Bitcoin Pizza

The Forgotten Bitcoin Wallets – How They Could Affect the Economy

According to the blockchain monitor “Whale Alert,” there was a reactivation of an old wallet containing 50 Bitcoins for the first time in 13 years and 6 months. The mining of the block was on November 22, 2009, just a few months after the first Bitcoin transaction in January 2009. Because there were no exchanges at the time, Bitcoin was effectively worthless. As a result, the first users of Bitcoin did so as a hobby and did not expect to become wealthy. The creation of the wallet was before the famous programmer Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 BTC on two pizzas in May 2010. On February 8, 2011, Bitcoin and the US dollar were finally equal in value. The original owner of these coins has turned them into a $2,100,000 fortune. Even though the address was already existing while Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto was still active in the community, he is unlikely to be behind the transfer. The most likely explanation is that someone found the private keys to millions of dollars in Bitcoin. Some believe that the address owner turned to the wallet after jail release. In recent months, there have been several cases of Bitcoin wallet reactivation for the first time in years.  In May 2020, the price of Bitcoin fell after “Whale Alert” learned that coins from a wallet that is believed to be Satoshi’s were reactivated. Later, they found that the transfer had nothing to do with the person who created Bitcoin.

Effects on the Virtual Economy

It is now known that most Bitcoin wallets activated after several years belong to Bitcoin whales. Therefore, sudden activation of these dormant wallets can help to boost the virtual economy by making Bitcoin prices rise amazingly.

Economic Impact of Cryptocurrency

Since the inception of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrencies have had both visible and hidden effects on the economy. Digital or virtual money in the form of tokens or coins has established itself as a real currency and investment in its eleventh year.  We can see its economic effects in several national and global communities. There are over 18,000 different cryptocurrencies as of March 2022, and nearly 59.1 million people in the United States own some form of cryptocurrency. Hundreds of billions of dollars were poured into cryptocurrency in 2017, proving that it is a good stock to invest in. Even though cryptocurrency as a whole hasn’t had a large impact on the economy, such as the stock market, this remains true.  Experts refer to cryptocurrencies as “digital gold” because, like precious metals, they retain their value and do not lose it. Because cryptocurrency is still relatively new, economists and investors are likely to remain interested in how it affects the economy. Here are a few examples of how cryptocurrencies have affected the economy.

Economic Impact Through The Use Of Blockchain

Blockchain, the technology that powers cryptocurrencies, is gaining popularity. Many analysts believe that implementing this technology in other markets could generate billions of dollars. So far, Blockchain technology appears to have changed the following business practices in various industries. These include:

  • Blockchain has made it easier for financial institutions to conduct cross-border transactions.
  • The use of technology in messaging apps has aided private investor transactions.
  • Blockchain can make car sales and lease more efficient.
  • By using Blockchain, cloud computing can run smart contracts while keeping hackers at bay.
  • Through the Blockchain, public and government records can reduce paperwork and fraud while increasing accountability.

Economic Impact on the Job Market

Because of the rise of cryptocurrencies, an entire industry dedicates itself to tracking cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide. Through this, some early adopters became wealthy quickly, while others established businesses that relied on trading to make money. In 2016, the Blockchain industry employed slightly more than a thousand people. In 2017, that figure had risen to over four thousand. Software developers have been the most in demand in the cryptocurrency industry. People still want to work in these fields, even though the job market has changed in recent years. As cryptocurrency becomes legal in more places outside the West, we can expect more investments and job creation in the field worldwide.

Economic Impact on Unstable Domestic Currencies

Since the 1970s, the public’s trust in US banks has steadily declined. This happened especially in places where the local currency fluctuates significantly, making living conditions worse. However, we can use cryptocurrencies to circumvent these issues.  Cryptocurrency is an entirely utilitarian system in which each peer monitors a transaction rather than the government. There are approximately 1.7 billion people who do not have a bank account. Because they don’t have much money, they frequently have to borrow from people in risky ways.  This population has many mobile phone owners, which is intriguing. Because it is possible to trade cryptocurrencies via mobile apps, they have the potential to become a viable option for this group. Another advantage of cryptocurrency is that it is entirely decentralized. This means that people in countries with volatile currencies can freely trade with people in countries with more money, making the economy more equitable.

Economic Impact through Low Transaction Cost

Most cryptocurrency users, do not have to pay much for transactions. This is because they are decentralized and do not require users to buy physical assets. As a result, there is the use of more financial tools and more integration of the global economy. 

Economic Impact through Transparency

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency transactions are completely digital and recorded on an immutable ledger. This gives people more power and freedom and reduces the likelihood of fraud and corruption.  This is especially beneficial for developing countries and mistreated people. Because cryptocurrencies are designed to be useful, these people can invest and transact in a global economy, which benefits their local economy and standard of living.

Economic Impact on Entrepreneurs

Because it is decentralized, cryptocurrency is a global economy in which all users, regardless of location, can trade currency. This is significant for entrepreneurs because it eliminates the need to cater to a national audience. Instead, they have a global audience with whom they can exchange money without worrying about exchange rates or international law.  Indeed, cryptocurrency companies assist African business owners in conducting financial transactions with European, American, and Asian companies to gain financial coverage and independence through global exchanges. In an increasingly digital world, the social need to communicate across borders is evolving into financial needs that financial institutions cannot meet. Entrepreneurs can eventually help make it easier to invest, save, and send money across borders, changing the way the world does business.

   
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Fun Bitcoin Stories, From the Depths of Crypto History

Fun Bitcoin stories never get old. Most of know about the guy who bought a pizza with Bitcoin, but here are some other fun tales from Bitcoin history.

With the idea to decentralize payments, Bitcoin (BTC) also gave us some of the most hilarious stories as well. The peer-to-peer electronic payment system has immensely grown up since 2009 when pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin.

There are only a few who have kept BTC for a long time, many others, on the other hand, have either lost access to their crypto wallets or sold for a bit of profit. BeInCrypto has gathered some of the long-forgotten and exciting stories of the digital currency ecosystem.

A StarCraft gaming competition in 2011

In Feb 2011, a military-themed science fiction video game called StarCraft held a competition, iCCup Star League, that gathered 56 players from around the world. BTCsportsbet.com was one of the sponsors and the prize pool was just over $1,000 with the top prize being $500 and 25 bitcoins for the 5th to 8th winners.

Twitter

Bitcoin was traded at $1.65 at the time of the tournament and the total prize was worth $41.25. Furthermore, four players that go by the nicknames Sziky, Kolll, Hejek and Jumper won 25 bitcoins each. There are no reports if the winners kept their bitcoins or not.

Reminder: Bitcoin pizza day

May 22, 2010, also known as the “Bitcoin Pizza Day” was the day that the first commercial Bitcoin transaction happened. Laszlo Hanyecz who is a programmer from Florida bought two Papa John’s pizzas with 10,000 bitcoin, worth around $40 at the time.

Hanyecz told The Sun that he doesn’t regret it. “I think that it’s great that I got to be part of the early history of Bitcoin in that way.”

He mined those bitcoins through his own program that used a computer’s graphics card and purchased those pizzas because to him “it was free pizzas.”

“I mean, I coded this thing and mined Bitcoin and I felt like I was winning the internet that day,” he added.

Hanyecz pizzas made him one of the crypto hall of famers. If he held those Bitcoins until today, they would be worth around $440 million now. 

“Funniest Bitcoin story ever”

A BitcoinTalk user that goes by “Vinz1992” shared a story about a middle-aged couple who were scammed with Bitcoin. He said:

“A middle-aged couple bought 1 BTC for a 1000 USD recently. They were happy beyond what can be described in words at the good deal they had got. So they got in touch with my friend to ask him about how they could sell it.” 

Vinz1992 added, “He sent them the links to various medium articles and blog posts on how to buy and sell bitcoin. The couple got in touch with him again and told him that they had failed to sell the bitcoin. So my friend went and met them. They then showed him their bitcoin. It was a plastic coin with the Bitcoin symbol on it!” 

Not fun Bitcoin: Indian Prime Minister’s Bitcoin scam

Last year December, the prime minister of India Narendra Modi’s account was hacked. Scammers put the word out that that the government had bought 500 BTC. Moreover, the now-deleted tweet showed that the Indian government had accepted Bitcoin as legal tender and the purchased amount would be circulated to residents.

The PM’s Twitter account had more than 73 million followers. The tweet shared a link that requested people to donate Bitcoin for a Covid foundation. The tweet said, “India has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender.” 

“The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them all to residents of the country,” the scammers wrote.

Modi is pushing to ban cryptocurrencies, and has warned his twitter followers that Bitcoin will “ruin our youth.”

Fun Bitcoin: One of the youngest crypto millionaires

Cooper Turley is a 27-year-old crypto millionaire who started investing in not only Bitcoin but Ethereum (ETH) as well. His early investments started 5 years ago when there were not many trends about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin was traded at around $2,000.

“I definitely don’t feel like I’ve ‘made it’ by any stretch — there are far more people who are far better off than me in crypto. But I do feel really thankful,” Turley told CNBC.

He got very interested in cryptocurrencies, although experts suggested investing the money one can afford to lose, Turley went all in. He was fascinated by the technology and thought he “could make a name for myself and become an expert on the industry as a whole.”

Soon his family got interested in crypto and invested “a couple of thousand dollars.” Turley, however, did not mention the amount of BTC or ETH he had and as the value of his holdings increased, Turley sold some of his crypto to USD Coin (USDC) as it’s a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. 

He paid off his student debt and on mother’s day, Turley gave six figures to his mom and paid a big part of their mortgage.

“Financial freedom is not the end state, it’s just the beginning of being able to do really cool stuff in the world,” Turley says.

   

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‘Like Genghis Khan, but With More Pizzazz’: What We Know About the Accused Bitfinex Money Launderers

They are successful and glamorous, in a Bushwick, Brooklyn sort of way. And on Tuesday, federal officials arrested them both on allegations they sought to launder billions of dollars worth of crypto stemming from a 2016 hack of the Bitfinex crypto exchange.

She is a young marketing entrepreneur with a cheekish rapper alter ego and a lot of bylines in business magazines. Her husband is a tech entrepreneur who founded a blockchain startup that promised users a chance to keep their privacy. Now their own privacy is gone as they’re charged with being heavily involved in one of the largest crypto hacks in history.

For Heather Morgan and Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, it’s not a long distance from the hipster-soaked city cafes to the federal courthouse in Manhattan, but it’s a long way from where they appeared to be going.

Federal officials alleged Lichtenstein and Morgan kept 2,000 crypto wallet addresses and their corresponding seed phrases in a spreadsheet stored on a cloud storage service. The feds accessed the spreadsheet with a warrant.

While the complaint warrant filed by U.S. authorities today accused Lichtenstein and Morgan of being significantly involved in what happened with the Bitfinex hack, they did not accuse Lichtenstein or Morgan of being the actual hackers. Rather, the feds said, “In or around August 2016, a hacker breached Victim [virtual currency exchange’s] security systems and infiltrated its infrastructure.”

That leaves the door open for others to be charged with that or for more definitive statements to come out later.

Read more: US Officials Seize $3.6B in Bitcoin From 2016 Bitfinex Hack

‘Genghis Khan’ and the privacy champion

A UC Davis grad, Morgan spent time in the Middle East, getting a master of arts in international economic development at the American University in Cairo and studying Turkish monetary policy in Ankara’s Bilkent University, according to what appears to be her LinkedIn profile. (She calls herself “Turkish Martha Stewart” in a music video.)

At 23, she built a company called SalesFolk, which uses a stable of copywriters to pump out cold emails for companies wanting to market their wares on the internet.

“I’m going to tell you my secret for making dreams a reality,” Morgan said in a TikTok video. “I started my company when I was 23 and grew it into a multimillion dollar business with zero outside funding. I had no connections. I didn’t go to an Ivy League school and I wasn’t trust funded. How did I do it? I learned a simple framework in Silicon Valley from some top entrepreneurs that are now billionaires that I live by. It goes like this: automate, eliminate, delegate.”

She counts self-proclaimed “crypto genius” James Altucher and Indiegogo founder Slava Rubin as LinkedIn connections, as well as a few CoinDesk alumni.

A Forbes contributor, she wrote an article titled “Experts Share Tips To Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals” and regularly wrote for the likes of Inc. Magazine.

Oh, and she is a rap star. Okay, not quite like fellow entrepreneur Jay-Z or even Vanilla Ice, but her humorous takes were mildly reminiscent of Kitty from a few years ago. Going by the name Razzlekhan (“like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz,” proclaims her website), Morgan pumped out songs over the past few months that weren’t going to make it on the radio but could certainly make for a fun show.

“Razzlekhan is a surrealist artist with synesthesia making music for MI$FIT$. 💜🧞‍♀️ Razz creates sexy horror-comedy raps with an authentically awkward twang. This ‘digital bedouin’ gives you a taste of the silk road–from Cairo to Hong Kong,” says her Spotify page. The title of one song, “SaaSholes,” is a nod to her professional career as a SaaS entrepreneur.

Her song “GILFALICIOUS” is about a “gilf,” which one assumes is an acronym for “grandma I’d like to have coffee with” or thereabouts. “I  made the song, GILFALICIOUS, as a humorous attack on #ageism against women & #sexism in general. If I make it to 90, this is EXACTLY how I want to be…” she said on Instagram. Unfortunately for her, there is a chance she may reach that age on the wrong side of prison bars.

Morgan’s partner, Dutch Lichtenstein, isn’t quite the same social media presence. He is, however, an alumnus of the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator program Y Combinator; with that initial funding, he co-founded a data and adtech startup called MixRank which secured funding from Mark Cuban, among others (the company is still active, though Lichtenstein appears to have left in 2016).

He also advised decentralized identity startup Endpass, according to his LinkedIn profile. Morgan was Endpass’s CEO, per Crunchbase.

Occasionally, Lichtenstein took to Twitter to warn people about the threat of hacks. After a post by one Twitter user saying, “when you buy an ape on opensea it should pop up a big red warning sign that says never give your seed phrase to anyone, especially m*tamask support,” Lichtenstein chimed in with approval, saying, “There really should be a mandatory security tutorial with a test at the end for many crypto assets.”

Will Gottsegen and Danny Nelson contributed reporting

   

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For Digital Payments, Use Of Bitcoin Decreased In 2021

According to Bitpay Inc., one of the biggest crypto payment processors in the world, for purchases, the use of digital tokens other than Bitcoin is increasing among consumers and businesses.

Bloomberg reported, the company noted that the use of Bitcoin in merchants that use Bitpay dropped from 92% in 2020 to 65% in 2021. On the other hand, purchases from coins like Ether were at 15%, stablecoins at 13%, and Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and Litecoin accounted for 3%.

Since November last year, as crypto prices had been dropping, businesses have started using stablecoins more for cross-border payments. Consumers have also started moving towards stablecoins as their value remains steady, providing less risk.

Consumers and businesses are increasingly starting to use digital tokens other than Bitcoin for purchases.https://t.co/4nyuM0Os5w

— BloombergQuint (@BloombergQuint) January 17, 2022

Holding on to Bitcoin

The trend shows that people hold onto Bitcoin more than spending it. Apart from the fourth quarter, the prices of Bitcoin rose by 60% last year. According to Bitpay, most of the previous year’s crypto transactions were in luxury goods like jewelry, watches, cars, boats, etc. Bitcoin – the digital gold is supposed to replace.

The Pizza mishap!

The infamous story of Bitcoin’s first commercial transaction is what many a time stops people from purchasing through Bitcoin. People learn from others’ mistakes, and this is precisely something that has happened in the Bitcoin sphere. At the beginning of the coin’s history, a programmer spent Bitcoins now worth billions on just two pizza pies.

What is Bitpay?

Bitpay is a Cryptocurrency payments service provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It was started in 2011 when only a few companies accepted digital coins. It processes over 66,000 transactions per month today. It has helped companies ranging from Microsoft Corp. to AT&T Inc. accept cryptocurrency payments. The company has an annual transaction amounting to $1 billion with just 80 employees working for them.

   

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LABitConf Day Two Was Bitcoin’s Time To Shine

Much like drinking from Tamanique Falls, El Salvador’s tallest waterfall, taking in the steady stream of world class information from the last session day of LABitConf is about as difficult as banning bitcoin in the country of your choice. Thankfully, anyone can replay the entire day of sessions here.

The most important topics in Bitcoin were discussed by global leaders including John Newberry presenting what to expect from the coming Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), Jameson Lopp teaching about best practices for privacy in Bitcoin, Elizabeth Stark talking about how to onboard millions of people onto the Lightning Network, and Ray Youssef discussing how Bitcoin changes lives through peer-to-peer transactions with Max Keiser.

In the best-titled session of the day, “How To Make Programming Bitcoin Sexy”, Aaron Van Wirdum facilitated a great discussion with Tadge Dryja, John Newbery, Eric Voskuil, and Dread to describe the current state of attracting the best developers to Bitcoin. As inevitable as it seems that Bitcoin will continue its march toward world reserve currency no matter what, the panelists explained that just because it’s the top digital asset by far doesn’t mean it is attracting the top developers.

“[Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students ask all the time] what about all these other coins that have hackathons and free pizza and send out free T-shirts? That exists; if you’re on campus at MIT there are booths and people sending that out. Bitcoin doesn’t do that.” ~ Tadge Dryja

With no marketing team or budget, Bitcoin relies on its innate beauty, ideals, and integrity to bring in a new generation of builders and body guards to secure a hyperbitcoinized world. Despite all the efforts of the endless altcoin carousel to attract the brightest minds, Dread eloquently explained the reason Bitcoiners should be optimistic about the future.

“If you think of it as being love, it doesn’t end up being all about the sexy pizza and the sexiness of programming. You’re starting in a relationship with true love and that true love is the sound money that we’ve found. If you get programmers to get that part, to fall in love with Bitcoin, then you might actually have that sexiness that you’re looking for as well.” ~ Dread

Though many of the sessions addressed serious topics about the current and future states of Bitcoin, the overwhelming feelings in the air were optimistic and celebratory about how far Bitcoin has come. The festive mood around the Museo de Arte venue was created by hundreds of Bitcoiners from all over the world with over a dozen companies competing to create the best vibe and hand out the best free gear. To end the colorful celebration of freedom money in the country, many LaBitConf attendees will head to El Zonte to see where it all started with Bitcoin Beach serving as the catalyst that would put El Salvador on the Bitcoin standard. Thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you at Bitcoin 2022!

This is a guest post by Josh Doña. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine

   

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Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper is now a 13-year-old teenager

The iconic Bitcoin (BTC) white paper celebrates thirteen years of financial disruption after being first published on Oct. 31, 2008, by an anonymous person or entity named Satoshi Nakamoto.

The white paper, titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, foresaw the need for a peer-to-peer online payment system that is self-governing, secure and limited in quantity. The Bitcoin network was launched on Jan. 03, 2009, having each Bitcoin priced at $0.0008.

While Bitcoin was initially perceived as a threat by traditional financial institutions, thirteen years of community support and a growing user base have made Bitcoin one of the most profitable investments for the Internet age. Today, Bitcoin maintains a stable trading value well above $60k after experiencing a gradual appreciation of 7,749,999,900% ever since its launch. 

The Bitcoin white paper proposes a solution to prevent double-spending without the risk of trusting a third party. To do this, it mentions the use of ‘honest’ nodes that confirm transactions by overpowering the bad actors in terms of raw central processing unit (CPU) power of computers.

Interestingly enough, the Bitcoin white paper has 15 ‘honest’ and one ‘dishonest’ mentions, explaining the need for honest nodes to ensure the credibility of each transaction. In the words of Satoshi Nakamoto:

“We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust. They [honest nodes] vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them.”

The Bitcoin blockchain has mined block number 707542, which offered a mining reward of 6.25000000 BTC. 

As the Bitcoin ecosystem slowly approaches its hard cap or maximum supply of 21 million BTC, the developer community will need to modify the existing rules to incentivize the miners that confirm Bitcoin transactions on the blockchain. The white paper suggests:

“Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.”

Prominent entrepreneurs from Crypto Twitter such as Anthony Pompliano join in on the celebrations.

Tomorrow is the 13 year anniversary of the Bitcoin Whitepaper.

We are officially launching Bitcoin Pizza in 20 cities with almost 100 locations.

Every dollar of my profits goes to bitcoin developers pic.twitter.com/oh5gHnJ7iP

— Pomp (@APompliano) October 30, 2021

Despite the ongoing resistance from numerous governments and authorities such as China, this year marks the beginning of Bitcoin’s legacy as a legal tender in El Salvador. The long-term effect of Bitcoin on El Salvador’s inflated economy will determine the asset’s mainstream adoption among other jurisdictions.

Related: Crypto is impossible to destroy, says Tesla CEO Elon Musk

The success of Bitcoin and the crypto ecosystems as viable investments continue to attract investors from all walks of life. The world’s richest man, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently showed support for cryptocurrencies at the Code Conference in California:

“It is not possible to, I think, destroy crypto, but it is possible for governments to slow down its advancement.”

Musk also believes that “cryptocurrency is fundamentally aimed at reducing the power of a centralized government,” which can be one of the main reasons for Bitcoin’s slow mainstream adoption rate.

Bitcoin is my safe word

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2020

Musk has also been highly influential in affecting the market price of other cryptocurrencies such Dogecoin (DOGE).

   

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The Bitcoin Rorschach Test

We would like to think of ourselves as masters of technology. We are the craftsmen, practitioners and creators. This assumption underpins many of our accepted models for understanding history. It’s a comforting way to view the world, with humanity and its heroes as the authors of our destiny.What is a far more uncomfortable truth is that technology equally creates and influences us, and molds the collective behavior that we call culture.

The invention of agriculture made the town the primary social unit, while the mass production of the automobile created cultures of independent holiday makers, commuters and suburbs. Every time Spotify autoplays a new song, when you visit a new restaurant based on its Yelp rating, Tinder’s algorithm displays or does not display you a potential date or a QR code allows health agencies to track and mandate the movements of individuals in a pandemic, technology is influencing culture.

Our choice of technologies – the appliances we use, the cars we drive, the operating systems we choose and the social media platforms which we engage in discourse on shape our lives by what they accentuate and what they hinder, defining the range of actions that are acceptable or prohibited. Technology is not only how human beings sculpt the world in their image, but in framing and defining the range of actions that are possible and encouraged, technology also sculpts who we become.

The Qur’an says that good Muslims should seek knowledge, and as a consequence, mathematics, science and engineering flourished in Eastern antiquity. Cultural attitudes led to the invention of paper, which allowed information to be recorded far more efficiently and easily than with papyrus or parchment, which was the popular medium in Europe, where many kings remained illiterate up to the thirteenth century. Our choice of technologies is prescriptive of our character, how others perceive us, and ultimately our destinies.

Yet however potent a technology may be, it ultimately requires a user to be motivated to activate it, to switch it on, to use it, and that user will use it in the manner that they see as most aligned with their beliefs, their will and their intention, and how they see themselves reflected in it. In this sense all technologies are first and foremost tools for individual self-actualization, expression and exploration, a window or framework to understand who we are.

Hermann Rorschach was a Swiss psychologist born in 1884, Zurich, Switzerland. Known to his school friends as “Klex,” due to his enjoyment of klecksography, a child’s game making elaborate pictures from inkblots. As a young adult, he was torn between following his father into the arts or a career in science. He eventually settled on medical school where he majored in psychology.

During his studies, he came across the work of psychiatrist Szyman Hens who had experimented with using inkblots to study the fantasies of his patients. Rorschach saw the opportunity to combine his interest in the arts and the emerging field of psychoanalysis.

After much research and experimentation, he settled on a set of inkblots and a system for scoring the responses to them. He published what has come to be known as the Rorschach test in his 1921 book “Psychodiagnostik.”

The test itself is administered by presenting the subject with 10 cards in turn and asking them “what might this be?” It’s made clear that there are no right or wrong answers, the subject can pick up the card and view it from any position or orientation they desire, and they’re free to interpret the image however they want. The goal is for them to verbalize what the image suggests to them, with total freedom. Following this the examiner reads the subject’s responses back to them and asks the subject to clarify or elaborate where necessary, not to elicit further information but simply to ensure they have sufficiently accurate information to accurately score the test. The objective is to establish what is being perceived, where it is in the inkblot, and how particular inkblot features contribute to or help determine the response.

The subject’s responses are then used to determine a scoring on several metrics via a complex coding system. The scoring is not based primarily on what the individual says they see in the inkblot. In fact, the contents of the response are only a comparatively small portion of a broader set of data including response times, remarks and comments unrelated to the test, the originality or lack of originality of the responses, and the emotions, attitude, and frame of mind of the subject.

The Rorschach test takes a common stimulus and uses it as a context; the conscious and unconscious reactions of the subject towards that context are data points to better understand their mind.

Earlier we elaborated on how the context provided by a “thing” influences what we create or express, and the way we choose to use it is an act of self-exploration, i.e., it reflects who we are and what we will become. Rorschach similarly understood that by using the context of a fixed set of images and recording the wildly different interpretations created by an individual’s imagination in reaction to each, we could gain insight into a person’s mind, and how they were likely to behave in the future.

It is human nature that we can’t help but to project our imaginations onto a thing, and these things, whether they be an inkblot on canvas, an automobile, or a computer program provide context, framing and boundaries for the expression of that imagination. This combination of imagination and framing decides how we act, and over time, what we become – our destiny.

Since Bitcoin’s invention people have debated what it really is — a peer-to-peer payments system, a form of digital gold, anonymous digital cash, a censorship-resistant means of transmitting value, an immutable ledger of data, the first primitive prototype of a new computing technology called the blockchain, a craze to speculate on, a Ponzi scheme, a tool for extortionists, drug dealers, terrorists and pedophiles? What is Bitcoin?

From Satoshi’s whitepaper, to early discussion on the Bitcointalk forum and the cypherpunks mailing list, to Laszlo Hanyecz’s purchase of a pizza, through the drama of Mt.Gox and Silk Road, and the explosion of other copycats or newcomers looking to be “like bitcoin but with x”, the common perceptions of what bitcoin is and what it means have changed since its inception. Today the popular consensus seems to be that bitcoin is a type of hard money, or digital gold. In five years, with the proliferation of technologies on Layer 2 and beyond like Lightning (that enables a word of utility anchored on the ultimate truth of the Bitcoin blockchain) it’s quite possible that this popular consensus will be something altogether different.

In truth Bitcoin is all of those things and it is none of them. It’s just code. Ultimately someone has to run that code, to mine the blocks, to send and verify the transactions. Their collective actions decide what Bitcoin is. Anyone could fork the open-source code and decide to raise or lower any value, that this or that is valid or invalid, defaulted on or defaulted off, or even increase the supply or issuance. If a sufficient majority of users agree to mine, verify and transact based on that code, this is Bitcoin, at least by the most objective measures possible.

More importantly though, how users collectively decide to act within the boundaries of what is permissible within this chaotic consensus defines what Bitcoin really is, defining its impact on the world and on our lives. Although the code provides an incorruptible, predictable source of truth, the ramifications of that truth are profoundly different in a world where all bitcoin is held by large banks, governments and corporate treasuries and therefore the legal regulations, political reality, societal norms and cultures of compliance dictate the average person interacts with it in a permissioned fashion, much like the legacy banking system. This would be a much different reality than an alternative where every user uses their own full node as a source of truth, holds the keys to their coins and makes informed decisions on the software they run based on its benefits for privacy and self-sovereignty. The aggregate state of affairs that emerges from these actions and values determines what Bitcoin actually is, not the software, or the network, but what it means for the world around us.

“Bitcoin” the network (capital B) and “bitcoin” the asset or currency (lower-case b) are in fact two separate (though highly-interrelated) things. They can exist without each other. For example, if there was an unprecedented worldwide internet outage the network would halt, transactions and blocks would cease to be broadcast, but the ledger itself would remain unchanged. Likewise the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network can broadcast messages and seek to create a global network of connected computers, without any blocks or transactions needing to take place. There exists a third completely separate thing from Bitcoin the network or bitcoin the currency, Bitcoin the idea.

Bitcoin the idea is like the Rorschach test, a particular interpretation of a thing, based on an individual’s experiences, personalities and biases, dreams and fantasies. Your ability to influence the ledger is limited by your financial means divided by the market cap of bitcoin; your ability to influence the network itself even more negligible, determined by the software implementation you run, the parameters you choose and the infrastructure you deploy — all of which must be largely in lockstep with the majority of the network. But your ability to influence Bitcoin the idea is where you have the greatest agency, to answer the Bitcoin Rorschach test, to decide individually what Bitcoin the idea is, and what you will do with it.

Without the robust software, the hash power, the businesses and the products and services that build out the network, Bitcoin the idea is little more than a kumbaya Ponzi scheme which a top-knotted 30-something influencer would shill you on Instagram. Equally it is true that without the recognition of Bitcoin the idea, bitcoin the currency would have no value: there would be no hash power, no nodes, no ecosystem, and the economic incentives that today secure it against almost any conceivable attack vector would not exist. Although it may seem inconceivable now remember that for several years Bitcoin existed in a form largely identical to what it is today, with almost all the value propositions of the technology and protocol we know today but had no value, or it was traded for loose change. It is not the technology itself that increased its value, it was the collective recognition of its brilliance, the growth of Bitcoin as a meme is what led to there being any price, let alone the prices, ecosystem and the hash rate we have today.

We are here because people see themselves in Bitcoin; they will project their values, their hopes, their aspirations, whatever they want the world to be, onto a technology, onto Bitcoin. A sound money, a way to make more of your chosen fiat currency or buy a Lamborghini, a way to buy drugs, a way to make payments that otherwise are prohibited or impossible, a social club to meet people, a way to sound smart and impress people on the internet, an interesting technology, a way to get a job, a way to provide a nest egg for their children, a ray of hope in a dystopian world. It doesn’t matter, Bitcoin is all of these things and none of them, what matters is how its users use it.

Bitcoin is not a centralized service but a peer-to-peer network and state of affairs controlled by its users despite their disparity of views. Anyone can download it, anyone can fork the software or contribute code, there is no CEO of Bitcoin, it has no official website or spokesperson. Bitcoin has more in common with punk rock music or Rastafarianism, or Oaxacan traditionthan a centralized top-down entity like Spotify, Tinder, or something owned by a government agency or a corporation. No one makes the rules in Bitcoin, we all do. Bitcoin is solely the possession of its community of users. Bitcoin is a culture, Bitcoin is a meme.

People stared at the inkblot of Bitcoin and acted on what their imagination showed them. Bitcoin itself is simply the aggregate actions of thousands of these otherwise-unrelated individuals participating in a network because their imagination told them it is of benefit to their own ends to do so.

Bitcoin is living technology, an economically self-sustaining culture, the aggregate sum of all its users, who participate because they see themselves in Bitcoin. Without them, it is simply another repo on GitHub.

   

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The Latest in Crypto Hiring: PayPal, Crypto.com Add to Digital Assets Headcount

Bitcoin mining and crypto tech company Bitfury has hired Jonathan Gould as its chief legal officer in the latest instance of a government official to join a crypto firm.

Gould most recently worked as senior deputy comptroller and chief counsel at the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Before that, he was chief counsel of the US Senate Banking Committee.

Thaya Knight, former counsel for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Elad Roisman, joined Coinbase last month as a senior public policy manager.

Crypto.com has hired Giuseppe Giuliani, previously global head of institutional relationships and services at Kraken, as managing director of the company’s exchange. He will look to expand into new markets and introduce new offerings for institutional investors.

Ken Timsit has been named managing director for the Cronos blockchain. He was formerly chief revenue officer in charge of global sales and marketing at blockchain technology company ConsenSys.

Cronos supports both Ethereum and Cosmos technology, including DeFi, NFTs and metaverse technologies. Timsit will help the blockchain firm scale its DeFi (decentralized finance) and Web3 business by equipping developers with the resources to instantly port apps and crypto assets from other chains.

Sébastien Badault joined digital assets platform Ledger as its vice president of metaverse and Web3. He will oversee the company’s NFT (non-fungible token) division, plus gaming and brand collaborations.

Badault was previously a managing director at Alibaba and also spent more than 10 years at Google, where he ran the company’s French operations. Before Google, he led Amazon’s customer and partner acquisition strategy across the UK, Germany and France.

Crypto prime brokerage FalconX has hired former Carta chief people officer and Bloomberg head of talent Suzy Walther as its head of people, amid a push to fill hundreds of roles across engineering, marketing, HR and customer support.

The company, which raised $210 million in August, has also hired Sujay Jaladi as its new vice president of security. He was previously chief information security officer at Gusto, Ripple, Harbor, Inc., Earnin and PayPal subsidiary Xoom.

“Institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies continues to cement the notion that the world’s economy will be tokenized in 5 to 7 years,” CEO Raghu Yarlagadda said in a statement.

TaxBit, a tax and accounting solution for the tokenized economy, hired Nathan Jones as senior vice president of worldwide public sales and government affairs. Jones has worked the last 19 years at IBM subsidiary Red Hat.

The company also brought aboard Miles Fuller as head of government solutions, plus Christi Muoneke as corporate general counsel.

Fuller joins TaxBit after a 15-year stint with the IRS, where he worked in a senior legal role. Muoneke previously spent more than 15 years working at Meta, DocuSign, Microsoft and Avalara.

Charlie Hu, former head of Polygon China, has joined Syscoin, a decentralized, open-source project created in 2014 by the founders of Blockchain Foundry.

As an ecosystem advisor, he will help drive the company’s expansion into untapped markets. While at Polygon, he focused on business development in Asia. 

Marathon Digital appointed Raymond Walintukan as vice president of mining operations. He previously served as chief operating officer of Apifiny subsidiary Hash Hive. Before that, he served as the head of operations at Bitmain North America.

The hire comes as Marathon seeks to grow from 3.6 exahashes per second (EH/s) at the start of February to 23.3 EH/s by early next year.

PayPal brought aboard specialists in cryptography, distributed technology, regulation, economics and capital markets to establish a crypto advisory council.

The council includes Peter Briger, Jr., co-CEO of Fortress Investment Group; Chris Brummer, a Georgetown University law professor and faculty director of the Institute of International Economic Law; Dr. Shafi Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley; Timothy Massad, an ​​adjunct law professor at Georgetown University and research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School; Dr. Neha Narula, director of MIT Digital Currency Initiative; and Antoinette Schoar, a finance professor at MIT Sloan School of Management.

Former Domino’s Pizza President Kory Spiroff joined the advisory board of FriesDao.

Spiroff is tasked with bridging real-world operations with blockchain-based governance. FriesDAO plans to acquire and build on-chain membership around popular fast food franchises.

Metaplex Studios, a US organization working to advance Solana NFT protocol Metaplex, tapped Stephen Hess as its CEO.

21Shares, the largest issuer of cryptocurrency ETPs, has hired three senior sales professionals to boost US growth.

Hires include Kayle Watson as US head of sales; Aram Babikian, who will lead US west coast and Latin America business development; and Ches Snider as US head of research sales.

The executives combined have decades of traditional finance experience at firms such as BlackRock, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Guggenheim Securities.

Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.

   

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Digital Denarius: How a crypto revolution could have saved the Roman Empire

Two currency crises two thousand years apart. Modern-day Venezuela and the Roman Empire have more in common than you might think. Both know too well the dangers of soaring inflation and a collapse in investor confidence. But, only one has crypto on its side.

Venezuela’s official currency, the bolívar, has suffered from hyperinflation for half a decade due to repeated currency devaluations, minimum wage rises and significant public spending increases.

For a sustained period of several centuries, the Roman Empire enjoyed the enormous trade and commercial benefits associated with the world’s first fiat currency, as explored in my book Pugnare: Economic success and failure. The Roman currency was comprised of three coins: gold (Aureus), silver (Denarius) and copper or brass coins (Sestertius and Dupondius). Crucially, and despite fluctuations in the value of the underlying metal, the exchange rate between them was fixed by imperial decree.

This seemingly simple financial innovation brought with it untold wealth and commercial opportunity to the citizens of the Roman Empire, leading to the transition of Ancient Rome from an empire dependent largely on the spoils of war and imperial conquest to one founded on trade, commerce and free enterprise.

Just as with modern currencies, it was underpinned by a sophisticated banking system, which allowed goods to be bought and sold without the physical transfer of tonnes of precious metal. Most of their money was also like ours: created by banks out of thin air when they made loans. Just like modern economies, the majority of Rome’s money supply was held in bank deposits rather than cash in circulation. Though modern-day electronic transactions are faster, whether you use a graphics card or a horse and cart, the process is much the same.

Much like modern-day Venezuela, irresponsible public spending and currency debasement in the empire led to soaring inflation, a collapse in investor confidence and an abandonment of the consumer trust that underpinned the exchange rate innovation. But, if the Romans, paralleling the citizens of Venezuela today, traded in their Aureus for Ether (ETH) or if the government had set up a “digital denarius,” could the empire have survived?

Related: Gold, Bitcoin or DeFi: How can investors hedge against inflation?

Centuries apart, Rome and Caracas face the same menace: Hyperinflation

From the time of Emperor Philip the Arab (244 AD to 249 AD), the system of fixed exchange broke down. Every day, commercial activity became more difficult because of the variable rate of exchange. The equivalent effect would be if ten one-dollar bills were worth a ten-dollar bill one day then a five-dollar bill the next. Citizens no longer knew the value of their money. Economic activity declined.

This was a dramatic fall from grace for the world’s first government-controlled currency, which had been in use to pay for goods from Britannia to Judaea to Africa Proconsularis.

Unlike their Roman forebears, digital currencies have offered the citizens of Venezuela an innovative solution. They can circumvent the bolívar by adopting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether, Dash (DASH) and EOS (EOS), to the extent that the government introduced its own, the petro, in 2018. Iran is hoping to use the profits from a booming cryptocurrency mining sector to bolster its economy while still under siege from United States sanctions.

Related: US sanctions strategy and crypto: The cracks are showing in Iran

Turning to cryptocurrency was, despite the many technological and societal advancements they made, not an option available to the Romans. Instead, the Roman currency collapse led to a decline in economic activity, delivering economic destitution to once prosperous regions and triggering the start of a long and slow economic decline from which it would never truly recover.

Romans could have made a mint from crypto

Cryptocurrency would also have relieved the Romans of having to maintain a mint as well. It eventually became more and more difficult for the Romans to source the gold and silver to make new coins, so the government cheated by increasing the amount of base metal. This led to inflation which eventually made people lose trust in the money they held.

The breakdown in trust was worsened by a civil war in 193 AD that led to key currency reforms which had centralized control of the currency being abandoned. Once that control was lost, manufacturing and trade went into decline.

Like Venezuela, soaring inflation, a loss of confidence in government and civil unrest led to a collapse in the banking system and, finally, full-scale economic collapse. But, unlike the Romans, the decline of centralized currency offers a possible route out of economic decline for Venezuela, not the slow nail in the coffin it was for the empire.

Cryptocurrency is used by Venezuelans for everything from hotel bookings to pizza deliveries. While President Maduro’s government released the Petro, crypto has also been used against them. Maduro’s rival, National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, has used the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) to circumvent Venezuela’s banks and send humanitarian aid to healthcare workers.

Power over the empire’s monetary supply was often contested between rival factions. For example, during the civil war of 193 AD, a new mint was opened in what is now Turkey and used by rival claimants to the imperial throne, Niger and Septimius Severus. In contrast, Emperor Vespasian was able to maintain a period of peace and stability between AD 69 and 79, partly because he recognized that he must control the money supply, especially the mints.

Roman cryptocurrencies could have survived to modern times

Governments in Venezuela, Iran and elsewhere today looking at adopting cryptocurrencies as official currencies should pay attention to the Roman example. It shows how badly things can go wrong if the money supply is controlled by different even rival organizations.

Perhaps if the Romans had not been reliant on physical currency but had instead had access to crypto, maybe it would not have been destabilized by economic collapse and in-fighting.

If so, maybe today the people of Venezuela would not be using Bitcoin or Ether, but instead a digital currency inherited from the time of Nero and Vespasian.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

George Maher is an academic and author. His latest book Pugnare: Economic Success and Failure, explores the rise and fall of the Roman empire from an economic perspective. It has been listed in both the Financial Times and Money Week. George holds a PhD in the economy of the Roman Empire from King’s College London and both a first-class honors BA and MA with distinction in Classics from Birkbeck University of London. He is a fellow of the Institute and faculty of Actuaries and holds a first-class honors degree in Special Honours Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin.    

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London has a record 40,000 cryptocurrency adverts

TL;DR Breakdown 

  • There were almost 40,000 crypto ads displayed around London in 2021. 
  • TFL and several politicians are urging the city’s mayor to regulate such adverts. 
  • There are growing concerns about trader manipulation and potential scams. 

It’s almost impossible to go around London and not come across a cryptocurrency advertisement these days. Last year, London’s public transport stations displayed 39,560 crypto ads from at least 13 different companies. Statistically, this is the highest number of crypto ads recorded in any city around the world. 

Although it might seem like a marketing milestone for cryptocurrency firms, there are growing concerns about financial harm and manipulation caused by these ads. Cryptocurrency marketing is unregulated in the UK, which means that almost any company can promote their tokens in one of the busiest cities of the world. 

Binance ad in a London underground

There are several ads of unregulated meme coins and unverified NFT projects around London’s Tube stations, bus stops, and even inside its trains. The TLF (Transport for London) has continuously asked the city’s Mayor to ban advertisements for unregulated financial products. 

Several politicians like Siân Berry from the Green Party of England has also raised concerns about such ads. According to the politician, TLF should have an approval mechanism to monitor these ads, otherwise, Londoners might fall victim to growing crypto frauds or develop trading addiction.  

The Floki Inu ad in London flagged for trader manipulation

Earlier last year, the city’s Mayor Sadiq Khan promised a total ban on gambling adverts. However, almost a year later that promise still hasn’t been fulfilled. Now, conservative politicians are calling for the Mayor to implement his promise, and extend the ban to crypto adverts as well. 

Cryptocurrency ads are rocketing across London 

Last month, the ASA banned seven companies from floating crypto ads in the UK, which included big names like Coinbase, eToro, and Papa Johns Pizza. The ban was only applicable for these brands because of the misleading nature of their adverts. 

The ASA had also banned a specific Bitcion ad in London from a popular crypto exchange, which was evidently misleading people to buy BTC. However, none of these bans was extended to the entire crypto industry. Also, the ASA didn’t set any specific regulatory framework for approving crypto ads. So, these ads are almost spreading at the speed of light, especially around busy cities like London. 

Banned Bitcoin ad from Luno exchange

If we look a few years back, cryptocurrency adverts were not that common in the UK. In 2019, eToro was the only company showing crypto adverts around London. The company only had 5 digital displays and 40 long posters for its crypto ads. Even in 2020, there were around 1600 crypto adverts in London, as new firms like Coinfloor and Luno joined public marketing. 

The entire market for crypto advertisement in London exploded in 2021, as cryptocurrency, in general, became more popular than ever before. In the first two months of 2021, there were around 15,000 ads in London, and by the end of the year, the number more than doubled. 

Another crypto ad in a London underground

The city has now become a major competing ground for crypto platforms. Although a total ban on advert won’t be good for the overall crypto space, a regulated approach is much needed to protect traders from potential scams and frauds, which is an unfortunate reality of the crypto industry. 

   

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