Claim: The origin of the below meme was when Charles Hoskinson tweeted at Metamask saying, “You’re telling the CEO of iohk, founder of cardano and ethereum to use the support email?” Immediately, the Twitter responses trolled him and then this meme arose from it.
My Argument/Evidence : According to Bitcoin Magazine, “Bhagwan Chowdhry, a Professor of Finance at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has nominated Satoshi Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics.”
Aaron Greenspan, a former Harvard classmate of Mark Zuckerberg, makes this claim as part of a 70-page report against Facebook and Zuckerberg. Greenspan and Zuckerberg have had multiple conflicts in the past, including a trademark complaint against FB that was settled confidentially.
Before we dig into his argument, let’s be clear on how “fake account” is being defined, because Facebook themselves failed to clarify this in their response to the CCN piece .
Greenspan’s definition of “fake” account:
In this report, we will use the term “fake” to mean a user account not directly and uniquely correlated with a single human being. In other words, if Jane Harvard signed up herself and her dog, Jane’s account would be real, but the dog’s account would be fake.
Facebook distinguishes between “duplicate” and “false” accounts in their SEC filing:
A duplicate account is one that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account. We divide “false” accounts into two categories: (1) user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (such entities are permitted on Facebook using a Page rather than a personal profile under our terms of service); and (2) undesirable accounts, which represent user profiles that we determine are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming
duplicate accounts are very difficult to measure at our scale, and it is possible that the actual number of duplicate accounts may vary significantly from our estimates."
In their recent SEC filing (which covers Q4 of 2017), Facebook estimates that duplicate accounts represent approximately 10% of worldwide MAUs, while false accounts represent another 3-4% of worldwide MAUs. In aggregate, Facebook estimates that 13-14% of MAUs are fake, under Greenspan’s definition.
Greenspan covers the filings but considers other evidence from Facebook to be contradictory. In particular, he cites the Transparency Portal, which includes this graph of millions of disabled fake accounts every quarter:
Greenspan’s argument hinges on the possibility that Facebook is including these disabled accounts as part of their MAU calculations. He makes this assumption based on the disclaimer in the graph:
It is also possible that these are fake accounts that Facebook “[took] action on” before the accounts became “active.” Yet the graph contains a disclaimer that the graph “doesn’t include attempts to create fake accounts that we blocked,” meaning that the accounts had to be active first. Furthermore, according to the definition of MAUs put forward by Facebook in 2015, these accounts would appear to qualify.
If you agree with that rationale, 35.8% of MAUs in Q2 2018 should be considered “fake”. (800m disabled fake accounts/ 2.23b MAUs). Greenspan inflates that number to 50% without any quantitative basis  to conclude that section of his report:
Taking all of these factors into account, we estimate that 50% or more of Facebook’s current MAUs are actually fake. Facebook has already disclosed that since Q4 2017, as a conservative estimate, it has deleted 2.841 billion fake accounts on a network purporting to have 2.271 billion current MAUs, amounting to 55% of all accounts ever created. Whether or not our estimate (only 14.2% higher than what appears to be Facebook’s transparency portal disclosure for Q2 2018) is precisely correct, the proportion of fake accounts will, without question, increase over time.
That leap in logic is enough for me to challenge the claim but let’s explore the big assumption here: does Facebook include actively disabled fake accounts in their reporting of MAUs?
Om Malik explored this question already last year and received a direct response from Facebook where they deny that:
We prevent millions of fake account attempts daily from ever registering with Facebook. For the ones that did register, we disabled most of them within minutes of registration. That’s the “in Q1, we disabled about 583 million fake accounts” number. We estimate (despite those efforts) that around three to four percent of the active Facebook accounts on the site during this time period were still fake.
In other words, we estimated that fake accounts represented approximately 3% to 4% of monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook. Because we often catch and disable these fake accounts (the 538 million number) within minutes of registration, they never even get counted in our monthly active user number.
Given this statement, I have enough conviction to challenge the claim that 50% of MAUs are fake. In their recent SEC filings, Facebook estimates that the figure is 14% but acknowledges that the actual numbers may vary significantly from estimates, given their scale.
I would be compelled to Challenge with more cred if Facebook had continued disclosing these metrics after Q4 2017 and/or provided more transparency into how their sample size was chosen, as Greenspan notes:
While halting the quarterly disclosure of the slide deck metrics completely after Q4 2017—a waving red flag—its lawyers inserted the following disclaimer into its Q3 2018 SEC Form 10-Q: “The estimates of duplicate and false accounts are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination.” In other words, the company is not even looking at its entire database of users for the purposes of disclosing fake accounts and it won’t say how “limited” its sample size is. Better yet, the phrase “we apply significant judgment” is legalese for “we are probably lying.” In addition, both graphs on the portal have an orange disclaimer stating, “These metrics are in development”—meaning that a lawyer reviewed the material and there too found its presentation problematic.
I would change my mind here if there was some evidence (perhaps insider?) that Facebook was lying about filtering the disabled accounts from their MAU count.
Responding to an inquiry from CCN, Facebook Director of Corporate and Financial Communications Vanessa Chan disputed the allegations and included a link to the company’s latest quarterly SEC filing, which states that fake accounts make up 3-4% of the social media platform’s monthly active user base. “This is unequivocally wrong and responsible reporting means reporting facts, even if it’s about fake accounts,” she said.
It’s disingenuous for Chan to not include the 10% of MAUs that Facebook estimates to be “duplicates”. Even if they might not be “false”, these accounts didn’t drive any revenue to their primary customer: the advertisers.
Greenspan makes this assumption given Facebook’s prior history of misreporting on key metrics valuable to advertisers, the relative ease of buying new Facebook accounts, and Ellen Pao’s damning tweet on fake metrics:
“It’s all true: Everything is fake. Also mobile user counts are fake. No one has figured out how to count logged-out mobile users, as I learned at reddit. Every time someone switches cell towers, it looks like another user and inflates company user metrics, and if an unlogged-in user uses the site on multiple devices, each device counts as a unique users
Claim: Claim: Ripple’s $XRP market cap is likely overstated by $6.1 billion based on inflated circulating supply numbers.
My Stake:Back claim 50 CRED
This is XRP’s current market cap, volume and circulating supply as of this writing:
Circulating Supply of a coin = Total number of coins exist in the market and in general public’s hand. Market Cap of a coin = Price of a coin * Circulating supply of a coin Volume = How much coin traded in past 24 hrs Total Supply = Total number of coins in existence during the whole life of a cryptocurrency ( total coins which can be mined )
The primary claim on XRP’s inflated circulating supply numbers from the source Messari Research is below:
XRP’s liquid “circulating supply” and “market cap” could be overstated by 48%, which would put total XRP “market cap” at $6.9 billion vs. $13.0 billion widely reported at current USD-XRP exchange rate.
This is one of main reasons made in the claim for the inflated xrp circulation supply:
We believe current circulating supply estimates include an illiquid position of 5.9 billion XRP, which has been publicly committed, but not yet donated, by co-founder Chris Larsen to RippleWorks, an affiliated California foundation, and registered 501c3 non-profit. Ripple previously communicated the existence of this donation on a (now deleted) post from the company’s CMO on the “RippleForum." This was in August 2014; the same time it announced the existence of Jed McCaleb’s original XRP liquidation agreement.
I could find back in 2014 Ripple CEO Chris Larsen committing to donate 7 billion xrp to underbanked through a foundation
CEO Chris Larsen has authorized the creation of a foundation to distribute his donation of 7 billion XRP to the underbanked and financially underserved. This plan has previously been in development but is now being accelerated and finalized independent of a formal agreement amongst all the original founders. He believes this is both the right thing to do and the best way to remove further distractions in pursuit of the broader vision of the company. Details of the foundation, its independent directors, and the giveaway will be forthcoming.
This is the Big question after all these years now!
Did Chris Larsen donate the 7 billion xrp to charity or not?
The following chat discusses about this based on some valid news reports in 2018
There are few news reports in this post which throw more light to this claim.
Ex board member of Ripple back in 2014 Jesse Powell mentions about XRP holding of founders in his resignation letter in 2014.
I’m no longer confident in the management nor the company’s ability to recover from the founders’ perplexing allocation to themselves of 20% of the XRP, which I had hoped until recently would be returned. Prior to Jed’s departure from Ripple, I had asked the founders to return their XRP to the company. Jed agreed but Chris declined—leaving a stalemate. This afternoon, I revisited the allocation discussion with the pair and again, where Jed was open, Chris was hostile.
In 2018 Forbes mentioned Chris Larsen as one of the 5 richest people in America based on his XRP holding!
In this Ripple Forum post provides information about the foundation and the website for RippleWorks to which Chris Larsen committed his founders share of XRP
In the original claim from Messari Research mentions reviewing RippleWorks public tax records not finding a holding worth 5.9 billion xrp!
We reviewed public tax records for RippleWorks as well as XRP wallet addresses, which shows the foundation held at least 2.8 billion XRP as of April 30, 2017, and currently holds 2.5 billion XRP. These holdings contain daily selling restrictions "based on a percentage of the previous 24 hours total trading volume on designated exchanges.” We do not assume additional contributions from either Ripple or Chris Larsen to the Foundation in 2017 and 2018, as these could not be estimated from wallet address analysis, and is not yet publicly reported in RippleWorks Form 990 for the year ended April 30, 2018. We have reached out multiple times to Foundation representatives as to its 2017-2018 activity, but have not received any comment. We will update our analysis if and when we do.
Another claim made by the Messari Research on the inflated xrp circulation is its illiquid XRP token holdings because of Ripple’s selling restrictions on XRP on founders multi-billion xrp share.
Ripple’s selling restrictions on co-founder Jed McCaleb have locked up at least 6.7 billion of current XRP supply that can only be sold at a theoretical rate of 1% of daily trading volume of xrp. According to Messari, Ripple cofounders Arthur Britto and Chris Larsen "could have similar selling restrictions on their multibillion dollar XRP allocations.
“Combined, [these holdings] means 19.2 billion of the 41.0 billion XRP currently quoted as “in circulation” may be illiquid or subject to significant selling restrictions,” Messari claims that "In reality, this estimate may prove to be conservative, as they believe XRP trading volumes which have consistently fallen well below that of EOS and litecoin, two crypto-assets whose current referenced market caps are a mere 17% and 15% of XRP’s, respectively.
As mentioned in the original claim source “We have reached out multiple times to Ripple representatives for comment, but have not yet received a response to our inquiries.” I do not find a response to these claims from Ripple. The only piece of information I found is a mention from Ripple spokesperson responding to these claims as below which I found is not adequate on total xrp circulating supply!.
A Ripple spokesperson said: “Not only does this report contain several inaccurate assumptions around lockups and selling restrictions, the entire report is based on an incorrect calculation of market cap. While decentralized digital assets like XRP are different from traditional equities, the term ‘market cap’ is always a very simple calculation: current price X total number of the asset = market capitalization. That puts XRP’s current market cap at approximately $31 billion. We believe that any other calculation of market capitalization for XRP is not a clear representation of the truth.”
My Argument/Evidence: During a session hosted at Davos Forum - World Economic Forum, Roubini mentioned that he had claimed Blockchain is “no better than an Excel spreadsheet” and it was just a fancy database. - Youtube
He had originally stated that in his testimony t the US Senate. - Testimony
His major reasons for claiming the above are the crash in crypto prices last year and the overwhelming number of scams.
While both are true they don’t imply that blockchain technology is just a ‘fancy’ database
A few ways how blockchain is better than an excel spreadsheet:
Blockchain has transactions and applications being actively developed - Dapps
*This one may be common knowledge for some, and not so common knowledge for others. I just recently learned how tax brackets actually work so I figured this would be a good one to debunk in case there are others out there that have a similar misunderstanding.
Claim : Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proposing a tax that would take away 70% of income for people earning over $10 million
"It is important to realize that only the money you earn within a certain tax bracket is taxed at that rate. In other words, if you earned more in 2018 than you did in 2017 and thus moved into a higher tax bracket, only the money that falls within that higher tax bracket is taxed at the higher rate.
So, for example, if you move from the 22 percent tax bracket to the 24 percent tax bracket, you may make the mistake of believing that all of your income is now taxed at that higher rate. However, only the money that you earn within the 24 percent bracket is taxed at that rate."
“Here’s how it actually works. You pay a 10 percent rate on the first $9,525 you earn. Then a 12 percent rate on the income above that, up to $38,700. Then a 22 percent rate on the income above that, up to $82,500. And so on.”
My Argument/Evidence : I think this is a great initiative by exchanges in South Korea since there is a lot of fraud related to cryptocurrency happening there and it’s preventing Korean citizens to use cryptocurrency. For example, my parents are afraid to buy and use bitcoin because there is still a sense that they might get ripped off by scammers.
I too will Challenge this claim for 100 Cred. I would agree that a blockchain WITHOUT a decentralized consensus mechanism is perhaps no better than an excel spreadsheet. But the ability to achieve consensus on the spreadsheet in an autonomous decentralized way gives rise to use cases that an excel spreadsheet couldn’t, such as sovereign money or censorship-resistant prediction markets, just to name a couple.
Interesting claim. I also found it interesting that this isn’t the first time YouTube tried to address the “conspiracy video” problem.
Overall, while I appreciate YouTube’s efforts do this, I’m hopeful that the external evaluators they use do their job correctly. The lack of transparency of who these people are and what they are flagging and why they are flagging bothers me, though.
That’s one thing I love about TruStory. All the people and arguments are transparent.
My Argument/Evidence: Binance released a blog this morning about the BitTorrent sale.
The fundraising of BitTorrent (BTT) tokens happened in 2 sessions. One where people bought Binance tokens and one where people bought Tron (TRX) tokens. Furthermore, the blog states
In the BNB session, all 23.76 billion BTT were sold to token sale participants within 13 minutes and 25 seconds. Meanwhile, in the TRON session, all 35.64 billion BTT were sold within 14 minutes and 41 seconds.
That’s 28 minutes and 6 seconds. But they were simultaneous, so… it’s more like less than 15 minutes.
The sale page says the price of BTT at the time of the sale was $0.00012.
$0.00012/BTT*(23.76BTT from BNB sale+35.64BTT from TRX sale) = $7,128,000
My Argument/Evidence: I agree with P.W. Singer. I see people who are maximalists trying to influence other people on Twitter and if one doesn’t like their comments and/or agree with them, one is trolled.
Here are some examples technology that was invented for war and then used by civilians later.
Global Positioning System (GPS) is so common that every smartphone uses it to find its location. But this network of satellites was originally set up by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1970s (as a successor to radio-based navigation systems) for military purposes, such as giving submarines accurate positions for missiles launched. President Ronald Reagan ordered GPS to be made available to civilians once it was completed, while President Bill Clinton later declared that the highest quality GPS signal should be available as well.
Consider electrical telegraphy the 19th-century equivalent to modern-day email. While the telegraph (specifically the one developed by Samuel Morse) was already established prior to the Civil War, the network of wires that spanned across the country was greatly improved during wartime. The telegraph allowed information to travel faster than horseback, providing troops with essential orders from faraway command centers. Technology like the telegraph made the Civil War one of the first “high-tech” conflicts in history.
Although research into what is now known as penicillin stems back to the late-1800s (its full discovery occurring in the 1920s), the antibiotic wasn’t put into use until World War II, where it helped treat soldiers infected wounds. The medicine, one of the safest, is still commonly used today to fight bacteria.
Radar, Microwave Oven
Originally an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging, this system uses radio waves to find speed, altitude, range, and direction of moving objects like planes, ground vehicles, missiles, etc. While developed before World War II, research and development for military purposes. The concept is simple: A dish or antenna send radio waves that bounces off the object, returning them to where the transmission originated (which is then used to calculate the object’s positioning). Today, it’s used for a variety of purposes, both military and civilian, including air traffic control and weather forecasting. (Inadvertently, it was discovered that microwaves transmitted from radar equipment during WWII could also cook food, which led to the post-war creation of the microwave oven.)
Air travel may be much maligned these days, but it could have been worse if it wasn’t for the invention of the jet engine. Although research started in the 1920s, it didn’t get put into use until the Second World War by both the Allies and the Axis powers (the German Messerschmitt ME 262 is considered the world’s first jet-powered fighter). Because air warfare played a huge role in World War II, it also accelerated the development and advancement of things such as pressurized cabins (planes were beginning to fly higher) and air traffic control – things that play a key role in modern-day air travel.
Nylon is a durable synthetic material that was developed by DuPont as an alternative to natural fabrics that became scarce due to World War II (silk, for example, was reserved for use by the military as part of civilian wartime efforts). Today, it’s still one of the most heavily used polymers for clothing and other goods. Besides nylon, World War II also saw advancements in synthetic rubber and synthetic fuel.
Canning, as a means of food preservation, can be traced back to Napoleon times, and was used by both the military and civilians. But canned foods became essential items in the Civil War and World War I, as they were efficient in feeding soldiers. Canning became important for civilians in World War II due to food rationing. Canned goods still line the aisles of today’s supermarkets, although many health experts warn they don’t offer nutritional benefits due to the salt content.
When the military called for a new light motor vehicle, it received submissions from several manufacturers. Ultimately, the contract was awarded to the Willys-Overland Motors company, which created the Willys MB, the predecessor to the modern-day Jeep Wrangler (although politics, legalities, and trademark disputes made the history much more convoluted than that). Regardless, many of Jeep’s signature designs can be traced back to the military Jeep of the 1940s.
Wristwatches were important in the military, as many officers used them to strategically plan their maneuvers. Today, wristwatches aren’t only functional devices, but fashionable accessories.
One tech associated with 21st-century warfare is the unmanned drone, although the concept dates back to the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century. It’s too early to tell what types of technology today’s wars would contribute toward civilian use in the future (some experts suggest there won’t be much), but with drones becoming increasingly popular for surveillance and photography in commercial and civilian use, it’s one for the history books.
It’s hard to say if and when McCaleb sold his XRP over the last 3 years. But EVEN if we conservatively assume that the daily trading volume was $100,000 million on average over the last 3 years, that means he could have sold:
Year 1: $100M * 0.5% = $500,000 daily (2016)
Year 2: $100M * 0.75% = $750,000 daily (2017)
Year 3: $100M * 0.75% = $750,000 daily (2018)
Year 4: $100M * 1.0% = $1,000,000 daily (2019)
Argument: Vlad’s Argument #1: Continuing to follow Szabo’s law will make cryptocurrency illegal in many jurisdictions. The premise behind Szabo’s law is that protocols should minimize blockchain governance; essentially calling for the creation of blockchains that are “more socially scalable” and require less human input/judgement (i.e., less accountants, lawyers and others). Vlad contends that this naively leads developers to thinking that they’ll be able to minimize exposure to legal risk this way. Vlad argues that if the legal system brought a dispute (example: if large amounts of money were accidentally in wallets on the blockchain), if developers, operating under Szabo’s law abdicates responsibility, this could eventually make cryptocurrencies illegal.
Vlad further describes Szabo’s law (position) as “aggressive” towards people with legitimate disputes, which, ultimately invites conflict with existing legal systems and will ultimately make crypto illegal.
SUGGESTIONS For Analysis: This claim can be validated or invalidated in a number of ways – both gathering facts or dissecting the plausibility of his reasoning. The analyst could get creative. Some ideas for potentially analyzing this claim:
Validation of this claim would require reading Szabo’s work on ‘social scalability’ (among others) to see if Vlad is accurately portraying Szabo’s intentions or if he’s making inferences.
Is Vlad description for crypto law becoming “illegal” accurate? How would that work in practice?
Getting practicing lawyer’s reaction to this line of reasoning.
Is there any evidence that cryptocurrency is illegal or close to illegal due to a dispute on the blockchain in which developers avoided responsibility?
Has there been evidence of a protocol, operating under Szabo’s law, holding an aggressive stance towards people with legitimate dispute?
Vlad’s Argument #2: The consequences of “autonomous software” is impossible to predict the number of ways it could go wrong. Vlad does not believe autonomous software is safe. We need the ability to be flexible to changing circumstances and/or unforeseen disputes that could arise in the future. We cannot be adaptable under Szabo’s law because it “minimizes the space for political and legal conversation”, leaving no room for discussion or debate. Because Szabo’s law determines governance outcomes (i.e., not changes to the protocol, except for technical maintenance), it effectively shuts down political debate, preventing us from making necessary adjustments to future unforeseen disputes.
SUGGESTIONS for analyzing this claim
Ideas for validating the claim based on this argument:
Vlad does not define “autonomous software” to a sufficient degree that would allow the reader to meaningfully judge his reasoning process here.
Read Szabo’s work to see if the above description is accurate.
In analyzing the above reasons, looking at assumptions that are being made could be another way to validate or invalidate the claim.
Assumptions Vlad is making: Operating under Szabo’s law (immutability, governance minimization) and, by extension, fully autonomous software means there is no space for political / legal conversation.
The assumption is that the ability to have political / legal conversation allows us the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. The assumption is that autonomous software makes us less flexible.
The assumption is that “autonomous software” and “immutability” go hand-in-hand.
Vlad’s assumption (or values) is that immutability of the blockchain should is not a desirable end goal in and of itself.
The assumption is that autonomous software is at odds with human interests. That human interests will not be represented under autonomous software.
I learned something new too: “There’s no real precedent for awarding the Nobel Prize to an unknown person (or possibly even group of people), so it’s difficult to say how the Prize committee will deal with the nomination.”
Chowdhry was quite clever though – as he would have had the chance to step forward and accept it on behalf of Satoshi Nakamoto, unless Satoshi came forward themselves (not likely!).
So, this post then got me thinking about nominating potentially fictitious people for US President. I know that Mickey Mouse is a common write in (verified by a bunch of public sources). I started wondering if anyone wrote in Satoshi Nakamoto for 2012 or 2016? I found that 2016 had 699,366 write-in votes for President. That’s a half of a percent of all voters! However, I could not find a database or list of all the names of write-in vote candidates for either election. Sadly, my question remains unanswered.
Getting practicing lawyer’s reaction to this line of reasoning: According to Gabriel Shapiro: "If you read Vlad’s article closely it becomes clear that his critique is not restricted to this “law” of Szabo’s (which, to my knowledge, Szabo has never defined, and certainly has never defined as a “law”), but rather to what one might more ordinarily and naturally refer to as an “approach,” “philosophy” or “ethos” of Szabo’s. For example, he repeatedly refers to Szabo as being “insecure” and to various ancillary behaviors of Szabo (described in a not terribly flattering light) that have supposedly bolstered the spread and acceptance of “Szabo’s law.” Thus, it is clear that Vlad has beef not only with the simple “law” or rule he calls “Szabo’s law,” but rather also the cluster of norms, assumptions and objectives associated with that “law.”