Magical Crypto Friends Ep. 26: Hair Gel, Blockstream Mining & ETH Nodes

Note: read this review until the end, and you’ll find a special contest which awards the most involved fans with BTSE trading credit.

The 26th episode of Magical Crypto Friends kicks off with a series of jokes about Whale Panda’s newfound love for hair gel and how a specific question about his edgy look has been dodged in the previous episode. However, the humor keeps on flowing even after the opening credits roll, as the Magical Crypto Friends talk about sponsorships and how they should turn more segments into opportunities for product placements.

Yet at the time of writing this, BTSE is still the first and only sponsor of Magical Crypto Friends. For the third time in a row, Riccardo “Fluffy Pony” Spagni gets to do his awesome presentation of BTSE and makes sure he introduces some of our unique features. While a description of his mannerisms and the way he modulates his voice while mentioning our Futures 2.0 would truly embellish this coverage, the only true way of understanding what this is about is to experience it. That is why we attached the segment as a way of acknowledging Fluffy Pony’s great performance:

Blockstream Mining with BetterHash

But moving on to more serious conversations, Whale Panda, Fluffy Pony, Charlie Lee, and Samson Mow discuss Blockstream’s recent involvement in Bitcoin mining. In this regard, Samson discloses that he played a major role in moving the operations to Canada and insuring proper conditions. Also, thanks to BetterHash, the issue of pool centralization is addressed by enabling more individual control over the operations.

Blockstream’s mining pool has a 300 megawatt capacity and serves costumers such as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, and an undisclosed board member of the company. BetterHash allows miners to take control of transaction selection and thereby minimizes the risk of mining pools censoring transactions.

In this context, Charlie Lee inquires about Blockstream potentially attacking BCH and BSV (which use the same SHA256 mining algorithm). Samson replies that the company would never waste electricity for unproductive purposes, in spite of the big blocker narrative about Blockstream’s malevolence.

Is XRP a Security?

On a more serious note, Whale Panda moves the conversation to Ripple’s lawsuit for XRP. As it turns out, accusations have surfaced that Ripple may be a security and potentially under the provisions of US security laws. Charlie Lee adds that an official classification of XRP as a security wouldn’t be surprising for folks who have been criticizing the project for years, but can potentially be damaging for the market and thousands of clueless holders.

Running an ETH Node Is Hard

Moving on, Whale Panda addresses Eric Wall’s efforts to run a full Ethereum node. Fluffy Pony mentions that the 2019 Macbook Pro (used by Wall in his experiment) has the fastest disk drive that can be found in a consumer-level laptop, a lot of RAM, and overall excellent specifications which should be more than enough for most applications. Also, the decision to use Parity instead of GETH makes the syncing a lot slower: though the first 50% of the blockchain synchronized within 12 hours, the next 12% took over 3 days, and the estimate for total length sits at 2 weeks.

Riccardo concludes that the sudden memory allocation spikes may be an indicator that the code for Parity could be poorly written; he further mentions that such a powerful computer normally shouldn’t have any issues.

The Magical Crypto Friends also claim that Ethereum’s functions can easily be facilitated by a centralized company like Infura – and Fluffy Pony even does his ring announcer shtick despite Charlie Lee’s warning that the odds for sponsorship are rather low. Samson says you can’t spell DeFi without Infura, and Fluffy Pony adds that it Infura’s DeFi should be called CeFi.

How to Secure Your Bitcoins

Charlie Lee and Samson Mow suggest that they don’t have any bitcoins, so they’re out of touch with security solutions. As a way of contributing to the nocoiner angle, Fluffy Pony recommends paper wallets for boating trips (referencing his tragic boating accident where he lost all of his coins). Charlie Lee suggests that brain wallets (remembering your private key or seed phrase) are the best during boating accidents.

On a more serious note, Fluffy Pony points to Jameson Lopp’s test of various metal plate wallets and suggests a DIY approach which involves buying a piece of metal and a stamping set. In terms of commercial solutions, he points to Billfodl.

Charlie Lee argues that Trezor and Ledger are helpful as well, since metal plates are mere backups that don’t facilitate a convenient way of using your coins. Fluffy Pony adds that these devices should be bought directly from a retailer or conference, as opposed to having it delivered via post office. It’s a basic security measure to ensure the device hasn’t been compromised by malevolent actors.

Additionally, Charlie Lee points out to Casa’s multisig Trezor-backed solution as the most user-friendly and the least technical alternative. However, the consensus between participants is that such an advanced security system makes sense only for large amounts of bitcoins, as the sophistication would be pointless for the equivalent of $200.

Samson Mow concludes that he would go for a multisig approach to avoid being dependent on any one hardware manufacturer for his hypothetical savings.

Does Lightning Provide Privacy?

Fluffy Pony suggests that Lightning will provide comfortable levels of privacy when fully developed, and most solutions already exist as concepts or small-scale experiments. In his view, incidents of information leakage through closed channels will become significantly less over time and not pose risks in relation to attackers. He further implies that Bitcoin privacy would greatly improve if Confidential Transactions were implemented. However, he doesn’t believe that any solution is good enough to completely obliterate Monero or Grin, as these projects will have use cases of their own for people who need absolute privacy.

Samson Mow points to Blockstream’s Liquid Network, which natively enables Confidential Transactions and allows traders and exchanges to send and receive Bitcoin for lower fees and with a greater amount of privacy. By the time the coins are moved back to the main chain, it will be harder to trace back what went on and who transacted which amount.

Given the frequent references to Blockstream products, Whale Panda jokingly inquires about a sponsorship by the company. However, the conversation shifts towards Lightning’s usage and the four friends start making fun of Roger Ver’s conspiracies.

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