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WWYDI a guy named Rifter tries to take over the multiverse?

On a desert planet named Planet Riftia, there lives a man named Rifter (original character). Rifter can open dimensional rifts, fly, and is invulnerable, physically strong, and highly intelligent. He doesn't need to eat, sleep, drink or breathe. He's 5 foot 10 inches tall.

Rifter decides to take over the multiverse. To do that, he must take the most important object from each universe and place it in his own universe. After he has done that for every universe, he will gain total omnipotence over the multiverse, and he'll be truly unstoppable.

An example of the 'most important object of the universe' would be the Triforce from The Legend of Zelda, or the Chaos Emeralds from Sonic.

The universes Rifter will try to take over are:
planet riftia (Rifter's home universe), real life, super mario, the legend of zelda, CDI zelda, pokemon (main series games), pokemon (main series anime), pokemon origins, pokemon (main series manga), sonic, sonic boom, sonic the comics, crash bandicoot, halo, call of duty, earthbound, undertale, five nights at freddy's, fnaf world, superman 64 (game), DC cinematic universe, superfriends (cartoon), Marvel cinematic universe, ghostbusters, ghostbusters (2016), pac man, mega man (classic timeline), mega man fully charged, mega man (battle network timeline), bomberman, the lego movie, scooby doo, super meat boy, rage comics, wreck it ralph, skylanders, teen titans, teen titans go, the a-team, knight rider, the goonies, mortal kombat, street fighter, blend s, vocaloid, utau, spyro the dragon, simpsons, futurama, harry potter, fantastic beasts and where to find them, lord of the rings, mission impossible, gremlins, gnomeo and juliet, powerpuff girls, powerpuff girls Z , powerpuff girls (2016), beetlejuice, my little pony friendship is magic, black rock shooter (song), black rock shooter (anime), black rock shooter (psp game), midway arcade, portal, plants vs zombies, machinarium, rock em sock em robots, baldi's basics, puzzle puppers, crane game toreta, snipperclips, tetris, Madou Monogatari, puyo puyo, kirby, lego city undercover, ninjago, chima, nexo knights, diary of a wimpy kid (books), diary of a wimpy kid (movies), poptropica, poptropica worlds, poptropica (comics), resident evil, peanuts, robot chicken, scribblenauts, splatoon, arms, bee movie, shrek, octopath traveller, bubsy, fifa, drawn to life, drawn together, toy story, a bug's life, finding nemo, wall-e, the good dinosaur, inside out, captain underpants (books), captain underpants (movie), timmy failure, spongebob, the loud house, fairly oddparents, invader zim, cow and chicken, samurai jack (original), samurai jack (reboot), adventure time, regular show, steven universe, clarence, uncle grandpa, plague inc, sailor moon, sailor moon crystal, ghost trick, ace attorney, professor layton, looney tunes, yu gi oh, beyblade, yo kai watch, cars, team fortress, half life, the sims, cory in the house, annoying orange, my hero acadamia, mr. peabody and sherman, e.t the extra terrastrial, back to the future, rick and morty, family guy, doki doki literature club, angry birds, fruit ninja, jetpack joyride, out there, akinator, dragon ball, dragon ball z, lego dimensions, super smash bros, star wars, charlie and the chocolate factory, willy wonka and the chocolate factory, lonely wolf treat, syrup and the ultimate sweet, first kiss at a spooky soiree, romance detective, tunnel vision, kaima, her tears were my light, mermaid splash passion festival, the twilight zone, disaster log c, yandere simulator, yanderella, mikoto nikki, mix ore, the dark side of red riding hood, makoto mobius, you me and empty words, shihori escape, tsukimi planet, full boko youchien, love live, menhera fresia, roco kingdom, sai er hao, mole, hawaiian slammers, planes, frozen, tangled, one piece, fairy tail, naruto, persona, digimon, no matter how i look at it, it's you guys fault i'm not popular, i can't believe my little sister is this cute, idolmaster, highschool dxd, hihi puffy ami yumi, momoe link, minecraft, minecraft: story mode, locked heart, confess my love, transparent black, nintendo badge arcade, swapdoodle, world of goo, rayman, little inferno, amazing alex, banjo kazooie, yooka lele, sly cooper, RWBY, despicable me, minions, WWE, nomad of nowhere, bravest warriors, xenoblade, punch out, contra, silent hill, tokimeki memorial, spelunker, spelunky, zork, bit trip, VVVVVV, runman race around the world, N, princess tomato in the salad kingdom, hitman, tomb raider, metal gear solid, fire emblem, animal crossing, metroid, gradius, zone of the enders, parodius, i wanna be the guy, jumper, braid, alien hominid, castle crashers, charlie murder, the emoji movie, castlevania, animator vs animation, brave, hello neighbor, the storey treehouse, wacky game jokez 4 kidz, nightmare before christmas, bayonetta, mii channel, warioware, donkey kong country, yoshi, unikitty, sword art online, squid girl, slenderman, the flintstones, berenstain bears, the jetsons, okami, sushi striker way of the sushido, shovel knight, kid icarus, jurrasic park, tom gates, paper mario, art academy, fortnite, player unknown's battlegrounds, fallout, the land before time, doctor who, the lego batman movie, himegoto, marchen madchen, bojack horseman, total drama, toradora, one punch man, attack on titan, pleasant goat and big big wolf, full metal alchemist, the wizard of oz, super smosh, alfred and poe, dev guy, valentine panic, seduce me the otome, trick and treat, haruka winter dreams, scratch, 9 (film), 9 (video game), problem solverz, animal inspector, liar liar, love or die, misSHAPEn love, pervert&yandere, paper roses, bookSLEEPer, heartbaked, lads in distress, telletubbies, thomas the tank engine, the walking dead, the big bang theory, 13 reason why, f.r.i.e.n.d.s, gumby, gravity falls, welcome to the wayne, tom and jerry, baka to test, golden time, searching, taken, charming, ballerina, home improvement, the sandlot, flappy bird, swing copters, earth chan, turbo, pocket protectors, boxboy, barefoot bandits, letter quest, overcooked, hydlide, oh sir!, taco man plays a video game, taco man the game master, pepsiman, buck bunny, voez, deemo, cytus, kitten squad, super mario logan, dr. stone, bee and puppycat, over the garden wall, star vs the forces of evil, power rangers, danny phantom, jimmy neutron, dexter's lab, foster's home for imaginary friends, chowder, the amazing world of gumball, we bare bears, felix the cat, bendy and the ink machine, outbreak company, tokyo mew mew, madoka magica, card captor sakura, ghostmates, boxman (original), boxman (comics), that damn neighbor, bunsen is a beast, coco, monsters inc, monsters university, the incredibles, spirited away, becky prim, kim possible, meet the robinsons, the little mermaid, robin hood, zootopia, taiko drum master, alien, the lego ninjago movie, what would you do, jersey shore, monty python, gundam, the muppets, alf, neon genesis evangelion, the x files, godzilla, final destination (film), ice age, lilo and stitch, robocop, the terminator, saw (film), the purge, 50 shades of grey, tron, dead space, overwatch, the king of fighters, ratchet and clank, jak and daxter, tekken, a boy and his blob, ace combat, adventure island, adventures of lolo, aero the acro-bat, ape escape, asteroids, battletoads, spooky's house of jumpscares, the call of cthulhu, chibi robo, frankenstein, dracula, boku no pico, burgertime, citrus, putt putt, pajama sam, prison tycoon, roller coaster tycoon, restaraunt empire, frogger, freddi fish, fatty bear, spy fox, gal gun, game and watch, guitar hero, rock band, the man with the invisible trousers, the curious case of benjiman button, passpartout, just dance, sega hard girls, kinectimals, left 4 dead, life is strange, littlebigplanet, loveplus, nights, naughty bear, ted, houdini (french animated movie), q bert, pixels (movie), touhou project, toejam and earl, the oregon trail (game), the organ trail, yakuza (game), mall tycoon, zoo tycoon, yukon trail (game), detention (game), the nutshack, lazytown, purgatory (game), desolate village, the desolate hope, the pilgrim's progress, the holy bible, captain bible, bad milk (game), journey to the west, captain toad, death squared, buddhism (religion), jewism (religion), islam (religion), hinduism (religion), taoism (religion), mormomism (religion), watch_dogs, sleeping dogs, paletta, wrecking crew, sara is missing, simulacra, welcome to the game, rides with strangers, a normal lost phone, mogeko castle, wahanodora and the great blue sea, little nightmares, little einsteins, sally face, fran bow, kick the buddy, super planet dolan, dr. jekyll and mr. hyde, phineas and ferb, big nate, nate is late, the ring (horror movie), inanimate insanity, my little pony equestria girls, winx club, tinkerbell, sausage party, the hobbit, duck hunt, starfox, f-zero, enchanted (disney movie), roblox, hearthstone, talking tom, crossy road, granny (horror game), the titanic (movie), dexter (show), how i met your mother, el tigre, mucha lucha, the book of life, cuphead, water world (movie), gradeaundera, foodfight, cyanide and happiness, jojo's bizzare adventure, the grim adventures of billy and mandy, the brave little toaster, fusionfall, playstation all stars battle royal, scott pilgrim vs. the world, club penguin, sonic.exe, pivot stick animator, mr. bean, skitzo, captain n the game master, detective pikachu, pokemon mystery dungeon, waluigi travels through the multiverse, parappa the rapper, god of war, uncharted, bioshock, paperboy, gauntlet, 720°, blaster (midway), bubbles (midway), marble madness, defenders, joust (midway), klax, roadblasters, robotron, spy hunter, spy vs spy, super sprint, tomodachi life, miitomo, xbox avatars, keflings, cloudberry kingdom, girls like robots, can your pet, snail (the flash game), snail bob, drawfee, the king's avatar, king's knight, king's quest, monster bark, haunt the house, detective grimoire, sort the court, wallace and gromit, frankenweenie, atelier (games), recettear, tales of, lost sphear, peta propaganda games, cooking mama, gish, aquaria, owlboy, alex kidd, space channel 5, mighty number 9, blaster master, vroom in the night sky, azure striker gunvolt, senran kagura, disgaea, the legend of dark witch, pico's school, riddle school, clock crew, lock legion, steamshovel harry, bionicle, hero factory, lego alien conquest, x-com, chantelise, yobi's basic spelling tricks, typing of the dead, cartoon all-stars to the rescue, where's wally, where's waldo, carmen sandiego, adam ruins everything, south park, human centipede, collegehumor, kingdom hearts, king kong, friday the 13th, nightmare on elm street, edward scissorhands, batman 1966, devil may cry, final fantasy, food wars, smosh, the diamond minecart, anthony padilla, the hunchback of notre dame, teenage mutant ninja turtles, who framed roger rabbit?, the angry video game nerd, mario & sonic at the olympic games, james bond, epic (movie), dance dance revolution, ed edd n eddy, hey arnold, codename: kids next door, galactic kids next door, back to backspace, big city greens, danger planet, 12 forever, infinity train, jack and jill (adam sandler), red dog, red dog true blue, air buds, 101 dalmations, good mythical morning, element animations, an egg's guide to minecraft, black rhino ranger, the suite life of zack and cody, that's so raven, milo murphy's law, even stevens, pete and pete, malcom in the middle, hotel transylvania, ducktales, elena of avalor, sofia the first, the proud family, the emporor's new groove, american dragon: jake long, fanboy and chum chum, fish hooks, smart house (movie), invisible dad (movie), tender loving care, my magic dog (movie), boy meets world, sabrina the teenage witch, shorty mcshort's shorts, shezow, call of duty dog (web animation), sonic for hire, video game violence saves the world from violent video games (web animation), reading rainbow, hey this is library, doge, nyan cat, wolfychu, lilypichu, emirichu, theodd1sout, domics, jaiden animations, game theory, dorkly, pokemon rusty, the greatest showman, advice animals, doodle jump, happy jump, seen (android game), color switch, agar.io, slither.io, cookie clicker, bitcoin billionare, paper.io, hole.io, sugar sugar, highschool romance, highschool romance 2: magi trials, highschool possesion, nekopara, ren'py, rpg maker, voltron: legendary defender, wander over yonder, kablam!, doug (cartoon), avatar: the last airbender, the legend of korra, garfield, calvin and hobbes, airplane safety videos, lego fan films, lego DC superheroes, lego friends, fl studio , stack up, gyromite, the texas chainsaw massacre, ice climber, captain commando, marvel vs capcom, cartoon network punch time explosion xl, dr. horrible, papers please, blocksworld, iron pants, happy wheels, super virgin squad, the truman show, edtv, duck life, the everyday ordinary adventures of samamtha browne, cinderella phenomenon, our home (visual novel), a day in the life of a slice of bread, a(t)rium, date almost anything sim, [email protected], stalker & yandere, tealy and orangey, geometry dash, the joy of creation, five nights at candy's, those nights at rachael's, five night's at wario's, wario date, duck season (vr horror game), the horribly slow murderer with the extremely inefficient weapon, mcdonald's, the karate kid, llamas with hats, the misfortune of being ned, super hexagon, perfect dark, dane boe, devil's world, balloon fight, h3h3productions, gnoggin, cinemasins, cinemawins, yo gabba gabba, crazy frog, angels of death (rpg), imaginary friends (rpg), pocket mirror (rpg), cherry tree high comedy club, pony island, huniepop, huniecam studio, tattletail, corpes party, friendship (horror rpg), aria's story (rpg), 1bitheart, leftway, tim's birthday, ib (game), glitched (rpg), amnesia (game), the stanley parable, long live the queen (visual novel), draw a stickman, qwop, girp, papa's (flash game series), whale trail, 5 minutes to kill yourself, doodle god, free icecream (flash game), fancy pants adventure, fireboy and watergirl, 60 seconds (game), 60 parsecs, getting over it with bennet foddy, sexy hiking, i am bread, surgeon simulator, rapeley, mr. mosquito, cubivore, the guy game, custer's revenge, e.t (atari 2600), pizza chef (atari 2600), black and white (game), postal (game), hatred (game), leisure suit larry, jones in the fast lane, manhunt, hatoful boyfriend, bully (game), night trap, mass effect, house party (game), who's your daddy? (game), second life, shower with your dad simulator, what's under your blanket!? (game), battle raper, The Maiden Rape Assault: Violent Semen Inferno, witch trainer, hetalia, ouran high school host club, rinse and repeat (game), wikia, deviantart, mystic messanger, moemon (a pokemon rom hack), segagaga, football manager (sega), crossfire (first person shooter), flicky, captain novalin, sega bass fishing, hiragana pixel party, captain rainbow, wonderful 101, the elder scrolls, scrolls (mojang), colbalt (mojang), candy crush saga, sharknado, who killed captain alex, archie comics, smokey bear, mcgruff the crime dog, smosh the movie, hell's kitchen, neighbours from hell (game), neighbors from hell (animated show), danganronpa, veggietales, oishi high school battle, teleporting fat guy, smosh babies, planets (shut up cartoons), the day my butt went psycho (tv show), the day my bum went psycho (books), what's with andy, the andy griffith show, leave it to beaver, pikmin, face raiders, part timers (smosh), trollface quest, coraline, alladin (disney), chibi miku san, dreams (when you sleep), vsauce, kilarin revolution, stellar theater, hanazuki: full of treasure, penn zero: part time hero, the croods, shawn the sheep, shakugan no shana, early man, walking with dinosaurs, league of angels, league of legends, world of warcraft, starcraft, stardew valley, rune factory, harvest moon, botanicula, fingered (game), love live, highschool dxd, lucky star, akame ga kill, kill la kill, cowboy bebop, mmo junkie, KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!, Natsuiro High School: Seishun Hakusho, Summer-Colored High School ★ Adolescent Record — A Summer At School On An Island Where I Contemplate How The First Day After I Transferred, I Ran Into A Childhood Friend And Was Forced To Join The Journalism Club Where While My Days As A Paparazzi Kid With Great Scoops Made Me Rather Popular Among The Girls, But Strangely My Camera Is Full Of Panty Shots, And Where My Candid Romance Is Going, short circuit (film), boyhood (film), honey, i shrunk the kids, in another world with my smartphone, wizard 101, sociolitron, runescape, i was reincarnated as a sword, i was reincarnated as a magic academy, My Reincarnation as a Hot Spring in a Different World is Beyond Belief ~ It's Not Like Being Inside You Feels Good or Anything!?, island (anime), crush crush, yandere (https://vndb.org/v1303), kimi to kanojo no koi, kimi to mita sora no uta, city connection, cinders (visual novel), adventure capitalist, tiny tower, pocket plane, pocket train, pocket frogs, i am shape series, melancholic (vocaloid song), hatsune miku: unofficial hatsune mix, stargazer (vocaloid song), love trial (vocaloid song), to you of the future, i give every song, pou, my little bastard, evolution (cow evolution, platypus evolution, ect), dear diary: the secrets of anna, episode (game), kim kardashian: hollywood, campus life (mobile game), inkflow, sabreman, kameo: elements of power, it's mr. pants, whatever happened to... robot jones?, moetron, extra credits (youtuber), snakes on a plane, crazy rich asians, my strange addiction, toddlers and tiaras, soul eater, suki yuki maji magic, ultraman, the adventures of kid danger, johnny test, justice league action, youtube, brawl in the family (web comic), meteor 60 seconds, ok ko, counterstrike, boboiboy, dragonvale, crush the castle, demonic crepes, barbie, lego elves, spy kids, baby geniuses, laserblast (movie), giftpia, panel de pon, devil world, shin onigashima, nazo no murasamejo (The Mysterious Murasame Castle), nigahiga, dragon city (mobile game), clash of clans, clash royale, keep talking and nobody explodes, my life as a teenage robot, no anime penguin, gender bender dna twister extreme, inuyasha, inuyashika, scream (movie), manuel samuel, flipping death, tiny thief, boom beach, reign (game), the escapists, a hat in time, murder police, dragalia lost, aqua teen hunger force, dora the explorer, doraemon, inception, the matrix, fight club, the godfather, white chicks (movie), dumb and dumber, baseketball, the breakfast club (movie), donnie darko, the devil wears prada, darkwing duck, jaws, mean girls, the room, lost (tv show), never been kissed (movie), tarzan, the sixth sense, the help (movie), the shining, rocky (movie), sing (movie), blade runner, cut the rope, enter the ninja (1981), You only live twice (1967), surf ninjas (1993), Draw With Jazza, dork diaries, Lifeline (3 minute games), Project Hyrax, future diary, sonic the hedgehog (movie), panty and stocking, todo: today, happy heroes, asura's wrath, a certain magical index, zone archive, and 3 ninjas (1992)

Rifter will NOT gain omnipotence until he has collected the most important item from EVERY universe.

Just to clarify, Rifter only opens one rift at a time, when he's travelling to and from dimensions. He also makes rifts sometimes if he's attacking, or summoning an object he wants, or something like that. When he's done using a rift, he closes it.

However, Rifter will have to open many rifts along his journey. He opens so much rifts, that the space time continuum becomes unstable, resulting in random rifts opening and closing throughout the multiverse. Rifter isn't aware on how to make space time less unstable, so as his journey goes on, more and more random rifts will appear.

The random rifts will occur so often, that is it guranteed you will get sucked into one and experience at least 90% of the universes.

Rifter will start in his own universe. The universe he goes to first will be Real Life. After that, he'll do the rest in a random order.

Events:

What would you do in this situation?
submitted by WaffleCat3367 to whatwouldyoudoif [link] [comments]

Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?

Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me?
I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin.
And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into.
But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all.
Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading!
But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree!
So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading?
Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot?
Just Do It?
When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law").
On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy).
So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split.
But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this.
Weird split among the devs
As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them.
But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase.
And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means.
And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn?
On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me.
And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?).
Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate.
When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?)
I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection.
And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely?
On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years.
Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China".
I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too!
I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints?
I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain.
(Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=)
Paradoxes in the blocksize debate
Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here:
(1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available.
But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)."
I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity.
(2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers.
I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff).
So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments.
But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction.
I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down).
Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"?
By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent.
I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply.
(BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.)
The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes.
This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-)
And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company?
Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)?
So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought.
Scaling
Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network.
So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster.
But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments).
Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever?
Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while?
And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses?
When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there.
But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions.
Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in?
And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture.
Are we using our capacity wisely?
I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years.
It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees.
When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.).
I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank.
Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server.
And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has.
Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database.
So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve.
But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into!
It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work.
Right? Right?
A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures
I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science).
My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there.
From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers).
It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds.
For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?).
Curry-Howard anyone?
I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java.
So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach.
And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations.
For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto.
And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks."
These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin.
But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise").
Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying.
And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols).
And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases.
(And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?)
And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database.
Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected.
I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize?
It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet."
So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network.
Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible.
It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff.
Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain.
XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine).
But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements").
One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin.
Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language).
They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do.
Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof
You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements.
Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure.
The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem.
There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce.
I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms.
I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply.
So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of desperate debate where both sides seem right because the other side seems wrong.
https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/neil.ghani/papers/ghani-calco07
The above paper is about "higher dimensional trees". It uses a bit of category theory (not a whole lot) and a bit of Haskell (again not a lot - just a simple data structure called a Rose tree, which has a wikipedia page) to develop a very expressive and efficient data structure which generalizes from lists to trees to higher dimensions.
I have no idea if this kind of data structure could be applicable to the current scaling mess we apparently are getting bogged down in - I don't have the game-theory skills to figure it out.
I just thought that since the blockchain is like a list, and since there are some tree-like structures which have been grafted on for efficiency (eg Merkle trees) and since many of the futuristic scaling proposals seem to also involve generalizing from list-like structures (eg, the blockchain) to tree-like structures (eg, side-chains and tree-chains)... well, who knows, there might be some nugget of algorithmic or architectural or data-structure inspiration there.
So... TL;DR:
(1) I'm freaked out that this blocksize debate has splintered the community so badly and dragged on so long, with no resolution in sight, and both sides seeming so right (because the other side seems so wrong).
(2) I think Bitcoin could gain immensely by using high-level formal, algebraic and co-algebraic program specification and verification languages (such as Maude including Maude-NPA, Mobile Maude parameterized skeletons, etc.) to specify (and possibly also, to some degree, verify) what Bitcoin does - before translating to low-level implementation languages such as C and Python and Java saying how Bitcoin does it. This would help to communicate and reason about programs with much more mathematical certitude - and possibly obviate the need for many political and economic tradeoffs which currently seem dismally inevitable - and possibly widen the collaboration on this project.
(3) I wonder if there are some Big Data approaches out there (eg, along the lines of Google's MapReduce and BigTable, or Yale's CalvinDB), which could be implemented to allow Bitcoin to scale massively and painlessly - and to satisfy all stakeholders, ranging from millionaires to micropayments, coffee drinkers to the great "unbanked".
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