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Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to nosleep [link] [comments]

Another update on my solar powered farm and bitcoin mining in the desert

Tl;Dr - Just skip to the bottom where I lay out my solabattery requirements for mining and my solabattery requirements for vertical farming. Oh...and costs and earnings.
Well, Summer is here and we have had some extremely hot weeks. This has given us a chance to test our greenhouses at temperatures of 126F/52C. We are still up and running quite well. Our energy requirements have gone up quite a bit. But the electricity we are consuming is right in line with our estimates. We do not feel that the temperatures will be any higher than the numbers we have seen so far. Unless Global Warming is for real...because now that I think about it, we did blow through our all-time-high in temperatures...and this was the last day of Spring, if I recall.
We are ordering all of our equipment directly from China. Our 40' greenhouses are extremely cheap to build in China. We are building them for about 40% of what companies like Freight Farms and Bright-Agro-Tech are selling their systems for. Our system is at least 90% as good as their systems. But we do have many bugs, it seems when we first receive them from China. Perhaps my main complaint. They can be a bit finicky. I would not want to sell these as the customer service would consume me.
Our most simple greenhouse uses between 250 and 450 kwh per day. I am in San Diego. Our residential rates from SDG&E are $0.43 per kwh. That is crazy high, for the record. This would cost between about $105 and $190 per DAY. Between about $3,000 and $5,500 per month. Most people in the US pay about $0.11 per kwh. This would equate to a monthly bill of $750 and $1350 per month. The Arizona desert pays that rate, for example.
Next, these greenhouses grow about 4,000 heads of lettuce per month. Wholesale price for this lettuce is $1. We sell direct to the end user. We charge $1.50. But at wholesale prices, this generates $4,000 per month in revenue. Labor is 10 hours per greenhouse. We pay $20 per hour. When you add all the California bullshit taxes and fees for employees this puts us at about $30 per hour. We also have insurance and Workers Comp. This is about $40 per month for each greenhouse.
Ok, now for the solar and battery requirements. We use 150 panels of 300 watt panels. I know...this is a lot. It takes a lot of space. You need a lot of cheap land. We spend about $0.45 per watt for solar panels from China. Our lettuce greenhouses run for 8 hours per day with lights. The other 16 hours we go "dark" and do not use much energy (just pumps, air conditioning and a few devices). We run the lights and everything during the peak sun hours. This allows us to not purchase as many batteries because we are turning the sun directly into the farming and lighting. Then, when the sun starts to wane, we turn most systems off and just remain in a well-insulated state. The battery requirements are still large, however. We currently use 50 lead acid batteries for each greenhouse. Each battery is 24V and 200 amp hours. Each battery costs us $180 from China.
Ok, how does this all tie into bitcoin and bitcoin mining? Here's the answer. Each Antminer S9 uses about 1400 watts when it is placed in the environment of our lettuce greenhouse. We place between one and four miners in each greenhouse. We need about 6,000 watts in solar panels to charge up the batteries and simultaneously run one S9 for 24 hours straight. We need 15 of the 24V/200 amp hour batteries for each miner. Cost for panels is $3,000. Batteries are $2750. The miner, when you buy from Bitmain is $1225 delivered to your door in the US. I have over-clocked the miners as high as I am comfy with. I am generating 0.007 btc per miner per day right now. That is about $18 per day at today's rate.
So here is how it all breaks down for the vertical farm: cost for one lettuce farm that is 100% off grid is about $90k. This includes EVERYTHING... solar, batteries, control systems, installation and framing for the solar, greenhouse, all equipment, air conditioners a water cooler...everything. Monthly labor, insurance, nutrients and supplies is $1500. Shipping of the lettuce is about $400. Total net profit is about $2100 per month. And $25,000 per year.
Mining...ok...this is the wobbly one to predict. Just remember this and it'll make it all easier to accept these numbers: bitcoin is probably headed to $10,000 within 3 years. If you don't believe that then much of this will just be comical to you (if it isn't already). One miner will cost (miner + solar panels + batteries + power control systems + cooling equipment and the solabatteries to support it) = $8000. The solar and battery system costs a total of $6800. The miner is $1200. Once you have purchased the solar and batteries, you own them forever. They can be used to mine for 25 years for solar and at least 6 years with the lead acid batteries. You can amortize these costs. If bitcoin drops to $0 then you can instantly switch your solar and batteries to your farm. This is how I backstop my potential losses.
Now, here is the magical way we have figured out how to avoid the "decay" that is built into the miners: we run them for 4 to 8 weeks then we sell them on the open market at a premium over cost. When you purchase large numbers from Bitmain, they will offer you a discounted price. The miners seem to always go up in value in between releases fom Bitmain. After 6 to 9 months of reselling at this pace, you will make all of your initial investment back in the miners. You will also stay current with the miners. So, one miner will generate about 2 btc per year (when you stay ahead of decay). That is $5,000 per year at today's rate. If bitcoin follows the trend (and you believe) then I expect that you will generate $6500 or more within one year from mining today. This means the system will completely pay for itself (including solar and batteries) in about one year. Oh...and then after a year, you own a brand new miner (cuz you have been constantly reselling them to stay current and slightly profit). Oh...and you how have 6kw of solar AND batteries...just keep mining til bitcoin is outlawed. You are now in a unique position...your mining rig costs you $0 from this point forward.
I have calculated the amount of profit you can make if you build your own solabattery array and point this array to different businesses. One business is a modern, vertical farm which is good for the environment and makes healthier food. The other is a bitcoin mining operation. Both businesses have energy as their single largest cost of doing business. I like the idea of having two businesses that I can just point an energy source towards and they start making money. Isn't that kinda cool to think about? Farming generates a net profit of $0.22 per kwh from a solabattery system. Bitcoin mining generates $0.51 per kwh for the exact same system. Think about that for a minute.
Also, what the fuck? If bitcoin actually does take off, imagine how it will pollute the world with miners in places with shitty but cheap fossil fuel. Shouldn't we be mining on renewable energy since...let's be honest, bitcoin shouldn't really exist? It only exists because people lie a bunch. It seems like protecting ourselves from our despicable selves shouldn't turn the world into a toilet that may become uninhabitable.
I just wanted to share everything with this community. If it weren't for this community, I would have been nervous about trying this crazy idea. What I mean by this is that I appreciate the handful of people here who have a lot of bitcoin and just handed them over to me so that I could test this TOTALLY insane and HIGHLY SPECULATIVE business model. I told you (those who lost their btc to me) that I will make it up to you. For the couple of you who didn't threaten to kill me, I will return your btc when my profits from mining hit 4,000 btc, unless the price is under $3100 per btc...seems fair...you did lose...and it was a fair bet.
I hope for several things from this post. (1) The nice people who are here hopefully will take this info and appreciate what went into getting these numbers. (2) Someone will read this, run the numbers themselves and decide to do the exact same thing. (3) Someone in an area with good sun, year round, will set up a mining operation based on my model. (4) Someone will bet me publicly again that I am lying. (5) Someone interesting will buy the land next to mine and compete head-to-head with me...I seem to perform better under competition.
To;Dr - To take a miner off grid, in a sunny place, will cost $8,000 (including the miner). You'll break even in a year if you follow my plan (and if fate complies as well). One 40' greenhouse that is off grid costs me $90k. Least amount of net profit per greenhouse is $25,000 per year. Average net profit is $36,000per year, typically from blending lettuce and other crops such as basil.
Farming generates a net profit of $0.22 per kwh from a solabattery system. Bitcoin mining generates $0.51 per kwh for the exact same system. Think about that for a minute. We sell energy back to the grid for about $0.05. Does anyone look at this the way I am looking at it?...I am just curious.
Anybody have any questions?
submitted by dan_from_san_diego to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Eat a D, BTC. Conversely, support VRC with me and make gainz like it's BTC in 2010 all over again.

VRC = Vericoin. Vericoin is a Proof of Stake Currency that can be purchased on Bittrex. Vericoin is unlike any other Proof of Stake coin because it pairs its blockchain with a Proof of Work blockchain (Verium Reserve), which allows Vericoin to be more secure than just about any other Proof of Work coin. Oh and it's totally decentralized.

Proof of Stake is the future. With Proof of Stake, you earn coins every single day by simply keeping coins in your wallet and keeping your wallet open on any computer as low powered as a potato. The computing power does not matter for the amount of coins earned per day, but instead the amount of coins in your wallet and the length of time that they have been staking.

The only down side to Proof of Stake is that it isn't as secure as Proof of Work. But you see, Vericoin thought of this. Vericoin has a sister coin called Verium Reserve which is Proof of Work. The two blockchains are interwoven for lack of better terms and thus piggy back off each others strengths. This allows Verium Reserve mining hash power to secure the network for Vericoin making transactions even faster and allowing the network to be as secure as a Proof of Work network.

Why support a coin like BTC where you need a $3,000 miner to secure the network? With a proof of stake coin like Vericoin, the lowest powered PCs can secure the network just as well as a super computer. And Vericoin, despite being completely unique in it's own way and superior in technology to BTC, has a market cap of less than 2 Million... yes, less than 2 Million! This bear market sucks, but if we pool our interest into something unique and better than the status quo, then Vericoin can rise with the cream of the crop in crypto and we can make hella gainz, even in this shitty bear market.

Quit allowing the ugly pig Bitcoin to control everything. Quit allowing the 16 people that bought in 2010 keep telling you that for crypto to succeed, then it has to be Bitcoin - that's bullshit. For crypto to succeed, we need to quit putting lipstick on a pig and support something that was built after Bitcoin and can scale to support the world's needs and also allow anyone to participate in the minting of coins, not just the elite.
submitted by c0ltieb0y to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Mining is how you vote for rule changes. Greg's comments on BU revealed he has no idea how Bitcoin works. He thought "honest" meant "plays by Core rules." [But] there is no "honesty" involved. There is only the assumption that the majority of miners are INTELLIGENTLY PROFIT-SEEKING. - ForkiusMaximus

The title of this post is a compressed summary combining some important quotes from several recent comments by u/ForkiusMaximus, which I thought were worth highlighting here in a post of their own.
His comments remind us that Bitcoin was already brilliantly designed by Satoshi so that the majority of "honest" "intelligently profit-seeking" miners will always be economically incentivized to use their hashpower to vote for the rule changes which will maximize their (and everyone else's) Bitcoin profits - and they will always do this regardless of any censorship or centralized dev teams.
Meanwhile, Core/Blockstream (and their supporters) totally fail to understand this subtle but vital point: they think that devs somehow control Bitcoin, by forcing people to run certain code... or moderators somehow control Bitcoin, by censoring certain forums... or now non-mining nodes can somehow control Bitcoin by suggesting a futile and pointless "user-activated soft-fork" (UASF) - ie a fork not supported by actual mining hashpower.
This all shows that Core/Blockstream (and their supporters) have a fundamental misunderstanding of the most important aspect of Bitcoin - the fact that:
This is why the 21 million coin cap will never get increased.
And this is why blocksizes will always continue to moderately increase.
Not because some dev team made it "hard" to modify these settings in the code.
And not because some moderator censored some discussion about some alternative clients.
The reason Bitcoin works is simply because the vast majority of miners are "honest" "intelligently profit-seeking".
This is why mining support for Core/Blockstream's centrally-planned blocksize has dropped to 2/3 of network hashpower (despite their big team of "experts" and all their censorship and fiat funding).
And this is why 1/3 of mining hashpower has already started voting for some form of market-driven blocksizes...
... not because BU or Classic suddenly "gave" them this power (after all, they always had this power themselves)...
... but simply because the vast majority of miners are "honest" "intelligently profit-seeking", and they know that bigger blocks will bring higher profits.
So, miners have always been able to use their hashpower (and even modify the Bitcoin client source code if they wanted) in order to vote for rule changes which would support bigger blocksizes and higher Bitcoin profits for everyone - with or without any help from BU, Classic, etc. - and there is nothing that any dev team (or any censored forum) can do to prevent miners from doing this.
So it is inevitable that miners will use their hashpower to vote for bigger blocksizes, because this means much higher Bitcoin profits for them (and also bigger Bitcoin profits for the rest of us :-)... simply because (as Satoshi clearly did understand, but most Core/Blockstream devs clearly do not understand):

The vast majority of miners are "honest" "intelligently profit-seeking".

The original comments by u/ForkiusMaximus providing an explanation of these important (but often subtle) concepts are shown below - with some text bolded & italicized for empahsis.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5z3hv5/bloomberg_antpool_will_switch_entire_pool_to/dev7drt/?context=3
We don't have to trust [miners] to be "honest" as Satoshi unfortunately worded it.
Replace the term honest with "intelligently profit-seeking."
Bitcoin assumes miners are intelligently profit-seeking, meaning that they have a decent enough read on what the ecosystem wants that they can and will make any necessary changes to please the ecosystem and thus boost their own bottom line.
Greg's recent comments on BU totally discredited him, as he revealed himself to have no friggin' idea how Bitcoin works.
He actually thought "honest" meant something like "plays by Core rules." That's a completely broken understanding of Bitcoin, and implies centralization.
It's the kind of misconception I'd expect from a run-of-the-mill nobody on a forum, not from the mighty leader of Core/BS. I'm kinda pissed I wasted mental clock ticks trying to debate this guy without realizing he has not just a flawed understanding, but zero understanding of how Bitcoin works at all. And of course all his supporters parrot his nonsense view of how Bitcoin supposedly works.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5yxreu/classic_fearmongering_example_by_bitcoin_core/dev0x5d/?context=3
Mining control is the key invention of Bitcoin. It's how it doesn't just devolve into yet another failed subjective monetary scheme. If you don't like it, you should figure out another scheme. Perhaps proof of stake is more your thing?
Also, it's pretty amazing that you think just because BU makes it more convenient for miners to do what they always could do, that that somehow dooms Bitcoin. If that dooms it, it was already a dead man walking.
How do you propose to stop miners from altering their own blocksize settings?
If you have no answer, you have no grounds to attack BU without falling into the category of being a Bitcoin skeptic.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5zoywt/the_largest_problem_of_bitcoin_is_that_most/df0jutk/
It's actually fairly subtle: mining IS how you vote for rule changes, BUT miners have every incentive to vote with the market, so they DON'T have any meaningful ability to push rules on the community (even under BU).
There is no trust or "honesty" involved, as Satoshi unfortunately worded it. There is only the underlying assumption that makes Bitcoin work: the assumption that the vast majority of miners are INTELLIGENTLY PROFIT-SEEKING.
The only way this system can break is if the majority of miners seek something other than profit (say a government took the major mining pools over and somehow hashers couldn't switch away in time), or the miners misjudge what the market wants (due to a failure of market communication).
However, in this case and on these timescales it is obvious the current crop of miners are generally profit-seeking. And if they are misjudging the market, we have a remedy: we can resolve that through fork futures trading on the exchanges.
Note that this is just moving the decision from the first kind of investors (miners) to the general investing public. Miners are a first-line proxy for investors in general. If they fail to reflect investor will, investors are free to take it to the market by forking and trading the two sides of the fork (preferably as futures so as to avoid scrambling to upgrade urgently).
Also important would be to maximize freedom of discussion so that market communication is not distorted. Finally, the whole idea of the UASF people, that we would poll the ecosystem somehow to prove the economic majority wants some change, already means that merely showing this proof to the miners should convince them, as they are intelligently profit-seeking. But that obviates the need for a UASF in the first place (!).
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5yyotu/if_blockstream_core_offchain_solutions_are_any/deu0hpn/
I used to think they don't understand markets, but in fact they are stuck at an even more basic level than that.
I took a spin through the wreckage of /Bitcoin today for the first time in weeks. It was pleasantly surprising to see how with the ramping up of miner support for BU, the Core arguments have been reduced to obvious fundamental misunderstandings of Bitcoin that are now trivial to rebut.
In a word, they haven't actually grasped the concept of incentives.
This goes all the way to the top, not just the supporters but the key Core devs themselves. They don't understand markets, yes, but it's not like they are even close. They lack the understanding of even the fundamental building blocks of markets.
When you think about it, governance by incentives is pretty subtle. Even if one reads the whitepaper and goes, "Oh yeah I see, miners would be motivated not to kill the golden goose in that situation," it is quite another matter to fully internalize the fact that the only reason Bitcoin is a thing at all is because of the assumption that miners are not idiots. Or more accurately, that miners as a group will never have a gross failure to correctly apprehend the wishes of the market.
This is the source of all the weird claims about miners controlling or not controlling Bitcoin.
Core and Blockstream dev Matt Corallo thinks that if miners were allowed to (not mentioning how they could be disallowed to), they would mine extra coins for all the "extra profits." Again this goes beyond failing to understand markets, all the way down to failing to understand or take seriously incentives as a concept at all. I'm not blaming him, he's a coder; I blame those who take his commentary on non-coding matters seriously, merely by dint of his coding skill.
A constant refrain from Core supporters as BU gain hashpower is that "miners don't control Bitcoin." This is actually correct: miners don't control Bitcoin, they won't act against the economic majority. But not because they can't. They certainly can, just like oncoming traffic can swerve toward you on the freeway. But they don't, because that would destroy them as well.
Thus is the subtlety of governance by incentives. Miners have control, but they won't use it to do anything that displeases the ecosystem, on balance. Or they might, but in that case Bitcoin is a failed concept as its fundamental assumption is then proven to be broken.
Many or most anti-BU arguments unwittingly take that form: they start with the premise that Bitcoin is broken [i.e., miners are idiots or that they grossly fail to read the market] and reason from there to conclude that BU is broken. Examples include the median EB attack, the various big block attacks, and the bizarre claim that BU has a "new security model" because it "lets miners do something they couldn't before" (ironically implying Core has snuck in a new security model where they try to restrain miners by making it inconvenient for them to change a blocksize setting).
Hence we see that it isn't merely a matter of Core and Blockstream people having initially dismissed Bitcoin and then later seeing the light when the price rises forced them to look deeper. They in fact still haven't seen the light. They never fully understood the basic dynamic that makes Bitcoin tick, let alone understanding higher level concepts like markets. This is why they so easily fall into the central planning mindset, seeing Bitcoin as a fragile little thing that must be defended by their wise paternalistic guidance.
The Core devs have replaced the fundamental assumption in the whitepaper, that most miners are honest (I prefer "most miners are not idiots" as it is harder to misinterpret), with the fundamental assumption that the right set of people (or the right repository governance structure) is in charge of the "reference implementation."
This manifests as a kind of envy toward the miners and comes with all the other curious trappings of the Core worldview: the code is the spec, hard forks are dangerous, Core = Bitcoin, anything that deviates from Core diktats is an "altcoin," it doesn't count as censorship to delete discussion of alternative clients as they are "off topic," nodes > miners, anything that makes it a bit easier for miners to do something Core doesn't like is an "attack" on Bitcoin, centralized control by Core is necessary to preserve decentralization, UASF is a viable idea, Segwit has consensus among "the Bitcoin experts," and so on.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5yvtrn/new_atl_alltime_low_for_bitcoin_core_client/detpkdj/
Estimated Core hashrate down below 2/3 already.
Core has lost supermajority status, even with all the historical inertia, miner conservatism, and crackerjack programmers they are reported to have on their side. Even with the "consensus" of "the experts."
Even with two years of mindbendingly extreme censorship in their favor on the two biggest Bitcoin discussion forums.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5yvuw7/while_nobody_was_paying_attention/detqbnd/?context=3
The Core devs have directly created this situation by keeping the blocksize cap locked down long after it became controversial. The logic of how users make needed changes to the protocol, as mentioned in the whitepaper, requires that users be able to easily adjust any settings that are controversial, so as to be able to "vote with their CPU" power in a smooth manner.
Core tries to leverage their waning "reference implementation" status to rig the vote by deliberately leaving the now maximally controversial blocksize limit hard-coded, forcing the user to venture out into relatively new dev team offerings if they want to cast a vote. This is exactly how you create the conditions for a contentious split. They have brought this upon themselves entirely.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5z6w2u/bitcoin_on_linux_should_be_a_virtual_package/dewjwlh/
Adam implies BU is pre-alpha, yet it is winning in the only arena where people actually put their money where their mouths are.
How pathetic does it make Core that they are losing to a pre-alpha client?
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Slack log for Ark token's value proposition discussion 16-07-18

Please find below a log of the discussion we had in slack regarding the ark token's value proposition. Some of the community members who happen to be long term holders of ark feel that the ark token's value proposition isn't clearly communicated by the team so they asked about it. I'm posting the entire discussion it here to make a permanent record since slack wipes messages after a while.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
arigard [7:21 PM]
Hey team, so I'm curious. Is there any update on a new white paper at all that was being mentioned? I've been holding Ark since it hit Bittrex and I personally don't really have a clear idea about how the token is going to work in the overall picture, or what really the direction is for the project once v2 is out. It feels like things have gone a bit flat recently, are there any updates on direction and what the plan is once V2 is live? Is there any idea about when it might go live? Or how the Ark token will fit into the economy (will it be a gas?). I see a lot of other projects i'm invested in coming up with very clear roadmaps/dates and direction about what they want to be and I still personally feel Ark's message is a little confused and hard to read especially for people who are not coders/developers.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:22 PM]
the roadmap is on the site, arkdirectory.com/kits has nice presentations and other goodies
roks0n (deadlock) [7:23 PM]
@Matthew_DC mentioned a couple of days ago that he’s preparing several blog posts which should explain most of these @arigard
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:23 PM]
the Blog also goes into lots of v2 details
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:24 PM]
Hi everyone.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:24 PM]
Ark is Ark, not like Eth with gas, hence no gas.
Hey @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) welcome back
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:24 PM]
Hey rob, hi Rok :slightly_smiling_face:
roks0n (deadlock) [7:25 PM]
Rob, I think he means how everything will be connected with ArkVM etc.
similar conversation as the one few days ago (edited)
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:25 PM]
It's been a while, but I was head on in the project, sorry for not showing more often.
arigard [7:25 PM]
Yeah my main question is really I still don't know what will give the actual Ark token value .
goldenpepe [7:25 PM]
we dont know how the arkvm will work
All we can do is wait
Doubled1c3 (ArkStickers.com) [7:26 PM]
uploaded and commented on this image: bucket.jpg
@Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe)
goldenpepe [7:26 PM]
We can make assumptions but that's all they'll be
roks0n (deadlock) [7:26 PM]
@arigard this was the discussion: https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531422791000216
roks0n (deadlock)
definitely, I’m not blaming anyone :slightly_smiling_face: Was just curious if there were any developments in terms of the updated whitepaper because I was reading one of the threads on reddit from 6 months ago where it was mentioned you’re looking to hire someone write it up.
Posted in #generalJul 12th
arigard [7:26 PM]
And I kind of feel this is such a big elephant in the room for people in the long run.
roks0n (deadlock) [7:26 PM]
click on the link and read from that post on (edited)
arigard [7:26 PM]
ok
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:27 PM]
I saw that there has been some drawbacks with the V2 ?
(Not sure if it's exact, I only came a few times and seemed to understand it was so)
goldenpepe [7:28 PM]
There are just some incompatibilities between v1 and v2 in devnet
which is why devnet is currently down
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:28 PM]
ArkVM may be unnecessary as more modern approaches to handling contracts are available, one of the main issue is having them be distributed just like the tokens.
goldenpepe [7:28 PM]
There's a community run v2-only devnet though #devnet_unofficial
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:28 PM]
it's more like drawback with v1
arigard [7:30 PM]
I mean I've seen a lot of stuff in that discussion discussed over the past year and there still seems to be no concrete answers coming out and that is a bit of worry to me personally. It makes it look like the team doesn't even know. I think most that know of Ark understand it wants to create an easy way to deploy blockchains and work as a platform and have some inoperability options. But the fundamentals of how that work right now seems to be up in the air. In other projects I know what gives those tokens value, but in Ark I don't, so it's hard for me as an investor to really sell to someone else the benefits of the token when there is a big question mark still on it.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:33 PM]
do you know that Ark Deployer has been available for quite some time?
arigard [7:34 PM]
Yes, that doesn't really answer any questions though.
mak [7:34 PM]
Ark deployer helps the main chain's business case somehow?
arigard [7:35 PM]
What gives Ark token actual value? Like what is the reason people need to buy and hold the Ark token? That is my question.
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:36 PM]
@mak what you're saying is kinda like answering you can use a hammer when asked what a nail do.
arigard [7:36 PM]
You don't need to buy the Ark token to deploy a chain. You can just do it.
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:36 PM]
I mean, the Ark Deployer doesn't answer what's the Ark.
mak [7:36 PM]
@Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) my point was directed towards rob's comment. I think you misunderstood it.
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:37 PM]
@mak My bad then. I apologize.
Blockhunter [7:38 PM]
:boogieark9:
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:38 PM]
" I think most that know of Ark understand it wants to create an easy way to deploy blockchains and work as a platform and have some inoperability options. But the fundamentals of how that work right now seems to be up in the air."
This is why I wrote that.. there is no mystery of how that works. You are mistaken or uninformed.
arkenstone [7:38 PM]
That's the problem here because team is programming orientated but there hasn't been alot done on business aspect of the token and marketing investor point big view
mak [7:38 PM]
That only explains the value of the ark codebase not the blockchain though
arigard [7:38 PM]
I think you seem to be trying to turn the argument in a seperate direction.
It's a simple question.
What gives the Ark token value.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:39 PM]
The market does. It's on 19 different exchanges.
arigard [7:39 PM]
Seems like you are being unhelpfully obtuse. I'll rephrase.
roks0n (deadlock) [7:39 PM]
so one thing that is clear to me is interoperability using ACES, where ARK is used as a “middleman” between two different chains, so if there’s high volume between those chains, it means the volume of ark increases as well .. what I’d like to know is how things will work with arkvm and how it will all work with sidechains (on eth, all the side chains will basically link back to the main chain which will be the one responsible for security afaik?)
arigard [7:39 PM]
What gives the Ark token value in the Ark ecosystem.
Blockhunter [7:40 PM]
Vote for Pedro he will make all your dreams come true
arigard [7:40 PM]
Eth is a gas, Waves is a gas. Ark is... what?
mak [7:40 PM]
ACES can work with any chains though. Doesn't have to be ark main chain. So I guess tomorrow persona can become the settlement layer for the Ark ecosystem and there's no incentive to stop it from happening.
arigard [7:40 PM]
^
roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM]
Mak, correct but if there are already lots of chains connected between ARK, it will be more appealing to link it through ARK directly
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:41 PM]
As I understand it, ACES could be using any given blockchain as the middle man...
roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM]
it doesn’t mean that it can’t be copied tho
arigard [7:41 PM]
But there are no chains connected through Ark atm
That have any real value anyway
roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM]
eth and btc are
arigard [7:41 PM]
And they can be connected through any Ark clone.
bangomatic [7:41 PM]
I'd love to hear the Ark team chime in on this discussion
arigard [7:42 PM]
So anyone can come along and make another chain that can instantly overtake Ark at this present time if there isn't a failsafe reason for Ark to be the defacto currency.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:42 PM]
https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422 you can't keep saying things like this as if they are true.
arigard
That have any real value anyway
Posted in #generalToday at 7:41 PM
Blockhunter [7:42 PM]
Interoperability to the moon
mak [7:42 PM]
"it will be more appealing to link it through ARK directly"
Currently Ark is the only mature chain because it's been around longer but the moment persona or some other bridge chain gets listed on an exchange that dynamic is no longer there. So why would you prefer Ark over persona when that happens. That's the question as far as I understand it. (edited)
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:43 PM]
Persona has other goals, not duplicating Ark goals
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:43 PM]
@bangomatic Hi!
arigard [7:43 PM]
What current sidechain of Ark has real value/position in the crypto market? Persona?
bangomatic [7:43 PM]
hey @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe)!
mak [7:43 PM]
The blockchain as a transaction medium doesn't care about secondary goals.
It still has all the capabilities that Ark has.
Colby [7:43 PM]
What has value right now? :thinking_face:
rob [ Ark Labs ]
https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422 you can't keep saying things like this as if they are true.
https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422
Posted in #generalToday at 7:42 PM
arigard [7:43 PM]
Ark's ecosystem at present is not big enough to be a reason not to just take the tech and start your own.
To think otherwise is ludicrous.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:44 PM]
that's a fine opinion
Jarunik [7:44 PM]
it is harder than you think :slightly_smiling_face:
arigard [7:44 PM]
We aren't Eth with multi $100mn + start ups and even if we were, what's currently to stop one of those just overtaking Ark and leaving it behind?
Jarunik [7:45 PM]
i hope some ark clones get really sucessful to be honest :slightly_smiling_face:
Colby [7:45 PM]
Same here!
Jarunik
i hope some ark clones get really sucessful to be honest :slightly_smiling_face:
Posted in #generalToday at 7:45 PM
Blockhunter [7:45 PM]
HODL ROCKET TECHNOLOGY
mak [7:45 PM]
Same here but then there's no reason to hold Ark over something else
arigard [7:45 PM]
i hope so too if there is some reason for Ark to always be there at the top considering it's the Ark platform.
Colby [7:45 PM]
But the thing is that I am wondering, if ark clones get successful, what benefits does it give back to ark
Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:45 PM]
@Jarunik to create an ecosystem?
mak [7:45 PM]
Right now we have to consider Ark's value not the other bridge chains
arigard [7:45 PM]
But if there isn't a reason for Ark to exist at the top, why are we all holding it?
Colby [7:45 PM]
Haha I think we are all thinking the same :slightly_smiling_face:
arigard [7:45 PM]
It's a terrible business plan
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:46 PM]
the point of BridgeChains is to allow new projects with no access the market a path to them through Ark, and hence gain value.
Other blockchains connections are through ACES, such as BTC, LTC, ETH, and more coming..
Persona has a way to trade Ark <> Prs
arigard [7:47 PM]
What is to stop them from getting their own exchanges in the future and just using Ark as a stepping stone to becoming their own platform operator?
mak [7:47 PM]
Sure rob, but there's now 10 different projects doing the same and they are faster in development than the ark team is
arigard [7:47 PM]
^
Blockhunter [7:47 PM]
Ark is the Yoda of blockchain and they need a better catchphrase. Better than ark gives no dates or point click blockchain
arigard [7:48 PM]
This attitude seems horribly naive if this is the value proposition.
mak [7:48 PM]
All of us believe in the vision that Ark brought us but I personally am not sure if Ark is the best option to execute that vision in time
arigard [7:48 PM]
The issue is, we don't know what the value proposition is.
mak [7:48 PM]
Other projects seem much faster
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:48 PM]
if you are into speculation, which it seems you are, then on paper all of your projects with no code are better and have more value than Ark
arigard [7:48 PM]
That's not true at all. lol.
Matthew_DC [7:49 PM]
At the most base level, ARK is a common currency token that is essentially automatically compatible with every bridge chain that is built based on ARK and is optimized for transaction volume and throughput to avoid bloat of other mechanisms introduced by the other chains. That is at the most basic level. By holding the ARK token itself, you will be able to enact the functions of multiple bridged chains both issued by our team and others. You will also be able to utilize the ARK chain as a pegged token to many bridged chains but that process will be transparent to users as it will be done behind the scenes without the user needing to do any functions. To think that someone will fork the code and generate a more effective ARK main chain means you have no confidence in the ARK team as the primary developer of the technology itself. In this case, if we are not and someone pushes a better version of the network, then I would argue maybe they SHOULD be chosen. That is the point of a free and open market. Not to mention the potential for registering and providing snapshot hashes to the main ARK blockchain to provide added security measures to a bridge chain with lower security due to lower market share etc, those are just baseline reasons.
As I mentioned the other day, at face value, consider this. What brings value to Litecoin or Bitcoin or Doge? In essence, ARK is a more effective currency and base network than all of these aforementioned networks with all of the added benefits being added for additional use cases.
roks0n (deadlock) [7:50 PM]
will ark based chains be bridged via arkvm?
goldenpepe [7:50 PM]
They cant be
You'd need the VM on both sides
Matthew_DC [7:50 PM]
I am currently on a conference call and have a lot going on so I can't respond too much.
goldenpepe [7:50 PM]
You can use AIP11's new tx types to do a sort of escrow between chains though i think
mak [7:50 PM]
@Matthew_DC Are you saying that the bridgechains deployed by ark-deployer don't have the same features?
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:50 PM]
ArkVM is not for bridging chains
goldenpepe [7:51 PM]
It can be
Coinme [7:51 PM]
And ICO's that will join Ark in the future will use it for buying their token.
goldenpepe [7:51 PM]
But both chains will need to be running the VM
Matthew_DC [7:51 PM]
The ARK main chain will have specific methods of allowing token transfer and utilization between chains to include quasi-centralized methods through aces, decentralized aces based intermediary networks, Time locked transfers, among custom built smart contract like logic built into the core technology itself that doesn't make the network susceptible to the bloat and mis-utilization an vulnerabilities of full VM use.
goldenpepe [7:51 PM]
(which the main ark chain wont be)
mak [7:51 PM]
"ICO's that will join Ark in the future will use it for buying their token"
Or any other bridgechain that's listed on exchanges
@Matthew_DC So will all of the bridgechains, no? I could start an ACES node today for persona and it will have no difference from what you describe.
Matthew_DC [7:52 PM]
@mak no, we promised ARK would be open source and everything we build for the core ARK blockchain will be open source.
arigard [7:53 PM]
You can be open source and still protect your value..
Matthew_DC [7:54 PM]
The point of ARK from day 1 has been to create a better base layer blockchain technology and protocol for everyone everywhere to be able to use to create anything they can dream up.
The ARK token is a core payment layer for the ecosystem including any applications we build ourselves, sponsor, partner with, or support.
mak [7:54 PM]
It seems like the team's vision for Ark is as a software product only and there's no business plan for the main chain. Which is fine but it's not explained as such. (edited)
Blockhunter [7:55 PM]
Great to see such active discussions
goldenpepe [7:55 PM]
I think what Matt is trying to portray is this:
A single universal Ark Ecosystem wallet holding ARK that has a nice UI with a list of dapps in the ecosystem
You select a dapp
You send a tx from the wallet using Ark
----------------Everything below this line is transparent to the user-----------------
The Ark transaction has instructions in the smartbridge field
The Ark gets converted to dappCoin via an intermediary like ACES (trustful) or a trustless escrow smart contract
The intermediary received Ark and uses the dappCoin on the dapp chain to do whatever it is the user wanted to do using the instructions in the smartbridge field
The dappchain responds to the request to the intermediary
Intermediary sends an Ark tx with the results of the dapp computation/action in the smartbridge field
---------------Everything above this line is transparent to the user-------------------
After 8+ seconds, user's wallet shows them the result of their interaction with the dapp bridgechain
That's where the value of Ark will come from
The Ark coin will be a universal "omni-coin"
Matthew_DC [7:56 PM]
:this: This
goldenpepe [7:56 PM]
That will instantly shapeshift into bridgechain coins to interact with the bridgechain dapp
mak [7:58 PM]
I understand what your point is and I agree it will work but only as long as none of the bridge chains are on an exchange
when for example persona gets listed on binance the scenario changes
and now either chain can become the backbone of the ark ecosystem
arigard [7:58 PM]
Yes. We see that. But hypothetically what is to stop a bridged Ark chain from becoming bigger than Ark and then going on to become that gateway? At this point it just seems to be hopium that the Ark network will always be the one people look to. But in one year, or two, or five, it might not be the case. What is to stop Ark being just sidelined if another team come along with develop on what Ark has built and propel it forward and take the mantle?
goldenpepe [7:58 PM]
What you say will be a problem only if the utility of the dapp coin is greater than the utility of the ark omnicoin
Would you rather hold a coin that can do one thing and is forever tied to a single chain
arigard [7:59 PM]
But in other crypto's an app becoming sucessfull is a benefit. In Ark's network it could be a negative.
goldenpepe [7:59 PM]
Or would you rather hold a coin that can interact with that single chain and 3232523432 others
arigard [7:59 PM]
But why can't another coin become an omnicoin?
If there are no limitations against it
goldenpepe [7:59 PM]
Why can't another coin become ethereum?
mak [7:59 PM]
"What you say will be a problem only if the utility of the dapp coin is greater than the utility of the ark omnicoin"
Or if it gives out better staking returns etc like persona because of higher inflation rate
goldenpepe [7:59 PM]
if there are no limitations against it
You can literally go on AWS right now and deploy an ethereum clone chain
arigard [7:59 PM]
It can, but an ETH token can't oust ETH
That's the difference. We are giving people an easy route here.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:59 PM]
do you often think your children should not surpass you? Or is that the hope?
Matthew_DC [8:00 PM]
Well it's about security, trust, potential vulnerabilities due to added functionality, the ability of the bridgechain team to create interactions and focus on use cases for their token outside of their core use, etc.
But that's the point of open and free markets
goldenpepe [8:00 PM]
There is a solution to your concern @arigard
Matthew_DC [8:00 PM]
What is to stop someone from being better than Bitcoin?
arigard [8:01 PM]
I think all these strawman arguments are fun, but they still aren't adressing the issuel
goldenpepe [8:01 PM]
Instead of having Ark Deployer literally cloning the ark codebase, have it be a turnkey solution to run a layer 2 chain
Matthew_DC [8:01 PM]
You could go fork Ethereum right now and have an exact copy of the capability of the main Eth chain.
goldenpepe [8:01 PM]
bridgechain dapps can be "colored coins"
that are forever tied to the main chain
arigard [8:01 PM]
Yeah but you wouldn't have those businesses on the chain.
goldenpepe [8:01 PM]
but that would introduce bloat
Matthew_DC [8:01 PM]
So you are saying the utility of Ethereum is adoption.
arigard [8:01 PM]
And those businesses won't have the potential to become the main ETH.
Matthew_DC [8:01 PM]
Which is the case for the value of any token.
goldenpepe [8:01 PM]
@arigard It sounds like you want ark to become Ethereum Plasma
arigard [8:02 PM]
I just want an answer.
Matthew_DC [8:02 PM]
How many companies are pulling their ERC20 tokens off of Ethereum because of the issues?
Colby [8:02 PM]
Yeah but correct me if im wrong
goldenpepe [8:02 PM]
There is no answer that will satisfy what you are asking
arigard [8:02 PM]
And i keep getting strawmanned.
Colby [8:02 PM]
Ethereum projects NEED eth for gas
Matthew_DC [8:02 PM]
We talk to people almost every day that are looking to leave Ethereum.
Colby [8:02 PM]
Ark is needed for?
arigard [8:02 PM]
^
Colby [8:02 PM]
This is all I am wondering, where does the ark coin fit into it
I love the idea
goldenpepe [8:02 PM]
@arigard You want ark-based coins to rely on Ark
The team wants the Ark chain to not be bloated
The solution to this is unironically ethereum plasma and sharding
Colby [8:02 PM]
but have been waiting for a while to know how the Ark coin will actually be used
goldenpepe [8:03 PM]
Shards in ethereum are basically "bridgechains"
arigard [8:03 PM]
Ok, and those teams might be big enough and clued up enough to eventually knock Ark from being the de facto omni coin. That's the worry.
If this is in fact the possibility.
Then it should be clear.
mak [8:03 PM]
"You could go fork Ethereum right now and have an exact copy of the capability of the main Eth chain."
@Matthew_DC Ethereum has value because all the dapps live on it which is not true for ark
arigard [8:03 PM]
Because as an investor it worries me, a lot.
I don't know where the value of Ark as an investment is 100% right now.
Jarunik [8:03 PM]
Ark is basically the inverse approach to Ethereum. Eth goes for big one-fits all first and tries to shard ... Ark is creating shards and then combines them
goldenpepe [8:03 PM]
There is no solution to what @arigard and @mak are saying right now
Literally no existing solution
Only proposals like sharding
arigard [8:04 PM]
And all this noise about defensiveness doesn't help. These are legit concerns.
Matthew_DC [8:04 PM]
When was it not clear that if a company comes along and builds a better more used product it could potentially take over market share?
That's how all free markets work.
You can't believe in open source and build and open source product without that risk.
arigard [8:04 PM]
But that isn't the same thing. Ark is literally building THE tools for people to then do that.
mak [8:04 PM]
@Matthew_DC Just to clarify I appreciate the work you guys are doing but I want to make an informed investment decision about holding the ark token
arigard [8:04 PM]
As a platform.
Jarunik [8:04 PM]
yes ... that is the idea how to grow
arigard [8:04 PM]
if you cloned Bitcoin back in the day you were a seperate currency.
Jarunik [8:04 PM]
provide good tools for others to create chains
arigard [8:04 PM]
This is a platform, its totally different.
And what we are discuswsing here is who runs that platform.
Matthew_DC [8:05 PM]
If someone launched an Ethereum chain right now and gained adoption there is a huge potential that all tokens decide to move their ERC20 tokens to the new chain and it becomes the new Ethereum and you have in essence lost all value because Ethereum is not capable of being used on the bridge chain as a currency.
ARK maintains it's value if for no other reason than the pegged value to any chain we personally create to include VM chain, token issuance chain, etc.
arigard [8:05 PM]
If it's built by Ark, does Ark always retain control? if not, why? What happens if Ark ends up building tools for a subsidary project that propels itself above them. Investors will just move to that coin.
Matthew_DC [8:05 PM]
Because it's an open decentralized system.
The problem is people don't actually believe in decentralization if it possibly harms their potential for monetary gain.
rob [ Ark Labs ] [8:06 PM]
we hope bridgechains get popular because that also means more for Ark in many ways.
arigard [8:06 PM]
You can be decentralized without being 100% altruistic. It's not mutually exclusive.
mak [8:06 PM]
@goldenpepe Since you guys claim that there's no solution for this how about I present one which @Matthew_DC can decide if it's useful or not. Make delegate voting for the ArkVM happen on the main chain. So anyone who wants to become a delegate for the VM needs to hold money on the main chain.
arigard [8:07 PM]
It just seems people are being dogmatic about this.
And if this isn't about investment. Why have an ICO?
Matthew_DC [8:07 PM]
Ethereum being the core chain for all ERC20 token based businesses centralizes the industry in a massive way. Not only is Ethereum itself centralized in the way it's mining structure was developed, but it also is centralized in that if the Ethereum network is compromised, thousands of companies assets and business are now compromised.
We don't believe that is the future.
mak [8:07 PM]
I'm not saying that this should be done for all sidechains. Just for the VM and it will be a special case.
Matthew_DC [8:07 PM]
We believe in a different business model.
That has been at the core of every description and explanation I have given from day 1.
arigard [8:07 PM]
Ok and that's fine, but my point is this should be made very clear if it's the case.
From the team officially.
goldenpepe [8:07 PM]
@mak now you're strawmanning me
Matthew_DC [8:07 PM]
Where is it not clear?
goldenpepe [8:08 PM]
I was addressing the fact that the idea that bridgechains shouldnt be independent and should be tied to Ark being in conflict with the Ark team's idea that the main chain should not be bloated with dapps
The only plausible solution to that right now
is Ethereum Plasma
Sharding
yokoama (thefoundry Delegate) [8:09 PM]
Sharting
mak [8:09 PM]
"We believe in a different business model."
I respect that. But it changes the ark's value proposition to just being a source of funding to the ark team and a means of speculation.
goldenpepe [8:09 PM]
Shards in ethereum are like bridgechains but the coins are all erc20s that rely on ethereum
Matthew_DC [8:09 PM]
People said ARK's DPoS mechanism would be a failure when we changed the voting structure because they said it wouldn't be secure enough. It has turned out to be massively secure compared to the centralized cartel run solutions of other DPoS chains. This is another fundamental issue where we believe we have a model that will work and will create value and thousands of use cases for the ARK token in a seamless way for the average user.
goldenpepe [8:09 PM]
and the shard blocks dont interfere or bloat up the "main" eth chain
mak [8:09 PM]
@goldenpepe I'm not suggesting deploying dapps on main chain. Just that the voting should take place there so there is always incentive to keep money on the main chain.
Matthew_DC [8:10 PM]
At no point did we say ARK was gas and have constantly made sure to outline the differences between ARK and Ethereum.
I believe the Eth model is flawed.
goldenpepe [8:11 PM]
The current ethereum model is flawed
If sharding works then it's going to solve a lot of its issues
(i dont hold any ethereum btw)
arigard [8:12 PM]
At no point have we actually had an updated white paper discussing this question in detail, clearly. It's not on the website and if it is it's buried somewhere in a blog post. The fact these discussions keep cropping up is proof of this.
nukacolaplease [8:12 PM]
I think we don't understand clearly what makes Ark important after the launch of the sidechains, Ark will be only an "exchange token"? The sidechain doesn't need Ark for operating
goldenpepe [8:12 PM]
+1 on needing a new whitepaper
Matthew_DC [8:12 PM]
replied to a thread:
This is a means of centralization of the network. Instead, by utilizing a form of pegged bridge chains, we can maintain a similar effect without creating centralization and reliance on 1 chain for others to properly function.
arkenstone [8:12 PM]
I think these things should be clearly written in a new WB and officially made public and promoted
goldenpepe [8:12 PM]
A new whitepaper would clear up so much FUD
pieface [8:13 PM]
Yeah I think a new WP is needed for sure
arigard [8:13 PM]
So don't start going "Oh everybody knows this, it's clear" Show me where on the front page of the website it tells you how the token mechanics will work in the ecosystem? It's not good it being on some powerpoint on a google drive, or hidden in comments in the slack.
mak [8:13 PM]
I though there wasn't going to be a new whitepaper.
arigard [8:13 PM]
It needs to be clear to investors how it works, exactly.
goldenpepe [8:13 PM]
I agree with arigard here
I only know what I know because I live on slack
Matthew_DC [8:13 PM]
The solutions are still in development and there are always opportunities to continue to adapt the model, that's why I have these conversations and ask for feedback regularly, but the core fundamental belief of how open and free decentralized markets should work most likely won't change.
arkenstone [8:13 PM]
Same here
goldenpepe [8:14 PM]
The vast majority of ark holders have no idea
they just bought bc of the cool red triangle
arigard [8:14 PM]
Stop playing cute, this is people's money you are asking for. So at least give them the benefit of being honest that there is no inherent business model reason why Ark will be necessary in the future.
And let them make their decisions.
roks0n (deadlock) [8:14 PM]
I agree, it took me months of following discussion on slack and digging around reddit to get information
arigard [8:14 PM]
With proper information.
mak [8:14 PM]
replied to a thread:
It's centralizing value onto one chain but doesn't bottleneck the ecosystem so I don't see anything being wrong with that.
Matthew_DC [8:15 PM]
replied to a thread:
I'm not arguing with you and I made a clear post here within the last 2 days that our website messaging is shit and needs completely redone.
If the ARK network is compromised or the consensus mechanism of the ARK main net is compromised then all subsequent networks reliant on that consensus would be compromised as well.
mad4thrash [8:15 PM]
In my opinion Ark's value come from (in the future) the fact that by holding one coin I can interact with every bridgechain plus any ACES services
Matthew_DC [8:16 PM]
So what I am saying is that we have to be cautious of these kinds of decisions and ensure that we aren't inadvertently creating attack vectors to take down partners, businesses, and other industries using the technology.
I'm sorry guys, I have to go, but I would love to continue this conversation on Reddit or here at a later time.
mak [8:16 PM]
"all subsequent networks reliant on that consensus would be compromised as well"
^ Correction: only the VM chain will be compromised since I'm not advocating that all bridgechains should vote on the main chain.
Matthew_DC [8:19 PM]
In an isolated case, if we can map it out and vet the concept, I'm more than happy to hear it out and have the conversation.
Solowatch [8:19 PM]
So I think we can all agree an updated Whitepaper is due
Matthew_DC [8:20 PM]
This is a community project and we are shaping pieces of it together as we continue to build. We have already made changes based on community feedback on many occasions.
So I would love to see someone post a proposal to reddit or even as an AIP at some point that we could discuss.
Jarunik [8:20 PM]
If you write a white paper it will be outdated soon :smile:
Solowatch [8:21 PM]
Well a V2 whitepaper shouldn’t be outdated soon
I don’t care about a V1 or V1.5 whitepaper lol
I want a whitepaper for V2 that’s clearly explaining all these concerns that the community has
arkenstone [8:22 PM]
:this:
Solowatch [8:23 PM]
I wrote a few questions down that I’ll post in here later today that @rob [ Ark Labs ] asked for. Please add to it if I missed anything once I do.
arkenstone [8:23 PM]
And I think now it's the time do it. Present it with full package on mainet launch.. (edited)
Solowatch [8:23 PM]
Or PM and I’ll add them before posting
mak [8:25 PM]
Anyways thanks for listening and responding @Matthew_DC. Some of us have been trying to discuss this with the ark team but didn't get much feedback until today.
arigard [8:25 PM]
Yeah +1
arkenstone [8:28 PM]
Alot of early investors are getting worried
submitted by moazzam2k to ArkEcosystem [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting brainwashed by some cult and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be plesed Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to CrimsonClubsWorkshop [link] [comments]

Coin-a-Year: Nyancoin

Hello cryptocurrency lovers! Welcome to Coin-a-Year, the laziest series yet in the Coin-a-Day publishing empire. This year's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). I originally covered Nyancoin in an article here in /cryptocurrency published January 4th, 2015.
Without (much) further ado, I'm going to include the original report next, unmodified. This is unlike my Coin-a-Week series, where I use strikeout and update in-text. Because this is going to be a longer update, I'll just make all further comments and updates below, just realize that all information below is as of January 4th, 2015 and thus is more than a year out of date as of posting now, at the end of February 2016.
Since I use horizontal rules as internal dividers in the original post, I'll use a double horizontal rule to divide the original text from this prelude and the following update.
Coin-a-Day Jan 4th
Welcome to the fourth installment of Coin-a-Day! To see convenient links to the introduction and the previous entries, please see /coinaday. Today's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN).
Summary
• ~173.6 million available currently [1]; 337 million limit [2]
• All-time high: ~0.000024 BTC on February 16, 2014 [1]
• Current price: ~3 satoshi [1]
• Current market cap: ~$1,275 [1]
• Block rate (average): 1 minute [1] [3]
• Transaction rate: ~25? / last 24 hours; estimated $3-4 [4]
• Transaction limit: 70 / second [5]
• Transaction cost: 0 for most transactions [6]
• Rich list: ??? [7]
• Exchanges: Cryptsy [8]
• Processing method: Mining [10]
• Distribution method: proof-of-work block rewards and 1% premine for "bounties, giveaways & dev support" [2] [10]
• Community: Comatose [9]
• Code/development: https://github.com/nyancoin-release/nyancoin ; there hasn't been a released code change in 10 months. The new developer has talked about some changes, but has not made a new release. He has given advice about how to keep the network running and operate the client. [10]
• Innovation or special feature: First officially licensed cryptocurrency (from Nyancat) [2]; "zombie"-coin [11]
Description / Community:
So you're probably wondering why in the world we're talking about a coin which has been declared dead and already written off. I actually first selected this coin to illustrate a "deadcoin", but the more I dug into it, the more I was amazed at the shambles I discovered. I am combining the description and community sections for this coin, because the community (or lack thereof) is the central issue for Nyancoin.
Substantially all, if not literally all, of the original infrastructure is gone. From the announcement post, the original website has expired. The nyan.cat site itself survives, but has no reference to the coin. The github repo remains, but then there was never much changed from the bitcoin/litecoin original. In fact, the COPYING file doesn't even list "Nyancoin Developers". None of the original nodes seem to be running anymore. @Nyan_Coin hasn't tweeted since July 6th. And that was just to announce posting an admittedly cute picture to facebook which makes a claim for a future which seems never to have developed. Of the original 15 pools, I think all are dead except p2pool, for which at least one node still supports NYAN. The original blockchain explorer, nyancha.in, is still running. The faucet is dead or broken. The original exchanges no longer list it (two of the three having died; SwissCEX having ended its trading as of the first of this year). And so forth.
And yet:

I'm not dead! I'm getting better!

No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
[Of course, that scene finishes with knocking out the "recovering" patient so he can be taken away...not to mention the absurdity of including Monty Python in a financial article, but moving right along.]
There is still just enough left to Nyancoin to keep it twitching, even if it is on life-support. Whether it's an individual node or whether it's a pool, there are blocks being produced at a steady rate as intended. Transactions are being processed. There is still a market. There is still a block explorer. And there is a dev. It is like a case study in the absolute minimum necessary to keep a coin alive. The most likely outcome is almost certainly a final collapse when one critical piece or another of the infrastructure goes away. And yet in the meantime, a person can own a million NYAN for $8 [12], and then move this coin quickly and easy, albeit with no particular external demand. It's like the world's most hyped testnet.
I think this case presents an interesting example of what happens to an altcoin when its initial support dries up. NYAN coin is more fortunate than some, actually, as there are some where there are no longer any nodes running it nor the original announcement thread (in fact, there was actually a second Nyancoin launched around the same time. But it died hard and its original announcement thread was deleted and at this point I would have no idea how to access it; so "Nyancoin" thus illustrates how hard a coin can die (Nyancoin 2) as well as how it can hang around despite being proclaimed dead, with far more justification behind that pronouncement than there has been for bitcoin (NYAN) ).
Footnotes
[1] http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/
[2] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=402085.0 Regarding the premine, it's unclear to me where this money is now, since the original poster hasn't been active on BCT since May and the original site is down. However, given that it's only 1%, and about $25 in value right now, there seem to be more significant concerns for NYAN.
[3] http://nyancha.in/chain/Nyancoin - Nyan blockchain explorer; blocks are somewhat inconsistent but somewhere around the 1 minute average
[4] There doesn't seem to be anything automatically doing these stats, so I did visual inspection on about 1500 blocks (about one day) excluding the block generation reward (~250k/day). Most blocks are otherwise empty. I counted about 24 transactions or so scrolling through, with an outlier around 300k NYAN and another around 100k NYAN. In total, about 500k NYAN, excluding the block rewards. This is very approximately $3-4.
[5] Nyancoin is a basically unmodified, slightly out-of-date bitcoin as far as code goes, and ignoring the change in block rate and total coin supply, as well as the difficulty retarget after every block. So for purposes of estimating maximum possible transaction throughput, I start with bitcoin's estimated 7 transactions per second, and multiply by 10 for having a block on average every minute rather than every 10 minutes. In any event, this limit is not likely to be reached in the foreseeable future.
[6] Like bitcoin, transaction fees appear to be optional in Nyancoin. Unlike bitcoin, there is almost no transaction volume, and coins tend to sit for a relatively long time before being moved. So zero-fee transactions appear to be the norm from looking at a couple transactions on the block explorer.
[7] I couldn't find one. See the disclosure section of this article: your humble correspondent is likely represented in some way on a top 100 if one were to be made or if one exists, despite not holding it directly, depending on how the exchange holds it.
[8] I could not find any other exchanges still listing Nyancoin. SwissCex appears to have disabled it as of a couple days ago. Cryptsy has a notice that the NYAN/BTC market will be closing, but its NYAN/LTC market appears strong.
[9] Essentially all of the original sites, pools, faucets, etc. are dead and there has been very little to replace it. There is basically a single node, or perhaps a very few, which are running the blockchain. However, there is a developer still trying to hold things together, maxvall_dev, maxvall on BCT. He is the last hope for the NYAN.
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=597877.0 This is the thread where maxvall took over as dev, and it also discusses switching to PoS, which hasn't happened as far as I know.
[11] "zombie"-coin: Not to be confused with ZMB (my god, does it ever end?). This is my term to describe a coin which is "undead": by rights it should be dead. And yet it's still walking around and acting like it's alive. What is it? What's going on? It's quite debatable whether this gives it any special value, but I find it an interesting state, and it's why this was chosen for early coverage. There are plenty of actually popular and successful coins, and we will go onto covering more normal selections; we're looking for variety rather than repetition. But I think this is an interesting example for what can go wrong, and yet in the midst of that, how little it takes for a coin to survive. In fact, it's almost like an alternate history bitcoin to me; this shows the concept that "it was run on one computer before; it can be run on one computer again" to some extent. And there are even some strange pragmatic benefits as well, like having no competition for getting a transaction into a block and thus zero transaction fees.
[12] And, in fact, the author chose to do so today, spending about 0.03 BTC for about 1 million NYAN.
Additional Reading
/nyancoins - Like NYAN: mostly dead, but not quite
http://nyan-coin.org/ - new official website
BCT thread listing nodes, xpool (p2pool), for mining information.
americanpegasus predicting in February that NYAN will hit $1; always an entertaining read
Giveaway
Instead of a challenge today, since NYAN has enough challenges, I decided I would give away 10,000 NYAN to at least the first ten people who ask for it. This still remains at my discretion, but honestly, if you really want, say, 50,000 NYAN and create four new accounts to do so, I'll probably be too amused to say no. I don't expect to get ten requests. If I get more, I'll probably still fulfill them, but as with everything else, this is left to my whim.
Donations and Disclosure
Okay, this is an important one today because of the tiny market here. I actually hold less USD value in NYAN than in BTC, DOGE, and PPC (although my value in PPC might be about equivalent actually), but I hold more of the total market in NYAN than any of those three. And I'll probably be buying more. So I have a conflict of interest in writing this article.
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
I personally hold just over 1 million NYAN on Cryptsy right now.
Perhaps it would be better if I didn't write any articles about anything I were invested inspeculating on, but I started this series for my own education to further my speculation, so unfortunately, dear reader, your needs come second to my own. tanstaafl; you get what you pay for, and I'm giving you my thoughts.
If by some strange quirk of fate you actually own NYAN and enjoyed this article and wished to donate some to me, K7Ho9HghBF6xWwS6JsepE6RAEPyAXbsQCV is mine (first non-empty account I've posted; transferred 1000 NYAN into here earlier from Cryptsy to test that the network and my wallet were actually working).
Thank you all for reading and commenting! I've already learned a lot from this process and I look forward to more!
Upcoming coins:
• January 5th: Nxt
• January 6th: Darkcoin
• January 7th: Namecoin
I'll use alphabetic labeling for footnotes in the updates to avoid any confusion with the footnotes in the original. For simplicity, unchanged items, like the 337 million limit and the 1 minute will not be mentioned, and we'll start with the summary changes.
Updates:
Summary
  • ~263.7 million NYAN currently exist [a]
  • Current price: ~7 satoshi [b]
  • Current market cap: ~$8,000 [c]
  • Transaction rate: ~185 / last 24 hours; ~3,300,000 NYAN (~$100) [d]
  • Exchanges: Cryptopia [e]
  • Community: We're not quite dead yet; in fact, I think we're getting better! [f]
  • Code/Development: I have an early draft of NYAN2, but I'm about six months past my initial goal for having it available to use. Life/work/lack of build machine/procrastination. NYAN2 will be a rebase onto a modern LTC codebase which will soft fork to fix a current vulnerability to a fork bug. For now, the network still runs on the same code that it did when I wrote the first article.
Discussion
I'm going to consider the community first, since I pointed it out as the weakness and central topic in the last one, then talk about the technical situation briefly, and then review the financial results.
The community has been excellent, if I do say so myself. We've got working infrastructure going thanks to the contributions of many Nekonauts (see [f]). Some original Nekonauts have returned or at least popped in from time to time, and new ones like myself have found Nyancoin (I would say given what I wrote in the original, I was still a skeptic of it at that point. Not that skeptics can't be Nekonauts, but I think I'd put my conversion to the cult of nyan shortly after writing that, even though I was already a nillionaire then for the heck of it.)
While I do look forward to seeing the community continue to grow in future years and consider that important, I don't think the community is our weakest point any longer; I think it's now our strongest point. I've tried to encourage the community's revival as best I could, including giving away tens of nillions in total, and lots of long rambling articles on my views on ethics and philosophy and frankly it's worked better than I would've really expected (or at least it has coincided with an effective recovery of the community). The community also helped me through at least a couple hard times personally in there as well.
The technical situation in Nyancoin is mostly unchanged but slightly improved, although with two additional known vulnerabilities. It's unchanged in that it's the same client. It's improved in that we have an active nyanchain explorer host (nyan.space), and we have a public draft of a plan for a soft forking security fix update in the near future (hopefully by the end of March (although I've slipped these deadlines before and may well miss March for release by a bit, I do think I'm inching closer now and then)).
The most serious vulnerability is to forking. This is the bug which hit Peercoin if I recall correctly. NYAN2 is intended to solve this through its soft fork from the LTC fix upstream (from the BTC fix upstream). In the meantime, we've been lucky we haven't been attacked. The tiny marketcap probably helps with not being a particularly attractive attack target. We're not exactly about to pay ransom to move faucet outputs. But that's no excuse; we want this fixed and should have it finally done "soon" (tm).
The less serious vulnerability is to a time warp attack in the difficulty function (Kimoto Gravity Well), which relates to general weaknesses it has and issues we've had with large gaps in the block chain because of spikes in the difficulty function causing it to be unprofitable and driving away most of the hash, and then low difficulty and price rise making it attractive to more hash, creating a spike and causing it again. While this is irritating, the chain still works, even if there are fits and starts at times. An important part of the reason I can get away with this is because there is at least one Nekonaut-supporting miner, CartmanSPC, who rescues us from time to time, and did so during the course of this article being written. We have a bunch of pools, but sometimes the hash just isn't there to get us unstuck when the difficulty goes high enough. Another part of the reason I consider it not an especially serious issue is because there's a workaround which works for me (classic bad developer logic): I use a large transaction fee (generally 337 NYAN, although I might have halved it after the most recent halving, I'll probably use 337 again) on my personal wallet by default. If necessary, I use a couple of them. It can make NYAN profitable to mine again despite the higher difficulty and "unstick" the chain. The difficulty function can go back down again in the next block if the gap has been long enough, so that can be enough to keep it going again for a while (although it can also get stuck again irritatingly fast at times). A fix for this will be putting in a better difficulty function for NYAN3, which will require a hard fork. This is tentatively scheduled for feature freeze around the middle of this year, coding to follow, activation sometime early 2017.
Financial has been our most disappointing performance. A graph of the 1 year performance right now on coinmarketcap looks pretty sad, showing our fall from a little over 60 satoshi down to around 7 satoshi now.
We rose too high, too fast, and I didn't stick with the safe high paying job like a sane person. Instead I hit the road, went to jail, and worked minimum wage. That doesn't sound like a sentence from a cryptocurrency financial review, does it? But the performance of NYAN since the article has been the story of my personal finances, which is the story of my life since then.
So, autobiographical coinaday interlude, trying to keep it generally to the most salient points. Well, in 2014 I had been on my way home to Minnesota from California when I was pulled over leaving Eureka, Nevada for speeding (got sloppy and went 45 approaching the 45 sign and thus technically still in the 35; bored cop seeing out-of-state plates). My vehicle reeked of weed, what with having been in Mendocino County previously with no intention of traveling out of the county much less state anytime soon but family emergency brought me back, and the end result was a citation for possession of cannabis and paraphernalia along with the speeding.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2015, I'm settled into a good software position and start looking more at cryptocurrency in my spare time. I write the coin-a-day series for a bit and then got annoyed and quit after a while when trying to do one a day on top of an actual job was too much for me (along with some annoyance over criticism; I can be rather thin-skinned at times). But I had gotten interested in Nyancoin, and started buying it up more and more with extra money I was making.
And then comes the crash. I had to stop putting as much in as I realized that where I was living and what I was working on wasn't going to work out for me and I needed to figure something else out. So, as I seem wont to do, I went on a roadtrip. I quit my job. And I went back for the court date for my citations and refused to pay, instead spending 10 days in jail rather than pay ~$1400 (I actually had the money in cash available to me if I chose to pay as a backup if I chickened out, but the judge annoyed me enough that I really preferred to be jailed instead of paying, as stupid as that sounds since I'm quite sure the judge didn't care in the least one way or another).
After that, I went back to roadtrip lifestyle for a while. It was a nice period. A lot of beautiful scenery; a lot of reading. Eventually, I busted up my car pretty badly...a couple times actually, the second time for good. Fast forwarding through the rest of the year, I worked a couple minimum wage jobs to pay bills and avoid cubicle life and kill some time until I figured out what I was going to do next. Just recently I quit as delivery boy after getting a speeding ticket (I swear, I'm not as horrible of a driver as this makes me sounds, although I have had a bad tendency to speed in the past, which I really have curbed to almost nothing; but I'm clearly not good enough) and am currently writing a Coin-a-Year article with a friend's incentive and applying to do documentation and development with the Nu project.
Okay, so what did any of that have to do with NYAN? Well, it's the mess of a life that has led to the fall of the price from 60 satoshi to 7 satoshi. If instead my life history for the time since the article had been simply "I was happily employed writing software", then I don't believe we would have dropped below 20 satoshi. It's easy to see in hindsight. If anyone can lend me a time machine, I'm sure I can get some condensed instructions which should improve performance significantly. Otherwise, just going to have more chalked up for the "character building" tally.
So, lessons learned if you are the major buy support for your coin: you need long-term reserves. Whatever you put in bids can be taken out in a moment by a dump for no apparent reason. This is particularly true if you may be quitting your cushy, high-paying job and wandering around without income for an extended period of time. Rather obvious, but hey, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes. If I'd been bidding as cautiously as I am now from the beginning, I think the price would probably be somewhere from 10-20 satoshi now instead of around 7 satoshi.
It's especially unfortunate given that I wanted to be able to demonstrate the more consistent growth possible building a stable store of value, as opposed to the pump and dumps common in altcoins. And instead we had a pump-and-dump looking graph ourselves after I bid up higher than I was able to sustain, and a large (10+ nillion) instadump crashed the market all the way back down to 1 satoshi momentarily. We've had a few large (2+ nillion) dumps since, but nothing that large. We haven't generally had that large of bids though either.
It's hard to know when I've exhausted the supply at a price level, when it sometimes waits for a couple weeks or even more and then fills all the bids at once. But I want to maximize the minimum price paid because I think that's important for building confidence in a store of value long-term, which is one of my core goals for NYAN.
At the same time, we're still up from the lowest parts of the floor and where I found it. Since I own about 30% [g], the very cheapest supply has been taken off the market. I plan to keep on buying up "cheap NYAN" as much as I can. I've bought up to 60 satoshi before, I'll probably buy up that high this time around. I've got a token 100,000 NYAN ask at 300 satoshi; I hope never to sell lower.
Conclusions
Now I try to wrap it all together as if I saw this all coming and am the wise expert, despite having had about 90% drop in price in the last year after bidding too high. My original concept was taking the "minimum viable coin" and reviving it to a powerhouse as a textbook example in how to do it.
Part of my core concept in this is the arbitrariness of value: throughout history, humans have chosen any number of things as a store of value for the time: salt, large rocks, certain metals, disks, marked sticks, and so forth. While there has generally been a certain logic in the choice, in that there is a locally restricted supply in one way or another, and so forth, from the perspective of other centuries or cultures the choices can seem quite strange. Growing up, I was always struck by how strange the notion of salt being limited and valuable seemed in a world where people were trying to reduce intake and large amounts could be bought for trivial sums. And yet, a key nutrient necessary for life fundamentally makes more sense as being valuable than notched sticks or printed paper or a piece of plastic with some encoded information.
Humans have perpetually come up with stranger and stranger ways of storing and transferring value. Each new step, as always, comes with its own disadvantages and, frankly, has generally appeared nonsensical at best and fraudulent at worst to the status quo. Which doesn't mean that each new attempt is valuable. The gold bugs always like to point out that every fiat currency ultimately returns to its true value of zero. And the skeptics of cryptocurrency argue that all cryptocurrencies will eventually return to their true value of zero.
It's certainly possible. And it's possible the USD will hyperinflate someday. I tend to try the moderate view for a plausible guess of the future. By that type of logic, I would guess that over the course of decades, USD will in general lose value, and cryptocurrency will tend to slowly gain value. That might not seem the moderate view, but USD not losing value over decades would be truly shocking. And hyperinflation has been predicted since the USD went off the gold standard, or before. So some amount of inflation less than hyperinflation seems like the safe guess (but then, the Titanic arriving would also have seemed like the safe guess to me). And with cryptocurrency, I think it's clear by now the technology will continue to survive. So my first question is with what overall value as a market? It could go down, of course, but that seems unlikely in an already small, young market. Even if all the current crop die off and are replaced, whatever cryptocurrencies are around should be able to do better than a handful of billion in market cap in my view.
I believe that cryptocurrency has a bright future ahead of it. The best coins should ultimately survive and thrive. But I've been wrong on most of my major calls so far, like for instance when I thought BTC was over-priced around $5-$10.
I think Nyancoin can have an important role to play in the future of cryptocurrency in the years and decades to come, but it's a massively speculative long-shot. See also Nyancoin risks document. But like Linus Torvalds' autobiography, I try to keep "Just for Fun" as a core motto and principle. It's makes for a good hobby project because there will always be more to work on, with a core community motto of
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
Disclaimers / Sponsorship:
As I said before:
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
And I'll reiterate that I own about 30% [g] of the current supply of NYAN, which makes me by definition maximally biased.
Also, I'm not sure what's up with the address from the first post. It doesn't show up in my current wallet as a recognized address. So, anyhow, don't send there. :-) If you'd like to donate, please consider sponsoring a coin-a-day or coin-a-week article.
This is the first sponsored article. This Coin-a-Year article has been brought to you by spydud22 's generous patronage. I'd been meaning to do a Coin-a-Week article on Nyancoin for a while, but between wanting to "wait until the price recovered a bit" and general procrastination, then it seemed like it would make a good Coin-a-Year article, and then I wanted to wait until the price recovered a bit more...anyhow, so thank you spydud22, for causing me to finally do this. :-)
Footnotes
  • [a] nyan.space/chain/Nyancoin ; as of block 1091430, 263738786.71890615 NYAN outstanding. This is slightly over 50% more than the last report, which is what we would expect, since it had existed for about a year then, and has approximately annual halvings. The first year generated about 50% of total supply; the second year generated about 25% of total supply. We should expect in a year to have about 17% (one-sixth) more than we have now.
  • [b] https://www.cryptopia.co.nz/Exchange?market=NYAN_BTC ; this is the only market reflected in coinmarketcap and it is the primary one on which I trade. Cryptopia also has other base pairs which operate at significantly higher spreads (lower bids; higher asks) and have minimal volume. In the time since the last report, NYAN has traded as high as 60 satoshi (and briefly a little higher at times), but over the last almost twelve months since a peak about a year ago, the price has been generally declining overall, as a gross oversimplification of a lot of movements. This has been an effect of me not being able to keep buying as much and there being large dumps I wasn't expecting from time-to-time. Now I'm taking the approach of building large (one or more nillion (million NYAN)) bids on each price as I slowly work my way back up again in order to be able to handle possible dumps with less price shock.
  • [c] coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/ ; as noted in [b], this only reflects the /BTC basepair on Cryptopia but that's where most of the volume is anyhow. Of course, the market is also not particularly liquid since I'm the primary buyer and have rather limited means currently.
  • [d] I haven't setup a script to count this yet, among many things on my to-do list for someday, so I went through by hand from what was the then-latest block of 1091430 on nyan.space back to 1089766 which was the first block generated less than 24 hours before. There was actually a three and a half hour block gap at that point, such that the next prior block was about 24 hours and 15 minutes before 1091430 while 1089766 was only about 20 hours and 45 minutes prior, and has a disproportionate number of transactions and value compared to a typical block (8 and ~313,000 NYAN respectively) from the build-up during the gap. But since that gap conveniently started right about at the start of the 24 hour period, doesn't really skew our results here.
Note that there are often times where the UTXO created during one transaction during the day is spent during a later transaction in the day. This can be considered the "same" Nyancoin being "spent" twice in the same day in our total. But in practice, I believe what's happening here is the faucet is breaking off small (10-50 NYAN) pieces from a larger (~40,000 NYAN) chunk, and so that pops up a bunch of times. So the total NYAN blockchain volume as counted for this topline number should not be interpreted as "NYAN spent in the day" but "NYAN moved on the chain", where the "same coin" can move many times. So it's a very easily gamed metric and not a strong / resistant metric like the market price tends to be (at least relatively speaking), but it's a fun number to calculate and provides a little bit of information.
The transaction count can also be easily inflated and certainly, for instance, having the faucet does generate transactions which are a very common transaction.
And this is also just an arbitrary 24 hour period compared to a previous arbitrary 24 hour period. Nonetheless, I do think there's clearly a bit more activity on the Nyanchain, even though the typical block is still empty and the number of transactions and volume is still tiny compared to the major cryptocurrencies.
Here's an arbitrary example of the faucet transactions Note the zero transaction fee, which I love that the miners support (the defaults are all quite low as well).
Here's an example of what may be the smallest transaction by NYAN volume of the day; but no, I followed its small, spent output, and it led to this gem which also links to this. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's hilarious and I love it. How's that for microtransaction support? :-)
  • [e] Obviously Cryptsy went down. We had had more than enough red flags with Cryptsy (including one time where I was able to withdraw 6 nillion more than I had in my balance) and got onto Cryptopia. spydud22 basically accomplished that for us, although I helped out in the tail end of the campaigning.
  • [f] Our community is still small (I wish there were literally dozens of us!) but we've had valuable activity from multiple people, including, just as highlights, vmp32k who hosts nyan.space, a clone of the original nyancha.in, jwflame who created the excellent nyancoin.info intro site, with the awesome status page (which currently notes that "the last 500 blocks actually took 111 minutes, which is approaching the speed of light, causing the universe to become unstable"), KojoSlayer who runs the faucet and dice, spydud22 who got us on Cryptopia, and many other Nekonauts have made worthy contributions, and the Nekonauts mentioned have done more than just that listed. So while we are small, we are active at least from time to time and technically capable.
Even though our posting rate is still around 1 post a day or so on average, and so still a relatively quiet subreddit (and it is our main (only?) hub), it's still a very noticeable and significant difference from how /nyancoins looked when I was reviewing it for the original piece here. Here's an attempt to approximate what was there using Reddit search ; archive.org has a snapshot on January 19th, 2015, which is well into the early revival mania and one from August 14th, 2014, before four and a half months of little to no activity. Apparently archive.org unsubscribed to /nyancoins in that interval itself...
  • [g] Maybe up to around 35% by now; maybe still around 30%. I haven't updated hodling report lately; it was 30% last time I recall, but I've bought more and more has been made since.
submitted by coinaday to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Mining 2019 - Should We Mine Bitcoin? Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained Live Withdraw proof from Addwork  new bitcoin mining site What is Bitcoin Mining? (for kids) Bitcoin Mining in August 2018 - Still Profitable?

RollerCoin is a free virtual Bitcoin mining game where you play to earn real Bitcoins and altcoins. It takes the concept of Bitcoin mining, but instead of the sophisticated Blockchain and processing algorithms, it lets you test your skills, complete missions, undertake tasks, and play games to earn real Bitcoins. SpzToid quotes a report from Reuters: On Saturday, the reward for [bitcoin] miners will be slashed in half. Written into bitcoin's code when it was invented in 2008 was a rule dictating that the prize would be halved every four years, in a step designed to keep a lid on bitcoin inflation. From aroun... Oh Crop. Genre: runner Platform: iOS, Android Payment Methods: bitcoin. What about gathering a crop of evil plants? It is exactly the thing offered by Oh Crop game. The game was developed by Loud Panda Interactive company. The main goal of players is to survive as long as possible killing poisonous plants and gathering tokens and power-ups. Bitcoin mining games. Mining games are the ultimate fun games. Smartphones allow you to play the mining games to earn Bitcoin. Popular Bitcoin apps & smartphone games- Oh Crop, is a very addictive game you have to be alive for a long and kill the plants, you can collect coins to increase your points and some most common name is Takara Oh Crop! comes with a simple and intuitive gameplay relying on the smartphone or tablet’s accelerometer or a virtual joystick for the movement of your in-game character. It is one of those simple, yet fun and addictive games and the fact that you can get some Bitcoins as a reward makes it even more addictive.

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Bitcoin Mining 2019 - Should We Mine Bitcoin?

Kamea Aloha Jr. The "Crypto Coin Kid" explains in simple terms how BITCOIN and CRYPTOCURRENCIES are MINED! 🔴 BITCOIN LIVE 🔴 California Shutdown News Dumping Markets - Ep.1052 - Crypto Technical Analysis Mitch Ray 304 watching Live now Free/Cloud Bitcoin Mining with 0.002 Withdraw Download Now ... Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained with the Byzantine Generals Problem. We use it to explain the essence of cryptocurrency mining. https://www.udemy... Tags: bitcoin mining, bitcoins investment, mining rig, mining bitcoins, crypto investor, cryptocurrency investing, brucewannng, Bitcoin Mining September 2018,Antminer S9 Profitability March 2018 ... How To Buy a Bitcoin Mining Investment Plan at Mining City Using New Luno - Duration: 15:22. Mining Citizens 2,078 views. 15:22. Mining City Rankings Explained - Duration: 8:15.