you share your latest opinion on Brainwallet? It is hard for new users to use long and complex secure passphrase, but is it a good tool if it solves this problem? A: 5) We are very, very bad at creating long and complex passphrases that are random enough to be secure. And we are very good at forgetting things. We are much better at keeping physical items secure, so I am much more excited about hardware wallets and paper wallets than I am about brain wallets. I don’t trust myself to keep any bitcoin in a brain wallet, and do not recommend them for anybody else, either.
Q: Gavin, do you have bitcoins now? What is your major job in MIT? Has FBI ever investigated on you? When do you think SHA256 might be outdated, it seems like it has been a bit unsafe? A: Yes, a majority of my own person wealth is still in bitcoins -- more than a financial advisor would say is wise. My job at MIT is to make Bitcoin better, in whatever way I think best. That is the same major job I had at the Bitcoin Foundation. Sometimes I think the best way to make Bitcoin better is to write some code, sometimes to write a blog post about what I see happening in the Bitcoin world, and sometimes to travel and speak to people. The FBI (or any other law enforcement agency) has never investigated me, as far as I know. The closest thing to an investigation was an afternoon I spent at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. They were interested in how I and the other Bitcoin developers created the software and how much control we have over whether or not people choose to run the software that we create. “Safe or unsafe” is not the way to think about cryptographic algorithms like SHA256. They do not suddenly go from being 100% secure for everything to completely insecure for everything. I think SHA256 will be safe enough to use in the all ways that Bitcoin is using it for at least ten years, and will be good enough to be used as the proof-of-work algorithm forever. It is much more likely that ECDSA, the signature algorithm Bitcoin is using today, will start to become less safe in the next ten or twenty years, but developer are already working on replacements (like Schnorr signatures).
Q: It’s a pleasure to meet you. I only have one question. Which company are you serving? or where do you get your salary? A: The Media Lab at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) pays my salary; I don’t receive regular payments from anybody else. I have received small amounts of stock options in exchange for being a techical advisor to several Bitcoin companies (Coinbase, BitPay, Bloq, Xapo, Digital Currency Group, CoinLab, TruCoin, Chain) which might be worth money some day if one or more of those companies do very well. I make it very clear to these companies that my priority is to make Bitcoin better, and my goal in being an advisor to them is to learn more about the problems they face as they try to bring Bitcoin to more of their customers. And I am sometimes (once or twice a year) paid to speak at events.
Q: Would you mind share your opinion on lightning network? Is it complicated to implement? Does it need hard fork? A: Lightning does not need a hard fork. It is not too hard to implement at the Bitcoin protocol level, but it is much more complicated to create a wallet capable of handling Lightning network payments properly. I think Lightning is very exciting for new kinds of payments (like machine-to-machine payments that might happen hundreds of times per minute), but I am skeptical that it will be used for the kinds of payments that are common on the Bitcoin network today, because they will be more complicated both for wallet software and for people to understand.
Q: 1) There has been a lot of conferences related to blocksize limit. The two took place in HongKong in Decemeber of 2015 and Feberary of 2016 are the most important ones. Despite much opposition, it is undeniable that these two meetings basically determines the current status of Bitcoin. However, as the one of the original founders of Bitcoin, why did you choose to not attend these meetings? If you have ever attended and opposed gmax’s Core roadmap (SegWit Priority) in one of the meetings, we may be in a better situation now, and the 2M hard fork might have already begun. Can you explain your absence in the two meetings? Do you think the results of both meetings are orchestrated by blockstream? A: 1) I attended the first scaling conference in Montreal in September of 2015, and had hoped that a compromise had been reached. A few weeks after that conference, it was clear to me that whatever compromise had been reached was not going to happen, so it seemed pointless to travel all the way to Hong Kong in December for more discussion when all of the issues had been discussed repeatedly since February of 2015. The February 2016 Hong Kong meeting I could not attend because I was invited only a short time before it happened and I had already planned a vacation with my family and grandparents. I think all of those conferences were orchestrated mainly by people who do not think raising the block size limit is a high priority, and who want to see what problems happen as we run into the limit. Q: 2) We have already known that gmax tries to limit the block size so as to get investment for his company. However, it is obvious that overthrowing Core is hard in the short term. What if Core continues to dominate the development of Bitcoin? Is it possible that blockstream core will never raise the blocksize limit because of their company interests? A: 2) I don’t think investment for his company is Greg’s motivation-- I think he honestly believes that a solution like lightning is better technically. He may be right, but I think it would be better if he considered that he might also be wrong, and allowed other solutions to be tried at the same time. Blockstream is a funny company, with very strong-willed people that have different opinions. It is possible they will never come to an agreement on how to raise the blocksize limit.
Q: I would like to ask your opinion on the current situation. It’s been two years, but a simple 2MB hard fork could not even be done. In Bitcoin land, two years are incredibly long. Isn’t this enough to believe this whole thing is a conspiracy? A: I don’t think it is a conspiracy, I think it is an honest difference of opinion on what is most important to do first, and a difference in opinion on risks and benefits of doing different things. Q: How can a multi-billion network with millions of users and investors be choked by a handful of people? How can this be called decentrilized and open-source software anymore? It is so hard to get a simple 2MB hard fork, but SegWig and Lighting Network with thousands of lines of code change can be pushed through so fast. Is this normal? It is what you do to define if you are a good man, not what you say. A: I still believe good engineers will work around whatever unnecessary barriers are put in their way-- but it might take longer, and the results will not be as elegant as I would prefer. The risk is that people will not be patient and will switch to something else; the recent rapid rise in developer interest and price of Ethereum should be a warning. Q: The problem now is that everybody knows Classic is better, however, Core team has controlled the mining pools using their powers and polical approaches. This made them controll the vast majority of the hashpower, no matter what others propose. In addition, Chinese miners have little communication with the community, and do not care about the developement of the system. Very few of them knows what is going on in the Bitcoin land. They almost handed over their own power to the mining pool, so as long as Core controls the pools, Core controls the whole Bitcoin, no matter how good your Classic is. Under this circumstance, what is your plan? A: Encourage alternatives to Core. If they work better (if they are faster or do more) then Core will either be replaced or will have to become better itself. I am happy to see innovations happening in projects like Bitcoin Unlimited, for example. And just this week I see that Matt Corallo will be working on bringing an optmized protocol for relaying blocks into Core; perhaps that was the plan all along, or perhaps the “extreme thin blocks” work in Bitcoin Unlimited is making that a higher priority. In any case, competition is healthy. Q: From this scaling debate, do you think there is a huge problem with Bitcoin development? Does there exsit development centrilization? Does this situation need improvment? For example, estabilish a fund from Bitcoin as a fundation. It can be used for hiring developers and maintainers, so that we can solve the development issue once and for all. A: I think the Core project spends too much time thinking about small probability technical risks (like “rogue miners” who create hard-to-validate blocks or try to send invalid blocks to SPV wallets) and not enough time thinking about much larger non-technical risks. And I think the Core project suffers from the common open source software problem of “developers developing for developers.” The projects that get worked on are the technically interesting projects-- exciting new features (like the lightning network), and not improving the basic old features (like improving network performance or doing more code review and testing). I think the situation is improving, with businesses investing more in development (but perhaps not in the Core project, because the culture of that project has become much less focused on short-term business needs and more on long-term exciting new features). I am skeptical that crowd-funding software development can work well; if I look at other successful open source software projects, they are usually funded by companies, not individuals.
You are one of the most-repected person in Bitcoin world, I won’t miss the chance to ask some questions. First of all, I am a Classic supporter. I strongly believe that on-chain transcations should not be restrained artificially. Even if there are transcations that are willing to go through Lighting Network in the future, it should be because of a free market, not because of artificial restrication. Here are some of my questions: Q: 1) For the past two years, you’ve been proposing to Core to scale Bitcoin. In the early days of the discussion, Core devs did agree that the blocksize should be raised. What do you think is the major reason for Core to stall scaling. Does there exist conflict of interest between Blockstream and scaling? A: 1) There might be unconscious bias, but I think there is just a difference of opinion on priorities and timing. Q: 2) One of the reason for the Chinese to refuse Classic is that Classic dev team is not technically capable enough for future Bitcoin development. I also noticed that Classic does have a less frequent code release compared to Core. In your opinion, is there any solution to these problems? Have you ever thought to invite capable Chinese programers to join Classic dev team? A: 2) The great thing about open source software is if you don’t think the development team is good enough (or if you think they are working on the wrong things) you can take the software and hire a better team to improve it. Classic is a simple 2MB patch on top of Core, so it is intentional that there are not a lot of releases of Classic. The priority for Classic right now is to do things that make working on Classic better for developers than working on Core, with the goal of attracting more developers. You can expect to see some results in the next month or two. I invite capable programmers from anywhere, including China, to help any of the teams working on open source Bitcoin software, whether that is Classic or Core or Unlimited or bitcore or btcd or ckpool or p2pool or bitcoinj. Q: 3) Another reason for some of the Chinese not supporting Classic is that bigger blocks are more vulnerable to spam attacks. (However, I do think that smaller blocks are more vlunerable to spam attack, because smaller amount of money is needed to choke the blockchain.) What’s our opinion on this? A: 3) The best response to a transaction spam attack is for the network to reject transactions that pay too little fees but to simply absorb any “spam” that is paying as much fees as regular transactions. The goal for a transaction spammer is to disrupt the network; if there is room for extra transactions in blocks, then the network can just accept the spam (“thank you for the extra fees!”) and continue as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. Nothing annoys a spammer more than a network that just absorbs the extra transactions with no harmful effects. Q: 4) According to your understanding on lighting network and sidechains,if most Bitcoin transactions goes throught lighting network or sidechains, it possible that the fees paid on the these network cannot reach the main-chain miners, which leaves miners starving. If yes, how much percent do you think will be given to miners. A: 4) I don’t know, it will depend on how often lightning network channels are opened and closed, and that depends on how people choose to use lightning. Moving transactions off the main chain and on to the lightning network should mean less fees for miners, more for lightning network hubs. Hopefully it will also mean lower fees for users, which will make Bitcoin more popular, drive up the price, and make up for the lower transaction fees paid to miners. Q: 5) The concept of lighting network and sidechains have been out of one or two years already, when do you think they will be fully deployed. A: 5) Sidechains are already “fully deployed” (unless you mean the version of sidechains that doesn’t rely on some trusted gateways to move bitcoin on and off the sidechain, which won’t be fully deployed for at least a couple of years). I haven’t seen any reports of how successful they have been. I think Lightning will take longer than people estimate. Seven months ago Adam Back said that the lightning network might be ready “as soon as six months from now” … but I would be surprised if there was a robust, ready-for-everybody-to-use lightning-capable wallet before 2018. Q: 6)Regarding the hard fork, Core team has assumed that it will cause a chain-split. (Chinese miners are very intimitated by this assumption, I think this is the major reason why most of the Chinese mining pools are not switching to Classic). Do you think Bitcoin will have a chain-split? A: 6) No, there will not be a chain split. I have not talked to a single mining pool operator, miner, exchange, or major bitcoin business who would be willing to mine a minority branch of the chain or accept bitcoins from a minority branch of the main chain. Q: 7) From your point of view, do you think there is more Classic supporters or Core supporters in the U.S.? A: 7) All of the online opinion pools that have been done show that a majority of people worldwide support raising the block size limit.
Q: Which is more in line with the Satoshi’s original roadmap, Bitcoin Classic or Bitcoin Core? How to make mining pools support and adopt Bitcoin Classic? A: Bitcoin Classic is more in line with Satoshi’s original roadmap. We can’t make the mining pools do anything they don’t want to do, but they are run by smart people who will do what they think is best for their businesses and Bitcoin.
Q: Do you have any solution for mining centralization? What do you think about the hard fork of changing mining algorithms? A: I have a lot of thoughts on mining centralization; it would probably take ten or twenty pages to write them all down. I am much less worried about mining centralization than most of the other developers, because Satoshi designed Bitcoin so miners make the most profit when they do what is best for Bitcoin. I have also seen how quickly mining pools come and go; people were worried that the DeepBit mining pool would become too big, then it was GHash.io… And if a centralized mining pool does become too big and does something bad, the simplest solution is for businesses or people to get together and create or fund a competitor. Some of the big Bitcoin exchanges have been seriously considering doing exactly that to support raising the block size limit, and that is exactly the way the system is supposed to work-- if you don’t like what the miners are doing, then compete with them! I think changing the mining algorithm is a complicated solution to a simple problem, and is not necessary.
Q: Last time you came to China, you said you want to "make a different". I know that in USA the opposition political party often hold this concept, in order to prevent the other party being totally dominant. Bitcoin is born with a deep "make a different" nature inside. But in Chinese culture, it is often interpreted as split “just for the sake of splitting”, can you speak your mind on what is your meaning of "make a different"? A: I started my career in Silicon Valley, where there is a lot of competition but also a lot of cooperation. The most successful companies find a way to be different than their competitors; it is not a coincidence that perhaps the most successful company in the world (Apple Computer) had the slogan “think different.” As Bitcoin gets bigger (and I think we all agree we want Bitcoin to get bigger!) it is natural for it to split and specialize; we have already seen that happening, with lots of choices for different wallets, different exchanges, different mining chips, different mining pool software.
Q: 1) The development of XT and Classic confirmed my thoughts that it is nearly impossible to use a new version of bitcoin to replace the current bitcoin Core controlled by Blockstream. I think we will have to live with the power of Blockstream for a sufficient long time. It means we will see the deployment of SegWit and Lighting network. If it really comes to that point, what will you do? Will you also leave like Mike Hearn? A: 1) With the development of Blockchain, bitcoin will grow bigger and bigger without any doubts, And also there will be more and more companies related to the bitcoin network. When it comes to money, there will be a lot of fights between these companies. Is it possible to form some kind of committee to avoid harmful fights between these companies and also the situation that a single company controlling the direction of the bitcoin development? Is there any one doing this kind of job right now? Q: 2) My final question would be, do you really think it is possible that we can have a decentralized currency? Learning from the history, it seems like every thing will become centralized as long as it involves human. Do you have any picture for a decentralized currency or even a society? Thanks. A: 2) I think you might be surprised at what most people are running a year or three from now. Perhaps it will be a future version of Bitcoin Core, but I think there is a very good chance another project will be more successful. I remember when “everybody” was running Internet Explorer or Firefox, and people thought Google was crazy to think that Chrome would ever be a popular web browser. It took four years for Chrome to become the most popular web browser. In any case, I plan on working on Bitcoin related projects for at least another few years. Eventually it will become boring or I will decide I need to take a couple of years of and think about what I want to do next. As for fights between companies: there are always fights between companies, in every technology. There are organizations like the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) that try to create committees so engineers at companies can spend more time cooperating and less time fighting; I’m told by people who participate in IETF meetings that they are usually helpful and create useful standards more often than not. Finally, yes, I do think we can have a “decentralized-enough” currency. A currency that might be controlled at particular times by a small set of people or companies, but that gives everybody else the ability to take control if those people or businesses misbehave.
Hi Gavin, I have some questions: Q: 1) I noticed there are some new names added to the classic team list. Most people here only know you and Jeff. Can you briefly introduce some others to the Chinese community? A: 1) Tom Zander has been acting as lead developer, and is an experienced C++ developer who worked previously on the Qt and Debian open source projects. Pedro Pinheiro is on loan from Blockchain.info, and has mostly worked on continuous integration and testing for Classic. Jon Rumion joined recently, and has been working on things that will make life for developers more pleasant (I don’t want to be more specific, I don’t want to announce things before they are finished in case they don’t work out). Jeff has been very busy starting up Bloq, so he hasn’t been very active with Classic recently. I’ve also been very busy traveling (Barbados, Idaho, London and a very quick trip to Beijing) so haven’t been writing much code recently. Q: 2) if bitcoin classic succeeded (>75% threshold), what role would you play in the team after the 2MB upgrade finished, as a leader, a code contributor, a consultant, or something else? A: 2)Contributor and consultant-- I am trying not to be leader of any software project right now, I want to leave that to other people who are better at managing and scheduling and recruiting and all of the other things that need to be done to lead a software project. Q: 3) if bitcoin classic end up failed to achieve mainstream adoption (<75% 2018), will you continue the endeavor of encouraging on-chain scaling and garden-style growth of bitcoin? A: 3) Yes. If BIP109 does not happen, I will still be pushing to get a good on-chain solution to happen as soon as possible. Q: 4) Have you encountered any threat in your life, because people would think you obviously have many bitcoins, like what happened to Hal Finney (RIP), or because some people have different ideas about what bitcoin's future should be? A: 4) No, I don’t think I have received any death threats. It upsets me that other people have. Somebody did threaten to release my and my wife’s social security numbers and other identity information if I did not pay them some bitcoins a couple of years ago. I didn’t pay, they did release our information, and that has been a little inconvenient at times. Q: 5) Roger Ver (Bitcoin Jesus) said bitcoin would worth thousands of dollars. Do you have similar thoughts? If not, what is your opinion on bitcoin price in future? A: 5) I learned long ago to give up trying to predict the price of stocks, currencies, or Bitcoin. I think the price of Bitcoin will be higher in ten years, but I might be wrong. Q: 6) You've been to China. What's your impression about the country, people, and the culture here? Thank you! A: 6) I had a very quick trip to Beijing a few weeks ago-- not nearly long enough to get a good impression of the country or the culture. I had just enough time to walk around a little bit one morning, past the Forbidden City and walk around Tianmen Square. There are a LOT of people in China, I think the line to go into the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall was the longest I have ever seen! Beijing reminded me a little bit of London, with an interesting mix of the very old with the very new. The next time I am in China I hope I can spend at least a few weeks and see much more of the country; I like to be in a place long enough so that I really can start to understand the people and cultures.
Q: Dear Gavin, How could I contact you, we have an excellent team and good plans. please confirm your linkedin. A: Best contact for me is [email protected] : but I get lots of email, please excuse me if your messages get lost in the flood. 15. satoshi Q: Gavin, you've been both core and classic code contributor. Are there any major differences between the two teams, concerning code testing (quality control) and the release process of new versions? A: Testing and release processes are the same; a release candidate is created and tested, and once sufficiently tested, a final release is created, cryptographically signed by several developers, and then made available for download. The development process for Classic will be a little bit different, with a ‘develop’ branch where code will be pulled more quickly and then either fixed or reverted based on how testing goes. The goal is to create a more developer-friendly process, with pull requests either accepted or rejected fairly quickly.
I am a bitcoin enthusiast and a coin holder. I thank you for your great contribution to bitcoin. Please allow me to state some of my views before asking:
I'm on board with classic
I support the vision to make bitcoin a powerful currency that could compete with Visa
I support segwit, so I'll endorse whichever version of bitcoin implementation that upgrades to segwit, regardless of block size.
I disagree with those who argue bitcoin main blockchain should be a settlement network with small blocks. My view is that on the main chain btc should function properly as a currency, as well as a network for settlement.
I'm against the deployment of LN on top of small block sized blockchain. Rather, it should be built on a chain with bigger blocks.
I also won’t agree with the deployment of many sidechains on top of small size block chain. Rather, those sidechains should be on chain with bigger blocks.
With that said, below are my questions: Q: 1) If bitcoin is developed following core's vision, and after the 2020 halving which cuts block reward down to 6.125BTC, do you think the block transaction fee at that time will exceed 3BTC? A: 1) If the block limit is not raised, then no, I don’t think transaction fees will be that high. Q: 2) If bitcoin is developed following classic's vision, and after the 2020 halving which cuts block reward down to 6.125BTC, do you think the block transaction fee at that time will exceed 3BTC? A: 2) Yes, the vision is lots of transactions, each paying a very small fee, adding up to a big total for the miners. Q: 3) If bitcoin is developed following core's vision, do you think POW would fail in future, because the mining industry might be accounted too low value compared with that of the bitcoin total market, so that big miners could threaten btc market and gain profit by shorting? *The questioner further explained his concern. Currently, its about ~1.1 billion CNY worth of mining facilities protecting ~42 billion CNY worth (6.5 Billion USD) of bitcoin market. The ratio is ~3%. If bitcoin market cap continues to grow and we adopt layered development plan, the mining portion may decrease, pushing the ratio go even down to <1%, meaning we are using very small money protecting an huge expensive system. For example, in 2020 if bitcoin market cap is ~100 billion CNY, someone may attempt to spend ~1 billion CNY bribe/manipulate miners to attack the network, thus making a great fortune by shorting bitcoin and destroying the ecosystem. A: 3) Very good question, I have asked that myself. I have asked people if they know if there have been other cases where people destroyed a company or a market to make money by shorting it -- as far as I know, that does not happen. Maybe because it is impossible to take a large short position and remain anonymous, so even if you were successful, you would be arrested for doing whatever you did to destroy the company or market (e.g. blow up a factory to destroy a company, or double-spend fraud to try to destroy Bitcoin). Q: 4) If bitcoin is developed following classic's vision, will the blocks become too big that kill decentralization? A: 4) No, if you look at how many transactions the typical Internet connection can support, and how many transactions even a smart phone can validate per second, we can support many more transactions today with the hardware and network connections we have now. And hardware and network connections are getting faster all the time. Q: 5) In theory, even if we scale bitcoin with just LN and sidechains, the main chain still needs blocks with size over 100M, in order to process the trading volume matching Visa's network. So does core have any on-chain scaling plan other than 2MB? Or Core does not plan to evolve bitcoin into something capable of challenging visa? A: 5) Some of the Core developer talk about a “flexcap” solution to the block size limit, but there is no specific proposal. I think it would be best to eliminate the limit all together. That sounds crazy, but the most successful Internet protocols have no hard upper limits (there is no hard limit to how large a web page may be, for example), and no protocol limit is true to Satoshi’s original design. Q: 6) If (the majority of) hash rate managed to switch to Classic in 2018, will the bitcoin community witness the deployment of LN in two years (~2018)? A: 6) The bottleneck with Lightning Network will be wallet support, not support down at the Bitcoin protocol level. So I don’t think the deployment schedule of LN will be affected much whether Classic is adopted or not. Q: 7) If (majority) hash rate upgraded to blocks with segwit features in 2017 as specified in core's roadmap, would classic propose plans to work on top of that (blocks with segwit)? Or insist developing simplified segwit blocks as described in classic's roadmap? A: 7) Classic will follow majority hash rate. It doesn’t make sense to do anything else. Q: 8) If most hash rate is still on core's side before 2018, will you be disappointed with bitcoin, and announce that bitcoin has failed like what Mike did, and sell all your stashed coins at some acceptable price? A: 8) No-- I have said that I think if the block size limit takes longer to resolve, that is bad for Bitcoin in the short term, but smart engineers will work around whatever road blocks you put in front of them. I see Bitcoin as a long-term project. Q: 9) If we have most hash rate switched to classic's side before 2018, what do you think will be the fate of Blockstream company? A: 9) I think Blockstream might lose some employees, but otherwise I don’t think it will matter much. They are still producing interesting technology that might become a successful business. Q: 10) If we have most hash rate still on core's side before 2018, what do you think will be the fate of Blockstream company? A: 10) I don’t think Blockstream’s fate depends on whether or not BIP109 is adopted. It depends much more on whether or not they find customers willing to pay for the technology that they are developing. Q: 11) If we have most hash rate still on core's side before 2018, what do you think will be the fate of companies that support classic, such as Coinbse, bitpay, and Blockchain.info? A: 11) We have already seen companies like Kraken support alternative currencies (Kraken supports Litecoin and Ether); if there is no on-chain scaling solution accepted by the network, I think we will see more companies “hedging their bets” by supporting other currencies that have a simpler road map for supporting more transactions. Q: 12) If we have most hash rate switched to classic's side before 2018, will that hinder the development of sidechain tech? What will happen to companies like Rockroot(Rootstock?) ? A: 12) No, I think the best use of sidechains is for things that might be too risky for the main network (like Rootstock) or are narrowly focused on a small number of Bitcoin users. I don’t think hash rate supporting Classic will have any effect on that. Q: 13) Between the two versions of bitcoin client, which one is more conducive to mining industry, classic or core? A: 13) I have been working to make Classic better for the mining industry, but right now they are almost identical so it would be dishonest to say one is significantly better than the other.
Q: Gavin, can you describe what was in your mind when you first learned bitcoin? A: I was skeptical that it could actually work! I had to read everything I could about it, and then read the source code before I started to think that maybe it could actually be successful and was not a scam.
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