Coinbase Earn Update

Coinbase has added more tokens that you can earn by watching videos.

The full list of tokens at this point is:

  • Zcash
  • Basic Attention Token
  • DAI
  • EOS
  • Stellar Lumens
  • 0x
Screen shot from Coinbase Earn Product video on BAT

It is easy to watch these series of videos and they do a good job of explaining the basics of the different blockchains.

See more here: My Original Article on Coinbase Earn

SLP Token – Minting baton, Badger wallet, Bitcoin Cash

SLP Token

This article is meant to be a simple walk through for people interested creating a hobby SLP (Simple Ledger Protocol) token on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.

Tokens were all the rage last year using the Ethereum blockchain. Individuals and Companies heavily used standard Ethereum tokens to fund their projects (and scam investors out of money). Perhaps the most famous Ethereum token sale was TheDAO. DAO is an acronym for Decentralized Atonymous Organization. As you may know, theDAO ended disastrously. However, many Ethereum tokens still show promise. Some of these are the MakerDAO and the BAT tokens.

There have been many interesting proposals for the use of tokens (some of them, frankly, I don’t understand). But people have proposed tokenizing precious metals, real estate, digital collectibles (including video game goods), and more.

Developers have worked to make it easier to create tokens for Ethereum and have developed protocols that tokens can conform to so that they can be held in various wallets, for instance.

It does not include the shuffle privacy feature.

The basic steps to create an SLP token with Electron Cash:

  1. Download the Electron Cash SLP wallet.
  2. Add some BCH to the wallet.
  3. Press the ‘Tokens’ button
  4. Press ‘Create New Token’ button
  5. Fill in the token parameters
  6. Optionally preview your new token
  7. Press the ‘Create New Token’ button

That is it! You will be able to see your new token information and look at it on the blockchain.

I do have some additional helpful hints and explanations for creating these SLP tokens that will hopefully make it even easier. I have also included pix and links from my first token creation: FST (farawaystars test coin). You may be able to see some of my mistakes in the screen shots that were made as I fumbled around with the tools 😀.

Starting at step #3:

After selecting the ‘Token’ tab, select the ‘Create New Token’ button at the bottom.
Enter in the parameters for your new token.
Here is my new token (notice the error in the URL).
Successful token creation.
This is the history tab in the Electron Cash SLP app.
This is the SLP history tab in the Electron Cash SLP app.
This is the ‘Tokens’ tab that displays my token balance.
On the Bitcoin.com website, I can see my token on the top of the list as the most recently created!

Now let us discuss the parameters that are available.

  1. Token name: self explanatory
  2. Ticker symbol: usually two or three capital letters
  3. Document URL: you can include a url that links to a document related to your token
  4. Document Hash: you can include an MD5 hash of a document (on a Mac, in the terminal application type: md5 [file name])
  5. Decimal places: for reference, BCH is 8 decimal places and ETH is 18 decimal places)
  6. Token quantity: Initial or full token supply
  7. Fixed supply: true or false
  8. Address for baton: if this is not a fixed supply, this text field appears. You can enter any valid SLP address here. Whoever owns that address can issue more coins. I have not attempted to transfer the baton for this article.

Minting Baton

My duckduckgo.com skills may lack, but I could not find any walk throughs on this parameter. Here is how I successfully minted more FST coins:

First, notice above that I unchecked ‘Fixed Supply’ and entered a ‘Mint Baton Address’. The ‘Mint Baton Address’ must be an SLP token address. I used an address containing a small amount of BCH that was in my wallet.

Select the ‘Tokens’ tab, then Control-Click on the token that you want to mint. The above pop-up will appear.
Tokens have been created!
We have a printing press here, look out for inflation! (Check out the new balance)

Distribute your coin!

Click on the ‘Send’ tab and enter the amount of tokens you want to send
Note the ‘Fee’. In the previous screen shot, I could not edit the fee or sign the transaction because the fee was too high. If you click on the ‘Settings’ button on the bottom of the app, you can select ‘Edit fee manually’ to fix this.
Preview the transaction
Transaction sent!
The transaction can be viewed in your history. (or a blockchain explorer)

Mobile app

I sent the FST token to an address in my Badger Wallet for iOS. Pretty sweet!

I referenced this article on Bitcoin.com and this article on Simpleledger.cash to get started with SLP tokens.

If you would like to read more about cool tools for BCH, read my article on CashShuffle.

Use Cashshuffle With BCH

What is Cashshuffle and why is it important? How does Cashshuffle work?

Privacy

One hears it often regarding privacy. A popular app introduces a clever or convenient feature that requires the use of personal information. A new revelation becomes public on the abuses of government surveillance or violations of privacy. These are the circumstances lead people to say, “I ain’t got nothin’ to hide“.

Pseudo-Anonymous

Satoshi Nakamoto called Bitcoin pseudo-anonymous. This is because transactions occur and create records with addresses that don’t include names. By looking at the public blockchain ledger, one can see the balance and activity for any given address, but not the name of the owner associated with the address (BCH Rich List). The combination of blockchain analysis tools and KYC and AML compliant companies have made the blockchain nearly completely public.

But BCH in particular is concerned about being a currency. This is important because, currency must be fungible. A currency is not fungible if the history of transactions makes one element of the currency more or less valuable than another element. For example, if some BCH was used in a crime, then a person may not desire that particular BCH as much as some BCH that had a clean history, because possessing the ‘tainted’ coins may bring unwanted attention to the current owner.

Enter Cashshuffle

Bitcoin community awareness on the privacy issue existed before I even discovered Bitcoin. Therefore, developers suggested and implemented various solutions to this privacy problem. A solution for BCH that I recently heard about is the CashShuffle tool. CashShuffle mixes coins from various participating wallets automatically.

CashShuffle is available on Electron Cash and is coming soon to the Bitcoin.Com wallet and hopefully more wallets soon.

For this article, I downloaded Electron Cash for the Mac. After downloading and opening the Electron Cash wallet, all of the expected and usual prompts occur. The wallet prompts you to name your wallet, write down your backup phrase and create a password for the wallet.

Screen Shots

Cashshuffle wallet being initialized
Create your new wallet.
Cashshuffle wallet in action
Electron Cash starts shuffling coins.
Coins have been shuffled (dark theme).

iOS App

I usually use BCH to make purchases on line. Therefore, the app for my desktop will probably be my primary wallet. However, there is an iOS client available in the App Store. This is dope – it means that I can easily access my private coins for spending when I am out and about. It increases the utility of BCH to have tools like this available. I am liking this wallet a lot, yo!

If you got value from the article or have questions regarding CashShuffle, email me or let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

Crypto Keys App

You may have noticed some neat symbols for various cryptocurrencies on Reddit.com and other social media pages. Perhaps you want to use some of these such as: ₿, Ξ, Ɖ, Ł.

Crypto Keys is a simple keyboard app. Crypto Keys makes it easy to insert popular cryptocurrency symbols, fiat currency symbols, numbers and punctuation. Crypto Keys allows you to insert symbols into web pages, text messages, emails, apps, etc. Share and make aware!

Crypto Keys now features a news feed. It offers interesting news and tutorials on different cryptocurrency related topics.

Check it out: Crypto Keys

Earn Tokens, Pay No $

I have been a Coinbase user for a couple of years now and just learned of a cool program Coinbase offers: Coinbase Earn. Coinbase Earn says you can: “Earn Crypto While Learning About Crypto”. Since launching in December 2018 and has taken me so long to discover this program, I want to share the knowledge by posting about it to spread the word the best I can!

The Coinbase Earn product allows users to learn about select cryptocurrencies and the needs they address. As of this writing, there are earn and learn courses for are 3 cryptocurrencies: BAT, ZEX, and ZRX. Also, as of this writing, a waiting list exists for enrolling in the program for each cryptocurrency. I put myself on the waiting list for all 3. I will update this post after I have finished each of the courses. Also, this post will update if any new courses become available.

On the waiting list to earn cryptocurrency

To find this product, go to Coinbase and scroll to the bottom of the page. Press on the link for ‘Earn’ and you will be taken to the Coinbase Earn product. You are then presented with a choice of cryptocurrencies to learn about. Even though this author was unable to immediately take any of the courses all is not lost. The cool thing is that short videos are available to preview on each of the cryptocurrencies.

The preview videos highlight the need that each particular cryptocurrency addresses. For instance: one of the videos notes that the Brave browser id faster, more secure, more private. One of the videos notes that 70% of the revenue generated by ads goes the user that views the ad! I am a huge fan of Brave. You can read more about Brave here. I highly recommend downloading the Brave browser.

One more note: the videos are short and entertaining.

Screen shot from Coinbase Earn Product video on BAT

Brave Browser

basic attention token

Install the Brave Browser (affiliate link)

Unlike almost all other tech companies that farm out users personal data for profit, Brave has found a way to be available for free, while still protecting the privacy of its users and allowing advertisers to get their products in front of customers. This is amazing, the best of all worlds! 

I have been using the Brave browser for about 10 months on iPhone and Mac. For about four years before, I had used Safari and Chrome. Before that, I used Internet Explorer and Firefox. 

At this point, I am able to use Brave almost exclusively with only two real drawbacks that affect me:

  • not being able to select it as the default browser on the iPhone 
  • the syncing feature is not yet implemented between the Mac and iPhone

BAT Token:

The BAT token is the vehicle by which all of the magic occurs. BAT tokens are a currency that can be passed around between blog readers, Youtube channel subscribers, advertisers, and publishers. The BAT token has been trading between 10 cents and 1 USD for the past year, but this value is so far just in speculation. The real price discovery will happen with the usage of the browser and its advertising platform. 

BAT Token Promotion:

Brave has been running a promotion to help onboard users. Brave has been giving BAT tokens to users of the Brave browsers. These promotional tokens are deposited into the wallet within the browser and are available for tipping websites or automatic contributions to websites of Brave Verified Publishers.

Install the Brave Browser (affiliate link)

Verified Publishers:

This website is a Brave verified publisher. At this point in the development of the Brave platform, if you are using the Brave browser and have enabled automatic contributions to your favorite websites, your Brave browser may contribute to farawaystars.com in proportion to the time you have spent on this website. If you are using the most up to date browser, you can click the BAT icon in the URL bar and tip farwaystars.com. 

Although the ways publishers can be compensated is limited currently; in time, the Brave ecosystem may look something like this:

  1. advertiser or publisher purchase tokens on an exchange, available on Coinbase (affiliate link) now.
  2. advertiser pays for ads (not available as of 12/10/18) 
  3. readers opt in to receiving ads (the browser blocks ads by default)
  4. readers are paid as they view ads
  5. readers sell tokens to an exchange or donate them to preferred sites. 

Install the Brave Browser (affiliate link)

Easily Use Protonmail with Your Own Domain Name and Siteground Hosting

How does it make you feel to know that in your ‘user data’ that a company stores likely takes many gigabytes? check yours here

What is your reaction to the knowledge that each of your personal emails with a certain company has been inspected, analyzed, and preserved in order to better create a profile of your personality and to document the changes in your priorities and interests over time?

Do you approve of the fact that the same company presents modified search results to you based on the profile it has crafted for you?

Does a person that wants privacy from strangers have something to hide? 

Is it ok for a company to cooperate with a tyrannical government in silencing and oppressing its citizens?

The Creepy Line Trailer

The time is now to ditch Google.

Perhaps it is due to just how good capable Google’s software is that has brought me to this point. A fairly recent update to the email service reveals options for quick replies to emails that are creepily context aware. The thought of every email that I write being read, analyzed, understood, and saved forever really popped to the forefront of my thoughts when I saw that feature. The uneasiness that feature gave me combined with news of Project Dragonfly directs me to find an alternative for email, calendars, alternate phone numbers, and many more services that Google provided so well.

As luck would have it, a suitable and awesome competitor presented itself for email: Protonmail.

“ProtonMail uses Zero-Access Encryption, which means it is technically impossible for us to decrypt user messages. Zero-Access Encryption applies to all messages in your mailbox, even messages which did not come from other ProtonMail users.” This ensures the emails are not read by bots and then analyzed for ways to manipulate you into buying goods and services. Because of this, there is a charge to store anything over 500MB of data in your emails, Protonmail’s product is not you.

Protonmail also has a neat feature that allows you to use your own domain name for your email address and it works very much like Google Apps does. 

You will need your own domain name to do this. This tutorial uses SiteGround.

  • Purchase your domain name if you don’t already have one.
  • Purchase at least a Plus plan with Protonmail.
  • Click on Settings (gear icon on the top bar menu)
  • Click on Domains (globe icon on the side menu)
  • Now you will need to enter information about your domain, verify ownership, and configure your email security settings.
  • Protonmail has a wizard that will guide you through these steps, the icon is a magic wand.
  • see below:
the wizard is available by pressing the magic wand under the ‘Actions’ menu
  • Work your way through the menu, each tab has specific instructions provided by Protonmail.
  • see below:
each tab, as you click on it, will present instructions to setup your various email settings and security
  • To add a DNS record in Siteground, enter the cPanel and select ‘Advanced DNS Zone Editor’
  • see below:
select this in the cPanel
  • For the hostname field, just enter your domain name, this is a little unclear in the instructions as it varies for each hosting provider.
  • see below:
Siteground’s cPanel area to add a DNS record
  • To edit your MX records, select ‘Advanced MX Editor’ in the cPanel
  • see below:
select this in the cPanel
  • Select ‘Remote Mail Exchanger’ as shown below
  • see below:
select ‘Remote Mail Exchanger’ and enter the record as instructed by Protonmail’s wizard

At the end of this process you will soon be able to receive Protonmail’s encrypted emails at your domain name email address!

Donate to Protonmail to help them in their mission:

Donate to Protonmail.

Ethereum Name Service: Registering a Domain Name

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is dope and I have been interested in trying it out since I first heard about it. But, time is a cruel mistress and much passed before I took a chance to Check It Out!

Steps to Register a .eth Domain

  1. Go to https://www.myetherwallet.com/#ens
  2. Connect your wallet (I used a Ledger Nano S)
  3. Check the availability of the domain.
  4. Enter in an actual bid amount and a masked bid amount.
  5. Record your secret phrase.
  6. Select ‘Start the Auction’.
  7. At this point an error may appear stating that you need to enable ‘Contract Data’. This means go into the Settings menu on the Ledger Nano S and navigate to ‘Contract Data’ and select ‘Yes’.
  8. Again press ‘Start the Auction’, and you receive some information and are urged to screenshot that data.
  9. Here is my successful transaction after step 8: https://etherscan.io/tx/0x0c97bb5e11d265da02c2b59ddcc61274ec7ab7b76addf16f2f335da2a6eb479. Edit: I did not properly understand the reveal date and therefore forfeited my deposit – don’t make my mistake! Here is the new transaction:  https://etherscan.io/tx/0xab9ac4ac05934df15a696bbfd6f5259a06b5b0e79817860c971377de1c6725bb
  10. The reveal date is in 3 days, the auction ends in 5 days.
  11. Use the ‘ENS’ tab on myetherwallet.com during the reveal period to enter the chosen domain name and reveal the bid. You need to connect your wallet (my Ledger Nano S) in order to have a place to enter in the info from the initial start of the auction and also enter a secret phrase and bid amount. Here is my successful transaction record: https://etherscan.io/enslookup?q=0x467d28fdec1d6bafd780c293f466c6489b2d433c58360f5c8a0e91b257000777
  12. When the auction ends (5 days), you can enter your domain at myetherwallet.com under the ENS tab to see if you won. If you did, you can ‘finalize’ the domain.
  13. Finalizing the domain includes setting the resolver for your name and setting the address to which your name will resolve (I selected an address that I can receive payments at). All of this is laid out in step-by-step directions at myetherewallet.com. 
  14. Now, I can receive payments at farawaystars.eth. 
  15. The domain name can also resolve to a contract address. This will be . a topic in a later post.

Important links:
https://medium.com/the-ethereum-name-service/a-beginners-guide-to-buying-an-ens-domain-3ccac2bdc770

Getting Started with the Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Current price: $99.00

The Ledger Nano S can be ordered here (affiliate link).

Go to start.ledgerwallet.com and follow the instructions there to prepare the hardware wallet.

Initializing the Ledger Nano S:

I am not going to give detailed instructions on how to get the device up and running as they are available at start.ledgerwallet.com and may change with future updates. The current instructions are easy to follow and included installing the Ledger Live app, initializing your Ledger Nano S by creating a pin and saving your recovery seed (very important!). After that, you need to install apps to the Ledger Nano S and then add accounts to your device before adding your crypto accounts.

Operating the Ledger Nano S:

The Ledger Nano S has only two buttons, and it has menus to navigate. This is accomplished by using the left button as a ‘up’ or ‘left’ button, the right button as an ‘down’ or ‘right’ button and both buttons simultaneously as an ‘enter’ or ‘continue’ command. 

Sending crypto to your Ledger Nano S:

Using the Ledger Live app that you have installed to your computer, you can select one of your accounts on the lower left corner of the app. Once the account is selected, ‘Send’ and ‘Receive’ buttons are visible. Selecting the ‘Receive’ button will give you the address at which the Ledger Nano S can receive funds for that account. The address shown can be copied and pasted into the app you are sending crypto from (or given to a friend so that they can send crypto to you). 

Of course, one of the cool things that blockchain allows you to do is to view the immutable ledger that records all transactions. Here is my first transaction on the Ledger Nano S:

https://etherscan.io/tx/0x8e820f84780ef55ea27c438bc51d87b7761e8654d5cc7a623661d29865518297

Why use a hardware wallet?

“Don’t store your coins on an exchange!”

Like many cryptocurrency enthusiasts, I have seen this posted on Reddit and other internet hangouts many times.  There are a few reasons to have your coins on an exchange:

  • Ease of acquiring
  • Ease of trading
  • Less effort to setup and maintain a wallet

However, storing coins on an exchange is in conflict with one of the great advantages of cryptocurrencies:

  • Counter party risk
    • Bitcoin has not been hacked, but exchanges seem to be routinely hacked. Storing coins on an exchange exposes the owner of the coins to the same risks of the traditional banking system (i.e. getting locked out of your account, having your funds frozen ,etc.).  Where as properly protected coins can be protected from these things.Bad players – storing coins on an exchange equals trusting that the exchanges owners and employees will not steal your coins.

After considering this, as a newbie to crypto, I downloaded the Jaxx wallet and the Bread (now BRD) wallet and stored my crypto on my phone.  Maybe many people do this, it certainly is convenient. 

Storing crypto on a phone has some advantages:

  • Purchasing goods and services at local vendors is convenient with a phone wallet, it is always with you.
  • The phone wallets are very easy to use and all the ones that I have used are available free of charge.

BUT….phones are connected to the internet nearly 24/7 and are therefore able to be attacked 24/7. This is a significant disadvantage and risk as you start to acquire more crypto.

This risk associated with phone wallets creates an opportunity for manufacturers of secure hardware devices that are not connected to the internet. This is why I checked out the Ledger Nano S.

Additional information of interest:
Ledger Nano S Github

The Ledger Nano S can be ordered here (affiliate link).

5 Simple Reasons Bitcoin Exists

Bitcoin

Why is Bitcoin Needed?

Issues with current financial system:

  • Security of Your Information
    • Equifax hack
    • DNC hack?
    • Target hack
  • Currency Risk
    • Sovereign Debt Drives Currency Inflation
    • Quantitative Easing Drives Currency Inflation
  • Your Fiat Currency Assets May Be Seized by Financial Institutions or Government
  • Settlement Across National Borders is not Easy
  • Billions of Unbanked have no Access to the Current Financial System

 

Security of your information

Equifax hack:

“Last week, the credit-rating company disclosed that it was hacked earlier this year, leaving 143 million U.S. consumers’ personal information exposed. “ ~ http://www.npr.org/2017/09/14/550949718/after-equifax-data-breach-consumers-are-largely-on-their-own

143 million U.S. customers are vulnerable to having their identity and money stolen and credit rating ruined because they have given this information and these funds to a trusted third party. Equifax surley tried to protect this data, but it is just a very large honeypot that is tempting to cyber criminals.

If each customer was responsible for their own funds, the hacker would not receive nearly as large of a reward for each hack. Alternatively, it would require much more work to hack all 143 million people individually. This is the safety in the decentralization that Bitcoin provides.

The DNC hack shows that even some of the most powerful organizations in the world are vulnerable to being breached.

The 2013 Target hack exposed up to 40 million credit and debit cards and personal data for up to 70 million customers, is similar to the Equifax hack. The ability and need for Target to store its customers payment data resulted in a massive attraction for cyber criminals.

Solution:

Bitcoin works differently than the digital dollars we mostly use now. With Bitcoin, each individual holds onto their own money – similar to cash. Also, the coins are cryptographically secured and cannot be tampered with. Bitcoin can be transferred person to person without the need for a bank or credit card company.

One thing to note about this is that storing bitcoin on an exchange removes these advantages and makes the bitcoin just as vulnerable as Target and Equifax are.

Currency Risk

The U.S. government is now over 20 trillion dollars in debt. Here is a detailed article on the relationship between sovereign debt and inflation:

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/inflation-and-debt

The policy of many nations to inject new money into the economy lowers currency value and therefore your purchasing power.

Solution:

Bitcoin is limited in its issuance to a total of 21 million coins. Ever.

Your fiat currency assets may be seized by financial institutions or government

Solution:

If your money is kept in a bank it can be frozen by the bank or government if you find yourself suspected of a crime (even if later proven innocent).

Your home can be invaded by police or federal agents for the same reason.

Bitcoin can be protected against these possibilities.

Settlement across national borders is not easy

Solution:

Bitcoin can be effortlessly moved across borders.

Billions of unbanked

Solution:

No bank is required to store your funds. You can be your own bank with Bitcoin.

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/05/can-bitcoin-help-the-worlds-unbanked.html

Wrap up:

Bitcoin addresses some of the shortcomings in the financial system that we use currently. As it becomes more widely known and used, Bitcoin enthusiasts believe it may not just complement, but replace the current system.

Relevant Links:

Original Bitcoin Whitepaper

Buy Bitcoin from Coinbase