XSPEC & WISP Change Everything

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If you did not read the blog post I wrote yesterday about the changes happening with XSPEC (Spectrecoin) and WISP, you should go read it now for context and to see how drastically everything changed in 24 hours.

What Is Happening At XSPEC?

First of all, this has escalated from a amicable split where both teams agreed to help each other, to an all-out war of words. Both teams feel betrayed, and are not shy about saying so. The negotiations have halted, and new plans have been made. Here is a link to download the statement from Mandica on XSPECs position. I will summarize below if you don’t feel like reading.

XSPEC Statement On WISP

In summary, Mandica claims @jbg was paid by the community to provide a GUI update to the wallet and for @bryce to work on stealth staking. She claims not only has @jbg not provided the updates, he has refused to show any proof of work for them when Mandica asked to see them.

@jbg denies these charges, saying any pay he received was for general work on the code, not specifically for the new 1.4 wallet. He claims entire conversations referred to in the PDF never actually happened.

In addition, there is a claim that @vvc, one of the core team members for WISP, attempted to get the current XSPEC blockchain by renaming it to WISP on the Cryptopia exchange. This was actually a decision made by the original core team to update the name of the coin, and, from WISPs position, not related to what is happening now.

The XSPEC plans will continue after some time is spent reviewing the current code to determine if the current state. Without @jbg, the only coder, working on it, it is difficult for the XSPEC team to ascertain where the project truly stands. This will push any development releases on XSPEC back months as they start from scratch without the benefit of any coding @jbg may have done in 2018.

There is some information about the plans from WISP available as well in the WISP Discord and I want to share that here. To summarize, WISP will now be a new coin, not a fork of XSPEC, so anything is possible. @jbg has the experience and code to take an open sourced coin such as PIVX, and modify it to use the latest TOR technology if he wants. I use PIVX as an example because they have many stealth features of their own already, and working Masternodes, which may add new possibilities to WISP.

The plan is still to drop 1:1 WISP for XSPEC holders, though the specifics of how this will work have not been announced. Being on a new chain built on source from an existing coin brings some challenges, including not being listed and easily exchangeable on any current exchanges. This will not be an issue with WISP though. The decision has been made to only list the new currency on decentralized exchanges such as BISQ.

The logic of this decision to only list on DEX’s is based on never being able to be a fully private coin while sending and receiving through centralized exchanges that require your personal information. This will probably result in WISP not being worth much for a long time because there is very little volume on any decentralized exchange at the moment. The DEXs are only less than a year old in most cased though, so adoption will happen as time goes on.

From the statements made and the plans I have seen, it appears @jbg is determined to have WISP be the most private coin in existence. The circumstances surrounding this split are what has made this concept possible… no other coin I know of has plans to stay as anonymous as WISP. A year ago not enough progress had even been made on decentralized exchanges for this to be possible. This decision also means I would not expect to learn much about the developers or core team, so users and investors will have to put a lot of trust into @jbg to stick around.

In my experience with XSPEC and crypto in general, I know people are not going to stick around WISP to see what happens. You will have the crowd, mostly the XSPEC supporters, who immediately sells every WISP they are given in the 1:1 drop. Then you will have the angry people who initially claim to support the project, then watch the price plummet and sell when there is no release in the first month. These people will act like complete idiots in Discord before selling, which is already happening… it is hard for me to believe people are getting free WISP coins and are already trolling, before the coin is even created. If you don’t like your free coins when you get them, sell them.

So, where does this leave the two sides? It is hard to say for certain. Mandica was great at making update promises, but terrible at meeting the deadlines, before she went out with health issues. If Mandica’s claims in her statement about @jbg are true, we can reasonably expect the WISP promises never to come to fruition. All I know as someone who has watched XSPEC since the beginning is, progress is slow, and only @jbg has made any deliveries with code changes.

I do not know either @jbg or Mandica personally, so I cannot do more than go by what I have witnessed and what I see in Discord. I have been staking XSPEC for over a year now, and plan to keep doing so until more information is available. I am fortunate to already have cashed out much more than I originally invested in XSPEC, so I can afford to wait and see.

What Is Happening At XSPEC?

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While this post contains a lot of contextual information, it is so 24 hours ago. Much has changed. I wrote an update here…

XSPEC & WISP Change Everything

XSPEC

 

What is happening to XSPEC?

Many people have not heard yet, but XSPEC is forking to become two independent currencies (XSPEC & WISP), each with its own team of core members and developers. It sounds as if there may be an opportunity here. I have done some research and want to provide a brief summary concerning what is happening so you can make an informed decision on buying or avoiding.

The XSPEC Beginning

XSPEC is also known as Spectrecoin. It was originally a copy of Shadowcoin (SDC), which is no longer around. XSPEC is a stealth coin, and has had multiple releases in the last year focused on incorporating the latest features of Tor into its wallet. The latest wallet is the first in crypto to have the integration of Tor OBFS4 layer built in, with the goal of making transactions untraceable, even to fully invasive government tracking.

For more information see the XSPEC Bitcointalk.

The history of XSPEC is full of drama. The original founder goes by the name Mandica. She made development promises with release dates early on, and then was diagnosed with some serious health issues which kept her from delivering on those promises. Crypto communities are well known for their impatience, and the FUD went straight past frustration, landing squarely in furious rage. For much of the time when Mandica was unavailable, the self-appointed person managing the community in Slack was well known for his irate outbursts and foul language. By early 2017, with no recent development and most of community abandoning the project, the project appeared dead and the price was suffering.

 

The XSPEC Recovery

In mid-2017 in stepped in a new lead developer going by @jbg. He was an original developer on the project, so was familiar with the code, but had moved on to work on other things. @jbg was brought back in with Mandica’s blessing as she continued the long recovery from the health issues.

@jbg is a coder. He is unfamiliar with the many roles needed to lead a project. The intense pressure from the community led @jbg to provide release dates for the upgrades he was working on, and when he was late on his promises, what was left of the community ridiculed the project mercilessly. Then, after a few weeks, something amazing happened….

A new wallet update was released, and it looked sharp.

Still, nobody in the crypto-community seemed to want to take a chance on XSPEC. @jbg found some patient people to manage the community for him, and it slowly started to expand. A few months later another wallet was released with the OBFS4 update, and the price finally started to reflect the fact that work was once again being accomplished.

 

The XSPEC Problem

In early 2018 Mandica returned and wanted her project back, and @jbg was willing to relinquish his role as the project lead. As the team discussed the short term goals, it became apparent there were disagreements on where XSPEC was heading in the future. @jbg had made promises to the community on how the project’s expenses would be financed, and was unwilling to change to accommodate Mandica’s wishes.

Specifically, Mandica wanted the core team to receive 5% of each successful staking transaction to fund the expenses. @jbg made an update to the wallet to allow each person staking to choose their own percentage to donate to the project. @jbg believes the required donation to a central person/team will compromise the decentralization he has tried so hard to instill in XSPEC, and he has the backing of many in the community who have supported him as the leader of the project in Mandica’s absence.

This disagreement has led to the decision to fork XSPEC into two separate currencies, run by two different teams of developers. The new fork on the new chain will retain the name XSPEC, and will be run by Mandica. She will retain all of the current resources, such as the website, Github, and Bitcointalk thread. The current chain will be run by @jbg, and will essentially rebrand to be called WISP. For each XSPEC held when the fork is done, a holder would then have one XSPEC and one WISP.

As far as disagreements go, this one has been as amicable as possible. @jbg has agreed to share the updates he has been working on with the XSPEC project, and assist in the implementation of these updates. The project is open source and future updates on both sides will also be shared where possible. As long as there are no changes to the chain required, exchanges such as Cryptopia should have no problem incorporating the update. They can simply put XSPEC on the new chain, and change the name to WISP for the one they already have running.

@jbg claims to have made his last statement as a leader of either project, and is leaving the leadership of WISP to the other core members of the community joining him in the new coin. He wishes to concentrate on the development side of WISP, and has already shown he is able to release technologically solid updates. In my opinion, Mandica will need to be the one to prove she can gather the resources to continue the development of XSPEC. It will be up to her to deliver on promises she makes to her community.

 

The XSPEC Opportunity

Stealth coins (Anon coins), including XSPEC, had a tremendous run earlier in 2018, but have all since fallen with the rest of the digital currency market. I don’t know when the market turn-around will happen, and I can’t promise any purchases made at the moment will be worth more in the short term.

XSPEC does seem like an opportunity to get two stealth coins for the price of one. If there is a recovery, and specifically, if there is another run on privacy focused coins, having both could be very profitable. I am not making a recommendation to buy, but simply pointing out the opportunity. Please do your own research and make an informed decision.

Crypto News March 6th, 2018

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Today’s article is Coinbase Hit By Two Class Action Lawsuits, One Alleges Insider Trading.

I bought my first Bitcoin on Coinbase, and I am sure many others did also. I was fortunate enough to move almost all of the BTC off of the exchange before 2017, before Coinbase decided to provide the government with people’s financial information. I have never personally had any issues with Coinbase, but at the same time it is obvious with this, and other exchanges, if you don’t want your information shared, then centralized exchanges are not the right option for you.

Fortunately, new decentralized exchanges are in the works and we will have more options in the future in this fight against government control over our lives.

I remember conversations in more than one Slack channel when it was obvious digital currencies were suffering from insider trading and price manipulation, but there was no recourse. This is still going on today, but in most cases there is nothing that can be done about it. For the most part, throughout 2017 everyone was profiting, so nobody was too concerned except when it directly affected their holdings.

In the article above, it appears there are some people who are going to challenge this manipulation, and it is the right thing to do. Regardless of the outcome, hopefully it prompts others to think twice about doing the same in the future.

I would be surprised if crypto exchanges like Coinbase continue to operate in the Unites States in the future. There is less regulation outside of the US, so exchanges there will have the advantage of not being forced to pay the court costs to defend themselves. Once exchanges do become decentralized, there won’t be anyone to take to court. I imagine it will all be handled much like stocks and bonds are today, as part of a financial portfolio controlled by banks. Freedom from unnecessary fees is part of the digital financial revolution we are all involved in, but many people will still pay for someone else to handle their finances.

We are still in the early stages of the revolution though, and regulations are only now starting to be created. Allegations like insider trading, and the publicity this receives, will be used by the government to convince the general public more regulation is required. The more evil the-powers-that-be can make it appear, the more easily they can take control of it.

I suppose there will be a place for everyone in crypto though. If you want to remain anonymous, the tools and coins will be available to you. If you want to simply use digital currency as an investment, those tools for you will also be available. It is an interesting time. I look forward to watching the evolution, and just pray in the end some of the freedoms we are seeking will actually still exist.

Thanks for reading! I am the creator and moderator of the Crypto_Currency_News subreddit. Each day I invite the world to post links to their favorite Bitcoin and crypto related articles. Please join me there.

Crypto News February 28th, 2018

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I am the creator and moderator of the Crypto_Currency_News subreddit. Each day I invite the world to post links to their favorite Bitcoin and crypto related articles. Here I plan to give my thoughts on popular articles I have opinions on.

Today’s article is Make Money with a Masternode While You Sleep.

I have run Masternodes in the past without really understanding the purpose, so when I saw this article posted I decided to dig a little deeper to help deepen my understanding. The article gives a basic overview of the functions Masternodes perform. The definition I liked was…

“A Masternode is a server on a decentralized network. It is utilized to complete unique functions in ways ordinary nodes can’t. It can be used for features like direct send, instant transactions or private transactions.”

For me, I needed to understand without full scale modifications, there are limitations to what the basic blockchain and associated wallets can achieve. For this reason Masternodes employ code to plug additional functionality into the network, and reward the people running these nodes with coins in return.

PIVX is a coin I have Masternode experience with. It uses the Masternodes to make transactions on its network private from prying eyes. In a basic blockchain you can use an explorer to track the origination and final destination of coins, but with PIVX Masternodes this becomes impossible. This is just one example of how they are used.

People sometimes pay to use a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to host their Masternodes.  I asked someone the reason for this a few days ago. When you run a Masternode on your own system, it broadcasts your IP address to the Network essentially announcing to the world you have digital currency. The VPS eliminates this. Also, the best guides for Masternode setup I have seen are written from a Linux perspective using a VPS, so the documentation available to set these up is readily available.

On the negative side for VPS, when there are updates or disruptions to their system and it goes down you are not in control to get it fixed. You have to wait for someone else to get to it. This was frustrating for me.

Check the article for links to a list of Masternode coins if you are interested in giving one a try. There are many to choose from.

Thanks for reading!

Crypto News February 23rd, 2018

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I am the creator and moderator of the Crypto_Currency_News subreddit. Each day I invite the world to post links to their favorite Bitcoin and crypto related articles. Here I plan to give my thoughts on popular articles I have opinions on.

Today’s article is Why I Support MoneroV as a Crypto-Dividend.

For anyone who does not know, There is a fork planned for the Monero Blockchain called MoneroV. The airdrop for XMR holders at the time of the fork will be 10x MoneroV coins for each Monero coin.

I just wanted to relay a few brief thoughts not necessarily related to this specific fork, but Digital Currency forks in general. I am not a huge fan of Monero and do not own any because I have seen the face of Monero, and it is just not for me. I do own other privacy coins.

I think there are two factions in the crypto world. The first thinks innovation should be profited from… their view is if a new innovation comes out for a currency, that currency should profit from it, and should not share it.

The second faction, which I am a member of, believes technology advancements should be shared by all. By making source code open-sourced, anyone can copy and implement it for their own uses. This has been a basic idea behind most digital currency code until recently when the technology suddenly became extremely valuable. The greed versus good battle is becoming more prevalent and people are holding back their innovations.

What I find hard to believe is how every time one of these forks happen, whether for BTC, LTC, XMR or any other currency, people get so upset about it.

Look, if you are running a project and putting your hard work out there for others to see, and you are going to be angry if someone takes it and makes a copy, then don’t put it out there. Hide it away and patent it. If you are in the Monero community, and you are mad at MoneroV, don’t go to the MoneroV boards and scream about it… go to FluffyPony and complain to him for making the code available.

Nobody on MoneroV’s project team stole the code or is doing anything illegal to get it. They think they can create a better version of Monero… and if they succeed everyone should be thrilled. If they don’t succeed, oh well. One thing is certain, there will be another fork at some point in the future by someone else who thinks they can do better as long as the source code and blockchain are available.

If you hold XMR, you get MoneroV when it comes out. If you want to send it to someone who will appreciate it after it is distributed, I will be happy to give you an address to send it to. Just contact me at MicroCapCrypto@Protonmail.com.

Crypto News February 21st, 2018

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I am the creator and moderator of the Crypto_Currency_News subreddit. Each day I invite the world to post links to their favorite Bitcoin and crypto related articles. Here I plan to give my thoughts on popular articles I have opinions on.

Today’s article is Bitcoin Will Be a Daily Currency According to PayPal’s CEO.

It is a short article taking what was said completely out of context and using it to attract people to view it. As a result, it is the most popular article of the day in the subreddit. I think sometimes people just upvote the sentiment and don’t read. The actual quote from the CEO, John Rainey, was…

“The technology, there is a real merit to it. I do think, though, it will be years down the road before we see the kind of ubiquity and acceptance that make it a form of currency that is used every day.”

So I think we, as crypto enthusiasts, already knew digital currency would be used for daily currency in the future, or at least we are expecting it to be. If not, I am going to have a whole lot of useless coins to my name.

What I think will see is wallets which can be used to store many coins, maybe a hardware wallet like Trezor, or a mobile wallet application, being accepted at stores and websites more readily. In B&M retail stores they may even incorporate the same kiosks used today as Visa & Mastercard see an opportunity to make a profit. KeepKey was bought by ShapeShift and we could see the incorporation of these two technologies happening soon.

I imagine the first ones will work much like the BTC debit cards today, where the coins are actually converted to cash first, then used to make the payment. As it evolves, some digital currency should actually be accepted by merchants. I think there is one important evolution keeping this from happening any time soon, and that is the volatile prices of these currencies.

There are many EBay-like digital currency projects being worked on at the moment. I have experimented with BitBay in particular, and from what I have seen, few people are going to put up their items up for sale when the price of Bitcoin is high, and few people are going to buy items when the price of Bitcoin is low. Working out a way to keep the prices from being so volatile will be an important step in having the world accept these currencies. BitBay is actually working on this problem with their pegging enhancement. We will see how it works out later this year.

I am also anxious to see if digital currencies get regulated out of existence before being accepted as a currency. It is another concern we will have as holders. Best of luck to us all!

Thanks for reading.

Crypto News February 19th, 2018

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I am the creator and moderator of the Crypto_Currency_News subreddit. Each day I invite the world to post links to their favorite Bitcoin and crypto related articles. Here I plan to give my thoughts on popular articles I have opinions on.

Today’s article is Wyoming Senate Bill Proposes to Exempt Cryptocurrencies from Taxes posted at UseTheBitcoin.com.

For those of you around the world unfamiliar with Wyoming, it is a state in the central-western United States and is sometimes known for promoting freedom from an over-reaching federal government with its laws. People there would generally prefer to live by the ideas and statues defined in the Constitution of the Unites States than by the system we have today.

This proposal does not mean the citizens would be free from Federal government taxes though. The basis of this article is the introduction of a bill relieving residents of Wyoming from paying state income tax, currently between 4% and 6%, on Crypto-currency gains. The Federal government will still expect to receive their share, which is generally much higher and can reach over 40%.

I find it ironic the government does not recognize digital currencies as currencies, but still expects people to pay taxes in US Dollars when the value of these non-currencies goes up. Is it a currency? I guess it depends who you ask…

https://www.coindesk.com/nyus-dean-of-valuations-says-bitcoin-is-a-currency-not-an-asset/

Arizona, another western state, recently pushed a state bill to let people pay taxes with crypto. I personally don’t mind paying taxes if that is the law, but I should be allowed to pay them in the cryptocurrency profits I am being taxed on. Again though, they can only control Arizona state taxes. Federal agencies will not allow crypto payments.

I think it this is an important article. The more acceptance Bitcoin and other digital currencies see, the more likely they will have more value in the future. It is important for both state governments and others around the world to push these types of forward thinking laws until the powers-that-be have to address the reality of the existence of these new currencies.