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What Happened to Bitcoin And David Seaman?

What Happened to Bitcoin And David Seaman?

The past couple years have been interesting. I’ve stood by and watched a number of rumors about my personal life circulate and die. You cannot address every conspiracy theory or half-baked reddit post about yourself once you become a public personality. Once you get into that tit for tat, it’s game over for your peace of mind… and your free time.

There’s no need to clear up the record, but I want to. As a public personality, one of my favorite quotes is “if you want to be understood, explain.” The public demands that, as they should. And as my health appears to be in decline, I don’t want dishonest people writing my life’s story.

LOS ANGELES

I moved to Los Angeles from south Florida after a show idea I had was successfully crowdfunded, raising more than US $6,000 on the Internet to produce a season of a grassroots YouTube show dedicated to many of the political and economic issues raised from my bedroom in Florida, where the original audio podcast was “headquartered.” I loved that period of my life in Florida, interviewing local politicos and self-help gurus and bartenders. If I could go back to that, I would.

Because it was perfect.

In Los Angeles, I aligned with a toxic personality who billed himself as an attorney. In reality, his attorney status had been revoked after a couple DUIs in the state of California, but since an acquaintance Joe Rogan had vouched for the guy, I allowed him into my world. What a mistake. He squandered a significant portion of the crowdfund and excitement around the show; we parted ways shortly after realizing he wasn’t the real thing, despite his baseless threats of retribution.

His personality defects were ultimately my fault, because I was desperate to have a contact “on the ground” in LA before getting there, and on paper he was everything I wanted – not the fraudulent alcoholic he actually was, but the grounded legal mind I knew I needed during that volatile, growth-oriented period of my media life.

Aside from that, Los Angeles was transformative. Joe Rogan told me I would be his podcast’s “politics contributor” and would be on every couple months to share the latest political scandals with his audience. That turned out to be a bald-faced lie; when Bitcoin, which I had championed, dropped into the $300s, then $200s, Mr. Rogan stopped replying to my emails and text messages. His producer Brian Redban implied on Twitter I was mentally unwell, and I was – abandoned, in debt, attacked personally in ways that made my days reporting on the N.S.A. seem downright splendid by comparison.

I left Los Angeles as a result of economic necessity and moved to Colorado. In Colorado, I found a place to recover and rehabilitate my image, but not a lot of free love. Colorado may have legal weed, but it’s no Haight-Ashbury love in – even in 2016, it’s do or die, do it for yourself, Midwestern frontier ethic. And in retrospect, I like that. I needed that Midwestern sensibility. LA had made me spoiled: beautiful women, incredible former close friends including the screenwriter Ally Maynard and country legend Shooter Jennings and a couple of young billionaires up north in the Bay Area. I loved San Francisco and its energy.

I needed Colorado, though.

It was very humbling in Colorado, for me. Bottoming out and rebuilding from scratch, alone… The crypto markets were decimated at that point in time; I was worth less than a homeless person, but proud. I applied for jobs at Walmart and Target, receiving rejections. When a Walmart opening had me in mind, I gratefully accepted, driving out there as fast as I could. An email from a longtime reader I read in the parking lot caused me to tell my training manager I’d have to respectfully decline the job offer for greeter. Other life plans.

CANADA

I flew up to Canada to learn more about BitGold, and its parent Goldmoney. An entrepreneur around my age, Roy Sebag, had grown the publicly traded Goldmoney and built its popular subsidiary BitGold into a million-plus community of users transacting in verifiable, insured physical gold. We became friends and I used it as an opportunity to learn as much about the business as possible. Goldmoney had hired former PayPal Canada CEO Darrell MacMullin to helm its BitGold unit, and attracted a number of other thought leaders in the space, including Peter Schiff’s SchiffGold, which was recently acquired by Sebag’s company. The company is funded by a number of savvy financial elites including precious metals entrepreneur Eric Sprott and the legendary Soros family.

The deeper I dug, the more admiration for the self-made Sebag, both personally and as a sound money supporter.

Sebag, a former hedge fund manager, set his sights fully on fixing the fractured financial system. And to him, building a payments network on the immutable, ancient first currency – gold – just made more sense, not only ideologically, but mathematically: you can move gold ownership around the world faster and cheaper than fiat currency, which was Sebag’s breakthrough realization after years of working within the traditional financial system and profiting from it. It’s a realization that could net Sebag and his Colorado born co-founder Josh Crumb a number of devoted users in the years ahead.

CALIFORNIA / TORONTO

As fascinating as the re-utilization of gold as currency is to a researcher like me, I was also intrigued by the emergence of “Bitcoin 2.0” technology Ethereum, which was headlined at several meetups I had attended in Toronto and back in California. Turing Complete and invented by a trio of crypto geniuses, everyone from Microsoft to Chris Dixon had been saying good things about Ethereum publicly, so I knew I had to dive in.

I became friends with co-founder Taylor Gerring, interviewing him on my YouTube channel several times and showing him around Toronto when he was in town. Mr. Gerring is a different
kind of techno-industrialist. Having built the better mousetrap along with colleagues Vitalik Buterin, Anthony Di Iorio, and Roman Mandeleil, Mr. Gerring always seemed more interested in making sure that anyone who wanted to understand why it’s better could be shown that, without alienating anyone who doesn’t yet perceive the importance of blockchain-based commerce. I sensed a level of compassion and original vision desperately lacking in most other areas of the crypto economy.

PARENTS

I’m amending this section out of respect to my parents, but the fact remains, they didn’t have my back when I needed it. You don’t forget that, family or not. And you do not forget when a long time friend or family member loses confidence in you. Crypto has not been the easiest ride, but it has been the ride I’ve been waiting for all my life. A chance to create something new in the wake of the broken, senseless old stuff.

And it’s all good, to be honest, even the bad moments. I wouldn’t trade the lessons I’ve learned for a million dollars. But I know that if a million or two is all that’s ahead for me, well, that’s not the reward any of us were after. It’s still about building a better, more sensible world. As millennials, we do not have to be perfect. We simply have to be moving toward a better, more sensible world – we will build it, and our children will play in it. That’s worth fighting for.

TELEVISION

I was blessed to be a weekly panelist on the now defunct national cable program, Take Part Live. Minutes from my apartment in LA, it seemed a dream come true – I was allowed to talk about Bitcoin, gold, monetary freedom, surveillance and corruption weekly. Their host, Cara Santa Maria, was gracious, intelligent, and a friend to me.

Inexplicably, the show was canceled after that season, I was never invited back, Santa Maria and her co-host were fired (he later got a contributor role at MSNBC), and they were replaced with a fat, entitled, intellectually empty Meghan McCain, the daughter of senior United States Senator John McCain from Arizona. So unpopular was the “Meghan season” of Take Part Live, the show and network were shuttered after that season.

Disclosure: At time of publication, I hold some ether, bitcoin, gold, and US Dollars in my long-term portfolio.

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What Is Bitcoin’s Barry Silbert Doing?

What Is Bitcoin’s Barry Silbert Doing?

I continue to believe strongly, and publicly state whenever convenient to do so, that Barry Silbert’s “Ethereum Classic” scam is, well, a scam.

I try to honor as many different beliefs and views as humanly possible – that’s part of what being a researcher, journalist, and investor entails in the 21st century.

But try as hard as I might, Silbert’s “Ethereum Classic” strikes me as little more than a cryptographic scam. I didn’t particularly like how Microsoft Corp rolled out Windows 10; does that mean that “Microsoft Corp Classic” will rise to parity with legitimate Microsoft shares? No, of course not.

I don’t like much of what Google has been doing the past… three years? Or so. I don’t like Eric Schmidt’s face, either. I don’t like Google’s many failed speculative projects. Does that mean that if I create a cryptocurrency with minimal hashrate I can announce “Google Classic” and achieve parity with the market capitalization of regulated Google Inc shares? Probably not. Certainly not.

We can agree and disagree on a bunch of points, but Silbert’s “Ethereum Classic” redefines the boundaries of sensible property ownership in a way that is sure to stir up regulatory interest. And that’s bad for cryptocurrency, to be sure, but more importantly it is bad for Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group.

Silbert’s Classic pump has been senseless, unnecessary, and sloppy. Consider the vast disparity in messaging:

That was on August 7th. What changed Mr. Silbert’s mind so drastically versus on August 3rd, when he tweeted the following mess:

Paging the United States Department of Justice. Anyone home? Guys? This is just another pump and dumper. I’m not worried at all about the increased trolling I’ve received after publishing my stories about Mr. Silbert. This is newsworthy and The Huffington Post isn’t in the business of slowing editorial for the benefit of subjects we report on. In fact, all the heat we’ve taken over this Silbert story leads one to believe we are dropping inconvenient bombs over an inconvenient target.

And that will continue.

Read more: Why did CoinDesk promote “Ethereum Classic”?

Disclosure: At time of publication, I hold some bitcoin, ether, US dollars, and gold in my long term portfolio. As I held ether at the time of the fork, I also have a “Classic” position by default but have not sold any – Classic is a scam and I am uninterested in profiting from the sale of duplicate tokens.



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In Bitcoin’s Barry Silbert, A Prosecution Waiting To Happen

In Bitcoin’s Barry Silbert, A Prosecution Waiting To Happen

As readers may already know, I used my space here to draw attention to Barry Silbert’s Ethereum Classic scam. You can read that coverage here and here.

A source assures me Classic meets the loose definition of a scam: it is in no way Ethereum. It is just an insecure orphan chain which is being promoted by a wealthy guy in New York, relentlessly, in a way that would be absolutely illegal if “Ethereum” were a publicly traded company or commodity – which it may well be one day soon, in some form.

Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin has publicly pledged “100%” of his support to ETH, the main blockchain for the Ethereum community.

Especially in light of Mr. Silbert’s prior cryptocurrency run-in with the S.E.C., my source suggests a second look from authorities might result in more than a slap on the wrist this time, especially since CoinDesk – a leading cryptocurrency media outlet wholly acquired by Mr. Silbert’s Digital Currency Group recently – has shifted to a “discernible” and “biased” promotional strategy for Classic since the acquisition.

“Kathryn [Haun] owes you a drink,” the source joked, referring to assistant U.S. attorney Kathryn Haun, who heads up the digital currency crimes office for the United States Dept. of Justice in San Francisco.

Nearly a week after our first stories about Mr. Silbert broke, he finally responded to my multiple public inquiries asking for an explanation. “Yeah, I care what you think,” Mr. Silbert tweeted to my personal Twitter account.

It’s not what I think that remotely matters, Mr. Silbert. It’s the Ethereum investors, the Ethereum developers, the American and international corporations developing on Ethereum, and the law enforcement community – they are the ones who want answers, not me.

I couldn’t care less.

Disclosure: At time of publication, I hold some bitcoin, ether, US dollars, and gold in my long term portfolio. As I held ether at the time of the fork, I also have a “Classic” position by default but have not sold any – Classic is a scam and I am uninterested in profiting from the sale of duplicate tokens.



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Bitcoin And Ethereum Are Plummeting: Why?

Bitcoin And Ethereum Are Plummeting: Why?

No one seems to know why the world’s #1 and #2 cryptocurrency networks Bitcoin and Ethereum are both plummeting today. Well, okay, this might have something to do with it.

In the wake of the Bitfinex exchange hack news, Bitcoin and Ethereum sold off broadly, with Bitcoin down 7.43% over the last 24 hours and Ethereum down a life altering 21.59%. That’s how it is in crypto, though – one day you’re shopping for the Gatsby mansion, and the next day it’s dodgy wi-fi in a tent city, just trying to place that one last trade to get you out of your Bitcoin hole. We’ve all been there.

Bitcoin, man. Not even once.

In all seriousness, though, if the market didn’t sell off after a huge exchange hack and troubling community division over how to handle possible competitor Ethereum, I’d begin to think the markets are artificial.

This is healthy and natural. People are angry and scared. They are selling to perceived higher ground until they can make sense of what is going on. Big exchanges like Bitfinex are not supposed to be losing people money in 2016. Not like this.

I noticed in Bitfinex’s statement regarding the breach they stated that only Bitcoin funds were lost – other “tokens,” including Ether, are allegedly intact.

I’ve been in crypto for too long to lose any sleep, or sweat, over this one.

I bought more of my favorite crypto today, actually. It begins with an E. Perhaps you can fancy a guess as to which one it is. And after what I heard about it this past weekend in California, oh boy. It’s about time crypto found its magnum opus. I’ll leave it there; onward and upward.

Not financial advice. No warranties or guarantees provided. At time of publication, I hold some US dollars, bitcoin, ether, and gold.

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Major Bitcoin Exchange Breach; Coin Values Tumble

Major Bitcoin Exchange Breach; Coin Values Tumble

Bitfinex, one of the largest institutional-level bitcoin exchanges by US dollar trading volume, today shuttered all trading as it looks into an attack carried out against its platform.

How bad is the attack? How much was lost? Well, no one knows yet, but based on a terse update posted to the Bitfinex blog, it sounds bad:

Today we discovered a security breach that requires us to halt all trading on Bitfinex, as well as halt all digital token deposits to and withdrawals from Bitfinex.

We are investigating the breach to determine what happened, but we know that some of our users have had their bitcoins stolen. We are undertaking a review to determine which users have been affected by the breach. While we conduct this initial investigation and secure our environment, bitfinex.com will be taken down and the maintenance page will be left up.

The theft is being reported to–and we are co-operating with–law enforcement.

As we account for individualized customer losses, we may need to settle open margin positions, associated financing, and/or collateral affected by the breach. Any settlements will be at the current market prices as of 18:00 UTC. We are taking this necessary accounting step to normalize account balances with the objective of resuming operations. We will look at various options to address customer losses later in the investigation. While we are halting all operations at this time, we can confirm that the breach was limited to bitcoin wallets; the other digital tokens traded on Bitfinex are unaffected.

Bitcoin prices tumbled in the wake of the news, with one Bitcoin trading as low as $586.24 minutes ago. Other major crypto assets are down across the board.

It will be interesting to see, however, if some of the other crypto assets gain against Bitcoin as more details emerge: after all, Bitfinex says only bitcoin balances were successfully depleted by the attacker. This means that markets may be anticipating a malicious “dump out” of the stolen Bitfinex coins on another exchange, at some point. And that anticipation may be what is driving prices lower.

New to Bitcoin and Ether? Learn more about getting started with cryptocurrency in the tutorial video below:

Not financial advice. No warranties or guarantees provided. At time of publication, I hold some bitcoin, ether, US dollars, and gold.

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Ethereum Classic: Is The SEC Watching?

Ethereum Classic: Is The SEC Watching?

The currency community is tight-knit and passionate, that’s one thing we can all agree on. Shortly after this morning’s piece went up regarding my concerns about Barry Silbert promoting Ethereum Classic, a number of you brought some information to the fore that I was unaware of.

Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group and creator of the Bitcoin Investment Trust, has already faced S.E.C. action over a strikingly similar event that involved the promotion of so-called “BIT Shares.”

Although some sources believe a less connected man would have done jail time, Silbert’s firm managed to extricate itself from the fiasco with only a disgorgement and a cease-and-desist order from the Commission. You can read the full case law here. Although there are several interesting parts, this one is most relevant, found on page 3:

It is troubling to some in the community that Silbert attempted to divert enthusiasm for Bitcoin, the popular intermediate commodity money mined by computers the world over, into excitement for the “BIT” – which had redemption restrictions and other issues.

Some feel Silbert is orchestrating a classic “Pump and Dump” by using his name and connections to legitimize the trading of a failed orphan chain as a viable alternative to Ethereum, and there are concerns that since Silbert’s group has already attracted S.E.C. scrutiny in the past, if he were to dump his Ethereum Classic tokens at any time, it could trigger unwanted additional scrutiny and regulation for the larger cryptocurrency industry.

Now is Ethereum itself a legal asset? Within the highly regulated State of New York, Governor Cuomo himself has stated that some exchanges operating in New York are authorized by the NY State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to trade in Ether:

Where does this leave Ethereum Classic? Cryptocurrency is still an unregulated market, but it’s likely that if things don’t end well for Classic token holders, the S.E.C. or other regulators may have more to say about cryptocurrency – and at least for some in the community, attracting regulators’ ire is far from ideal.

If Mr. Silbert was so “philosophically” enchanted by whatever it is he sees in Ethereum’s orphan chain, some industry watchers feel he should have kept it to himself, rather than pumping it from his personal Twitter account:

You can read our earlier story on Ethereum Classic and Mr. Silbert here.

Full disclosure: At time of publication, I hold some bitcoin and ether as I research and use both technologies frequently.



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Bitcoin And Ethereum Divergence… | HuffPost

What does Ethereum do better than its pre-crypto equivalent? Well that remains to be seen, for sure, but so far it appears Ethereum’s characteristics make it well suited to be a kind of decentralized global “App Store” and a crypto trust-maker. With well coded smart contracts… well coded being the big caveat here… the cryptocurrency community can really step away from old, expensive “analog” trust-makers like Kickstarter, eBay, PayPal and the paper contract you sign when you buy a house.

There’s value in cheaper, faster, more decentralized trust-makers.

Here’s an example: Want to host an auction? Just do it on the blockchain; whoever sends you the most crypto by a certain cut off time wins your listed item, all other lesser bids get automatically bounced back to their respective owners. This is just one of several already existing uses for Ethereum.

In the end, these technologies complement each other. We need immutable money tokens that are actually rare (Bitcoin) and as our relationships and app ideas become more complex, we’ll need a community of developers – and a blockchain – for that, too. Or maybe, one chain can become both things over time.

Both can have enormous value to society. Or one can.

New to Bitcoin and Ethereum? Learn more and get your first coins by watching the quick tutorial below:

Full disclosure: Not financial advice, provided for educational purposes only. Not intended as a recommendation to buy or sell any cryptocurrency or asset. At time of publication, I do hold some bitcoins and ethers in my long term portfolio.

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Bitcoin Could Actually Skyrocket Here (Or Not)

I don’t like what I’m seeing in Bitcoin recently. It could skyrocket, but since there was little excitement after the block halving – no Moon – I tend to think it might be bad news ahead.

But then again, this is Bitcoin, and nothing has managed to kill it yet. The “honey badger of money” is certainly still kicking, but are its days numbered?

If you’re itching to figure out how to get your very first Bitcoin or Ether, watch the tutorial video below:

Full disclosure: Not financial advice, provided for educational purposes only. Not intended as a recommendation to buy or sell any cryptocurrency or asset. At time of publication, I do hold some bitcoins and ethers in my long term portfolio.

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How To Buy Bitcoin And Ethereum Quickly: VIDEO

How To Buy Bitcoin And Ethereum Quickly: VIDEO

The volume of questions I receive from readers and viewers about how to buy Bitcoin, and how to acquire secondplace cryptocurrency Ether, has definitely picked up in recent weeks. The public is interested in crypto again – maybe it was the recent block halving, or maybe it’s the summer weather finally loosening pursestrings… who knows, really?

Whatever the cause, the masses are becoming interested in 2016 – took you folks long enough, but I’d rather everyone arrive to the Bitcoin party fashionably late than not at all, to be sure.

So how to buy a Bitcoin with a normal person thing like a credit card or bank account? How to buy its newer feisty relative, the Ether? (No, it’s not a Pokemon Go creature, believe it or not.) And, perhaps more important, how do you store your newly bought Bitcoin or Ether?

All these questions answered by the team on tonight’s tech tutorial:

Okay, wait, you’re hesitant to ask… what exactly is Ethereum? You’ve heard about Bitcoin and you understand some of the many reasons why someone might want to buy Bitcoins… but what does Ethereum do, precisely?

Thankfully, there’s a short video (1 minute, 28 seconds) on Ethereum’s official YouTube channel with 108,000 views that answers just that very question!

“How will the Internet work in the future?” a somewhat pretentious sounding narrator asks.

“It will use Ethereum,” he answers himself immediately. But self-serious tone aside, the video does a good job of explaining the potential scope of this new blockchain technology. Watch below:

Full disclosure: Not financial advice, provided for educational purposes only. Not intended as a recommendation to buy or sell any cryptocurrency or asset. At time of publication, I do hold some bitcoins and ethers in my long term portfolio.

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Ethereum Preps For Its Big Upgrade

Ethereum Preps For Its Big Upgrade

If you use the official Ethereum wallet/browser Mist, community leaders on Reddit say now is the time to upgrade to the newest version ahead of Wednesday’s planned hard fork of the network.

The hard fork will allow the return of more than $50 million worth of Ether to participants in a third party project, the DAO, that uses Ethereum’s blockchain to function. The DAO was hacked, causing the funds to move, but not leave Ethereum’s network.

In the past, hard forks have been orchestrated successfully by Ethereum’s developers. The upgrade to Homestead, the platform’s current iteration, was carried out via hard fork. Ethereum is currently the #2 cryptocurrency network after Bitcoin, with a current market capitalization of about US $910 million as I file this.

I upgraded to the newest version, Mist 0.8.1, with little trouble.

Upon first boot-up of Mist, it helpfully asked me (see sample screenshot below) if I wanted to activate the new chain, scheduled to kick in at Block #1,920,000.

I selected Yes, give me the sweet hard fork already and let’s move on with this monstrously ambitious, global project.

As I like to remind my friends and YouTube viewers, I still like Bitcoin and I still own some bitcoins. But there’s something happening within Ethereum that simply continues to fascinate me. The Ethereum meetups in various cities all over the world are intriguing: there’s a revival feel to them, as if people are waiting for something truly great or long overdue to arrive. Very little discussion of price – it’s considered gauche, in somewhat stark contrast to some other crypto communities. Turnouts are big; rooms heat up from the sheer density of bodies and – alcohol and caffeine products flowing – awkward technical conversations about blockchains, the nature of money, the nature of information typically unfold. Friendships are made. Wallet app QR codes are shared.

But aside from the burgeoning Ethereum community, the amount of brainpower now focused on Ethereum feels immense to me. It feels and looks like Bitcoin did in late 2013, sometime after the big panels in D.C. wrapped up somewhat favorably on cryptocurrency’s side. Except bigger: there’s more confidence this time.

Cryptocurrency and blockchains are no longer grey areas of discussion in fintech: it’s the red hot core everything else orbits around these days.

There are so many young developers at these meetups, coding apps and future digital societies I can barely begin to understand, and they talk excitedly about them.

In part, the ethers I hold at this point are a bet that whatever these insane young people are excitedly talking about will eventually – somewhere, in some form, eventually – come to fruition.

I don’t consider thirty old exactly, but the rate of Web innovation – social networks, social apps, games, ridesharing – is quickly moving beyond my ability to track effectively. The faster it moves, the less I can focus on the new ideas with any degree of certainty. In part, the ethers – whatever they are – are my way of gaining exposure to the crazy ideas the twenty year olds are churning out. They like blockchains, they like tokenized rarity rewarding them for their zany ideas, and I can see how it could all very easily snowball and become massive beyond anyone’s imagination in a year or two, quite frankly.

More than any one use case for Ethereum I’ve seen so far, it’s the ecosystem itself that excites me. Mist is called a wallet and browser for a reason. When you mix entertainment, Internet money, and endlessly ambitious twenty year old coders for long enough, the Ethereum’s combustion engine just might start up, sending us to places unknown technologically in the years ahead.

Full disclosure: Not financial advice, provided for educational purposes only. Not intended as a recommendation to buy or sell any cryptocurrency or asset. At time of publication, I do hold some bitcoins and ethers in my long term portfolio.

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