8. Mining and Consensus - Mastering Bitcoin [Book]

The Retrospect and Prospect of the Crypto Economy——The Development and Evolution of the Consensus Mechanism (Three)

The Retrospect and Prospect of the Crypto Economy——The Development and Evolution of the Consensus Mechanism (Three)

https://preview.redd.it/45wwtygv2rc51.png?width=567&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5f51ea3c620d478231c39e32f198eb64d801897
Foreword
The consensus mechanism is one of the important elements of the blockchain and the core rule of the normal operation of the distributed ledger. It is mainly used to solve the trust problem between people and determine who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining the effective unification of the system in the blockchain system. Thus, it has become an everlasting research hot topic in blockchain.
This article starts with the concept and role of the consensus mechanism. First, it enables the reader to have a preliminary understanding of the consensus mechanism as a whole; then starting with the two armies and the Byzantine general problem, the evolution of the consensus mechanism is introduced in the order of the time when the consensus mechanism is proposed; Then, it briefly introduces the current mainstream consensus mechanism from three aspects of concept, working principle and representative project, and compares the advantages and disadvantages of the mainstream consensus mechanism; finally, it gives suggestions on how to choose a consensus mechanism for blockchain projects and pointed out the possibility of the future development of the consensus mechanism.
Contents
First, concept and function of the consensus mechanism
1.1 Concept: The core rules for the normal operation of distributed ledgers
1.2 Role: Solve the trust problem and decide the generation and maintenance of new blocks
1.2.1 Used to solve the trust problem between people
1.2.2 Used to decide who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining effective unity in the blockchain system
1.3 Mainstream model of consensus algorithm
Second, the origin of the consensus mechanism
2.1 The two armies and the Byzantine generals
2.1.1 The two armies problem
2.1.2 The Byzantine generals problem
2.2 Development history of consensus mechanism
2.2.1 Classification of consensus mechanism
2.2.2 Development frontier of consensus mechanism
Third, Common Consensus System
Fourth, Selection of consensus mechanism and summary of current situation
4.1 How to choose a consensus mechanism that suits you
4.1.1 Determine whether the final result is important
4.1.2 Determine how fast the application process needs to be
4.1.2 Determining the degree to which the application requires for decentralization
4.1.3 Determine whether the system can be terminated
4.1.4 Select a suitable consensus algorithm after weighing the advantages and disadvantages
4.2 Future development of consensus mechanism
Last lecture review: Chapter 1 Concept and Function of Consensus Mechanism plus Chapter 2 Origin of Consensus Mechanism
Last lecture review: Chapter 3 Common Consensus Mechanisms

Chapter 3 Common Consensus Mechanisms (Part 2)
Figure 6 Summary of relatively mainstream consensus mechanisms

https://preview.redd.it/2yepvjjy2rc51.png?width=567&format=png&auto=webp&s=acaed31fa6106ac2f501fe2cb284f66bb2258a0e
Source: Hasib Anwar, "Consensus Algorithms: The Root Of The Blockchain Technology"
The picture above shows 14 relatively mainstream consensus mechanisms summarized by a geek Hasib Anwar, including PoW (Proof of Work), PoS (Proof of Stake), DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake), LPoS (Lease Proof of Stake), PoET ( Proof of Elapsed Time), PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance), SBFT (Simple Byzantine Fault Tolerance), DBFT (Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance), DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph), Proof-of-Activity (Proof of Activity), Proof-of- Importance (Proof of Importance), Proof-of-Capacity (Proof of Capacity), Proof-of-Burn ( Proof of Burn), Proof-of-Weight (Proof of Weight).
Next, we will mainly introduce and analyze the top ten consensus mechanisms of the current blockchain.
》DBFT
-Concept:
Delegated Byzantine fault tolerance. The improved Byzantine fault-tolerant algorithm makes it suitable for blockchain systems. The system consists of nodes, delegators (who can approve blocks), and speakers (who proposes the next block). It is a consensus algorithm that guarantees fault tolerance implemented inside the NEO blockchain.
-Principle:
In this mechanism, there are two participants: the professional bookkeeper "bookkeeping node" and the ordinary users in the system.
Ordinary users vote based on the proportion of holding stake to determine the bookkeeping node. When a consensus is required, a spokesperson is randomly selected from these bookkeeping nodes to draw up a plan, and then other bookkeeping nodes will vote basing on the Byzantine fault tolerance algorithm.That is, majority principle. If more than 66% of the nodes agree to the spokesperson’ plan, a consensus is reached; otherwise, the spokesperson is re-elected and the voting process is repeated.
-Representative application: Neo, etc.
》PoA
-Concept:
Proof of authority. That is, certified by some accredited accounts, these accredited accounts are called "validators". The software that the verifier runs that supports the verifier to place transactions in blocks.
-Principle:
Three conditions:
  1. The identity must be formally verified on the chain, and the information can be cross-verified in a publicly available domain;
  2. The qualifications must be difficult to obtain, so that the rights of the verification block obtained are precious enough;
  3. The authoritative inspection and procedures must be completely unified.
With PoA, every individual has the right to become a verifier, so there is an incentive to maintain the position of the verifier once acquired. By attaching a reputation to the identity, the verifier can be encouraged to maintain the transaction process. Because the verifier does not want to gain a negative reputation, it will lose its hard-won verifier status.
-Representative applications: VeChain, etc.
》DAG
-Concept:
Directed acyclic graph. Each newly added unit in the DAG is not only added to the long chain block, but added to all the previous blocks, verifying each new unit and confirming its parent unit and the parent unit of the parent unit, and gradually confirming until the genesis unit. As the hash of its parent unit is included in its own unit, the blockchains of all transactions are connected to each other to form a graph-like structure with time.
-Principle:
In the DAG network, each node can be a trader and a validator, because the transaction processing in DAG is done by the transaction node itself. Taking IOTA as an example, IOTA’s Tangle led
ger does not need to pay transaction fees while ensuring high-speed transaction processing. However, it does not mean that the transaction is free, because in this ledger, the initiation of each transaction needs to verify the other two random transactions first, and connect the transaction initiated by itself to these two transactions, so the responsibility that miners on the blockchain bear is distributed to all traders. The DAG method of processing transactions can be called asynchronous processing mode.
Figure 10 The difference between the traditional blockchain structure and the DAG structure

https://preview.redd.it/1xfssxj03rc51.png?width=553&format=png&auto=webp&s=95c382f81943c9a188a89ac6b2dadf64446589e6
-Representative applications: IOTA, etc.
》PoET
-Concept:
Proof of elapsed time. That is, it is usually used in a permissioned blockchain network. It can determine the mining rights of the block holders in the network. The permissioned blockchain network requires any prospective participants to verify their identity before joining. According to the principles of the fair lottery system, each node is equally likely to become the winner.
-Principle:
Each participating node in the network must wait for a randomly selected period, and the first node to complete the set waiting time will get a new block. Each node in the blockchain network will generate a random waiting time and sleep for a set time. The node that wakes up first, that is, the node with the shortest waiting time, wakes up and submits a new block to the blockchain, and then broadcasts the necessary information to the entire peer-to-peer network. The same process will be repeated to find the next block.
Two factors:
  1. Participating nodes will naturally select a random time in nature, rather than deliberately;
  2. The winner did complete the waiting time.
-Representative application: HyperLedger Sawtooth, etc.
》PoSV
-Concept:
Proof of stake velocity. Proposed by Reddcoin, drawing on the concept of "money circulation speed" in economics, it mainly allocates bookkeeping rights based on the coin age of nodes participating in the competition.
-Principle:
PoSV also allocates accounting rights according to the coin age of the nodes participating in the competition, but modifies the coin age calculation formula to a function of exponential decay of growth rate. Taking Reddcoin as an example, Reddcoin sets the half-life of the coin age growth rate to 1 month. Assuming that the unit token can accumulate 1CoinDay coin age on the first day, only 0.5CoinDay coin age can be accumulated on the 31st day, and only 0.25CoinDay coin age can be accumulated on the 61st day, and so on. In this way, the nodes are encouraged to use the token to conduct a transaction after holding the token for a period of time, thereby restarting the calculation of the coin age and increasing the circulation speed of the token in the network.
-Representative applications: Reddcoin, etc.
Table 2 Comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of current mainstream consensus mechanisms

https://preview.redd.it/kb04i7eh3rc51.png?width=1236&format=png&auto=webp&s=42de13bc99afaf258c0a740a6618e2d579b59100
Source: network resources
Chapter 4 Summary of the Selection and Status Quo of Consensus Mechanism
4.1 How to choose a consensus mechanism that suits you
Step 1: Determine whether the final result is important
For some applications, the end result is very important. If you are building a new payment system that can support very small amounts, it is acceptable for the transaction result to change. Similarly, if you are creating a new distributed social network, 100% guarantee that the status is updated immediately is not particularly necessary. On the contrary, if you are creating a new distributed protocol, the final result is critical to the user experience. For example, Bitcoin has a final confirmation time of about 1 hour, Ethereum has a final confirmation time of about 6 minutes, and Tendermint Core only has a final confirmation time of 1 second.
Step 2: Determine how fast the application process needs to be
If you are building a game, is it reasonable to wait 15 seconds before each action? Due to the low block processing time of Ethereum, games built on it will cause poor user experience due to Ethereum's throughput. However, the application for the transfer of housing property rights can be run on Ethereum. Use the Cosmos SDK to build an application that allows developers to freely use Tendermint Core. It has a short block processing time and high throughput, and is capable of processing 10,000 transactions per second. You can reduce the required communication overhead and speed up the application by setting the maximum number of validators for the application.
Step 3: Determine the application's demand for decentralization
Some applications such as games may not require very high censorship resistance as a by-product of decentralization. In theory, does it really matter that the validator can create a cartel in the game and reverse the transaction result for profit? If it is not important, a blockchain such as EOS may be more suitable for your needs because of the fast transaction speed and free fees. However, some applications such as autonomous banks are more powerful and decentralized. Although Ethereum is considered to be decentralized, some supporters claim that Ethereum's mining pool is an important part of centralized platform, although there are actually only 11 validators (mining pools). One of the major benefits of building your own blockchain instead of building on a smart contract platform is that you can customize the way the application completes verification. However, it is difficult to build your own blockchain, so the Cosmos SDK is very useful, you can easily build your own blockchain and customize the degree of decentralization you need.
Step 4: Determine whether the system can be terminated
If you are building a new application similar to a distributed ride-sharing service, then ensuring 24/7 service must be the first priority, even if there are occasional errors in accounting similar to transactions. One of the properties of Tendermint Core is that if there is a disagreement between network validators, the network will suspend operations instead of proceeding erroneous transactions. Applications such as decentralized exchanges require correctness at all costs-if there is a problem, it is far better to suspend trading on the decentralized exchange than there may be trading problems.
Summary: Choose a suitable consensus algorithm after weighing the advantages and disadvantages
All in all, there is no single best consensus algorithm. Each consensus algorithm has its own value and advantages. You need to have your own judgments and choices. However, by understanding the relevant processes of the consensus mechanism, including proposals and agreements, and establishing a framework to consider the types of consensus algorithms that your application may require, you should be able to make wiser decisions.
4.2 Future development of consensus mechanism
The consensus algorithm is one of the core elements of the blockchain. Although there are more than 30 consensus mechanisms listed in the article, there are still many niche consensus mechanisms that may not be discussed. As the blockchain technology is gradually known and accepted by the public, more and more newer and better consensus algorithms may appear in the future, which may be brand-new consensus algorithms, and more should be improvement and optimization version based on the current consensus algorithm.
After 2016 and 2017 years’ fast development, the current consensus algorithm does not have a recognized evaluation standard, but is generally more biased towards fairness and decentralization, as well as some technical related issues, such as energy consumption and scalability , Fault tolerance and security, etc. However, blockchain technology must be combined with requirements and application scenarios, and the consensus mechanism algorithm and incentive mechanism are inseparable. How to customize a suitable consensus mechanism according to the characteristics of your own project and optimize the current consensus mechanism will become the future direction of consensus mechanism development
CelesOS
As the first DPOW financial blockchain operating system, CelesOS adopts consensus mechanism 3.0 to break through the "impossible triangle", which can provide high TPS while also allowing for decentralization. Committed to creating a financial blockchain operating system that embraces supervision, providing services for financial institutions and the development of applications on the supervision chain, and formulating a role and consensus ecological supervision layer agreement for supervision.
The CelesOS team is dedicated to building a bridge between blockchain and regulatory agencies/financial industry. We believe that only blockchain technology that cooperates with regulators will have a real future. We believe in and contribute to achieving this goal.
📷Website
https://www.celesos.com/
📷 Telegram
https://t.me/celeschain
📷 Twitter
https://twitter.com/CelesChain
📷 Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/useCelesOS
📷 Medium
https://medium.com/@celesos
📷 Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/CelesOS1
📷 Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Xsd8wU957D-R8RQVZPfGA
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I ruin people’s lives for fun, this is my story. [Chapter 3]

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Good morning. It is currently 9 in the morning, and I am just finishing up my coffee at a local shop. I always get the same thing: A large iced coffee with 4 ice cubes and 2 packets of sugar. That concoction makes it the perfect temperature to enjoy.
I tend to do everything by routine, because I like to think it makes me more organized if I do it that way. Life is just a whole bunch of patterns someone has yet to figure out.
I was looking more into Jason’s assets and accounts. I came across something that made me laugh. He has been paying Kiley $1,000 every week. So from my observations, Kiley looks like an escort.
I think that this is helpful, because now I know that she doesn’t have a trustful relationship with him. I mean the money was being paid to the website to hire escorts. I really don’t care about Kiley though. She isn’t important to the game anymore.
I have to go to work in about an hour so I need to finish this up pretty quickly. I wanted to make the process of fucking with Jason long. I went on the dark web for a minute to see if I could come across a device that could withdraw money via ATM from previous accounts that had been connected to said ATM.
If that made any sense, my plan would be to buy this tool, and steal money from Jason’s account. I know I used bitcoin for the last one, but I thought this would be more eventful. I wanted more hands-on experience if you know what I mean.
I forgot to mention that I saw that Jason had a permit for concealed carry, so I need to keep this in mind.
After searching on a couple of the markets that I have accounts with, I finally came across it. It was around $200. I just went ahead, and used the funds that were already on my account to purchase it. It says that it ships domestically, so it should be here in the next few days. I will continue with this update after I get done with my shift.
I have just finished my shift, and I'm exhausted from how pestering my boss is. That prick just loves his sales quotas.
I got a confirmation letter from the vendor to my private email saying:
Your purchase was confirmed and the shipping process will now begin … thanks for doing business.
Fantastic! Now we can get to the fun part. I wanted to look more into his odd transaction with a car wash in Florida. I looked up the car wash, and it was only 2 miles away from Jason’s vacation home. I went ahead and called.
Some women picked up, “JJ’s car wash … how may I help you?"
I replied with, “Good, good. I was just wondering if I could get in contact with the owner? I wanted to come over, and do an evaluation on the value of the land … Is he there right now, or could you possibly give me a phone number to reach him?”
She hesitated, and said, “Uhhh, I'm sorry, sir, I'm not really sure if I can give that info out. Let me ask my manager.”
I interrupted her with, “No, that won’t be necessary. Just give me his email, and I’ll send him the information myself. Thanks.”
She said, “Sure … it's [email protected][redacted].com”
I hung up saying, “Thanks so much for your help. It means a lot. Thanks.”
Some people are just so oblivious to the world that they’ll believe anything they hear. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining because that email is the same as Jason's. He owns some little car wash near his house in Florida. I wanted to look more into this, but thought that for right now it's a waste of time. (Added "that". Apostrophe on "it's", because it's= it is.)
Well, I went ahead and drove over to the nightclub Jason goes to every Wednesday night to see what he was up to there. I disguised myself as much as I could. I mean there were a lot of people here so no one would notice me unless I was face to face with them. I had a hat on and a hoodie. I just looked down at the floor as much as I could. I followed Jason in after he arrived with his driver. He went upstairs where VIPS are only allowed. I kept an eye on him for a while. He then disappeared to a back room which had me curious. I needed to figure a way to get upstairs without anyone questioning my authenticity. I went to the back room where I guess the staff gets ready. I found this work shirt that was black and an extra pair of pants that were a size too big. I had a belt on me so that wasn’t an issue and I put on the clothes and now I looked like a waiter. I went to the bar and said I needed 6 “on the rock” martinis and handed her a tray to put them on. She asked, “You work here?” I said, “Yeah, new … these are going upstairs so make it quick.” She nodded and proceeded to make the drinks. She handed me the tray and I carefully made my way up to one of the security guards at the stairs. I looked at him and said, “These are to go up to Mr. Peterson?. He looked at me up and down and waved his hand towards the stairs allowing me to go. I walked up the stairs with the tray in my hands and walked through the back door that Jason had recently disappeared to. I saw a few ladies that were all intoxicated and a couple of men sitting on the couch. There was a nice electric fireplace next to a computer desk that wrapped around the corner of the room. It was a decently big room with a minibar as well. I walked over towards the men. I said, “Excuse me gentlemen but, I have 6 martinis ready to drink in my hand.” I could tell that they all have been drinking because of the way they were slurring their words. Jason spoke up and said, “Perfect thank you … here’s a tip” handing me a $100 bill I took the money and pocketed it saying, “Thank you .. if you need anything else please call down to the bar.” I walked out. That room was soundproof as well because when I walked out my ears were rushed with loud music from the dance floor. I saw another door to my right and my curiosity peaked and I walked through. It was this long hallway and a little red sign saying “Exit”. Nothing special here so I just walked out back downstairs. I went ahead a walked over to the security guard and asked him something, “Which one of those guys is the owner?” He replied with, “You should know this … Mr. Peterson just took over ownership a few weeks ago.” This caught me off guard and I said, “Oh right … thanks.” I was mind blown because of how many properties this guy owned. Where was he getting all of this money … I mean I know that he owns a security company but, 2 houses, 3 companies that all pay in cash, a personal driver, large bank transactions. All of this wasn’t adding up. I went online and did some research.
I have the suspicion that Jason is laundering money through his businesses. I don’t know who he is cleaning money for but, it’s probably someone who doesn’t want their money fucked with. This could be an issue because if I fuck with Jason’s life and his financial situation that someone else could be looking after him. I don’t fear anyone will find me because I make sure I do everything very securely. I should be getting the atm snipping tool soon and hope to make a move on Jason and uncover his dirt. I’m getting excited just writing this right now knowing that I could possibly ruin not just Jason's life but his whole operation. Before I do begin my adventure I need to make a couple of precautionary steps. I logged onto the dark web and found a trustful hacking service. I would never hire someone to hack unless I didn’t have the skills to do the task. I mean if somehow I turned up dead my plan would still carry out. So I found someone who could “ruin” his life. I’ve been chatting with him now to see what type of services he offers and I found one that fits my purpose. I also told him I wouldn’t buy unless I failed my game, which means death. He understood and told me how it would work. He said I would need to put the money in escrow and I told him if I don’t respond within 2 weeks that the money will be sent automatically. By putting the money in escrow it means I can’t take it out and he can’t accept the payment unless all conditions are met with a third party. I set up a zombie computer to be the third party. Usually the vendor or market your on will have an escrow system but, I wanted to make sure that he would certainly get the money if anything happens to me. So I set the zombie and sent the escrow away. The payment was $600 to do whatever was necessary to either ruin them financially or put them in jail. This hacker could make them be known as a child porn user by encrypting his computer with files that would have him arrested. I was thinking of this option or go to a darker market which would put a price on Jason’s head.
Now that this was all set up I could move on and take Jason’s money. I watched him after work for a few nights to see if he would use an atm. He was at a little food market having lunch and used the atm to withdraw $40. I know this because my little tool tells me. So I watched him from across the street to see when he left. He left after eating and walked back to his car where his driver was waiting. They drove off and I waited about 5 minutes before doing anything. Atm machines have cameras so I needed to cover my face before hacking his account. I checked which account he withdrew from before going inside since I had access to his computer passwords. The account he used had approximately $12,000 in it. I knew going into this that I would only withdraw a couple thousand because I didn’t want the bank instantly freezing his account even though after he noticed, he would call and tell them. So I set up a script that would take $10,000 through tiny transactions with bots and have them located from all over the world so it wouldn’t be able to trace back to me. It would then compile the transactions back to an offshore account that I made. I would set this into action as soon as I withdrew the $2,000 in cash from the atm. This would leave Jason with $0 in his one account. I knew that he had other accounts but, the one that I was targeting had the highest balance.
I put on a bandana and some dark sunglasses with a hoodie on and walked inside. I got myself a little drink and paid in cash making sure to keep my fingers off the handle. I then went over to the atm and placed the tool where you put the card in. It loaded up this menu on the screen and it listed a couple of names from the recent customers that withdrew money. I clicked the arrow down to “Jason Peterson” and typed in the box that said “Custom amount” $2,000. It then went to another screen saying “Please remove your card before money dispenses.” I removed the tool and out came Jasons 2 grand. I put it in my wallet and walked out to my car. I made sure to park in a parking lot that was decently empty with no cameras to catch my plate. I pulled out my phone and went to the Facebook marketplace. I was feeling a new laptop right about now so I started scrolling through. I found one that matched my needs and messaged the seller, “Hey, I am interested in your listing … could we meet today?” He replied back pretty quickly with, “Sure, let’s meet at the [redacted] Starbucks!” The laptop was listed for $250. I told him I would pay in cash and I would be there in 20 minutes. I went to the Starbucks and met with the guy selling it. He was a nice guy who told me he just upgraded so that’s why he was selling it. I asked him to turn it on to make sure it works, which it did. I handed him the cash and wished him well. I walked outside and got into my car. I pulled around to the drive-through and got myself a large coffee with extra cream and sugar. After I got my coffee I went home and got a call from my boss asking where I was today. I told him that I really didn’t feel like working today which he replied telling me to not come back tomorrow and I was finished working there. I had a pretty big smile on my face at this point because now my time would be devoted to ruining Jason’s life.
I poured myself a nice glass of whiskey to end off the night right. I mean this would be the perfect time to celebrate. I just got fired and have over 10 grand in my pocket. I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet. It has been a couple of days since I sent that money in escrow and if I don’t get my job done before the 2 weeks are over then someone else will do it for me. This was like a tiny challenge in the midst of the much bigger challenge. Look at this way. I want to take credit for ruining Jason’s life or all of my work will go to waste. I mean the dark web hacker isn’t watching Jason’s every move and reading him like I was. All he had to do was sit on his ass and type on a computer. In this day and age that’s all you need. Hell, that’s how I ruined Connor’s life. I told you from the beginning that I wanted to up my game. I had the proper funds now to really up my game. In the morning, I went to go to a local Walmart to pick up a few things. I wanted to make a homemade suppressor. I was looking at the prices on the dark web but, if I could save some money doing it, then why not right? So I looked up how to make a homemade suppressor and picked up the right supplies to make it. You need some PVC pipes, steel wool, a drill, and a few other things and you got yourself a suppressor. It didn’t take to long to make and it fits real snug on my .50 caliber sniper rifle. No, I wasn’t going to kill Jason because that would be too easy. I wanted to fuck with him a little longer before really getting down and dirty. Pull his strings like a puppet if you will. My plan was this. I would find a time where Jason was alone and I would call him. I would tell him if he wanted his money back that we would have to meet. I would specify that he and only him would come and if anyone else was to show that his funds would be long gone before he ever got there. I would then drug him with chloroform and take him to a secluded place where no one would find us. I would then tell him to give up all of the information on the people he works for or he and Kiley dies. I thought to introduce that I know Kiley that it would motivate him a little more. Just the strings in his life. If that didn’t work my plan would be to tell him that the police were raiding his house for child pornography which I downloaded on his computer. I would show him his files from my laptop remotely to prove it and if that didn’t work we would figure something else out.
I wanted to move forward with this as soon as possible. I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door. Today I wasn’t going to do anything with Jason. Today I needed to shop. While I was at Walmart this morning I grabbed some bleach and rubbing alcohol to produce the chemical chloroform which would make Jason unconscious. I also picked up some latex gloves for prints. I bought myself a burner phone at a gas station near my apartment too. Now that I have all of my supplies I headed over to a Starbucks. I ordered my usual large coffee with 4 ice cubes and 2 packets of sugar. I brought my new laptop with me and connected it to the free wifi. This laptop wouldn’t be coming home with me. I was going to use this laptop to connect me to Jason’s stock portfolio. After I hacked into it I would sell all of his stocks that were a part of any company he owned leaving him with nothing in return. Basically sweeping the owner's name tag out from under his feet. I would then corrupt the hard drive and throw the laptop in the dumpster. After this, it was time to burn everything he owned to the ground. I wanted to leave him and the people he worked for with nothing in return … absolutely nothing.
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Establishing a smart contract commercial scenario: Chainlink, Zk-Snarks and sharding technology work together to make the ultimate killer

This text was translated from Chinese, open following link in Chrome and translate to see all images:
https://bihu.com/article/1242138347
EDIT: found an English text with pictures:
https://medium.com/@rogerfeng/making-smart-contracts-work-for-business-how-chainlink-zk-snarks-sharding-finally-delivered-8f268af75ca2
Author: Feng Jie translation: Liu Sha
“The highest state of technology is to integrate into the various scenes of everyday life, to fade away from high-tech outerwear and become a part of everyday life.” – Mark Weiser
People in the future will not even think that smart contracts are "innovative." By that time, smart contracts would permeate every aspect of life, and people couldn't even imagine what the era of non-digital currency would look like.
Later historians may divide human business history into two eras, the pre-smart contract era and the post-smart contract era. After all, digital money has brought unprecedented changes to the nature and patterns of business practices in the real world. An anonymous member of the Chainlink community once said: "Smart contracts can change the DNA of the business."
Of course, like all the technological revolutions of the past, smart contracts also need to reach a "tipping point" to truly achieve large-scale applications. So we need to ask ourselves two questions:
  1. What exactly is this so-called tipping point?
  2. As of August 2019, have we reached this tipping point?
To reach the tipping point means unlocking the ultimate nirvana of business.
Tipping point We can think about this issue from the perspective of mainstream companies. Imagine what a perfect smart contract platform should look like. What characteristics should this platform have? Or what features must be possessed?
To reach the tipping point, you must establish a public chain with the following four characteristics:
  1. Privacy protection
  2. In addition to the cryptocurrency, the transaction can also be settled in mainstream legal currency and comply with the regulatory requirements of financial markets such as ISO 20022.
  3. Achieve scalability without sacrificing decentralization or security, that is, solving the "impossible triangle problem."
  4. Connect the external data under the chain, that is, solve the "prophecy problem."
Now that we have Chainlink, zk-snarks and sharding technology, we have reached this tipping point.
Next, let's explore how this ultimate nirvana is actually made. Our discussion will be mainly from the perspective of Ethereum, which is still the top smart contract platform for community size and mainstream applications.
So what about the private chain?
Before delving into it, I want to take the time to solve an unavoidable problem. The mainstream view has always believed that the private chain is a more suitable solution for the enterprise. Therefore, we first dialectically analyze the two advantages and two major drawbacks of the private chain.
Disadvantages
  1. Centralization leads to relatively lower security
It's not surprising that IBM and Maersk's blockchain freight alliances have a hard time finding customers who are willing to join. How can other freight companies be willing to let their biggest competitors (Maersk) verify their trading data? Only madmen dare to do this.
  1. The staking of the horses occupy the hills:
This problem is even more serious than centralization. John Wolpert, co-founder of the IBM blockchain, wrote an excellent article called Breaking the Barriers to Realize Security: Why Companies Should Embrace the Ethereum Public Chain, which he covered in detail in the article.
If every company builds its own private chain, it will lead to chaos in the mountains. Today's B2B ecosystem is very complex. Imagine the innumerable private chains of the world intertwined to form a huge "spider web." This is not only cost-effective, but also not scalable.
The starting point of the blockchain is to break down barriers instead of building more barriers.
"One day, one of your big buyers called you to ask if you want to join their private chain. You promised. The next day you received a call from the wholesaler to ask you the same question. Then came the supplier, freight. Business, insurance company or even bank, and each company may have several private chains! Finally you have to invest a lot of time and cost to operate dozens of blockchains every day . If there are partners to let you join them at this time The private chain, you might say "Forget it, or fax me the order!" ”—Paul Brody (Ernst & Young)
“Every time you connect two private chains through a system integrator, you have to pay a lot of money .”
Advantage
  1. Scalability: With the Ethereum public chain implementing fragmentation technology, this advantage is rapidly shrinking.
  2. Privacy protection: At this stage, the classification of public chain / private chain is actually not very accurate. The Aztec , Zether, and Nightfall protocols (both based on the zk-snarks protocol) effectively provide a "private chain model" for the Ethereum public chain, allowing it to switch between the public and private chains. Therefore, a more accurate classification should be the alliance chain and the public chain.
By 2020, the label of the public chain/private chain will gradually disappear. The public and private chains will no longer be two opposing concepts. Instead, the concept of publicly traded/private transactions and confidential contracts/open contracts is changed, and the scope of these transactions and contracts varies according to specific needs, either bilaterally or multilaterally or even publicly.
All in all, the private chain has two major drawbacks compared to the public chain. Not only that, but the two major advantages of the private chain are also rapidly disappearing.
“Technology will evolve over time, so there will be a variety of solutions to solve existing problems. Ultimately, the public-chain platform will have the same performance, scalability and data privacy as the private chain, while at the same time ensuring security and Decentralized."
Feature 1: Privacy protection (predictive machine and public chain privacy)
Enigma founder Guy Zyskind once joked in his MIT graduation thesis that smart contracts can only become commercially valuable if they become "confidential contracts." He later proposed that zk-snarks and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) are the most promising solutions. He said nothing wrong.
What is zk-snarks ? Zk-snarks is a zero-knowledge proof mechanism (ZPK). So what is the zero-knowledge proof mechanism? In short: a zero-knowledge proof mechanism allows you to prove that you own certain information without revealing the content of the information.
Vitalik Buterin explained this concept in detail from a technical point of view in an article published in 2017. Hackernoon also wrote an excellent article explaining the concept in an easy-to-understand way with the example of a five-year-old child and Halloween candy.
What is the trusted execution environment? The trusted execution environment lets the code run on closed hardware, and
1 ) The guarantee result cannot be tampered with
2 ) Protecting absolute privacy, even hardware running code can't get confidential information.
The most well-known trusted execution environment is Intel SGX. Chainlink has established a partnership with Intel SGX after acquiring Tom Crier.
Ernst & Young released the Nightfall agreement on Github on May 31, 2019. A well-known accounting firm with a history of 100 years will choose to add privacy features to the public chain instead of developing a private chain. This is a problem.
Since then, the community has been actively developing on this basis, not only to improve the code, but also to develop a plug-and-play Truffle Box for those who are not good at writing code. Blockchain communities and businesses generally rarely collaborate, so these collaborations fully demonstrate the popularity of Nightfall.
Prior to this, two zk-snark-based Ethereum public chain privacy protocols were introduced, namely AZTEC (Consensys) and Zether (Stanford, JPMorgan Chase). An obvious trend is slowly taking shape.
In the field of oracles, Chainlink uses both zero-knowledge proof and a trusted execution environment to complement each other. Trusted execution environments guarantee data privacy, even for nodes that cannot access data (this feature is critical for bank accounts and API keys).
Chainlink is still trying to implement a trusted execution environment, and nodes can access data temporarily, so authentication services are also needed. Although the credible execution environment is almost 100% foolproof, in theory, a strong shield has a spear that can penetrate it. Therefore, the team is currently trying to run zk-snarks in a trusted execution environment (Thomas Hodges mentioned this in the 2019 Trufflecon Q&A session). The combination of the two can form a very robust and complete system. The attacker must find a way to strip all the layers of an onion at the same time to make any effective attack (and it is already difficult to peel off a layer of skin).
“Chainlink combines a trusted execution environment with zero-knowledge proof to build what we call a defense-in-depth system, which means they provide all the tools needed for smart contract developers, including trusted execution environments, multiple nodes, and Data sources, fine margins, reputation systems, asymmetric encryption, zero-knowledge proofs, WASM, and OTP+RNG, these features allow smart contract developers to adjust the confidentiality and cost of contracts based on specific budget and security needs. Machine, Chainlink and its four major application scenarios》
In the future, zk-snarks may be upgraded to zk-starks (a fully transparent zero-knowledge proof mechanism) that protects the system from quantum computer attacks. And the best thing about zk-starks is that it's more scalable than zk-snarks. In other words, it can better protect privacy, and the cost of gas will not increase.
If you want to learn more about zk-starks, you can read a popular science article written by Adam Luciano.
Feature 2: Scalability (scalability of predictive machines and public chains) To understand this problem, we can make an analogy like this:
A public chain is like a large enterprise, and every employee (ie, a node) must attend each meeting (ie, confirm each transaction). Imagine how inefficient this company is! Only customers who have a lot of money (ie gas fees) can get their requests to the forefront. And this is not the most serious problem. The most serious problem is that the more employees (ie nodes) who join the company, the harder it is for the company to function properly! In the end, the company not only failed to expand linearly, but also became smaller and smaller. Although this guarantees decentralization and security to the greatest extent, the price is completely abandoning scalability.
There are various temporary fire fighting solutions, but no one solution can completely solve this "impossible triangle problem." For example, EOS uses the DPOS mechanism (share authorization certification mechanism), where only 21 super nodes (many of which are well-known nodes) are responsible for verifying all transactions.
Sidechains (such as Bitcoin's Lightning Network and Ethereum's lightning network) guarantee scalability and decentralization at the expense of security.
So how to use the fragmentation technology to solve this problem? Let's make another analogy:
In reality, there is only one company that is not too much to ask everyone to attend all meetings, that is, small start-ups (that is, private chains that limit the number of nodes).
In most cases, large companies divide employees into thousands of teams (ie, shards), and each team's principal (ie, the certifier) ​​is responsible for reporting to the senior management (ie, the main chain). If people from different teams need to collaborate (and sometimes also), then they can collaborate by cross-shard receipts. If a new employee joins the company, the team can be re-segmented (ie re-sharding). This allows for linear expansion.
In fact, the process of developing a start-up to a large enterprise is surprisingly similar to the process of Ethereum 1.0 developing into Ethereum 2.0.
“The Ethereum 1.0 period is that several people who are alone are trying to build a world computer; and Ethereum 2.0 will really develop into a world computer.” Vitalik Buterin said in the first piece of the workshop.
Since Ethereum was not originally built on the principle of fragmentation, it takes seven steps to achieve the goal (this is a bit like the word morphing solitaire game). The first step is planned for January 3, 2020.
At the same time, developers can use many other blockchain platforms designed based on the fragmentation principle. Some platforms, including Zilliqa and Quarkchain, are already compatible with Chainlink.
If you want to see more in-depth technical analysis of shards, check out an article by Ramy Zhang.
In the field of oracles, Chainlink has the following two characteristics:
1 ) Use Schnorr threshold signatures to quickly reach consensus in a cost-effective manner. The next version of the chain only needs 16,000 gas.
2 ) We have previously discussed the need to use trusted execution environment hardware to ensure that nodes cannot access sensitive data. Since you have hardware in your hand, you can use it to do some actual computing work, so that you can properly reduce the amount of computation on the smart contract platform.
"With the SGX system (Town Crier) and zero-knowledge proof technology, the oracle can be truly reliable and confidential, so the boundaries between the oracle and the smart contract are beginning to flow... Our long-term strategy... is to let The predictor becomes the key chain of computing resources used by most smart contracts. We believe that the way to achieve this goal is to perform chain operations in the oracle to meet various computing needs, and then send the results to the smart contract."Chainlink White Paper, Section 6.3 (26 pages)
Of course, this “long-term strategy” has certain risks, unless Chainlink can implement a trusted execution environment and its service provider ecosystem can achieve a qualitative leap. However, the Chainlink team's vision is absolutely forward-looking: under-chain computing is a key factor in ensuring that blockchains are not dragged down by large amounts of IoT data.
The Internet of Things has dramatically increased the current state of big data. At present, most of the data is still generated on the software side, and it is not real-time data, and most of the data in the future will be real-time data generated on the sensor side. One of the big drawbacks of real-time data is that it increases storage pressure. For example, Coughlin Associates expects an unmanned car to generate 1G of data per second. This means that the same car will produce 3.6T data per hour!
The only viable solution is to do real-time analysis of the data, rather than storing the data first. In the Global Cloud Index: 2016-2021 Forecast and Methodology White Paper, Cisco predicts that more than 90% of data in 2021 will be analyzed in real time without storage.
That is to say, the essence of data is that it can only exist in just one instant. The nature of the blockchain is not to be modified, so the two are as incompatible as water and oil.
The solution is to analyze the raw data under the chain, extract the meaningful results and send them to the blockchain. The combination of fragmentation technology and trusted execution environment forms a new computing architecture, similar to the cloud computing-fog computing-edge computing architecture.
It should be noted here that it is good to improve computing power, but this is not the main purpose of the blockchain.
The fundamental purpose of the blockchain is not to reduce the original cost of computing and data storage. After all, technology giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Tencent, Alibaba, and Dropbox have built world-class cloud services. The centralized server wins high computational efficiency (but the blockchain will greatly improve the computational efficiency through fragmentation technology, and will catch up with it one day). The value of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of building trust. Nick Szabo calls it "social scalability" (this is a relative concept to the "operational" scalability we have been talking about). Vitalik Buterin also made it clear that the meaning of smart contracts is to accept small arithmetic delay penalties in exchange for a substantial reduction in "social costs."
Alex Coventry of the Chainlink team once raised the question: "We have missed many opportunities for cooperation and reciprocity because we can't confirm whether the other party will fulfill the promise?"
Is there any potential for data storage projects like Siacoin and IPFS? What about decentralized computing projects like SONM and Golem?
Siacoin 's core value proposition is not that its computing efficiency is higher than traditional cloud services. The cost of computing is required to split, repeat, and reassemble data. And companies are more capable of buying the latest and greatest hardware than individuals. Siacoin's core value proposition is to process data in an Airbnb-like mode, so management fees will be lower than traditional models. It also generates additional social value, such as flood control, privacy and security, and anti-censorship.
The same is true of Golem and SONM. Even with the most efficient protocol, it is inevitable that a small amount of delay will be imposed and fined to coordinate the hardware of different geographical locations. Therefore, under the condition that all other conditions are equal, the centralized hardware still has the advantage of faster computing speed. However, the core value proposition of the above project is to use the Airbnb-like model to reduce management costs.
We must strictly distinguish between "social scalability" and "operational scalability", and the two cannot be confused. I will explain these two concepts in detail when I discuss "Magic Bus and Lightweight Library" later.
Feature 3: Compatible with legal currency
Most mainstream companies do not regard cryptocurrencies as "real currencies." In addition, even if someone wants to use cryptocurrency for trading, it is very difficult to actually operate because of its high price volatility. I discussed the “price volatility problem” in detail in Chapters 8 and 9 of the previous article. These problems do not completely erase the existence value of cryptocurrencies, because cryptocurrencies also have many advantages that legal currency does not have. I am just emphasizing what we need to know more about the comfort zone of mainstream companies.
Chainlink acts as a universal API connector that triggers open banking payments. Chainlink is fully compliant with ISO 20022 and has established a long-term partnership with SWIFT (it is worth mentioning that SWIFT has not been updated for a long time and hopes to be updated after the SIBOS 2019 conference).
PSD2 will take effect on September 14, 2019. All banks in the EU will all comply with this new regulation by then. In other words, the bank must put all account data in the "front end" and can be called through the API. The approved third party (ie, the Chainlink node) can trigger the payment directly without the payment service provider.
Although the United States and Japan have not adopted similar laws, many banks still spontaneously promote the development of open banks. Banks open APIs to third-party developers to create new revenue streams and customer experiences that ultimately increase profitability. In addition, this will allow banks to better respond to competitors in the mobile payment and financial technology sectors in an APP-centric economic model.
As this open banking revolution continues, Chainlink will connect smart contracts with the world's major currencies (US dollar, euro, yen, etc.).
Only one external adapter is required to connect to the authenticated API. From a programming perspective, it is relatively simple to allow everyone in the community to contribute code to the code base (and thus achieve scalability). Chainlink has released adapters for PayPal and Mister Tango (European version of PayPal).
Feature 4: Data connection with the chain
Chainlink has been working on solving the "prophecy problem" and successfully succeeded on the main online line on May 30, 2019.
Chainlink has made many achievements in just a few months. Provable (formerly Oraclize) was successfully used on the Chainlink node and finally settled the debate about whether the predictor should be centralized or decentralized.
Synthetic Ether lost 37 million Ethercoins in a hack because it did not connect to Chainlink. Fortunately, the money was finally recovered and did not cause any loss. This lesson illustrates the importance of decentralized oracles.
In addition, both Oracle and Google have partnered with Chainlink to monetize their API data and create a virtuous circle to capture the market opportunities that Facebook missed.
There are new nodes coming online every week, and the network activity has been very high. The Chainlink team maintains a list of certified nodes in the documentation and Twitter releases. Twitter user CryptoSponge also set up a new development for the Tableau push update Chainlink team:
Regarding the importance of the current stage in the history of blockchain development, Brad Huston summed it up very brilliantly:
"The biggest problem with cryptocurrencies is to build bridges between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies and big data. Chainlink is very beautifully narrowing the distance between the three. Now it can even be said: 'The bridge has been built.'"
Magic bus and lightweight library
Let's summarize what we discussed earlier. The real purpose of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of building trust and achieve "social scalability."
Therefore, according to this logic, the main application scenarios of platforms such as Ethereum 2.0 and Zilliqa should be in the B2B field. I quote a sentence I wrote in a previous article:
“My conclusion is: If the smart contract is successful, it will also succeed in the B2B field first.”
The private chain itself is self-contradictory and destined to fail. It has led to the phenomenon of occupying the hills, thus increasing the social cost, which is in opposition to B2B itself, and ultimately it is self-restraint. ”
Before the emergence of fragmentation technology, even simple games (ie, etheric cats) could not be smoothly run on the public chain, let alone dealing with complex B2B contracts and even changing commercial DNA. With the sharding technology, everything is ready.
Despite this, we can't use Ethereum 2.0 as an all-powerful platform. Just now we said that although it is a good thing to speed up the calculation, this is not the real purpose of Ethereum 2.0. And before we also said that due to the irreversible modification of the blockchain, it is not good to deal with a large number of fleeting real-time data of the Internet of Things. In other words, we must be soberly aware that Ethereum 2.0 will not replace traditional web 2.0. Instead, we should make better use of the real advantages of Ethereum 2.0:
“There is a new concept now, that is to think of the Ethereum main network as a global bus... We use the Ethereum 2.0 main network to treat various business resources as a working group on Slack: it can be easily built and integrated. And restructuring. The SAP inventory management system in your company, the dealer's JD Edwards ERP system, and the financial technology partner's tall blockchain system can seamlessly interface, eliminating the need to develop an infrastructure specifically for each partner." - John Wolper describes his ideal "magic bus"
Ethereum 2.0 should be an integration center, not a data center or computing center. It should be a library built specifically to store B2B contract terms (to be honest, even with fragmentation technology, the amount of data is large enough).
We should not expect Ethereum 2.0 to be an all-powerful platform, but rather develop it into a "lightweight library."
If we reorder the pyramid model just now, the architecture of the magic bus is obvious:
Of course, the positional relationship in the above model is not static. With the development of 5G technology, edge computing and IoT sensors, they may bypass the cloud to directly interact (or even bypass the fog end). If the collaboration between Iotex and Chainlink is successful, then the edge can interact directly with the trusted execution environment.
Time will tell if Airbnb's shared data storage and computing model can make management costs lower than the current mainstream Web 2.0 model. Time will also prove whether the market really needs anti-censorship, anti-tampering, security protection and privacy protection. Do users really care about these social values ​​and are willing to pay for them? Do they think these are just the icing on the cake or the most fundamental value?
in conclusion
Whether it is the battle between web2.0 and web3.0 or the battle between cryptocurrency and legal currency, one thing is beyond doubt:
We have reached the tipping point, and the era of smart contracts with commercial value has arrived.
In fact, the only problem at the moment is the time issue, and the main roadblocks have been basically cleared.
  1. When will Ethereum 2.0 finish these 7 stages and be officially released?
  2. When will Chainlink use a trusted execution environment on a large scale? If the cooperation between Intel SGX and Town Crier fails, what alternative plans are there? Will Chainlink communicate with other blockchain teams that plan to use a trusted execution environment (such as Dawn Song's Oasis Labs)?
At present, the main technical problems in the ecosystem have been solved, and now it is only necessary to recruit a group of enthusiastic developers to do the work of “connecting the line”.
Digital currency has changed commercial DNA, and the future is full of possibilities.
The only thing that hinders us now is our own imagination. The future is infinitely imaginative, and the future will be the world of developers. Dapps is already overwhelming. There is no doubt that we have found the ultimate nirvana.
This text was translated from Chinese, open following in Chrome and translate to see all images:
https://bihu.com/article/1242138347
submitted by QuantLink to LINKTrader [link] [comments]

Vitalik's Tweet Storm - History and state of Ethereum's Casper research

His tweet here
Today I am going to make a tweet storm explaining the history and state of Ethereum's Casper research, including the FFG vs CBC wars, the hybrid => full switch, the role of randomness, mechanism design issues, and more.
Ethereum proof of stake research began in Jan 2014 with Slasher Though the algorithm is highly suboptimal, it introduced some important ideas, most particularly the use of penalties to solve the nothing at stake problem. That said, the penalties that I used were very small, only canceling out signing rewards. Vlad Zamfir joined in mid-2014, and he quickly moved toward requiring validators to put down deposits, much larger in size than rewards, that could be taken away for misbehavior. Here's Vlad's retelling
We spent much of late 2014 trying to deal with "long range attacks", where attackers withdraw their stake from deposits on the main chain, and use it to create an alternate "attack chain" with more signatures than the main chain, that they could fool clients into switching to. If the attack chain diverges from the main chain at a fairly recent point in time, this is not a problem, because if validators sign two conflicting messages for the two conflicting chains this can be used as evidence to penalize them and take away their deposits.
But if the divergence happened long ago (hence, long range attack), attackers could withdraw their deposits, preventing penalties on either chain. We eventually decided that long range attacks are unavoidable for pretty much the reasons PoW proponents say. However, we did not accept their conclusions. We realized that we could deal with long range attacks by introducing an additional security assumption: that clients log on at least once every four months (and deposits take four months to withdraw), and clients simply refuse to revert further than that. This was anathema to PoW proponents because it feels like a trust assumption: you need to get the blockchain from some trusted source when you sync for the first time. But to us dirty subjectivists, it did not seem like a big deal; you need some trusted source to tell you what the consensus rules of the blockchain are in any case (and don't forget software updates), so the additional trust required by this PoS assumption is not large. Here's Vlad's retelling
Now that we settled on deposits and penalties, we had to decide what those deposits and penalties are. We knew that we wanted an "economic finality" property, where validators would sign on blocks in such a way that once a block was "finalized", no conflicting block could be finalized without a large portion of validators having to sign messages that conflict with their earlier messages in a way that the blockchain could detect, and hence penalize. I went on a big long, and ultimately unproductive, tangent on a direction I called "consensus by bet
Consensus by bet was an interesting construction where validators would make bets on which block would be finalized, and the bets themselves determined which chain the consensus would favor. The theory was that PoW also has this property, as mining is a bet where if you bet on the right chain, you gain (reward - mining cost), and if you bet on the wrong chain, you lose the mining cost, except with PoS we could push the odds on the bets much higher. The odds on validators' bets would start off low, but as validators saw each other getting more and more confident about a block, everyone's odds would rise exponentially, in parallel, until eventually they would bet their entire deposits on a block. This would be "finality".
In the meantime, Vlad started heavily researching mechanism design, particularly with an eye to making Casper more robust against oligopolies, and we also started looking at consensus algorithms inspired by traditional byzantine fault tolerance theory, such as Tendermint. Vlad decided that traditional BFT was lame (he particularly disliked hard thresholds, like the 2/3 in PBFT and Tendermint), and he would try to effectively reinvent BFT theory from scratch, using an approach that he called "Correct by Construction" (CBC). In Vlad's own words
The correct-by-construction philosophy is very different from traditional BFT, in that "finality" is entirely subjective. In CBC philosophy, validators sign messages, and if they sign a message that conflicts with their earlier message they have to submit a "justification" proving that, in the relevant sense, the new thing they are voting for "has more support" than the old thing they were voting for, and so they have a right to switch to it. To detect finality, clients look for patterns of messages that prove that the majority of validators is reliably voting for some block B in such a way that there is no way they can switch away from B without a large fraction of validators "illegally" switching their votes.
For example, if everyone votes for B, then everyone votes on a block that contains everyone's votes for B, that proves that they support B and are aware that everyone else supports B, and so they would have no legitimate cause for switching to something other than B. I eventually gave up on consensus-by-bet because the approach seemed too fundamentally risky, and so I switched back to trying to understand how algorithms like PBFT work. It took a while, but after a few months I figured it out. I managed to simplify PBFT and translate it into the blockchain context, describing it as four "slashing conditions", rules that state what combinations of messages are self-contradictory and therefore illegal if a block is finalized, then there is no way for a conflicting block to get finalized without >= 1/3 violating a slashing condition (ii) if a block is finalized, 2/3 honest validators can always cooperate to finalize a new block. So the algorithm can neither "go back on its word" nor "get stuck" as long as > 2/3 are honest.
I eventually simplified the minimal slashing conditions down from four to two, and from there came Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (FFG), which is designed to be usable as an overlay on top of any PoW or PoS or other blockchain to add finality guarantees. Finality is a very significant advancement: once a block is finalized, it is secure regardless of network latency (unlike confirmations in PoW), and reverting the block requires >= 1/3 of validators to cheat in a way that's detectable and can be used to destroy their deposits. Hence, the cost of reverting finality can run into the billions of dollars. The Casper CBC and Casper FFG approaches both achieve this, though in technically different ways. Note that Casper CBC and Casper FFG are both "overlays" that need to be applied on top of some existing fork choice rule, though the abstractions work in different ways.
In simplest terms, in Casper CBC the finality overlay adapts to the fork choice rule, whereas in Casper FFG the fork choice rule adapts to the finality overlay. Vlad's initial preference for the fork choice rule was "latest message-driven GHOST", an adaptation of GHOST to proof of stake, and my initial preference was to start off with hybrid PoS, using proof of work as the base fork choice rule. In the initial version of Casper FFG, proof of work would "run" the chain block-by-block, and the proof of stake would follow close behind to finalize blocks. Casper CBC was full proof of stake from the start. At the same time, Vlad and I were both coming up with our own respective schools of thought on the theory of consensus incentivization. Here, a very important distinction is between uniquely attributable faults, where you can tell who was responsible and so can penalize them, and non-uniquely attributable faults, where one of multiple parties could have caused the fault.
The classic case of a non-uniquely-attributable fault is going offline vs censorship, also called "speaker-listener fault equivalence". Penalizing uniquely attributable faults (eg. Casper FFG slashing conditions) is easy. Penalizing non-unquely-attributable faults is hard. What if you can't tell if blocks stopped finalizing because a minority went offline or because a majority is censoring the minority? There are basically 3 schools of thought on this issue:
In November 2017, the Casper FFG slashing conditions, plus my ideas for solving "the 1/3 go offline" problem through a "quadratic leak" mechanism, became a paper . Of course, I was well aware that appealing to the social layer to solve 51% attacks was not a very nice thing to do, so I started looking for ways to at least allow online clients to automatically detect which chain is "legitimate" and which is the "attack" in real time.
Here is one of my earlier ideas It was something, but still suboptimal; unless network latency was exactly zero, there was only a guarantee that clients' suspicion scores would differ by at most delta, not that clients would fully agree In the meantime, my main criticism of Vlad's model had to do with "discouragement attacks", where attackers could credibly threaten to make a 51% attack that causes everyone to lose money, thereby driving everyone else to drop out, thus dominating the chain at near-zero cost. Vlad (along with Georgios Piliouras) started doing economic modeling to estimate the actual cost of such an attack under his model.
It's worth noting here that all of these issues are not unique to proof of stake. In fact, in proof of work, people tend to simply give up and assume preventing 51% attacks is outright impossible, and a 51% attack is a doomsday that must be prevented at all costs. But, as is the Ethereum tradition, Vlad and I were both unaware that the word "ambitious" can be anything but a compliment, and kept on working on our separate approaches to disincentivizing, mitigating and recovering from 51% attacks.
In early 2018, Vlad's work on CBC started to move forward quickly, with great progess on safety proofs. For the state of progress in March 2018, see this epic two-hour presentation In the meantime, Casper FFG was making huge progress. A decision to implement it as a contract that would be published to the Ethereum blockchain made development easy. On Dec 31, 2017 at 23:40, we released a testnet written in python
Unfortunately, development of FFG then slowed down. The decision to implement FFG as a contract made some things easier, but it made other things harder, and it also meant that the eventual switch from EVM to EWASM, and single-chain Casper to sharded Casper, would be harder. In addition, the team's work was being split between "main chain Casper" and "shard chain Casper" and it was clear there was enormous unneeded duplication of effort going on between the Casper and sharding teams.
In June 2018, we made the fateful decision to scrap "hybrid Casper FFG as a contract", and instead pursue full Casper as an independent chain, designed in such a way that integrating sharding would be much easier. The switch to full proof of stake led me to start thinking much harder about proof of stake fork choice rules. Casper FFG (and CBC) both require the entire validator set to vote in every "epoch" to finalize blocks, meaning there would be tens to hundreds of signatures coming in every second. BLS signature aggregation makes this practical in terms of computational overhead but I wanted to try to take advantage of all of these extra signatures to make the chain much more "stable", getting "100 confirmations" worth of security within a few seconds.
Here were my initial attempts However, all of these approaches to the fork choice rule had a weakness: they split up validators into "attesters" and "proposers", and the proposers, being the key drivers of block production, had outsized power. This was undesirable, primarily because it required us to have a strong source of on-chain random number generation to fairly pick the proposers. And on-chain randomness is hard, with simple approaches like RANDAO looking more and more problematic
Justin Drake and I went off to solve this problem in two ways, Justin by using verifiable delay functions which have a deterministic and verifiable output, but take a large amount of unparallelizable sequential time to compute, making manipulation ahead of time impossible and myself by making a major concession to the Cult of Vlad™, using GHOST-based fork choice rules to greatly reduce the dependence on proposers, allowing the chain to grow uninterrupted even if >90% of proposers are malicious, as long as >50% of attesters are friendly.
Vlad was very happy, though not fully: he preferred a version of GHOST based on validators' latest messages, whereas I preferred a version based on immediate messages Around this time I also managed to come up with a way to "pipeline" Casper FFG, reducing time-to-finality from 2.5 epochs to the theoretically optimal 2 epochs: I was very happy that the RPJ fork choice rule (which I have since renamed "immediate message-driven GHOST") is nicely compatible with Casper FFG in a way that most others are not and that it has a very important "stability" property: that the fork choice is a good prediction of the future fork choice. This seems obvious, but is very easy to accidentally make fork choice rules that do not have this property.
The most recent development of all is a result that latest message driven GHOST may, due to a technicality, only give 25% fault tolerance within two rounds, but immediate driven message GHOST (with FFG or CBC) still gives the full 33% (no writeup yet). The main tradeoff between FFG and CBC is that CBC seems to have nicer theoretical properties, but FFG seems to be easier to implement. In the meantime, a lot of progress on verifiable delay functions has been made
Also, I recently decided to look into Leslie Lamport's old 1982 paper, where he had a consensus algorithm that has 99% fault tolerance if you add the assumption that all nodes, including observers, are online with low network latency The network latency assumptions arguably make this unsuitable as a primary consensus algorithm. However, there is one use case where it works really well: as a substitute for suspicion scores for 51% censorship detection.
Basically, if a 51% coalition starts censoring blocks, other validators and clients can detect that this is happening and use the 99% fault tolerant consensus to agree that this is happening and coordinate a minority fork. The long-run goal of this research is to reduce reliance on the social layer as much as possible, and maximizing the cost of destabilizing the chain enough so that reverting to the social layer is necessary.
What's left now? On the FFG side, formal proofs, refinements to the specification, and ongoing progress on implementation (already started by >=3 teams!), with an eye to safe and speedy deployment. On the CBC side, much of the same. Onward and upward!
submitted by OneSmallStepForLambo to ethtrader [link] [comments]

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next 2 hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features and NavPay you read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to NavCoin [link] [comments]

Diary of a Douchebag: FC does a gun show, Part 2.

Friday, 1PM: I leave work early. I have to set up for the gun show early because the only time my mechanic has for the alignment rack for the next week and a half is friday afternoon and I am in need of an alignment to keep my Michelin Defender's in a nice predictable wear pattern.
My loadout this weekend includes a whole bunch of the usual stuff, Colts, Sigs, HK's, Glock's a few Springfields and four Daniel Defense rifles and an FN SLP Mk 1. I haul over a few used guns that I just took on trade too, a Tavor 556 LH and a Mossberg 500 that I got for $100 off someone wanting to trade it towards a new Glock 23. Four trips with the hand truck gets everything in before the rain starts.
I have reserved two tables but I have enough merchandise to cover three. The exhibitor tells me tables went up so two tables cost me $160 for the weekend and I consider it a small expense to view the express train to hell that is the gun culture.
45 minutes flies by as I set up my table just the way I want it and I get to Lenny's to get my alignment done. He's been doing an alignment for me no charge for the past 3 years after I told him NOT to buy an old Browning shotgun he fell in love with on gunbroker. He wanted to use it for upland hunting, sporting clays, skeet and anything moving through the air killing. It was an old gun that had FIXED barrel chokes - Full and Full. I told him RUN LIKE HELL. He said my advice saved him from a $1500 mistake and the least he can do is keep my car on the road no charge. He gets my car set up on his $80,000 hunter alignment rack and finds my toe in is way out of spec. He spends a few minutes banging around with a wrench and everything is all good. As he's doing that, since I know he won't take my money - I walk to the 7-11 across the street and grab him a tall boy of Rolling Rock. His week is so shitty that he shotguns it faster than Brett Kavanaugh circa 1982. Time to head home. I'm halfway there when the phone rings ring ring
FC: Go for FC
1: Hey FC, it's Captain Bob. How's it going?
FC: Good! I got your stuff fixed and ready to go on my desk.
1: I can be there in 15 minutes!
FC: I'll turn around, see you in 15.
Captain Bob is a four stripe left seat pilot for Delta on the triple. We love talking airplanes and guns. He's had me tune up an old 220 he wants to use at a class he's taking at FLETC later this year. Like a good pilot, he believes in a comprehensive pre flight inspection. And since his type rating says B777 and not P220, he wanted someone to make sure he's not taking a dud to class. All I did to it was give it a visual, clean and lube and although it probably didn't need it - it had a 20 year old recoil spring so I installed a new one just as a precaution.
I get back to my desk and get his gun ready, cleared and slide locked back as he walks in the door. He just got home from running a 777LR to Johannesburg and back and is very pleased to see his old 220 ready to roll. I take my glasses off and point out he's got a little bit of slide peening in a few spots but just keep it lubricated and it's normal wear and tear since he does not shoot it much.
He asks me if I have any 300 blackout ammo, I pull a case of 220gr OTM off the shelf. I tell him $450 on the ammo and the pistol inspection and recoil spring is on the house and he's having none of it. Hands me five crisp hundos and tells me to keep it. Just as I'm tucking the cash into my desk drawer, my door opens up and since I'm not wearing my glasses - I see a blurry silhouette of.....is that wonder woman? HUGE TITS on a small frame. I can't tell what's going on.
FC: Hi!
Lady: Hey FC, it's Lisa. I was just getting my wedding dress altered next door and wanted to say hi!
FC: Oh hey! I'm not wearing my glasses so I have no idea what's happening!
Lisa: See you tomorrow!
FC: I'l be there! So anyways Bob, that was strange. I am normally not used to having my door flung open by halfway attractive women.....
Bob: Neither am I! You should see some of the FA's on the J'burg route!
We have a laugh. Some more airplane talk about the old 72's and I tell him about the time I greased it in the box on the A320. Turns out he flew A320's as well as boeings and we revel in the differences in both the airplanes. I really like the Airbus design and their workflow even though Boeing guys love to hate it. He's happy with his 220 and we pull chocks.
I head home, throw a ribeye on the grill and go to bed early. I've got a busy day in the morning.
Saturday morning I wake up at 7AM and look at my to do list. Shit shower and shave. The gun show closes at 5. Lisa's wedding is at 6. The venue is at the lake 39 minutes from the VFW hall. I have a plan. I will leave STRAIGHT to the venue from the gun show and I'll put on dress clothes below the belt. After all, how often do you look at another man's pants? I throw on an HK black NO COMPROMISE Polo shirt untucked with a black alligator belt and Canali navy slacks with my new Allen Edmonds boulevards in black. Socks by Brumell and boxers by Fruit of the Loom. I walk into the VFW hall with a non iron Lauren white spread collar shirt, Ted Baker tie and Canali jacket slung over my shoulder. Nobody notices the pitter patter sound of leather soles on the concrete as the show starts coming to life.
It's 8:55. Lets get this show on the road.
The loudspeaker crackles and lets everyone in the hall know the doors are about to open up and asks us to check all our guns for ammo and zip ties. I get my table ready and pull out my 4473's on clipboards and check my pens. FFL in frame is standing up on the table, everything is tagged and tied. There will be no discharge of firearms at my table as a result.
9AM: Show opens. It's dead. Deader than dead. Like, life support dead. Typically there is a line from the entryway of the hall and around the building to get into the show every time.
This is not the show of years ago. This summer has been atrocious. I talked to the promoter and lots of vendors did not reserve tables for this and the next show. The numbers are way down.
Some people start to trickle in but it's not a good sign.
9:30AM: A fellow walks up and asks me if I have a Sig 226 TACOPS with TB in stock. I don't but vendors do. He drove 2 hours to this show to try and find one since his local place did not have it. They're on contract with sig and refuses to order one from distribution to make him happy and Sig has no idea when they're going to make more out of New Hampshire. Well, thanks to Ron Cohen making 26 SKU's for every single pistol - that's what you get.
9:41AM: Fellow wearing an INFOWARS shirt molests way too much merchandise on my table than I'm comfortable with. I shoot a knowing eye roll to Noah over at the next table. He's a 27 year old jewish gold bullion dealer from Long Island that votes libertarian and laughs at all my jokes. He adjusts his RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT banner hanging off the edge of his table as I wait for Finger McBangerson here to go away so I can wipe down all my stuff.
10:23AM: Guy walks up to me and he says he's looking for a shotgun for competition. I point him towards the SLP at the end of the table.
10:24AM: Older fellow walks up to me and says he's looking for a gun for his wife as he lifts up a Colt Commander. I tell him that will definitely kill his wife. Guy looking at the SLP cracks up laughing. Older guy looks at me mortified. Then he gets the joke. Asks me about suitability of a steel framed colt commander for her. I say probably not a good first choice. Perhaps you should send her to an NRA basic pistol class.
10:39AM: Guy asks me what's the best I'll do on a Glock 17L. I tell him the tag is already priced more than fair. He asks if he can buy it with cash if he can get a discount. I'm like let me see. I ask him if he's got a state CWL. He says yes. I take off $20. He says it's a deal, hands me a stack of money, current CWL and a California drivers license.
FC: Do you have residency in this state?
1: No, I'm here visiting for work
FC: And you want me to sell you a gun with a California drivers license and no residency?
1: DUDE! KEEP IT DOWN! Do you have any idea what would happen if people found out I didn't live here?
FC: YES I DO! They wouldn't be a party to you breaking the law!
I hand him all his shit back and tell him to get on the next flight to Fresno.
12:01 PM: Lunchtime. I pick up my sammich from Jersey mikes and nobody fails to interrupt me to throw money at me. This is not a very good sign.
12:16 PM: I am scarfing down the last of my sandwich as Infowars shirt guy comes back around. We chat a bit about 1911's and he eventually tries to convince me that I need to buy the water filter that Alex Jones is selling to keep us from turning homosexual. I tell him now I'm not gay, but look at these shoes. I pull my left hock up and put a nice shiny new Allen Edmonds boulevard on the table. He seems to recoil in horror. As he walks away, I tell him he didn't even notice that I had them straight laced! They're fabulous!
Nobody understands my humor.
12:33 PM: The vendor to the left of me is selling clothing offensive to the left. MAGA hats, anti snowflake shirts, ISIS hunting permit graphic tees, etc. I debate calling one of my guys and having "MAKE 45ACP GREAT AGAIN" hats made up. I call up r_shackleford and he thinks this is genius. We trade witty banter back and forth for a few minutes.
12:49 PM: The vendor in front of me is a gigantic pawn shop with 16 tables. There's a woman trying to sell them a rifle, and not succeeding at all. Sam looks over at me and points and says to her "you know, he buys guns too!"
FUCK YOU SAM.
FUCK YOU LONG.
FUCK YOU HARD.
The hambeast approaches and thrusts a rifle in my face. "WE BUILT IT CUSTOM" she says. "I NEED MONEY FOR CHEMO" she says. The barrel says 223 Wylde. The lower says Aero Precision. The price tag says $1500 OBO. I tell her she'd be lucky if she got HALF that in this economy. She complains that they really need the money and her two demon spawn that are traveling with her seem to be tired of her getting the same speech from every vendor in the hall.
NO YOUR GODDAMN HOMEBUILT 223 WYLDE AR15 IS NOT WORTH $1500
It's not even worth $750
It's worth MAYBE the same price as a new PSA rifle - $350, $450 tops if you threw in the little girl.
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The lady looks at me like a truck stop rapist and inevitably proclaims that SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S GOT. Words fail me. I shake my head as she walks away with her demon spawn and I shoot a look back at sam and mouth very carefully YOU FUCKER back at him. Sam cracks up laughing.
1:12PM: I'm asked if that's a Dead Air Sandman on my table. I say yes. Guy asks to look at it and explains to his friend that it's a DAA Sandman and talks about the mounting system.
FC: You know your stuff.
1: Yeah I just bought one.
FC: I'm the only DAA dealer around here, you don't look familiar. Who'd you get it from?
1: Silencershop. Used the kiosk at a dealer in another city 1.5 hours away
FC: Uh, I stock the sandman and would have made you a deal. Why'd you do go through them if you don't mind my asking?
1: Well it was a timesaver.
FC: How's that? I mean that place I know is an hour and a half away without traffic, so you made a trip there to do your stuff - then back. That's 3 hours. Then another 3 hours after your stamps clear - so that's 6 hours in a car total. I can call the PD, make an appointment for you to roll your prints and you're done in 15 minutes. Photos at CVS are another 15 minutes. How is 6 hours a timesaver instead of 30 minutes?
1: Well I just knew that if I had to make more than one stop I'd never do it, so it was spend 6 hours in a car and get it done in one shot or spend 15 minutes doing fingerprints or photos and being too lazy to do the other one and never sending in the paperwork. So this was the better choice for me.
FC: Uh. Okay?
1: Why don't you have a kiosk?
FC: I'm not paying $9000 for something that's going to save you time and cost me money and then have to deal with being tech support and having a device in my place of business that compresses my own margins. We're down to making $50 on a can from making $350. This isn't a position I'm interested in taking.
1: Well, sucks to be you. I'm buying all my cans from silencershop now!
FC: Enjoy your 6 hour drive.
1:30 PM: Man walks up with an old stainless combat commander colt. Series 70. No original box and sights. Looks well used.
Thinks I’m crazy when I say I won’t give him $1000 on trade.
1:39 PM: Guy comes back. Guy wants me to put a can on his 1917 eddystone that is not threaded. He asks what he can get for $150
1:45 PM: Lady picks up a Trijicon RMR and asks to turn it on. I shove a battery in it and turn it on.
1: This is a laser sight right?
FC: This is an RMR from Trijicon and RMR stands for Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sight - it uses a laser of sorts and projects it onto this lens here....
1: THIS COSTS $500? AND IT DOES NOT EVEN PUT IT ON THE TARGET?
FC: Well if you just look through the lens here you can see the red dot projected onto the glass.....
1: I CAN BUY A $30 LASER POINTER AND DUCT TAPE IT TO MY GUN AND I'D BE $470 CHEAPER AND IT WOULD PUT THE LASER ON THE BAD GUY! WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE YOU'RE TRYING TO SELL?
She walks away. My mouth is agape.
2:15PM: Old guy walks up and points at a Glock 34 I have on the table. MY FRIEND BOUGHT A GLOCK IN 89 WITH NYPD AND SHOT HIMSELF HOLSTERING IT. I DONT TRUST THE DAMN THINGS and shuffles away without me having time for a rebuttal
2:21PM: Someone walks up asking me if I want to buy a used les Baer Comanche. I tell him I buy when I can make money. I look at it. It’s clean.
He wants $1600. Street is about $1600, that's all the money. Street the gun sells for about $1799 NEW, which means I can buy it for less than $1600 new. I tell him this. He looks at me like Elizabeth Warren looks at Brett Kavanaugh and shuffles away. I shake my head as I notice a familiar face walk up. I can't place it. He looks at some guns.
2:25PM: I'm asked if I have a card from the familiar stranger. I reach down into my wallet and fish one out, I hand it to him and he smiles at me. It finally clicks.
FC: Dr Livingstone, I presume.
Doc: I haven't seen you in years, how have you been?
(The doc is FC's old therapist. He can't say hi to me walking around due to HIPAA but if I open a dialogue, it's okay)
FC: Eh, same old shit different day. I uh made some mistakes a few weeks ago and I thought of you.
Doc: Oh really? How so.
FC: Well uh. You remember that day when I told you to go back to the Office of the Bursar at UCLA and ask for a refund on your $125,000 post graduate education because it was nothing but academic detritus?
Doc: Well, I hadn't thought about it for a few years but it sounds like something you would say.
FC: It was right after you told me that I used 3 different quotes from 3 different academics in a span of less than 5 minutes to answer your question. You said that I intellectualize as a defense because I don't like getting close to people. I said you're full of shit. You asked me do I even know what intellectualize means? I said of course I know what it means, what do you think I'm some kind of idiot? Then you sat there grinning like a Cheshire cat at the thought of making me eat my own words.
Doc: Haha. Now, that sounds familiar. I remember that.
FC: Well I don't know how many patients are willing to say it but you were right and I was wrong.
Doc: I don't get much pleasure in hearing that, but did you learn anything about yourself?
FC: It took a few years to realize you may have been right all along but yeah.
Doc: Then what does it matter who's right or wrong as long as you learned something?
FC: Hmm. That's not bad. How's business?
Doc: Full appointment book and not taking new patients.
FC: I guess you could say it's........a little crazy?
Doc: I missed your humor. Tell me about this Glock 45...
I show him a few different guns and crack jokes about disgruntled patients. He says he'll think about arming himself what with crime and mentally unstable people being growth sectors in this post-trump apocalyptic nightmare. I tell him to be fore warned is to be fore armed. He seems reticent, but I can only lead the horse to water. I can't make him drink.
2:51PM: Fellow walks up.
1: I need a colt ladysmith. Do you have one?
FC: the colt or the ladysmith?
1: The colt ladysmith
FC: is it a colt or a smith?
1: smith
FC: which model?
1: the ladysmith!
FC: I know but I need to know what model. They put that on a bunch of different guns
1: it’s the one with writing on the side of the gun. It says. LADY SMITH on it. You know the one
I realize the strongest case for repealing the second amendment is spending a day talking to people at the gun show.
3PM: Two hours left to go! The end is in sight! I haven't sold a single fucking gun yet!
3:02 PM: Man walks up. Hey do you have the new Sig 925?
FC: You mean 365?
1: No the 925
FC: Sig does not make a 925
1: Yes they do, it's the new one.
FC: The 365?
1: No! The 925!
FC: Can you show me a picture?
1: It's the one on the magazine.
FC: Most of sigs guns have magazines.
1: I mean the one in print. It's on the cover.
FC: The cover of the periodical you mean?
1: Yeah! You know the new one!
FC: Well if it's on the cover, it should be easy to find on google. Can you show me a picture?
1: There's nothing coming up on google for the Sig 925
FC: Maybe perhaps its because it's the sig 365?
1: I'm telling you it's not that. It's the new one they just came out with. It's the 925.
FC: Care to make a wager?
1: No.
FC: If you bring me a photo I can try to narrow it down.
1: I'll find the magazine at home and bring it in tomorrow.
FC: Periodical.
1: Whatever.
3:11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUFSB2plwzM
3:12: Numismatist neighbor Noah asks me a question
Noah: Hey! What's a hi point?
FC: A cry for help!
(everyone laughs)
Noah: No I mean price wise?
FC: Like $100, they're garbage guns.
Me and Noah start talking. I am moving more and more libertarian every day. He's the treasurer of his local LP chapter in Suffolk county. For a jewish kid from Riverhead, we sure have a lot in common. We get into an animated debate on the virtues of Kelo v New London in that it was a shitty position for the town of New London to take Susette Kelo's house for redevelopment under eminent domain. If they wanted to redevelop it, for the government to use eminent domain is a government run amok. As a libertarian, he hates government overreaching - as someone who also hates that sort of thing, we are in very vocal agreeance.
The tshirt vendor is listening to us debate the merits of the case and how the SCOTUS created a TERRIBLE precedent regarding government using the takings clause and when we finish he asks us a question.
TShirtGuy: How the fuck do you two know so much about a supreme court case?
Noah: Well, when you went to college and you're an economics and pre law major....
FC: Let me make it simple. WE ARE NERDS!
Everyone has a laugh.
TShirtGuy: Speaking of funny, check this out! He holds up a shirt.
It says in big print on the front: the the reason gun shows exist is so women can know what it’s like for when they drag men to the mall
I chuckle.
3:13 PM: I get in an argument with the republican candidate for office of something or other on gun laws. He is stupid and he is going to lose.
3:23 PM: A nice lady walks up. She looks familiar. She looks at some guns and feels up a 226 and remarks how well she likes how it handles.
FC: You're Bernice, aren't you?
Bernice: Why yes I am! You do not look familiar. How do I know you?
FC: You're still working at the courthouse right?
Bernice: That's right!
FC: Judge Snyder, right?
Bernice: No! He moved up to the appellate circuit last month it's...
FC: Judge Reinhold! That's right, one of his JA's called me to buy a gun last month. I forgot Christine told me, you're right.
Bernice: Holy crap, you have an incredible memory. When was the last time you were in front of Judge Snyder?
FC: Four years ago. I was the one that filed the motion citing the big lebowski.
Bernice: OH MY GOD THAT WAS YOU? I remember that!
FC: Yeah and I had to go dumpster diving to get my phone back. Shit, was that really 4 years ago? Fuck.
We talk more about guns and stuff. She loves her old West German 226. I tell her that if she really wants to have some fun, she should ask Judge Snyder to tag along on his next range day. About two years ago, the judge called me up asking for some advice. He's Tet offensive era USMC and wanted a new toy to reach out and touch someone and was dead set on getting a new SR25.
I talked him out of it because SR25's are stupid expensive. I knew of another dealer that had a T&E 20" SR25 that they were looking to unload cheap and I told him that with the amount of money he'd save going to the T&E gun versus the new one - the delta would more than cover a Nightforce NXS, rings and mounting and that would save him money and be a good performer. I'm friends with his daughter on facebook and they both looked like they had a lot of fun ringing the gong at the gun club.
Bernice is impressed. Too bad she's not my type, we'd get along fantastically if I was 15 years older.
4 PM: 60 minutes left to this shit show.
4:04PM: The loudspeaker crackles. ATTENTION ATTENTION: BRETT KAVANAUGH HAS JUST BEEN CONFIRMED TO THE SUPREME COURT.
The proletariat rejoices and hooting and hollering typically reserved for the LSU game breaks out in the hall.
ALSO WILL THE RED JEEP PARKED IN THE FIRE LANE PLEASE MOVE - YOU ARE BLOCKING THE BBQ GUY FROM LEAVING. RED JEEP. MOVE OR YOU WILL BE TOWED.
4:11 PM: Guy walks up in civvies.
1: I wanna buy this but I’m not a state resident
FC: well what’s your deal? Give me some more to work with.
1: I’m from Texas but I’m in the military
FC: if you got your orders - PCS to any base in this state says you’re a state resident, but if you don't - I can't help you. I know a lot of guys don't travel around with their orders....
JUST AS I SAY THAT the guy pulls out a wad of hundreds out of his pocket and his PCS paperwork, signed, rubber stamped and billeted.
THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.
I give him the clipboard as I look at his paperwork. No blank spaces, approved change of station to Barksdale AFB, address reads base housing, everything is in order for the young airman.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT. THIS IS AMAZING.
Forms done correct on the first swing.
I AM WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP.
I call in the transaction and they tell me that the national system is down. NO IDEA WHEN IT'S GOING TO BE BACK UP.
I tell the USAF that the system is down and we can't do anything. He takes my card and hands me money and says just call him when it's ready to be picked up. Huh. Okay, he's cool with that. His girlfriend lives over here so he's back here every weekend. Done! I mark up the paperwork with some notes.
4:23 PM: One guy just walked up and told me that he had no idea HK made rifles. Apparently made a bunch of rifles a few years ago and stamped glocks name on them for Glock. Since Glock can't be found out to be making rifles. This captures the attention of another guy who asks me if my Glocks on the table have fluted firing pins. I tell him they do not make fluted firing pins. That makes no sense. He says yes they do make sense. They're fluted so they shoot underwater.
4:28 PM: Noah's table has someone in front of it debating buying some gold. As they delve into the discussion of gold and FIAT currency, I hear the following.
1: Bitcoin is a webpage. It’s like buying stock. Bitcoin issues shares and it dilutes so the price goes down.
Noah: I don't think that's how it works.
1: You’re basically buying a part of a big webpage
FC: This is like listening to someone try to explain that pi is exactly 3.
Noah: What's wrong with you?
FC: I am the Anthony Bourdain of the gun world. I eat, I drink and I yell at idiots.
4:45 PM It's getting close to show close, I need to get ready for the wedding. I grab my Lauren shirt that thankfully is non iron and just dressy enough to work and just casual enough to be worn without a tie if you need to and whip off my HK polo. I put on the shirt and tuck it in as I notice a lovely couple walk up out of the corner of my eye. Its Jim and Jane, Jane is a pharmacist that works at the hospital and Jim is a Gastroenterology resident at the hospital too. They buy lots of guns from me. I finish tucking in my shirt as we talk shop.
Jim wants 6 cans, 3 handgun and 3 rifle and wants to know what his options are. I rattle off all the options I would look at and I write some down on a legal pad for Jane to show him on the computer when he gets home. We talk 762 vs 556, 45 vs 9mm and direct thread vs QD for about 10 minutes as I tie off my blue Ted Baker tie into a Pratt knot. The apex of the tie just touches my belt buckle. Length is right on the money, and I didn't even have a mirror. Jane approves of my knot and color selection. Go me.
4:55 PM: Fabulousness achieved, I call back in and find out national system is still down. FUCK. Well this is gonna have to wait till tomorrow. I shove Airman Cecil O'Malley's paperwork under the table and start stowing stuff since the show is about to close.
4:59 PM: Table is covered up and FC is walking out the door as the announcement crackles over the loudspeaker. THE SHOW IS CLOSED. PLEASE LEAVE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR.
5:01 PM: On the way to the wedding! I stop at Target along the way because I've forgotten to get a card. I find one that says "It was meant to brie" on the front. It has some greeting card herpes, aka glitter on it but I have no time to be picky. As I'm in line to checkout I write something cheeky.
"I always said love was cheesy and I camembert it sometimes.....Love, FC"
The cashier scans it, I plug my amex into the card reader as I slip in a yard in there and seal up the envelope and slide it into my jacket pocket.
The ride to the lake breaks every speed limit in two counties.
5:45PM: I arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony is about to begin and the parking staff puts me in the back lot. I hike over to the open bar and get a fresca. I'm supposed to behave myself, so FC quit drinking and is just chilling with a fresca as he scans the room.
I know NOBODY at this wedding except the bride, groom and MAYBE the bride's massage therapist. Nope. I know nobody here. Awwwkward. I behave myself and sip on a fresca as the wedding starts. She gets married. She says yes. He says yes. FC is an ordained minister and can step up and marry someone in case there's an emergency but my services will not be needed at this wedding because things are going smoother than a cold filtered miller genuine draft. It's all good. The DJ announces the new couple and they walk down the aisle together as husband and wife for the first time. The music starts playing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNEgUPKxk7A
ITS HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ! I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO A WEDDING WHERE THEY PLAY THE COUPLE OFF TO HEAVY D! I mention this to the people sitting next to me and they're like it's just like hitch!
I'm like what?
They go on to explain to me that it's a movie. Starring Will Smith. Huh. Didn't see that one.
5:45 PM: The open bar and the food is coming out. I look around and I definitely do not know ANYBODY HERE. I need to eat and go home. I grab a plate of cocktail shrimp and some lobster sliders and sit down at a picnic table away from the crowd. I don't even notice a busty brunette with cleavage showing also sitting at the table staring at her phone across from me until she says hi.
1: Hi.
FC: Hi.
(I scarf down a lobster slider. Munch munch)
1: So how do you know the lovely couple?
FC: Well she was a friend of a friend and next thing you know I'm showing up to the Christmas party and the wedding. Then Seth is showing up and then they're getting married. You?
1: I work with Lisa, I'm a flight attendant. But I've been out of work for a few months. We had this thing at work. It's called a fume event. I happens when well uh how do I say?
FC: Contaminated bleed air via the pneumatic air conditioning kit - or PACK - gets into the cabin, causing all sorts of respiratory irritation and all sorts of other things for the crew. You're on the 320, right?
1: The airbus? Yeah. Me and Lise are also on the....
FC: 321 and the 319. Yeah, I'm familiar with the technology.
1: You're a pilot.
FC: Not exactly. I just know airplanes really well.
1: So you're an aerospace engineer.
FC: I wouldn't go that far. Hahaha. That's stretching it. A lot.
1: Let me get this right. You're friends with Lisa and Seth, you know airplanes, you're the only one at this wedding actually wearing a suit......
FC: To be fair, it's Louisiana in October. We're lucky most of the folks here aren't wearing Mossy Oak and Realtree.
1: Hahahahahhah! You must live in Baton Rouge!
FC: I do.
1: Me too! What part of the city? I live in (names neighborhood)
FC: I'm over in (neighborhood next to her)
1: OH MY GOD! That's 10 minutes from my house! So anyways, you're smart, you're funny, where have you been all my life? I'm Ally.
FC: I'm Will.
1: You wanna get dinner together? I literally do not know anyone else here and I was thinking about leaving before I met you.
FC: Uh sure. Lemme just top this fresca off.
1: I'll join you.
6:15 We're told by the bartenders to grab a ceremonial wedding tervis tumbler with a patch commemorating the happy couple's nuptials hermetically sealed inside. They didn't want a bunch of red solo cups going to the dumpster so they decided to ball out. I walk up to the table where there's literally 200 tumblers in varying colors to choose from and I grab a random one as Ally grabs one too. We head to the bar, she fills her with vodka and sprite. I top off with ginger ale because I'm staying sober and I have to drive 45 minutes back to casa de FC in BTR.
She asks me how I know so much about airplanes, I tell her it's been a lifelong obsession and I've done some ground school on the 320 and the 737 and I much prefer the 320. I ask her what's tough about her job and she tells me that most people don't know they only get paid when the doors close. I say yeah, block time is a real bitch sometimes. She looks at me like I'm crazy. I'm like what? She's like HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BLOCK TIME? I told you, I know airplanes. We chat some more as the crowd gets drunker and drunker and more ridiculous on the dance floor. Someone requested Strokin' by Clarence Carter and the DJ ACTUALLY PLAYED IT. Goddamnit Lisa! HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A DO NOT PLAY LIST? Wow.
7:10 PM We find some seats for dinner as the buffet opens up, I pile a bunch of chicken marsala and beef wellington on my plate and we head back to the table. She's only a few years older than me and cannot believe that I am single. She asks if I've tried tinder. I tell her the tinder story about me being stuffed into the back of a police car and it is met with raucous laughter.
1: So, do you dance?
FC: I do a lot of things, but I don't dance. Baton Rouge is the city that rhythm forgot.
1: I don't really dance either. As a matter of fact, I'm perfectly content to people watch all night with you here by my side.
Her hand ran down to touch mine. It had a ring on it.
FC: What does your husband think about that?
Next thing I know, Lisa and Seth have dropped by the table to say hello. They're taking pictures with everyone and we can't continue the conversation we were just having. Lisa dives in to hug Ally, Seth gives me a handshake, sips my drink and asks why there isn't any bourbon in that tumbler.
FC: Gotta behave myself. Long drive back home.
Ally: OH MY GOD LISA! Will is FANTASTIC! Where have you been keeping him? He's funny, he's amazing and he looks hot in a suit! If I wasn't married, he'd be the perfect guy!
(We're cut off by Lisa, she looks at me sternly.)
Lisa: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
FC: What?
Lisa: Yesterday! When I was getting my wedding dress fitted! You called me a half attractive woman.....
FC: It's not a normal occurrence! Most of the women who open my door are total heifers! For real! Take the compliment!
Lisa cracks up, and Seth who has had a few drinks laughs so hard that he damn near falls over. You can hear the cackle of his laugh carry across the lake. The best man props him back up and they all have a laugh. The wedding planner slides in and tells the bride that her cake has been outside of refrigeration for an hour and 15 minutes now and is structurally deficient. They need to cut it now before it collapses in upon itself like a black hole. Lisa grabs Ally, Seth grabs me and the rest of the table follows. We're now part of the wedding cake cutting crew.
7:15 PM: The entourage all takes their Instagram positions as Lisa cuts into her structurally deficient cake and Seth resists the urge to do anything cheeky and fun with frosting. It's cute, everyone toasts the newlyweds.
7:20 PM: I pull Lisa aside privately and I ask her - what the fuck is Ally's deal? "If I wasn't married he'd be the perfect guy?" WHO THE FUCK SAYS THAT? A married woman? At a wedding? To a guy she JUST MET?
Lisa: Look, I have no idea how her marriage is going or what her deal is. But just because there's a goalie doesn't mean you can't score.
FC: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?
Lisa: It means that maybe, if she's throwing herself at you......you should catch her. I gotta go throw the bouquet. Brb.
FC: .....
7:25 Lisa goes to throw her bouquet and Ally has found me and is back at my side.
1: Where were we? I was just saying to Lisa that I was wondering where a guy like you has been all my life? You are awesome.
FC: I am awesome, and you are married.
1: Yeah, I know. Come on, I really want you......I mean I really want you......to go photobooth with me. Come on, it'll be fun.
She grabs my arm and drags me to the photobooth and she puts ridiculous hats and stuff on me. I'm like no, I've been looking ridiculous enough from birth. i'm good. She literally begs me with puppy dog eyes and does that thing where she shows cleavage.
FC: Isn't this like against one of the ten commandments? Thou shalt not......photobooth with another man's wife?
1: Hmm. Yeah, I guess. You're really sweet though. If I was single, I'd be all over you right now.
FC: Who says that? Really?
1: So, answer me this. You're not an engineer. You're not a pilot. What do you do?
FC: Gun dealer.
1: So if I had something like an AR15 that needed some work, you'd be the guy to call?
FC: Maybe, depending on what you needed - there's a lot of things where I'll just tell you flat out what you're trying to do is uneconomical and a bad idea.
1: Well, I'd really like it if you could check out some of my equipment sometime.
FC, internal monologue: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE
FC, external monologue: Bring it by the gun show this weekend and I'll see what I can do.
I crack an uneasy smile as she gets up to go use the bathroom. I decide it's time to get the fuck out of here.
8:11 Making my escape plan proves to be a little tougher than I expected. The parking at the venue at the lake is dark and unlit and I have to navigate my way back to my car in the dark using the light from my phone. I reach into my jacket and I realize that their card is still inside. Fuck. I gotta go back. I turn around and head back to the gift table and I use some ninja recon skills I picked up in catholic school to make sure Ally is nowhere nearby. The coast is clear. I walk up to the little birdcage they have for cards, drop mine in confidently and get ready to turn on my heel and leave. I start making my way back to the parking lot when Seth is just walking out of the bathroom next to the gift table.
1: Hey man, you heading home?
FC: I am now, forgot to drop off your card.
1: Ally thought you left without saying goodbye to her, so she asked me for your number. I gave it to her.
FC: Oh dear lord.
1: What?
FC: Did you hear that woman? "If I was single, you'd be the perfect guy!" Those words are not in a vocabulary of any married woman I know.
1: Dude, you just gotta chill out and go with the flow man. It's not your marriage. If she wants a piece of you, cut her off a slice.
FC: Are you serious?
1: When I met Lisa, she was still married to Freddie. Look at us now, 7 years later and we're happy. You want to be happy, don't you?
FC: Yeah but....
1: No but's! Go storm the castle! I gotta go, but I'll catch you at the afterparty tomorrow night! You going?
FC: Yeah at your house right?
1: Yeah, what time the gun show wrap up?
FC: 4, so I'll be out by 5.
1: I got steaks going on the grill at 3, I'll get save a nice one for you. You still a medium rare guy?
FC: You know it!
1: I think Ally is gonna be there too, you two should get to know each other a little better.
FC: That's what I'm afraid of!
Seth goes back to his wedding, I hop in the car and drive home. It's almost 10PM as I approach the Jersey mikes by my house. I stop in to grab a sandwich for Sunday.
Just as I walk up I hear one of the sandiwch makers swear she's going to slit the throat of the next person who orders a sandwich. Eep. I tell her I need a giant 9. She starts making me one. I ask her if she's trying to get out of here right at 10? She says yeah, she's trying to catch the end of the Yankees/Red Sox game. I tell her my old man was from Brighton and my mom was from Elmhurst, so there's no love lost there. We have a laugh. She caught the Yankees pummeling the A's in the wild card on Wednesday. I whip out my phone and check the score for her. Yankees are up 6-2. I tell her she should be able to catch the end of it at home or whatever sports bar she's going to. She tells me she's going to the outback steakhouse the next block over to watch it and they better have the game on when she rolls up in 15. I tell her I'll do her one better. I dated the bartender there (once, she friendzoned me) and I'll message her on facebook to have it on for you. It is at this moment, I am asked for the second time that evening - from a strange woman I've just met - where have I been all her life?
I head home, throw my sandwich in the fridge and head to bed wondering WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?
Did FC like get game all of a sudden?
Donald Trump is President.
The Eagles won the super bowl.
You can't make this shit up.
I got one more day at the gun show too.
Postscript: As I write this, it's Columbus day and the Indians, the Redskins and Braves all got their asses handed to them.
We truly live in interesting times.
submitted by FirearmConcierge to guns [link] [comments]

2018 in Review: A Plateau of Shit

Welcome to my fifth annual Year in Review, in which I chronicle the previous in reddit, circlejerks, and circlebroke. And like the other years, this one was a doozy. So, without further ado, let me present to you...
2018 In Review: A Plateau of Shit
January
The #MeToo movement is still in full swing. The MO for 2018 remains the same, agreeing with anyone who speaks out against the movement and downplaying the actions of people they like.
A redditor takes m’lady out on a date, can’t let go of something minor, and ends up humiliating her in front of the staff. Mods decided that while something bad happened, he didn’t fuck up.
February
Remember Ugandan Knuckles? It was a flavor-of-the-week maymay that was pretty blatantly racist. Redditors decided to shit up /uganda, a place where people once had actual discussions about the country where they lived or visited, with their shitty memes.
Black Panther becomes the first major superhero movie with an all-black cast. Redditors open the racist floodgates, then proceed to get pissy about being accused of being racists.
Did you hear? Daddy Musk launched a car into space. This is such a big deal that reddit has to insult anyone critical of the occasion and also compare his struggle to bitcoin for some reason.
Another mass shooting, another song and dance about how of course guns aren’t the problem, idiot. Only this time, an extra helping of vitriol is directed at teenagers!
March
We did it circlebroke! Racist fake-news mill /uncensorcednews is permabanned!
Survivors of the Parkland shooting organized a nationwide anti-gun march which is like rage-filled catnip for anti-activist and pro-gun redditors.
April
Another Nazi getting punched in the face, another visit from the Volunteer Nazi Safety Brigade.
As a bonus, the events of previous months produced what it probably the cringiest writing prompt ever devised.
May
Rapper Childish Gambino made an music video for the song “This Is America.” It’s not subtle. White redditors dropped by to “well actually” about how it is a critique of black culture.
If only the powers that be listened to redditors, they could have prevented another school shooting, something that redditors know everything about.
In what is becoming a semi-annual occurrence, another swath of gamers pitched a shitfit about women and minorities appearing in their bideo bames. This time, gamers are so fed up after seeing a woman in the trailer for Battlefield V that they wish the Nazis had won WWII
June
CB mods declare Summerbroke. Is that even any different from regular CB?
Happy LGBTQ Pride Month! The World Health Organization removed being transgender as a mental illness. Reddit can’t be having any of that! (WHO also classified “gaming addiction” as a disorder, so there’s a bonus “gamers rise up” jerk in there too).
When virtually every nation on earth condemned the Trump administration’s policy of family separation, reddit chimed in with the usual cold-heartedness and whataboutism.
Some dipshit literally clamped his balls to a car battery and electrocuted himself in order to win a dumb online argument. Reddit has a new hero.
July
The EU was going to ban memes, or something. Reddit did nothing, and then patted themselves on the back once their may-mays were safe.
The founder of KiA scuttled the sub, disgusted at the cesspit of racism and sexism it had become. It took admins less than half an hour to get it up and running.
August
For much of 2017 and 2018, a certain portion of reddit became enamored with Jordan Peterson, a Canadian college professor who said stuff like “There are only two genders” and “All these pronouns aren’t necessary,” but with more words. Perhaps the biggest laff at the expense of Peterson fandom came from redditors who eat nothing but meat because of Peterson.
Certified conspiracy nut Alex Jones got his dangerously stupid and reactionary podcast pull from all the major carriers. Naturally, redditeurs got super mad about it.
The hacker behind 2014’s “The Fappening” scandal was sentenced to prison for his deeds. Queue up “Uptown Funk,” because for a moment it was 2014 again because redditors were back to victim blaming and downplaying the illegal actions.
Reddit’s favorite stand-up comedian, Louis C.K. performed his first stand-up since his #MeToo fall from grace. Time for some revisionist history!
Gamers are still worked up about Battlefield V. One of them calls the Nazis the quote-unquote “bad guys” of WWII
September
Reddit still hates Black Panther
The G in Gamer stands for genocide because a gaming conference held part of an event specifically for women and non-binary people.
More GamerGenocide: A white video game character might have dark skin in the coming TV adaptation. Literal racism.
More tech-bro drama: Linux developers revamp their Code of Conduct. The techbros of /linux can’t possibly be expected to be inclusive and not harass people!
We did it, reddit! An alt-right sub and a hate sub get banned. Later in the month, more shitty subs get quarantined. But what about SRS?
October
Americans of all backgrounds and politics had strong feelings about the Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. On reddit, the feeling was one of a hard-won victory in the face the ever-present threat of false accusations.
A disciple of Daddy Peterson brought his girlfriend to one of the professor’s lectures and she dumped him. WARNING: Hilarious, but possibly fake.
Gamers are trash, more at 11: While the Trump Administration was busy finding new ways to strip trans* people of their civil rights, a game distribution platform used the resistance hashtag in a cruel, ironic way. Naturally, gamers showed more cruelty and cluelessness in response to the ensuing controversy.
November
Midterm elections happened! When a record number of black women are elected, redditors step in to tell you why that’s a bad thing
Gamers are trash, chapter VIII: Nothing much happened in November because everybody was busy playing Red Dead Redemption 2. When a gAmEr posted a video of him attacking a suffragette and feeding the body to hogs, he got banned from youtube. The RDR sub valiantly came to his defense.
Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re a vegan, you can expect redditors dropping into the vegan sub to lecture you about pushing your “nonsense” on “regular folks”...and then get gilded for it.
Freeze Peach in action: In a victory for edgelord Nazi kids everywhere, some edgelord Nazi kinds giving the Nazi salute in a group photo won’t face any repercussions. Reddit rejoices.
December
Reddit still hates Black Panther.
It’s a tale as old as time: Beloved youtuber-gamer descends into the alt-right rabbit hole, says inexcusable stuff on his podcast, disappears for ten months, makes a crappy video, is welcomed back by the youtuber-gamer-watcher community
Speaking of beloved youtube-gamers, PewDiePie and his fans continue to be garbage.
Analysis
I’ve got some bad news, and some good news.
The bad news: 2018 sucked. Being on reddit in 2018 sucked.
The good news: Being on reddit in 2018 sucked about as much as being on reddit in 2017 sucked.
Things didn’t get noticeably worse this year, plus there wasn’t any large scale drama like Ellen Pao stuff or FPH stuff back in 2015 (my, what a long time ago that was). In 2016 and 2017, reddit became a haven for the alt-right and a nerve center for targeted harassment campaigns. In 2018, more of the same shit was happening, but at more or less the same level we were accustomed to. The Nazis and trolls were still in every nook and cranny, but it seems like they ran out of gamers to indoctrinate or new nooks and crannies to invade. Plus, a few notable cesspools got banned or quarantined. The levels of shit just kinda plateaued. Presently, we stand on a giant plateau of shit. There's shit in every direction, as far as the eye can see. Things could have been better, of course. But things probably could have gone even worse. At least we aren't starting up a mountain of shit.
We survived it.
We got used to it.
You know, like a frog gets used to boiling water.
May we all have a safe, happy, healthy, and sane 2019.
Further Reading:
2017 in Review: Reddit’s Reckoning with the Alt-Right
Reddit In Review 2016: As Nasty As They Wanna Be
2015 in Review: Reddit’s Collision With Civil Society
2014 in Review: Reddit, Circlejerks, and Circlebroke
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