Emin Gün Sirer: Bitcoin is Still Broken

Emin Gün Sirer

Emin Gün Sirer is a computer science professor at Cornell University. His research spans operating systems, networking, and distributed systems. He’s also co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies & Contracts, which is an initiative of faculty members at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, UIUC and the Technion to help to advance the adoption of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts.
In 2002, he started Karma, an early cryptocurrency that was the first to utilize a proof-of-work concept. He has written several influential white papers and blog posts (on Hacking Distributed) that have altered the course of Ethereum’s development. He was among the first to warn about the vulnerabilities that led to the collapse of The DAO. He also acts as the Blockchain Advisor for the WeTrust project.
He is currently number 29 on the list of the Most Influential Blockchain People.

Most Influential Blockchain People

Terrance Jackson: In 2013, You and Ittay Eyal wrote “Bitcoin is Broken.” Is Bitcoin still broken?
Emin Gün Sirer: Indeed, we found the biggest known fundamental weakness in Satoshi Nakamoto’s consensus protocol, known as Selfish Mining. Using our strategy, one can subvert Satoshi’s protocol, and possibly make more money than their fair share, at the cost of disrupting the system’s behavior. Luckily, we provided a fix for selfish mining attacks for miners smaller than 25%, but the threat from large miners is always going to be present.
Now that the attack is well-known, the community knows how to detect such attacks and put pressure on the actors who launch them. In fact, if anything, the community is hyper-diligent against miners that are too big, and puts pressure on them to break them up. No Bitcoin miner is big enough to unilaterally go selfish and harm the system.
The situation is quite different in other cryptocurrencies, however. Selfish Mining could be employed against other smaller coins.

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Freestyle Chess on the Blockchain

Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.

Michael Mauboussin

Michael Mauboussin, former managing director and head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse, wrote an report exploring:
[T]he applicability of freestyle chess to the world of investing, where fundamental analysts are “man” and quantitative analysts are “machine.” More pointedly, might there be a way that investors can combine the strengths of fundamental and quantitative analysis while sidestepping the weaknesses?
After witnessing the great success of the PRO Chess league:
As the number of spectators swelled to more than 6,000 this past Sunday during the final, the success of the league was even greater than the founders had imagined, according to Grandmaster (GM) Alejandro Ramirez. “The number of viewers showed that chess can compete with any eSport,” said Ramirez.

Money raised by ICO

And learning that according to Coinschedule, so far this year, more than $3 billion has been raised via ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings.
We are exploring the idea of Freestyle Chess on Blockchain as a vehicle of exploring better investment strategies, in addition to exploring Garry Kasparov’s ideas of using the decision-making process of chess as a model for understanding and improving our decision-making everywhere else and how we have discarded innovation and creativity in exchange for a steady supply of marketable products.
Garry Kasparov & Deep Blue

Garry Kasparov during his rematch against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, 1997

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Blockchain: Nobody Really Understands

While there is a great deal of corporate and venture capital investment in blockchain technology, there is also still plenty of room for tinkerers to have big impacts.
Humans are far better at doing than understanding and better at tinkering than inventing.

Money raised by ICO

According to Coinschedule, so far this year, more than $3 billion has been raised via ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings, yet the ICO was created by J. R. Willett, a guy you probably never heard of.
Blockchain is the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. But it is also being developed for use in a variety of industries from finance to insurance, promising cheaper and faster processes.
In 2009, bitcoin was quietly launch by Satoshi Nakamoto, maybe as an experiment to show the world it was possible to create a secure and private means to send money between people without the need of a trusted third party (e.g. Visa or PayPal). No one knows the true identity of Nakamoto, but people do know that a single bitcoin is valued at over $5,600, with a total market cap of over $90B. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and companies who help people purchase bitcoins with real dollars are wallets. Wallets are regulated as money transmitters; bitcoin is money. People who profit from selling their Bitcoins pay taxes to the IRS. Bitcoin is real and it’s growing at unprecedented rates.
Through 2009 and early 2010, bitcoins had no value at all, and for the first six months after they started trading in April 2010, the value of one bitcoin stayed below 14 cents. Then, as the currency gained viral traction in summer 2010, rising demand for a limited supply caused the price on online exchanges to start moving. By early November, it surged to 36 cents before settling down to around 29 cents. In February 2011, it rose again and was mentioned on Slashdot for achieving “dollar parity”; it hit $1.06 before settling in at roughly 87 cents.
You can’t possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures.
A few years ago, a new concept emerged called the Initial Coin Offering or ICO. ICOs are a way for new cryptocurrencies or coins to raise capital in an online offering. The logic behind ICOs is that companies who create new cryptocurrencies do not want to give it away for free, hoping people use it and put a value on it. If these are currencies, then a value must be put on it. This is what an ICO does. It allows a person or a company to sell a set number of coins or tokens to others in exchange for bitcoin or some other well-recognized cryptocurrency (ie: ether). An ICO is similar in many ways to an IPO. In an IPO, a company goes public and issues shares. In an ICO, a company issues a limited number of their own coins.

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Blockchain to Reverse Climate Change & Diabetes

We are researching Blockchain applications for Urban Agriculture.
“Food is key to nearly everything,” solutions for food production will actually come from cities, and blockchain technology will be critical in developing those solutions.
[T]he issues that confront most Americans directly are income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change. (And, of course, war, but let’s leave that aside for now.)

Mark Bittman

These are all related: You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)

Jane Jacobs - The Economy of Cities

“Food is key to nearly everything” and the solutions for food production will actually come from cities. As Jane Jacobs wrote in The Economy of Cities:
Current theory in many fields—economics, history, anthropology—assumes that cities are built upon a rural economic base. If my observations and reasoning are correct, the reverse is true: that is, rural economics, including agricultural work, are directly built upon city economics and city work.
Jacobs theorized that cities predated agriculture. She is probably wrong on that particular premise, but she was pointing to a deeper truth, as a Planetizen article notes:
[D]espite the “total fallacy” of Jacobs’s statement that cities came first, she had a valid point when she stated that agricultural development benefited from urban stimuli. Monica Smith also notes that the Cities First model “requires modifications but still contains an element of truth in that cities provide significant boosts to rural productivity” by promoting certain efficiencies of cultivation….
I support… the archaeological consensus on the relationship between agriculture and urban origins. At best, agriculture and cities evolved hand-in-hand in what Soja describes as a “mutually causal and symbiotic relationship.” But perhaps there’s still something to the idea of Cities First if we focus on cities not as things (or, products) but as processes.
Solutions for food production will come from cities, and blockchain technology will be critical in developing those solutions.
Blockchain technology came to popular notice with the rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The technology allows for highly secure digital transactions and recordkeeping. Even though blockchain found its first use in cryptocurrencies, the concept can be applied to all sorts of transactions, including agricultural ones.

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The Peebles Card: Financial Health & Good Jobs

The Peebles Card

It’s a sad truth of American life that the poorer you are the more you pay for banking.
For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, banks and other financial firms in 2016 generated $33 billion in fees related to overdrafts on checking accounts, this is the highest level in seven years. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has compared overdraft fees to a short-term loan with a 17,000% APR!
Mehrsa Baradaran, associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, and author of How the Other Half Banks, writes “As the banks are set up currently, the fees they charge are meant to dissuade small accounts, or accounts by people whose incomes are minimal and very uneven.”
As Baradaran writes in her book’s introduction, the banking industry has stopped serving those who are “too poor to bank”, pushing them into the arms of non-bank service providers to provide the most basic services: to cash pay checks, pay bills or transfer money. In exchange, she calculates that they fork over up to 10% of their income for these services.
In some cases, they don’t have an option: a bank may refuse to open an account for them. And banks have long been trying to “discourage” their smaller customers: fees on accounts where balances dip below a specified level even briefly can look extremely costly to a low-income household.

Financial Health

Financial Health for Everyone
Our vision is an audacious one: to increase the number of individuals with positive financial health and well-being. To achieve financial health, people need day-to-day financial systems that build long-term resilience and opportunity. Financial health enables family stability, education, and upward mobility, not just for individuals today but across future generations. Promoting financial health is good for the American economy. Financially healthy consumers drive new opportunities for increased engagement, loyalty, and long-term revenue streams. Lasting financial health also has a positive macroeconomic impact on communities at local, regional, and national levels.

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New Rochelle Magazine: Digital Ads Suck & Google is an Old Business

For luxury brands, print design is always going to be one of the most brilliantly effective mediums to deliver exceptional brand cues.
New Rochelle Magazine will be mailed to property owners with properties valued over $1 million, such as:
Gregory Hawkins
Sharon  Hawkins
20 Premium Point Rd
Rochelle, NY 10801
FULL MARKET VALUE
$3,290,210
Property Taxes 2016
School $72,354.81
City $20,085.58
County $16,694.10
Cyrus Noshir Pardiwala
Kimberly Willoc Pardiwala
27 Dogwood Ln
Larchmont, NY 10538
FULL MARKET VALUE
$1,101,399
Property Taxes 2016
School $24,220.79
City $6,879.99
County $5,588.36
Dr. Paula Rothaus
19 Pryor Manor Rd
Larchmont, NY 10538
FULL MARKET VALUE
$1,905,594
Property Taxes 2016
School $41,905.81
City $11,731.88
County $9,668.74
Donald Gallagher
Raymonde Gallagher
78 Seaview Ave
New Rochelle, NY 10801
FULL MARKET VALUE
$1,038,462
Property Taxes 2016
School $21,628.78
City $6,166.55
County $5,087.49
Reducing Property Taxes & Reforming Education
Why should the residents of New Rochelle pay extremely high property taxes to maintain a system that destroys the creativity of our children?
In 2016, Westchester County ranked first in the nation in property taxes. Westchester residents paid on average $16,500 a year in property taxes, according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions. High taxes are undermining the Westchester economy. If you were a company trying to find a location for a new office or distribution center, why would you come to the highest taxed county in the United States?
We pay outrageous property taxes, yet our children are vastly underserved by schools. Our schools were designed in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century to create the cogs of the Industrial Age, jobs such as factory workers and bureaucrats. Schools do not value creativity and entrepreneurship, the types of skills that are needed in the 21st Century.

Click images for draft of New Rochelle Magazine

New Rochelle Magazine

For luxury brands, print design is always going to be one of the most brilliantly effective mediums to deliver exceptional brand cues. When compared to digital, print design delivers in ways that the latter simply can’t. Digital isn’t going anywhere, we all know that. From a branding point of view it provides a (usually) necessary consumer/audience touchpoint. But when it comes to conveying the subtle qualities of taste and authority, print is simply miles ahead.

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Blockchain for Remittance at Random Collisions

Random Collisions Becoming a Billionaire

We will be exploring the concept of using Blockchain technology for remittance at Random Collisions New York
Random Collisions are forums for the random collision of ideas. Jane Jacobs in The Economy of Cities offered the random collision of ideas as an explanation for the success of cities such as New York.
Random Collisions New York
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 & Thursday, June 7, 2018
Random Collisions Silicon Valley – September 2018
Random Collisions Los Angeles – January 2019
Random Collisions Lagos – Spring 2019
Random Collisions Bangalore – Fall 2019
“Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history.”
American innovation may be suffering from the fact that Americans today have less exposure to ideas outside the realm of their own experience.


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