Sunday, October 20, 2019

BSV- Not End of Game. Starting a War

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Heroes can indulge in trifling beer-bar fights. Super-heroes can’t. There is no time.

There is a new tussle between Ayres and Wrights of the crypto world that has shaken up the industry yet again from a cosy slumber. Thanks to an alien force that is as intriguing and important to the plot as a Hodlonaut. There are collateral damages in the form of Bitcoin SV (BSV) delisted from Binance and then a supposed replay for Bitcoin Cash (delisting expected in June 2019) by Japanese player SBI Holdings. There is Kraken, ShapeShift and lots of other players meanwhile taking sides in their chosen armies.

The only twist in the plot however – Is Thor really avenging Heimdall? Is Doctor Strange going to re-integrate by some stroke of future? What if Loki and Gamora are really not dead? Who is the next of kin that Thanos can really throw under the bus? Who is Loki and who is Iron Man in these camps, after all?

If we wait and remove our 3D glasses long enough to see beyond these knockouts, we might ask the bigger question here – Who is Thanos in all this drama? And why are Iron Man and Captain America not joining hands yet?

Yes, as background-score-friendly as the current page-turner looks, these are not the battles that the superheroes should be fighting?

Consider some SHIELD invaders that are brewing all around this space-brawl. The ones that could raise their heads without any Loki around.

For instance, in January 2019, Diar unravelled that unknown miners (December) solved a good chunk of 22 per cent of the total blocks. This is way impressive than the six per cent figure seen at the start of last year. On one hand, this means reduced dominance of pools and better attack protection. At the same time, the industry should be well-equipped to evade any new mining imperialism bubbling underneath these shifts. Mining democracy and reduced attack surface are as crucial as ever.

Also look at some other small undercurrents. It has been estimated that post the BCH-BSV split in November 2018, the miners who were supporting BSV suffered an estimated loss of more than $2.2 million for bolstering network security and for electricity (as per BitMEX research). Equipment depreciation, overhead costs and labor costs – can they vary between crypto assets so much!

Then there is the latest Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index that shows that despite the lid getting closed on crypto mining services such as Coinhive or Authedmine, crypto miners continue to be the most prevalent malware aimed at organisations globally. Let us not forget that at its peak, Coinhive impacted 23 per cent of organisations worldwide and there are chances that it may reactivate if the value of Monero increases. Even if that does not happen, a possibility of other mining services increasing their activity to take advantage of Coinhive’s absence cannot be ruled out completely. 

Cryptoloot, Emotet, XMRig and JSEcoin persist but what is more worrying is the next weak heel – cloud environments. Cybercriminals could tap these for built-in auto-scaling feature. Enterprises have been observed to pay heavily to Cloud vendors for the compute resources used illicitly by cryptominers.

Looks like there could be too many children of Thanos out there for Black Widow to handle.

This is also the time to remind ourselves of the issues (like true fungibility) that still stay un-vanquished. Remember what Andreas M Antonopoulos said in a Diar interview? “If [fungibility] is not fixed, it is possible to attack Bitcoin in ways we haven’t seen yet and that could prove very effective.”

Plus, 94 per cent of endowment funds seem to have invested in crypto assets as per a survey by Global Custodian, The TRADE Crypto and BitGo. Interesting patterns to note when cryptocurrencies are wading through muddy waters of doubt, regulatory tight spots, laundering allegations, iffy perceptions and security cracks.

This BSV drama has, nonetheless, been intriguing and enlightening as it opens the can on many other snap-the-finger moments that would have not crossed the industry radar otherwise – like can exchanges really wield that much power? Can dissent really bring such seismic friction in the industry? Does it really matter who Satoshi really is? So much so that we forget the quintessential intent of making a blockchain in the first place? The real vision? Is it not possible that ‘we are all Satoshi’ as a Reddit user quipped sometime back? If we contribute to the fundamental vision of decentralization and freedom in our own ways, would the real Satoshi not be happy, wherever s/he/it is?

The Ant-men have to escape somehow. The war is infinite. And it has barely begun.

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