The Initial Cash Trade

As movement accelerates towards turning something on this week, trading I thought would happen this weekend was displaced by the imperative to have a Qntra box ready to plug in as soon as the rack is ready. Thusly the tale of the first trade will be recounted as I prepare to do more trading this week. From the logs:

BingoBoingo: Did not get mugged, he sent his girlfriend instead of appearing himself (or secretly is the girl)
asciilifeform: BingoBoingo: describe, for my education, what a trade like this looks like
asciilifeform: i.e. you showed up with a privkey, and other party — with benjies ? or wat
BingoBoingo: asciilifeform: Used a web escrow thing to keep the kitten comfortable, they deliver benjies, I hit the release escrow button.
BingoBoingo: There was small talk
asciilifeform: so 'ebay'-style.
BingoBoingo: Well, strangers
asciilifeform: makes sense.
BingoBoingo: Was obvious to spot who the counterparty was when they entered the public meeting space. Meanwhile I had been comfortable seated for a bit with coffees on the table.
asciilifeform: obvious how
BingoBoingo: Body language
BingoBoingo: Nervous, carried self in manner that screamed latina holding more cash than accustomed to.
Other adventures in Montevideo have taught me the importance of venue selection, if I don't know the venue well enough to be reasonable sure I am not getting mugged or otherwise surprised, the problem of gansta roll gangsta responsibilities comes to the surface. Balanced against this is the challenge of making the other counter party comfortable, a hazard when their discomfort is incredibly transparent. Thankfully the locals show an affinity for gringo fast food chains which means they present a well populated public space capable of making everyone comfortable.
Anyways 500 USD were exchanged for 0.04776872 BTC on the 23rd of January with more trades to come now that there has been time for the rumor mill to spin… or not. The investigations must continue.

TBI Mid November Update

Arrangements are being made to bring The Boingo ISP online in the first half of December. Here's the short of it:

  • Datacenter located in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Our connectivity will begin with a 100 Mbps dedicated connection to the rack
  • The price to rent a RU of space from TBI to home customer provided equipment is looking to be 61.615 USd weekly per RU or 267 USd monthly per RU on an annual contract
  • This has been arrived at by taking the cost of renting the rack1, breaking it into 40 rack units available for rent, and making the rest of the expenses fit into 2x that rate.
  • Fiat side organized as a Sociedad Anónima
  • Number Crunching continues
  • ~19,000 USd equivalent value expected to be spent between now and December 15th bringing TBI online as of the latest number crunching2

Miscellaneous Selling Points:

  • I sleep less than 2 km from datacenter
  • Thankfully VAT is not appearing to be applied to the export sale of services
  • I am happy to cooperate with all lords of the Republic on their own ISP efforts.3

Inquiries of all kinds are welcome while the number crunching continues.

  1. 5335 USd after 22% VAT 

  2. This number goes up by $priceofMachine for every machine customers would like TBI to supply  

  3. Being located in a Mercosur jurisdiction, this means that any lords with the patience to try cracking the nut that is Brazil are welcome to any assistance which may smooth their struggle.  

Why You Should Have Been Reading And Writing Qntra This Whole Time

For 22 months Qntra has been serving Bitcoin and the Most Serene Republic as the news outlet of choice for distinguished readers and writers. The benefits of Qntra to these two seemingly different populations involve substantial overlap.

For Readers

Access to sanely parsed information about things that matter well before any other outlet dares. From calling out the GAW scam while supposed "Bitcoin News" operations were happily running their ads and press releases, breaking the story on Bitpay's layoffs, to the Bitgo insurance of null value, and absolutely everything about how the hard fork drama of the past two years would play out among other stories Qntra has been leading the way.

For Writers

Benefits include access to coaching and mentorship on journalism as well as a community of persons who make a habit of not being wrong. Successfully getting published in Qntra also involves learning to use essential tools necessary to participate in Bitcoin. As a minor bonus on top of this valuable educational opportunity contributions to Qntra are rewarded with equity which may be traded for Bitcoin. Writing for Qntra was recently highlighted as one of the best ways for the aspiring Bitcoin n00b to acquire actual Bitcoin without bending over to some AML/KYC enforcing fiat interface.


The net effect of Qntra's existence has been devastating for other purported Bitcoin news outlets. The various made for adsense style outlets like CryptoCoinNews and NewsBTC were forced to accelerate their race to the bottom. Venture capital funded outlets like CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph have transitioned to money losing vanity projects for their now singular owners. All still share a far greater interest in promoting whatever short term goal they hold over being right. To this day these outlets link sparingly to Qntra only when essential to a story they want to cover and often pass on actual news of importance through this frugality.

Qntra reader turned frequent contributor par excellence shinohai offered the following take on his journey:

I feel happy to contribute to a project where one is free to lampoon, yet get quality news without being beholden to scam agencies.

There are few better educative experiences available today where you actually get paid. Sorry for your loss, but what's your excuse?

The Theoretical Foundation of Social Engineering Practice

Not that long ago a problem was identified. Interest was expressed in an explanation of the problem. This is an attempt at the explaining.


To get to the root of how this problem is in the now, we have to go to a time before now.

Henry Brokmeyer, whose originating energy among the St. Louis Hegelians was now being felt everywhere in Cambridge, had his first exposure to Hegel around 1848, When Brokmeyer was a student at Brown Uiversity and Frederic Hedge was the Unitarian minister in Providence. Hedge had printed short but well-chosen bits from Hegel in his 1847 Prose Writers of Germany; Brokmeyer would have seen there Hegel's electrifying claim, a claim that also caught Walt Whitman's eye, that "the history of the world is the progress in the consciousness of freedom … The scheme is this: the oriental world knew that one is free [that is, the ruler]; the Greek and Roman world knew that some are free [the ruling classes]; but we know that all men, in their true nature, are free, that man, as man, is free"1

Time goes on. In 1858 Brokmeyer acquires a disciple in William Torrey Harris. These two men took the writings of Hegel and built a religious social reform movement out of Hegel's writing in much the same way many other religious persons in the American continent have done before and after them. Like some other religious reformers they managed to occupy local political offices for some time. Brokmeyer was Lieutenant and then acting Missouri governor. Harris was assistant St. Louis superintendent of schools.

After the war of Northern Aggression the Hegelians in St. Louis were sufficiently rooted that they would invite esteemed speakers of the time, like Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1867, to preach at them. This is not atypical behavior among religious reformers.

The philosophical program then emerging in St. Louis was a serious, extended, civic-minded effort to address the problems growing out of the Civil War [sic] and Reconstruction, and the destiny of of America and the place of St. Louis in it, by applying Hegelian thought  specifically Hegelian dialectic to them all

Brockmeyer identified the position of the American South as that of "abstract right"; the North's position he considered "abstract morality." The synthesis would be a new "ethical state," a new union emerging from the tragic conflict.2

In the 1870's this group of religious reformers migrated from St. Louis, the gateway to America's frontier to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There they set down roots at Harvard and MIT,  the gateway to America's political "elite".


Although I did not see it at first, I soon found that it was in each case nothing but the abstract genus of which the conflicting terms were opposite species. In other words, although the flood of ontologic emotion was Hegelian through and through, the ground for it was nothing but the world-old principle that things are the same only so far and not farther that they are the same, or partake of a common nature — the principle that Hegel most tramples under foot. At the same time the rapture of beholding a process that was infinite, changed (as the nature of the infinitude was realized by the mind) in to the sense of a dreadful and ineluctable fate, with whose magnitude every finite effort is incommensurable and in the light of which watever happens is indifferent. This instantaneous revulsion of mood from rapture to horror is, perhaps, the strongest emotion I have ever experienced. I got it repeatedly when the inhalation was continued long enough to produce incipient nausea; and I cannot but regard it as the normal and the inevitable outcome of the intoxication, if sufficiently prolonged. A pessimistic fatalism, depth within depth of impotence and indifference, reason and silliness united, not in a higher synthesia, but in the fact that whichever you choose it is all one — this is the upshot of a revelation that began so rosy bright.3

The popular is frequently intellectually inaccessible to particular individuals. William James personally struggled deeply with the concept of faith4 and similarly struggled with accepting the program of the Hegelian brand of religious reformers. It took nitrous oxide intoxication temporarily reducing his mental faculties in a particular way to grasp the Hegelian program as its proponents did.

The appeal of and the effect on idiots of particular idiocies is not always knowable to persons who are not idiots without their being lowered into idiocy through chemical or religious intoxication, and even then it may take a particular species of intoxication to grasp a particular species of idiocy. This mean that while the a person may recognize social engineering being deployed and even in cases be able to distinguish between hired and honest idiots, the mechanism by which the idiocy attaches to honest idiots being socially engineered is elusive and is treated as a black box.

Problema 1

The Hegelian wave which seems to me only another desperate attempt to make a short cut to paradise, is deluging the College this year and will, if I am not mistaken, completely sterilize its votaries.5

The populist form of Hegelianism offered academics at Harvard all of the structure of a religious social program without the theological particulars that made other religious reform programs divisive. The popular Hegelian dialectic of:

  1. Thesis and Antithesis
  2. ???
  3. Synthesis/Profit

Offered a structure for shaping social outcomes by culturing the appropriate polarization in disputes. Activists trained in methods derived from this tradition can be counted on to reliably attack by framing both poles of the debate they want to have as movements. This is why the activists at Mizzou focused on Tim Wolfe personally as agent capable of directing the University against them. This is why the social engineering attack on Bitcoin was framed as the duelling plans of XT and Blockstream but is framed as the duelling plans of "Classic" and "Core" now. Allowing foundational bedrock of any sort into the "debate" must be disallowed for the popular dialectic to work. The goal of the "debate" isn't for either side to win. The goal is a imposing any change at all between the poles in the debate, merely for the sake of having movement.

This is also why movements like the Oregon militia are presented as aberrations. Denying them the thesis-antithesis structure offered when building narratives for desirable activists is the social engineer's way of marginalizing their voices. Why would those for whom the dialectic offers a path to paradise offer the path to their enemies.

Since the St. Louis Hegelians colonized Harvard's mind there's only been 13 decades for America's "elite" to play with applications of the popular dialectic as a strategy to herd idiots.

Problema 2

Malicious stupidity, or malpidity, spread and cultured through the dialectic as a social engineering tool has effectively reduced English into a pidgin. Conversations nearly always happen in parallel, and only in parallel. People speaking English as a foreign language for purposes of trade are the only string still keeping the vocabulary of the English language from completely dissolving. The extent to which American academia's bought into the Hegelian idiocy is evident in both their rejection of the chance for an independent American intellectual tradition out of William James' legacy and why:

Although historical anachronism is always a danger in a revisionist approach, it does seem that James often was insufficiently aware of the importance of liberating social movements contemporary with his public life. … Nonetheless, as the generations of thinkers subsequent to James knew all too well, the individual is a social category, contexted over and over again by the swirling factors of institutional and communal history.6

William James, who operated one of the few actual campus "safe spaces" in the history of the United States when he offered his Harvard office without restriction to W.E.B. Du Bois to escape the endemic Yankee racism of Harvard, is in the revised history of American academic a person who was "insufficiently aware" of social movements. A campus full of Hegelians too absorbed in the dialectic's potential to engineer social outcomes to engage their Black American classmate as a human being because they hadn't thesis-antithesis synthesized it yet are history's heroes of justice, while the individual who did something is a villain for rejecting the Hegelian's path to paradise.


Insanity never changes.

  1. Richardson, Robert, D. William James In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. (2006) p. 211  

  2. Ibid p. 213  

  3. William James, "Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide"  

  4. There is substantial irony in the popular legacy of William James as a primarily religious thinker.  

  5. William James, Letter to Xenos Clark, December 1880  

  6. John J. McDermott. The Writings of William James. p. xi  

Some Quick Meta-Qntra Updates

  1. On November 12th Qntra ceased to utilize Quantcast's services for determining an approximate visitor count, for reason relating to Quantcast's interface "going retarded."
  2. Qntra has been back online for a few days now after several days of downtime.
  3. Frontend and backend improvements continue. It is a distinct point of pride that Qntra is ready to take Bitcoin news to the GPRS internet connection of Africa and the rest of the under served world.

Qntra Style and Draft Content Guide

Please see:

Now that Qntra has just a bit more than a year's worth of content behind it and processed a number of submissions, there's a more solid idea of just what Qntra is about. This guide is going to cover two subjects: the formatting of submissions and the content of submissions. The guidelines for formatting submissions are open to comment and effective immediately. The content guidelines are open for comment and will go into effect after there has been time for the dragons of #bitcoin-assets to mull them over. Continue reading

Notes on Building Bitcoin-qt on OpenBSD

This week I embarked on the experiment of seeing how much Bitcoin client you can build on OpenBSD. I might as well use this space to consolidate the mental notes on the process I used. Some particular details have likely slipped my mind already, so consider this an abridged guide. The version I ended up building with this process was 0.7.2, it builds fine with or without upnp support and with or without QR code support. Going earlier in version to 0.5.3 or the 0.6 series should be fine too, you just might have to make some different changes in the source and flags.

Building any later version which uses leveldb for blockchain storage might not be possible on OpenBSD. The Bitcoin source tarball for later versions includes its own leveldb source and hammering that into a shape that will compile into something useful on OpenBSD is a challenge too far. Note that around the 0.8 release with the move to leveldb is when the effort on Bitcoin in the OpenBSD work in progress ports tree dropped precipitously.

  • Your first order of business is acquiring a source tarball from somewhere. Ask a friend. Download it from Github. However you acquire it is your business.1
  • To minimize headaches I installed the version of BDB this version of Bitcoin-qt expects:
    pkg_add unzip
    curl -O
    cd db-4.8.30.NC/build_unix
    ../dist/configure --prefix=/usr/local --disable-replication --enable-cxx --enable-shared=yes
    make install

Now that there's a base it's time to extract the tarball, fire up a text editor and start chopping at code. It's fire up the text editor and chop because reading is good, and understanding is good.2

  • The first change is to wallet.cpp as described here. In OpenBSD world rand() is the shitty C standard compliant deterministic random and arc4random() is the good random. As the man page explains arc4random isn't based off of arc4 anymore so the mnemonic is now "A Replacement Call for Random" and the backend remains liable to change in the future. The need for this will likely be changing after OpenBSD 5.7, but until then this change is explicitly necessary.
  • For the second change we consult the Bitcoin Foundation's patchset for bitcoind particularly its BDB database configuration patch. Simply read the changes and make the changes. This protects against the great blockchain fork of March 2013's dilemma.
  • For the third change we consult the foundation's Alert snipping patch. The patch cannot be used as is because the alert code's been move around since version 0.5.3 but it still informs of changes that can be made in 0.7.2 to remove the system. I futzed with the public key strings in Alert.cpp and deleted from main.cpp most of the alert invocation code. It is especially important though to remove the parts where your version would impose a denial of service penalty on nodes sending it bad alerts. Removing the Alert stuff is critical for making sure your node can function as is indefinitely into the future.
  • Update: Originally I neglected that in protocol.cpp you need to add#include <netinet/in.h>
    #include <sys/socket.h>
  • In the makefile change the invocation of -libboost-thread to -libboost-thread-mt and LIBS += -lrt when qmake gives you a makefile.

Address compiler errors as they come up. If everything worked out well the result should be a functioning version of Bitcoin-qt which will take advantage of multiple cores on your machine and as far as I can tell work. For initial sync you will want to do it from the network in the wild to make sure it is actually a Bitcoin implementation. Built against LibreSSL 2.0 it should make it past the first wedge block 168001 fine. Mine is still in the syncing process.

Expect it to die a few or a lot of times as it hits the 512 MB RAM limit during initial sync. You can avoid this by letting OpenBSD give it more memory, but the reason memory usuage is bloating so much are bastard fatherless blocks fed to you which fill your memory as you get fed more and more blocks you lack the precedent to verify. It is both kinder and faster to let malloc() kill the process when it hits them memory limit, and then just script restarting it.

When in doubt about something read. OpenBSD has wonderful manual pages. The depth and quality of documentation they contain is beautiful.

  1. There's multiple ways to do things. You are responsible for making your own decisions. I offer these notes without warranty and with the disclaimer that I am an amateur when it comes to building software assembled by other people. Building dependencies you choose from ports or doing pkg_add it's your call.  If instead you just really want to gamble there are places for that.  

  2. Also I can't emphasize this point enough, but I am an amateur to the point I haven't had occasion yet to learn the unix patch utility. Maybe if I had I'd submit this to the ports tree, but my actual self is the one putting this information together so…  

It's amazing how fast these weeks are moving now

Bitcoin price continues to bounce with another USMS auction coming up soon. As time winds down $817 by this Christmas seems increasingly unlikely supporting the idea that on price, this is just a lost year for Bitcoin. Of course a lost year in price growth is a chance to build infrastructure for the next climb, so behold tiny bits of design that have slowly found their way into Qntra: Continue reading

Where are those Baseball BitBets now? Oh, some are still open!

Last week we covered how well the large bets on BitBet get to see money move as change the odds change with greater information. This week with the major league regular season nearly complete let's examine what is happening with the baseball bets. Bets that don't connect directly to financial outcomes. I'll start with a postmortem of ones that have run their course and end by highlight ones that still have life and opportunity. Continue reading

The Newest Biggest: Or the value of a Backstop

I've covered large Bitcoin Bets before, but now there is a new largest Bet in the space in an absolute sense. With a pool of 2816.69 BTC the bet that Bitcoin surpasses Berkshire as an investment went from being the bet in Bitcoin which had seen the most action to also being the one with the most money. And the resolution of the bet is still roughly six months out. As the news reported, this is the equivalent of well over a million dollars, even if Bitcoin keeps crashing. For perspective less than a year ago it would have been well over three million, and within less than two years ago it wouldn't have been enough to buy a new pickup truck. Continue reading