Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryCryptocurrency

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Blockchain blocks and their hexadecimal hash values conceptual vizualization 3D render

Modern Bitcoin’s Surprising Lesson About Ancient Scripture

It turns out there’s a striking parallel between the historical record of scripture and the blockchain ledger

This article was published in The Stream (September 13, 2022) and is republished with permission. Can we trust the authenticity of the New Testament scriptures? Trust is foundational in the acceptance of scripture. There’s an interesting lesson to learn from a very modern system of trust: money. Even Bitcoin, believe it or not. An Exchange of Trust We’ll start with old-fashioned familiar money. Why is a twenty dollar bill worth $20? It’s just a small sheet of paper, after all. The answer is trust. We trust the piece of paper has value because its worth is backed by the United States government. We also trust that Walmart will give us $20 worth of Doritos if we give them a twenty…

Peter Thiel with George Gilder at COSM 2021

Peter Thiel Will Be Luncheon Keynoter at COSM, November 9

Billionaire venture capitalist Thiel made waves earlier this year, calling Warren Buffett and other investment gurus a “finance gerontocracy”

Some iconic tech venture capitalists go with the flow — and then there’s Peter Thiel: In an age when some computer scientists prophesy that AI will soon rise up and destroy mankind, he says no, that’s not happening; the big story is the End of Privacy. He also sees Big Tech innovation as slowing down, in the sense that most Wow!! new developments are successfully hyped riffs on earlier ones. He goes so far as to say that, contrary to expert views, cryptocurrency is not just a flash in the pan. At Bitcoin 2022, he blasted “Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, Larry Fink as ‘finance gerontocracy.’” That is, they are over the hill though not yet under it. So Thiel is…

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Close up of top important cryptocurrencies which dollar bank note in background. which including of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash and Ripple coin. Business and financial as concept.

What Happens If You Want To Lend or Borrow in Crypto?

In the world of Web 3.0, the borrower is anonymous, so collateral is a must

In this second part of “Staking and Liquidity on Web3”, the fifth episode of the podcast series between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and engineers Austin Egbert and Adam Goad, the discussion centers on making and taking loans in cryptocurrency. In the first part, we looked at changes in how cryptocurrency is produced: Ethereum is moving from mining to staking this month. In Episode 4, the discussion centered on what a decentralized financial system would look like and on challenging new concepts like flash loans and smart contracts. Dr. Marks is the director of the Walter Bradley Center. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-203-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript of the first part, notes, and Additional Resources follow: Robert J. Marks: Now there’s something in staking…

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Stack of ether or ethereum coins. ETH Coin.New Virtual Money.Physical coins. Cryptocurrency mining and trading concept.

Ethereum Moves From Mining to Staking This Month

As there came to be more and more “eth” in the world, the puzzles computers had to solve got very much harder, consuming vast energy resources

In this first part of “Staking and Liquidity on Web3”, the fifth episode of the podcast series between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and engineers Austin Egbert and Adam Goad, look at upcoming changes in mining — how cryptocurrency is produced. In Episode 4, the discussion centered on what a decentralized crypto financial system would look like and on challenging new concepts like flash loans and smart contracts. Dr. Marks is the director of the Walter Bradley Center. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-203-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Like gold, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum is mined, at least so far. Mining becomes harder and harder as more gold is mined… finding fresh gold deposits becomes more…

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Modern way of exchange. Bitcoin is convenient payment in global economy market. Virtual digital currency and financial investment trade concept. Abstract cryptocurrency with gold bitcoin background..

The futurist finance world of flash loans and hypernodes

In the cryptocurrency world, you could float a loan for ten seconds and make good money — but you and your computer must be very fast indeed

In the first part of Episode 4, “What Is Decentralized Finance?” (September 1, 2022), computer engineer Adam Goad discussed with Walter Bradley Center director (and computer engineering prof) Robert J. Marks how blockchain would decentralize finance by establishing trust and security without government regulations. Now they look at how some of the remarkable new financial instruments work. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-202-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Before we started this recording, you mentioned something which blew my mind — flash loans. Adam Goad: A flash loan is a loan that you take out for a very short amount of time, usually a few seconds. But it can be for a very large amounts, like millions of dollars.…

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Block chain concept - Chain of network connections . 3d rendering

What Would a Financial System Based on Blockchain Look Like?

Adam Goad talks about key differences between banks and blockchains in what creates trust and privacy

Could blockchain could decentralize finance by establishing trust and security without government regulations? In “What Is Decentralized Finance?” (September 1, 2022), computer engineers Adam Goad and Austin Egbert are back with Walter Bradley Center director (and computer engineering prof) Robert J. Marks to discuss how such a system might work. Or maybe not. It didn’t work with decentralized autonomous organizations… But then again, this might be simpler. A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources for the first half follow. What difference would decentralized banking make to the average customer? Robert J. Marks: When you pay Uber for a ride, you use a bank or a third party like PayPal, or Visa, or MasterCard, or something. Decentralized banking, hopefully, will let…

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WEB 3.0 abstract sign with blockchain 3d illustration

Why Didn’t Decentralized Organizations Work in the Crypto World?

DAOs broke down when people tried to make them interact with the outside world

Here’s the second part of Episode 3 of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egber on the wild new online world. They’ve been talking about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and what sort of NFTs survived the crypto crater: Now, in the second part of “The NFT Anti-bubble” (August 18, 2022), they look at what happened to the decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that grew up along with crypto and NFTs: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-200-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Austin Egbert: Could you give an example of what one of these DAOs was maybe trying to do? What service were they providing? Or what was their business output, so to…

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Metaverse world NFT Art Gallery Avatars and VR Glasses 3D Illustrations

Are NFTs a Bubble That Has Just Plain Popped for Good?

Despite the crypto crash, they seem to be developing a life of their own — in ticket sales, for example

Here’s the first part of Episode 3 of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert on that wild new online world. They’ve been discussing what gives NFTs (non-fungible tokens) their value. Now, in “The NFT Anti-bubble” (August 18, 2022), they are looking at how NFTs are faring in the vast crypto crater. What still sells?: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-200-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 This portion begins at 00:15 min. A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We have talked about non-fungible tokens kind of hitting the skids. Is this a bubble pop? Are non-fungible tokens going to disappear as kind of an interesting thing in history? Or are they going to…

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NFT non fungible tokenscrypto art on colorful abstract background. Pay for unique collectibles in games or art. 3d render of NFT crypto art collectibles concept

What Gives NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) Their Value?

But first, a tour through the seamier side of the internet, supported in large part by the very blockchain that mints NFTs

Here’s the second part of Episode 2 of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert on the wild new online world of digital money, fan gear, contracts, and art. In the first part, Adam and Austin explained how digital collectibles — non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — work (or don’t). In this second part, What are NFTs?, they look at how people use them, with a sidestep into the swashbuckling world of crypto crime: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-199-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. The discussion continued with the NBA’s use of NFTs as the new “trading cards.” How are NFTs like or unlike the iconic cards? Adam Goad: That one…

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Crypto Virtual Museum and Metaverse internet NFT display as a futuristic streaming media symbol as augmented reality and computer media concept.

When You Buy a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), What Do You Own?

You are buying someone’s digital idea. Just what legal rights that NFT confers is an open question. But the NBA is now selling them…

In the first episode of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert (here and here), the discussion started with the projected metaverse and slowly turned to the wild world of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens — like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. What’s worth knowing about this burgeoning digital world? Here are Bob, Adam, and Austin again in Episode 2, What are NFTs?, Part 1: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-199-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 This portion begins at 00:10. A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We have been talking to Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert both at Baylor University about Web3. Web3, which uses distributed computing, is the tool that’s…

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computer engineer working with laptop at cryptocurrency mining farm

What’s Really Happening With Bitcoin and Other Cryptos?

In the first part of this week’s podcast, “Web3: The next generation of the internet” (August 4, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talked with graduate student Adam Goad about Web3, the coming internet of more privacy on the one hand and a metaverse of avatars on the other. So, only as wild as you want it to be, maybe. Now, postdoc Austin Egbert joins the discussion as they continue with how, at worst, Web3 could be a bit like sci-fi film Ready Player One. (2018). Note: Re the metaverse, this week’s news reveals that Facebook executives are deserting Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse in droves: “ … recent retreats point to deeper turmoil inside Meta. Some suggest it lies…

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Bitcoin and cryptomoney

Just As Cryptocurrencies Went Mainstream — a Huge Collapse!

A central weakness is that investors must go through exchanges which have none of the safeguards established for the blockchain itself

The cryptocurrency markets have been in total upheaval for the last several months. The blowup essentially started when the stablecoin UST (provided by Terra) suddenly lost its peg to the US dollar. A stablecoin is supposed to maintain a 1:1 trading match to an underlying currency, so 1 UST is supposed to be worth $1. Most trading in crypto is trades between stablecoins and other coins rather than actual cash transactions using stablecoins. Due to some unforeseen (but not necessarily unforeseeable) issues, UST lost its peg; between May and June its value dropped from $1 to just over two pennies. This near erasure of value affected Terra’s other cryptocurrency, LUNA, which dropped from $80 to effectively zero over the same…

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Crypto currency and cryptocurrency questions and investing uncertainty as a virtual blockchain money investment risk with a golden coin representing bitcoin

The Great Paradox of Cryptocurrency: Is It Freer or Not?

Many insist it is freer but, as a new book reveals, that’s not clear

In a prepublication review of Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency, Wired’s top editor Gideon Lichfield comments on the big crypto paradox: Its transactions are anonymous, but since every single one is public, stored on a blockchain that (by design) anyone can look at, they are like the broken stalks left by a thief fleeing through a wheat field—a bounty of data for experts in digital forensics, who can piece together identifying patterns. As Andy has previously written, this supposedly untraceable and secure form of money is in fact notoriously hard to launder and easy to steal, and the digital paper trails created by inexperienced criminals using it carelessly for more than a…

shopping online at home concept.Cartons in a shopping cart on a laptop keyboard

Government Control of What You Buy Grows More Popular

With governments, that is. You’d be surprised at how far along they are with digital currency and how detailed the control could be

Recently, we looked at a new idea governments are looking at — programmable digital currency. It’s all digital, issued by government, constantly trackable, and can’t be spent on items not approved by government (or only with penalties). The Federal Reserve Board (the United States’ central bank) explains, bureaucratically, Potential benefits of the “digital cash” model using programmable UTXOs are the ability to specify spending constraints on any discrete amount of value and a greater facility to trace the provenance of any particular “virtual banknote.” Alexander Lee, “What is programmable money?” at FEDS Notes (June 23, 2021) In other words, the two benefits of these central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are that the government can potentially control what the money is…

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Big red semi tractor trailer  room for copy

Trudeau’s Truckers Reveal Problems with Banking Infrastructure

And crypto isn't the solution you might think it is

On February 14th, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, invoked the Emergencies Act in order to stop the flow of funding to the truckers who were protesting vaccine mandates in Canada. This order allows and encourages banks to freeze the accounts of anyone suspected of involvement with the protest. The Canadian use of the Emergencies Act in this way has been widely criticized for its draconian and expansive overreach of governmental authority. However, that hasn’t stopped the Canadian government from moving forward with the plan, and they have said that they have already begun freezing accounts. Even before this, though, a Canadian judge had halted access to funds donated to the truckers through the GiveSendGo website. Additionally, GoFundMe, of…

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Gold coins in the form of bitcoin on a bag with dollars

DOJ Arrests Couple for Huge Bitcoin Heist — Who Are They?

Cryptocurrency doesn’t depend only on technology; it depends on trust, and trustworthiness

On the morning of February 8, DOJ announced that they had made an arrest in the $3.6 billion Bitcoin heist from Bitfinex from 2016. They arrested Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan. However, little information was conveyed about the pair. Some digging, however, revealed two individuals by those names who worked together in a variety of technology startups, at least one of which is cryptocurrency-based. While we don’t know for certain if these are the same individuals, the profiles are very similar, and other media seem to be reporting that they are the same. The profile here is on the two individuals we were able to identify, and have not confirmed they are identical to the ones in the…