Disclaimer: This is just my opinion, at the time I add it here. I may have researched the project for 5 minutes, or I may know everything about the founders and their tech. The edit history of this page can be viewed here.

If I get a question too often, I will add it below.

Disclaimers

Though I once easily passed1 a Series 65 exam, I do not hold and have never held a ‘Financial Advisor’ license. (Given the rampant fraud in the field, I fully understand why the State takes it upon themselves to try and oust the low-effort scammers.)

Like all people, my beliefs are biased in favor of my investments. I will say that 99%+ of my tangible net worth is either in BTC, USD, or unsophisticated Vanguard index funds.

I created this site to avoid continually repeating myself, and for no ulterior purpose.

“Paul, what do you think about…”

Project Link Review
Avalanche Website/Video When AVA was pitched to me in 2018, it was described as a new alternative to “Old PAXOS consensus” and to “Proof-of-Work”. AVA’s consensus measured the quantity of nodes it was connected to, and their opinion on the state of the network, making it obviously vulnerable to Sybil (ie, an attacker creating many nodes so as to have more influence). I asked “is AVA for cryptocurrency”? “Yes”. I calculated the weekly block reward value of BTC (~ $60,000,000). I asked, “how will AVA resist Sybil, given that an attacker can spend millions per week on Sybil and still make a profit”? The answer was “AVA is keeping that part secret, because rivals will copy us.” (8/27/2020)
ChainLink chain.link Chain.link is an oracle service, which purports to solve “The Oracle Problem”. Last I checked (2019), it established a “a platform for oracles to compete” – I joked that it was “as if SpaceX hired no engineers, but made ‘a platform for Reusable Rocket Companies to compete’, and then claimed to solve the problem of reusable rocketry”. Blockchain Oracles have an inherent “opportunity cost of honesty” which is akin to gravity in the SpaceX analogy (or, more precisely: escape velocity) – for the rocket to work, someone needs to generate a force stronger than the gravity; abstract “competition” won’t necessarily guarantee it. When the smart contracts control small $, the gravity is weak, and anyone with two working legs can make it into space by jumping (thus, the contracts are “secured via indifference”)– but when the $ grows, the gravity gets stronger. Moreover, chainlink seems to implicitly endorse two theories: [1] “more oracles = safer and diversified”, and [2] “we don’t need to look into it if everyone’s doing it”. Those errors contributed significantly to the 2008 financial crisis. Finally, chainlink oracles seem to be mostly used for frequent ‘price check-ins’ – as I wrote in Jan 2015 this overworks an oracle, for basically no reason (degrading its security). (8/27/2020)
DLCs DLCs at Scaling IV DLCs are a tech for implementing a trusted 3rd party oracle, but it does nothing to solve “The Oracle Problem” (ie, ensuring an honest answer). The closest it gets to Oracle Tech, is to endorse a theory that “the Oracle is less likely to lie, if they cannot observe how their Report will be used” – a de minimis theory, and probably not even true. (8/27/2020)
Liquid Liquid.net BTC deposited “to Liquid” reside on-chain in a multisignature script. No one knows who the 18 named keyholders are – they might all be the same person. Blockstream says that they own some of the keys, and that some are owned by other trustworthy people. Anyone who supports Liquid while also saying “not your keys not your coins” is acting rather foolish IMHO. The code used to create (not audit) the Liquid network is still closed-source. Liquid actually has nothing whatsoever to do with “sidechains”; all of that talk, (imho) is just psychological distress experienced by Blockstream employees who joined to support the anti-Alt cause (but who are now unable to make progress on that cause). The original pitch of Liquid was as a way to quickly move BTC from one exchange to another – at a Blockstream party in Jan 2017, I immediately asked “but can’t the exchanges just open LN channels to each other?”. No one in the room had an answer – it was like the idea had never occured to them. Liquid has since moved away from that fast-BTC mission, in a kind-of creepy way. Lack of code-transparency indirectly led to a network malfunction in mid 2018, which ultimately (for me at least) raised as many questions as it answered. (8/27/2020).
RGB RGB Digital Assets RGB is a version of the successful “digital assets” concept (originally pioneered by Counterparty and the ERC20 token). RGB’s distinguishing feature is that it produces no common knowledge, and thus consumes zero [marginal] blockchain resources. It is therefore more scalable and private. However, I think this is a total misfire – RGB’s assets are so private, they have become non-existant. Furthermore, the blockchain is what prevents the asset owner from being defrauded – since everyone can see the blockchain, the owner can know how many of each asset have been minted, and which ‘asset names’ have been claimed (or are unique) – in RGB this is impossible by design. (So, the premise that “no one else needs to know”, is one I reject.) The fact that owners must interact with other people to prove their ownership of assets, is (I think) more of a burden than a feature. See here.(8/27/2020)

Footnotes

  1. You wouldn’t believe some of the absolute nonsense that is on this exam – the silliest example is that the exam touches upon the fictitious pseudoscience-topic of “Technical Analysis”! Like about what a “head and shoulders top” means. And they have some pretty brazen ideas about business cycles (these will probably be removed from the exam in the future). Nonetheless it was easy for me to give answers that corresponded to today’s prevailing theories.