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melville charitable has been created

By Herman Melville I AND MY CHIMNEY (i.) I and my chimney, two grey-headed old smokers, reside in the country. We are, I may say, old settlers here; particularly my old chimney, which settles more and more every day. Though I always say, I and my chimney, as Cardinal Wol- sey used to say, I and my King, yet this egotistic way of speak- ing, wherein I take precedence of my chimney, is hardly borne out by the facts; in everything, except the above phrase, my chimney taking precedence of me. Within thirty feet of the turf-sided road, my chimney——a huge, corpulent old Harry VIII of a chimney——rises full in front of me and all my possessions. Standing well up a hill-side, my chimney, like Lord Rosse's monster telescope, swung verti- cal to hit the meridian moon, is the first object to greet the ap- proaching traveler's eye; nor is it the last which the sun salutes. My chimney, too, is before me in receiving the first-fruits of the seasons. The snow is on its head ere on my hat; and every spring, as in a hollow beech tree, the first swallows build their nests in it. But it is within doors that the pre-eminence of y chimney is most manifest. When in the rear room, set apart for that ob- ject, I stand to receive my guests (who, by the way, call more, I suspect, to see my chimney than me), I then stand, not so much before, as, strictly speaking, behind my chimney, which is, indeed, the true host. Not that I demur. In the presence of my betters, I hope I know my place. From this habitual precedence of my chimney over me, some even think that I have got into a sad rearward way altogether; in short, from standing behind my old-fashioned chimney so much, I have got to be quite behind the age too, as well as running behindhand in everything else. But to tell the truth, I never was a very forward old fellow, nor what my farming neighbors call and forehanded one. Indeed, those rumors about my behindhandedness are so far correct, that I have an odd sauntering way with me sometimes of going about with my hands behind my back. As for my belonging to the rear-guard in general, certain it is, I bring up the rear of my chimney—— which, by the way, is this moment before me——and that, too, both in fancy and fact. In brief, my chimney is my superior; my superior by I know not how many heads and shoulders; my superior, too, in that humbly bowing over with shovel and tongs, I must minister to it; yet never does it minister, or in- cline over to me; but, if anything, in its settlings, rather leans the other way. My chimney is grand seignior here——the one great dom- ineering object, not more of the landscape, than of the house; all the rest of which house, in each architectural arrangement, as may shortly appear, is, in the most marked manner, accom- modated, not to my wants, but to the chimney's, which, among other things, has the centre of the house to itself, leaving but the odd holes and corners to me. But I and my chimney must explain; and, as we are both rather obese, we may have to expatiate. In those houses which are strictly double houses——that is, where the hall is in the middle——the fireplaces usually are pon opposite sides; so that while one member of the household is warming himself at a fire built into a recess of the north wall, say another member, the former owner's brother, perhaps, may be holding his feet to the blaze before a hearth in the south wall——the two thus fairly sitting back to back. Is this well? Be it put to any man who has a proper fraternal feeling. Has it not a sort of sulky appearance? But very probably this style of chimney building originated with some architect afflicted with a quarrelsome family. Then again, almost every modern fireplace has its separate flue——separate throughout, from hearth to chimney-top. At least such an arrangement is deemed desirable. Does this not look egotistical, selfish? But still more, all these separate flues, instead of having independent masonry establishments of their own, or instead of being grouped together in one federal stock in the middle of the house——instead of this, I say, each flue is surreptitiously honey-combed into the walls; so that these last are here and there, or indeed almost anywhere, treacherously hollow, and, in consequence, more or less weak. Of course, the main reason of this style of chimney building is to economize room. In cities, where lots are sold by the inch, small space is to spare for a chimney constructed on magnani- mous principles; and, as with most thin men, who are generally tall, so with such houses, what is lacking in breadth must be made up in height. This remark holds true even with regard to many very stylish abodes, built by the most stylish of gentle- men. And yet, when that stylish gentleman, Louis le Grand of France, would build a palace for his lady friend, Madame de Maintenon, he built it but one story high——in fact, in the cot- tage style. But then, how uncommonly quadrangular, spacious, and broad——horizontal acres, not vertical one. Such is the pal- ace which, in all its one-storied magnificence of Languedoc marble, in the garden of Versailles, still remains to this day. Any man can buy a square foot of land and plant a liberty- pole upon it; but it takes a king to set apart whole acres for a Grand Trianon. But nowadays it is different; and furthermore, what origi- nated in a necessity has been mounted into a vaunt. In towns there is a large rivalry in building tall houses. If one gentleman builds his house four stories high, and another gentleman comes next door and builds five stories high, then the former, not to be looked down upon that way, immediately sends for his architect and claps a fifth and a sixth story on top of his pre- vious four. And, not til the gentleman has achieved his aspira- tion, not till he has stolen over the way by twilight and observed how the sixth story soars beyond his neighbor's fifth——not till then does he retire to rest with satisfaction. Such folks, it seems to me, need mountains for neighbors, to take this emulous conceit of soaring out of them. If, considering that mine is a very wide house, and by no means lofty, aught in the above may appear like interested pleading, as if I did but fold myself about in the cloak of a gen- eral proposition, cunningly to tickle my individual vanity be- neath it, such misconceptions must vanish upon my frankly conceding that land adjoining my alder swamp was sold last month for ten dollars an acre, and thought a rash purchase at that; so that for wide houses hereabouts there is plenty of room, and cheap. Indeed, so cheap——dirt cheap——is the soil, that our elms thrust out their roots in it, and hang their great boughs over it, in the most lavish and reckless way. Almost all our crops, too, are sown broadcast, even peas and turnips. A farmer among us, who should go about his twenty-acre field, poking his finger into it here and there, and dropping down a mustard seed, would be thought a penurious, narrow-minded husbandman. The dandelions in the river-meadows, and the forget-me-nots along the mountain roads, you see at once they are put to no economy in space. Some seasons, too, our rye comes up, here and there a spear sole and single like a church- spire. It doesn't care to crowd itself where it knows there is such a deal of room. The world is wide, the world is all before us, says the rye. Wees, too, it is amazing how they spread. No such thing as arresting them——some of out pastures being a sort of Alsatia for the weeds. As for the grass, every spring it is like Kossuth's rising of what he calls the peoples. Mountains, too, a regular camp-meeting of them. For the same reason, the same all-sufficiency of room, our shadows march and countermarch, going through their various drills and masterly evolutions, like the old imperial guard on the Champs de Mars. As for the hills, especially where the roads cross them, the supervisors of our various towns have given notice to all concerned, that they can come and dig them down and cart them off and never a cent to pay, no more than for the privilege of picking blackberries. The stranger who is buried here, what liberal-hearted landed proprietor among us grudges him his six feet of rocky pasture? Nevertheless, cheap, after all, as our land is, and much as it is trodden under foot, I, for one, am proud of it for what it bears; and chiefly for its three great lions——the Great Oak, Ogg Mountain, and my chimney. Most houses are are but one and a half stories high; few exceed two. That in which I and my chimney dwell, is in width nearly twice its height, from sill to eaves——which accounts for the magnitude of its main content——besides showing that in this house, as in this country at large, there is abundance of space, and to spare, for both of us. The frame of the old house is of wood——which but the more sets forth the solidity of the chimney, which is of brick. And as the great wrought nails, binding the clapboards, are unknown in these degenerate days, so are the huge bricks in the chimney walls. The architect of the chimney must have had the pyramid of Cheops before him; for after that famous structure it seems modeled, only its rate of decrease towards the summit is con- siderably less, and it is truncated. From the exact middle of the mansion it soars from the cellar, right up through each suc- cessive floor, till, four feet square, it breaks water from the ridge-pole of the roof, like an anvil-headed whale, through the crest of a billow. Most people, though, liken it, in that part, to a razeed observatory, masoned up. The reason for its peculiar appearance above the roof touches upon rather delicate ground. How shall I reveal that, foras- much as many years ago the original gable roof of the old house had become very leaky, a temporary proprietor hired a band of woodmen, with their huge, crosscut saws, and went to saw- ing the old gable roof clean off. Off it went, with all its birds' nests, and dormer windows. It was replaced with a modern roof, more fit for a railway wood-house than an old country gentleman's abode. This operation——razeeing the structure some fifteen feet——was, in effect upon the chimney, something like the falling of the great spring tides. It left uncommon low water all about the chimney——to abate which appearance, the same person now proceeds to slice fifteen feet off the chimney itself, actualyl beheading my royal old chimney——a regicidal act which, were it not for the palliating fact that he was a poulterer by trade, and, therefore, hardened to such neck- wringings, should send that former proprietor down to pos- terity in the same cart with Cromwell. Owing to its pyramidal shape, the reduction of the chimney inordinately widened its razeed summit. Inordinately, I say, but only in the estimation of such as have no eye to the pic- turesque. What care I, if, unaware that my chimney, as a free citizen of this free land, stands upon an independent basis of its own, people passing it wondering how such a brick-kiln, as they call it, is supported upon mere joists and rafters? What care I? I will give a traveler a cup of switchel, if he ants it; but am I bound to supply him with a sweet taste? Men of cultivated minds see, in my old house and chimney, a goodly old elephant- and-castle. All feeling hearts will sympathize with me in what I am now about to add. The surgical operation, above referred to, nec- essarily brought into the open air a part of the chimney previously under cover, and intended to remain so and, there- fore, not built of what are called weather-bricks. In con- sequence, the chimney, though of a vigorous constitution, suffered not a little from so naked an exposure; and, unable to acclimate itself, ere long began to fail——showing blotchy symp- toms akin to those in the measles. Whereupon travelers, passing my way, would wag their heads, laughing: "See that wax nose ——how it melts off!" But what cared I? The same travelers would travel across the sea to view Kenilworth peeling away, and for a very good reason: that of all artists of the picturesque, decay wears the palm——I would say, the ivy. In fact, I've often thought that the proper place for my old chimney is ivied old England. In vain my wife——with what probable ulterior intent will, ere long, appear——solemnly warned me, that unless something were done, and speedily, we should be burnt to the ground, owing to the holes crumbling through the aforesaid blotchy parts, where the chimney joined the roof. "Wife," said I, "far better that my house should burn down, than my chimney should be pulled down, though but a few feet. They call it a wax nose; very good; not for me to tweak the nose of my superior." But at last the man who has a mortgage on the house dropped me a note, reminding me that, if my chimney was allowed to stand in that invalid condition, my policy of insurance would be void. This was a sort of hint not to be neglected. All the world over, the picturesque yields to the pocketesque. The mort- gagor cared not, but the mortgagee did. So another operation was performed. The wax nose was taken off, and a new one fitted on. Unfortunately for the expression ——being put up buy a squint-eyed mason who, at the time, had a bad stitch in the same side——the new nose stands a little awry, in the same direction. Of one thing, however, I am proud. The horizontal dimen- sions of the new part are unreduced. Large as the chimney appears upon the roof, that is nothing to its spaciousness below. At its base in the cellar, it is precisely twelve feet square; and hence covers precisely one hundred and fourty-four superficial feet. What an appropriation of terra firma for a chimney, and what a huge load for this earth! In fact, it was only because I and my chimney formed no part of his an- cient burden, that that stout peddler, Atlas of old, was enabled to stand up so bravely under his pack. The dimensions given may, perhaps, seem fabulous. But, like those stones at Gilgal, which Joshua set up for a memorial of having passed over Jor- dan, does not my chimney remain, even unto this day? Very often I go down into my cellar, and attentively survey the vast square of masonry. I stand long, and ponder over, and wonder at it. It has a druidical look, away down in the umbrageous cellar there, whose numerous vaulted passages, and far glens of gloom, resemble he dark, damp depths of primeval woods. So strongly did this conceit steal over me, so deeply was I penetrated with wonder at the chimney, that one day——when I was a little out of my mind, I now think——get- ting a spade from the garden, I set to work, digging round the foundation, especially at the corners thereof, obscurely prompted by dreams of striking upon some old, earthen-worn memorial of that bygone day when, into all this gloom, the light of heaven entered, as the masons laid the foundation-stones, peradventure sweltering under the August sun, or pelted by a March storm. Plying my blunted spade, how vexed was I by that ungracious interruption of a neighbor, who, calling to see me upon some business, and being informed that I was below, said I need not be troubled to come up, but he would go down to me; and so, without ceremony, and without my having been forewarned, suddenly discovered me, digging in my cellar. "Gold-digging, sir?" "Nay, sir," answered I, starting, "I was merely——ahem! merely ——I say merely digging——round my chimney." "Ah, loosening the soil, to make it grow. Your chimney, sir, you regard as too small, I suppose; needing further develop- ment, especially at the top?" "Sir!" said I, throwing down the spade, "do not be personal. I and my chimney——" "Personal?" "Sir, I look upon this chimney less as a pile of masonry than as a personage. It is the king of the house. I am but a suffered and inferior subject." In fact, I would permit no gibes to be cast at either myself or my chimney; and never did my visitor refer to it in my hearing, without coupling some compliment with the mention. It deserves a respectful consideration. There it stands, solitary and alone——not a council -of-ten flues, but, like his sa- cred majesty of Russia, a unit of an autocrat. Even to me, its dimensions, at times, seem incredible. It does not look so big——no, not even in the cellar. By the mere eye, its magnitude can be but imperfectly comprehended, because only one side can be received at one time; and said side can only present twelve feet, linear measure. But then, each other side also is twelve feet long; and the whole obviously forms a square; and twelve times twelve is one hundred and forty-four. And so, and adequate conception of the magnitude of this chim- ney is only to be got at by a sort of process in the higher math- ematics, by a method somewhat akin to those whereby the surprising distances of fixed stars are computed. It need hardly be said that the walls of my house are entirely free from fireplaces. These all congregate in the middle——in the one grand central chimney, upon all four sides of which are hearths——two tiers of hearths——so that when, in the various chambers, my family and guests are warming themselves of a cold winter's night, just before retiring, then, though at the time they may not be thinking so, all their faces mutually look towards each other, yea, all their feet point to one centre; and, when they go to sleep in their beds, they all sleep round one warm chimney, like so many Iroquois Indians, in the woods, round their one heap of embers. And just as the Indians' fire serves, not only to keep them comfortable, but also to keep off wolves, and other savage monsters, so my chimney, by its ob- vious smoke at he top, keeps off prowling burglars from the towns ——for what burglar or murderer would dare break into an abode from whose chimney issues such a continual smoke_— betokening that if the inmates are not stirring, at least fires are, and in case of an alarm, candles may be lighted, to say nothing of muskets. But stately as is the chimney——yea, grand high altar as it is, right worthy for the celebration of High Mass before the Pope of Rome, and all his cardinals——yet what is there perfect in this world? Caius Julius Caesar, had he not been so inordinately great, they say that Brutus, Cassius, Antony, and the rest, had been greater. My chimney, were it not so mighty in its magni- tude, my chambers had been larger. How often has my wife ruefully told me, that my chimney, like all English aristocracy, casts a contracting shade all round it. She avers that endless domestic inconveniences arise——more particularly from the chimney's stubborn central locality. The grand objection with her is that it stands midway in the place where a fine entrance- hall ought to be. In truth, there is no hall whatever to the house ——nothing but a sort of square landing-place, as you enter from the wide front door. A roomy enough landing-place, I admit, but not attaining to the dignity of a hall. Now, as the front door is precisely in the middle of the front of the house, inwards it faces the chimney. In fact, the opposite wall of the landing- place is formed solely by the chimney; and hence——owing to the gradual tapering of the chimney——is a little less than twelve feet in width. Climbing the chimney in this part, is the princi- pal staircase——which, by three abrupt turns, and three minor landing-places, mounts to the second floor, where, over the front door, runs a sort of narrow gallery, something less than twelve feet long, leading to chambers on either hand. This gallery, of course, is railed; and so, looking down upon the stairs, and all those landing-places together, with the main one at bottom, resembles not a little a balcony for musicians, in some jolly old abode, in times Elizabethan. Shall I tell a weak- ness? I cherish the cobwebs there, and many a time arrest Biddy in the act of brushing them with her broom, and have many a quarrel with my wife and daughters about it. Now the ceiling, so to speak, of the place where you enter the house, that ceiling is, in fact, the ceiling of the second floor, not the first. The two floors are made one here, so that ascend- ing this turning stairs, you seem to go up into a kind of soar- ing tower, or light-house. At the second landing, midway up the chimney, is a mysterious door, entering to a mysterious closet; and here I keep mysterious cordials, of a choice, mys- terious flavor, made so by the constant nurturing and subtle ripening of the chimney's gentle heat, distilled through that warm mass of masonry. Better for wines is it than voyages to the Indies; my chimney itself a tropic. A chair by my chimney in a November day is as good for an invalid as a long season spent in Cuba. Often I think how grapes might ripen against my chimney. How my wife's geraniums bud there! Bud in December. Her eggs, too——can't keep them near the chimney, on account of hatching. Ah, a warm heart has my chimney. How often my wife was at me about that projected grand entrance-hall of hers, which was to be knocked clean through the chimney, from one end of the house to the other, and as- tonish all guests by its generous amplitude. "But, wife," said I, "the chimney——consider the chimney: if you demolish the foundation, what is to support the superstructure?" "Oh, that will rest on the second floor." The truth is, women know next to nothing about the realities of architecture. However, my wife still talked of running her entries and partitions. She spent many long nights elaborating her plans; in imagination build- ing her boasted hall through the chimney, as though its high mightiness were a mere spear of sorrel-top. At last, I gently reminded her that, little as she might fancy it, the chimney was a fact——a sober, substantial fact, which, in all her plannings, it would be well to take into full consideration. But this was not of much avail. And here, specially craving her permission, I must say a few words about this enterprising wife of mine. Though in years nearly as old as myself, in spirit she is young as my little sorrel mare, Trigger, that threw me last fall. What is extraordi- nary, though she comes of a rheumatic family, she is straight as a pine, never has any aches; while for me with the sciatica, I am sometimes as crippled up as any old apple tree. But she has not so much as a toothache. As for her hearing——let me en- ter the house in my dusty boots, and she away up in the attic. And for her sight——Biddy, the housemaid, tells other people's housemaids, that her mistress will spy a spot on the dresser straight through the pewter platter, put up on purpose to hide it. Her faculties are alert as her limbs and her senses. No danger of my spouse dying of torpor. The longest night in the year I've known her to lie awake, planning her campaign for the mor- row. She is a natural projector. The maxim, "Whatever is, is right," is not hers. Her maxim is, Whatever is, is wrong; and what is more, must be altered; and what is still more, must be altered right away. Dreadful maxim for the wife of a dozy old dreamer like me, who dotes on seventh days as days of rest, and, out of sabbatical horror of industry, will, on a week-day, go out of my road a quarter of a mile, to avoid the sight of a man at work. That matches are made in heaven, may be, but my wife would have been just the wife for Peter the Great, or Peter the Piper. How she would have set in order that huge littered em- pire of the one, and with indefatigable painstaking picked the peck of pickled peppers for the other. But the most wonderful thing is, my wife never thinks of her end. Her youthful incredulity, as to the plain theory, and still plainer fact of death, hardly seems Christian. Advanced in years, as she knows she must be, my wife seems to think that she is to teem on, and be inexhaustible forever. She doesn't believe in old age. At that strange promise in the plain of Mamre, my old wife, unlike old Abraham's, would not have jeeringly laughed within herself. Judge how to me, who, sitting in the comfortable shadow of my chimney, smoking my comfortable pipe, with ashes not unwelcome at my feet, and ashes not unwelcome all but in my mouth; and who am thus in a comfortable sort of not unwel- come, though, indeed, ashy enough way, reminded of the ul- timate exhaustion even of the most fiery life; judge how to me this unwarrantable vitality in my wife must come, sometimes, it is true, with a moral and a calm, but oftener with a breeze and a ruffle. If the doctrine be true, that in wedlock contraries attract, but how cogent a fatality must I have been drawn to my wife! While spicily impatient of present and past, like a glass of gin- ger-beer she overflows with her schemes; and, with like energy as she puts down her foot, puts down her preserves and her pickles, and lives with them in a continual future; or ever full of expectations both from time and space, is ever restless for newspapers, and ravenous for letters. Content with the years that are gone, taking no thought for the morrow, and looking for no new thing from any person or quarter whatever, I have not a single scheme or expectation on earth, save in unequal resistance of the undue encroachment of hers. Old myself, I take to oldness in things; for that cause mainly loving old Montaigne, and old cheese, and old wine; and eschewing young people, hot rolls, new book, and early potatoes, and very fond of my old claw-footed chair, and old club-footed Deacon White, my neighbor, and that still nigher old neighbor, my betwisted grape-vine, that of a summer evening leans in his elbow for cosy company at my window- sill, while I, within doors, lean over mine to meet his; and above all, high above all, am fond of my highmanteled old chimney. But she, out of that infatuate juvenility of hers, takes to nothing but newness; for that cause mainly, loving new cider in autumn, and in spring, as if she were own daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, fairly raving after all sorts of salads and spin- aches, and more particularly green cucumbers (though all the time nature rebukes such unsuitable young hankerings in so elderly a person, by never permitting such things to agree with her), and has an itch after recently-discovered fine pros- pects (so no grave-yard be in the background), and also after Swedenborgianism, and the Spirit Rapping philosophy, with other new views, alike in things natural and unnatural; and immortally hopeful, is forever making new flower-beds even on the north side of the house, where the bleak mountain wind would scarce allow the wiry weed called hard-hack to gain a thorough footing; and on the road-side sets out mere pipestems of young elms; though there is no hope of any shade from them, except over the ruins of her great granddaughters' grave-stones; and won't wear caps, but plaits her gray hair; and takes the Ladies' Magazine for the fashions; and always buys her new almanac a month before the new year; and rises at dawn; and to the warmest sunset turns a cold shoulder; and still goes on at odd hours with her new course of history, and her French, and her music; and likes young company; and offers to ride young colts; and sets out young suckers in the orchard; and has a spite against my elbowed old grape-vine, and my club-footed old neighbor, and my claw-footed old chair, and above all, high above all, would fain persecute, unto death, my high- manteled old chimney. By what perverse magic, I a thousand times think, does such a very autumnal old lady have such a very vernal young soul? When I would remonstrate at times, she spins round on me with, "Oh, don't you grumble, old man (she always calls me old man), it's I, young I, that keep you from stagnating." Well, I suppose it is so. Yea, after all, these things are well ordered. My wife, as one of her poor relations, good soul, intimates, is the salt of the earth, and none the less the salt of my sea, which otherwise were unwholesome. She is its monsoon, too blowing a brisk gale over it, in the one steady direction of my chimney. Not insensible of her superior energies, my wife has fre- quently made me propositions to take upon herself all the responsibilities of my affairs. She is desirous that, domestically, I should abdicate; that, renouncing further rule, like the vener- able Charles V, I should retire into some sort of monastery. But indeed, the chimney excepted, I have little authority to lay down. My wife's ingenious application of the principle that certain things belong to right to female jurisdiction, I find myself, through my easy compliances, insensibly stripped by de- grees of one masculine prerogative after another. In a dream I go about my fields, a sort of lazy, happy-go-lucky, good-for- nothing, loafing old Lear. Only by some sudden revelation am I reminded who is over me; as year before last, one day seeing in one corner of the premises fresh deposits of mysterious boards and timbers, the oddity of the incident at length begat serious meditation. "Wife," said I, "whose boards and timbers are those I see near the orchard there? Do you know anything about them, wife? Who put them there? You know I do not like the neighbors to use my land that way; they should ask per- mission first." She regarded me with a pitying smile. "Why, old man, don't you know I am building a new barn? Didn't you know that, old man?" This is the poor old lady that was accusing me of tyrannizing over her. To return now to the chimney. Upon being assured of the futility of her proposed hall, so long as the obstacle remained, for a time my wife was for a modified project. But I could never exactly comprehend it. As far as I could see through it, it seemed to involve the general idea of a sort of irregular arch- way, or elbowed tunnel, which was to penetrate the chimney at some convenient point under the stair-case, and carefully avoiding dangerous contact with fireplaces, and particu- larly steering clear of the great interior flue, was to conduct the enterprising traveler from the front door all the way into the dining-room in the remote rear of the mansion. Doubtless it was a bold stroke of genius, that plan of hers, and so was Nero's when he schemed his grand canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Nor will I take oath, that, had her project been ac- complished, then, by help of lights hung at judicious intervals through the tunnel, some Belzoni or other might have suc- ceeded in future ages to penetrate through the masonry, and actually emerging into the dining-room, and once there, it would have been inhospitable treatment of such a traveler to have denied him a recruiting meal. But my bustling wife did not restrict her objections, nor in the end confine her proposed alterations to the first floor. Her ambition was of the mounting order. She ascended with her schemes to the second floor, and so to the attic. Perhaps there was some small ground for her discontent with things as they were. The truth is, there was no regular passage-way up stairs or down, unless we again except that little orchestra-gallery before mentioned. And all this was owing to the chimney, which my gamesome spouse seemed despitefully to regard as the bully of the house. On all its four sides, nearly all the cham- bers sidled up to the chimney for the benefit of a fireplace. The chimney would not go to them; they must needs go to it. The consequence was, almost every room, like a philosophical sys- tem, was in itself an entry, or passage-way to other rooms, and systems of rooms——a whole suite of entries, in fact. Going through the house, you seem to be forever going somewhere, and getting nowhere. It is like losing one's self in the woods; round and round the chimney you go, and if you arrive at all, it is just where you started, and so you begin again, and again get nowhere. Indeed——though I say it not in the way of fault- finding at all——never was there so labyrinthine an abode. Guests will tarry with me several weeks and every now and then, be anew astonished at some unforeseen apartment. 
from Herman Melville : Selected Tales and Poems Edited, with an introduction by Richard Chase Rinehart Edition paperback, seventh printing, 1959; pp. 159 —173.
یہ آپ کی جگہ ہے ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ حسن سلوک کرو۔ [♘] [♰] [☮]
submitted by MarleyEngvall to melvillecharitable [link] [comments]

Greg Maxwell /u/nullc (CTO of Blockstream) has sent me two private messages in response to my other post today (where I said "Chinese miners can only win big by following the market - not by following Core/Blockstream."). In response to his private messages, I am publicly posting my reply, here:

Greg Maxell nullc sent me 2 short private messages criticizing me today. For whatever reason, he seems to prefer messaging me privately these days, rather than responding publicly on these forums.
Without asking him for permission to publish his private messages, I do think it should be fine for me to respond to them publicly here - only quoting 3 phrases from them, namely: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity" LOL.
There was nothing particularly new or revealing in his messages - just more of the same stuff we've all heard before. I have no idea why he prefers responding to me privately these days.
Everything below is written by me - I haven't tried to upload his 2 PMs to me, since he didn't give permission (and I didn't ask). The only stuff below from his 2 PMs is the 3 phrases already mentioned: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity". The rest of this long wall of text is just my "open letter to Greg."
TL;DR: The code that maximally uses the available hardware and infrastructure will win - and there is nothing Core/Blockstream can do to stop that. Also, things like the Berlin Wall or the Soviet Union lasted for a lot longer than people expected - but, conversely, the also got swept away a lot faster than anyone expected. The "vote" for bigger blocks is an ongoing referendum - and Classic is running on 20-25% of the network (and can and will jump up to the needed 75% very fast, when investors demand it due to the inevitable "congestion crisis") - which must be a massive worry for Greg/Adam/Austin and their backers from the Bilderberg Group. The debate will inevitably be decided in favor of bigger blocks - simply because the market demands it, and the hardware / infrastructure supports it.
Hello Greg Maxwell nullc (CTO of Blockstream) -
Thank you for your private messages in response to my post.
I respect (most of) your work on Bitcoin, but I think you were wrong on several major points in your messages, and in your overall economic approach to Bitcoin - as I explain in greater detail below:
Correcting some inappropriate terminology you used
As everybody knows, Classic or Unlimited or Adaptive (all of which I did mention specifically in my post) do not support "340GB" blocks (which I did not mention in my post).
It is therefore a straw-man for you to claim that big-block supporters want "340GB" blocks. Craig Wright may want that - but nobody else supports his crazy posturing and ridiculous ideas.
You should know that what actual users / investors (and Satoshi) actually do want, is to let the market and the infrastructure decide on the size of actual blocks - which could be around 2 MB, or 4 MB, etc. - gradually growing in accordance with market needs and infrastructure capabilities (free from any arbitrary, artificial central planning and obstructionism on the part of Core/Blockstream, and its investors - many of whom have a vested interest in maintaining the current debt-backed fiat system).
You yourself (nullc) once said somewhere that bigger blocks would probably be fine - ie, they would not pose a decentralization risk. (I can't find the link now - maybe I'll have time to look for it later.) I found the link:
I am also surprised that you now seem to be among those making unfounded insinuations that posters such as myself must somehow be "paid off" - as if intelligent observers and participants could not decide on their own, based on the empirical evidence, that bigger blocks are needed, when the network is obviously becoming congested and additional infrastructure is obviously available.
Random posters on Reddit might say and believe such conspiratorial nonsense - but I had always thought that you, given your intellectual abilities, would have been able to determine that people like me are able to arrive at supporting bigger blocks quite entirely on our own, based on two simple empirical facts, ie:
  • the infrastructure supports bigger blocks now;
  • the market needs bigger blocks now.
In the present case, I will simply assume that you might be having a bad day, for you to erroneously and groundlessly insinuate that I must be "paid off" in order to support bigger blocks.
Using Occam's Razor
The much simpler explanation is that bigger-block supporters believe will get "paid off" from bigger gains for their investment in Bitcoin.
Rational investors and users understand that bigger blocks are necessary, based on the apparent correlation (not necessarily causation!) between volume and price (as mentioned in my other post, and backed up with graphs).
And rational network capacity planners (a group which you should be in - but for some mysterious reason, you're not) also understand that bigger blocks are necessary, and quite feasible (and do not pose any undue "centralization risk".)
As I have been on the record for months publicly stating, I understand that bigger blocks are necessary based on the following two objective, rational reasons:
  • because I've seen the graphs; and
  • because I've seen the empirical research in the field (from guys like Gavin and Toomim) showing that the network infrastructure (primarily bandwidth and latency - but also RAM and CPU) would also support bigger blocks now (I believe they showed that 3-4MB blocks would definitely work fine on the network now - possibly even 8 MB - without causing undue centralization).
Bigger-block supporters are being objective; smaller-block supporters are not
I am surprised that you no longer talk about this debate in those kind of objective terms:
  • bandwidth, latency (including Great Firewall of China), RAM, CPU;
  • centralization risk
Those are really the only considerations which we should be discussing in this debate - because those are the only rational considerations which might justify the argument for keeping 1 MB.
And yet you, and Adam Back adam3us, and your company Blockstream (financed by the Bilderberg Group, which has significant overlap with central banks and the legacy, debt-based, violence-backed fiat money system that has been running and slowing destroying our world) never make such objective, technical arguments anymore.
And when you make unfounded conspiratorial, insulting insinuations saying people who disagree with you on the facts must somehow be "paid off", then you are now talking like some "nobody" on Reddit - making wild baseless accusations that people must be "paid off" to support bigger blocks, something I had always thought was "beneath" you.
Instead, Occams's Razor suggests that people who support bigger blocks are merely doing so out of:
  • simple, rational investment policy; and
  • simple, rational capacity planning.
At this point, the burden is on guys like you (nullc) to explain why you support a so-called scaling "roadmap" which is not aligned with:
  • simple, rational investment policy; and
  • simple, rational capacity planning
The burden is also on guys like you to show that you do not have a conflict of interest, due to Blockstream's highly-publicized connections (via insurance giant AXA - whose CED is also the Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; and companies such as the "Big 4" accounting firm PwC) to the global cartel of debt-based central banks with their infinite money-printing.
In a nutshell, the argument of big-block supporters is simple:
If the hardware / network infrastructure supports bigger blocks (and it does), and if the market demands it (and it does), then we certainly should use bigger blocks - now.
You have never provided a counter-argument to this simple, rational proposition - for the past few years.
If you have actual numbers or evidence or facts or even legitimate concerns (regarding "centralization risk" - presumably your only argument) then you should show such evidence.
But you never have. So we can only assume either incompetence or malfeasance on your part.
As I have also publicly and privately stated to you many times, with the utmost of sincerity: We do of course appreciate the wealth of stellar coding skills which you bring to Bitcoin's cryptographic and networking aspects.
But we do not appreciate the obstructionism and centralization which you also bring to Bitcoin's economic and scaling aspects.
Bitcoin is bigger than you.
The simple reality is this: If you can't / won't let Bitcoin grow naturally, then the market is going to eventually route around you, and billions (eventually trillions) of investor capital and user payments will naturally flow elsewhere.
So: You can either be the guy who wrote the software to provide simple and safe Bitcoin scaling (while maintaining "reasonable" decentralization) - or the guy who didn't.
The choice is yours.
The market, and history, don't really care about:
  • which "side" you (nullc) might be on, or
  • whether you yourself might have been "paid off" (or under a non-disclosure agreement written perhaps by some investors associated the Bilderberg Group and the legacy debt-based fiat money system which they support), or
  • whether or not you might be clueless about economics.
Crypto and/or Bitcoin will move on - with or without you and your obstructionism.
Bigger-block supporters, including myself, are impartial
By the way, my two recent posts this past week on the Craig Wright extravaganza...
...should have given you some indication that I am being impartial and objective, and I do have "integrity" (and I am not "paid off" by anybody, as you so insultingly insinuated).
In other words, much like the market and investors, I don't care who provides bigger blocks - whether it would be Core/Blockstream, or Bitcoin Classic, or (the perhaps confusingly-named) "Bitcoin Unlimited" (which isn't necessarily about some kind of "unlimited" blocksize, but rather simply about liberating users and miners from being "limited" by controls imposed by any centralized group of developers, such as Core/Blockstream and the Bilderbergers who fund you).
So, it should be clear by now I don't care one way or the other about Gavin personally - or about you, or about any other coders.
I care about code, and arguments - regardless of who is providing such things - eg:
  • When Gavin didn't demand crypto proof from Craig, and you said you would have: I publicly criticized Gavin - and I supported you.
  • When you continue to impose needless obstactles to bigger blocks, then I continue to criticize you.
In other words, as we all know, it's not about the people.
It's about the code - and what the market wants, and what the infrastructure will bear.
You of all people should know that that's how these things should be decided.
Fortunately, we can take what we need, and throw away the rest.
Your crypto/networking expertise is appreciated; your dictating of economic parameters is not.
As I have also repeatedly stated in the past, I pretty much support everything coming from you, nullc:
  • your crypto and networking and game-theoretical expertise,
  • your extremely important work on Confidential Transactions / homomorphic encryption.
  • your desire to keep Bitcoin decentralized.
And I (and the network, and the market/investors) will always thank you profusely and quite sincerely for these massive contributions which you make.
But open-source code is (fortunately) à la carte. It's mix-and-match. We can use your crypto and networking code (which is great) - and we can reject your cripple-code (artificially small 1 MB blocks), throwing it where it belongs: in the garbage heap of history.
So I hope you see that I am being rational and objective about what I support (the code) - and that I am also always neutral and impartial regarding who may (or may not) provide it.
And by the way: Bitcoin is actually not as complicated as certain people make it out to be.
This is another point which might be lost on certain people, including:
And that point is this:
The crypto code behind Bitcoin actually is very simple.
And the networking code behind Bitcoin is actually also fairly simple as well.
Right now you may be feeling rather important and special, because you're part of the first wave of development of cryptocurrencies.
But if the cryptocurrency which you're coding (Core/Blockstream's version of Bitcoin, as funded by the Bilderberg Group) fails to deliver what investors want, then investors will dump you so fast your head will spin.
Investors care about money, not code.
So bigger blocks will eventually, inevitably come - simply because the market demand is there, and the infrastructure capacity is there.
It might be nice if bigger blocks would come from Core/Blockstream.
But who knows - it might actually be nicer (in terms of anti-fragility and decentralization of development) if bigger blocks were to come from someone other than Core/Blockstream.
So I'm really not begging you - I'm warning you, for your own benefit (your reputation and place in history), that:
Either way, we are going to get bigger blocks.
Simply because the market wants them, and the hardware / infrastructre can provide them.
And there is nothing you can do to stop us.
So the market will inevitably adopt bigger blocks either with or without you guys - given that the crypto and networking tech behind Bitcoin is not all that complex, and it's open-source, and there is massive pent-up investor demand for cryptocurrency - to the tune of multiple billions (or eventually trillions) of dollars.
It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
Regarding the "success" which certain small-block supports are (prematurely) gloating about, during this time when a hard-fork has not happened yet: they should bear in mind that the market has only begun to speak.
And the first thing it did when it spoke was to dump about 20-25% of Core/Blockstream nodes in a matter of weeks. (And the next thing it did was Gemini added Ethereum trading.)
So a sizable percentage of nodes are already using Classic. Despite desperate, irrelevant attempts of certain posters on these forums to "spin" the current situation as a "win" for Core - it is actually a major "fail" for Core.
Because if Core/Blocksteam were not "blocking" Bitcoin's natural, organic growth with that crappy little line of temporary anti-spam kludge-code which you and your minions have refused to delete despite Satoshi explicitly telling you to back in 2010 ("MAX_BLOCKSIZE = 1000000"), then there would be something close to 0% nodes running Classic - not 25% (and many more addable at the drop of a hat).
This vote is ongoing.
This "voting" is not like a normal vote in a national election, which is over in one day.
Unfortunately for Core/Blockstream, the "voting" for Classic and against Core is actually two-year-long referendum.
It is still ongoing, and it can rapidly swing in favor of Classic at any time between now and Classic's install-by date (around January 1, 2018 I believe) - at any point when the market decides that it needs and wants bigger blocks (ie, due to a congestion crisis).
You know this, Adam Back knows this, Austin Hill knows this, and some of your brainwashed supporters on censored forums probably know this too.
This is probably the main reason why you're all so freaked out and feel the need to even respond to us unwashed bigger-block supporters, instead of simply ignoring us.
This is probably the main reason why Adam Back feels the need to keep flying around the world, holding meetings with miners, making PowerPoint presentations in English and Chinese, and possibly also making secret deals behind the scenes.
This is also why Theymos feels the need to censor.
And this is perhaps also why your brainwashed supporters from censored forums feel the need to constantly make their juvenile, content-free, drive-by comments (and perhaps also why you evidently feel the need to privately message me your own comments now).
Because, once again, for the umpteenth time in years, you've seen that we are not going away.
Every day you get another worrisome, painful reminder from us that Classic is still running on 25% of "your" network.
And everyday get another worrisome, painful reminder that Classic could easily jump to 75% in a matter of days - as soon as investors see their $7 billion wealth starting to evaporate when the network goes into a congestion crisis due to your obstructionism and insistence on artificially small 1 MB blocks.
If your code were good enough to stand on its own, then all of Core's globetrotting and campaigning and censorship would be necessary.
But you know, and everyone else knows, that your cripple-code does not include simple and safe scaling - and the competing code (Classic, Unlimited) does.
So your code cannot stand on its own - and that's why you and your supporters feel that it's necessary to keep up the censorship and and the lies and the snark. It's shameful that a smart coder like you would be involved with such tactics.
Oppressive regimes always last longer than everyone expects - but they also also collapse faster than anyone expects.
We already have interesting historical precedents showing how grassroots resistance to centralized oppression and obstructionism tends to work out in the end. The phenomenon is two-fold:
  • The oppression usually drags on much longer than anyone expects; and
  • The liberation usually happens quite abruptly - much faster than anyone expects.
The Berlin Wall stayed up much longer than everyone expected - but it also came tumbling down much faster than everyone expected.
Examples of opporessive regimes that held on surprisingly long, and collapsed surpisingly fast, are rather common - eg, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or the collapse of the Soviet Union.
(Both examples are actually quite germane to the case of Blockstream/Core/Theymos - as those despotic regimes were also held together by the fragile chewing gum and paper clips of denialism and censorship, and the brainwashed but ultimately complacent and fragile yes-men that inevitably arise in such an environment.)
The Berlin Wall did indeed seem like it would never come down. But the grassroots resistance against it was always there, in the wings, chipping away at the oppression, trying to break free.
And then when it did come down, it happened in a matter of days - much faster than anyone had expected.
That's generally how these things tend to go:
  • oppression and obstructionism drag on forever, and the people oppressing freedom and progress erroneously believe that Core/Blockstream is "winning" (in this case: Blockstream/Core and you and Adam and Austin - and the clueless yes-men on censored forums like r\bitcoin who mindlessly support you, and the obedient Chinese miners who, thus far, have apparently been to polite to oppose you) ;
  • then one fine day, the market (or society) mysteriously and abruptly decides one day that "enough is enough" - and the tsunami comes in and washes the oppressors away in the blink of an eye.
So all these non-entities with their drive-by comments on these threads and their premature gloating and triumphalism are irrelevant in the long term.
The only thing that really matters is investors and users - who are continually applying grassroots pressure on the network, demanding increased capacity to keep the transactions flowing (and the price rising).
And then one day: the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down - or in the case of Bitcoin: a bunch of mining pools have to switch to Classic, and they will do switch so fast it will make your head spin.
Because there will be an emergency congestion crisis where the network is causing the price to crash and threatening to destroy $7 billion in investor wealth.
So it is understandable that your supports might sometimes prematurely gloat, or you might feel the need to try to comment publicly or privately, or Adam might feel the need to jet around the world.
Because a large chunk of people have rejected your code.
And because many more can and will - and they'll do in the blink of an eye.
Classic is still out there, "waiting in the wings", ready to be installed, whenever the investors tell the miners that it is needed.
Fortunately for big-block supporters, in this "election", the polls don't stay open for just one day, like in national elections.
The voting for Classic is on-going - it runs for two years. It is happening now, and it will continue to happen until around January 1, 2018 (which is when Classic-as-an-option has been set to officially "expire").
To make a weird comparison with American presidential politics: It's kinda like if either Hillary or Trump were already in office - but meanwhile there was also an ongoing election (where people could change their votes as often as they want), and the day when people got fed up with the incompetent incumbent, they can throw them out (and install someone like Bernie instead) in the blink of an eye.
So while the inertia does favor the incumbent (because people are lazy: it takes them a while to become informed, or fed up, or panicked), this kind of long-running, basically never-ending election favors the insurgent (because once the incumbent visibly screws up, the insurgent gets adopted - permanently).
Everyone knows that Satoshi explicitly defined Bitcoin to be a voting system, in and of itself. Not only does the network vote on which valid block to append next to the chain - the network also votes on the very definition of what a "valid block" is.
Go ahead and re-read the anonymous PDF that was recently posted on the subject of how you are dangerously centralizing Bitcoin by trying to prevent any votes from taking place:
The insurgent (Classic, Unlimited) is right (they maximally use available bandwidth) - while the incumbent (Core) is wrong (it needlessly throws bandwidth out the window, choking the network, suppressing volume, and hurting the price).
And you, and Adam, and Austin Hill - and your funders from the Bilderberg Group - must be freaking out that there is no way you can get rid of Classic (due to the open-source nature of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin).
Cripple-code will always be rejected by the network.
Classic is already running on about 20%-25% of nodes, and there is nothing you can do to stop it - except commenting on these threads, or having guys like Adam flying around the world doing PowerPoints, etc.
Everything you do is irrelevant when compared against billions of dollars in current wealth (and possibly trillions more down the road) which needs and wants and will get bigger blocks.
You guys no longer even make technical arguments against bigger blocks - because there are none: Classic's codebase is 99% the same as Core, except with bigger blocks.
So when we do finally get bigger blocks, we will get them very, very fast: because it only takes a few hours to upgrade the software to keep all the good crypto and networking code that Core/Blockstream wrote - while tossing that single line of 1 MB "max blocksize" cripple-code from Core/Blockstream into the dustbin of history - just like people did with the Berlin Wall.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Tutorial 6, Amazon Gift Cards 2018 working carding method

Hey guys, I’m back again. This is the 6th instalment of my 10 part carding tutorial, we will be focusing on how to card gift cards, specifically amazon gift cards. This is something I get asked everyday, I literally get lots of messages from people everyday asking how to card gifts and I have decided to do a tutorial on this. Like always,this is a method that I have personally tested and I know works. Like I promised everyone on this thread, pay attention to my tutorials, don’t just read, but try and attempt to do them and soon enough, you’ll learn enough to be able to card any item you want.
I want also use this opportunity to congratulate the people that took part of my carding Masterclass. I shared a new zero day method which is exclusive to those that participated, and will see them make at least $1,000 each. For those who were not able to meet up with payment and could not register for the masterclass, do not worry, I’m not going away and I’ll keep sharing high quality info here.
I’ll try to make this tutorial concise and easy to understand for beginners. Also I will include some good bins for those who have been asking me for nice hitting bins.
Carding amazon gift card is always difficult or beginners, this is because merchants know gift cards are always hot targets for carders and they implement all the top notch security into stopping this. We will bypass all this fraud flags and successfully card gift card using this method.
The goal is to appear like a normal user and this means we have to mimic the shopping patterns and fool the security algorithms in the process. Gift cards are usually automatically sent without the need for manual verification if you do not trigger any fraud flags, so our goal is not to set off any fraud flags so we can get our gift card cards delivered in matter of minutes, or sometimes hours. Remember patience and paying attention to detail is key.
Step 1. Buy CC (for beginners, cc means credit card and in this context we mean buying stolen stolen credit cards from auto shops or from your fav vendors on the darknet. I usually bought my cc from GGMCLOUDED or Stoned back then in Alphabay or any of the good cc vendors but now I buy from Validcc. Here is the website for validcc for those who have been asking me on wickr HTTPSVALIDCVVMTWP25N5.ONION (you need tor) the clearnet url is I usually only visit the tor site because is more reliable and also beware of fakeclone validcc website. For those who can’t afford the validcc registration fee, httpsbingo.hi.cnen has good ccs, just search for quality bins. You can alternatively use any cc shop you like, just buy world or business level ccs. Some working bins 46616, 422307, 448848, 67522, 515405, 532235, 532249, 534833
Step 2, After buying a high qaulity cc, call the issuing bank to check the balance of the cc which also means the cc is live The number to call for Chase balance is +18004323117 and for Citibank +18009505114 and they only require the cc number and zipcode, just follow the automated voice prompt. Step 3, Create 2 gmail accounts, one with the name o the cc you bought, one with a different name but both sharing the same last names, this is important. Example. If the name of the cc you bought is Chris Evans, create the first email as [[email protected]](/) or something similar, then second email should be a random girls name example [[email protected]](/)
Step 4, buy an rdp from or or altenatively use the cheaper socks5 which serves the same purpose When buying your rdp or socks5, make sure the proxy score is 0 and that the rdpsock5 is residential and not datacentre.
Step 5, Fire up your rdp or socks 5 adn visit Sign up with all the details of the cc you bought. If the cc came with a phone number also add the phone number, it helps incase the order goes to manual verification, don’t worry amazon barely calls.
Step 6, play around on the amazon website, first time orders on amazon using a new account often go under a lot more scrutiny but from the second order it gets a little more relaxed so we are going to trick the system.
Firstly, what the amazon system looks out for in physical orders is first a billing zip code mismatch, then the main one, and billing and shipping address mismatch. If zip code and address match then it is most certainly a legitimate order from cc holder but if billing address and shipping mismatch, maxmind and all other threat detection vectors and algorithms merchant’s use usually threat as a fraudulent order and push it to manual verification.
To tick the system, we are going to first browse the amazon website for a few hours like normal users, build up cookies, add and remove items from cart etc. Then look for some custom chairs or tables that or any large items from amazon that takes up to 30 days or more to ship. Heavy duty items.
Step 7, add this items to your cart keep it around $400 then use the cc owner billing address as shipping. So everything checks out. Target items that take more than 3 weeks to ship so before it gets shipped to the cc owner address, you’d have drained the cc buy buying gift cards. We are merely ordering the item to trick the system
Step 8, Now time for gift card.After carding the physical item to cc owner, you have also added the cc to the amazon account etc. logout of the account and let it age for a day.
Step 9, logging the next day then browse to the electronic gift card session. Go to birthday gift cards and order an electronic amazon gift card, choose the birthday theme then write a custom birthday wish. The content of the message should appear like you’re wishing your daughter or son who is in college a happy birthday, then sign off by telling them to use this gift card to buy themselves a laptop or anything they want.. Make the custom note looks emotional and convincing as possible then send it to the second email you created. The first gift card should be kept under $500 You will receive the code to the email, then exchange the gift code for bitcoin or use it yourself. Using world ccs to card you do not have to worry about early chargebacks as most of them take weeks to chargeback so enough time to cash out your gift card.
This method works and is still working. Remember carding is an art and to make money, you have to think different.
That’s all you need, so go start making money.
I will make the official announcement for the Masterclass on my next post. Registration for the Bitcoin Masterclass is $200 and for those who took part in the Sunday Masterclass, registration costs only $100.
Remember limited spots available so if you want to participate, hit me up now to avoid been late.
To register for the Bitcoin carding Masterclass hit me up on wickr at strobya with the message “Bitcoin Carding Masterclass.
I get lots of messages on wickr so make sure to start your message with “Bitcoin carding Masterclass” if you want to book your spot.
Once again, the Masterclass is an exclusive new way to buy bitcoin using stolen cc and I can’t share it for free publicly because it’s an app and the founders will fix this if they find out.
Do not be left out of this opportunity. Hit me up on Wickr strobya to register for the masterclass
submitted by strobya to u/strobya [link] [comments]

Why I'm investing in Aeternity and Tezos

You know what? I’m sick of “crypto”. I’m sick of Ethereum and its scammy ICOs, nothing more than a vehicle to take money from the average investor and put it in the hands of whales. Hundreds of millions thrown at trash gambling platforms or stupid whitepapers which don’t stand a chance of succeeding - really? I’m tired of dodging scammers and thieves at every turn. I’m somewhat less sick of Bitcoin, although the politics (especially the nutjob cryptoanarchist crowd who want it to replace fiat and topple governments) is off-putting; it at least has the common-sense to stay true to being a currency rather than trying to be a replacement for the internet, although with its splits and forks and in-fighting over which I have no control, it’s rather less stable than one might like. My savings shouldn’t be at the mercy of mining conglomerates. I’m tired of the cart being put before the horse: until crypto can figure out a way to make a stable, reliable currency, there’s little point building shit on top of it. Houses built on sand.
So I’m done with BTC and ETH. I’m done getting pummelled by the ups and downs at the whim of huge greedy investors or sheer luck. I’m done wasting my time trying to get in on the latest ICO, only to see the cap reached within seconds because of insider whales throwing around Wall Street levels of money. I’m tired of being treated like shit for wanting to put my limited financial means – “normal person” financial means – behind an idea I truly believe in. Blockchains are the way to go, and should be accessible to everyone. But BTC and ETH aren’t.
Which is why I’m putting my limited weight entirely behind two important projects, one of which I think will succeed. Aeternity and Tezos. Two core blockchain projects that hopefully have learned lessons from BTC and ETH (for which I’m very grateful as first-movers, despite them being useless in the real world), and which can start from scratch in terms of building blockchains that are stable, secure, fairly-governed, and free from archaic politics, ideology, and ridiculous scammy ICOs.
I invested in both heavily during their startup phases. I’ll be converting all of my outstanding ETH to Aeternity upon its release in the next day or two, and I’ll be balancing this with a further investment in post-release Tezos depending on how that shakes out later this year. And I’m sticking to my core investment strategy, which is to place my money into fundamental blockchains which underlie whatever people decide to build on top. ETH-based ICOs are, almost without exception, valueless, unproven, and built predominantly on empty promises and FOMO. Fifty million for a piece of paper and a slick website? Happens almost daily; it’s madness, and I want no part of it.
What I want from Aeternity and Tezos is this: just focus on replacing currency. Once you’ve got that figured out, starting building upon it. But figure out the basics first. Normal people like me (and your dad, and your neighbor, and your college roommate, your best friend, and the guy you spoke to at the party last week) just want a reliable digital currency. That alone is priceless, and that alone is good enough for right now. We don’t want to have our investments ripped from us when ICOs crumble or fail to deliver, enriching whales and inexperienced teams of developers who cut-and-pasted a whitepaper together to wrap up a half-baked idea. We don't want to fear international mining groups and their greedy plans to split my wealth into ever-smaller pieces. We want something that is fair, predictable, and reliable; you know, like fiat, but digital. Something that lives up to the promise of cryptocurrency, not something that keeps us checking our phones every ten minutes just in case the market is crashing. Something that is actually fucking useful.
Aeternity and Tezos promise a fresh start; two brand new core blockchains that haven't yet been polluted by greed. A chance to do things right. A break from the sheer madness and fraud of Ethereum and the politics of Bitcoin. And I’m confident that crypto has matured enough for Aeternity and Tezos to deliver on this. They can see the mistakes made by the foregoing blockchains and avoid them. They can pass control to the people who invest their hard-earned money into the project, not a handful of Chinese miners or whales hiding on Wall Street. And they can make a positive difference to our lives.
That’s what I’m investing in. My future. The future for my children. And something that is viable and useful for society as a whole, not merely a plaything for a fraction of a percent of society who lacks morals, feels nothing when stealing from others, and exhibits extraordinary levels of greed and selfishness.
submitted by SickOfScammyCrypto to Aeternity [link] [comments]

Why I think Ether has a better chance at becoming a World Currency than Bitcoin

When I first heard about Bitcoin, I was extremely excited about its potential to become an decentralized, uninflatable (long term at least), world currency. I discussed it with one of my buddies, an Economics PHD and he shared my excitement and belief that Bitcoin was just a superior form of money. At least initially. Later my friend decided that the volatility of Bitcoin would deter people from setting prices in it and thereby limit its widespread use. I argued with my friend that the more it is used the less volatile it will become which will result in more use. But I now think that he was right and I was putting the cart before the horse. I still think that Bitcoin has room for growth even if it only is ever used as a store of value or a money transfer protocol (replacing Western Union and the like) but I am skeptical that it is on track to function as a world currency... even ignoring the outcome of the block size debates.
Ethereum is different. It has utility beyond merely being currency itself, which I believe could actually help it become a viable currency (potentially). It allows for the creation and use of stablecoins, which will contribute to more widespread acceptance. It's main utility is to make possible DAPPS so it won't be seen as a direct attack on fiat currency. This will lead to a larger marketcap which will tend to decrease volatility and would increase its utility as a currency. At some point Governments will no longer be able to entertain the idea of making Ether "illegal" or conducting a state-sponsored 51% attack because it would threaten too many legitimate businesses. POS would also help with this by making it much more expensive to attack (and possibly impossible since Ethereum could fork away from the attack as I understand it).
If Bitcoin did look like a real threat to the dollar I would expect some government to coin an E-dollar or E-Euro. But what's to prevent the EU or US from putting E-dollar or E-Euro tokens on Ethereum? They could create a government controlled cryptocurrency network, instamine an Octodecillion E-dollars and transfer them onto the Ethereum blockchain as needed via a 2 way peg. That would allow them to still control monetary policy while giving people a token with many of the benefits of Bitcoin.
Just some thoughts on a Wednesday morning.
submitted by a450706 to ethinvestor [link] [comments]

What the XRP? Demand is good for banks and people.

Ripple is a beautiful framework / digital unit of account, but what is plan to popularize it with the masses?

If XRP is only used transactionally bank to bank and not held and easily able to purchase by the masses, it will go to zero ($0). A currencies value is purely a function of demand #XRP
  The cart before the horse now is:
  Recent institutional pivot by Ripple is explicitly just bank to bank and users are wondering what exactly the plan is? If plan is to use just bank to bank then XRP has no primary purpose (the important part is primary) as a unit of account, as whatever is being sent, would arrive in denomination of currency sent, or exchanged, and XRP becomes entirely superfluous, and so it's value will head down not up. Discarded, like a datapacket that delivers data to your computer, once envelope of data has arrived, you don't need the envelope, nor do you keep it. In a bank to bank transfer, you wouldn't need XRP post transaction. UNLESS it is held in XRP post transaction, on an exchange. However to HOLD something, unless it is easily purchased, popularized (liquid) and highly accessible is a scary thing. In this instance, bank to bank transfers aren't initially going to popularize XRP holdings so who is? edit:Maybe it is Gatehub, still the world waits in wonder to how all will unfold.
  GateHub is, a place, where users can hold wealth, in a storage of unit. However, at present it is not a place my mom or dad could make a purchase of XRP on, or most people I know for that matter (as its complex). People need to be able to buy XRP with a VISA in hand. Not have people (the users it cares about) buying BITCOIN on one website, then utilizing another website like BitStamp to transfer withdrawal to GateHub and convert it to Ripple. (3 websites is overly complex barrier for the masses).
 In fairness, improvements to GateHub are being made everyday. 
  GateHub needs to provide functionality to buy XRP with dollars (Mastercard, Visa), not have to do it three websites downstream. As a unit of account, if XRP is to be HELD, then it must be easy to purchase, and demanded by all. Any digital unit of account held must be easily traded by everyone not just banks. Otherwise liquidity will be an issue. Which is why Ripple Trade was good for everyone, including the banks, long term.
  Ripple made a pivot and nuked Ripple Trade to focus more on institutional bank to bank business. This is unfortunate as Ripple (the Torch Bearers) needed to be the leaders here and not the banks lead Ripple. The institutions/big business couldn't see the big picture so Ripple pivoted.

Imagine a big business loving the idea of selling their product with the Payments api/framework but it bothering them that on the same framework that people could also list/trade their own products. (Which is what creates the Marketplace). It would be nonsense, as they are synergistic with eachother. Eclipsed due to understanding/lexicon, would be the real benefits of the future of the global marketplace (massive new customer potential) for that big business in the future.

  A progressive bank would see the allure and value of having access to an unstoppable, growing, global digital currency marketplace (to sell their services into) and not just bank to bank transactions. This is like Blockbusters 60+ executive board not forseeing/contemplating Netflix (resisting the world of video streaming kicking and screaming. A digital currency unit should just be perceived as new cryptographic exchange Commodity; and with that commodity comes a global marketplace and new customers for the bank. Holding in XRP would allow for hedging ALL currency exchange risk at the touch of a button.
  I believe the hard problem which navigated them into leaving the Ripple trade platform was how to compete as a digital currency on the global stage. One of the banking groups, probably shared with them/steered them into a direction, in private, with the selfish advice of, "we love the idea as a framework, but we feel (our feelings tell us) the trading component competes with us". And since, the fees to be made on tolling bank transfers, in larger and larger volumes, was a simple and logical win straight forward/path, the decision was made to move away from Ripple Trade, as banks irrationally treat ALL variations of digital currencies like Kryptonite. Ironically, however, the primary unit of account, the currencies they presently use, are unquestionably already bankrupt.
We now have $11.7 Trillion worth of bonds globally with negative-yielding debt; just two decades ago this number would have indicated absolute Armageddon. This $11.7 will be a tsunami of capital that funnels into precious metals, other hard assets, and digital currencies (not being diluted) in the next 24-48 months. A fire hose through a straw. Big changes are coming. A major currency event is inevitable. 
  So while on the surface the XRP to an institution may appear like it is conflict (the bank may even believe it cause they don't understand it), upon closer inspection, it simply isn't - its function could provide much protection. If a holding bank was holding XRP instead of the sterling pound post brexit, not only would they have weathered the storm, they would have made a few bucks. A tsunami of further exchage risk (like Brexit) is on its way and the guessing game of knowing which one, could be effectively managed with a cryptographic holding commodity like XRP. -- For all the same reasons, every CB is presently onboarding massive quantities of Gold. The absolute real risk is in the paper dollars they are presently holding, hence, why the gold hoarding of recent (gold being a complete hedge against the dollar).
  The reality is, integrating with this framework, not only provides them the long needed infrastructure (what on the surface appeals to them), but also, like gold, by having any/partial holdings in a digital currency, that isn't being diluted, would ultimately be a blessing in disguise when the next crash happens. The XRP both as a digital currency, and as a banking framework as a Tsunami of $11.7 Trillion in negative bonds, seeks out storages of wealth, like gold, crypto/digital currencies/holdings, on said global exchange like GateHub (in Ripple) will sky rocket (much like BITCOIN going from $0.08 to $800 in a mere matter of years) --done in BITCOINS case, without bank/institutional support, no less. If any entity, is going to hold partial funds in XRP, wouldn't they prefer there was demand for it? So then Ripple trade didnt compete. Demand is a good thing. If your storage of wealth is in walnuts but nobody wants them vs. the world can't get enough of them, is it not a high class problem to have everyone wanting walnuts. XRP exchange getting busy is a great thing for any bank using the framework - even if their plan today isn't to hold it after transaction. Period. And Ripple Trade wouldn't have competed with them one bit. It just would ensure they had greater liquidity of funds held in XRP in future. Should they subscribe at all to the idea of even holding funds in XRP (Maybe they just use for purely transactional purposes with no holding in XRP.  Personally, I'd rather hold in XRP than US dollars right now.
  Markets are shit. Banks are hoarding gold. Also, the same reason the IMF just announced the O-SDR M-SDR; while also announcing they would be doing "analysis" (lol) to see whether the SDR could play a larger role as a unit of account in the global economy (not just between governments but all entities). What they are saying here is: given they are the only CB (Central Bank) WITHOUT a mountain of FIAT debt, they know the need is already there, this is just a more dovish way to socialize it with the G20 than saying, "the sky is falling".
  The reality is the XRP conflicts with global banking as much as the SDR, truth being, it doesn't at all. And real soon here there will be a market pull rather than market push for storages of wealth that aren't being exponentially diluted; as the real secret trying to be kept under-wraps is, ALL of these FIAT currencies are already all bankrupt; hence the 11.7 Trillion with negative returns. The SDR will be used to bail out all central banks over the next few years - this was just the calm way of the IMF socializing it with the world before the storm. China given the green light will make the recently announced M-SDR legitimate over night. Hence their inclusion in SDR recently. Also notice the gold backing of Yuan and launching of Shanghai gold exchange for arbitrage purposes (real genius, almost as genius as Petrodollar).
  Regardless, Ripple pivoted; great, but the reality is, the infrastructure they built could be much more than dumping half the framework just because they had a bank bully them early on to drop, key elements, which aren't even, remotely, competing with bank interests. Any bank that can onboard a system like this, reducing fees, expediting communication, while as a side effect having funds in a currency that is in demand so there is liquidity should be thanking and praising the guys that wrote it.
  The same banks claiming any aspect of it competes with them will be dreaming and wishing they were holding more XRP when next crash arrives at our door step. (A crash that is, NOW, were it not for ESF acting as market kickstand.) They know it's coming too, as they have already all implemented Bail In provisions, new banking legislation, that allows them to keep your money in your account upon next crash. Your money; it's theirs. Google: Bail In provision. The bank went from being the custodian of your money, to you being an unsecured lender to a private corporation. They will justify keeping 30-50% of your wealth, during the next crash. Yet they want to push back on cutting edge trading platform that saves them dollars on fees because there is a trading component to the exchange it sits upon - which if viewed properly could act as a shield for exchange risk - absolutely ridiculous. It's more than a just bank to bank it's a technology power tool for unforseen exchange volatility (and there is much of this to come; a storm actually).
  Hence, why Im still a proponent of a global partner for Ripple like the IMF. I use to think they were evil but with inclusion of China into SDR makes me realize they can be fair and logical - maybe the only rational group left on the planet. And, as the only CB without debt, well knowing what's coming down the pipe, you would think they would see the amazing power tool potential of a cryptographic exchange commodity like this, to reduce losses for the very banks they will soon be bailing out. Not to mention, the framework for bank to bank transactions with no fees. It's a win win.
submitted by stevecanada to Ripple [link] [comments]

Essay: Bitcoin as Organism, and Implications for Blocksize

I've been considering a possible refinement on the view of what Bitcoin (the system) really is, as in the most useful or accurate way to conceptualize it, particularly in light of the blocksize controversy.
First of all there is a semantic issue to clear up.
As is now well known, "bitcoin" (lowercase) refers to the currency unit itself, whereas "Bitcoin" refers to the protocol by which bitcoins are transacted. But the word "Bitcoin" is used in yet another sense: to refer to the whole Bitcoin system of nodes that interact under the Bitcoin protocol. In this post I'll be referring to Bitcoin the system.
Now what I keep coming back to in trying to think about the Bitcoin system more clearly is the idea that it presently has a life of its own as a social agreement or standard/convention among nodes, and that although the developers and the main client set the standard right now, they do so only at the pleasure of the nodes.
That is to say, my sense is that Bitcoin is ultimately the consensus of the nodes, and that the Bitcoin system's stability, coin scarcity, decentralized nature, and all the other things people love it for derive from the social/incentive structure itself. While this structure is affected most visibly by the original protocol and vision and what the devs think and produce, fundamentally I feel like it may be a mistake to attribute the solidity of Bitcoin to these quasi-"top down" rules, and that human convention is really what makes it work.
To illustrate this, imagine Satoshi had included some kind of hard-coded restriction on mine pooling that made pooling infeasible. That would seem to discourage centralization, but it might have backfired because individual miners would have a harder time hedging against the randomness of their monthly gains in order to stay in business. It seems like pooling was a natural response to an issue that arose due to how the protocol was arranged, and possibly restricting pooling would have led to many fewer miners and a less secure network.
While this line of reasoning seems to support removing the blocksize limit altogether and letting nodes self-regulate, the argument could just as well be used to support not raising the blocksize limit, because the same logic suggests that the nodes/miners would find a way around any resulting problems. However, I think ultimately if this view of Bitcoin as self-adapting organism is correct, from a big-picture perspective the fewer restrictions the better - because, again, it's not really fundamentally the restrictions that keep things in check but the incentives inherent in the nature of standards.
A generalization of this view might be that, now that the Bitcoin 'organism' is alive and kicking on its own, "anything suboptimal in the core protocol will be corrected by some workaround arising from the spontaneous order of the nodes," like an organism adapting to suboptimal conditions.
Of course I can't end this train of thought without finishing what I started: if top-down restrictions aren't fundamentally what restricts nodes to the Bitcoin vision, one must conclude that even the 21M coin limit need not be hard-coded anymore, now that Bitcoin is basically established as a convention/standard. That's taking this logic to its ultimate, scary-sounding conclusion. But my general sense is that no one would dare change it, and that anyone who tried would face immediate blacklisting and ostracism. What really is the difference, at this stage, whether it's coded into the main client if no one is forced to use it? In short, isn't it this mechanism of the nodes reacting in this way that is the real protector of Bitcoin and ensurer of the foundational soundness of the system? (This is not to say that the limit should be removed, only to suggest for illustrative purposes that the core protocol limit may now be ineffectual.)
In other words, perhaps the conventional view that "Bitcoinia is a nation of laws, not men," or that the rules from Satoshi, et al. are what make Bitcoin what it is, is putting the cart before the horse. Perhaps Bitcoin - the system - is at its heart just a voluntary consensus among nodes to adhere to certain accounting standards, even though Satoshi's original vision set the standard and the core developers continue to have great pull in the wills of the people behind each node.
While this means the system is ultimately at the whims of the nodes, it has always been so, and merely recognizing this will not make the Bitcoin ecosystem any less stable. In fact if this view is correct, recognizing this may allow devs to "get out of the way" in terms of not keeping certain restrictions in the core protocol under the illusion that they are needed, even if they were once necessary before the ecosystem had developed its own organic order.
submitted by Noosterdam to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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