Limits

Technical: The Path to Taproot Activation

Taproot! Everybody wants to have it, somebody wants to make it, nobody knows how to get it!
(If you are asking why everybody wants it, see: Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?)
(Pedants: I mostly elide over lockin times)
Briefly, Taproot is that neat new thing that gets us:
So yes, let's activate taproot!

The SegWit Wars

The biggest problem with activating Taproot is PTSD from the previous softfork, SegWit. Pieter Wuille, one of the authors of the current Taproot proposal, has consistently held the position that he will not discuss activation, and will accept whatever activation process is imposed on Taproot. Other developers have expressed similar opinions.
So what happened with SegWit activation that was so traumatic? SegWit used the BIP9 activation method. Let's dive into BIP9!

BIP9 Miner-Activated Soft Fork

Basically, BIP9 has a bunch of parameters:
Now there are other parameters (name, starttime) but they are not anywhere near as important as the above two.
A number that is not a parameter, is 95%. Basically, activation of a BIP9 softfork is considered as actually succeeding if at least 95% of blocks in the last 2 weeks had the specified bit in the nVersion set. If less than 95% had this bit set before the timeout, then the upgrade fails and never goes into the network. This is not a parameter: it is a constant defined by BIP9, and developers using BIP9 activation cannot change this.
So, first some simple questions and their answers:

The Great Battles of the SegWit Wars

SegWit not only fixed transaction malleability, it also created a practical softforkable blocksize increase that also rebalanced weights so that the cost of spending a UTXO is about the same as the cost of creating UTXOs (and spending UTXOs is "better" since it limits the size of the UTXO set that every fullnode has to maintain).
So SegWit was written, the activation was decided to be BIP9, and then.... miner signalling stalled at below 75%.
Thus were the Great SegWit Wars started.

BIP9 Feature Hostage

If you are a miner with at least 5% global hashpower, you can hold a BIP9-activated softfork hostage.
You might even secretly want the softfork to actually push through. But you might want to extract concession from the users and the developers. Like removing the halvening. Or raising or even removing the block size caps (which helps larger miners more than smaller miners, making it easier to become a bigger fish that eats all the smaller fishes). Or whatever.
With BIP9, you can hold the softfork hostage. You just hold out and refuse to signal. You tell everyone you will signal, if and only if certain concessions are given to you.
This ability by miners to hold a feature hostage was enabled because of the miner-exit allowed by the timeout on BIP9. Prior to that, miners were considered little more than expendable security guards, paid for the risk they take to secure the network, but not special in the grand scheme of Bitcoin.

Covert ASICBoost

ASICBoost was a novel way of optimizing SHA256 mining, by taking advantage of the structure of the 80-byte header that is hashed in order to perform proof-of-work. The details of ASICBoost are out-of-scope here but you can read about it elsewhere
Here is a short summary of the two types of ASICBoost, relevant to the activation discussion.
Now, "overt" means "obvious", while "covert" means hidden. Overt ASICBoost is obvious because nVersion bits that are not currently in use for BIP9 activations are usually 0 by default, so setting those bits to 1 makes it obvious that you are doing something weird (namely, Overt ASICBoost). Covert ASICBoost is non-obvious because the order of transactions in a block are up to the miner anyway, so the miner rearranging the transactions in order to get lower power consumption is not going to be detected.
Unfortunately, while Overt ASICBoost was compatible with SegWit, Covert ASICBoost was not. This is because, pre-SegWit, only the block header Merkle tree committed to the transaction ordering. However, with SegWit, another Merkle tree exists, which commits to transaction ordering as well. Covert ASICBoost would require more computation to manipulate two Merkle trees, obviating the power benefits of Covert ASICBoost anyway.
Now, miners want to use ASICBoost (indeed, about 60->70% of current miners probably use the Overt ASICBoost nowadays; if you have a Bitcoin fullnode running you will see the logs with lots of "60 of last 100 blocks had unexpected versions" which is exactly what you would see with the nVersion manipulation that Overt ASICBoost does). But remember: ASICBoost was, at around the time, a novel improvement. Not all miners had ASICBoost hardware. Those who did, did not want it known that they had ASICBoost hardware, and wanted to do Covert ASICBoost!
But Covert ASICBoost is incompatible with SegWit, because SegWit actually has two Merkle trees of transaction data, and Covert ASICBoost works by fudging around with transaction ordering in a block, and recomputing two Merkle Trees is more expensive than recomputing just one (and loses the ASICBoost advantage).
Of course, those miners that wanted Covert ASICBoost did not want to openly admit that they had ASICBoost hardware, they wanted to keep their advantage secret because miners are strongly competitive in a very tight market. And doing ASICBoost Covertly was just the ticket, but they could not work post-SegWit.
Fortunately, due to the BIP9 activation process, they could hold SegWit hostage while covertly taking advantage of Covert ASICBoost!

UASF: BIP148 and BIP8

When the incompatibility between Covert ASICBoost and SegWit was realized, still, activation of SegWit stalled, and miners were still not openly claiming that ASICBoost was related to non-activation of SegWit.
Eventually, a new proposal was created: BIP148. With this rule, 3 months before the end of the SegWit timeout, nodes would reject blocks that did not signal SegWit. Thus, 3 months before SegWit timeout, BIP148 would force activation of SegWit.
This proposal was not accepted by Bitcoin Core, due to the shortening of the timeout (it effectively times out 3 months before the initial SegWit timeout). Instead, a fork of Bitcoin Core was created which added the patch to comply with BIP148. This was claimed as a User Activated Soft Fork, UASF, since users could freely download the alternate fork rather than sticking with the developers of Bitcoin Core.
Now, BIP148 effectively is just a BIP9 activation, except at its (earlier) timeout, the new rules would be activated anyway (instead of the BIP9-mandated behavior that the upgrade is cancelled at the end of the timeout).
BIP148 was actually inspired by the BIP8 proposal (the link here is a historical version; BIP8 has been updated recently, precisely in preparation for Taproot activation). BIP8 is basically BIP9, but at the end of timeout, the softfork is activated anyway rather than cancelled.
This removed the ability of miners to hold the softfork hostage. At best, they can delay the activation, but not stop it entirely by holding out as in BIP9.
Of course, this implies risk that not all miners have upgraded before activation, leading to possible losses for SPV users, as well as again re-pressuring miners to signal activation, possibly without the miners actually upgrading their software to properly impose the new softfork rules.

BIP91, SegWit2X, and The Aftermath

BIP148 inspired countermeasures, possibly from the Covert ASiCBoost miners, possibly from concerned users who wanted to offer concessions to miners. To this day, the common name for BIP148 - UASF - remains an emotionally-charged rallying cry for parts of the Bitcoin community.
One of these was SegWit2X. This was brokered in a deal between some Bitcoin personalities at a conference in New York, and thus part of the so-called "New York Agreement" or NYA, another emotionally-charged acronym.
The text of the NYA was basically:
  1. Set up a new activation threshold at 80% signalled at bit 4 (vs bit 1 for SegWit).
    • When this 80% signalling was reached, miners would require that bit 1 for SegWit be signalled to achive the 95% activation needed for SegWit.
  2. If the bit 4 signalling reached 80%, increase the block weight limit from the SegWit 4000000 to the SegWit2X 8000000, 6 months after bit 1 activation.
The first item above was coded in BIP91.
Unfortunately, if you read the BIP91, independently of NYA, you might come to the conclusion that BIP91 was only about lowering the threshold to 80%. In particular, BIP91 never mentions anything about the second point above, it never mentions that bit 4 80% threshold would also signal for a later hardfork increase in weight limit.
Because of this, even though there are claims that NYA (SegWit2X) reached 80% dominance, a close reading of BIP91 shows that the 80% dominance was only for SegWit activation, without necessarily a later 2x capacity hardfork (SegWit2X).
This ambiguity of bit 4 (NYA says it includes a 2x capacity hardfork, BIP91 says it does not) has continued to be a thorn in blocksize debates later. Economically speaking, Bitcoin futures between SegWit and SegWit2X showed strong economic dominance in favor of SegWit (SegWit2X futures were traded at a fraction in value of SegWit futures: I personally made a tidy but small amount of money betting against SegWit2X in the futures market), so suggesting that NYA achieved 80% dominance even in mining is laughable, but the NYA text that ties bit 4 to SegWit2X still exists.
Historically, BIP91 triggered which caused SegWit to activate before the BIP148 shorter timeout. BIP148 proponents continue to hold this day that it was the BIP148 shorter timeout and no-compromises-activate-on-August-1 that made miners flock to BIP91 as a face-saving tactic that actually removed the second clause of NYA. NYA supporters keep pointing to the bit 4 text in the NYA and the historical activation of BIP91 as a failed promise by Bitcoin developers.

Taproot Activation Proposals

There are two primary proposals I can see for Taproot activation:
  1. BIP8.
  2. Modern Softfork Activation.
We have discussed BIP8: roughly, it has bit and timeout, if 95% of miners signal bit it activates, at the end of timeout it activates. (EDIT: BIP8 has had recent updates: at the end of timeout it can now activate or fail. For the most part, in the below text "BIP8", means BIP8-and-activate-at-timeout, and "BIP9" means BIP8-and-fail-at-timeout)
So let's take a look at Modern Softfork Activation!

Modern Softfork Activation

This is a more complex activation method, composed of BIP9 and BIP8 as supcomponents.
  1. First have a 12-month BIP9 (fail at timeout).
  2. If the above fails to activate, have a 6-month discussion period during which users and developers and miners discuss whether to continue to step 3.
  3. Have a 24-month BIP8 (activate at timeout).
The total above is 42 months, if you are counting: 3.5 years worst-case activation.
The logic here is that if there are no problems, BIP9 will work just fine anyway. And if there are problems, the 6-month period should weed it out. Finally, miners cannot hold the feature hostage since the 24-month BIP8 period will exist anyway.

PSA: Being Resilient to Upgrades

Software is very birttle.
Anyone who has been using software for a long time has experienced something like this:
  1. You hear a new version of your favorite software has a nice new feature.
  2. Excited, you install the new version.
  3. You find that the new version has subtle incompatibilities with your current workflow.
  4. You are sad and downgrade to the older version.
  5. You find out that the new version has changed your files in incompatible ways that the old version cannot work with anymore.
  6. You tearfully reinstall the newer version and figure out how to get your lost productivity now that you have to adapt to a new workflow
If you are a technically-competent user, you might codify your workflow into a bunch of programs. And then you upgrade one of the external pieces of software you are using, and find that it has a subtle incompatibility with your current workflow which is based on a bunch of simple programs you wrote yourself. And if those simple programs are used as the basis of some important production system, you hve just screwed up because you upgraded software on an important production system.
And well, one of the issues with new softfork activation is that if not enough people (users and miners) upgrade to the newest Bitcoin software, the security of the new softfork rules are at risk.
Upgrading software of any kind is always a risk, and the more software you build on top of the software-being-upgraded, the greater you risk your tower of software collapsing while you change its foundations.
So if you have some complex Bitcoin-manipulating system with Bitcoin somewhere at the foundations, consider running two Bitcoin nodes:
  1. One is a "stable-version" Bitcoin node. Once it has synced, set it up to connect=x.x.x.x to the second node below (so that your ISP bandwidth is only spent on the second node). Use this node to run all your software: it's a stable version that you don't change for long periods of time. Enable txiindex, disable pruning, whatever your software needs.
  2. The other is an "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin Node. Keep its stoarge down with pruning (initially sync it off the "stable-version" node). You can't use blocksonly if your "stable-version" node needs to send transactions, but otherwise this "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node can be kept as a low-resource node, so you can run both nodes in the same machine.
When a new Bitcoin version comes up, you just upgrade the "always-up-to-date" Bitcoin node. This protects you if a future softfork activates, you will only receive valid Bitcoin blocks and transactions. Since this node has nothing running on top of it, it is just a special peer of the "stable-version" node, any software incompatibilities with your system software do not exist.
Your "stable-version" Bitcoin node remains the same version until you are ready to actually upgrade this node and are prepared to rewrite most of the software you have running on top of it due to version compatibility problems.
When upgrading the "always-up-to-date", you can bring it down safely and then start it later. Your "stable-version" wil keep running, disconnected from the network, but otherwise still available for whatever queries. You do need some system to stop the "always-up-to-date" node if for any reason the "stable-version" goes down (otherwisee if the "always-up-to-date" advances its pruning window past what your "stable-version" has, the "stable-version" cannot sync afterwards), but if you are technically competent enough that you need to do this, you are technically competent enough to write such a trivial monitor program (EDIT: gmax notes you can adjust the pruning window by RPC commands to help with this as well).
This recommendation is from gmaxwell on IRC, by the way.
submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[ Bitcoin ] Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

Topic originally posted in Bitcoin by almkglor [link]
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given private key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

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Urgent Advice Needed - Issues Refunding Money to a Client, Possible Money Laundering?

Hey everyone, so buckle up, this is a story.
I'm a freelance translator with my name and contact info out on several sites to connect translators to clients. So, when I got an email from my customer, L, I didn't think anything of it when she asked me to translate a research paper from German to English. Prior to even opening the document she sent me, I told her I wanted a contract signed - nothing major, just run of the mill stuff. You know, to make sure both of us were protected.
It entailed a 50% deposit for me (this paper was 46 pages and I have a policy that past X amount of words, I need a deposit for any time spent on a project. It's non-refundable, so I get paid even if the project gets canceled). She refused both of those things.
Like most people, I'm in a pretty tough spot right now. I knew I shouldn't have even continued speaking with her, but with my fee agreed upon, I was looking at almost $10,000 for the entire projected when all three phases were complete.
After refusing to sign a contract and agree to a deposit, she told me, and this is a direct quote "the money will be our contract". I was willing to operate on good faith, so I told her I'd get to work when the payment processed.
The amount we agreed on for Phase One was 1150.00, but she sent me - via her "sponsor", some random account in Arizona, even though she claims to be overseas - 7,176.00.
There was no warning, no notice telling me that they were sending me more than we agreed, or that the payment would be coming from Arizona. I contacted L and asked for clarification. She told me it was for payment for the next 2 phases due to start in the fall. I accepted that and kept working.
I finished the project 2 weeks before it was due and sent her the final document. Two days later, she sends at email telling me that the final 2 phases have been postponed and she needs the extra 6 grand or so back, asap.
Well, things happen, whatever. So I asked her how she wanted it returned to her.
This is where shit gets weird.
First, she tells me she wants it done via Zelle, which is connected directly to my bank. She sends me a contact and asks for all of the money to be sent at once. I tell her that since it's a new recipient, I can only send $500 and there's monthly limits on my account as to how much I can send in a 30 day period.
Now, her name is Lara, that's the only person I've been talking to directly. But the name on the Zelle account was Caldon H. I thought that was the name of her sponsor.
She proceeds to ignore my telling her about sending limits and demands a refund. I explain to her again, with screenshots from my banking app backing me up, that I'm limited by sending limits. I tell her that I'll repay her in $500 installments until all the surplus funds are returned.
Not fast enough. She then demands I use Cashapp. Oiy. This was a mess. I did reading and research on the app, since I'd never heard of it before and was alarmed to say the least. But she was sending text after text, email after email demanding a status update. She sends me another account to transfer the money to:
Linda. So, so far we have Lara, Caldon, Linda. Keep count of those names.
I ask who Linda is, no answer, just more demands. Cashapp, true to fashion, fails. I'm unable to add so much as a dollar to my account to send "Linda" and while I wrestle with this and try and find support to contact - HAH - I get payment requests via Cashapp and yet more emails and texts from Lara.
I explain to Lara, once again with screenshots showing that the app isn't working despite my linking both my debit card and checking account to it. She ignores that. Linda sends more payment requests.
I tell her, hey this isn't working. What about Venmo? Paypal? She ignores that and demands wire transfer. She sends account info for someone named Mark. I ask who Mark is, no response. I attempt to send the wire transfer via my banking website and the bank legit tells me that that account does not accept wire transfers. What...
So, more screenshots and then I ask her to double check account and routing numbers. She gets back to me with "the information is correct. Be patient when entering numbers." As if it's my fault.
So I try it again and it fails, again. After that I contact my bank directly and speak with their support line. We do the whole song and dance and they tell me that everything is kosher on my end, but the issue lies with the information I was given, confirming my suspicions.
I send her another email explaining everything, that I'd spoken directly with bank support. She tells me, once again, that the fault is mine and to just go to the post office and get money orders in $1000.00 amounts, leaving the recipient blank...
Yeah you read that right. Leave it blank. Overnight it via Fedex to some guy named James, in Georgia.
Arizona, Georgia, Germany. James, Caldon, Linda, Matthew, Lara.
I tell her point blank, I can't go to the post office. I'm in Idaho and COVID cases are skyrocketing. I'm high risk, so is my partner and one of my two roommates. Like, die for sure, high risk.
I try a wire transfer via Western Union instead. At this point, this has been going on for a week. I've been getting 4am texts and 6am phone calls for a week. She's on me for about 10-12 hours a day.
I'm a full-time student on top of this, with one more semester of undergrad. But classes have taken a back seat so I can deal with this.
Western Union holds the transfer under review and tells me that it will take 6 business days to show up in James' account. I tell Lara and assume that we're on the final leg of this mess.
Surprise, WU cancels the wire transfer. I call support and they tell me it's issues with the account I'm sending money to. I tell Lara and she starts getting snappy.
We try wire transfers for the last time, this time to someone named Matthew Green, different Matthew than the first, in Dallas. It fails. I spend $60 trying to send them. My bank calls ME and says they're concerned about fraud. I tell them I'm trying to send money and confirm info I was given. Once again, everything is fine with me, but it's issues with the account Lara wants me to send money to. I tell her and once again she changes her track.
She demands, again, money orders, same rules as last time and I tell her no, again and explain why. She ignores that and tells me to do Cashapp, again. We spend an entire day with me telling that I'm not comfortable with Cashapp. It's not dependabe, it doesn't work. There's no support for me to contact if things go wrong - which of course it will - and she insists. She ignores my concerns and insists. I tell her, fine, but I want a written and signed statement from you that you are demanding this and that I'm not responsible if things get messed up and you never get the money.
She signs a statement and the I try again. Same issues. I tell that, in another long email.
By this point, it's been 2 weeks. I'm stressed, drained and tired of her weird behavior. I tell her that I've been understanding and patient with her. I've tried to help her fix her mistake of sending too much money too soon. That we never agreed on that much money and reminding her that SHE refused to sign a contact that would have protected us both.
I tell her, Paypal or Venmo. No cashapp, no wire transfers (which I'm out $60 trying to send fyi). Paypal or venmo. If she doesn't have an account, find someone that does.
She sends me a Paypal account url for someone named Micheal. A new name. I ask who Micheal is, who are these people? Why are they all over the US? She ignores that, demands the money. I try to send payments, but I can't send more than $5 to MIcheal at a time.
I tell Lara and she blames me. Says I'm not doing it right. I'm supposed to send payments in multiple transactions of varying amounts, small to large. "No Tracking info", whatever that means.
I tell her, look, I can't send you anything. Check your account info, I'm tired of this BS. She sends the same info again, nothing about her contacting support for once. I try again. It fails, same issues. I contact support myself and they tell me - - you guessed it, my account is solid. Hers is not. She is why the money isn't going through.
I tell her that and suggest Venmo. At this point, I can't think of anything else and I'm planning on contacting my bank to ask advice, but my last request for Venmo was made at 11:30pm MST. I'd been dealing with this since 8am MST. I was tired, done. I sent that email and screencaps and turned my phone off for the night.
I get up this morning, make my coffee and check my work email. I get an email form Lara saying that I'm the reason the payments are failing "once again" and "following my instructions, now. Send it via Venmo, no tracking info. Do it now."
I decide to be a sport one last time. I try Venmo. It fails.
I'm writing this post to ask for what other steps, legally, I need to take to protect myself. Once again, she didn't sign a contract. I've saved all emails and texts, and all of them show they we agreed on 1150.00 as payment for this job.
They show that I've tried to return the money to her over the course of 2 weeks. She refuses to let me speak to Coldon, Linda, Matthew Green, Matthew M, James (who she claims died yesterday), or Micheal Brown. She answers none of my questions. She sends aggressive emails and so many texts that I had to block her number on my phone.
I'm completely at a loss. The longer this goes on, the less legit it seems and I need some advice. I plan to speak to my bank today and ask if they can refund the money to the account that paid me. I can't get info on that account from Lara, no routing or account numbers. So my hopes are slim.
I have no idea if Lara has any legal recourse or ground to stand on, since she refused to sign a contract and all attempts to return the money to her have failed. As I said, I've saved all emails and texts showing that I tried to work with her.

Any ideas? Anything would help. I want this to be over and done with.

UPDATE: I contacted the fraud department at my bank, explained everything and they said that we see that you've attempted to return the money multiple times and none of it has worked. They said I have 2 more options:
"If they really want that money, offer to send a personal check. We'll start a research claim in the meantime and that will take up to 10 business days to either be resolved, or you will be contacted by a member of the Research Claims department."
I asked what my options are if they refuse a personal check and the banker said "Then you've done everything you can. Wait for the research claim to be resolved or to be contacted. You've done everything you can up to this point and we can see that clearly."
Lara has refused a personal check, demanding a cashier's check instead. I told her "My bank advised me to only send personal checks, not cashier's check. There must be a name and a legit address. I will not leave it blank."
She asked me to send it via bitcoin.
My reply: No. I have filed a research claim with the fraud department of my bank to get to the bottom of this. They will resolve it as they see fit.
That will be my last communication with her.
submitted by aeternamque to legaladvice [link] [comments]

16 Apps That Will Earn You Passive Cash Back (Best Passive Saving Apps 2020)

This is the updated 2020 Q1/Q2 version of this post. If you remember reading the previous iteration of this post, there are several changes to the list this time around. Some new additions, and some removals.
Note: Most of these apps will be US only, with a minimum age requirement of 18.
Having said that, let's get right into it.

16 Passive Cash Back Apps 2020

Pei (Ref)

Pei is an automatic cash back app. When you sign up, you'll link a debit/credit card and you'll then automatically start earning cash back as you shop at certain Pei merchants (listed just below). There are so many merchants with Pei that you'll likely find yourself accidentally earning cash back on the app, without even knowing it. Pei is an app that you can really just link a card and then check back weeks later and surprise yourself with the money you've earned. Pei deserves the top spot in this post because of how consistent it is, and just how many places you can earn cash back with it. You can cash out instantly as soon as you reach $25 in your account. If you sign up with a referral code, you'll get a $2.50 bonus once you spend at a Pei merchant. You can use the referral code found on the most common Beermoney Sites thread here.

Pros of Pei:

So with all of that being said, let's talk about the stores you can find on Pei. Just note that these are only stores that are local to me, so if I don't have a certain store near me that Pei offers, I won't have it on this list. Additionally, Pei actually offers so many stores at this point that there's no way for me to actually keep this list up to date at all. There have been countless times where I've shopped somewhere that doesn't even come up as an option to earn with Pei but I'll see cash back listed on the app. It's really quite impressive.
In addition to receiving cash back at many locations, Pei also has a 'loyalty bonus' where if you shop at a certain store 5x you'll earn a bonus of up to $100 (but usually way less).
Pei Also just released a new feature called "Party Cash". Basically with Party Cash if you ever go shopping somewhere with your friends who also have Pei, you can start a party, and for each friend you shop with, each person will get a +1% bonus. For example, if I go shopping at Target with 2 other friends and we all start a Party Cash on Pei, we'll each get 1% (for usual cash back) plus 2% cash back from Party Cash, for a total of 3% cash back.
Most stores do have a $5 daily/weekly earning limit, so do be aware that if you spend more than ~$500, you'll likely reach an earning cap.

Dosh (Nonref)

Ref: KJK6

Dosh is one fastest growing cash back apps on this list. Similar to Pei, it's a card linked program where you'll automatically earn cash back when you shop at several local and national brands. On average you'll earn 3-5% cash back when you shop at the brands featured on Dosh. As soon as you hit $25 in your balance, you can cash out to PayPal.
The biggest downfall of Dosh is that the offers in the app change frequently, and the offers are targeted, meaning that not everyone will see the same offers.
Below are some of the current offers for instant cash back that you might find on Dosh. Note that only instant cash back offers found on the app will earn you cash back automatically when you spend with your card.
Dosh also does have a generous referral program where you'll get $5 when you sign up and link a card, and so will the referrer. If you'd like to, you can enter my code, KJK6 or use my referral link (nonref)
BTW, If you've heard of Dosh before, that might make sense. If you use Venmo and have the Venmo debit card, they recently introduced Venmo Rewards, which is powered by Dosh.

HOOCH Rewards (Ref Link)

HOOCH has earned the number 3 spot on this list this time around because of all the programs on this list, it has remained consistent. HOOCH will automatically earn you cash back when you link a credit/debit card whenever you shop at several national brands.
If you understand how Pei or Dosh above works, there's not really much more to say about HOOCH's cash back system.
You'll instantly earn 1% cash back at the following national brands:
  • Uber
  • iTunes
  • Starbucks
  • Domino's
  • Netflix
  • Shake Shack
  • Spotify
  • Audible
  • Redbox
  • Uber Eats
  • Hulu
  • In-N-Out
  • Chipotle
In addition to 1% cash back at the national brands, here are some other ways you'll earn with HOOCH:
  • Connecting your first card ($5 bonus)
  • Drink at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
  • Book a Hotel (5%)
  • Dine at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
  • Refer friends
HOOCH started a long while back as a subscription app where you'll buy a subscription and you'll get a free drink at a HOOCH venue every day. The venues are extremely limited, so a majority of the people reading this won't find any value in that plan. Dining is just as rare.
Their referral system appears to be pretty generous. They're currently offering a $5 bonus for signing up, as well as $1 for the referrer, as well as a 20% bonus on their earnings for life. Here's my referral link, and a nonref link :)
Here's the downfall of HOOCH:
You can only cash out for gift cards, and the minimum is $25.
For most people, this is a really big disadvantage of this app. Assuming that most people will only be earning through the 1% cash back brands, the minimum you'll need to spend in order to his the cash out minimum is $2500, which would likely take most people a really long time, since the brand options are not places where you're likely to spend a lot of money frequently...like, for example, a grocery store.
But still, you could probably earn yourself a few free gift cards every once in a while for a totally passive app.

Bumped (Sign up & join waitlist!)

Bumped is an investing app, when you really boil it down. When you sign up you'll select one brand in each category (there are a lot of categories, you'll see below), and each time you shop at the selected brand, you'll earn the certain specified purchase back in the form of company stock. This is unique to all of the other apps on this list, because you're actually receiving company stock. Also, because of this, I think it's very important to note that in order to sign up for Bumped you'll need to enter your SSN since you will be opening up a brokerage account.
As of posting, the following are the category options that you can choose from:
I've bolded the brands I selected. Obviously you should pick a brand that you can find yourself using the most. Do note that if you pick a brand that you might want to change later, you'll get the opportunity to change your brands 3 times a year, at least 30 days in between.
Category Options
Burgers 3% at Jack in the Box
3% at McDonald's
3% at Wendy's
Coffee 2% at Dunkin' Donuts
2% at Starbucks
Drug Stores 2% at CVS
1% at Walgreens
Family Dining 2% at Applebees
2% at Chili's
2% at Olive Garden
2% at Red Robin
Grocery 1% at Kroger Family of Stores
Home Improvement 0.5% at The Home Depot
Mexican Food 2% at Chipotle Mexican Grill
2% at Taco Bell
Music Subscriptions 1% at Pandora
5% at Spotify
Pizza 1% at Domino's
5% at Papa John's
2% at Pizza Hut
Ride Sharing 0.5% at Lyft
0.5% at Uber
Superstores 1% at Target
1% at Walmart
Telecommunications 0.5% at AT&T
0.5% at T-Mobile
0.5% at Verizon Wireless
Video Subscriptions 1% at Netflix
5% at Sling TV
Vineyards 1% at Willamette Valley Vineyards
One thing that is listed on the app is that if you want to move your way up on the waitlist you can refer your friends to join the waitlist as well.

Bits

Bits (of stock) is very similar to Bumped. It's better in some ways, but worse in most.
Similar to Bumped, there's a waitlist. Note that Bits is currently only available on iOS, but they have teased a version for Android will be coming.
So, here's the issue with Bits...
There's no brokerage accounts set up.
If you're not sure what that means, basically in order for you to actually own and trade stocks, you'll need to do it through a brokerage account. For example, if you use Robinhood, you own a brokerage account at Robinhood. If you use TD Ameritrade, you'll have a brokerage account at TD Ameritrade. So basically the app will say that you're getting stock back as you spend, but there's no way to actually sell your stock. Basically what I'm saying is that until the brokerage account is added, you're really just receiving play money. Bits has been extremely silent about the release of the brokerage accounts... I asked them back in December and they said they were aiming to release it "next month". Three months have passed since then, so I asked last week and they again said the same thing.. the goal is a release next month (April). We'll just have to wait and see. The point here is -- assume you're not earning anything with Bits until they add the brokerage accounts. This post will be updated once the accounts are added.
So, as for the actual cash back from Bits, you're able to choose 15 brands (that you can change at any time). I'll list the brands you can choose from below. What's interesting is that when the app first launched, all of the brands offered a 2% CB rate (which is unsustainably high). The rates have since come down to 0.5% for all brands.
To save characters, here's a recording of me scrolling through the brands offered. If you don't want to watch that video, just know that there are a lot of brands to choose from.

Ibotta (Ref Link)

Ibottais a cash back app that has been around for years, but this is its first time being added to this list. When the app originally launched, you would earn on the app by selecting cash back products that you could purchase and receive a rebate. Once you selected products you wanted to purchase, you would then scan the products after purchasing them to confirm your purchase, and then submit a photo of your receipt.
That doesn't sound too passive, now, does it?
Well, over the last little while, the app has come a very long way. In most cases you no longer need to select rebates you want to purchase, and in most cases you don't even need to scan a receipt, if you're shopping somewhere where you can link a rewards membership.
For example, I shop at Meijer and Target primarily for groceries. Both of these stores allow me to link my accounts with the stores, so for Target any time I shop and spend using a credit card that is linked to my Target account, I'll get cash back automatically. Same thin for Meijer. As soon as I enter my mPerks phone number, I'll get cash back.
What's great is that you don't even have to select offers anymore. So this is one of those cases where you might accidentally get cash back. Also, just to clarify, you're getting cash back for the products you purchase, not the place that you're shopping... which is different than most of the other apps featured on this list.
Even if you don't purchase a product that qualifies for a rebate, you'll probably find yourself earning cash back almost every time you shop because Ibotta has several "Any" offers, meaning any time you buy "any" kind of a product, say.. blinker fluid, for example, you'll earn cash back for your blinker fluid purchase regardless of the brand. These offers are optimal for cash back.
I personally went a whole couple months without opening Ibotta and I showed up to $50 in cash back from purchases I didn't even know I was getting cash back for.
Another newer feature of the app (which isn't passive) is Ibotta Pay. Ibotta Pay is basically just a glorified way of purchasing gift cards and receiving cash back for the gift card purchase.
In addition to this cash back, you'll also find several bonuses where if you redeem x offers, you'll get a certain $ boost. For example, I currently have an offer for a $10 bonus if I redeem 14 offers before the bonus expires in just a few days. I've redeemed 2 so far, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting there in time. (BTW, if you're ever cutting it close, just note that Ibotta Pay will work where each gift card purchase will qualify for a completed offer ;))
Ibotta also does have a generous referral program. They do referral offers very frequently where you can earn bonuses, but the current offer is $4 for each friend you invite. Please consider using the referral link found in the Most Common Beermoney Sites thread.

Uber Visa Local Offers

Shop or dine out, get Uber credits back.
Use your Visa card next time you dine out or go on a shopping spree at a featured store and earn Uber credits toward future rides. To join, go to settings in your Uber app and tap on Visa Local Offers.
Whenever you shop out at certain places you'll instantly receive uber credits to your account. It's really simple, and yes, this does stack with all of the other cash back apps you might be a part of.
The brands they offer do change semi-frequently, so you should check them from time to time.
In the past there have been 100% cash back offers for streaming services, and 10-20% cash back at Sam's Club. Considering that these offers do stack, there is some really great potential if you find any value in uber credit.
If you're interested in activating the Visa local offers, you'll need to make sure you have a visa card linked to your Uber account first, and then you should see "activate local offers" in the app settings or payment settings of Uber.
There's really not much to say about Visa Local Offers, but if you're looking for some FAQ/Terms, feel free to check them all out here.

Cash App "Boosts"

For those if you who don't know what Cash App is, Cash App is an app by Square that lets you send and receive payments. They've also expanded their app to support bitcoin purchases, and they'll also let you use the app as a checking account. With the cash app you can also sign up to receive the Cash Card, which is a debit card that is funded with your cash app balance.
If you have not used Cash App before, they do have a fancy referral program where when you sign up and send $50 you'll receive $5 and so will I. I do want to make this very clear: Cash App referrals can see the full name of the person who refers you, and the person who refers you will have your full name shown to them. If you're really private about personal information, be careful whose referral link you use. If you trust me, here's my referral link.
Please note that if you want to use the cash app boosts that I'm talking about, you'll need to be 18 years old and have the cash card (which is free, don't worry)!
Cash App announced that their cash card will be seeing 'boosts'. Boosts are their fancy way of saying that when you use our card at certain locations you'll receive a discount.
Once you have the cash card, you'll notice on the app below your card you'll be able to select your boost. The following are my personal boost options, as of posting. The boosts change frequently,
  • $5 Off One Order on DoorDash
  • 10% Off One Visit at Any Grocery Store
  • 10% Off One Visit at Dollar Tree
  • 10% Off One Visit at Walgreens
  • 10% Off One Visit at Nike
  • 10% Off One Visit at Walmart
  • $5 Off One Ride at Lyft
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Bath & Body Works
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Playstation Network
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Xbox
  • 10% off Each Visit at Chick-Fil-A
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Taco Bell
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Dominos
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Portillo's.
Boosts tend to change every Friday, but several boosts will remain for a long period of time. The longest lasting boost, which just went away in the last week is the $1 off Any Coffee Shop. It stuck around for almost 2 years, and anyone who had that boost applied would automatically save $1 every time they shop at any coffee shop, without any interaction.
So there are quite a few things I want to say & clear up.
  1. You can use a boost every 1 hour.
  2. You must select the boost that you'd like to use prior to the purchase. You're able to swap which boost you want to use as often as you'd like. So when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, just check and make sure your boost is set to CFA. If not, swap it.
  3. In order to apply the boost, you must pay with the Cash Card. It's automatic. If your total is $6 and you're saving 10%, you'll only need a Cash app balance of $5.4 for the transaction. Cash App will cover the other $0.60.
  4. If you link your Cash Card to Apple Pay, you can pay with it that way and the boosts will still be applied.
Do realize that just because you have the Cash Card on the app, you won't see the boosts. You need to have the physical Cash Card in your possession for the boosts to show up.
I've been really enjoying using the Cash Card for purchases. Especially at CFA & Chipotle. It's really not a hassle. When I'm standing in line at Chipotle I'll open the app and make sure my cash app balance is enough and if not I'll just add funds right away. The boost is applied immediately which makes you feel good. It's like the guac is free at Chipotle after you use the cash card. The only downside to using the Cash Card is that you won't be able to stack discounts with anything else on this list... Unless you find a way to link the Cash Card to any of the things on this list. Regardless, 10% off at Chipotle is the best I have found.

Venmo Rewards

Venmo recently announced Venmo Rewards.
Take what you know about Cash App's boosts and then apply something similar to Venmo's debit card. Venmo Rewards is actually a bit easier than Cash App's boosts because it truly requires no input from you whatsoever. The tradeoff is that the cash back rates are lower. If Cash App's average discount would get you 10% off, Venmo would be about 4%.
So here's how Venmo Rewards works:
Simply use your Venmo card at participating merchants—stores you know and love— to earn rewards. Zero setup required. See list of participating merchants in the app.
  1. Get a Venmo card Learn More
  2. Swipe your card at participating merchants
  3. Automatically earn cashback straight to your Venmo balance. (Seriously. That’s it.)
As mentioned above in the section about Dosh, Venmo Rewards is powered by Dosh, and similar to Dosh, the cash back options are targeted. I personally can't use Venmo so I don't have the current list that most people will be seeing as far as opportunities go, but Venmo Rewards originally launched (in November 2019) with the following CB opportunities:
  • 5% Target
  • 5% Sephora
  • 5% Wendy’s
  • 4% Dunkin’
  • 5% Chevron
  • 4% Sam’s Club
  • 5% Papa John’s
Evan on DoC commented earlier this month with their updated CB opportunities:
Dunkin Donuts 4%, Sephora 5%, Macy’s 4%, JCPenney 5%, Sam’s Club 4%, 1-800-flowers.com 15%, Papa Johns 5%, Forever 21 4%, Frank and Oak 5%)
  • 4% Walmart & Walmart Grocery
  • 4% Dunkin'
  • 5% Sephora
  • 4% Macy's
  • 5% JCPenney
  • 4% Sam's Club
  • 15% 1-800-Flowers.com
  • 5% Papa John's
  • 4% Forever 21
  • 5% Frank and Oak
What I can make from this is that the options have not changed much, and have actually expanded, with a couple exceptions. If you're a Venmo user, I think this is a pretty decent reason to get the debit card. The 4% at Sam's Club and Walmart is a pretty good deal for most people, especially if there are no limits to the cash back you can earn.

Empyr Apps

I've listed this as "Empyr Apps" because all of these apps are basically just the same thing. I'll take the example of Swagbucks Local since that's what most of you reading this will already be using.
If you paid attention in the Visa Local Offers section of this post, you'll find that the Empyr apps are actually very similar to those visa local offers.
When you shop at a certain store/restaurant, you'll earn with the empyr app you have linked. It's actually really not that special.
Here's a list of some/most of the current Empyr powered apps:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You're only allowed to use one Empyr app at a time! As soon as you link up with another Empyr app, you'll be disqualified from another until you link back up.
I do want to go into this list a bit this time around since there seem to be more and more Empyr apps popping up.
Swagbucks Local will always be popular among Swagbucks users. What's really nice about Swagbucks Local is that the payouts are always instantly converted to Swagbucks, which can help you cash out sooner. You'll also likely get a slot in the Swago board filled out, which might be beneficial to you.
RetailMeNot is a newer one on this list and it's the only one here that I feel like I recommend you go on/off with. RetailMeNot has recently been doing a lot of "Spend $X, get $Y" deals at a lot of the stores they offer. For example, they are currently offering $5 Cash back for in Store purchases of $30+ at Staples. This is a really good deal for an Empyr app, and would probably be my pick for that transaction, but not most of the time since they don't have very many stores as options.

Drop (iOS | Android)

Ref = fish

Alright, so Drop has gone through a lot of changes since the last time this post was updated. Drop used to be the best passive cash back app without any debate. It was also one of the first apps to offer a card link cash back program. Over the last several months (and years), their card link program has seen several devaluations. First they removed brands you could pick from to receive cash back (for example, when I first joined, you could choose to earn cash back each time you shopped at Amazon, but new users would later not see Amazon as an option). They later lowered the cash back rate. For example, Target went from 1%, to 0.2%. And finally they limited new users to pick from 5 brands to receive cash back at to just 3.
In February 2020 Drop announced a change to the way their card linked cash back would work..
They since have removed their 'power offers' (the offers where you automatically earn cash back at brands), and have replaced it with card link 'Challenges'. These challenges have just recently launched, so it's hard to tell whether or not these will be passive or worthwhile altogether. I currently have one ongoing challenge where if I spend $10+ at Target with a linked card, I'll get 250 points ($0.25), which is pretty insignificant.
As far as I can tell, they seem to have ditched all other forms of card linked cash back from their app. If the challenges turn out to have nothing passive about them, or have no proof of being worthwhile, Drop will likely not even be on this list the next time around.
So let's talk about some features of Drop since we're on the topic.
Drop has clearly moved away from passive cash back, and has focused more on becoming a cash back app in the form of portal earnings and specific offers. Several of these offers are unique to drop, which is good, but when it comes to portal cash back, the rates are often on par or slightly below the offerings you could find on Cashback Monitor.
Another thing about Drop that people are (rightfully) upset about is the change that now requires you to save up $25 worth of points (25,000) in order to cash out. The minimum previously was just $5.
The only feature about Drop that hasn't been nerfed to the ground is their referral program. When you refer your friends you'll earn $5 once they link a card, and they'll get $5 as well.
Overall I'm not too hopeful that Drop will remain passive at all, so this might be the app's last appearance on this list for the foreseeable future.

Credit Cards

I've refrained from listing credit cards on this post for a long time. Maybe because I thought it was too obvious, or maybe it was unnecessary, but since the number of younger people using this subreddit has been increasing I feel like I'd be doing a disservice to entirely disclude a blurb about credit cards.
If you have a credit card and you don't really care to learn more about credit cards, just skip this section. If you're reading this post and you're 18+ (or if you're about to turn 18) and you don't have a credit card or don't know much about credit cards, I think it's a good idea to look into them. I'm not going to tell you exactly what a credit card is since that's an easy google search, but I will tell you about some benefits, especially about those that pertain to the benefits of this post.
Credit cards are great because you can essentially spend money just like you normally would*, but you'll also earn cash back on all/almost all of the purchases you make with them. Additionally, especially if you're young, getting a credit card is a really great because it will start helping you build credit. I'm currently looking into renting a house next year with two housemates and I'm shocked to see that neither of them have any credit. They quite honestly couldn't possibly live in a house without me, since I'm the only one who has credit.
*Make sure you're paying off your credit card every month (or however often you need)... Don't let yourself get into debt. I'd argue if you think you're going to get into debt with a credit card, I'd personally suggest you don't get a credit card.
While you need to be 18 years old to get your own credit card, if you're under 18, you can still start gaining credit. Most major credit card companies will allow your parents to add you as an authorized signer on their credit card (which basically just means that you'll get permission to use their cards). An effect of this is that you'll start gaining credit. If you're looking to build up credit but you don't think you're ready for a credit card, I'd really recommend you ask your parents about becoming an authorized signer. It's a good conversation to have with your parents.
Anyways, let's talk about the cash back benefits, since that's what this post is about, after all.
There's a lot of credit cards. This post isn't going to list them all out. This isn't really even the right subreddit for credit card discussion.
Nerdwallet has a great list of credit cards, so you might want to check it out here, but I'm going to share my own personal situation and recommend that for anyone who might relate, since the average age on this subreddit is around the 18-25 range.
My first credit card was the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I actually still use this credit card very frequently since it's a pretty balanced card. A couple years back on my 18th birthday I went into my local chase branch and physically had to beg for this card (it's a really beginner card, trust me). After getting denied both in bank and online, I finally found a rep who would give me a calm $500 credit limit for the card. Note: I had no credit before hand.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the card... so when you think about it, I'd previously been spending $100 at Chipotle every month with my debit card, but with the Freedom Unlimited card, I would now be getting 1.5% cash back ($1.50) back on those purchases. It's just an easy way to save money on everything.
If you use the other apps I suggest in this post, you'll likely earn cash back passively from them on certain brands that are featured, but stacking a credit card cash back on top of all the other bonuses is the absolute best way to earn passive cash back since it's usually 1-5% cash back on your purchases.

ReceiptPal

ReceiptPal is an app that allows you to upload your receipts from almost anywhere that you go shopping. It's actually a really simple process.
When you sign up you'll be presented with almost little scratch cards which contains 4 spaces. Each space is filled with a receipt that you upload. Once you reach 4 receipts, you'll earn 100 points. 300/400 points = $1, so basically every 16 receipts you upload you'll receive ~$1.
"So, mr Fishering, how is this passive!?"
Unlike most receipt apps, ReceiptPal allows you to link your emails and amazon account and they'll automatically upload receipts for you. I actually let this app alone for several months and came back to thousands of points and cashed out instantly.
If you make purchases online, you'll essentially be earning ~$0.07 for every purchase you make if you have your email linked. They'll automatically find receipts and submit them, so it's 100% passive earnings.
If you also shop IRL you can submit physical receipts as well.
You can cash out instantly for $5 minimum in the form of a gift card. I'd recommend saving up at least 7,500 points for a $25 gift card, since it'll value points at 300/$1.

Paribus

Paribus is not your typical cash back site. Once you sign up you can link your different accounts (such as your amazon account) and it will automatically track your shopping. Paribus doesn't directly earn you cash back... it acts more like Walmart's saving catcher if you've ever heard of that. If an item you buy somewhere goes on sale shortly after or if there's any other discounts/promotions you may have missed when you originally bought something, they'll quietly get you a rebate on whatever you purchased. It can be very hit or miss. The catch is that they do take a cut of your savings. I believe it is 30% for all new users, but for each member you refer you can cut the cut by 5%. If you save $10, they'll charge you $3 to whatever card you have linked.
Personally I've found it to be really hit or miss, but I've found some incredible savings. I bought a gopro and I got $15 saved with Paribus, and I also got $50 back from some really nice headphones I picked up on amazon from Amazon. What's weird is I bought the headphones like 6 months prior to the rebate. Was shocking to see it, but I've really had some good luck with Paribus.

Sift (iOS | Android)

After the last post, I noticed a lot of people enjoyed Paribus, so I figured it'd be good to add some alternatives in this post.
So, here's Sift. Sift is a similar site to Paribus, and its key focus is on enforcing credit card benefits that many people don't know about. It's actually pretty nice. It'll let you pick your credit card and it'll tell you pretty much everything about your card. I have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and I was actually shocked to hear some of the benefits my card has that I have never been taking advantage of.
From Sift's site:
We automatically comb through your credit card policies to show you all your benefits in one place. For every purchase we let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We streamline the claim process to make it as simple as possible to get your money back.
You can link your emails as well as your amazon account as well and they'll make it really easy for you.
I have not actually used Sift much myself, so I cannot attest to how well it works, but the app store reviews are generally positive for Sift.

Trim Savings

Trim is similar to Paribus and Sift, but there's a certain void that it's trying to fill that the other two don't really seem to be filling.
Trim's main selling point is its bill negotiations. Instead of trying to save you money when a price drops, they're going to try and just nip it right in the bud and try to get your bills lower.
Right now they're mainly trying to negotiate with cell providers, internet providers, and cable providers.
Here's how the process goes:
  • Submit Your Bill: Submit your most recent cell phone, cable or internet bill to get started.
  • Trim Negotiates: Trim negotiates with your provider to get you discounts on your bill.
  • You Save Money: Trim takes 25% of annualized savings, but only on success—otherwise, it's free!
So, similar to Paribus, Trim does charge a fee. In a sense, I guess that's a good thing because it gives them an incentive to make sure to get some sort of bill decrease for you so they'll make some money too. Their rate is currently 25% of your bill negotiation. Of course, if they're not able to negotiate your bill for you, you won't pay them anything.
Trim does also monitor your bank account for you and they'll notify you of account changes (that you can set). For example, if they see a transaction worth $xxx, they'll notify me that I've made a large transaction. If there weren't already so many other sites/apps that could do that, I'd say that's a great feature that Trim offers.

Conclusion

Hopefully there's some new apps/sites you found out about in this post. If you sign up for some/all of these programs listed, you should probably find yourself earning some pretty decent cash back, depending on where/how much you spend. These apps are very satisfying to watch your balances build up on, and after a while it's very rewarding to cash out and treat yourself.
In this update I added some really great additions like Ibotta, Venmo Rewards, and Bits, but I am very sad to see the turn that Drop has taken. I have been tipped off to some upcoming passive cash back opportunities that will be coming very soon, and I can't wait to share those and hopefully add them to this list in the near future.
As always if you have any questions please do leave a comment or send me a PM!
Thanks for reading!
  • Follow me on reddit: Fishering
  • Read my other posts!
  • Please send me PMs with any questions you have about anything, or even just PM me if you want someone to talk to.
submitted by Fishering to beermoney [link] [comments]

UMI – the Best of Cryptocurrencies and Fiat Payment Systems

UMI – the Best of Cryptocurrencies and Fiat Payment Systems

https://preview.redd.it/dv0mdncf7sa51.jpg?width=1023&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b5928548ebdd497bc1cbad43dce27e29bfcbc42b
Greetings from the UMI Team!
The UMI cryptocurrency has been repeatedly described as a revolution in the payment system market. Most interestingly, in this case, a revolution isn't about the development of any new technologies or formulas. We just selected the best and well-tried technologies and incorporated them into something new. UMI is the best of cryptocurrencies and fiat payment systems––it has comprised all the best features and got rid of the disadvantages.
UMI vs banks
We won't compare the ways UMI and banks operate in detail in order not to get into complex technical issues, which are of no interest to us. Instead, let's have a look at the impact banks have on people on a daily basis and those of fundamental changes UMI makes to the services we regularly use.
There are banks that allow you to make financial transfers. Banks have savings accounts where money grows at a certain interest rate. Banks also have a range of mobile apps and online banking systems. All of that may appear pretty convenient. But keep in mind, the banking infrastructure, as well as VISA and MasterCard payment systems, were created long ago and based on old technologies. They are not conforming to present-day developments, mostly because they cannot ensure their users a sufficient security level.
With this in mind, instead of inventing something new, UMI improves the things that everyone is accustomed to. The result is a digital payment tool working in an absolutely familiar way. Conducting transfers with UMI is similar to making them via a bank. And even the format of UMI is much alike to conventional money––UMI and UMI-cents are the equivalent of the dollar and cents.
In UMI, just as in a bank, you have a current account (standard UMI address) and savings account––addresses used by structures for UMI staking. You can transfer money from one account to the other one in one click. The difference is that, in most banks, you receive your interest in a month at the earliest. In other words, you can get your money back with interest if you kiss it goodbye for 30 days, minimum. In UMI, earnings are accrued every second––you don't have to wait a long time for "your funds to be unlocked".
But what is the most significant is dividends. UMI staking allows any network user to earn up to 40% per month. Holding your money in a savings account even for a year, much less for a month, you will never make this profit. Why?
1) Because banks make good money on your deposits, instead of paying higher interests, they take the lion's share of what they could pay you into their pocket.
2) Secondly, a large part of your deposits is used to maintain the banking infrastructure: salaries for staff, rental payments, maintenance of offices, utility bills, and other various expenses.
3) Third, banks are not interested in making people rich, because otherwise, they will not be able to make money on loans and control people.
Let's not spout out empty rhetoric, but move on instead. The VISA and MasterCard payment systems declare their ability to process thousands of transactions per second, but in real fact, even if received funds are displayed instantly in your account, you receive a transfer after a few days only. Especially if it concerns international money transfers or ATM transfers. The truth is that VISA and MasterCard transfers are delayed by a series of confirmations required by banks and actually reach a recipient's account only in a few days.
After having been sent, any transaction can be blocked or canceled, and funds in your account can be frozen on the slightest suspicion. Even if before receiving all the confirmations required by banks, you have already withdrawn the funds via an ATM or transferred them to someone, the bank may take this amount from your account a few days later. Thus, you may surprisingly find out that your balance is negative. Keep in mind that banks charge transaction fees. Fees for oversea transfers may range from $10 up to 10% of the transaction amount. Thus, instead of $1,000, a recipient receives only $900.
The UMI network uses validator nodes which in a couple of seconds verify the correctness of transactions and allow users to check their balance for the sufficiency of funds. All transactions are instant. A transfer cannot be canceled or blocked, as well as money in your account cannot be frozen. Unlike VISA and MasterCard, transferred funds are available straight after a transaction has been added to the blockchain. Moreover, no fees are charged for that. Each and every transaction, international or not, is completely free.
Don't forget about permanent internet connection, which is required for conducting transactions with VISA and MasterCard. A validator node used by the UMI network can create any transaction, even offline one, with no Internet connection. You can send a transaction to the network via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or even a radio wave. Therefore, if there were a sudden cataclysm and people from all over the globe lost internet connection, the UMI network would easily adapt to new conditions and keep working.
UMI vs Bitcoin
Now let's compare the UMI network with the first-ever created cryptocurrency––Bitcoin. It has proved itself to be a reliable payment system, with a number of significant disadvantages, though. Let's focus on the most essential ones.
1) The transaction processing capacity of the bitcoin network is limited by the network itself. In the best-case scenario, it takes users several tens of minutes to receive their funds. However, quite often there is a several-hour, or even several-day, delay.
2) High fees. When the network is experiencing an increased load, transfer fees can skyrocket immensely. In 2017, there were cases where Bitcoin transaction fee reached a high of around $40. Under normal conditions, it's not that bad. A few-dollar fees are common for Bitcoin users.
3) Centralized mining pools. In the pursuit of profit from mining, greed-driven participants join mining pools thus undermining the idea behind decentralization and leading to centralization. The reality is that if several leading pools unite, they will control most of the hashing power and will be able to perform a 51% attack. The attackers will be able to send nonexistent bitcoins, confirm invalid transactions, and roughly speaking, manipulate the network as they like.

https://preview.redd.it/29tfznixasa51.png?width=1306&format=png&auto=webp&s=f587f4e19f88710c45287bcaa00b1890c25540ef
Bitcoin Mining Pools Statistics Source.

The reality is that we have a slow network that creates problems for itself. Moreover, if we talk about Bitcoin in terms of programming, the Bitcoin network is more similar to physical fiat money. For this reason, any actions with the code, including the development of wallets and applications, are a tough non-typical task that only the most advanced blockchain specialists can cope with.
While using the same technologies that Bitcoin is based on, UMI betters its disadvantages and incorporates only benefits. The network doesn't limit the block processing time, but instead, do everything to shorten the processing time and increase the network capacity. Modern cryptography algorithms reduce the load on nodes, thus allowing them to process more transactions with spending less computing power. The UMI network can process 500 million transactions carried out in the Bitcoin network over 12 years in less than a week. Each transaction will be completely free.
The concept of balances UMI uses is different from that of fiat money, but has a lot in common with the idea of digital money. For this reason, using UMI is so extremely easy. In a similar way, it simplifies the process of developing and maintaining new wallets and other applications. Contributing to the UMI ecosystem's growth is extremely convenient.
So, what's the most essential? Over its 10-year history, Bitcoin has demonstrated that its implementation of the idea of decentralization doesn't work at all. This is why UMI is based on decentralization implemented in a different way. Unlike Bitcoin mining pools, users join structures that help the network grow and support its effective functioning, with no threat to its security.
UMI is something that we all already use, but much better.
Consequently, UMI is not about anything super-unique, beyond understanding and comprehension. This is about the same old money that we use on a day-to-day basis. The same financial transfers, the same deposits that we have in banks, and the same blockchain technology and decentralization that Bitcoin is based on. The only difference is that UMI implements all the above-mentioned features in a lot better and higher performing way –– which is more convenient, secure, and higher-quality. UMI is a twenty-first-century universal money tool working for the sake of all people!
submitted by UMITop to u/UMITop [link] [comments]

An In-Depth Guide to: How do I Fix my Ledger Nano’s Stuck Ethereum Transaction?!?!?! (It’s Been Stuck for Weeks and NOTHING Traditional has Worked!!!!) As Well as: How Do I Choose My Nonce??? I’ve Tried MetaMask, MEW/MyEtherWallet, and Others, but Nothing is Working Correctly!!! I’m Dying by Stress!

So, if you were like me 1-2 months ago, you’ve probably already gone through 2,or 3, ...or 40 articles and guides that probably say something like:
“YeP, eVeRy EtHeReUm UsEr WiLl EvEnTuAlLy HaVe ThE LoW-gAs ExPeRiEnCe, YoU’rE nOt AlOnE! DoN’t FrEaK OuT tHoUgH; ThErE iS a WaY tO fIx It!”
Chances are, every time you read another useless article, you want to kill the nearest inanimate object, even though it was never alive in the first place. Nonetheless, you’re gonna kill it as much as it can be killed, holding nothing back; or, you’re just plotting to and slowly getting closer to executing the plan (and the object) every time you are insulted once again.
However, if you have the ability to download software (MyCryptoWallet) on a PC, it should be safe to relax now. I think you’ve finally found some good news, because I am 99.99...% sure this will work for the issue that so many people are having at this time, around the end of the month of May, year 2020.
More and more people are likely to be having this issue soon, since Ethereum's gas prices have been insanely high lately as well as having 300% price changes in a matter of minutes; Etherscan’s Gas tracker is nearly uselessly-inaccurate at this time. I've heard that there's a congestion attack; that was said a week ago, and it appears to be ongoing... (I can't think of any other suspect besides Justin Sun to blame it on... it must be incredibly expensive to overload the blockchain for this long... I may be wrong though...)
 
Let’s begin
For myself, I was trying to send an ERC20 token when this dreadful issue attacked. Specifically, the token was either BSOV or GRT; I sent them 1 after the other and the first succeeded, and the second one took over a week.
(They’re both great tokens in my opinion and deserve much more attention than they’ve been getting. BSOV is nearing its 1 year anniversary as I write this, and GRT is still in its 90 day community-development progress test, so of course I'm gonna take this opportunity to "shill" them; they are great tokens with great communities).
I was able to finally fix it, after a week of mental agony (also the txn finally processed 1-2 hours before I found the solution, robbing me of the gratitude of fixing it myself... (╯‵□′)╯︵┻━┻ ...but now I guess I can hopefully save some of you the headaches that I endured... ) I’m providing the ability to do the same, in a step by step guide.
Why did I go through all of this trouble? I'd fault the fact that I have ADHD and autism, which in my case can multiply each other’s intensity and cause me to “hyper-focus” on things, much much more than most with the same qualities, intentionally or not. Adderall is supposed to give me a bit of control over it, but except for in a very-generalized way, it’s still 90% up to chance and my default-capabilities to allow me control over my attention with self-willpower. But also Karma and Moons pls... ʘ‿ʘ
 
  1. In MyCrypto, (I'm using the Windows 10 app, version 1.7.10) you will open to a screen that says "How would you like to access your wallet?". Choose Ledger, of course. (Unless your here for some non-ledger issue? Idk why you would be but ok.)
  2. On the next screen (having your nano already plugged in, unlocked, and opened into the Ethereum app) click "Connect to Ledger Wallet"
  3. A screen overlay should appear, titled: "Select an Address". Here is where it may get confusing for some users. Refer to "AAA" below to know how to find your account. (Geez, sorry lol that was a huge amount of info for a reddit reply; I might've over-elaborated a little bit too much. but hey it's valuable information nonetheless!)
  4. After escaping the "AAA" section, you'll have accessed your account with MyCrypto. Awesome! To find your ERC20 tokens, (slight evil-laughter is heard from an unidentifiable origin somewhere in the back of your mind) go to "AAB".
  5. (You may have decided to find the token(s) on your own, rather than daring to submit to my help again; if so, you may pity those who chose the other path... ~~( ̄▽ ̄)~~) Now, once you've added your token, you should revert your attention to the account's transfer fill-out form!
  6. I'll combine the steps you probably understood on your own, already. Put in the address that your stuck transaction is still trying to send currency to. If an ERC20 token is involved, use the drop-down menu to change "ETH" to the token in trouble. Input your amount into the box labeled... wait for it... "Amount". Click on "+Advanced".
  7. Refer to Etherscan.com for the data you will need. Find the page for your "transaction(txn) hash/address" from the transaction history on the wallet/Ethereum-manager you used to send from. If that is unavailable, put your public address that your txn was sent from into the search tool and go to its info page; you should be able to find the pending txn there. Look to open the "more details" option to find the transaction's "Nonce" number.
  8. Put the nonce in the "Nonce" box on MyCrypto; you will contest the pending txn with a new txn that offers larger gas fees, by using the same nonce. If (but most likely "When") the new transaction is processed first, for being more miner-beneficial, the nonce will then be completed, and the old transaction will be dropped because it requests an invalid, now-outdated nonce. Your account will soon be usable!
  9. Go to the Gas Tracker, and it may or may not provide an informative reading. Choose whatever amount you think is best, but choose wisely; if you're too stingy it may get stuck again, and you'd need to pay another txn's gas to attempt another txn-fix.
  10. At the time I write this, I'd recommend 50-100 gwei; to repeat myself, gas requirements are insane right now. To be safe, make the gas limit a little higher than MCW's automatic calculation, you may need to undo the check-mark for "Automatically Calculate Gas Limit".
  11. Press "Send Transaction"!!!
  12. You will need to validate the action through your nano. It will have you validate three different things if you are moving an ERC20 Token. It's a good idea to verify accuracy, as always.
 
Well, I hope this worked for you! If not, you can let me know in a reply and I'll try to figure it out with you. I like making these in-depth educational posts, so if you appreciate it please let me know; I'll probably make more posts like this in the future!
( Surely this is at least far better than Ledger's "Support" article where they basically just tell you "Yeah, we haven't bothered to make a way to manually select nonces. I guess we might try to make that available for Bitcoin accounts at some point in the future; who knows? lol"... that's not infuriating at all, right?)
 
AAA:
Before I tell you how to find your address, I will first make it clear, within the italicized text, exactly which address you are looking for, if you are not already sure:
You may also skip the text written in italics if your issue does not include an ERC20 token, if you wish.
Ledger Live can confuse some users with its interface. On LL, to manage an ERC20 token, you first must go to your Ethereum account and add the token. When you then click on the added token under "Tokens" below the graph chart for your account's ETH amount over time, the screen will then open a new screen, that looks just the same, except focused on the specific ERC20 token. To confuse users further, there is then an option to "Star account", which then add the ETH icon with the ERC20 token's first letter or symbol overlapping, onto the easy access sidebar, as if it was another account of similar independency to the ETH account it was added to.
This improperly displays the two "accounts" relation to each other.
Your ERC20 holdings (at least for any and all ERC20 that I know of) are "held" in the exact-same address as the Ethereum address it was added to, which also "holds" any Ether you've added to it. You send both Ether (ETH) and any ERC20 Tokens to and from only Ethereum addresses of equivalent capabilities, in both qualities and quantities. In all basic terms and uses, they are the same.
So, to know what the problematic account's address is, find the address of the Ethereum account it was added to in Ledger Live.
Now, to find your address on MyCrypto, the most reliable way to find it, that I am aware of, is this:
Open Ledger Live. Go to the screen of your Ethereum address (again, this is the one that you added your ERC20 token, if applicable. If you're not dealing with an ERC20 token, you may ignore everything I've put in Italics). Click on "Edit account"; this is the icon next to the star that may look like a hex-wrench tool. On the new screen-overlay, you will see "> ADVANCED LOGS". Click on the ">" and it will point down while revealing a drop-down with some data that you may or may not recognize/understand. Likely to be found indented and in the middle-ish area, you will see this line, or something hopefully similar:
"freshAddressPath": "44'/60'/X'/0/0",
The "X" will probably be the only thing that changes, and the actual data will have a number in its place; it will not be a letter. Let's now put that line to use in MyCrypto:
Take the 44'/60'/X'/0/0 , and make sure you DO NOT copy the quotation marks, or that comma at the end either.
You can do this before or after copying and/or pasting, but drop the second "/0" at the end; it was not necessary in my case, I expect that you won't need it either, and will probably just make MyCrypto see it as an invalid input.
Okay, now go back to the "Select an Address" screen-overlay in MyCrypto.
Next to "Addresses", click on the box on the right, and you should be shown a list of options to select from in a drop-down menu.
Scroll all the way down, and you should find the "Custom" option at the very bottom. Select it.
A new box will appear; probably directly to the right of the now-shortened box that now displays the "Custom" option that you just selected. This box will offer an interface for typed input. ...yep... once again, believe it or not, you should click it.
Type " m/ ", no spaces before or after.
Type in or paste the data we retrieved from ledger live.
The box should now hold this:
m/44'/60'/X'/0
Again, X should be a number. In fact, that number is probably equal to the number of Ethereum (not including any ERC20 wannabe) accounts that you've made on Ledger Live before making the one we're working on right now! (1st Eth. Acc. would have: X = 0, 2nd: X = 1, 3rd: X = 2, ...)
Make sure you've included every apostrophe ( ' ), and solidus ( / ); there is NO APOSTROPHE for the "m" at the start and the "/0" at the end!
If you press the enter key or click on the check-mark to the right of where you typed, the appropriate addresses will be generated, and the address you created through Ledger Live should be the first one on the list!
Select your address and press "Unlock", and you are now accessing your account through the MyCrypto app's interface!
 
AAB:
In order to access your ERC20 token, you will need to add them first.
You may have to scroll down, but on the right-side of your unlocked account screen, you'll see a box with "Token Balances" as its header.
Click "Scan for tokens". This may take a short bit of time, and when it's done it may or may not display your ERC20 token. If it worked, you can head on back to the main part.
If you got the result I did, it won't display your token, or, if our result was exactly the same, it won't display any at all. However, you should now have the "Add Custom Token" option available, so see where that takes you.
You should discover four boxes, specified in order (Address/ Decimals / Token_Symbol / Balance). You may only need to fill in the "Address" box, but if you need to fill others, you'll find those with the token's address; here's 2 ways to find it, if you don't already know.
Method I:
Since you've probably already been managing your token with Ledger Live, you can go to the LL screen of your "account" for that token; Right next to the account's icon, and directly above the name, you'll see:
Contract: 0x??????...????????
Yes, go on; click it. You'll find the token's page on Etherscan; this was just a shortcut to the same place that both of the two previously referenced methods lead to. Skip to method... III?
Method II:
Go to Etherscan.com, or a similar Ethereum-blockchain-monitoring website, if you have a different preference. Search for the name of your token, and you should be able to see it as a search result. Activate your search manually of by selecting search option. Continue on with Method III.
Method III (Iⅈ what makes you think there was a third method? I said 2!):
At this point, you should find the "contract address" somewhere on the screen. This is the identity of the creature that breathes life into the token, allowing it to exist within the world of Ethereum. Steal it, and tell MyCrypto that you've left some of "your" tokens in the address of your ledger's Ethereum account. MyCrypto will trust and believe you without any concern or doubt, just by putting "your" contract address in the box for "Address"; it's almost too easy!
Well whaddya know, this one isn't actually too long! Don't tell anyone who may have taken a little longer whilst finding out how to do it themselves, though. There's value in trying to do something on your own, at least at first, so I'll let them think they made the right choice (¬‿¬). But take this star for humbling yourself enough to seek further help when you need it, since that is a very important life skill as well!
(o゜▽゜)o☆
Now, back to the useful stuff at the top...
 
EDIT: A comment below made me realize that this info should be added too. Here is my reply to the comment saying I could just use MetaMask. I said in the title that this guide is for questions where MEW and MetaMask aren’t working, but I guess it’s easy to miss. I used my u/caddark account to respond:
(Using this account because u/caddarkcrypto doesn’t meet the karma/age standards to comment; the post had to be manually approved.)
I guess I didn’t make it entirely clear; sorry:
The target audience for this guide is anyone with a stuck Ethereum transaction that was initiated through Ledger Live AND are experiencing the same difficulties I had encountered while trying to fix this issue for myself.
This wasn’t any regular stuck Ethereum transaction. Apparently before, there was an issue that made a Ledger Nano nearly impossible to connect to MetaMask (which is also Brave Browser’s integrated “crypto wallet” for the desktop version) and/or MEW (also perhaps any other browser wallets made for chrome and/or brave) that I heard was supposed to be fixed in a recent update. It might’ve been mostly patched, idk, but during my experience, (in which I was using the latest version of Ledger Live that is available right now,) that issue still remained.
The really weird part was that it successfully connected to the browser wallets again after I fixed the stuck transaction. At first I thought that somehow the txn was what was bugging the connection. However, later, during no txn issues, I was again unable to connect.
Seeing the same connection error again later, I opened up the MCW app I downloaded the day before, and was going to just use that. While in the process of operating MCW, I suddenly had another idea to try for the browser wallet so I went back to that just to quickly test it.
The browser wallet worked perfectly...
I don’t know how, but I think that somehow, something in MCW’s software, makes the browser wallets work. They don’t work for me without having MCW opened in the background first.
EDIT 2: Markdown decided to stop working after I did the first edit... I might fix it tomorrow... how did that happen though??? What did I do?
EDIT 3: nvm, I'm just fixing it now; I won't get much sleep tonight I guess.
submitted by CaddarkCrypto to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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