Best TruStories of the Week - #11


#61

Claim: Vitalik Buterin Holds Crypto Outside of the Ethereum Ecosystem

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/arw075/ama_about_ethereum_leadership_and_accountability/egq4wk0/

Category: Markets

My Stake: 100 Cred (Back)

Evidence/Analysis:

From reddit AMA, vbuterin posted that he holds only 4 non-Ethereum-ecosystem tokens including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Zcash (ZEC).

Also, he has significant corporate shareholdings in 2 blockchain companies: Clearmatics, Starkware. (https://www.starkware.co/ Naval and Vitalik as investors stated on website.)


#62

Claim: BitcoinHEX is the first high interest savings account on the Blockchain.

Category: Projects

Source: https://bitcoinhex.com/

My Stake: Back with 50 TruStake

My Argument/Evidence:

Background
BitcoinHEX, created by Richard Heart (@RichardHeartWin) is designed as a blockchain based version of a CD (certificate of deposit) where users lock up coins for pre-determined periods and earn interest. A snapshot will be taken of Bitcoin holdings in March 2019 and anyone can claim free BitcoinHEX based on the snapshot. Despite the name, BitcoinHEX will run on Ethereum. More details on the token-economics and game-theory can be found here.

Some possible predecessors:

LedgerX looks like they may predate BitcoinHEX since it is currently up and running while BitcoinHEX has yet to launch. They offer a savings accounts with a holding duration of three, six, or twelve-months periods, with an expected annual returns as high as 16%.

However, the key here is the “on the blockchain” part.

LedgerX is:

“registered with the CFTC as a swap execution facility and derivatives clearing organization. All USD funds are held in custody by a U.S. bank and bitcoin is held by LedgerX. Our institutional focus allows same day movement of BTC collateral and USD.”

So LedgerX’s product is not blockchain based, but a derivative.

A company named Compound offers a product that does run on the blockchain, but it more of lending/borrowing platform than a high-yield savings account.
The same goes for other companies such as Uphold, and Cesium.

Another possible forerunner of BitcoinHEX is Open Savings Initiative.

OSI lets a user:

" set aside cryptocurrency that can only be spent after a certain date. It’s like a certificate of deposit that you can add more money to anytime, but doesn’t require a bank. If you intend to give cryptocurrency to someone else, you can use Open Savings Initiative to create the crypto equivalent of writing a cheque for a future date. Unlike traditional cheques, the crypto cheque can’t bounce, can’t be cancelled, and is guaranteed to have the funds."

Although they bill this as a CD, I don’t see any indication that interest is earned; only that coins are locked up for a set amount of time.

As of now, it looks like BitcoinHEX may be the first high-interest savings account on the blockchain without lending/borrowing element.


#63

ha! did you find this based on my claim in the alpha app?


#64

Agree. however, I think people staking will convert (some portion of) their stake rewards into profits immediately to avoid this risk.


#65

very interesting. I am curious to see if this gets adoption. it actually makes a lot of sense to do this.


#66

Guilty! And I’m the article’s targeted market – millennial and succulent obsessed :cactus:


#67

This is crazy! What a fun post @HelloRena
Also, my friend just brought me a mini cactus as a housewarming gift. We’re not in Arizona but it kind of makes me want to go plant it in the wild (with a microchip)!


#68

Claim: New York could invest $3 billion from failed Amazon deal to hire more teachers and fix the subways.

I’m paraphrasing a direct quote from Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez:

“If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to.”

Category: Amazon

Source: Video of quote

My Stake: Challenge with 100 cred

My Argument/Evidence:

Robert Mujica, New York’s state budget director, wrote an open letter yesterday regarding Amazon. In it, he categorically denies this claim:

"Incredibly, I have heard city and state elected officials who were opponents of the project claim that Amazon was getting $3 billion in government subsidies that could have been better spent on housing or transportation. This is either a blatant untruth or fundamental ignorance of basic math by a group of elected officials. The city and state ‘gave’ Amazon nothing. Amazon was to build their headquarters with union jobs and pay the city and state $27 billion in revenues. The city, through existing as-of-right tax credits, and the state through Excelsior Tax credits - a program approved by the same legislators railing against it - would provide up to $3 billion in tax relief, IF Amazon created the 25,000-40,000 jobs and thus generated $27 billion in revenue. You don’t need to be the State’s Budget Director to know that a nine to one return on your investment is a winner

That statement is clear and comes from a strong trust-worthy source. I’m comfortable challenging the claim based on that note but it’s important to dig into the infamous $3 billion tax credits ourselves:

=======

Let’s start with the Excelsior Jobs program. Per their website, the program was created “to expand in and relocate to New York while maintaining strict accountability standards to guarantee that businesses deliver on job and investment commitments”. This program was created under state law and is available to all eligible businesses. Excelsior offers tax credits, including 6.85 percent of wages for each new job created and a capital investment credit equal to 2 percent of a company’s total qualified investments that result in new jobs.

Two additional programs that would have provided tax benefits include the Relocation and Expansion Assistance Program (REAP) and the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program(ICAP). As the Gotham Gazette reports,

The latter two tax breaks are incentives established by the state government that affect the city tax rolls, while the [Excelsior Jobs Program] affects state tax rolls. For the city tax breaks, ICAP is a tax abatement program that may last up to 25 years, available to companies who undertake new commercial construction in areas outside of some exempted sections of Manhattan. It appears Amazon will be eligible for a 15-year ICAP that begins to decline in year 12. REAP is a per-job tax credit in which companies from either outside New York City or below 96th Street in Manhattan get a $3,000 per employee credit for 12 years for each employee that moves into the new office outside the REAP area.

There was also a potential cash grant from the state:

Amazon is also getting a cash grant from the state called an Empire State Development Capital Grant that’s potentially worth $505 million and is supposed to help defray some of the costs from building the new corporate campus. And because New York State is taking over the land where the office will be located and making it tax-exempt, Amazon will make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) that the city has said will be equal to the property tax bill the company would pay on the land otherwise. Half of the money from the PILOT will go to the city’s general fund, and half of it will go towards infrastructure improvements around Long Island City.

To obtain the full amount, Amazon would need to employ 40,000 by 2034 and jobs must be maintained through 2037. Here’s how jobs were defined in the agreement:

So how does this all add up? Per NY curbed:

Amazon will receive $897 million from the city’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP) and $386 million from the Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP). It will receive an additional $505 million in a capital grant and $1.2 billion in “Excelsior” credits if its job creation goals are met. That brings the total amount of public funds granted to $2.988 billion—in other words, the city and state will pay Amazon $48,000 per job.

You can find the full agreement between New York and Amazon here or a bullet-point version of the incentives here.

tl;dr: This was an incentive program based on job creation, producing tax revenue. New York wasn’t giving away cash to Amazon.


#69

Really great breakdown, thanks!


#70

Claim : Microsoft has a platform available through the Azure marketplace that claims to enable ICO launches.

Category : Markets

Source :

https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/stratis-group-ltd.stratis-ico-platform-windows?tab=Overview
https://www.ccn.com/microsoft-wants-to-help-make-your-ico-a-success
https://www.theblockcrypto.com/tiny/a-wild-ico-solution-appeared-on-microsofts-azure-cloud-platform/
https://github.com/stratisproject/ICO-Platform/blob/master/Documentation/Stratis%20ICO%20Platform%20Overview.pdf

Stake : Back claim (25 CRED)

Argument / Evidence:

Status : Valid. The Azure Marketplace does have a listed product claiming to be a Stratis-based platform for ICO launches with KYC integration. The product, which is not created by Microsoft, was launched only days ago, so it remains to be seen if Microsoft will continue to allow the product to exist on its marketplace. The Block reported that clicking through to try and access the product does not currently work, however, I was able to sign in to Azure and access the Stratis interface.

Note: I do not have a paid account with Azure. If anyone has a paid account with Azure, it would be great if you can login and try to access this product to access the reported functionality.


#71

Claim: Elliptic curve theory used to secure the bitcoin blockchain has no mathematical proof of security.

Category: Cryptography

Source: https://crypto.stackexchange.com/questions/44337/security-of-elliptic-curves

My Stake: Backed with 100 cred

My Argument/Evidence: https://hackernoon.com/what-is-the-math-behind-elliptic-curve-cryptography-f61b25253da3 https://medium.com/@graytrain/elliptic-curve-cryptography-ee6cbdf0c44
Elliptic curve cryptography is used to secure the bitcoin blockchain by creating public-private key pairs which are used to generate addresses for sending and receiving bitcoin.

The mechanism through which this works is to pick a point on an elliptic curve which would serve as a private key, and then add this point with another point to get the public key. Adding two points on the elliptic curve involves drawing a line between two points on the curve and then determining where this line intersects with a third point on the curve. After that, the third point is reflected on the x-axis, and wherever the line intersects with the curve is the result of adding the two points. This “result” is then used as the public key.

The security derives from the fact that although it is easy to go from a private key to the corresponding public key, it is computationally infeasible to derive a private key from the public key. It is estimated that the number of combinations that would be tried to go from a public key to a private key is on the order of the number of atoms in the universe, and a brute force attack testing out 250 quintillion possibilities a second would take 10¹⁰ the age of the universe to find the correct private key.

However, this is not a mathematical proof that it isn’t possible to do so, it only shows that given current computational resources it would be difficult.


#72

Claim : Are Cryptocurrencies More Trustworthy Than Stocks?

Category : Survey

Source :https://www.forbes.com/sites/cbovaird/2019/02/22/are-cryptocurrencies-more-trustworthy-than-stocks/#71b96271533d

My Stake :100 creds

My Argument/Evidence: The survey itself is run by Etoro a forex broker that has a bad reputation, Etoro is prohibited to do business in my country (Canada). As for the above claim they do the survey with 1000 trader on their own platform, considering those two arguments is tough to trust this survey.

ARC:Those survey could only be worthy if it’s done on a larger scale, for me that pure marketing BS.


#73

Claim: JPM’s Coin is a direct competitor to XRP

Category: Markets

My Stake: Challenge with 50 creds

Source: https://www.chepicap.com/en/news/7421/what-does-jpmorgan-s-new-cryptocurrency-mean-for-the-industry-.html

https://t.co/HDgGUqEyPb

My Argument/Evidence:

Introduction

Amidst the past two weeks, many digital asset pundits have commented on how the release of JPM’s coin is bad news for Ripple’s XRP. Yet even after the announcement, there was no significant sell off in XRP, indicating the market did not believe XRP would be materially affected. I agree with the market’s reaction, as I do not believe JPM’s coin and XRP are in direct competition with one another.

What is JPM Coin

JPM coin is a dollar backed stable coin that is being created by JP Morgan. Similar to how Tether is supposed to function, each JPM coin will be redeemable for $1. The financial giant plans to utilize their new JPM coin for international payments for large corporate clients, for companies that use JP Morgan’s treasury business, and for securities transactions. Unlike public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, a permissioned chain called Quorum will support the JPM coin. This means that transactions will not be publicly transparent, and JP Morgan will not be outsourcing the security of their digital asset network. While Quorum is not a public blockchain, the infrastructure of the network originated from the Ethereum source code.

What is XRP

XRP is a digital asset that is supported by Ripple labs. The coin’s intended primary use case is for Ripple’s xRapid product. xRapid is for financial institutions and payment providers who want to minimize liquidity costs when executing transfers of money into emerging markets. xRapid allegedly decreases the capital requirements needed for foreign exchange between financial institutions.

Why JPM Coin Does Not Directly Compete with XRP

From this vantage point of understanding, JPM clearly does not compete with XRP. While the JPM coin might be useful for clients who have multiple JPM bank accounts in different countries, the coin does not solve the international transfer problem that XRP seeks to solve. Swift and Ripple are effective because they are non-biased third parties that do not represent any financial institution. If Goldman Sachs used JPM coin for international payments, JPM would have access to that entire transaction’s information: who sent the money, who received the money, how much money was sent, etc. That information could then be used by JP Morgan against Goldman Sachs. There is no justifiable reason that Goldman Sachs would give up all that proprietary information to JP Morgan, who will operate the permissioned chain, as JP Morgan is a direct competitor to Goldman Sachs.

JP Morgan’s coin only makes sense for clients within their network. The coin most likely will not be used between two large financial institutions outside of the JP Morgan umbrella of clients. Therefore, non-biased third parties such as Swift and Ripple will always play a role in facilitating transactions between financial institutions.


#74

Claim: For users of http://bitcoinpaperwallet.com. Note, the website and all related business was sold to an unknown individual and is no longer maintained at https://github.com/cantonbecker/bitcoinpaperwallet. Info on the website does not match the signed info on GitHub and provides no link to a new repo."

Category: Scam (potential?)

Source: Retweet by Antonopolous M. Antonopoulos on February 25, 2019. Original tweet by @jonf3n on November 25, 2018.

My Stake: Back Claim 100 Cred

My Argument/Evidence:

Canton Becker, former owner of bitcoinpaperwallet.com, confirmed that he no longer owns bitcoincoinpaperwallet.com on his GitHub. In this statement he forwards the email address of the new owner (orders@paperwalletshop.com); however, there isn’t a name paired with the email address. Additionally, Canton wrote that he will no longer be making updates or code contributions for the project at
http://github.com/cantonbecker/bitcoinpaperwallet, where there’s a website link to https://www.bitaddress.org not https://bitcoinpaperwallet.com/.


#75

Update, I contacted Stratis for more information on the ICO platform and it seems the are live.


#76

Claim: Dai is starting to break it’s peg based on the following select data

Category: Defi

Source:

image

My Stake: Based on the data provided, challenge 100 cred

Argument: The overall problem is that the person who aggregated the data has cherry-picked their data set.

It would be the equivalent of analyzing the foot traffic of people who go to McDonalds in Wyoming, and then assuming because few people go to the McDonalds in Wyoming that McDonalds is not a popular restaurant nationwide/internationally.

The poster analyzes the DAI peg through looking at two groups of exchanges: DEXs and Coinbase. Just by doing some back of the envelope math, the volumes of all the DAI pairs on all DEXs and Coinbase comes out to represent roughly 4.43% of the total volume of DAI pairs traded currently on exchanges. They are then extrapolating that because 4.43% of the volume of trades with DAI are happening in such a way that DAI is not being traded for the equivalent of $1 in other coins, then DAI isn’t holding its peg correctly, which is a ridiculous claim.

One has to look at 100% of all volume of DAI pairs to get a good idea of if DAI is correctly holding its peg to the dollar.

Another way to look at this is low volume exchanges usually have higher price discrepencies for coins than high volume exchanges. This occurs because the market on low volume exchanges is illiquid; that is to say, there are not many buyers being matched with sellers on those exchanges. When there are not many buyers and sellers on an exchange, often price has to vary too a much greater degree than usual in order to find a match, purely because the market is smaller.

It is much harder to sell a piano in a town with a population of 100 than in a city with 1 million people. In order to sell the piano in a town of 100, the seller is going to have to massively discount the price of the piano because the potential demand for that piano is so much smaller than if they were to try and sell that piano in a city with 1 million people.

Just because a piano might be sold for $100 in a small town, it doesn’t mean that the $100 represents the normal price that most pianos are sold for across the globe. The same model applies to exchanges.

While the amalgamated DAI price across exchanges does experience volatility around $1, overall DAI thus far has generally managed its peg to $1.


#77

Claim : " Bitcoin Retail Investor Holdings Continue Incremental Growth"

Category : Bitcoin

Source : Diar

My Stake : Challenge (100 TS)

My Argument/Evidence : Diar.co suggests in their publication that “While institutions may still remain on the sidelines, on-chain data for Bitcoin addresses shows that retail investor attitudes remains strong and in fact a key growing group in supply holdings

Their proof is that Bitcoin addresses holding between 1 and 10 BTC have increased by 38% since January 2017, with a 35% average year-on-year of since 2015.

However, there is no proof that these addresses are held by retail investors.

An institutional investor holding 1,000 BTC can hold 1,000 addresses of 1 BTC, or 100 addresses of 10 BTC. The claim should have been “Bitcoin addresses holding between 1 and 10 BTC continue incremental growth” as there is not enough proof to make any statement on retail (or institutional) adoption growth based on the data they’ve compiled.


#78

Claim: PayPal users must open a new PayPal Cash account if they want to hold and use a balance on PayPal, due to new government regulations.

Category: Governance

Source: Email from PayPal

My Stake: Back - 100 TruStake

My Argument/Evidence: This email from PayPal and the link to their updated terms explains that users with a balance in their personal PayPal account have to open a new PayPal Cash or Cash Plus account before April 1st. I found the 325 page rule but thankfully also found the summary from the CFPB.

These are actually updates to the 2016 rule that were supposed to go into effect in 2018 but were delayed.

The Bureau’s 2016 prepaid rule put in place requirements for treatment of funds on lost or stolen cards, error resolution and investigation, upfront fee disclosures, access to account information, and overdraft features if offered in conjunction with prepaid accounts.

The updates to the rule not only delayed the changes to 2019 but also focused on two other areas:

  • Adjust error resolution requirements: In June 2017, the Bureau proposed amendments to require consumers to register their accounts to receive fraud and error protection benefits, such as the right to dispute charges and have stolen money restored, and to extend the protections retroactively to suspected thefts or disputes occurring before registration was successfully completed. Today’s changes provide that the error resolution and liability limitation protections apply prospectively, after a consumer’s identity has been verified. These changes will help encourage prompt registration and streamline compliance for financial institutions as well as ensure continued availability and utility of prepaid accounts for consumers.
  • Provide more flexibility concerning credit cards linked to digital wallets: Digital wallets provide consumers with an electronic way to use their debit and credit cards. Some digital wallets are also prepaid accounts because consumers can use them to store and access funds directly. The rule changes ensure that consumers continue to receive full federal credit card protections on their traditional credit card accounts while making it easier for them to link those accounts to digital wallets that can store funds. The changes also reduce potentially unnecessary complications and expense to consumers who link credit cards to digital wallets.

When I first received the email it felt as if PayPal was saying that users were being forced to create a new account and verify their information because of government bureaucracy. After further reading though, it seems like the government is making PayPal (and other prepaid digital wallet companies) provide additional safeguards and consumer protection to their digital wallet holders… something that PayPal doesn’t have the best reputation for among my peer group in particular.

While the facts of the email are true based on my research, I felt compelled to point out the misleading spin on the reason for the change.


#79

LOVE the edits you made. Giving a quantitative reference gives the argument more legs.
The number of combinations it would take to bruteforce to reverse-engineer the private key is on the order of the number of atoms in the universe…

I wonder how long it would take a quantum computer to guess the private key.


#80

That would make an interesting claim.