I associate crypto with shonk, which puts keybase.io in the "this is a crypto thing? Hmmm.... shonky." category.
I guess it depends on what the corporate goals of keybase.io are - I think it was identity management or something rather being a crypto player.
edit: I should qualify that I've always seen and continue to see keybase.io as being a really reputable and stable company and not shonky. I guess I was a bit jaded by being flooded with crypto ads on every social media platform 12 months ago or so.
I'm sorry to hear that. There is a lot of scammy behavior in the space, but there is also a lot of interesting work going on. It just turns out that the shitty people speak the loudest, so they're the ones you hear about, rather than all of the people heads down working hard on interesting problems.
I don't think it is intellectually honest to dismiss the entire space as a scam due to the bad actors.
* Stable coins (Dai, USDC, etc)
* What Keybase just built (much easier way to manage keys for wallets)
* Makerdao's decentralized loan system
The first 2 enable you to transfer value over the internet in a cheap and non-revokable way (internet cash). The third one simplifies wallet management for the first two. The last one opens up a bunch of new opportunities for borrowing money without having to trust your counterparty. All of this enables people to transfer value without any middlemen.
And separate from this, projects like IPFS / Filecoin (if they actually work) would let you store data without using a centralized third party.
But, (1) the lightning network has been repeatedly attacked as unworkable trash and (2) there needs to be a reason to make crypto transactions other than drugs or vaguely crypto-anarchist philosophy.
(b) Tether's recent scandal has made all stable coins fairly suspect.
(d) The makerdao system has some pretty serious problems. High liquidation rates and skyrocketing fees both come up.
If anything, crypto has taught us (through the plethora of 2018/19 crypto scams) that revokability is a feature of transactions that is _valuable_.
I'd say my biggest takeaways from crypto, currently, are that there is not such thing as 'without having to trust the other party' and that all of the middlemen in the current financial system do provide more value than just taking a cut (while that value is probably not proportional to the cut that they take).
All that said, I'm still optimistic on crypto. However, I think it's unrealistic to expect it to replace a significant part of the web in its current form.
If I want to give a friend money, I can hand them cash, but I have to be in the same room as them. I can transfer that cash in other ways, but I need to trust the middlemen. I can also use a bank to send them money, but I have to know their details, which are sensitive information. I can use one of the plethora of money-transfer apps, but that involves putting my money under someone else’s direct control (someone who may go insolvent by the end of the year).
Or, if I have them on keybase (or any number of platforms, ideally) I can now just send it with a simple text message.
Additionally, what if I really appreciate something you said on HN, or twitter; or you made a really valuable contribution to one of my projects on GH? If you have your keybase proof on there, I can send you my appreciation in a matter of seconds. Imagine trying to do that using cash, PayPal, etc.
Despite the fact that until now, crypto has had far more overhead than cash and credit transactions, this and successor programs may have the potential to make transfers far more convenient.
PayID  was standardised in Australia a while back, standardising what the banks were already doing. At least here, knowing someone's details is something from the past.
A PayID can _only_ receive.
A PayID is a number - not necessarily a phone number you own, but many people opted for that route, but keep the same number even if their phone number does change.
A PayID does reveal the name of the account holder.
Transfer happens as part of Instant Payments, so at it's longest it'll take 60 seconds to arrive in an account, but usually within 2.
PayID is also integrated into Apply Pay and Google's offering.
... Is this still an unsolved thing overseas? I've had instant transfers to friends without knowing their banking details for nearly a decade.
I love PayID for what it is, but it could be well improved in my first example, and doesn’t work at all for the latter.
[ Disclosure: I work on the lightning specification and one of the implementations ]
I'm sure it has been attacked (because "cryptos, bro"), I'm disappointed that it made you dismiss it.
FWIW, I switched from Linux Kernel development to developing Lightning after almost 20 years: I find it ambitious, high-potential and fascinating, as well as challenging.
I am 100% certain you're a better developer than I, and that lightning is not a result of poor engineering. But if a layman can't pick it up and use it in under 5 minutes, it's unworkable (if you're targeting laymen).
Crypto is full of genius engineers, and product folks, but I think there is (and always has been) a usability crisis.
Thanks for your work on both Linux and Lightning. I look forward to the day you can point to this comment on HN as being ridiculously dated.
In this scenario linux is unworkable since a cli is probably too much for a layman. But that's why people built gnome and other window managers on top of the "unworkable" but useful core.
All we have to do is wait for some people to build that nice pretty layer on top - but the core must be an efficient tool
Bitcoin's version of the lightning network is a Rube Goldberg machine bolted onto a payment network and dressed up to look like a scaling solution.
Lightning network is a super cool technology but BTC's implementation of it suffers from crippling flaws that make it useless for Lightning's most promising use cases. Lightning network was designed to be a micropayment solution built on top of a low-fee base layer. It requires that low-fee base layer to deliver on it's promises. Since it's been built on a high-fee base layer (BTC), transaction routing is now a problem that can only be solved by sending your lightning payment through a large and highly connected lightning node and never closing your payment channels (because re-opening them costs too much). This effectively eliminates the p2p aspect that is required for "lightning bitcoin" to function as cash.
Instead, BTC lightning network has to function more like traditional banks where the node operator is the bank and the payment channel is the user's account. The transactions are like really fast SWIFT/ACH transfers except they only go through if the sender's account meets the necessary liquidity constraints. Those liquidity constraints actually make btc lightning transactions more like purchases made using a secured/prepaid credit card because you must have money tied up so that you can spend money. And like a bank, the lightning node gets to decide if they want to route your transaction to it's final destination.
It's also incredibly likely ( and arguably confirmed based on https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/FinCEN%20... ) that BTC lightning nodes will be subject to the same rules and regulations as a traditional bank. If so, it's yet another centralizing force on BTC's version of Lightning. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking banks here. Banks are useful and KYC/AML are often good things. I'm just saying, "lightning btc" couldn't be further from cash.
I point this out not to be a busybody or to take offense, but just mention it for anyone else who might have thought “that’s some interesting slang” and start using it
This is unnecessary bias, though. If you look past the drama, cryptocurrency is a powerful and useful invention.
Can you explain? Intellectually interesting? No question. But powerful or useful (I consider them synonyms)? I'd like to see some actual examples.
This is genuine curiosity, not snark. I'm on the board of a blockchain startup who has a legitimate application for a blockchain -- an aspirin. But this application could have been done 20 years ago if there hadn't been patent issues for hash chains. And while the engineers are enthusiastic to do a coin nobody can explain why someone else would want to buy one, except in the hope that someone someday would pay more for it.
I've seen a few vaguely interesting applications cor crypto currencies, but they are all been at best 'vitamins'. I've yet to see an 'aspirin'.
I have a Swiss bank in my pocket, in a country that steals all your savings every ten years and the central bank destroys you with inflation.
I have an international payment system, I can send and receive money in minutes to whomever I want, without asking permission from anyone, without the government or the bank stealing it from me. From a place where it is sinful to take your money out of the country.
It's the difference between existing or not in the world, and you have no idea how incredible it is to be able to pass an Argentine crisis without your family suffering hunger, no centralized system could give me something similar at such a low cost.
Not so long ago, you would have had little to no option and would have been a victim of oppressive systems. This technology allowed you to overcome something people have been helplessly outmatched by for a hundred years.
I am glad you shared this and sincerely hope you the best.
Its worth noting that many "western" cultures are becoming more hostile to their citizens, removing privacy and many things our parents and grandparents took for granted. We should be embracing things that gives us privacy.
We already have banks and payment systems playing alongside thought police. Saying something that is dissent has gotten people to lose their bank accounts . I am not condoning these actions by this example but I am saying its becoming more normal. There are also issues with patreon dropping people over online political affiliation.
I don't know how many here follow the global economy but if you do, you will see the US economy is in a dangerous place. This commenter talks about the central bank taking his money and that can happen here with something call "bail-ins"  which takes money from account holders in the event of another "too big to fail" moment.
This may have been in Argentina but people should realize, that although you may not feel you need it today, you very well could need it I'm your country soon.
Being ~anonymous online, cryptocurrencies are my only option for buying and selling stuff online. Leasing VPN services, servers, VPS, etc. Getting paid for writing and other consulting work.
The speculation aspect is just meme-driven bullshit. What we need is cryptocurrencies with stable values, for online commerce. I'm not sure what you mean by "aspirin" vs "vitamins". But for me, getting out from under the thumb of government is extremely interesting.
Perfect for things governments hate: illegal stuff like extortion and drugs.
That's true for anything that provides privacy and freedom.
I used Bitcoin to cover a flight a few years back when the only other options were PayPal or using a European bank deposit (0).
More recently I also paid for graduate studies in Bitcoin (1). Granted, it was for an MSc in cryptocurrency but the process was still just so... easy. I did it while in bed here in Canada to a university in Cyprus. It took about five minutes and the school converted the funds to euros right away. When I compare this to waiting 1-2 weeks to move funds from Canada to Europe for previous studies (as well as the ~€100 in fees), I can definitely see a bullish case for crypto, especially for bigger international payments.
Me, I associate the Internet with "shonk". And people, fundamentally, although AI could do it too.
Also, I hate the term "crypto". Crypto is a general term. As you say, it's "cryptocurrency". Just because most people are ignorant and meme-driven, there's no excuse to post like that here.
But whatever. Cryptocurrencies, as anyone who's been following them for more than a decade or two knows, are about money that's not controlled by governments, which can be used on the Internet, and which can be exchanged anonymously.
I understand why Keybase is doing this (the attraction of cryptocurrency is profound, and not just because there's so much money being thrown around), but it not do anything for their credibility.
Also, your association of cryptocurrencies with scams is understandable given the sorry state of e.g. the Ethereum and EOS ecosystems which are dominated by get rich quick schemes, pyramid schemes, gambling apps, and other stuff. Not exactly enthusiastic about that myself.
However, among its peers, Stellar is relatively respectable in the sense that it has some serious corporate partners (i.e. normal legal entities in normal jurisdictions) and quite a few stable coins issued by fintech companies for the purpose of supporting international payments. And with support/involvement of regulators in many countries.
Additionally there seem to be some serious use cases emerging. The most significant of those would be IBM building a SEPA competitor on top of stellar with dozens of international banks. But there are other applications as well.
Keybase associating with Stellar is not necessarily a bad deal for them as they get money without giving away shares (presumably). And given the nature of their technology, crypto wallets are a natural use case for them as the whole point of their platform is making key management usable for end users and crypto wallets are literally nothing else than key pairs.
Don't have to look much farther for motives. However, may I suggest a slight amendment to your statement and thinking:
The association with keybase.io does much to give the appearance of credibility, trustworthiness and stability to cryptocurrency.
I really wish all the speculators just went away.
what I saw: Hm Stellar has a Development Fund, and people within Keybase' engineering team that wanted cryptocurrency security to be easier so less people get scammed
what you saw: questionable corporate goals because things involving cryptocurrency involve people getting scammed
fascinating, to say the least, it is a perspective.
To paraphrase Keynes, it's not good security policy to base it on the workings of a casino.
You can read the entire account here:
It starts with this:
I was given 6000 XLM and I left it in their official wallet for years. On May 12th, 2017 I wrote them an email asking why my wallet, now converted to some newer official wallet, was empty. I did not receive a reply for 2 months, at which point I followed up and received a reply within a day, which was:
"I have investigated your account and it looks like an account merge operation occurred some time ago merging your lumens with another account. If you did not commit this action, it could be possible that someone was able to obtain your account information.
You can see the merge operation here: https://horizon.stellar.org/accounts/GD2CPSK2E3TUNC2N5NGGQJQ....
Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to retrieve your lumens at this point.
Apologies we cannot be of further help."
I think this goes back to a critical point in the crypto space.
If you don't have your key pair, then you don't own the coins. I think everyone who lost coins had wallet issues. Maybe there would still have been issues even if you had your key pair, but the general rule still stands.
Back when Stellar got stared, you had to use the API to create a key pair and then you needed the API again to interact with that address (send coins from it.)
Stellar, like the rest of the cryptocurrencies, can go die in a fire as far as I’m concerned.
The moment the bank starts doing that it’s not a bank any more, it’s a scam.
- Banks are not legally obligated to honor checks older than 6 months
- Dormant accounts where the bank is unable to contact the account owner have their balances transferred to the state (State Seizure)
The latter probably makes a little more sense in this case since you could (depending on the issuer) just request another check from the source.
Crypto currencies overlook the benefits of a centralized currency - some entity to correct mistakes. Fiat currency is backed by the trust in a nation state for example. If my money disappears, I have some authority I can appeal to for addressing it. Whether they do address it or not is a different question, but at least there’s a process.
When someone in stellar screws up and locks out wallets, or when Mt. Gox loses mounds of bitcoins, there is no recourse. Just a “oh, the math makes fixing that impossible” response. Or they can take the ethereum approach and just rewrite history to cover up your mistakes, delegitimizing the entire currency in the process.
In a world with pure intentions and no mistakes that may work, but the real world is messy and people are any combination of stupid, forgetful, and malicious.
Crypto currencies and distributed ledgers are interesting in theory, but will fail due to the implications of needing to operate in the real world.
Any node can issue tokens pretty easily. Tokens are basically IOUs and come with counterparty risk. For example you want to issue tokens for carbon emission trading, you can do that with a few lines of code but people have to trust you to redeem them for whatever they are worth at the end. The only asset that comes without counterparty risk is the native asset XLM.
It uses the Stellar consensus protocol (not proof of work) with a new ledger being closed every 3-5 seconds. SCP favors safety over liveness (no progress until consensus is reached)
Stellar has a decentralized exchange built-in in the protocol layer. That means that market orders are p2p messages and are part of consensus for each new ledger.
I'm a much bigger fan of Cosmos and (future) PoS Ethereum, which is permissionless to become a block producer - you just need to acquire enough stake.
The consensus in the network of validators is based on the network of who is trusting whom. Right now there are a few dozen companies running validators: https://www.stellar.org/developers/guides/nodes.html that trust each other directly or indirectly.
Most of the companies running these validators are doing so because they have business dependencies on the network. Running a validator is not actually free and comes with a bit of devops overhead. So you need a good business reason to do so as mining is just not a thing in Stellar. If you are doing business on Stellar, trusting your direct business partners is probably a smart thing. E.g. IBM and the banks they are partnering likely have ironclad contracts between them and good reasons to trust each other's validators. Most nodes also trust the SDF and trusting additional nodes for resilience is basically something you can do based on your judgment of who is running those nodes and how well they are running them (up time).
Lots of new nodes start with a default configuration that includes the Stellar foundation's own nodes. This is a bit of a problem. Stellar foundation is actually considering shutting down their own validators at this point as there are now plenty of reliable other validators around that they don't need to be there by default anymore. Over time, the number of validators and companies using them is likely to grow substantially. The network gets more robust as the network grows organically.
Of course for a malicious node the trick is getting others to trust you back. This only happens when people actually trust you. This makes e.g. 51% attacks really hard because you can spin up all the nodes you want but if people think you are a scammer, your nodes won't have any decision power. Mostly that's a good thing. Stellar is very resilient against this kind of thing; unlike other networks.
Just some quick Googling on my phone led me down cryptobro low quality content, unsurprisingly.
EDIT: And also, this implementation looks really neat, congrats! It made me excited about crypto currency again!
Free, encrypted git repos and file storage as well as ID assertion and chat.
This is not good UX.
Sure, it would be better UX if they could charge you some USD and give you Lumens, but I don't think it's worse than obtaining any other currency.
CoinBase Pro is useless. They want to know too much.
I also invite the OP to check out Blockmodo's API. We deliver this data to developers and institutional investors.
We stream everything which includes the price, trades, news, social media and community posts, and code checkins.
On the price side, we have two channels. We have a stream channel and a ticker channel. The stream channel derives the price of tokens by looking at raw trades from a select set of exchanges which have been vettted.
We are based in SF and happy to help at no charge! Drop us a note.
Just without KYC/AML.