Episode 8: Security

 

Security Best Practices

In this Episode I talk about

  • Computer Security
    • Malware/Antivirus
    • Bitdefender
    • Nord VPN
  • Password Security
    • Password Managers
    • Lastpass
  • 2 Factor Authentication
    • Software (TOTP)
    • Hardware (U2F)
      • YUBIKEY
  • OPSEC (Operational Security)
    • Be Quiet/Humble/Anonymous
  • Physical Security
  • Backup Security
    • Multiple Location/Multi-Region

 

NOTES:

 

There’s a bit of a sharp learning curve as you come into the crypto space.  With the great power over your wealth compared to the old system comes a great responsibility and diligence on your part to keep it safe.

I want to show you the path to financial freedom but also financial security.  This all may seem like a lot at first but its really not after you do it a few times, it just becomes a habit like a pin number on your debit card.

I have lost private keys and passwords to old crypto accounts that had at the time a few dollars in them and are now worth hundreds, not a “lost 51 million” story but its still significant.  Proper security  can keep this from ever happening to you.

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Episode 7: Cryptocurrency Mining

 

What is a Cryptocurrency Miner and what do they do?

In this Episode I talk about

  • What is a Cryptocurrency miner?
  • What function do they perform?
  • What is their incentive for mining?
  • Who can mine crypto?
    • How you can start mining crypto today
  • What different types of miners are there?
    • Proof of Work
    • Proof of Stake
    • Delegated Proof of Stake
  • Nodes Vs. Miners, what is the difference?

 

NOTES:

Mining is a vital function in cryptocurrencies, there are various different types of block verification systems depending on the cryptocurrency, but the verification of blocks makes the whole system function.  If no one verifies blocks of transactions there is NO blockchain to run on.

I started mining in 2013 mainly litecoin but also other various Altcoins such as Dogecoin, Vertcoin even Ronpaulcoin!  I bought 6 GPU’s, a milk crate a mother board and various other components and after weeks of banging my head on the wall trying to learn a brand new skill I finally got it working!

I overclocked (went over manufacturer recommendations on settings) and overheated my rigs multiple times.  I would monitor its stats over my blackberry via google remote desktop…so much easier now!

At the time I was living in Idaho so my power consumption was low, I even produced so much heat I was able to grow tomatoes indoors in december! I mined enough coins so that I broke even on the operating and initial costs and I stopped at the end of 2014 with an upcoming move to a new state.

Looking back on some of the transactions i had in my litecoin wallet…if I had held onto those coins I would have over 10 million dollars today! I dont by the way, if I did I wouldnt be recording my podcast in a refrigerator box lined with eggcrate foam!

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 6: Cryptocurrency Wallets

 

How do I choose a cryptocurrency walloet?

In this Episode I talk about

  • Terms and Definitions to understand crypto wallets
    • Public vs. Private Keys
    • Public key vs. Addresses
    • Mnemonic Device/Recover seeds
    • Hot vs. Cold Wallet
    • Custodial vs. Non Custodial Wallets
  • Mobile (app based) lite wallets
  • Hardware wallets
  • Multi-signature wallets
  • Paper Wallets
    • How to set up a bitcoin paper wallet
  • Best practices for keeping your private keys safe

 

NOTES:

My first wallets were the bitcoin and litecoin desktop wallets.  You can still download these and they function fine, they do however look all the part of a function over design 2013 wallet 🙂

In 2013 there was no commercial hardware wallet available, trezor was crowdfunding and finally launched in 2014.  If you had any significant amount of any cryptocurrency you would hold it in a paper wallet.  Paper wallets are still the gold standard as far as “near to perfect” security is concerned however a hardware wallet is the next best thing if you are unwilling to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your funds.

Remember that Crypto is about YOU being in charge of your wealth.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 5: Cryptocurency Exchanges

 

How do I choose an exchange?

In this Episode I talk about

  • Decentralized and Centralized Exchanges
  • Pro’s and Cons of Centralized Exchanges
    • Coinbase
    • Uphold
    • Kraken
    • Binance
    • Bittrex
  • Pro’s and Cons of Decentralized Exchanges

 

NOTES:

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the primary way that people are able to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies.  Centralized exchanges offer better usability, customer service options, the trade off being high fees for purchasing and trading (still lower than traditional markets).  Decentralized exchanges are wonderful additions to the space and offer extremely low fees and the knowledge that it can never be shut down.  I bought my first Bitcoin off of Coinbase in 2013, today I prefer uphold with their lower fees and great customer service.  Trading exchanges like binance, kraken and bittrex offer competitive trading fees however I would recommend that you don’t start trading until you actually learn how.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 4: How do I buy my first Bitcoin?

 

How do I buy my first Bitcoin?

In this Episode I talk about

  • How to buy Bitcoin
  • Pro’s and Cons of Centralized Exchanges
    • My personal experience with Coinbase
  • Pro’s and Cons of person to person to person purchases

 

NOTES:

 

 

 

I want all the listeners and readers to review the Disclaimer in regards to anything I say about this or that coin.  I am not a Financial adviser, all of this is for educational purposes only.

In 2013 I bought my first Bitcoin for around $400 on Coinbase and started to mine Litecoin soon after.  Its seems as though it has been a long time but its only 5 Years!

Buying your first Bitcoin and gettting into cryptocurrency can be a bit worrisome.  You are taking cash you worked hard for and are going to trade it for something you know a little bit, but not a lot about.

In this episode I will help you figure out HOW to buy your first Bitcoin and WHERE you should go to buy it.

With this episode I hope that I can help ease your worries a little bit.  Its very simple and easy to do and once you get into this world there’s no going back.  You will never look at banking and how we do business the same again.  A whole new world will be at your fingertips!

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 3: Coin Buying Checklist

How do I know what Cryptocurrency to Buy?

In this Episode I talk about

  • How to evaluate a Coin or ICO
  • Know yourself
    • Are you an Investor or Trader?
  • My Checklist for evaluating Coins
    • Value
    • Team
    • Competition
    • Hype
    • Community

NOTES:

 

I want all the listeners and readers to review the Disclaimer in regards to anything I say about this or that coin.  I am not a Financial adviser, all of this is for educational purposes only.  While there is great promise for the future of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain this market and space is inherently volatile so never invest anything you aren’t willing to see go to zero.

I personally have lost money in coins that I bought as a speculative investment, I have also made money.  I’ve made more money than I’ve lost so I continue to trade when I see an opportunity, but not as much as I used to.

Its very easy to get sucked into hype because you saw someone talking about this or that coin was going to Moon (go up in value exponentially) soon so you need to get on board now while its cheap.   You start to imagine how you could just stick in 1000 dollars and by the end of the month it could be 50 or 100k.  There were some major moves last year where that could have been the case, however more often than no its not, and people are trying to get suckers to buy in so they can steal their money.

If you use this checklist you will be able to effectively evaluate any coin you are looking at with a much better eye towards value outlook.  Its not foolproof.  If it was I’d be selling it for top dollar!  No one has the special sauce to guarantee anything.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee filled.

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Episode 2: What is Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency?

What is Bitcoin?


In this episode I talk about

  • Misunderstanding of the word “Cryptocurrency”
  • What is Currency and Money?
    • What are their characteristics?
  • Is Bitcoin a Currency?
  • Is Bitcoin money?
  • Gold & Fiat vs. Bitcoin
  • Why is Bitcoin better than what we have?
  • What is the one thing that makes bitcoin LESS attractive than Dollars or Gold?

NOTES:

In this episode we talk about Bitcoin and why its a better currency than dollars and a better money than gold.  I use Bitcoin as a catchall term for any crypto whos goal is to be used as a alternative to national issued currencies.

There are a multitude of differences between them in terms of functionality, etc. however these first episodes are to be considered introductions for people new to the space and I dont want to get mired in details at the moment, but present the concepts in easier to digest forms; later introducing the nuances that make this whole space so engaging and exciting.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee filled

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COINTEXT: Financial security and convenience to the world

When I first read the Bitcoin white paper in 2013 it took me awhile to realize what the full implications would be on the world. Blockchain is poised to revolutionize nearly every industry and how both corporations and individuals interact. The most revolutionary application for this technology was always, to me, as money.

Traditional fiat currencies lack the attribute that makes them truly money, being a store of value. Gold coins are money but are not inherently easily transferable in a global market place, requiring a tokenized version of value for exchange. Bitcoin was the first true MONEY for the digital age. A medium of exchange that could transcend borders, provide fast and cheap transfers of wealth and an immutable store of value in both its security and algorithmic restrictions.

Over time choices have been made that have led to Bitcoin becoming an unusable currency for daily transactions and not a true available alternative for those of this world that have the greatest need for a money that is secure from the inflationary tendencies of government and is as cheap as possible to transact in.

I take no real sides in these debates, but I am no bitcoin maximalist and do not believe that cryptocurrency innovation started and stopped in 2008.

A real issue with cryptocurrency and its application for adoption in the 3rd world is the lack of internet in many areas. As infrastructure continues to develop in the future this will become less and less an issue. But this IS an issue today and needs to be addressed.

Cointext is a platform that seeks to address this very issue by combining the proven use case of SMS payments in rural areas with the innovation of cryptocurrency. By simply sending a text to the regional number for your area, cointext, using your phone number and a proprietary algorithm as a seed creates a Bitcoin Cash wallet linked to your phone number.


To start, text your regional number (for the most up to date list check Cointext)

USA — 17077776185
Canada — 15067002100
UK — 447491163242
Australia — 61488811810
Netherlands — 3197014200771
South Africa — 27872406777
Switzerland — 41798073741
Sweden — 46700861888

I would recommend saving that number in your contacts as COINTEXT as all the commands will be issued through this text contact.

Check Balance:

Type “Balance” and your balance is texted back to you

View Public Address:

Type “Receive” and cointext will send you your Public Address. You also have the option to receive the Legacy address for your wallet if you need it.

This allows you to receive BCH in 2 ways, one being someone with cointext texting you BCH the other being your public address. You can use this public address to top off your account as well, its a real wallet this is not a custodial exchange account.

View Private Key:

One of the features being added before public Beta launches on 27 March 2018 will be the ability for you have your private key sent to you via text. This has inherent security risks, but allows you to control your wallet making cointext a non custodial service. The exact command for this has not been released as of this writing.

Send BCH to another person:

You can Send BCH to someone in the same ways you can receive it.

Type “SEND $5.32 7863224750″ and 5.32 USD worth of Bitcoin cash will be sent to that phone number. The cool thing about Cointext is that even if that person doesnt have cointext yet, once you send them BCH it automatically creates a wallet attached to their phone! FYI thats the white house switchboard line so dont text that number!

Type “SEND $150 qzxkesd6nhh8wha4d9k3sftsm4m0a6etuu65zesls5 ” and $150 USD worth of BCH will be sent to this bitcoin cash address. feel free to send $150 or any amount of BCH to this address as it its my Cointext wallet address 😉 This allows you to send your BCH to anyone, anywhere not just users of cointext.

After you hit send, whether to phone # or a public address a second text will appear with 2FA code to enter, enter that number and your transaction will then be broadcast to the network.

For a list of command instructions use this link.


Fees:

Fees are a flat rate of $0.05USD per transaction. So whether you send $1 or 1,000,000 you only pay $.05USD


WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?

In many third world nations the people do not trust their own currencies, it does not act as a store of value as their own governments inflate it to the point of destruction. In more rural areas banks are non existent and those who go abroad to find work are unable to easily transfer value to family back home. With cryptocurrency the immutable nature of the blockchain secures the value against government interference, however you still need access to the internet to ensure transact. Cointext removes this barrier and follows the same example MPESA set a decade earlier using text based money transfer system through the cell networks. While MPESA served and continues to serve a real need and are in essence a digital currency they are still organized in a centralized fashion. The centralized model is always inherently at risk of government intervention and manipulation due to the single point of failure being present; in this case safaricom.

Bitcoin Cash is a peer to peer decentralized model. There is no person that can be pressured or server that can be hacked to disrupt the flow of value occurring on the network. With Cointext these people can truly have access to a safe and secure money that is 2800% cheaper than the leading alternative for remittances from overseas to their rural families.


Things to consider…

  • Cointext is not a custodial account. They do not have access to your private keys so if you lose access to your phone number and dont have your private key you will NOT have access to your funds. This is no different than any other non custodial service. If you are going to be changing phone numbers send all your BCH to a new wallet, after you get a new number text Cointext to get your new address and then resend the funds back to yourself. This is not a perfect system and a bit of a hitch in this as i can see real issues of rural people losing phones etc. Also Remember if you have control of your PUBLIC and PRIVATE keys your funds are always available to you no matter what happens to your number

 

  • Cell Number Spoofing is a real concern. If youre not familiar with this, basically a caller can use VOIP to call you from a number in say Croatia but it appear on your caller ID to be a local number, thus increasing the chances you pick up a telemarketers call. With Cointext it could be possible that i spoof your cell number and send a text that says “SEND $15000 qzxkesd6nhh8wha4d9k3sftsm4m0a6etuu65zesls5 ” because i heard you say you had 15000 in your cointext account on your phone in a coffee shop and then give out your number. Now i just got all your BCH right? Wrong. As i mentioned in the Send command section you will be sent a 2FA code via text that you have to reenter to verify the transaction. You see, spoofers can fake a text that looks like its FROM you but they cannot RECEIVE any incoming texts to you. FYI once again feel free to send BCH to the above address 😉

The public beta is live on March 28, 2018 sign up NOW

Permissioned vs Permissionless Blockchains

Who will win and will it matter?

Originally published on Medium on March 22, 2018


Blockchain technology has been quietly gaining more and more traction within business and finance over the last few years as its ability to efficiently secure data and transactions becomes more apparent everyday.

Bitcoin, as an experiment, is the greatest bug bounty program in history. If someone were to find a backdoor, any problem in the code that person would become extremely rich. They have not yet. The blockchain experiment proves itself everyday by merely existing.

To understand permissioned vs. permissionless blockchains we need to first understand decentralized and centralized systems in general.


Centralized vs. Decentralized Systems:

Bitcoin was created not to compliment centralized systems but in an adversarial role to the current centralized systems of governance.

A centralized system is one that that is governed by a hierarchical authority; examples of such being banks, credit card company’s, etc. If you want to use a Visa card you must request access from Visa and be approved. At any time your access to that line of credit, or in the case of a bank, your funds may be made unavailable to you and your access permanently revoked.

Conversely a decentralized system is one that requires no permission to access or use its network. As an example, Bitcoin has no barriers to entry outside of a computer and internet access. Anyone from rich to poor can download a bitcoin wallet and immediately be able to send and receive funds. No matter what you do, what you say or who you say it to, no one can put a hold on your funds or stop you from interacting in the crypto market place outside a third part restricting your access to the internet. That being said there are technologies like COINTEXT which I wrote about in an earlier articlethat allows anyone with access to a cell tower to create a wallet and transact using Bitcoin Cash (BCH). With this service, technically someone could theoretically live completely within crypto without having ever accessed the internet.


PERMISSIONED VS. PERMISSIONLESS BLOCKCHAINS:

Now that we have a general understanding of decentralized and centralized systems we can more readily understand permissionless and permissioned blockchains.

Permissionless:

Bitcoin as was already described above is the example of a permissionless blockchain. There is no barrier to entry to use it. Anyone can run a node, run mining software/hardware, access a wallet and write data onto and transact within the blockchain (as long as they follow the rules of the bitcoin blockchain). There is no way to censor anyone, ever, on the permissionless bitcoin blockchain.

Permissioned:

Sometimes referred to as “private” blockchains, you are required to have some sort of permission to access any or parts of that blockchain. There are a multitude of variants and hybrid permissioned/permissionless blockchains that exist. For example a blockchain may be public to read the information but require permission to access or transact on their network.

Ripple, as an example, is a hybrid permissioned blockchain whereby they, as a central authority, act as the transaction validators and build their own nodes throughout the world, even though you may transact using their XRP token without permission.

Other permissioned blockchains may be totally in house (highly permissioned), unable to be accessed or read outside of the authority who controls it.

Some claim that blockchains without POW (Proof of Work) mining algorithms for verification are not blockchains at all but merely shared ledgers. I dont totally agree, I think it would have to depend on the circumstance and besides, those of us who disagree are comeing from the decentralization point of view and as such shouldnt be in the business of being “Only we may grant thine use of the word blockchain” definition authoritarians.

Continue reading

Episode 1: What is Blockchain

WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?


In this Episode we will talk about

  • What are the characteristics of blockchain technology
    • Decentralized peer to peer network
    • Public transaction ledger
    • Rules for independent validation of transactions
    • Mechanism to reach decentralized consensus
  • Sample bitcoin tansaction from start to finish
  • Simplified explanation of a blockchain

NOTES:

 

This episode is meant to be a crash course in blockchain and Cryptocurrency fundamentals.  I will introduce the technical jargon and terms used in this space and then break them down in easier to understand chunks.  I do this not to overwhelm you but so you know what people are talking about if you hear these term mentioned ever again.

Blockchain is going to revolutionize the way our world works.  It will touch everything in your life from how your food gets to your local store to how we vote.  Most of this will be happening in the background, you wont notice unless you look.  Listen and learn how to your future will be shaped.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee filled.

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