Bitcoin Tech Talk #290
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What I've been working on
Decentralized Law - My column this week at Bitcoin Magazine was making the distinction between decentralized law versus centralized legislation. Rules generally centralize and social norms are developed bottom up and decentralized. I argue that we should strive toward common sense, rather than trying to reform society top-down. Bitcoin is one of the few forces pushing against the tyranny of legislation.
Blazing your own trail - I recorded an episode with Justin Rezvani about entrepreneurship and what it took for him to succeed. Justin really has a deep understanding of discipline and pursuing the things that interest you. He’s also developed deeply as a person, as he’s seen both success, failure and tragedy. I enjoyed making this episode as a reminder of the Stoic motto: memento mori.
Unmuted Podcast - I talked with some Christian investors about why I think Bitcoin is the moral while altcoins and fiat money are not. I made the argument that altcoins are a form of Nietzchean, godless morality applied to investing while Bitcoin is a form of saving, or a form of sowing and reaping. If you’re interested in orange-pilling Christians, please take a look at the arguments I make here.
What I'm up to
Bitcoin and Health Care - I’ve been talking to a lot of people recently about health care like Avik Roy. This week, I’m talking to Andy Schoonover about Crowd Health, which is a wonderful combination of using Bitcoin as a savings vehicle to pool resources and much better health care. Notably, a lot of the savings comes from cutting out the middle man, the health insurance providers, who have essentially been given large rent-seeking positions in the economy through legislation.
Oslo Freedom Forum - For the first time in 3 years, the human rights conference will actually be held in the city that bears its name. This year will be particularly interesting for Bitcoin given how it’s being used on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides. For those of you that are coming, there will be a significant Bitcoin program.
El Salvador Programming Blockchain - Stacy Herbert has been setting up a trip for me down to San Salvador to teach a bunch of Salvadoran developers Bitcoin. If you know any developers in El Salvador that want a scholarship, please have them apply.
Tweet of the Week
Bitcoin 23.0 Release - New release of Core software includes several updated and new RPC commands like “getdeploymentinfo” which will show the soft fork status of various features. The core wallet will now use descriptors by default and will also have single-key taproot addresses in them. Notably, nothing regarding OP_CTV is in the release notes, and to my knowledge none of that code has been merged. As such, the BIP119 speedy trial will not be supported by core software.
Headers and Compact Filter Headers via DNS - Matt Corallo has a service that lets you get bitcoin headers and compact filter headers via DNS. This is to avoid various isolation attacks against your node. The mechanism is rather clever and the header is encoded in IPv6 addresses. So, for example, “
nslookup -type=aaaa 5000.0.bitcoinheaders.net.” on the command line will get you the data you need (6 entries at 13.5 bytes per entry) for the block header at height 5000. As he notes, this isn’t meant to be a primary source of block/compact filter headers, but it is useful as a way to double-check the same headers you might get from a peer.
Ledger Miniscript support - Ledger is the first hardware wallet to support miniscript, a very exciting prospect. The support requires registering a descriptor with the device which will then figure everything out. The ability to add timelocks and multisig in a reasonable fashion will be amazing and it looks like they have to redo their entire application to make miniscript work. Their github repo has the source for their new application, which developers would do well to look at.
HRF Grants - Congrats to the over 30 recipients who received 5 BTC total!
lnd-paywall - Rukundo has made a blogging platform that has a built-in paywall in Lightning. He describes what he did here. Users pay to post on the site and collect payment from readers. The application is great in its simplicity and for a learning project, it’s very impressive. The app uses a lot of open source tools like Django and JQuery. The project is inspiring to see and I hope more devs create test projects like this.
Multiplexer - Bottlepay has described what they are doing with this repo here. The main idea of this repository is that you are now able to send an invoice that goes to a node but can be settled by any one of your full nodes. That way, if one of your full nodes goes down, another node can still receive the invoice. It’s a clever use of routing and takes advantage of the fact that the node is unreachable without routing hints, but the way it works is sound and allows for failover for lightning payments, even on a single invoice.
Core Lightning 0.11.0 - The new release of the rebranded c-lightning software has some interesting features. You can now have two channels to the same peer. This should, in theory, make fatter channels using multi-path-payments should your channel be the bottleneck.
Economics, Engineering, Etc.
Doom Loop - Arthur Hayes explains why Bitcoin is inevitable as a sovereign reserve currency. As he explains the confiscation of Russian assets in the USD system has permanently changed the equation for all sovereigns, especially China. The current EU energy dependency on Russia is a terrible sign and all of EU/Russia/China are headed toward a future where they start deleveraging from USD. His analysis that the USD is no longer viable as a reserve currency is a compelling one and while good for Bitcoin, it does presage a more violent and conflict ridden future.
El Salvador Study - A paper explores the impact of Bitcoin on El Salvador. As you might expect, Bitcoin usage is still low and mostly centered around rich young men. The study shows that firms are still working to adopt Bitcoin 9 months after the legal tender law and it’s still a work in progress. There is some evidence that Bitcoin adoption is happening as Chivo wallet usage has corresponded with less usage in dollars and debit cards.
Solo Mining - If you’re interested in playing the lottery with your mining machine, you can solo mine using the website solo.ckpool.org. 5 blocks have already been found this year using the pool, which is remarkably high. Usually, most people want to reduce variance, but it is possible to use mining as a fair lottery and hope to strike it rich. It’s probably a better way to gamble than the actual lottery and the expected value of your mining should be positive as long as your electricity costs are cheap, just with a higher variance.
Fidelity 401k Bitcoin option - 401ks with Fidelity will now have Bitcoin as an option.
North Koreans Hacking Phones - Maybe Bitcoin can get into North Korea.
EU Regulators Delusion - They think they can ban Bitcoin. Good luck.
Snowden has ZCash links - Explains why he's been saying good things about this coin.
Central African Republic adopts Bitcoin - Honestly a bit confusing given only 10% of their population has internet access, but we’ll all be watching, I’m sure.
LUNA Takedown - Fascinating analysis of the LUNA token, UST, its stablecoin and the mechanisms that are inevitably going to crash.
NFT Owners Swindled - They bought bored apes in the first place, so I can’t say I’m surprised.
What I’m Shilling
Unchained Capital is a sponsor of this newsletter. I am an advisor and proud to be a part of a company that’s enhancing security for Bitcoin holders. If you need multisig, collaborative custody or bitcoin native financial services, learn more here.
Fiat delenda est.