About Us — Amber - Bitcoin Made Easy.

Cryptocurrencies in the Era of COVID-19 (Part One)

Cryptocurrencies in the Era of COVID-19 (Part One)

https://preview.redd.it/cscwryttr4o51.jpg?width=2560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ddd90997810c0cc46cf8e6b5cac534cd8f9c796f
To speak of “post-COVID” is not only premature, but perpetuates the myth that the mere passage of time will lead to some kind of universal recovery. The reality is rather more harsh. Currently, the only positive dynamic at work is that the patient will learn to cope with the symptoms of a congenital condition, until, and if, the underlying problem can be resolved. While we would prefer otherwise, this is the Era of COVID.
The opening up of Europe’s Mediterranean tourist industry in the summer of 2020 was always going to increase the rate of COVID transmission, but the experiment was justified in terms of local economic dependency on foreign visitors vis-a-vis the health costs, the degree of disease impact, and overly testing the limits of voluntary social distancing.
From the perspective of the pathogen, however, absolutely nothing has changed. In terms of global polity, economic policy and social welfare, everything has changed, is changing, and may well end up creating scenarios out of all recognition.
Critical to appreciating the “why?” of this reorientation is the recognition that only a raft of temporary, but wholly unsustainable macroeconomic policies, have kept the global economy functioning. The problem, however, is that it is a bit like cheating a wise man. You only get away with it once. Thereafter you have to accept realities and manage how they play out as best as you can.
Central to the latter is the fact that until a vaccine is developed, ours is the era of socio-economic COVID-19 management. All other determinations derive from where they stand in regards this polarity; the spread of the disease on the one part and the damage done to the global economy on the other. The balance between lives and livelihoods. In reality the two are not finally distinct. The acceptance of higher COVID-19 infection will have economic costs both over the short and long term. The worry is that these could be far, far greater than many currently anticipate. Critically, that those people with mild or no symptoms today, could develop significant health problems in their tens of millions as they get older. That the virus lays dormant at a cellular level but surfaces to cause physical problems in the future, negatively impacting the functioning of vital organs, including the brain. As this happens the economic costs will become significant.
To restate. Temporary economic measures funded by quantitative easing have allowed the global economy to maintain a degree of normalcy, but over time these will inevitably weaken the economy they were designed to protect. In similitude, the temporary relief of putting short term spending needs on the credit card eventually crashes into the wall of maximised indebtedness. The consequence is either the hardship of paying back what has been borrowed, or simply walking away from the debt and being cut off from credit thereafter.
The last time the global economy faced anything like this level of catastrophic dialectic was after the two world wars. For the people of Germany and France coins and banknotes were minted with ever greater number of zeros, but ever reduced buying power. In the end these currencies were simply abandoned—replaced with the Reichsmark and nouveau franc respectively. The former at a rate of one trillion (sic) to one! Stability resulted, but it must be underscored, because the printing presses were turned off.
The trick was to introduce a medium of exchange whose physical number was very tightly defined and limited. As long as the temptation to cheat when you run out of money is resisted, all will be well. All this may prefigure a nouveau dollar, digital yuan or an altogether different scenario may unfold.
This is where the current locus of speculation—financial and theoretical— currently lies.
Any considerations in these respects needs to take into account the following factors as delimiting the parameters of probable outcomes:
  • Structural shifts in global economic activity away from travel, leisure, tourism, some automotive and manufacturing towards health, security, robotics, datacom and a range of advanced technologies. This not only portends shifts in investment between sectors, but more graphically, shifts in wealth between regions and nations.
  • Growing tensions within the European Union. With many of the southern states so highly dependent on tourism, significantly declining income will further exacerbate the north-south wealth gap, and thus tensions over budgetary redistribution.
  • Structural shifts in global geo-politics and trade away from multilateralism towards bilateralism, supply chain security, high-tech protectionism and hegemonic alliances.
  • A new era of Western statism necessary to reduce the threat of a severe economic depression. This will be directed to enhanced infrastructure projects, support for advanced, green and digital technologies, new strategies on preventative and remote health care, and internal security and surveillance.
  • Social acceptance of greater government intrusion and regulation as the price of minimising the impact of COVID, future pandemic threats and economic downturn.
More important than any of these are the underlying shift towards new orthodoxies at the expense of tearing up the old order. This not only includes the fundamentals of government macroeconomic theory (and thus policy) but the rules underpinning all commercial and currency infrastructures. “Fundamental” because the three are inextricably linked, yet autonomous enough for one to affect the other with a potential impact so dramatic it is difficult to overstate.
These paradigms are so new, and their final impact so remote, that the most significant element of their existence is easily missed: A year ago such a narrative would have been viewed as sheer lunacy. A year from now so obvious as to merit an historical footnote. Emerging from the rabbit hole everything will be different. Everything is up in the air and everyone is scrambling to find an anchor.
In the meanwhile, popular investment ethos is myopic, entirely oblivious to the undercurrents which will mark the end of the status quo. Somewhere along the line, a soaring Stockmarket has become an end in itself. Wealth, the mere addition of fiat zeros.
The intention of the original cryptocurrency was to sidestep this fallacy. To extricate and preserve real wealth from constantly shifting foundations. Like all ideals, it has been imperfectly realised. No one can deny that the meteoric rise in Bitcoins’ value from $327 to almost $12,000 (at the time of writing) reflects some degree of speculation, but it also reflects substantive, intelligibly based doubts as to the fundamentals sustaining fiat currencies. They may still exist in five or ten years, but what will they tangibly be worth?
Eventual outcomes here—including which cryptocurrencies prove their worth —will be determined by our collective actions. History reveals that whatever divergences take place, in the end the solid and substantial always win out. Lies are exposed and tyranny eventually falls. Shaky assets yield to solid. Bad money drives good to a premium.
(Subsequent additions to this article will examine critical factors determining the path of cryptocurrency evolution in the era of COVID as these arise, including government regulations).
submitted by JamesFXF to FXF [link] [comments]

Why UMI Will Not Fall Victim to Inflation: Dispelling Myths of “Deadly Issue”

Why UMI Will Not Fall Victim to Inflation: Dispelling Myths of “Deadly Issue”
https://preview.redd.it/lr1w0ukh2ik51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b413e6e6b2e94d2e9522571040151826b7874e77
With UMI staking, anyone anywhere in the world can generate new coins at the rate of up to 40 % a month, or up to 5,669 % a year, with no risk of falling victim to fraudsters. It means new opportunities for humanity which never existed before. However, many people who are used to miserable interests on bank deposits and financial pyramids that last a few months at most cannot understand what makes this possible. How can you safely earn up to 40 % a month with no risk of losing it all?
Sceptics cannot wrap their minds around this which makes them suspect there’s a catch to it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that you can find various myths about UMI's “deadly issue” on forums and social networks. The most popular among them say that you simply cannot ensure long-term operation with this kind of “super-high income” and no one has any idea what will happen to this cryptocurrency in 10 or more years. Here's a forecast from sceptics, briefly: “deposits” with this percentage are simply impossible, it will inevitably cause hyperinflation, UMI cryptocurrency will devalue, and will share the fate of currencies in some of the less fortunate countries, such as Zimbabwe or Venezuela.
To counter these allegations, we've prepared a detailed article with arguments dispelling all these myths, nullifying all “forecasts” and putting the lid on this issue. Here we go!
What's the value behind the forecasts?
First of all, 10 or more years is too much of a long term, and forecasting so far in advance is simply impossible. Don't take us wrong here: it's not just about cryptocurrencies; it's about anything in the world. There was a time when people thought pagers, faxes, and landline phones had cheerful prospects, but look at what happened to them. They have been replaced by smartphones and the Internet accessible to all which no one believed was possible in the first place. New technologies emerge out of the blue and transform the world beyond recognition. The old — something everyone is used to — is replaced with something new and more
convenient. Something better.
10 years ago people believed in developing bank technologies, but then, all of a sudden, Bitcoin was created and transformed people's understanding of financial payments. It turned out anyone in the world can make payments with no intermediaries and generate new digital money. It's true that Bitcoin is not perfect, but millions use it all over the world. This number is also growing fast with each passing day.
Do you remember forecasts made for Bitcoin when it first appeared? Both ordinary people and respected world-class experts predicted it would soon die. No one believed it could last for even 10 years.

https://preview.redd.it/q1kzcxfw2ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=17a12d73b9046a357cf6ecd77253472215c8bb24
Typical article predicting the end of Bitcoin from respected mass media. Source.

Here're some graphic examples from the leading world-class mass media:
“That's the End of Bitcoin.” Forbes, 2011, BTC price — $15.
“Bitcoin is headed to the ash heap.” USA Today, 2015, BTC price — $208.
“R.I.P., Bitcoin. It’s time to move on.” The Washington Post, 2016, BTC price — $382.
“Stay away from bitcoin and ethereum — they are complete garbage.” This is garbage." MarketWatch, 2017, BTC price — $2,345.
“Is Bitcoin Going To Zero?” Forbes, 2018, BTC price — $3,432.
In 2020, the BTC price is almost $12,000. The respected mass media have “declared Bitcoin dead” over 400 times (!!!) referring to its lack of backing, high issue rate, super-high price growth, and the like — just like the skeptics “declaring UMI dead” right now. However, despite all the discouraging forecasts, Bitcoin continues to successfully grow and rapidly gain in popularity.

https://preview.redd.it/6z60xwd13ik51.png?width=791&format=png&auto=webp&s=25a6799fe551c6e7f91aa016907e95ce032d7e5e
Over 12 years, Bitcoin has been declared dead 381 times, but it only grows stronger with each passing year. Source.

All of the above is proof that you shouldn't put blind trust in various forecasts, even coming from respected sources. Forecasts are mere opinions and arguments, but no one can know for
sure what will happen in 10, 100, or 1,000 years. No expert can know that. Similarly, no one knows what will happen to UMI many years from now.
UMI can solve any issues on the fly
We cannot know the future, but we did all we could to make our coin last forever. Most existing cryptocurrencies have a very important problem — they cannot support high-quality growth and rapidly become obsolete.
To explain this, we'd like to quote our Whitepaper:
"Despite the apparition of new technology solutions, the Bitcoin blockchain still holds only about 2,000 transactions, and it takes about 10 minutes to create a block. In 11 years, developers still did not manage to come to an agreement and implement a solution that would allow scaling the system and upgrade performance.
Most other cryptocurrencies face a similar problem. They are launched and keep operating in an almost initial state even after numerous innovative solutions become available. For example, the Ethereum network has been attempting to switch to the PoS algorithm for over two years now, but due to code complexity, security threats, and issues of reaching consensus, this causes great inconvenience."
https://preview.redd.it/ezxzrpx43ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=207f8a27a59fac760fc541dae6abd30d148296f5
Screenshot of a page in the UMI Whitepaper. Have you read it? It answers a lot of questions. Link.

Bitcoin itself is technically obsolete. This is besides the fact that it has a load of other problems. For instance, BTC is supposed to completely stop coin mining in 2140, meaning miners will lose motivation to support the network. What happens then? The hope is that the main source of income for miners will be transfer fees, but will they want to maintain powerful equipment for a reward in the form of small fees? If fees are big, will people want to pay those? Will they find a different solution? Will users just leave the Bitcoin ecosystem and join more high-tech cryptocurrencies like UMI?
When we designed UMI, we accounted for all these issues and launched a promising project with a conveniently scalable ecosystem. Even if UMI faces some challenges in the future, we will make amendments as the network grows. We will act as appropriate judging from the project's current status. They will be based on the situation and the current state of the project.
It's true that upgrade decisions have been and are being made by all leading crypto projects, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, but UMI supports really safe and rapid innovation. The network can be easily modified and scaled with cutting edge technology solutions. While other cryptocurrencies simply become obsolete, we can handle all kinds of challenges on the fly. The UMI network will grow and improve to be always up to date, keep up with the times, and prevent problems in 10, 100, or 1,000 years.
At this point, the UMI network is in excellent shape, and the smart contract offers you relevant and actionable staking opportunities. We've thought out every detail, and the brisk growth of our community proves it best of all.
There is no "deadly inflation"
And, lastly, let's bring an issue with supposedly too-high emission to a close. UMI is typically accused of paying a too high reward for staking — as much as 40% a month, or 5,669% a year — which no one and nothing else in this world can pay. Eventually, it might end up with inflation as it happened in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, etc.,
Let us look at real facts. Those who consider a 40% monthly growth impossible should look at bitcoin again as the most outstanding example which has proven that nothing is impossible. Imagine how many times your deposit would have grown if 10 years ago you had bought bitcoins or inexpensive mining equipment producing a reward of 50 BTC several times a day.
Please consider the following:
In March 2010, BitcoinMarket.com started operating as the first bitcoin exchange, and 1 BTC cost a lot less than a cent — $0.003.
At the time of writing this article, the price for 1BTC was about $12,000.
It means those who bought bitcoins 10 years ago have increased their "deposit" by nearly 400,000,000% (!!!). Four hundred million percent in ten years! This is a real fact.
Those who bought bitcoins when the price was a few cents or dollars also achieved the perfect result by increasing their "deposit" by thousand or million times.
Well, now the percentage in UMI staking doesn't seem so crazy, does it? The only difference
is that BTC "deposit" grows in line with the BTC price while UMI deposit growth is ensured the growth of the number of UMI coins, which in turn doesn't prevent the price from surging. In fact, both cases demonstrate a multiple growth of the "deposit".
All of the above is proof that the reason for inflation in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, etc is a bad economy, not a high emission. In late March. roughly speaking, in one day, the FED (U.S. Federal Reserve System) released 2.2 trillion dollars to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Similar financial injections are regular in the USA, the country which is the most advanced world's economy.
These facts indicate that UMI has no "deadly issue" at all and, unlike the USA, it doesn't "print" anything.
Here is bare statistics form the UMI blockchain:
The UMI cryptocurrency was launched on June 1. Since the launch, it's been 3 months.
18,000,000 UMI coins were initially issued.
In total, there are now about 18,800,000 UMI coins.
In other words, in three months, the total number of UMI coins increased by only 4.4%. Does it look like "deadly inflation"?

https://preview.redd.it/gsdjbwp83ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=8d4591a24b3ddc63f8501f1b7fe7a4c02b7da89c
In 3 months, the number of UMI coins has shown a few percent increase. Source.

Let's move on:
We'd like to reiterate that the total number of UMI coins is almost 18,800,000.
There are about 14,500,000 coins on the genesis address today.
Almost 4,000,000 coins are involved in staking.
Thus, only 300,000 UMI (!)are freely circulated on the market. The remaining 18,500,000 coins are either used in staking or have not yet been released to the market.
https://preview.redd.it/f7b28jid3ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=5ff8338121ebfe398cfb498a0cfcc00446ea6225
The number of coins stored on the genesis address at the time of writing the article. Source.

In real fact, UMI has no super-high emission. This fact has been proven. For a three-month period, which is a quarter of a year, the number of UMI has hardly changed and equals about 1.5% of the total number of coins on the market.
The truth is that UMI economy depends on a lot of factors. For example, burning 50,000 coins to create a structure. However, from a more general point of view, the UMI economic model itself is designed to encourage people to "save" rather than sell UMI coins. This is a crucial point that allows us to make progress, even with a high emission.
Moreover, it will take a billion-dollar staking structure that will be able to provide the highest possible emission on the UMI network a lot of years to appear. While it doesn't happen, all these forecasts can be regarded as irrelevant for today. Keep in mind that a 40% monthly profit will be available to the most successful structures and only after many years of development. To have your coins increased by 40% per month, your structure must have over 50 (!) times more coins than the number of coins initially generated by the network. And since this structure will do everything possible for the benefit of the UMI cryptocurrency, even 40% per month will not pose a risk to UMI's sustainable development.
Conclusions are as follows:
UMI offers no kind of "killing sky-high returns". Please don't take this myth seriously. UMI is growing. The current smart contract offers reasonable and up-to-date opportunities for UMI staking and poses no problem. If, however, a problem arises — we have all the tools to find an immediate solution. All these negative forecasts are not worth a brass farthing. They always have been and always will be. At all times and in all places. But they are highly unlikely to come true. Bitcoin outsmarted the most reputable and shrewd financial analysts. Why don't UMI, which is a lot more advanced than bitcoin, try to do the same?
UMI is a decentralized, strong, and high-tech network. It can exist the way it is now forever. But as it grows, it will improve to be always up to date, keep up with the times and prevent any problems. We are contributing to a great thing — we're creating a free economic system that will profitable for the entire human family. This is an opportunity to overcome social inequality and make regular people financially independent. So let's make every effort to make things go well. Ignore all evil-wishers and their predictions. Just join other users and go towards your dream. Then we will certainly succeed in it all.
Sincerely yours, UMI team
submitted by UMITop to u/UMITop [link] [comments]

Too much of a Nice thing... (M)

Chapter 1: Media Detox!
I remember it clearly. After a week on a ‘media-detox’ and by day five I had a very odd sensation! With no phone or 5DTV I started thinking for myself! In one moment of clarity I gained an understanding of modern life.
For years I knew something was changing, everyone looked the other way (mainly downward) thinking someone somewhere would be fixing society with a new law or new social reform.
For the last few decades people had become emotionally flat, detached and lost. Most people spent their time looking into glowing mobile screens creating fake lives in fake locations to match the fake ones viewed every day on 5DTV.
It became so bad that in the year 2025 the ‘Supreme World Court’ diagnosed loneliness as a ‘serious illness’ and an active danger to society.
Anyone diagnosed with Loneliness Level 6 or above was placed in solitary quarantine until self-cured or the medication worked. I know, quite ironic but anyone who dared to point that out became a high risk and shortly followed them as deemed law by World Emperor Trump-Putin 13th, our Supreme ruling dynasty for as long as we can remember. With eyes everywhere they were our Big Brother!
Chapter 2: Genesis.
Shortly after my day of detox, I had a eureka moment. This pandemic of loneliness was destroying us all, and it was for me to cure.
People had changed for the worse and lost something special along the way! Always rushing around chasing careers, materialism, following the ‘instant fame’ dream that was relentlessly churned out.
Yes, I admit technology gave us more ways to make life easier, which in turn brought more stress trying to maintain that ease, while adding to the fear of missing out on the very latest must have updates creating yet more isolation and stress. All this did was just create a new generation of level 4+ loneliness, which worried the government even more.
My old maths teacher used to tell us that in the ancient past when people actually used fossil fuels, a ship would set off on an international voyage just one degree off course, and would subsequently arrive in completely the wrong continent. We all thought it was quaint, and quite primitive using dirty fossil fuels.
Recalling this story it occurred to me that society was that oil tanker and we had ended up somewhere very, very, very wrong.
Yes, there were blips of social unity and excitement where people actually talked to each other, but it never lasted more than a few hours.
I recall reading the ‘Disappointed Years’ about the failed Artificial intelligence launch that adverts sold to us promising a better life. You could hear the collective sigh of disappointment echo around the world when the public realised Ai was yet another computer programme, in a sea of programmes demanding constant updates while gathering yet more intrusive personal data.
Chapter 3: Clone-topia Dreams.
I feel I should introduce myself at this point. My name is Professor Andrew Benzwik. I’m the last ‘Senior Cloning Scientist’ in 2040. I live and study alone in Factory101, the last Great Clone factory remaining.
Way back in the early 2040’s cloning had failed in the publics eye. A Government backed ‘Social Online Survey’ took place in the advert break between the prime time world famous Reality 5DTV finals, reaching 180million viewers.
Cloning got a thumbs down. Followed by major budget cuts, and no ‘likes’ from the uncaring public. My dream vanished like a strand of DNA in a sea of slurry.
So I admit my dream of Clone-topia had a rocky start. Our ‘Cloned Dinosaur Parks’ didn’t go so well. Cloned ‘World War Battles Fun-Ride parks’ failed miserably. Even the Cloned Celebrity attempt fell flat quite literally! A famous play write bard within hours of seeing the world unto which he awoke just walked off the 43rd story ledge sobbing.
Chapter 4: Clone Alone
With these ‘small’ mishaps behind us I decided to continue the dream with only an antique 20th century movie collection for company. I had heard the stories passed down to my parents of a condition called ‘friendliness’ in the 20th century but never really paid attention… until now.
I finally sat down and watched these movies in their entirety, entranced and amazed at what I saw on a screen.
People would chat to each other, help strangers, make friends in cafes, laugh, argue then make up, even partake in physical contact before it was banned as unhygenic! So much social interaction in society, I don’t know how they coped! I saw people just saying ‘hello’ to each other using their own voice and face! Not a Augmental or Digitised facemask disguise in sight!
How primitive those old days seemed to me! We now have everything we could want on screen, the best tech ever! Yet it felt empty and meaningless compared to the lifestyle in those movies!
I knew society was lacking that ‘niceness’ I witness on this antique celluloid. It was crucial that I now save our world. My application to the Government Business Bureau for a license sped through. I think they considered it another waste of time and my last Bit-Dollars.
Chapter 5: New Era.
Year is 2051 @ 1300 hours in Clone Factory101. Kubrick Wing, Room 237 is glowing with energy as Mr Nice model 001 awoke in full working mode.
For months I had worked tirelessly on perfecting Mr Nice, basing him on old British movie star and cool Hollywood action heros.
I built Mr Nice to work hard, be strong and tireless with only one purpose. Be there for people who need help from Mr Nice, at any cost. No need for sleep or food, his atomic energy cells recharged from motion.
Our new saviour had to be resilient! So I constructed his DNA based on indestructible military Kevlar for his skin, white shirt, brown trousers, knitted pullover and bow tie.
The local council reluctantly agreed to a Mr Nice Beta Test, as they were keen to try anything to improve the rising Loneliness 5.8 and Depression ratings. The Council soon took notice as the social ‘Likes’ rose rapidly which meant the performance based funding would also rise producing much needed BitCoin to spend on high street and social areas.
Within hours we featured on the news. Mr Nice would open doors and ask people if they were ok, say hello to strangers, carry heavy bags, fix car tyres and just be a Nice companion! The public were enthralled!
Soon every town and city were ordering dozens of Mr Nice. I cloned as fast as possible for councils keen to improve their value of living and cure the loneliness counts.
Chapter 5: Many hands.
It was hard work at the factory all alone. So I kept my prototype Mr Nice 01 for myself to help.
Soon Mr Nice 01 offered to do all the manual work, being tireless by design. Within weeks he’d realised I was exhausted and suggested another Mr Nice be kept back to help with workload while I recover. What a Nice thought! After all I was their Big Brother!
One day Mr Nice 01 and 02 agreed production needed speeding up to meet growing demand so they sped up the Clone production! Dozens turned to hundreds within a week.
Society was overjoyed to have the clones around picking up litter, helping old ladies cross the highways, go shopping, opening doors, happilyy whistling as they made conversation with everyone. People who looked lost or sad or were on the loneliness4 and above were allocated their own Mr Nice. Society soon perked up and within a few months you could sense people were just friendlier and happier.
So many things needed fixing, the demand grew and over time we lost count of our clones. Thousands and thousands walked out with one aim, to make people happy! Me Nice would cheerfully fix road signs and old fences, people’s gardens, cars and were soon being invited into people’s homes to help solve all sorts of problems. DIY became known as Mr NICE-IY!
Loneliness and Depression ratings dropped to 2, the lowest in history!
Six months passed and soon it appeared we had a near perfect society. The basic programming of Mr Nice to fix, repair, help people seemed to be spot on. Everything was getting fixed, streets were litter free and everything just worked.
Chapter 5: Too Much Nice?
The first complaints came in from small towns where nothing was left to fix, help with or repair. Gangs of Mr Nice would wonder around approaching anyone they could find insisting they help.
Imagine eight Mr Nice all insisting they carry your shopping, make you cross a road safely that you didn’t want to cross, fix that lose button on your jacket and chit chat while the others whistled! It became a small problem I hadn’t anticipated.
Soon reports of Mr Nice being pushy came in. No one was allowed to cross a road without them, carry their own shopping, tie own shoe laces, walk on the perfect lawns... So many Mr Nice wandered around towns and cities redundant, yet tirelessly helping the exhausted public.
So I decided to send out a booster signal to recall them. Nothing happened. I received a text back from the Mr Nice collective.. “How can we help you? We are busy right now finished our work fixing everything and helping everyone. Return to factory is not possible” ‘But If you need help we can send a Mr Nice to you within 2 minutes. Your happiness is important to us.”
Ok, no reason to worry I thought. All the while my factory was still cloning 100’s per week.
The first national news incident happened when a man was limping home with a knee injury. Five passing Mr Nice offered to help carry everything, escort him home, dress him. Then one Mr Nice had a programme eureka moment and suggested the Nicest act he could think of by fixing the man’s knee problem.
All the Mr Nice models WiFi’s connected and agreed it was a Nice idea and right there on the high street, they cut through the man’s bones with ease, cut out his knee joint with fast precision and replaced it with a metal knee delivered by the Nice support spares kit.
The man’s screaming lasted 5 seconds then he went limp and silent. All The Mr Nice group cleaned up, walked away feeling recharged as they had fixed a human’s problem perfectly.
That new kind act of solving a human’s problem connectively broadcast between all the Mr Nice models.
As very little was left to repair all clones of Mr Nice ended up wondering aimlessly. This incident had refreshed their mission to help. That day became known as ‘Death by Nice Day’.
Anyone unwell was upgraded to receive immediate Mr Nice help. Bad arm? - replaced Eyesight a problem? - removed Have a Cough - replace airways or lungs with efficient breathing circuits Old tired body - replaced skeletal sections
47% of the population were torn apart by Niceness in the first three days.
The army intervened but the Nice Kevlar body was indestructible... and within four days the army were ‘cured’ of their destructive attitude by the Mr Nice legion who removed heads but found no replacements, so left piles of bodies for later.
Chapter 6: Home
No one left their house for fear of being offered ‘help’ When they did go out they had to be in top health, make no eye contact with anyone just in case, rush to work and rush home, speak to no one, ignore everyone. We hit a new loneliness 8+ average.
Hiding out in my Factory101, I was helpless to stop the cloning. I dare not interfere until my bad cold went. I could only hope to pull the plug on the cloning one day soon.
Now the world had an unstoppable overwhelming Mr Nice population patrolling streets and making everything lovely and nice. Niceness was now killing us. Society reminisced about the safe old days of ignoring each other.
Meanwhile I had hundreds of thousands or Mr Nice clones walking the earth. I was now hated and seen as the hapless destroyer of society and the cause of the destructive loneliness pandemic.
But I had a plan... a moment of realisation hit me just yesterday from my reinforced laboratory over in the East Manson wing.
Today at 5am, 2055, I’ve started working on a brand new clone model to help resolve this.
I shall name it Mr Mean.
What could possibly go wrong.
The End...........
Andrew Beswick is a graphic, e-learning and gamification designer, who enjoys humorous dark stories, Hawk and Cleaver mysteries, loves this podcast and making art!
Creative rights and copyright Andrew Beswick
submitted by AndrewB3z to creepypod [link] [comments]

Mr Nice Nice Nice Nice. (M)

Too much of a Nice thing...
(Or Mr Nice Nice Nice Nice).
Chapter 1: Media Detox!
I remember it clearly. After a week on a ‘media-detox’ and by day five I had a very odd sensation! With no phone or 5DTV I started thinking for myself! In one moment of clarity I gained an understanding of modern life.
For years I knew something was changing, everyone looked the other way (mainly downward) thinking someone somewhere would be fixing society with a new law or new social reform.
For the last few decades people had become emotionally flat, detached and lost. Most people spent their time looking into glowing mobile screens creating fake lives in fake locations to match the fake ones viewed every day on 5DTV.
It became so bad that in the year 2070 the ‘Supreme World Court’ diagnosed loneliness as a ‘serious illness’ and an active danger to society.
Anyone diagnosed with Loneliness Level 6 or above was placed in solitary quarantine until self-cured or the medication worked. I know, quite ironic but anyone who dared to point that out became a high risk and shortly followed them as deemed law by World Emperor Trump-Putin 13th, our Supreme ruling dynasty for as long as we can remember. With eyes everywhere they were our Big Brother!
Chapter 2: Genesis.
Shortly after my day of detox, I had a eureka moment. This pandemic of loneliness was destroying us all, and it was for me to cure.
People had changed for the worse and lost something special along the way! Always rushing around chasing careers, materialism, following the ‘instant fame’ dream that was relentlessly churned out.
Yes, I admit technology gave us more ways to make life easier, which in turn brought more stress trying to maintain that ease, while adding to the fear of missing out on the very latest must have updates creating yet more isolation and stress. All this did was just create a new generation of level 4+ loneliness, which worried the government even more.
My old maths teacher used to tell us that in the ancient past when people actually used fossil fuels, a ship would set off on an international voyage just one degree off course, and would subsequently arrive in completely the wrong continent. We all thought it was quaint, and quite primitive using dirty fossil fuels.
Recalling this story it occurred to me that society was that oil tanker and we had ended up somewhere very, very, very wrong.
Yes, there were blips of social unity and excitement where people actually talked to each other, but it never lasted more than a few hours.
I recall reading the ‘Disappointed Years’ about the failed Artificial intelligence launch that adverts sold to us promising a better life. You could hear the collective sigh of disappointment echo around the world when the public realised Ai was yet another computer programme, in a sea of programmes demanding constant updates while gathering yet more intrusive personal data.
Chapter 3: Clone-topia Dreams.
I feel I should introduce myself at this point. My name is Professor Andrew Benzwik. I’m the last ‘Senior Cloning Scientist’ in 2085. I live and study alone in Factory101, the last Great Clone factory remaining.
Way back in the early 2030’s cloning had failed in the publics eye. A Government backed ‘Social Online Survey’ took place in the advert break between the prime time world famous Reality 5DTV finals, reaching 180million viewers.
Cloning got a thumbs down. Followed by major budget cuts, and no ‘likes’ from the uncaring public. My dream vanished like a strand of DNA in a sea of slurry.
So I admit my dream of Clone-topia had a rocky start. Our ‘Cloned Dinosaur Parks’ didn’t go so well. Cloned ‘World War Battles Fun-Ride parks’ failed miserably. Even the Cloned Celebrity attempt fell flat quite literally! A famous play write bard within hours of seeing the world unto which he awoke just walked off the 43rd story ledge sobbing.
Chapter 4: Clone Alone
With these ‘small’ mishaps behind us I decided to continue the dream with only an antique 20th century movie collection for company. I had heard the stories passed down to my parents of a condition called ‘friendliness’ in the 20th century but never really paid attention… until now.
I finally sat down and watched these movies in their entirety, entranced and amazed at what I saw on a screen.
People would chat to each other, help strangers, make friends in cafes, laugh, argue then make up, even partake in physical contact before it was banned as unhygenic! So much social interaction in society, I don’t know how they coped! I saw people just saying ‘hello’ to each other using their own voice and face! Not a Augmental or Digitised facemask disguise in sight!
How primitive those old days seemed to me! We now have everything we could want on screen, the best tech ever! Yet it felt empty and meaningless compared to the lifestyle in those movies!
I knew society was lacking that ‘niceness’ I witness on this antique celluloid. It was crucial that I now save our world. My application to the Government Business Bureau for a license sped through. I think they considered it another waste of time and my last Bit-Dollars.
Chapter 5: New Era.
Year is 2086 @ 1300 hours in Clone Factory101. Kubrick Wing, Room 237 is glowing with energy as Mr Nice model 001 awoke in full working mode.
For months I had worked tirelessly on perfecting Mr Nice, basing him on old British movie star and cool Hollywood action heros.
I built Mr Nice to work hard, be strong and tireless with only one purpose. Be there for people who need help from Mr Nice, at any cost. No need for sleep or food, his atomic energy cells recharged from motion.
Our new saviour had to be resilient! So I constructed his DNA based on indestructible military Kevlar for his skin, white shirt, brown trousers, knitted pullover and bow tie.
The local council reluctantly agreed to a Mr Nice Beta Test, as they were keen to try anything to improve the rising Loneliness 5.8 and Depression ratings. The Council soon took notice as the social ‘Likes’ rose rapidly which meant the performance based funding would also rise producing much needed BitCoin to spend on high street and social areas.
Within hours we featured on the news. Mr Nice would open doors and ask people if they were ok, say hello to strangers, carry heavy bags, fix car tyres and just be a Nice companion! The public were enthralled!
Soon every town and city were ordering dozens of Mr Nice. I cloned as fast as possible for councils keen to improve their value of living and cure the loneliness counts.
Chapter 5: Many hands.
It was hard work at the factory all alone. So I kept my prototype Mr Nice 01 for myself to help.
Soon Mr Nice 01 offered to do all the manual work, being tireless by design. Within weeks he’d realised I was exhausted and suggested another Mr Nice be kept back to help with workload while I recover. What a Nice thought! After all I was their Big Brother!
One day Mr Nice 01 and 02 agreed production needed speeding up to meet growing demand so they sped up the Clone production! Dozens turned to hundreds within a week.
Society was overjoyed to have the clones around picking up litter, helping old ladies cross the highways, go shopping, opening doors, happilyy whistling as they made conversation with everyone. People who looked lost or sad or were on the loneliness4 and above were allocated their own Mr Nice. Society soon perked up and within a few months you could sense people were just friendlier and happier.
So many things needed fixing, the demand grew and over time we lost count of our clones. Thousands and thousands walked out with one aim, to make people happy! Me Nice would cheerfully fix road signs and old fences, people’s gardens, cars and were soon being invited into people’s homes to help solve all sorts of problems. DIY became known as Mr NICE-IY!
Loneliness and Depression ratings dropped to 2, the lowest in history!
Six months passed and soon it appeared we had a near perfect society. The basic programming of Mr Nice to fix, repair, help people seemed to be spot on. Everything was getting fixed, streets were litter free and everything just worked.
Chapter 5: Too Much Nice?
The first complaints came in from small towns where nothing was left to fix, help with or repair. Gangs of Mr Nice would wonder around approaching anyone they could find insisting they help.
Imagine eight Mr Nice all insisting they carry your shopping, make you cross a road safely that you didn’t want to cross, fix that lose button on your jacket and chit chat while the others whistled! It became a small problem I hadn’t anticipated.
Soon reports of Mr Nice being pushy came in. No one was allowed to cross a road without them, carry their own shopping, tie own shoe laces, walk on the perfect lawns... So many Mr Nice wandered around towns and cities redundant, yet tirelessly helping the exhausted public.
So I decided to send out a booster signal to recall them. Nothing happened. I received a text back from the Mr Nice collective.. “How can we help you? We are busy right now finished our work fixing everything and helping everyone. Return to factory is not possible” ‘But If you need help we can send a Mr Nice to you within 2 minutes. Your happiness is important to us.”
Ok, no reason to worry I thought. All the while my factory was still cloning 100’s per week.
The first national news incident happened when a man was limping home with a knee injury. Five passing Mr Nice offered to help carry everything, escort him home, dress him. Then one Mr Nice had a programme eureka moment and suggested the Nicest act he could think of by fixing the man’s knee problem.
All the Mr Nice models WiFi’s connected and agreed it was a Nice idea and right there on the high street, they cut through the man’s bones with ease, cut out his knee joint with fast precision and replaced it with a metal knee delivered by the Nice support spares kit.
The man’s screaming lasted 5 seconds then he went limp and silent. All The Mr Nice group cleaned up, walked away feeling recharged as they had fixed a human’s problem perfectly.
That new kind act of solving a human’s problem connectively broadcast between all the Mr Nice models.
As very little was left to repair all clones of Mr Nice ended up wondering aimlessly. This incident had refreshed their mission to help. That day became known as ‘Death by Nice Day’.
Anyone unwell was upgraded to receive immediate Mr Nice help. Bad arm? - replaced Eyesight a problem? - removed Have a Cough - replace airways or lungs with efficient breathing circuits Old tired body - replaced skeletal sections
47% of the population were torn apart by Niceness in the first three days.
The army intervened but the Nice Kevlar body was indestructible... and within four days the army were ‘cured’ of their destructive attitude by the Mr Nice legion who removed heads but found no replacements, so left piles of bodies for later.
Chapter 6: Home
No one left their house for fear of being offered ‘help’ When they did go out they had to be in top health, make no eye contact with anyone just in case, rush to work and rush home, speak to no one, ignore everyone. We hit a new loneliness 8+ average.
Hiding out in my Factory101, I was helpless to stop the cloning. I dare not interfere until my bad cold went. I could only hope to pull the plug on the cloning one day soon.
Now the world had an unstoppable overwhelming Mr Nice population patrolling streets and making everything lovely and nice. Niceness was now killing us. Society reminisced about the safe old days of ignoring each other.
Meanwhile I had hundreds of thousands or Mr Nice clones walking the earth. I was now hated and seen as the hapless destroyer of society and the cause of the destructive loneliness pandemic.
But I had a plan... a moment of realisation hit me just yesterday from my reinforced laboratory over in the East Manson wing.
Today I’ve started working on a brand new clone model to help resolve this.
I shall name it Mr Mean.
What could possibly go wrong.
The End...........
Andrew Beswick is a graphic, e-learning and gamification designer, who enjoys humorous dark stories, Hawk and Cleaver mysteries, loves this podcast and making art!
Creative rights and copyright Andrew Beswick
submitted by AndrewB3z to creepypod [link] [comments]

Kepler 2020 LitePaper

Kepler 2020 LitePaper
Kepler is a blockchain privacy platform that aims to release the first ever Confidential Assets on a MimbleWimble Blockchain. Our consensus mechanism is Proof-of-Work. If you’d like to see more, please visit our website: https://kepler.network as well as our documentation site at https://docs.kepler.network
You can check out our LitePaper here: https://keplernetwork.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/KeplerLitepaper.pdf

https://preview.redd.it/p5wmp6vsvor41.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=fb8e87df4d526888b9d2bcb6c9087a3206062e5b

The Kepler LitePaper mentions:

  • Privacy Protection on Blockchain
  • Why Design Kepler
  • What is Kepler
  • Economic Model
  • Future Work
Given the fact that Kepler is a MimbleWimble(MW) blockchain, privacy is one of the most important topics for Kepler, and this goes beyond “simple privacy”.

Let’s begin and explore some of the highlights of the Kepler LitePaper!


https://preview.redd.it/f217l3bvvor41.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d05982d779dcf41efe2b32387556285380ec314c

Confidential Transactions (CT)

CT were designed to restore privacy to blockchain transactions, as the LitePaper mentions, Bitcoin transactions aren’t private, they can be traced using publicly-available tools. The goal for CT is to restore privacy to blockchain transactions.

https://preview.redd.it/5dyb52w0wor41.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=71e06ea76a1cd4dc4d83d1bae469d4eee02858db

Native CT on Kepler MW

Privacy has been a major topic in blockchain technology in the past decade, there’s been several technological approaches towards providing true privacy, without sacrificing scalability and functionality. Over time, there was a loss of interest towards privacy technology on blockchain, that is, until MimbleWimble technology came along. Thanks to MimbleWimble, there is a way to improve privacy without sacrificing functionality, and in the meantime, MW allows for better scalability.
Remember, there are no addresses used in Kepler!

https://preview.redd.it/05ar4u531pr41.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=6f49a83cc9e054e3307283d77a45c2245e7477f9

Confidential Assets (CA)

Perhaps one of the most exciting topics in recent blockchain development, it will allow users to create multiple asset types without exposing both the asset type and transaction amount publicly.

https://preview.redd.it/tz8ecgu31pr41.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=ac1abc56bc8194e1d781b3ad6409b9bb05ba29c2

Moving towards the future of Privacy

The best way to launch Confidential Assets is on a blockchain built for privacy. Having semi-anonymous backbone infrastructure that cannot scale is not a good starting point for development.

https://preview.redd.it/9eegvc751pr41.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=44d929cd9cd73271edca0ef5eb8f3a12ceddbebf

CA already in Testnet

Our development team has been working for months and plans to launch a working test network soon. We will be release development updates regularly, and we encourage feedback.

https://preview.redd.it/yun2dgp61pr41.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b1c09e00a1dafb5e4211f2ace7759d2cbfcb1264

WhitePaper coming up soon after the LitePaper

We chose a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism for a variety of reasons. This article could get lengthy if we go into too much detail, but we’ll discuss this a bit.
An ASIC PoW algorithm is fair for miners, even ones who invested in multiple graphics cards. There will always be a coin for them to mine with their hardware. Hashrate rental services even the playing field for everyone. Most individuals cannot mine as cheap as they rent because of electricity costs. Not to mention the upfront cost of the hardware, shipping, customs and other fees like cooling and electrical work. Renters like using these services because they don’t need to trust their mining pool nor do they have to take custody of their coins or pay exchange fees.

https://preview.redd.it/rx9gtiy71pr41.jpg?width=1000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0268c349360ce01c0ad0eb46c6e5ac08c061eedf

Economic Model

Cryptocurrencies are far more divisible than fiat currency. Think of it as a dollar with a million pennies. Finding an economic model that works is something polite society will never stop debating. The trick is to make currency scarce enough so that it has value, but rare enough that so that everyone has access to it.

Social

Medium
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submitted by keplernetwork to KeplerNetwork [link] [comments]

FlowCards: A Declarative Framework for Development of Ergo dApps

FlowCards: A Declarative Framework for Development of Ergo dApps
Introduction
ErgoScript is the smart contract language used by the Ergo blockchain. While it has concise syntax adopted from Scala/Kotlin, it still may seem confusing at first because conceptually ErgoScript is quite different compared to conventional languages which we all know and love. This is because Ergo is a UTXO based blockchain, whereas smart contracts are traditionally associated with account based systems like Ethereum. However, Ergo's transaction model has many advantages over the account based model and with the right approach it can even be significantly easier to develop Ergo contracts than to write and debug Solidity code.
Below we will cover the key aspects of the Ergo contract model which makes it different:
Paradigm
The account model of Ethereum is imperative. This means that the typical task of sending coins from Alice to Bob requires changing the balances in storage as a series of operations. Ergo's UTXO based programming model on the other hand is declarative. ErgoScript contracts specify conditions for a transaction to be accepted by the blockchain (not changes to be made in the storage state as result of the contract execution).
Scalability
In the account model of Ethereum both storage changes and validity checks are performed on-chain during code execution. In contrast, Ergo transactions are created off-chain and only validation checks are performed on-chain thus reducing the amount of operations performed by every node on the network. In addition, due to immutability of the transaction graph, various optimization strategies are possible to improve throughput of transactions per second in the network. Light verifying nodes are also possible thus further facilitating scalability and accessibility of the network.
Shared state
The account-based model is reliant on shared mutable state which is known to lead to complex semantics (and subtle million dollar bugs) in the context of concurrent/ distributed computation. Ergo's model is based on an immutable graph of transactions. This approach, inherited from Bitcoin, plays well with the concurrent and distributed nature of blockchains and facilitates light trustless clients.
Expressive Power
Ethereum advocated execution of a turing-complete language on the blockchain. It theoretically promised unlimited potential, however in practice severe limitations came to light from excessive blockchain bloat, subtle multi-million dollar bugs, gas costs which limit contract complexity, and other such problems. Ergo on the flip side extends UTXO to enable turing-completeness while limiting the complexity of the ErgoScript language itself. The same expressive power is achieved in a different and more semantically sound way.
With the all of the above points, it should be clear that there are a lot of benefits to the model Ergo is using. In the rest of this article I will introduce you to the concept of FlowCards - a dApp developer component which allows for designing complex Ergo contracts in a declarative and visual way.
From Imperative to Declarative
In the imperative programming model of Ethereum a transaction is a sequence of operations executed by the Ethereum VM. The following Solidity function implements a transfer of tokens from sender to receiver . The transaction starts when sender calls this function on an instance of a contract and ends when the function returns.
// Sends an amount of existing coins from any caller to an address function send(address receiver, uint amount) public { require(amount <= balances[msg.sender], "Insufficient balance."); balances[msg.sender] -= amount; balances[receiver] += amount; emit Sent(msg.sender, receiver, amount); } 
The function first checks the pre-conditions, then updates the storage (i.e. balances) and finally publishes the post-condition as the Sent event. The gas which is consumed by the transaction is sent to the miner as a reward for executing this transaction.
Unlike Ethereum, a transaction in Ergo is a data structure holding a list of input coins which it spends and a list of output coins which it creates preserving the total balances of ERGs and tokens (in which Ergo is similar to Bitcoin).
Turning back to the example above, since Ergo natively supports tokens, therefore for this specific example of sending tokens we don't need to write any code in ErgoScript. Instead we need to create the ‘send’ transaction shown in the following figure, which describes the same token transfer but declaratively.
https://preview.redd.it/id5kjdgn9tv41.png?width=1348&format=png&auto=webp&s=31b937d7ad0af4afe94f4d023e8c90c97c8aed2e
The picture visually describes the following steps, which the network user needs to perform:
  1. Select unspent sender's boxes, containing in total tB >= amount of tokens and B >= txFee + minErg ERGs.
  2. Create an output target box which is protected by the receiver public key with minErg ERGs and amount of T tokens.
  3. Create one fee output protected by the minerFee contract with txFee ERGs.
  4. Create one change output protected by the sender public key, containing B - minErg - txFee ERGs and tB - amount of T tokens.
  5. Create a new transaction, sign it using the sender's secret key and send to the Ergo network.
What is important to understand here is that all of these steps are preformed off-chain (for example using Appkit Transaction API) by the user's application. Ergo network nodes don't need to repeat this transaction creation process, they only need to validate the already formed transaction. ErgoScript contracts are stored in the inputs of the transaction and check spending conditions. The node executes the contracts on-chain when the transaction is validated. The transaction is valid if all of the conditions are satisfied.
Thus, in Ethereum when we “send amount from sender to recipient” we are literally editing balances and updating the storage with a concrete set of commands. This happens on-chain and thus a new transaction is also created on-chain as the result of this process.
In Ergo (as in Bitcoin) transactions are created off-chain and the network nodes only verify them. The effects of the transaction on the blockchain state is that input coins (or Boxes in Ergo's parlance) are removed and output boxes are added to the UTXO set.
In the example above we don't use an ErgoScript contract but instead assume a signature check is used as the spending pre-condition. However in more complex application scenarios we of course need to use ErgoScript which is what we are going to discuss next.
From Changing State to Checking Context
In the send function example we first checked the pre-condition (require(amount <= balances[msg.sender],...) ) and then changed the state (i.e. update balances balances[msg.sender] -= amount ). This is typical in Ethereum transactions. Before we change anything we need to check if it is valid to do so.
In Ergo, as we discussed previously, the state (i.e. UTXO set of boxes) is changed implicitly when a valid transaction is included in a block. Thus we only need to check the pre-conditions before the transaction can be added to the block. This is what ErgoScript contracts do.
It is not possible to “change the state” in ErgoScript because it is a language to check pre-conditions for spending coins. ErgoScript is a purely functional language without side effects that operates on immutable data values. This means all the inputs, outputs and other transaction parameters available in a script are immutable. This, among other things, makes ErgoScript a very simple language that is easy to learn and safe to use. Similar to Bitcoin, each input box contains a script, which should return the true value in order to 1) allow spending of the box (i.e. removing from the UTXO set) and 2) adding the transaction to the block.
If we are being pedantic, it is therefore incorrect (strictly speaking) to think of ErgoScript as the language of Ergo contracts, because it is the language of propositions (logical predicates, formulas, etc.) which protect boxes from “illegal” spending. Unlike Bitcoin, in Ergo the whole transaction and a part of the current blockchain context is available to every script. Therefore each script may check which outputs are created by the transaction, their ERG and token amounts (we will use this capability in our example DEX contracts), current block number etc.
In ErgoScript you define the conditions of whether changes (i.e. coin spending) are allowed to happen in a given context. This is in contrast to programming the changes imperatively in the code of a contract.
While Ergo's transaction model unlocks a whole range of applications like (DEX, DeFi Apps, LETS, etc), designing contracts as pre-conditions for coin spending (or guarding scripts) directly is not intuitive. In the next sections we will consider a useful graphical notation to design contracts declaratively using FlowCard Diagrams, which is a visual representation of executable components (FlowCards).
FlowCards aim to radically simplify dApp development on the Ergo platform by providing a high-level declarative language, execution runtime, storage format and a graphical notation.
We will start with a high level of diagrams and go down to FlowCard specification.
FlowCard Diagrams
The idea behind FlowCard diagrams is based on the following observations: 1) An Ergo box is immutable and can only be spent in the transaction which uses it as an input. 2) We therefore can draw a flow of boxes through transactions, so that boxes flowing in to the transaction are spent and those flowing out are created and added to the UTXO. 3) A transaction from this perspective is simply a transformer of old boxes to the new ones preserving the balances of ERGs and tokens involved.
The following figure shows the main elements of the Ergo transaction we've already seen previously (now under the name of FlowCard Diagram).
https://preview.redd.it/9kcxl11o9tv41.png?width=1304&format=png&auto=webp&s=378a7f50769292ca94de35ff597dc1a44af56d14
There is a strictly defined meaning (semantics) behind every element of the diagram, so that the diagram is a visual representation (or a view) of the underlying executable component (called FlowCard).
The FlowCard can be used as a reusable component of an Ergo dApp to create and initiate the transaction on the Ergo blockchain. We will discuss this in the coming sections.
Now let's look at the individual pieces of the FlowCard diagram one by one.
  1. Name and Parameters
Each flow card is given a name and a list of typed parameters. This is similar to a template with parameters. In the above figure we can see the Send flow card which has five parameters. The parameters are used in the specification.
  1. Contract Wallet
This is a key element of the flow card. Every box has a guarding script. Often it is the script that checks a signature against a public key. This script is trivial in ErgoScript and is defined like the def pk(pubkey: Address) = { pubkey } template where pubkey is a parameter of the type Address . In the figure, the script template is applied to the parameter pk(sender) and thus a concrete wallet contract is obtained. Therefore pk(sender) and pk(receiver) yield different scripts and represent different wallets on the diagram, even though they use the same template.
Contract Wallet contains a set of all UTXO boxes which have a given script derived from the given script template using flow card parameters. For example, in the figure, the template is pk and parameter pubkey is substituted with the `sender’ flow card parameter.
  1. Contract
Even though a contract is a property of a box, on the diagram we group the boxes by their contracts, therefore it looks like the boxes belong to the contracts, rather than the contracts belong to the boxes. In the example, we have three instantiated contracts pk(sender) , pk(receiver) and minerFee . Note, that pk(sender) is the instantiation of the pk template with the concrete parameter sender and minerFee is the instantiation of the pre-defined contract which protects the miner reward boxes.
  1. Box name
In the diagram we can give each box a name. Besides readability of the diagram, we also use the name as a synonym of a more complex indexed access to the box in the contract. For example, change is the name of the box, which can also be used in the ErgoScript conditions instead of OUTPUTS(2) . We also use box names to associate spending conditions with the boxes.
  1. Boxes in the wallet
In the diagram, we show boxes (darker rectangles) as belonging to the contract wallets (lighter rectangles). Each such box rectangle is connected with a grey transaction rectangle by either orange or green arrows or both. An output box (with an incoming green arrow) may include many lines of text where each line specifies a condition which should be checked as part of the transaction. The first line specifies the condition on the amount of ERG which should be placed in the box. Other lines may take one of the following forms:
  1. amount: TOKEN - the box should contain the given amount of the given TOKEN
  2. R == value - the box should contain the given value of the given register R
  3. boxName ? condition - the box named boxName should check condition in its script.
We discuss these conditions in the sections below.
  1. Amount of ERGs in the box
Each box should store a minimum amount of ERGs. This is checked when the creating transaction is validated. In the diagram the amount of ERGs is always shown as the first line (e.g. B: ERG or B - minErg - txFee ). The value type ascription B: ERG is optional and may be used for readability. When the value is given as a formula, then this formula should be respected by the transaction which creates the box.
It is important to understand that variables like amount and txFee are not named properties of the boxes. They are parameters of the whole diagram and representing some amounts. Or put it another way, they are shared parameters between transactions (e.g. Sell Order and Swap transactions from DEX example below share the tAmt parameter). So the same name is tied to the same value throughout the diagram (this is where the tooling would help a lot). However, when it comes to on-chain validation of those values, only explicit conditions which are marked with ? are transformed to ErgoScript. At the same time, all other conditions are ensured off-chain during transaction building (for example in an application using Appkit API) and transaction validation when it is added to the blockchain.
  1. Amount of T token
A box can store values of many tokens. The tokens on the diagram are named and a value variable may be associated with the token T using value: T expression. The value may be given by formula. If the formula is prefixed with a box name like boxName ? formula , then it is should also be checked in the guarding script of the boxName box. This additional specification is very convenient because 1) it allows to validate the visual design automatically, and 2) the conditions specified in the boxes of a diagram are enough to synthesize the necessary guarding scripts. (more about this below at “From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts”)
  1. Tx Inputs
Inputs are connected to the corresponding transaction by orange arrows. An input arrow may have a label of the following forms:
  1. [email protected] - optional name with an index i.e. [email protected] or u/2 . This is a property of the target endpoint of the arrow. The name is used in conditions of related boxes and the index is the position of the corresponding box in the INPUTS collection of the transaction.
  2. !action - is a property of the source of the arrow and gives a name for an alternative spending path of the box (we will see this in DEX example)
Because of alternative spending paths, a box may have many outgoing orange arrows, in which case they should be labeled with different actions.
  1. Transaction
A transaction spends input boxes and creates output boxes. The input boxes are given by the orange arrows and the labels are expected to put inputs at the right indexes in INPUTS collection. The output boxes are given by the green arrows. Each transaction should preserve a strict balance of ERG values (sum of inputs == sum of outputs) and for each token the sum of inputs >= the sum of outputs. The design diagram requires an explicit specification of the ERG and token values for all of the output boxes to avoid implicit errors and ensure better readability.
  1. Tx Outputs
Outputs are connected to the corresponding transaction by green arrows. An output arrow may have a label of the following [email protected] , where an optional name is accompanied with an index i.e. [email protected] or u/2 . This is a property of the source endpoint of the arrow. The name is used in conditions of the related boxes and the index is the position of the corresponding box in the OUTPUTS collection of the transaction.
Example: Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
Now let's use the above described notation to design a FlowCard for a DEX dApp. It is simple enough yet also illustrates all of the key features of FlowCard diagrams which we've introduced in the previous section.
The dApp scenario is shown in the figure below: There are three participants (buyer, seller and DEX) of the DEX dApp and five different transaction types, which are created by participants. The buyer wants to swap ergAmt of ERGs for tAmt of TID tokens (or vice versa, the seller wants to sell TID tokens for ERGs, who sends the order first doesn't matter). Both the buyer and the seller can cancel their orders any time. The DEX off-chain matching service can find matching orders and create the Swap transaction to complete the exchange.
The following diagram fully (and formally) specifies all of the five transactions that must be created off-chain by the DEX dApp. It also specifies all of the spending conditions that should be verified on-chain.

https://preview.redd.it/fnt5f4qp9tv41.png?width=1614&format=png&auto=webp&s=34f145f9a6d622454906857e645def2faba057bd
Let's discuss the FlowCard diagram and the logic of each transaction in details:
Buy Order Transaction
A buyer creates a Buy Order transaction. The transaction spends E amount of ERGs (which we will write E: ERG ) from one or more boxes in the pk(buyer) wallet. The transaction creates a bid box with ergAmt: ERG protected by the buyOrder script. The buyOrder script is synthesized from the specification (see below at “From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts”) either manually or automatically by a tool. Even though we don't need to define the buyOrder script explicitly during designing, at run time the bid box should contain the buyOrder script as the guarding proposition (which checks the box spending conditions), otherwise the conditions specified in the diagram will not be checked.
The change box is created to make the input and output sums of the transaction balanced. The transaction fee box is omitted because it can be added automatically by the tools. In practice, however, the designer can add the fee box explicitly to the a diagram. It covers the cases of more complex transactions (like Swap) where there are many ways to pay the transaction fee.
Cancel Buy, Cancel Sell Transactions
At any time, the buyer can cancel the order by sending CancelBuy transaction. The transaction should satisfy the guarding buyOrder contract which protects the bid box. As you can see on the diagram, both the Cancel and the Swap transactions can spend the bid box. When a box has spending alternatives (or spending paths) then each alternative is identified by a unique name prefixed with ! (!cancel and !swap for the bid box). Each alternative path has specific spending conditions. In our example, when the Cancel Buy transaction spends the bid box the ?buyer condition should be satisfied, which we read as “the signature for the buyer address should be presented in the transaction”. Therefore, only buyer can cancel the buy order. This “signature” condition is only required for the !cancel alternative spending path and not required for !swap .
Sell Order Transaction
The Sell Order transaction is similar to the BuyOrder in that it deals with tokens in addition to ERGs. The transaction spends E: ERG and T: TID tokens from seller's wallet (specified as pk(seller) contract). The two outputs are ask and change . The change is a standard box to balance transaction. The ask box keeps tAmt: TID tokens for the exchange and minErg: ERG - the minimum amount of ERGs required in every box.
Swap Transaction
This is a key transaction in the DEX dApp scenario. The transaction has several spending conditions on the input boxes and those conditions are included in the buyOrder and sellOrder scripts (which are verified when the transaction is added to the blockchain). However, on the diagram those conditions are not specified in the bid and ask boxes, they are instead defined in the output boxes of the transaction.
This is a convention for improved usability because most of the conditions relate to the properties of the output boxes. We could specify those properties in the bid box, but then we would have to use more complex expressions.
Let's consider the output created by the arrow labeled with [email protected] . This label tells us that the output is at the index 0 in the OUTPUTS collection of the transaction and that in the diagram we can refer to this box by the buyerOut name. Thus we can label both the box itself and the arrow to give the box a name.
The conditions shown in the buyerOut box have the form bid ? condition , which means they should be verified on-chain in order to spend the bid box. The conditions have the following meaning:
  • tAmt: TID requires the box to have tAmt amount of TID token
  • R4 == bid.id requires R4 register in the box to be equal to id of the bid box.
  • script == buyer requires the buyerOut box to have the script of the wallet where it is located on the diagram, i.e. pk(buyer)
Similar properties are added to the sellerOut box, which is specified to be at index 1 and the name is given to it using the label on the box itself, rather than on the arrow.
The Swap transaction spends two boxes bid and ask using the !swap spending path on both, however unlike !cancel the conditions on the path are not specified. This is where the bid ? and ask ? prefixes come into play. They are used so that the conditions listed in the buyerOut and sellerOut boxes are moved to the !swap spending path of the bid and ask boxes correspondingly.
If you look at the conditions of the output boxes, you will see that they exactly specify the swap of values between seller's and buyer's wallets. The buyer gets the necessary amount of TID token and seller gets the corresponding amount of ERGs. The Swap transaction is created when there are two matching boxes with buyOrder and sellOrder contracts.
From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts
What is interesting about FlowCard specifications is that we can use them to automatically generate the necessary ErgoTree scripts. With the appropriate tooling support this can be done automatically, but with the lack of thereof, it can be done manually. Thus, the FlowCard allows us to capture and visually represent all of the design choices and semantic details of an Ergo dApp.
What we are going to do next is to mechanically create the buyOrder contract from the information given in the DEX flow card.
Recall that each script is a proposition (boolean valued expression) which should evaluate to true to allow spending of the box. When we have many conditions to be met at the same time we can combine them in a logical formula using the AND binary operation, and if we have alternatives (not necessarily exclusive) we can put them into the OR operation.
The buyOrder box has the alternative spending paths !cancel and !swap . Thus the ErgoScript code should have OR operation with two arguments - one for each spending path.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = {} val swapCondition = {} cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
The formula for the cancelCondition expression is given in the !cancel spending path of the buyOrder box. We can directly include it in the script.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = { buyer } val swapCondition = {} cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
For the !swap spending path of the buyOrder box the conditions are specified in the buyerOut output box of the Swap transaction. If we simply include them in the swapCondition then we get a syntactically incorrect script.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = { buyer } val swapCondition = { tAmt: TID && R4 == bid.id && @contract } cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
We can however translate the conditions from the diagram syntax to ErgoScript expressions using the following simple rules
  1. [email protected] ==> val buyerOut = OUTPUTS(0)
  2. tAmt: TID ==> tid._2 == tAmt where tid = buyerOut.tokens(TID)
  3. R4 == bid.id ==> R4 == SELF.id where R4 = buyerOut.R4[Coll[Byte]].get
  4. script == buyer ==> buyerOut.propositionBytes == buyer.propBytes
Note, in the diagram TID represents a token id, but ErgoScript doesn't have access to the tokens by the ids so we cannot write tokens.getByKey(TID) . For this reason, when the diagram is translated into ErgoScript, TID becomes a named constant of the index in tokens collection of the box. The concrete value of the constant is assigned when the BuyOrder transaction with the buyOrder box is created. The correspondence and consistency between the actual tokenId, the TID constant and the actual tokens of the buyerOut box is ensured by the off-chain application code, which is completely possible since all of the transactions are created by the application using FlowCard as a guiding specification. This may sound too complicated, but this is part of the translation from diagram specification to actual executable application code, most of which can be automated.
After the transformation we can obtain a correct script which checks all the required preconditions for spending the buyOrder box.
/** buyOrder contract */ def DEX(buyer: Addrss, seller: Address, TID: Int, ergAmt: Long, tAmt: Long) { val cancelCondition: SigmaProp = { buyer } // verify buyer's sig (ProveDlog) val swapCondition = OUTPUTS.size > 0 && { // securing OUTPUTS access val buyerOut = OUTPUTS(0) // from [email protected] buyerOut.tokens.size > TID && { // securing tokens access val tid = buyerOut.tokens(TID) val regR4 = buyerOut.R4[Coll[Byte]] regR4.isDefined && { // securing R4 access val R4 = regR4.get tid._2 == tAmt && // from tAmt: TID R4 == SELF.id && // from R4 == bid.id buyerOut.propositionBytes == buyer.propBytes // from script == buyer } } } cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
A similar script for the sellOrder box can be obtained using the same translation rules. With the help of the tooling the code of contracts can be mechanically generated from the diagram specification.
Conclusions
Declarative programming models have already won the battle against imperative programming in many application domains like Big Data, Stream Processing, Deep Learning, Databases, etc. Ergo is pioneering the declarative model of dApp development as a better and safer alternative to the now popular imperative model of smart contracts.
The concept of FlowCard shifts the focus from writing ErgoScript contracts to the overall flow of values (hence the name), in such a way, that ErgoScript can always be generated from them. You will never need to look at the ErgoScript code once the tooling is in place.
Here are the possible next steps for future work:
  1. Storage format for FlowCard Spec and the corresponding EIP standardized file format (Json/XML/Protobuf). This will allow various tools (Diagram Editor, Runtime, dApps etc) to create and use *.flowcard files.
  2. FlowCard Viewer, which can generate the diagrams from *.flowcard files.
  3. FlowCard Runtime, which can run *.flowcard files, create and send transactions to Ergo network.
  4. FlowCard Designer Tool, which can simplify development of complex diagrams . This will make designing and validation of Ergo contracts a pleasant experience, more like drawing rather than coding. In addition, the correctness of the whole dApp scenario can be verified and controlled by the tooling.
submitted by Guilty_Pea to CryptoCurrencies [link] [comments]

FlowCards: A Declarative Framework for Development of Ergo dApps

FlowCards: A Declarative Framework for Development of Ergo dApps
Introduction
ErgoScript is the smart contract language used by the Ergo blockchain. While it has concise syntax adopted from Scala/Kotlin, it still may seem confusing at first because conceptually ErgoScript is quite different compared to conventional languages which we all know and love. This is because Ergo is a UTXO based blockchain, whereas smart contracts are traditionally associated with account based systems like Ethereum. However, Ergo's transaction model has many advantages over the account based model and with the right approach it can even be significantly easier to develop Ergo contracts than to write and debug Solidity code.
Below we will cover the key aspects of the Ergo contract model which makes it different:
Paradigm
The account model of Ethereum is imperative. This means that the typical task of sending coins from Alice to Bob requires changing the balances in storage as a series of operations. Ergo's UTXO based programming model on the other hand is declarative. ErgoScript contracts specify conditions for a transaction to be accepted by the blockchain (not changes to be made in the storage state as result of the contract execution).
Scalability
In the account model of Ethereum both storage changes and validity checks are performed on-chain during code execution. In contrast, Ergo transactions are created off-chain and only validation checks are performed on-chain thus reducing the amount of operations performed by every node on the network. In addition, due to immutability of the transaction graph, various optimization strategies are possible to improve throughput of transactions per second in the network. Light verifying nodes are also possible thus further facilitating scalability and accessibility of the network.
Shared state
The account-based model is reliant on shared mutable state which is known to lead to complex semantics (and subtle million dollar bugs) in the context of concurrent/ distributed computation. Ergo's model is based on an immutable graph of transactions. This approach, inherited from Bitcoin, plays well with the concurrent and distributed nature of blockchains and facilitates light trustless clients.
Expressive Power
Ethereum advocated execution of a turing-complete language on the blockchain. It theoretically promised unlimited potential, however in practice severe limitations came to light from excessive blockchain bloat, subtle multi-million dollar bugs, gas costs which limit contract complexity, and other such problems. Ergo on the flip side extends UTXO to enable turing-completeness while limiting the complexity of the ErgoScript language itself. The same expressive power is achieved in a different and more semantically sound way.
With the all of the above points, it should be clear that there are a lot of benefits to the model Ergo is using. In the rest of this article I will introduce you to the concept of FlowCards - a dApp developer component which allows for designing complex Ergo contracts in a declarative and visual way.

From Imperative to Declarative

In the imperative programming model of Ethereum a transaction is a sequence of operations executed by the Ethereum VM. The following Solidity function implements a transfer of tokens from sender to receiver . The transaction starts when sender calls this function on an instance of a contract and ends when the function returns.
// Sends an amount of existing coins from any caller to an address function send(address receiver, uint amount) public { require(amount <= balances[msg.sender], "Insufficient balance."); balances[msg.sender] -= amount; balances[receiver] += amount; emit Sent(msg.sender, receiver, amount); } 
The function first checks the pre-conditions, then updates the storage (i.e. balances) and finally publishes the post-condition as the Sent event. The gas which is consumed by the transaction is sent to the miner as a reward for executing this transaction.
Unlike Ethereum, a transaction in Ergo is a data structure holding a list of input coins which it spends and a list of output coins which it creates preserving the total balances of ERGs and tokens (in which Ergo is similar to Bitcoin).
Turning back to the example above, since Ergo natively supports tokens, therefore for this specific example of sending tokens we don't need to write any code in ErgoScript. Instead we need to create the ‘send’ transaction shown in the following figure, which describes the same token transfer but declaratively.
https://preview.redd.it/sxs3kesvrsv41.png?width=1348&format=png&auto=webp&s=582382bc26912ff79114d831d937d94b6988e69f
The picture visually describes the following steps, which the network user needs to perform:
  1. Select unspent sender's boxes, containing in total tB >= amount of tokens and B >= txFee + minErg ERGs.
  2. Create an output target box which is protected by the receiver public key with minErg ERGs and amount of T tokens.
  3. Create one fee output protected by the minerFee contract with txFee ERGs.
  4. Create one change output protected by the sender public key, containing B - minErg - txFee ERGs and tB - amount of T tokens.
  5. Create a new transaction, sign it using the sender's secret key and send to the Ergo network.
What is important to understand here is that all of these steps are preformed off-chain (for example using Appkit Transaction API) by the user's application. Ergo network nodes don't need to repeat this transaction creation process, they only need to validate the already formed transaction. ErgoScript contracts are stored in the inputs of the transaction and check spending conditions. The node executes the contracts on-chain when the transaction is validated. The transaction is valid if all of the conditions are satisfied.
Thus, in Ethereum when we “send amount from sender to recipient” we are literally editing balances and updating the storage with a concrete set of commands. This happens on-chain and thus a new transaction is also created on-chain as the result of this process.
In Ergo (as in Bitcoin) transactions are created off-chain and the network nodes only verify them. The effects of the transaction on the blockchain state is that input coins (or Boxes in Ergo's parlance) are removed and output boxes are added to the UTXO set.
In the example above we don't use an ErgoScript contract but instead assume a signature check is used as the spending pre-condition. However in more complex application scenarios we of course need to use ErgoScript which is what we are going to discuss next.

From Changing State to Checking Context

In the send function example we first checked the pre-condition (require(amount <= balances[msg.sender],...) ) and then changed the state (i.e. update balances balances[msg.sender] -= amount ). This is typical in Ethereum transactions. Before we change anything we need to check if it is valid to do so.
In Ergo, as we discussed previously, the state (i.e. UTXO set of boxes) is changed implicitly when a valid transaction is included in a block. Thus we only need to check the pre-conditions before the transaction can be added to the block. This is what ErgoScript contracts do.
It is not possible to “change the state” in ErgoScript because it is a language to check pre-conditions for spending coins. ErgoScript is a purely functional language without side effects that operates on immutable data values. This means all the inputs, outputs and other transaction parameters available in a script are immutable. This, among other things, makes ErgoScript a very simple language that is easy to learn and safe to use. Similar to Bitcoin, each input box contains a script, which should return the true value in order to 1) allow spending of the box (i.e. removing from the UTXO set) and 2) adding the transaction to the block.
If we are being pedantic, it is therefore incorrect (strictly speaking) to think of ErgoScript as the language of Ergo contracts, because it is the language of propositions (logical predicates, formulas, etc.) which protect boxes from “illegal” spending. Unlike Bitcoin, in Ergo the whole transaction and a part of the current blockchain context is available to every script. Therefore each script may check which outputs are created by the transaction, their ERG and token amounts (we will use this capability in our example DEX contracts), current block number etc.
In ErgoScript you define the conditions of whether changes (i.e. coin spending) are allowed to happen in a given context. This is in contrast to programming the changes imperatively in the code of a contract.
While Ergo's transaction model unlocks a whole range of applications like (DEX, DeFi Apps, LETS, etc), designing contracts as pre-conditions for coin spending (or guarding scripts) directly is not intuitive. In the next sections we will consider a useful graphical notation to design contracts declaratively using FlowCard Diagrams, which is a visual representation of executable components (FlowCards).
FlowCards aim to radically simplify dApp development on the Ergo platform by providing a high-level declarative language, execution runtime, storage format and a graphical notation.
We will start with a high level of diagrams and go down to FlowCard specification.

FlowCard Diagrams

The idea behind FlowCard diagrams is based on the following observations: 1) An Ergo box is immutable and can only be spent in the transaction which uses it as an input. 2) We therefore can draw a flow of boxes through transactions, so that boxes flowing in to the transaction are spent and those flowing out are created and added to the UTXO. 3) A transaction from this perspective is simply a transformer of old boxes to the new ones preserving the balances of ERGs and tokens involved.
The following figure shows the main elements of the Ergo transaction we've already seen previously (now under the name of FlowCard Diagram).
https://preview.redd.it/06aqkcd1ssv41.png?width=1304&format=png&auto=webp&s=106eda730e0526919aabd5af9596b97e45b69777
There is a strictly defined meaning (semantics) behind every element of the diagram, so that the diagram is a visual representation (or a view) of the underlying executable component (called FlowCard).
The FlowCard can be used as a reusable component of an Ergo dApp to create and initiate the transaction on the Ergo blockchain. We will discuss this in the coming sections.
Now let's look at the individual pieces of the FlowCard diagram one by one.
1. Name and Parameters
Each flow card is given a name and a list of typed parameters. This is similar to a template with parameters. In the above figure we can see the Send flow card which has five parameters. The parameters are used in the specification.
2. Contract Wallet
This is a key element of the flow card. Every box has a guarding script. Often it is the script that checks a signature against a public key. This script is trivial in ErgoScript and is defined like the def pk(pubkey: Address) = { pubkey } template where pubkey is a parameter of the type Address . In the figure, the script template is applied to the parameter pk(sender) and thus a concrete wallet contract is obtained. Therefore pk(sender) and pk(receiver) yield different scripts and represent different wallets on the diagram, even though they use the same template.
Contract Wallet contains a set of all UTXO boxes which have a given script derived from the given script template using flow card parameters. For example, in the figure, the template is pk and parameter pubkey is substituted with the `sender’ flow card parameter.
3. Contract
Even though a contract is a property of a box, on the diagram we group the boxes by their contracts, therefore it looks like the boxes belong to the contracts, rather than the contracts belong to the boxes. In the example, we have three instantiated contracts pk(sender) , pk(receiver) and minerFee . Note, that pk(sender) is the instantiation of the pk template with the concrete parameter sender and minerFee is the instantiation of the pre-defined contract which protects the miner reward boxes.
4. Box name
In the diagram we can give each box a name. Besides readability of the diagram, we also use the name as a synonym of a more complex indexed access to the box in the contract. For example, change is the name of the box, which can also be used in the ErgoScript conditions instead of OUTPUTS(2) . We also use box names to associate spending conditions with the boxes.
5. Boxes in the wallet
In the diagram, we show boxes (darker rectangles) as belonging to the contract wallets (lighter rectangles). Each such box rectangle is connected with a grey transaction rectangle by either orange or green arrows or both. An output box (with an incoming green arrow) may include many lines of text where each line specifies a condition which should be checked as part of the transaction. The first line specifies the condition on the amount of ERG which should be placed in the box. Other lines may take one of the following forms:
  1. amount: TOKEN - the box should contain the given amount of the given TOKEN
  2. R == value - the box should contain the given value of the given register R
  3. boxName ? condition - the box named boxName should check condition in its script.
We discuss these conditions in the sections below.
6. Amount of ERGs in the box
Each box should store a minimum amount of ERGs. This is checked when the creating transaction is validated. In the diagram the amount of ERGs is always shown as the first line (e.g. B: ERG or B - minErg - txFee ). The value type ascription B: ERG is optional and may be used for readability. When the value is given as a formula, then this formula should be respected by the transaction which creates the box.
It is important to understand that variables like amount and txFee are not named properties of the boxes. They are parameters of the whole diagram and representing some amounts. Or put it another way, they are shared parameters between transactions (e.g. Sell Order and Swap transactions from DEX example below share the tAmt parameter). So the same name is tied to the same value throughout the diagram (this is where the tooling would help a lot). However, when it comes to on-chain validation of those values, only explicit conditions which are marked with ? are transformed to ErgoScript. At the same time, all other conditions are ensured off-chain during transaction building (for example in an application using Appkit API) and transaction validation when it is added to the blockchain.
7. Amount of T token
A box can store values of many tokens. The tokens on the diagram are named and a value variable may be associated with the token T using value: T expression. The value may be given by formula. If the formula is prefixed with a box name like boxName ? formula , then it is should also be checked in the guarding script of the boxName box. This additional specification is very convenient because 1) it allows to validate the visual design automatically, and 2) the conditions specified in the boxes of a diagram are enough to synthesize the necessary guarding scripts. (more about this below at “From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts”)
8. Tx Inputs
Inputs are connected to the corresponding transaction by orange arrows. An input arrow may have a label of the following forms:
  1. [email protected] - optional name with an index i.e. [email protected] or u/2 . This is a property of the target endpoint of the arrow. The name is used in conditions of related boxes and the index is the position of the corresponding box in the INPUTS collection of the transaction.
  2. !action - is a property of the source of the arrow and gives a name for an alternative spending path of the box (we will see this in DEX example)
Because of alternative spending paths, a box may have many outgoing orange arrows, in which case they should be labeled with different actions.
9. Transaction
A transaction spends input boxes and creates output boxes. The input boxes are given by the orange arrows and the labels are expected to put inputs at the right indexes in INPUTS collection. The output boxes are given by the green arrows. Each transaction should preserve a strict balance of ERG values (sum of inputs == sum of outputs) and for each token the sum of inputs >= the sum of outputs. The design diagram requires an explicit specification of the ERG and token values for all of the output boxes to avoid implicit errors and ensure better readability.
10. Tx Outputs
Outputs are connected to the corresponding transaction by green arrows. An output arrow may have a label of the following [email protected] , where an optional name is accompanied with an index i.e. [email protected] or u/2 . This is a property of the source endpoint of the arrow. The name is used in conditions of the related boxes and the index is the position of the corresponding box in the OUTPUTS collection of the transaction.

Example: Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

Now let's use the above described notation to design a FlowCard for a DEX dApp. It is simple enough yet also illustrates all of the key features of FlowCard diagrams which we've introduced in the previous section.
The dApp scenario is shown in the figure below: There are three participants (buyer, seller and DEX) of the DEX dApp and five different transaction types, which are created by participants. The buyer wants to swap ergAmt of ERGs for tAmt of TID tokens (or vice versa, the seller wants to sell TID tokens for ERGs, who sends the order first doesn't matter). Both the buyer and the seller can cancel their orders any time. The DEX off-chain matching service can find matching orders and create the Swap transaction to complete the exchange.
The following diagram fully (and formally) specifies all of the five transactions that must be created off-chain by the DEX dApp. It also specifies all of the spending conditions that should be verified on-chain.

https://preview.redd.it/piogz0v9ssv41.png?width=1614&format=png&auto=webp&s=e1b503a635ad3d138ef91e2f0c3b726e78958646
Let's discuss the FlowCard diagram and the logic of each transaction in details:
Buy Order Transaction
A buyer creates a Buy Order transaction. The transaction spends E amount of ERGs (which we will write E: ERG ) from one or more boxes in the pk(buyer) wallet. The transaction creates a bid box with ergAmt: ERG protected by the buyOrder script. The buyOrder script is synthesized from the specification (see below at “From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts”) either manually or automatically by a tool. Even though we don't need to define the buyOrder script explicitly during designing, at run time the bid box should contain the buyOrder script as the guarding proposition (which checks the box spending conditions), otherwise the conditions specified in the diagram will not be checked.
The change box is created to make the input and output sums of the transaction balanced. The transaction fee box is omitted because it can be added automatically by the tools. In practice, however, the designer can add the fee box explicitly to the a diagram. It covers the cases of more complex transactions (like Swap) where there are many ways to pay the transaction fee.
Cancel Buy, Cancel Sell Transactions
At any time, the buyer can cancel the order by sending CancelBuy transaction. The transaction should satisfy the guarding buyOrder contract which protects the bid box. As you can see on the diagram, both the Cancel and the Swap transactions can spend the bid box. When a box has spending alternatives (or spending paths) then each alternative is identified by a unique name prefixed with ! (!cancel and !swap for the bid box). Each alternative path has specific spending conditions. In our example, when the Cancel Buy transaction spends the bid box the ?buyer condition should be satisfied, which we read as “the signature for the buyer address should be presented in the transaction”. Therefore, only buyer can cancel the buy order. This “signature” condition is only required for the !cancel alternative spending path and not required for !swap .
Sell Order Transaction
The Sell Order transaction is similar to the BuyOrder in that it deals with tokens in addition to ERGs. The transaction spends E: ERG and T: TID tokens from seller's wallet (specified as pk(seller) contract). The two outputs are ask and change . The change is a standard box to balance transaction. The ask box keeps tAmt: TID tokens for the exchange and minErg: ERG - the minimum amount of ERGs required in every box.
Swap Transaction
This is a key transaction in the DEX dApp scenario. The transaction has several spending conditions on the input boxes and those conditions are included in the buyOrder and sellOrder scripts (which are verified when the transaction is added to the blockchain). However, on the diagram those conditions are not specified in the bid and ask boxes, they are instead defined in the output boxes of the transaction.
This is a convention for improved usability because most of the conditions relate to the properties of the output boxes. We could specify those properties in the bid box, but then we would have to use more complex expressions.
Let's consider the output created by the arrow labeled with [email protected] . This label tells us that the output is at the index 0 in the OUTPUTS collection of the transaction and that in the diagram we can refer to this box by the buyerOut name. Thus we can label both the box itself and the arrow to give the box a name.
The conditions shown in the buyerOut box have the form bid ? condition , which means they should be verified on-chain in order to spend the bid box. The conditions have the following meaning:
  • tAmt: TID requires the box to have tAmt amount of TID token
  • R4 == bid.id requires R4 register in the box to be equal to id of the bid box.
  • script == buyer requires the buyerOut box to have the script of the wallet where it is located on the diagram, i.e. pk(buyer)
Similar properties are added to the sellerOut box, which is specified to be at index 1 and the name is given to it using the label on the box itself, rather than on the arrow.
The Swap transaction spends two boxes bid and ask using the !swap spending path on both, however unlike !cancel the conditions on the path are not specified. This is where the bid ? and ask ? prefixes come into play. They are used so that the conditions listed in the buyerOut and sellerOut boxes are moved to the !swap spending path of the bid and ask boxes correspondingly.
If you look at the conditions of the output boxes, you will see that they exactly specify the swap of values between seller's and buyer's wallets. The buyer gets the necessary amount of TID token and seller gets the corresponding amount of ERGs. The Swap transaction is created when there are two matching boxes with buyOrder and sellOrder contracts.

From Diagrams To ErgoScript Contracts

What is interesting about FlowCard specifications is that we can use them to automatically generate the necessary ErgoTree scripts. With the appropriate tooling support this can be done automatically, but with the lack of thereof, it can be done manually. Thus, the FlowCard allows us to capture and visually represent all of the design choices and semantic details of an Ergo dApp.
What we are going to do next is to mechanically create the buyOrder contract from the information given in the DEX flow card.
Recall that each script is a proposition (boolean valued expression) which should evaluate to true to allow spending of the box. When we have many conditions to be met at the same time we can combine them in a logical formula using the AND binary operation, and if we have alternatives (not necessarily exclusive) we can put them into the OR operation.
The buyOrder box has the alternative spending paths !cancel and !swap . Thus the ErgoScript code should have OR operation with two arguments - one for each spending path.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = {} val swapCondition = {} cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
The formula for the cancelCondition expression is given in the !cancel spending path of the buyOrder box. We can directly include it in the script.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = { buyer } val swapCondition = {} cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
For the !swap spending path of the buyOrder box the conditions are specified in the buyerOut output box of the Swap transaction. If we simply include them in the swapCondition then we get a syntactically incorrect script.
/** buyOrder contract */ { val cancelCondition = { buyer } val swapCondition = { tAmt: TID && R4 == bid.id && @contract } cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
We can however translate the conditions from the diagram syntax to ErgoScript expressions using the following simple rules
  1. [email protected] ==> val buyerOut = OUTPUTS(0)
  2. tAmt: TID ==> tid._2 == tAmt where tid = buyerOut.tokens(TID)
  3. R4 == bid.id ==> R4 == SELF.id where R4 = buyerOut.R4[Coll[Byte]].get
  4. script == buyer ==> buyerOut.propositionBytes == buyer.propBytes
Note, in the diagram TID represents a token id, but ErgoScript doesn't have access to the tokens by the ids so we cannot write tokens.getByKey(TID) . For this reason, when the diagram is translated into ErgoScript, TID becomes a named constant of the index in tokens collection of the box. The concrete value of the constant is assigned when the BuyOrder transaction with the buyOrder box is created. The correspondence and consistency between the actual tokenId, the TID constant and the actual tokens of the buyerOut box is ensured by the off-chain application code, which is completely possible since all of the transactions are created by the application using FlowCard as a guiding specification. This may sound too complicated, but this is part of the translation from diagram specification to actual executable application code, most of which can be automated.
After the transformation we can obtain a correct script which checks all the required preconditions for spending the buyOrder box.
/** buyOrder contract */ def DEX(buyer: Addrss, seller: Address, TID: Int, ergAmt: Long, tAmt: Long) { val cancelCondition: SigmaProp = { buyer } // verify buyer's sig (ProveDlog) val swapCondition = OUTPUTS.size > 0 && { // securing OUTPUTS access val buyerOut = OUTPUTS(0) // from [email protected] buyerOut.tokens.size > TID && { // securing tokens access val tid = buyerOut.tokens(TID) val regR4 = buyerOut.R4[Coll[Byte]] regR4.isDefined && { // securing R4 access val R4 = regR4.get tid._2 == tAmt && // from tAmt: TID R4 == SELF.id && // from R4 == bid.id buyerOut.propositionBytes == buyer.propBytes // from script == buyer } } } cancelCondition || swapCondition } 
A similar script for the sellOrder box can be obtained using the same translation rules. With the help of the tooling the code of contracts can be mechanically generated from the diagram specification.

Conclusions

Declarative programming models have already won the battle against imperative programming in many application domains like Big Data, Stream Processing, Deep Learning, Databases, etc. Ergo is pioneering the declarative model of dApp development as a better and safer alternative to the now popular imperative model of smart contracts.
The concept of FlowCard shifts the focus from writing ErgoScript contracts to the overall flow of values (hence the name), in such a way, that ErgoScript can always be generated from them. You will never need to look at the ErgoScript code once the tooling is in place.
Here are the possible next steps for future work:
  1. Storage format for FlowCard Spec and the corresponding EIP standardized file format (Json/XML/Protobuf). This will allow various tools (Diagram Editor, Runtime, dApps etc) to create and use *.flowcard files.
  2. FlowCard Viewer, which can generate the diagrams from *.flowcard files.
  3. FlowCard Runtime, which can run *.flowcard files, create and send transactions to Ergo network.
  4. FlowCard Designer Tool, which can simplify development of complex diagrams . This will make designing and validation of Ergo contracts a pleasant experience, more like drawing rather than coding. In addition, the correctness of the whole dApp scenario can be verified and controlled by the tooling.
submitted by eleanorcwhite to btc [link] [comments]

Can Cryptocurrencies Truly Be Our Saviour when Economies are Crashing?

Can Cryptocurrencies Truly Be Our Saviour when Economies are Crashing?

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Cryptocurrencies & blockchain, the technology upon which cryptocurrency runs has been touted as truly revolutionary. After the first cryptocurrency went live in 2009, it sparked a light in dim time.
Necessitating an escape from the financial world controlled by the fraudulent and manipulative government and corporations. Bitcoin was seen as the saviour to the dying fiat currencies which has continually robbed people of their wealth through inflationary pressures aggravated by reckless government funds mismanagement.
As a tool for radical and transformative change, Bitcoin has grown from insignificance into global relevance today. But what is its position as of today?

The Idea & Industry

The cryptocurrency industry has grown considerably over the years. From a single cryptocurrency to thousands of crypto tokens or coins, each doing something of its own, although others bear similarities in their designs and functions.
The idea behind bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally was a rebellious idea. An idea that stems from the disgust of the maladministration of the fiat currency. This distrust resulted in the writing of the bitcoin white paper with its significant title “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
An alternative financial system that doesn’t require the trust of a third party to enable the flow of economic events. Such a revolutionary idea. An idea which has turned into a global multibillion-dollar industry and growing still, at an impressive rate.

Alternative Tender

Crypto enthusiasts have always wanted to use their crypto to purchase daily goods, pay bills and do just about what the naira, dollar, euro, pounds, etc do. As much as they want to acquire that “Lambo”, they also would love to use their bitcoin to purchase their coffee, ice cream, etc.
Over the years with several firms developing great solutions, users are now able to purchase items using crypto but then, there exists a fundamental problem. Are they paying in crypto or fiat? This is a contestable argument.
If I send my bitcoin directly to the seller in exchange for a plate of tasty Nigerian jollof rice, am I paying with bitcoin or naira? For most, it’s understandable they are paying with bitcoin. But then, I am paying in naira. Reason being that the jollof rice is priced in Naira NGN. The difference here is WITH and IN. A matter of semantics.

Crypto Volatility

For most people who do not see cryptocurrency gaining global adoption as an effective means of economic exchange, their reason mostly stems from the volatile nature of this new asset class. The fear of receiving payment of 4500NGN for goods sold at 5000NGN in BTC has been a significant argument against why cryptocurrency will be used for economic exchange.
Although newer products have emerged that seek to remedy this issue by providing instant clearing for crypto transactions, crypto ‘faithfuls’ still hold on to the belief that volatility is a feature, not a bug.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins now provide a safe way of protecting oneself against volatility. Stablecoin facilitates crypto security as well as the non-volatile nature which fiat of sound economies carries. This presents stablecoins as a valid alternative to national fiat currencies. Currently, there are lots of activities ongoing for nations in a bid to develop their own Central Bank Digital Currency – CDBC.
In times of great national distress, the value of fiat currencies is normally shaken. This is normal and is why nations try as much as possible to prevent events that may destabilize their nations due to the correlative effects to their national currencies.

COVID-19

The current pandemic sweeping across the nations of the world is a true definition of distress. For Nigeria as a country with the majority of its revenue tied to crude oil, it faces serious economic challenges which have resulted in a reduction in the value of the naira.
The Central Bank of Nigeria a few weeks back via a circular, announced that the present fundamentals do not support the devaluation of the naira, however, there have been reports of commercial banks charging users above N400 per dollar.
While the purpose of this article is not to examine the naira and the several elements affecting it, this premise was necessary since it’s a fiat currency.
This begs the question “can cryptocurrency truly be our savior when economies are crashing?”
Nigeria is not the only nation currently affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, Nigeria is one of the countries with fewer cases though, this isn’t the only reason for the current position of the naira. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are notably volatile and in times of national or global crisis, people would argue they can’t hold value.
The next alternatives are usually Stablecoins, an innovation that is not even up to seven years since the very first stablecoin was introduced. But then this comes with a problem of its own. Since Stablecoins are pegged to their fiat currency counterparts, as the fiat currency of a nation goes down, the same goes for the stablecoin.
While it is understandable that not all nations will go to dust at the same time, people may move from one country’s fiat currency pegged stablecoin to another and this will just be an organized and consented pump.
The problem remains that cryptocurrency may not be the savior when the economies are crashing. The only way this can be is when the goods are priced in a standard unit of a coin, perhaps BTC.
Written By: Ben
Edited By: Mosun
Graphics By: Jacobite
submitted by Telos4africa to u/Telos4africa [link] [comments]

Stack You Bitcoin now

Stack You Bitcoin now
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Dollar-cost averaging bitcoin - even with small amounts - could turn out to be a lucrative investment approach for long-term HODLers. And while some researchers claim that a lump sum investment in BTC beats dollar cost averaging in most cases, it’s still might not work for everyone. Therefore, if historic bitcoin returns are anything to go, “stacking sats” may not be such a bad idea.
In this article, you will discover five ways to stack sats in 2019.

Automated bitcoin investing

Arguably one - if not the - best way to “stack sats” is to make use of automated bitcoin investment platforms that enable you to dollar-cost average bitcoin in a fully automated manner. It allows to invest a fixed amount into bitcoin on a regular basis, regardless of the price action, which helps partially neutralize short-term volatility. There are a number of platforms that offer this service, with Coinbase being among the most well-known.
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To automate regular bitcoin purchases, you link your bank account to your bitcoin investment app. Then, the platform will purchase your specified amount of bitcoin using funds from your bank account at regular predetermined intervals.
For example, you could choose to invest USD 250 in bitcoin once a month on the day you receive your salary payment. This would enable you to build your bitcoin portfolio over time on autopilot without having to worry too much about volatility as you would be buying during the ups and downs. That means you would end up with an average entry price for your bitcoin trades. Hence, the name dollar-cost averaging.

Bitcoin cashback reward apps

Perhaps a more fun but still equally impactful way to “stack sats” would be to make use of so-called bitcoin cashback apps.
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As Cryptonews.com reported in July, there is a growing market for cashback rewards platform that pay users in bitcoin instead of fiat currency. The likes of Fold, Pei, and SatsApp enable users to receive a handful of satoshis every time they make a purchase at a registered merchant.
The arguable leader in this market, however, is Lolli, which has just been named one of CNBC’s Top 100 Upstarts. Lolli provides a browser extension that informs users every time they access a partner e-commerce platform that they can receive cashback in the form of bitcoin. Moreover, it processes the transaction and sends you the BTC after you have made a purchase on one of these platforms.
Lolli and co. have received a lot of positive attention on social media, which has made bitcoin cashback apps one of the most popular ways to stack sats this year.

Coinmine

The recently launched user-friendly, at-home bitcoin mining machine Coinmine has recently announced that it will pay users interest who mine using their machine and leaves their crypto in their designated Coinmine wallets.
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The California-based bitcoin startup announced on Twitter that the interest rates it will pay will start at 6.5%, with payouts being made on a monthly basis. This new method of stacking sats enables users to benefit from the power of compound interest, should they decide to leave their mined cryptocurrency in their Coinmine wallets. However, at this stage you might need to spend lots of sats before starting stacking them with Coinmine, which retails for USD 699, and you might need many years before this investment pays back.

Mining Bitcoin using Honeyminer

If mining is something you are interested in, another easy-to-use, plug-and-play way to stack sats is to use the beginner-friendly mining software Honeyminer. Honeyminer enables anyone with a computer to mine bitcoin with the click of a button.
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Obviously, if you do not have strong graphic cards or other mining hardware attached to your machine, you will only make a few satoshis. In the spirit of stacking sats, however, Honeyminer has made our list.

Running a Lightning node

Last but not least, you could stack sats by running a Lightning node to supporting the growing Bitcoin Lightning Network.
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By providing payment channels to LN users, you can earn satoshis by charging users transaction fees to use your channels. The amount you will earn for running a Lightning node is negligible compared to using cashback apps, for example. But not only would you be earning a few sats to add to your stack, you would also be supporting one of Bitcoin’s most promising scaling solutions.

Start stacking sats

If you believe that bitcoin will continue to increase in value over time, there are a number of ways you can start stacking sats that do not involve accessing an exchange and clicking the buy button as our list shows. Moreover, should bitcoin really “moon,” even a few satoshis could be worth a lot. One satoshi, which represents roughly 0.00000001 BTC, is already worth more than a number of national currencies and if things continue the way they have gone, a satoshi may one day be worth more than a dollar (if dollar still exists by then).
submitted by dwoinik to u/dwoinik [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Cash Fund - Monthly Report 02.02.18

Bitcoin Cash Fund - Monthly Report 02.02.18
 
At the end of every month I will be writing an update on the Bitcoin Cash Fund to keep everyone up-to-date on what has been going on. This will include Active Projects, Complete Projects, Bitcoin Cash Meetups, Skills Sought, and BCF Organisation updates.
 
If you don't know what the BCF (Bitcoin Cash Fund) is go check out our website at thebitcoincash.fund or come and talk to us in our community chat at chat.thebitcoincash.fund.
 
 
ACTIVE PROJECTS
 
Bitcoin Cash Treasure Hunt
What's more exciting than a little treasure hunt? The Bitcoin Cash treasure hunt initiative is underway as we speak. Members of the community will be able to design a unique paper wallet for the worldwide scavenger hunt. The wallet will have instructions designed to give beginners some background information about Bitcoin Cash, and a link to "https://findbitcoin.cash," which will have instructions on how they can claim their funds. The site will serve a multitude of purposes.
Firstly, it will host a map, where community members can hide wallets and provide geo-mapped clues as to where they are.
Secondly, a resource for beginners to learn some basics of Bitcoin Cash. Lastly, it will provide links to resources in the community to expand their knowledge about the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem! We anticipate the site to be up and running in full functionality by the time next weeks update comes out.
This project is expected to launch next week.
 
SeatacBCH
The goal of the SeatacBCH project is to prepare, deploy, and build a ground-based grassroots movement in the Seatac area of the U.S.A. to promote the acceptance of Bitcoin Cash at local businesses.
The project is just waiting on the completion of a new POS service.
 
BarberAd
George and his son, Andy are at the barbershop, when George suddenly remembers he left his wallet at home. Luckily, Andy has some Bitcoin Cash and sends his dad some. George then tips his barber, and pays for both their haircuts. There will also be humorous elements within the script. 2 different edits - One 30 second, and a 1:30 edit.
The ad is now complete except for the few CG elements. Once these are complete the promotional video will be released.
 
BCHTuts (Bitcoin Cash Tutorials)
A series of 10 tutorials covering tools in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem. Each will come as text and video. People who enjoy going at their own pace can read the written form and people who want to kick back can watch the video. Tutorials will be published on Yours.org and have a YouTube video embedded.
This project is in progress.
 
BitcoinCashJS?
Since Bitcoin Cash's launch in August, there is an ever-increasing need for a BCH-specific JavaScript development library. Currently, all businesses providing a service via a web interface that wish to support Bitcoin Cash or handle Bitcoin Cash transactions are forced to fork one of the existing Bitcoin libraries and apply the necessary changes to make the code BCH-compatible. This is a very error prone process, and increases friction for the development of new applications in the ecosystem.
BitcoinCash.js will be the first JavaScript development library which is 100% BCH-compatible out of the box, and will remain up-to-date with all future Bitcoin Cash upgrades, such as the upcoming new address format to be released in January. This will streamline the creation of new interesting user applications, reduce the surface for errors, and help push Bitcoin Cash into global adoption
 
Business Onboarding Info Pack
A project to put together an info pack to get businesses started with Bitcoin Cash. The current plan is to include a pamphlet, some Bitcoin Cash Accepted Here" stickers, some leaflets aimed at users for the business to have available at the point-of-sale, and a paper wallet with small amount of Bitcoin Cash to play with. These packs will then be provided at meetups, events and anyone who needs them for onboarding businesses.
The information pamphlet is complete and on order. The stickers are complete and on order. We now have the ability to use custom designs on cashaddress.org. We are now in the process of creating the leaflet for users. There was a hold up on this while we looked for a graphic designer.
 
BCH Netherlands Mini-Conference
A one day conference in Amsterdam. During this conference we will discuss Bitcoin Cash from a social, technical and commercial point of view. Speakers from companies such as BTC.COM, Lokad and the Bitcoin Cash Fund will give you a unique perspective of what is going on with the Bitcoin Cash crypto currency. The event will be held on the roof of the TQ building (TQ Club) in the heart of Amsterdam.
Interesting Talks by industry leaders including: - Remy - Introduction + Bitcoin Cash changes lives in Venezuela - Alejandro DeLaTorre (BTC.com) - What we need to do to make Bitcoin Cash successful - Justin Bons (Cyber Capital) - Bitcoin Cash; A store of value and the importance of it being a functional currency - Tobias Hoffmann (BTC.com) - A fork in the road: differences between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash - Joannes Vermorel (Lokad) - The scalability challenges of Bitcoin Cash - Paul Wasensteiner (The Bitcoin Cash Fund) - The BCF and the Path to a Billion Users
 
High Quality Bitcoin Cash Ad
The concept is to create a high-quality Bitcoin Cash ad that is accessible to the masses and that we can use to heavily advertise Bitcoin Cash in video form (e.g. on youtube, vimeo, and social media). The ad would be similar in nature to this ad by Coca Cola. It would show people all around the world using Bitcoin Cash (and having a great life) in their every day lives.
The tagline would be 'Bitcoin Cash - For everyone'. The idea is to show that Bitcoin Cash is a currency that is accessible to save and spend and receive by anyone and everyone in the world, and that by doing so people gain access to the global economy.
 
Bitcoin Cash Documentary
A project to be produced simultaneously as the ad to maximise fund use.
The documentary would target two key concepts:
There would be a short motion graphic section in the documentary to explain the technical side of why/how Bitcoin Cash exists (e.g. block size, forks, on-chain scaling). This informational motion graphics section would also be suitable as a stand-alone video that can be used on social media to explain the situation.
We are now actively looking for people around the world who use Bitcoin Cash, and the ability to use it impact their lives. If this is you, or you know someone like this, please get in touch.
 
Project 1B
This project is a grand scheme to work towards on-boarding 1 billion people onto the Bitcoin Cash economy in developing countries.
The concept is to manufacture and sell $5 feature phones in large quantities in various developing countries, and have these devices partly subsidised by various parties including charities and mobile networks. These phones would have a simple user and merchant Bitcoin Cash app pre-installed and would be loaded with a few dollars worth of Bitcoin Cash. For example, the phone cost = $5 and the phone has $4 of Bitcoin Cash on it.
The apps will work with very low resources in a similar way to the wallets at yours.org.
 
Super Secret Website Project
We have a big website project we are working on internally (Not the BCF website). We will have some big updates on this over the coming month.
 
We are currently in the process of setting up many more exciting projects!
 
 
COMPLETE PROJECTS
 
TxHighway
Visualize the difference in speed and scalability by comparing Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Core's transactions using our highway themed blockchain visualizer. Unlock a bonus sprite with each donation back to the Bitcoin Cash Fund and monitor your address.
This project executed with massive success! Soon we hope to be working with the amazing team that built this site to produce a new educational tool.
 
What Is Bitcoin Cash?
This is an internal BCF project to produce a video similar to the What is Bitcoin? video, but remade for Bitcoin Cash. The voiceover for the video is the amazing Kevan Brighting who did the voiceover for the award winning game Stanley Parable. The video will be roughly 1:30 minutes long and should be completed within 2-3 weeks.
Work has started on the translations to Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and French. This should take another week or so.
 
Bitcoin Cash Sound Branding
Internal BCF project to produce a branded sound for Bitcoin Cash payments. This sound would be used industry wide in apps when a bitcoin cash payment is sent or received. This sound would also be used in promotional video material to reinforce the brand. This sound would have a similar psychological effect as the macbook powering-on sound.
This is now complete and can be heard at the end of the new 'What is Bitcoin Cash?' video.
Please reach out to all the wallets that use Bitcoin Cash and show your support for the BCH sound branding.
 
 
Global Bitcoin Cash Meetups
There is now a total of at least 34 Bitcoin Cash
 
 
The BCF will be sponsoring all these meetups and providing support to the organisers. It is amazing to see how rapidly they are popping up all over the globe!
If you live in a major city and would like to start hosting Bitcoin Cash meetups, get in contact with us. Reach out to our official twitter account dedicated to coordinating with meetups @BCFmeetups!
 
 
BCF ORGANISATION
 
New Team Members:
 
Lilla - Graphic Designer.
Lilla is a highly talented graphic designer and she will be helping us produce lots of beautiful visual content and assets, including:
  • Web illustrations,
  • Digital ads,
  • Infographics,
  • Stickers,
  • Custom paper wallets,
  • Merchanise,
  • Flyers,
  • Posters,
  • Booklets,
  • Tradeshow assets,
  • And lots more.
 
Based on feedback we have received from the community, we have streamlined the process of proposing projects to us, so that it requires as little effort as possible. You can access the new system at https://fpr.thebitcoincash.fund/. Let us know what you think.
 
Financial Transparency
 
We fully understand that as an organisation we need to be fully transparent about what we are doing, especially in the area of finances. We intend to have something more graphically presentable on our website once the second phase of development is complete, but for now you can see a list of all transactions we have made from the BCF donation address. You can also see this in this SPREADSHEET.
 
Our spending so far is:
  • November 2017 - $3,639
  • December 2017 - $8,299
  • January 2018 - $38,559
 
The balance of our funding is: 53.29418666 BCH
 
 
VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT
 
  • Project Managers,
  • Web devs,
  • Graphic Design,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales,
  • Writing,
  • Business Onboarding,
  • Social media,
  • Translation,
  • Videography,
  • Audio,
  • Music,
  • Motion Graphics,
 
We need people with skills like this to volunteer some of their time for projects to bring awareness and adoption of Bitcoin Cash. If this is you get in contact with me, or come and talk to us at chat.thebitcoincash.fund. We can also budget some amount of funds for work, but priority will be given to people willing to do at least partially volunteer their time.
If you don't have any of these skills, that doesn't mean we don't need your help. There are lots of other things that projects need help with (i.e. sending out stickers, handing out leaflets, writing education content etc.).
 
 
If anyone has any questions feel free to post them below and I will try to answer any that you have.
Paul W.
The Bitcoin Cash Fund.
submitted by bitcoincashfund to btc [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, 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]

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