Category Archives: Bitcoin 比特币

Bitcoin and NSA (比特币及美国国家安全局的关係)

In my previous posting, I did emphasize that the Bitcoin ledger (i.e. the Blockchain) is quite robust because of the strong encryption of all transactions despite everybody can access, download and play with it. (Please also read my warning in my other posting here).

The encryption technology is creditable because it was developed by the NSA of the US Government in 2001 and had been tested and used for many years.

In brief, each transaction (in fact, I would rather call it an assignment because the recipient plays no role in the execution of the transaction) is encrypted (or hashed) by SHA-256 (a cryptographic hash functions developed by NSA of the US Government).

The following fictitious transactions may provide you some idea about the encryption.

Transaction 1.

2013-06-23 Obama pays Putin 1 million for sending Edward Snowden to USA

Transaction 2

2013-06-24 Putin pays Obama 1 million with comment money returned Edward Snowden loves to stay with me

Applying the SHA-256 function to the two transactions produces the following fixed length outputs. The technical term for the output is a digest.

The digest of Transaction 1 reads like this


The digest of Transaction 2 reads like this


You can try out the SHA-256 function here to encrypt your secret message to grasp an understanding what it is and may be you can use it to verify the above two transactions.

Виктор С.

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Regulating Bitcoin is not difficult (管制比特币並不困難)

It is not difficult to regulate Bitcoin by treating it as a commodity and applying the rules for commodity trading on the exchanges. The exchanges should also be registered and regulated as a commodity exchange.

First of all a definition must be given to cyber commodity (Bitcoin or Litecoin).

Such definition should read like:  A Cyber Commodity (such as Bitcoin) is defined as something with perceived value passing between two parties in a transaction in cyber space or otherwise with total daily trading value in all known trading platforms of not less than one million USD in any business day and the number of transactions being not less than 10,000. A committee under the commodity trading regulatory body should interpret the aforesaid guidelines and determine when a cyber entity should be classified  as a commodity for regulation in an exchange.

There will be similar product (like Bitcoin) coming up in future. Before the participants have grown to a significant size and before total monetary value involved is of any significance,  there is no need for any regulation because many newly born cyber entities may not live long. Regulating too early is just a waste of money.

For commodity traded outside the exchange between two consented parties, regulation is not necessary. This similar rule should apply to cyber commodity (Bitcoin).

Виктор С.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved. MONIES.CA

What you must know before you invest in Bitcoin?(买卖比特币须知)

If you want to invest in Bitcoin, there are  some fundamentals about this commodity that you must know.

Without a firm belief of the followings, it would be better for you to avoid this commodity.

First of all, you must treat Bitcoin as a commodity. It is not a currency because there is no promise there. There is no support to it other than supply and demand. What value is given to it depends on how you see it such as you value an ounce of gold or one carat of diamond or a piece of jade. Bitcoin is not tangible but a cyber concept of trust. Over a time span of 100 years from now, the systems will create to a maximum of 21 million Bitcoins which are being discovered very slowly by a group of people called miners who are also volunteer validators of transactions. The miners only follow system discipline to validate transactions and they will be rewarded with Bitcoin if they do them right. But they have no obligations to ensure the transactions are correct.

Secondly, in any deal (that is transaction) , there is only two parties involved namely a sender of Bitcoin and a recipient of Bitcoin. There is no third party witnessing what is happening, although all communications are encrypted by the system. In other words, if the sender and recipient are involved in a dispute about a transaction, there is no way of showing evidence to prove who is right and who is wrong. It is just like a sender passing cash (such as a stack of bank notes) to a recipient who issues no receipt.

Thirdly, you must have good faith in the Bitcoin transaction which happens as follows.

There is a general ledger system called the Blockchain which records all transactions in encrypted form. This is the only book keeping system which sequentially records all transactions from genesis to the present. It is supposed to be very robust such that nobody can break into it to alter the already committed  transactions. Any transaction will be committed to the Blockchain after 6 miners have validated it and not before that. On one hand, we can say that nobody owns this Blockchain because there are many copies of Blcokchain scattered and stored in different computers called nodes in different parts of the world. On the other hand, we can also say that everybody owns it because anybody can download the Blockchain. As long as Bitcoin exists, the size of the Blockchain will grow forever. You must trust that there is no mutation in this growth.

Finally, there are already copycat systems out in market such as Litcoin. People will gradually learn more about this relatively new cyber product. So, the mystery will soon be over.

Bitcoin Transaction
Bitcoin Transaction


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Bitcoin Shall Stay Safely for a long time as a Cyber Commodity (比特币会继续流行及长久存在)

Despite the recent arrest of Bitcoin traders Charlie Shrem and Robert Faiella in January 2014 for charge of  money laundering by the US government and the ban on trading of Bitcoin from all financial institutions by the Chinese government in December 2013, it is the author’s view that Bitcoin shall stay safely for a long time as a Cyber Commodity.

Although many people called Bitcoin a cryto-currency, the characteristics of Bitcoin in fact more resembles those a commodity such as gold than banknote which is just a promised to pay note.  People worry that Bitcoin will disappear overnight in a way like the junk stock of a bankrupted company or like the deprecated banknote of an overthrown government of a third world country. Or,  people may imagine that Bitcoin is controlled by an organization, which if  raided by government authority will lead to total collapse of the whole Bitcoin system. People worry about the possibility of unchecked issuing of Bitcoin which could generate so much of the commodity that it will be rendered worthless. In fact, all these are misconceptions. None of the aforesaid scenario is likely to happen.

Bitcoin is not a physical entity, but a cyber product. It  is a widely distributed commodity like gold and has a sophisticated decentralized and highly encrypted ledger keeping system, technically called the block-chain. Many people possess Bitcoin. However, instead of storing the commodity (i.e. Bitcoin) in safe deposit boxes, people store Bitcoin in their computers or i-phones.

One may think of Bitcoin as a commodity for bartering other products or services. Like any commodity which is subject to the laws of supply and demand, the price of  Bitcoin fluctuates. Being so new (it was introduced only in January 2009) and mystical (little people fully understand what it is), its price is extremely volatile. However, it will continue to exist in the financial market as a popular commodity because of  the  robust nature of decentralized record keeping system (technically called the block-chain) and the anonymity of ownership. What identifies an owner is just a set of number technically called the public key. An owner exercise all his authority by another set of numbers called the signing key (or private key). Taking ownership of the signing key of a person would mean taking ownership of all the Bitcoin asset of that person. So if the signing key is not properly safe guarded for example proper backed up, one may loss all the Bitcoin asset by just losing that key.

There are two groups of people who love Bitcoin particularly. The first group are gamblers who think they could take advantage of the volatility of the price of Bitcoin by betting on its rise to make money. The second group are criminals who make illegal dealings such as drug dealing because of anonymity and convenience. One can try to imagine that, billion of dollars can change hands by just passing over an i-phone which contains the signing key.

If one merely uses Bitcoin for bartering, there is no way of  identifying the dealing parties because the deal is peer-to-peer and anonymous. It is like a cash transaction in the cyber space. The only control government can exercise is when a third party trading platform is involved because by government regulations participants in trading of financial products must make known their identity. This is a worldwide protocol. So criminals would prefer hoarding Bitcoin like hoarding gold or diamonds and use it for bartering whatever illegal items they want to procure. Their transactions are mostly peer-to-peer in order not to get into trouble on a third party trading platform. Anyway despite the US strong auditing of the trading platforms and China banning them, peer-to-peer deals in Bitcoin will be still continued actively in these two jurisdictions. Drug deals will continue to happen and corrupt money could still be remitted overseas.

虽然美国政府於2014年1月逮捕了比持币对换商人Charlie Shrem 及Robert Faiella 对他们发出洗黑钱的指控,及中国政府於2013年12月对金融机构发出禁止对换比特币的指令,但笔者认为比特币会继续流行及长久存在。


比特币不是一件实物,而是互联网络的产品。它已分布於世界每一个角落,为很多人持有,好像黄金为很多人持有一样。它有一个分布很细致并非只一人拥有的记帐系统(Block-chain) ,要把这记帐系统毁灭,理论上要毁灭差不多每一个比特币拥有者的电脑,因此这是不可能的事。现在很多人拥有比持币,不过他们储存比持币的地方不是保险箱而是电脑或手机。

比特币可被联想为一种以物换物的商品。既然是一种商品,它会专守供求定律,其价值会有波动。由於它是一种相当新的产品(它於2009年1月才面世) 而相当神秘(是实上很多人还未完全认识它是什甚) ,所以它的价格波动是很大的。虽然如此,它在金融市场上仍然会是流行的。其原因有二,其一为它可靠及不受区域限制的记帐系统,其二为其匿名保密的持质。比特币持有人是靠一组数目字确认其身份,这组数目字叫Public Key。比特币持有人行使转让权是靠另一组只有他知到而无任何人知的数自字,这组数目字叫 Signing Key。因此任何人取得比特币持有人的Signing Key便可使用其比持币。如果比持币持有人未好好地保管他的Signing key,一但遗失,他将会永远失去他所有的比特币。

有两类人特别喜欢比持币。第一类是赌徙,因为他们认为大幅的价格波动可让他们低买高卖中迅速获利。第二类为作非法买卖如毒品买卖的不法之徒,他们利用比特币非常容易转让及匿名的特质。试想,把一个存有Signing Key的手机转手另一个人,数亿元便可以在不知不觉中转让了。

如果用比特币作以物换物的交易,基於交易是点对点而没有中介的,交易双方的身份是查不出的。这就相当於现金交易。政府惟一可控制的是比特币的第三者交易平台。因为一般规例金融交易机构要有详细的客户纪录。因此不法之徒不会用第三者交易平台,而是用比特币作以物换物的交易如使用黄金或钻石作以物换物交易一般,使用以点对点的匿名比持币转让交易。因此非法之徒会储存比特币留作交易之用,如他们储存黄金,钻石或美钞一样。现在虽然美国政府正严格审核比特币的第三者交易平台(即中介平台) 及中国政府禁止金融机构交易比特币。但比特币仍然会在这两个地区活跃使用,以比特币作毒品交易仍会进行,贪污之财亦可以比特币方便汇出国外。

Виктор С.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved. MONIES.CA