What sort of grand plan does God have that has not been revealed to us?
Every day is full of wonder and beauty; yet for everything and every event that produces joy, there is a counter. For instance: the beauty of the mountains vs. the ugliness of a landfill; the touching kindness of volunteers and altruists vs. the cruelty of dictators and criminals; the ecstasy achieved in athletics vs. the devastation of disease.
In Psalm 10, the psalmist focuses on the evil that men do and asks why God does not intervene. Not only that, the psalmist notes that evil men appear to be experiencing victory at the expense of the poor.
The NKJV study bible contains a comment on Psalm 10:1, the first line: “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord”. The note states that “these are classic words of lament or morning”. Indeed, this is a classic question.
Why does God allow such suffering as we see in the world?
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?
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.
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.
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.
Now, I can receive payments at farawaystars.eth.
The domain name can also resolve to a contract address. This will be . a topic in a later post.
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:
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.
Coinbase is a large cryptocurrency service and exchange in the US that has more than 13 million users as of 11/17. It was founded in 2011 and is very popular and easy to use.
Coinbase practices full anti-money laundering and know your customer compliance. This results in some rather intrusive information being requested from the would be cryptocurrency buyer. If you become a Coinbase customer, be prepared to to submit to your computer’s camera taking a photo/video of you and your legal identification document. It is even more intrusive than opening a bank account in the US.
Despite following all these regulations and precautions that put all customer’s private information in a centralized database that increases risk to all customers from bad actors, Coinbase found itself in a battle with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS, despite not having clear rules on how to handle cryptocurrencies, was , nevertheless, concerned that some of Coinbase’s customers may not be paying enough taxes.
Therefore, the IRS, acting in rogue fashion issued a ‘John Doe’ summons. That is, a summons in which the IRS named no particular suspect and no particular crime – just a suspicion that someone, somewhere has interacted with Coinbase’ services in an illegal way. Now, I am no lawyer, but this seems to be a clear violation of the 4th amendment to the United States constitution:
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This is appears to be just another instance that proves to me that the US Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land.
Coinbase did put up a fight, and I believe did the best they could to protect their customers.
Just be aware that the IRS, although not clear about how people should file earnings on cryptocurrencies does expect these earnings to be filed.
To become a Coinbase customer, sign up with the link below (this is an affiliate link).
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.
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.
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:
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.