Are there any private stock exchanges that deal with Bitcoin exclusively?
I think a neat idea would be to create a dark pool or private trading company that brokers shares only with Bitcoin. Independent companies could choose to become listed, the incentive being that they do not need to rely on the (centralized) dollar. Does anyone know if anyone has created something like this? Additionally, while this idea is not completely decentralized, has anyone created a completely decentralized stock exchange based on the blockchain? Any and all input is greatly appreciated.
Here's the cliff notes version. Diablo is a talented BitCoin developer who started a mining fund on the GBLSE. He initially offered shares with a valuation of 1btc each, which were to be used on future mining hardware and infrastructure purchases. Now it is apparent that he has likely not purchased any hardware, and he has been diluting value in a series of stock swaps reportedly as low as .0133btc/share. Usagi's post is a good jumping board into the topic. Shareholders have been demanding some kind of action by the GLBSE operator nefario. Just another train wreck to watch, I suppose, this one presumably not pirate related. Take it as another learning lesson/cautionary tale.
ICO's are the new IPO's. Making Ethereum the new GBLSE
First, I may need to provide some background, as many of you may not have been around in 2012 and 2013, so you may not remember GLBSE, BTC.TC, havelock, bitfunder and a few other "bitcoin stock exchanges". On those exchanges, companies could list securities like company shares and bonds, which where traded for bitcoin. Initially, mining bonds where the most popular security, allowing people to invest in bitcoin mining without having to own and operate any hardware, while allowing miners to raise capital and sell off the risk of future difficulty increases. Revenue from mining was then paid to bond holders as "dividends". In theory, a sound concept and the precursor to cloud mining. In practice however, these bonds quickly became a mania. They where trading at prices that made no economic sense at all, anyone with a calculator could easily see it was impossible they would yield a positive ROI. Miners and scammers quickly caught on to that, and sold more bonds then they had hardware for. But they kept rising in price, and people kept buying them, expecting to sell them later with profit. Soon after, all kinds of companies launched IPO's on these exchanges. Some where legit, many dubious, most where pretty obvious scams. It didnt matter, IPO's where as much a hype as ICO's today, and virtually never failed to sell out in record times, raising millions of dollars. Almost nothing was scrutinized, anyone scammer with a tiny amount of photoshop knowledge or anyone promising to achieve some ridiculous ROI had no problem raising millions. After the companies, came the investment funds. Someone raised bitcoins through an IPO, and used that money to trade in other securities listed on that same exchange. Then they launched a second IPO for another fund, and used fund A to buy shares in fund B, and fund B to buy shares in fund A. Prices went through the roof. You couldn't make up stuff like that, it was hilarious. Almost nothing that was traded on those exchanges, had any real value. A few notable exceptions include Asicminer, which raised money to develop an asic, actually managed to get it produced as one of the first ever bitcoin mining asics, sold in large quantities and made a huge profit, paying back investors through dividens many times the IPO value. It was the largest success story by far, but even that ended with an exit scam when the anonymous founder ran off eventually. Around 2013, the SEC intervened, closed a few of the largest exchanges, charged and fined some of the operators and issuers. Other exchanges collapsed or vanished. Tens of thousands of BTC where lost. Im not aware of any company that was launched on any of those exchanges that still operates, except for the gambling site satoshidice (which was among the ones fined by the SEC). What caused this to happen? The enormous rise in value of bitcoin created a group of early-investor millionaires, who believed in crypto currency, who where accustomed to double or triple digit gains in a very short time and who had money to burn. Many of them got rich "by accident", not because they did a lot of due diligence or understood the risk/rewards or even the technology. This gullibility was clearly seen with Trendon Shavers aka Pirateat40, who at that time operated a gigantic, half million bitcoin ponzi scheme by promising 7% weekly returns. These people where very likely to invest large sums of money in risky crypto related startups, expecting a repeat of the success of their early bitcoin investment. This created a self fulfilling prophecy where IPO's always succeeded, prices always went up, creating gigantic bubbles. Fast forward a few years. Besides bitcoin millionairs, we now have ethereum and a few other altcoin millionaires. Instead of IPO's, we now have ICO's. Instead of GLBSE, we have ethereum as the enabling platform. Instead of tradeable funds, we will soon have things like iconomi. Instead of bubbles created by funds investing in each other, we will have blockchains that are denominated in each other. And instead of thinking security regulation can be avoided by denominating an investment in bitcoin, we have people thinking regulation can be circumvented by calling something a token. Am I the only one having a terrible deja vue?
An Insiders Take on CoinTerra & the Bitcoin Mining Sector
Having been involved in Bitcoin since 2011 and on the inside of one of the 28nm Bitcoin mining contestants for the past two months, here is my story. Feel free to skip the long intro to skip to the present: I added it because people might want to know where I'm coming from. My elevator pitch is that I discovered Bitcoin in 2011 while traveling in Argentina, and after doing research I started recommending it as an investment to the subscribers of my financial newsletter in early 2012. BTC was $5 back then, so we did well with that. Here are some links of the things that I've done in Bitcoin:
Since the beginning I've been thinking a lot about how I wanted to invest in Bitcoin. It has always made plain sense to me to begin with buying coins, as it is like an ETF on the entire Bitcoin economy. However, in early 2012, just the idea of buying bitcoins was a pretty scary prospect. I consulted with two core developers who actually tried to dissuade me from looking at Bitcoin as an investment. One said it was still very much an experiment, the other said (correctly so) that there were still substantial security risks. Eventually it was my experience in Argentina's difficult economy (rife with currency crackdowns and capital controls) that convinced me to take the leap - I decided that there was enough demand and enthusiasm for financial freedom in the world. Enough for some crazy people to keep funneling resources into Bitcoin, resources that would support the idealist hackers and maverick entrepreneurs to make the technology of cryptocurrency a success. So I started buying bitcoins, considering myself lucky because my friends in Latin America had it much tougher: they had to mine most of their cryptocurrency in their basement with graphic cards because of the harsh capital controls that prevented them from sending money abroad and buying them on an exchange. In all, 2012 was a difficult year for Bitcoin. The 'old' bitcoiners were still psychologically numbed from the huge decline in price, and the newbees were continually scared by new scandals: the Bitcoinica thefts in May and July, the BTC Savings and Trust-ponzi implosion in August, and the Bitfloor theft in September. The price of Bitcoin hovered between $5 and $13 all year, the mainstream media ignored or at best scorned Bitcoin, and I for one was mostly happy to still have an unscathed wallet. Throughout the year I wrote about Bitcoin practically every week in my email updates and every month in my printed investment newsletter. It was often a frustrating job, because my many of my subscribers are babyboomers or from an older generation who don't intuitively grasp the concepts of peer-to-peer, open source, online, etc. I received a good number of emails accusing me of promoting a ponzi scheme, and my publisher (who does all the promotion for the newsletter) was very sceptical and tried to persuade me to write less about Bitcoin and more about traditional investments like gold and stocks. I think this tension/struggle is part of what prevented me from exploring the investable side of the Bitcoin economy for quite a while, although I did buy a few Bitcoin mining stocks on the GLBSE. (Compliments to the miners that kept paying out dividends even after the wild ending of this stock exchange - COGNITIVE is one of them) Attending the Bitcoin London conference organized by Amir Taaki in late 2012 was definitely a turning point for me. Cryptocurrency suddenly became tangible and real, and I think that was the case for many people there. During Amir's conference, I made friends with Jim from MultiBit and Nejc from BitStamp. I likely missed an investment opportunity with BitPay (even though Tony Galippi was just as impressive back then as he is now), and I tried to persuade GLBSE's Nefario to start talking to a lawyer about the legal risks of running a Bitcoin denominated exchange. Josh from Butterfly Labs made an announcement there in London, and that was my first experience with the excitement and controversy that characterizes so much of the Bitcoin mining industry today. Meanwhile my investment newsletter kept doing well, and I decided to make a move to South America to expand my horizon. That's how it happened that I was with my friends in Buenos Aires when the March-April 2013 explosion in price happened: an exhilarating time, and I'm still grateful for their long term Bitcoin experience which helped me make the right decisions for myself during this period. Still I kept thinking about how I could invest some of my gains back in the Bitcoin economy. Chasing a dollar profit doesn't make sense to me, so I had to identify business models that gave perspective for making a multiple on my bitcoins. Bitcoin mining felt like an interesting fit, for several reasons. First, I spent the past few years studying the gold mining industry and the parallels and differences with Bitcoin mining are absolutely fascinating to me. Next, in the short run I am not at ease regarding the authorities ability to attack or destabilize the BTC network. Many will object by saying that the Bitcoin network has a hashrate that's currently 40 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined. However, that is misleading because the equation would change dramatically if those computers were equipped with specialized ASICs that can be produced for a couple of million dollars. This is what Jim Rickards referred to when he said "technologists don't understand the world of power politics and malicious actors: there are people who don't care about the cost. (…) If they want to destroy a system, and they have to pay to do it, they'll do it. It's not necessarily more expensive than buying an aircraft carrier or building a submarine." This is the reason why I think it's crucial to push up the network speed as close to the physical limits as possible. Once the miners are working on the smallest node and with the most efficient chip possible, it will be much more difficult for a malicious entity to do a 51% attack on the network. (By the way, much respect to the small bitcoiners and basement miners for this: they are the ones that have been bankrolling the expensive development of ever more sophisticated ASIC chips. They are the ones that are slowly turning the once brittle skeleton of the Bitcoin network into an indestructible Adamantium shield.) Finally, it seemed obvious to me that the Bitcoin mining market was about to enter a consolidation phase, in which the market would increasingly sponsor the more reliable and technically gifted chip producers, which will eventually create a more stable environment for everyone. How exciting, to try and witness from the first row how an entirely new industry grows from childhood/adolescence towards maturity! Enter CoinTerra. I first met Ravi Iyengar and his team members at the San Jose Bitcoin conference, where they pitched for an angel investment in their company. I was immediately impressed by their passion, technical pedigree, and understanding of the workings of Bitcoin. I was definitely intrigued and after the conference we kept the communication lines open. Back in Belgium I met with two interested angels who happened to be Belgian, too. I then talked to different people with hardware backgrounds to verify whether Ravi's team really was that good judging by the industry standards. They were. I started getting excited. From there on, things began moving fast. The two Belgians got in and the more I talked to Ravi, the more I was impressed with his cogent reasoning, his decisiveness, and the speed by which he absorbs large amounts of new information. By mid July I finally made the decision to also come in as the third angel investor in CoinTerra. When I talked about the company to Timo Hanke (German cryptographer and author of the Bitcoin Pay-to-Contract protocol) he was intrigued, did his own due dilligence, and soon after became an investor in, and later a team member of CoinTerra. Other investors and advisors that came in on the angel round had reputable backgrounds in the software and hardware industries, precious metals, telecom, and law - all of whom shared a great and genuine passion for Bitcoin. I began feeling very fortunate to be able to follow this project from such a close perspective. After some days, because of Ravi's high energy and magnetic enthusiasm, the following turned into involvement. When I was invited to come to Austin, Texas to help out, I jumped in with both feet - I've been here for a week now. One thing I noticed when getting involved with CoinTerra more closely, is that the communications part of the equation needed improving. I can understand how the issue came to be. Ravi is in the first place an engineer and a team leader, and he started structuring his company from that same perspective. Even today most of his focus is directed to closely managing all the engineers (in Austin, in Raleigh, and also in India) to make sure that the risks involved are managed to the greatest possible extent. The engineering roots of CoinTerra are also reflected in the initial vision behind the company: to build large and efficient mining data centers, deploy them worldwide, and to then offer cloud hashing services to the public. However, the still uncertain legal repercussions of that lead to a change in strategy. Instead, CoinTerra is now working on providing chips and rigs for the general public, and leaves it for the customers to decide where and how to mine with them. Now, I understand and appreciate how very skeptical a large part of the Bitcoin mining community has become. People have invested a lot of resources in brave but often very inexperienced teams who have not always been able to deliver on their promises. It has been a road of trial and error, and the errors of some have proven painful to many. I can say that I understand what it means to have skin in the game of the mining market; I am an investor in a company that has announced but not released a manufactured product on the market yet. And I stand by it: I think CoinTerra is working on fantastic products and has great future potential as a company. Would I like to make a return on my investment? Of course, that will be the best proof that it fulfills the potential that I see in Ravi and his team. That said, even to just be involved in this technological arms race that is taking place in Bitcoin mining, where hyper competitive capitalism is miraculously creating a very pure public good, is a real privilege. I think the sector will further mature and that we will see more and more reliable companies emerge over time, and all the while the Bitcoin network will grow stronger and stronger. I'm happy to take questions if you are interested. Best wishes, Tuur
I first learned of Bitcoin in 2010, installed the client and got my first bitcoin from The Bitcoin Faucet. Thank you Gavin, I assume it was your property. I fell down the rabbit hole after reading Satoshi's paper (read it about 10 times so far. It gets better each time). I enabled bitcoind's mining feature on my home CPU (and possibly my work machine) and managed to solo mine a block. At the time, they were worth about $0.50 ea. A few months later, and zero blocks found, I compiled some code that allowed me to mine using my nVidia GPU. Still no blocks. Welcome slush pool! Bitcoins were flowing again (about 1/week). At this point, I figured I could make some money at this (price ~$1.00), so I spent $170 on an ATI GPU (about 10 times faster than the nVidia). Difficulty was increasing, people were building huge GPU rigs - I wasn't one of them. I bought a few coins through MtGox and a few more with paypal. But for the most part, I was happy getting about 1BTC/week on my ATI card. I wasn't ready to spend my "real" money just yet. I "invested" some assets on GLBSE and put it into a mining company called BITBOND. Was feeling pretty good until GLBSE was shut down and lost 50% of what I invested. I guess Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BST) was a bad idea. But, hey we're just playing around with digital tokens. No worries, I could afford to lose it - maybe $200 worth at the time. Live and learn. Bitcoin velocity started to increase with Eric's Satoshi Dice and Charlie's BitInstant. Up to $28... Have to buy more. Crash! Back to $2.00 and bailed. Lost another $200.00. In 2012, I made some paper wallets and gifted all my family members some BTC for x-mas. They were worth about $13/BTC. I still keep an eye on the accounts with watch only addresses on Blockchain.info. Paper wallets were created with Diceware and Amir's sx/libbitcoin, pen and paper. GPU mining was puttering out, so I spent $300 on a BFL 5GHz ASIC with paypal. I received mine in July of 2013, mined 2 BTC over two weeks, then sold it for $350 on ebay. The mined coins were worth about $300, so I doubled my money. The difficulty increases went lunar, and that BFL miner never mined another full bitcoin. Sorry e-bay buyer. My mining days were over and Coinbase came online. Since then, I've been lazily buying $50/week using Coinbase's recurring buy feature. All the way up to $1200 and all the way back down to $170. I've been here before. Each time though, I have more coins than I had before - and that's all that matters to me. Bitcoin's not made me rich. I'm not driving a Ferrari with BITCOIN plates... yet. I'm only in as much as I can afford to lose. It's been a fun ride. To all the people and companies mentioned, and to all of you building the future, Thank You.
Yes, it is probably too late to be attempting this, but I'm taking a stab recovering lost funds from GLBSE. I recently discovered documents I had kept when I was investing on GLBSE and I'm offering a reward to anyone who can help me recover funds. Anyone who gives me information that lets me recover funds from any of the "assets" I invested in will receive 30% of the BTC value I recover. If multiple people lead me to a solution that recovers assets, the reward will be split among the people who provide critical information. Otherwise, it will go to the first person who posts about each asset. In total, there was about 30 BTC of assets that were lost. The following are the assets that I had:
I also had shares of YABMC, but they were remarkably proactive about helping transfer shares to BTCT (now closing) from the beginning. Do any of these companies or assets still exist? Is there a way to get in touch with someone who managed any of these? Any information that you can provide will be appreciated!
I have been out of the bitcoin game for about half a year now. I used to mine with GPUs and then invest in GLBSE. Me, like many others, have lost most of my investments in various companies/people that went down. Since then I asked for a refund on preorder of my Butterflylabs Single SC, since I got tired of the game (and losing money). In reality I would have been better off simply converting cash to Bitcoin and hoarding it, instead of 'investing it'. ASICs are also about to flood the market. What drove the prices up to $20 per bitcoin now?
Can virtual goods be packaged into bitcoins, or do we need a new protocol for that?
If bitcoins are gaining in value, could things like music or video game art assets appreciate too? For instance, I would like to be able to buy an original Thor Hammer from my favorite 3D artist, and I would like to be able to prove that mine is the original in case I sell it. If others copy it, I want the history of its ownership to be maintained forever. Would we need a new network of ArtCoins to do this? Or would we just clone something like the GLBSE and trade art instead of assets? Might this be a boon for the games industry? edit Don't know how this would work with games, but I could see an author releasing say 100 or a 1000 unique copies, which are stamped as "first prints". These could be transferred as "second prints" by the initial buyers at a reduced price, while they keep the originals. Subsequent prints are transferred ad infinitum, so I could buy an Nth edition for say 1/Nth the market price of the original. I could get behind that.
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