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Wednesday, October 9th 2019 - Issue #587

A lesson from history

Uncle Marty has been on bit of a history tip recently. For some reason, a lot of the conversations I've had on the podcast in the past couple of months have been steered towards discussing warnings of "don't fuck up the money" throughout history. Yesterday, while perusing the interwebs, I came across this article, felt compelled to send this tweet, and was promptly reminded of the letter the Thomas Jefferson quote came from; From Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 27 May 1788.

The letter seems to be a simple pow wow between two pen pals catching up and bouncing ideas off each other. Two things really stick out to me in this letter. One of them is the aforementioned "don't fuck up the money" warning that Jefferson sends while commenting on the state of British monetary system which had "20 millions of coin, and three or four hundred million of circulating paper... paper is poverty, that it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself." The other is the prescient warning of the inevitable, natural entropy of Liberty only 11 years after the Declaration of Independence. 

Liberty is something that must be fought for constantly. The forces of human nature are such that a few of us will be sociopathic and try to control others by taking away some of their liberties. The intentions and actions of these sociopaths are carried out by the machine that is the State. Over time, as individuals become complacent, the State begins to metastasize and spread. Slowly but surely encroaching on individual liberties until very few truly exist. One of the tools with the highest amount of leverage over individual liberties is the ability to print money. Pretty crazy that we're able to receive this sage advice in passing because history was able to preserve a passing conversation between a founding father and a fellow statesman from Virginia.       
Final thought...

Ready for my return to Charleston. 
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Tuesday, October 8th 2019 - Issue #586

Bitcoin scary stories

It's October and we here at the Ƀent are well known for our penchant to play along with holiday themes. As Halloween approaches, we thought we'd take the time to share some scary stories with you. Here's a transcript from a talk that Ethan Heilman gave over the weekend at a Bitcoin conference hosted by MIT. The talk is titled Near misses: What could have gone wrong, and is filled with scary stories from Bitcoin's past. 

Take some time to learn about the bugs that have been found in the Bitcoin codebase over the years. Problems that, if exploited, did and/or could have led to node denial of service attacks, inflation bugs, and inevitable network splits. Luckily for us, the scary stories that Ethan told about Bitcoin's past have come and gone. The bugs have been patched and lessons have been learned. But, if anything, we should use these instances to help become more vigilant moving forward. Each individual exploit teaches us about an attack vector we should be aware of and how we can harden our defenses. The more we find and come to understand, the better. 

So let this be a scary reminder to you freaks out there, bugs have existed, they probably exist right now, and may very well exist in the future within Bitcoin. Be aware. Stay vigilant. Encourage your smart developer friends to help peer review the Bitcoin Core codebase.  
Final thought...

Moving the car for street sweeping; equal parts rage inducing and demoralizing. 
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Ƀent noun 1. direction taken, as by one's interests; inclination.

Thanks for reading Marty's Ƀent, a daily newsletter containing all the information I found interesting in the Bitcoin world in the last 24 hours.

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