The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin: Joule

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.


BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.
Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.
Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.
For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]

Mining pools are socialist

Hi Bitcoin geeks! I noticed a funny fact in the way cryptocurrency mining works... Given that the rewards for mining Bitcoin are basically random, and that you would have to control a vast amount of computing power to make it worth your while to mine "solo", most miners have joined mining pools which redistribute rewards in a much more predictable and stable way. But isn't this precisely the underlying logic of the idea of socialism?
Take the example of single payer healthcare, which uses the reverse logic to rewards: if you posit that each human being is exposed to an equal "risk" of certain diseases like cancer or breaking a leg by slipping on new ice, it makes perfect sense to all pay a relatively low amount to a single payer health insurance rather than run the risk of paying a huge amount should you be unlucky. Of course, you could say that it's not all that random etc. But if we start from the premise that it is, then it's the same thing!
The same for fire insurance, or unemployment benefits... You pool your resources together in order to avoid being the "sucker" if you are unlucky enough to have your house catch fire or be fired from work...
I found it interesting because many Bitcoin users are of the "Anarchic" or "Anarcho-capitalist" type. So it's quite funny that they are willing to socialize gains rather than leave things to "chance", but not socialize losses (where it's about each person covering his/her own risk)... :-D Any thoughts?
submitted by Marmamus to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

November Announcement

Parallel Paths for BiblePay - Future IT and Roadmap
By: Rob Andrews - Founder

We learned a lot in 2018 that was not readily apparent during launch, and as in all businesses, we need to make adjustments in order to be viable. Our core vision is not changing: We still benefit orphans by giving 10% of our monthly emission, we are partially green on our mining side (our cancer miners are doing valuable work), we are CPU based - therefore anyone can mine us, we are Christian at our core - but appeal to everyone as a utility, we are deflationary and appeal to conscious investors who would like to see a more Christian investment, we have an intelligent team capable of taking us to our destination, we spread the gospel through the blockchain, and we innovate new gospel features.

However, with the rapid pace of changes in this space, it is understandable we need to make some changes unless we wish to stagnate.

One major change to our roadmap is our official position on Stratis. Although we still stand behind stratis and their core mission, and wish to remain informed and align ourselves with the potential value in the stratis codebase, many factors influence using stratis-c# as the primary production platform. The considerations being evaluated include: The latest bitcoin security commits, segwit, BLS and BLS secret-sharing, Dash's evolution commits, the lightning network, on chain storage, etc. In general, I want to first give kudos to the main devs of stratis. They are doing something almost impossible in order to get stratis to be compatible with the latest bitcoin version. Where we have to make our decision however, is weighing the benefits of the most cutting edge - to be released features in bitcoin and dash. Biblepay has discovered that it needs certain boilerplate abilities, and, pending IPFS integration, maps to IPFS, Segwit and potentially some of the latest Dash features (for reasons explained later).

Additionally, there are over 100 features that have been added to bitcoin and dash-QT, that the existing features users have become very accustomed to (for example coin control), the HD wallets supporting features, etc. In light of this, I will be recommending that we adjust our roadmap to move stratis to 'R&D (research and development)' for future consideration and integration, but we move the Dash rebase to our more short term priorities. The goal is for us to do the due diligence on rebasing biblepay to have the latest dash features, so that we can leverage some of the latest features to store our IPFS relationship in a more resilient manner (IE our business objects). In summary, this means pushing Stratis out to 2022 and considering it an R&D project, and moving Dash Rebase to June 2019. Also relying on Dash's release as our PR event to be released with any other large BBP feature that is worthy of a giant PR event.

Changes for IPFS:
IPFS allows BiblePay to store files on our own network in a decentralized way. To use IPFS efficiently, we need to become a private IPFS network. This requires two additional features to be added to our core (private swarming and leased-pinning).

NOTE: R&D test cases have proven IPFS can run in its own private network with a BiblePay swarm key, can auto-pin successfully, and IPFS mining can be made provable with range requests.

Reasons for IPFS:
There are many very useful reasons biblepay would want IPFS: Allows us to store business objects (think letters, expenses, revenue, contacts, object-votes, gospel-links, Christian-video-uploads, etc). Realize that storing business objects gives BiblePay a revenue stream. A revenue stream cements BiblePay as a utility - and that is important over the long term so that we always pass the Howey test. Passing the Howey test allows us to be listed on the largest most credible exchanges. It also shields us from legal damage, and allows us to partner with the most credible partners.

Reasons IPFS cannot be at the Sanctuary level:
There are very important reasons to first explain that Sanctuary investments are important for BiblePay's sustainability (investors buy sancs for ROI, and that allows us to fund our orphan operations). However, the harder we make biblepay to setup sancs, the harder it is for an investor to gain access to the investment. Therefore, to continue to be compatible with turnkey masternode services such as GIN and Apollon, we must not force hard requirements on sancs, such as requiring them to host IPFS files. If we do require a sanc to host a public IPFS node (with firewall requirements, public data sharing) we also risk a model that penalizes sanc payments when some 'investor' sancs do not perform. Therefore it is recommended to leave Sanctuaries as they are; not hosting IPFS files.

Reasons IPFS should be at the mining level:
So that we can offer turnkey Sanctuaries, we may offer IPFS mining.

The concept of a content economy:
The content economy is a concept Rob is considering for BiblePay. This is an environment where the user becomes more of a Christian community member. In this model, users are rewarded in BBP for doing important tasks, such as watching a Christian video upload and voting on it. (The users UTXO weight in the vote would drive the net vote weight, as the assumption is those with more weight hold more voting power). Consider that one with low weight could otherwise destroy the credibility of the poll-object.

In this model, Christians find worthy youtube videos that edify other users, and upload the video in the 'Christian Video upload page'. Most of the rewards would be paid by distinct UTXO weight to the voters. This would reward those that spend the time in evaluating items with the actual rewards.
(We will need to discuss giving the ability to cite bad votes from one community member to another, such as : Report Voter - with enough votes against a member we may consider adjusting a voters reputation score).

Outgoing orphan letters may also be voted in the same way (IE in general, any object marked as votable will have a voting list available, and apt for rewards).
Pay-to-preach sermons can be recorded by a community member and uploaded as a Christian video. The video would be voted in an identical way as other Christian video uploads. Rob is working on testing an opensource video upload tool to be integrated in that will automatically convert a youtube video into an IPFS document upload.

One of the goals of the content-economy is to make BiblePay a platform that appeals to Christians so they feel comfortable to come back and actually check it for new content.I envision making BiblePay into a useful platform, one in which Christian's feel compelled to regularly use.One of the use cases I envision is having members pick a very edifying subject, such as Rapture, and uploading Christian videos only on Rapture for the Rapture area. Then, those interested in Rapture log in every day and follow the Rapture area, etc. Other areas such as end-time-visions, can be created etc.
To have PODC or No-PODC:Realize, that IPFS mining will only affect the heat miners. IPFS mining modifies POBH to be IPFS-POBH mining, a greener blend - and PODC still exists in this scenario and plays well with IPFS.

However, one concept we will be discussing in a new dedicated forum thread is the viability of POOM (proof of orphan mining). This is only a concept, and could potentially replace PODC. The core of the concept is re-directing the electric costs used for PODC into personal monthly orphan sponsorships. And creating a sanctuary review process to individually approve each individual orphan receipt (with a governance vote good for 30 days). In this scenario, we trade the PODC electric expenses for monthly orphan sponsorships, which could be very valuable for our community - since it is estimated that we could sponsor over 1000 monthly orphans with the equiv. electric savings. (POOM is also interesting in the sense that it solves our centralized fiat-liquidation vendor payment risk issue(s)).

What are the devs working on:

Additional updates:

submitted by tdashmike to BiblePay [link] [comments]

Coin-a-'Week': Dogecoin

So...this is getting lazier and lazier. I've had a lot of other things going on in my life, so I haven't gotten to doing this update. Sorry. I'm hoping to get back to doing a post a week updating the archives of coinaday.
For a behind-the-scenes view of lazy coverage (spoiler: not really any behind-the-scenes activity at this point), send a message to coinaday (that's me) or /coinaweek (also obviously me) or request a subscription in the comments.
Coin-a-Day Jan 2ndWeek April 10th
Welcome to the second Coin-a-DayCoin-a-Week post! Today's coin is Dogecoin (DOGE).
• ~9799 billion currently; ~5.2 billion added per year [1]
• All-time high: ~$0.002 [2]
• Current price: ~$0.000185 (0.00000059 BTC (59 satoshi)) $ 0.000114 / 47 satoshi [3]
• Current market cap: ~$18$11.3 million [3]
• Block rate (average): 1 minute [4]
• Transaction rate: 16,89047,673 transactions in the last 24 hours, estimated $15.2$2.7 million [5] (???)
• Transaction limit (current): 70 / second [6]
• Transaction cost: 1 DOGE for single input/output; 1 DOGE per extra? [7]
• Rich list: Top 100 addresses hold 21.03%43% (!!) [8]
• Exchanges: Many [9] Also direct sellers which aren't listed.
• Community: Very active and friendly, centered around /dogecoin
• Processing method: Proof-of-work; paid with block reward + transaction fee
• Code / development: ; three core developers; active, friendly, and knowledgeable ; dogetipbot is first to allow direct guilding of comments
• Distribution method: mining
• Innovation or special value: Fun and friendly community
Yesterday we covered the "gold standard" of cryptocurrencies, [Bitcoin]. Today we will introduce the "copper": Dogecoin. DOGE started out essentially as a joke and has become surprisingly popular. Its unique value is primarily its community, centered around /dogecoin.
Dogecoin also is unusual for having a very large number of coins, almost 100 billion at the moment, and having no limit, but instead adding a fixed number every year. This has led to a far lower cost per coin, and may be a part of encouraging generosity with the coin.
Dogecoin transactions are also very fast, with a target of 1 minute for blocks rather than 10 minutes, and difficulty adjustment every block.
Its code was originally based on litecoin, but it has been rebased onto bitcoin. [10]
Dogecoin's community is based in /dogecoin. They are friendly, welcoming, and playful. This makes a stark contrast to the bitcoin subreddit, which tends to be far more serious and often antagonistic, because of the divide between those who believe it has unlimited potential, and the critics who believe it has none, with the moderates sometimes being driven out or shouted down in the noise.
Dogecoin supporters ("shibes"), like bitcoin supporters, frequently reference "to the moon" or similar astronomical phrases in talking about a future rise in value. However, Dogecoin shibes tend to take this less seriously than Bitcoin fanatics. The latter often write posts and articles discussing valuations 10-1000x the current value or more, while the former tend to simply make abstract references to an increase in value.
Merchant adoption is "intermediate": when a single cryptocurrency is accepted, it is generally bitcoin. However, there are payment processors like GoCoin which process BTC, LTC, and DOGE [11]. This three coin combination seems to be the most common expansion beyond BTC so far. There are also a very small dogecoin-only sites like
[1] && && &&
[5] - This seems ever-so-slightly insane to me. But they're right on for the numbers that I do know. But wow, an average transaction value higher than bitcoin??? Perhaps 24 hours is just too small of a sample size to be representative; just a snapshot of activity. My numbers for bitcoin's transaction value were bad from taking's "estimated" which I don't think is good (presumably trying to eliminate some type of transactions as "not really transacting"?) and won't compare well. Switching it out.
[6] && Note that dogecoin is getting about a 25% as many transactions as bitcoin but has a blocksize about 1/40th as big (very roughly); this is because it has ten times as many blocks to divide them between. This also shows that the transaction limit for dogecoin is much further away.
[7] I couldn't find a source that precisely specified the fees, much to my surprise. They seem to be mostly ignored, but I think being precise about this is important. A 1 DOGE fee works for a single input and single output. It is mandatory, unlike bitcoin fees. My recollection was that each extra input / output address adds a DOGE fee, and that it was not precisely based on the kB, but I've seen sources suggesting otherwise as well. Given that I'm writing this with very few hours left in the day, there's not time to send an inquiry to the devs. Your humble correspondent apologizes for any difficulty this lack may cause, and offers to reimburse you up to 5 DOGE for any inaccuracies in the fee descriptions herein.
[8] Almost exactly the same as bitcoin (20.36%)
[10] See the Dogecoin Core 1.7 release for the switch to bitcoin, and earlier for references to Litecoin.
Additional Reading:
/dogecoin - The heart of Dogecoin - general introduction site - dev blog
Donations and Disclosure
Be aware that I am not an expert of any sort and I'm not intending to play one on the Internet. Nothing in this series or on this account is intended as financial advice. These posts are for entertainment and my own edification. The author disclaims all responsibility for any cancer induced.
I currently hold about 250k DOGE and intend to acquire more. In case it wasn't obvious, I'm biased as hell in favor of DOGE, but I'm going to try to keep these generally factual and accurate as best I can. Nonetheless, subjective aspects like the community are important too.
If you would like to donate DOGE to me directly, you may do so at ACCTmefBjpP2x6KC78vAA1Mj39SBzQwAHq.
Oh, I almost forgot! I've posted ~$1 challenges in the first two posts, although no one has attempted them yet. I'll keep going though. Based on, we'll fix this at 5510 DOGE (note that the price has gone back to 58 satoshi from the 59 it was when I wrote the summary; it often goes between these from the last couple weeks I've been watching it (and back to 59)). We'll make it nice and easy in the shibe spirit: The winner is my favorite comment here in shibe speak. I'll contact the winner by private message for an address and confirm in public reply when sent.
Thank you all for reading!
Oh, also, I hadn't decided what tomorrow's coin was going to be yet. So many tempting choices. I'm going to go for:
  • January 3rd: Peercoin
  • January 4th: Nyancoin
  • January 5th: Nxt
Stay tuned!
Edit: Formatting as always...
Afterword: DOGE's price fell fairly significantly in the intervening months. It went down from a fairly stable 60 satoshi to 47 satoshi. I have no idea why. I haven't been following this very closely. Anyone have an opinion on what happened?
I consider the outlook for DOGE to still be very positive based on its community, which drives its value. I expect DOGE will survive because of that, and with survival, I expect its value to grow over time as the cryptocurrency sector grows.
edit: This got a bit shafted on positioning by basically starting out "pre-aged" 9 hours because of the automod holding it back for the links, and me being too lazy to change them over to np. and resubmit (just internal links), but that's my own fault. Thanks Litecoin_Messiah for approving this! Hopefully I'll get closer to a week, and at least under a month, for the next ones...
submitted by coinaday to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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