Do you know about the BTCP fork occurring today? This fork can affect the entire crypto market and everyone should have it on their radar whether or not you have investments in it or not.
Understanding the short and long-term consequences of the fork that started two days ago creating Bitcoin Private is vital for everyone to understand. This is not just any fork, but one which anyone who has investments in any crypto such as Bitcoin, BitcoinZ, Litecoin, Ripple, ZCash, ZClassic, Monero, Cardano, etc must watch closely. We will discuss what this fork is and why it is important to pay very close attention to it on a weekly basis.
I was not planning a post on this coin for some time, but after seeing not much coverage about it and also coverage that lacks much information beyond what you will find through Google. My goal for Steemit posts was to avoid a lot of coverage on these kinds of non-utility coins. I did delay a post I was going to put up on 2/26 on easily mineable coins, so I could focus my energy on helping people understanding why the forces at play with the BTCP fork need to be understood.
In chess a royal fork is when a single piece attacks the opponents king and queen at the same time or the most important pieces in the game. The BTCP fork is much like a royal fork in chess as it has the power to attack multiple important coins at the same time. There are not many articles taking into consideration many factors that make this different than Bitcoin Cash or the Bitcoin Gold fork. This post is not meant to tell you to buy at this price and sell at another, but instead help you understand the project and think about the potential impacts that this coin could have.
ZICKLE IS NOT A TYPE OF PICKLE
For those of you completely unaware the ZCL price jump from a few dollars to over two hundred dollars was heavily caused by the announcement of the BTCP fork which required holding ZCL to receive the new currency.
WILL THE REAL BITCOIN PLEASE STAND UP?
What makes Bitcoin Private any different?
1) TEAM BEHIND THE PROJECT
2) TEAM WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT
3) NOT JUST ANOTHER BITCOIN FORK
4) EXCHANGE SUPPORT
5) MINING POOL SUPPORT
6) SIMILAR COINS
7) ITS NOT ALL ROSE FOR ZK-SNARKS
9) CRITICAL MASS POTENTIAL
A FEW MEMBERS OF THE MASSIVE Bitcoin Private TEAM
You will get older and there will always be younger more hungry people right behind you waiting for you to slow down. Bill Gate’s seemed to understand this and solved the problem of his own aging by making sure that he surrounded himself with the hungriest and smartest people he could find to be a part of Microsoft. Rhett is still young, but understands the importance of bringing in people from many areas. When you look at the team carefully you can see that it is full of very bright people with diverse backgrounds. I know that for some of them there is no way to verify this, but the team as a whole is unlike any other I have seen before.
Rhett Creighton- The best way to describe this person is like taking the best of Steve Jobs visionary prowess, Bill Gate’s unparalleled business sense, and the intellectual capacity of someone like Nikola Tesla all merged into a single person. This is a guy who has spent time turning his brain into a giant algorithm capable of tackling any problem put in from of him. Now that he is done crawling around MIT’s hallways he is leading the charge towards bringing cryptocurrency to the masses.
He has a bachelor’s in Physics and a masters in Nuclear Engineering, both from MIT. Rhett is a very rare breed of immense technical expertise combined with an already finely tuned business acumen. He also seems to be highly adaptable like an Elon Musk where he can pick up new things at a rate which would make most of us feel mentally challenged.
While at MIT he created Snipe Swipe in the early days of Ebay which automatically bid on auctioned items seconds before they would end. While studying he gained more experience than most would in the business world 5 years after they finished school. He has a long history of being involved in crypto and blockchain development, from providing contributions to the development of Bitcoin and working on things like clearing and settlement for U.S. equities in the stock market. Rhett is already very well known to those within the crypto world, but even those people may not appreciate that his is a person capable of making crypto mainstream while hurdling regulatory minefields.
Jacob Brutman, Ph.D.- At first glance he is just chemistry doctorate who is running operations? After some brief digging you will find that he has a lot of experience in computing and areas of mathematics which have to do with computing. He seems more than capable of understanding the complexities of dealing with zero knowledge proofs.
Chris Sulmone – A University of Pennsylvania graduate with a long verifiable history of development experience through GitHub. His experience in development of trading applications and handling data makes him a valuable resource.
I know there are others mentioned which should be here, but there is no point in going into each and every one of them. You can see the team yourself on https://btcprivate.org/team.html.
ZERO KNOWLEDGE SECURITY LAYER
I am a huge fan of the technology and I do not think the world has scratched the surface of how zero knowledge security layer can be applied for other utility coins. Most people know this as zk-SNARKs or zero knowledge. When people stop getting stuck on the privacy and anonymity of the technology they will begin to comprehend the more abstract applications/efficient scaling it can bring to the world. A very simple explanation for those of you who are completely unfamiliar with the technology beyond it offering privacy think about this… If you have special machine which stores massive amounts of information that you can ask “yes” or “no” questions to how nice would that be? What if the machine stored the data in a special way so that it could not be wrong and you could always take its answer as being 100% true? You would never need to see the supporting information or double check its answer. Do not think about it simply from a technological standpoint, but a general operational point of view. I don’t care what you do for a living or if you are a stay at home parent. There are things you do throughout your day where you need to verify something at some point on a daily basis. zk-SNARK’s as a technology is in its infancy, but it’s potential scope goes well beyond cryptocurrency.
WHO WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT
When playing poker you need to factor in potential for hand improvement for yourself and your opponents. There is a factor which I have not seen mentioned in many other ZCL/BTCP posts that applies to the future of BTCP in a similar way. Those of you active in the BitcoinZ (BTCZ) community are well aware of the ties that BTCZ has to ZCL. The BTCZ community came together to help ZCL right before the announcement of their plans. If you are not familiar look at the BTCZ wallet and the ZCL wallet release right before ZCL took off. Making the assumption Rhett has a strong charismatic influence and factors like BTCZ’s early involvement bring up some important questions? How many people has Rhett managed to network with within the zero-knowledge based coin community (ZCash, HUSH, BTCZ, etc)? How many other people are assisting behind the scenes that we do not know about? Please don’t take this as a conspiracy theory or something that is intentionally being hidden. This is more on the level of Rhett or other team members knowing other really smart people who see them as a bright people and are happy to help them or allow them to bounce ideas off of them.
Consider the following:
-If there are people involved with other zero knowledge based coins involved does this coin have the power to have them focus their energy on BTCP instead of what they are working on? Part of this question comes down to figuring out if BTCP could rally other zero knowledge proof crypto projects into a single combined effort. This doesn’t mean the other coins have to be ditched, but similar to the way BTCZ worked on the ZCL revival if that spread to other coins the group effort has the power to topple Bitcoin.
-Who is involved in this project outside of crypto circles or watching it carefully to utilize zero knowledge security with zk-SNARKs? Zero knowledge security’s impact in the future will be huge. The power of ZSL to automate things efficiently across different platforms is huge. We are only beginning to look at cross chain technology, therefore we do not really understand how this will change the network effects of two separate token networks when they are able to interact with each other with ZSL. What happens when BMW’s token network talks to that of the Bosch token network? Bosch has already announced their plan to use IOTA’s tangle because they likely understand where the future is headed. The point here is the ZSL cryptocurrencies have yet to see this exponential growth.
So again, ask yourself who is not involved or interested in the project that you have not thought about. When a large company like BMW wants to incorporate all the new technology Bitcoin inspired like ZSL, what team of people will they talk to? Notice how BTCP has MIT grad with a major in Physics and masters in Nuclear Engineering or a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a team with a diverse background.
NOT JUST ANOTHER BITCOIN FORK
This is not like the Bitcoin Gold or Bitcoin Cash fork. The Bitcoin Cash fork was the result of infighting amongst the bitcoin community. Other forks like Bitcoin gold were created to coexist with Bitcoin leveraging the same technology. Most importantly the other forks have been built off of the same underlying technology for the most part. Bitcoin Private is built on Zero Knowledge Security Layer with which is a completely different technology. Unlike Bitcoin, Bitcoin Private can be completely anonymous. This fork is the zero knowledge community bringing their better tech and trying to leverage control of the Bitcoin brand value. Many of the scaling problems Bitcoin suffers from is much better handled by the underlying technology for Bitcoin Private.
BTCP EXCHANGE SUPPORT
I really do not worry about what exchanges will list a coin and which will not. In the long run where you can buy and sell a coin will not have as great of an impact on a coin as most people think if the coin is useful. In this case though, it is clear the Bitcoin Private team have gone to great lengths to make sure this coin is available on many exchanges. Many people were spreading FUD about BTCP having no support from major exchanges. This project will be eventually get listed everywhere if it isn’t available when the network goes live tomorrow. Again, look at the team and the developers capable of helping exchanges get this added, look at the care they took legally to not announce exchanges at the start, this project obviously wants this listed everywhere it can be within reason.
Keep in mind that just because there is a large amount of exchange support does not mean the price of BTCP will sky rocket immediately and nor does it imply that it won’t. It just makes it more easily accessible and more decentralized which are important things when growing a token network in the long run. BTCP could crash if all of the people with large Bitcoin holdings sell it off to buy more Bitcoin or something else. The price could get pumped up by a large group of people, then dumped. The price could just go flying sky high from the start stabilizing over $1,000.
THERE IS NO WAY OF KNOWING, INVEST IN THE PROBLEM THE PROJECT IS SOLVING, NOT THINGS LIKE NUMBER OF EXCHANGE LISTINGS.
I plan to buy in and HODL this coin every time it dips for a long-term investment. There are dangers of this coin being listed on many exchanges for those newer to cryptocurrency because it can be easier for people to try and manipulate the prices. For most of you, if you plan to invest do it for a long-term hold. This has the potential to dethrone Bitcoin in the long run, and therefore it could be a rare chance to buy something with close to Bitcoin like potential when it cost only a few hundred dollars.
BTCP MINING POOL SUPPORT
A major piece of a token network that is secured through mining are the miners. The more miners the better it is as long as they are spread out among different mining pools. This way a single pool does not become too powerful. That aspect has clearly been planned very well with most the large mining pools having listed BTCP prior to the launch and having run test nets in preparation. That is not something you see often if your new to crypto. The massive amount of mining power taken away from ZCL is likely going to be pointed at BTCP.
Can you tell where the fork occurred on the network hash rate chart above? Basically, the network hash rate shows how many mining machines are on the network. The more machines on the network the higher the hash rate. Based on the fact that most miners will mine a coin based on its current market price, mining ZCL at low profitability with the idea of holding it could be a very smart idea. Many of the pools that they have reached out to are the major ZSL cryptocurrency mining pools. This project clearly has a wide array of support amongst the mining community as a whole which is very important for its long term potential.
What are other privacy centric coins that utilize zk-SNARKs?
ZeroCash- For simplicity let’s just say this is where zero knowledge took off. Zooko Wilcox and Matthew Green are some of the members of the founding team. What you need to know is there are multiple mathematical geniuses working full time on solving some mind-boggling problems 24/7, striving to continually improve the ZCash protocol. zk-SNARKs is insanely complicated and I only know enough about it to know I don’t know anything about it. I would question most people on the planet who tell you they know how zk-SNARK’s works. As new discoveries and improvements are made the other coins based on this technology will follow it.
BitcoinZ- This is a new entrant in the scene, which I would rank as number 3 compared in terms of cryptocurrencies with potential. Second only to ZCash and Bitcoin Private. Keep in mind that the development pods of BTCZ helped ZCL with its revival. The major difference between BitcoinZ is that most of its maximum supply has yet to be mined, and it also has a 21 Billion supply compared to the 21 Million maximum supply for BTCP.
HUSH- This is basically a payment coin like the rest except they have a messenger and additional technology too. Has some potential, but not really comparable to ZCash or BTCP. The team is at an enormous disadvantage compared to the other projects, but I would keep a close eye on it as it has potential.
ZClassic- One of the main reasons this was created was because of the founder fees from ZCash that many people did not like. This is also where BTCP came from, the same people behind ZCL are now focusing on BTCP. ZCL isn’t going anywhere and it is likely many other new coins will try to copy BTCP and fork it in a similar fashion. I would be very cautious of anything that forks ZCL in the future as there will probably be many scams coming soon boasting similar potential to BTCP.
ZEN- This is a ZCL fork and similar to HUSH it also offers a secure messenger. Though unlike HUSH it has a decentralized organization which means everyone can contribute towards the development of the coin.
Some things to keep in mind:
-Many crypto currency’s will list unique features and why they are different, but in reality many things people highlight about these coins are not as unique as you may think. Some of you may have noticed how I mentioned a messenger for HUSH and ZEN was something unique. While there are some unique things they are legitimately trying to do. The secure messenger utility is added to most whitepapers or marketing materials to fluff it up. Reading about coins unfortunately is not always enough to evaluate their future or impact on other coins.
-As zk-SNARK’s coins become more common you will probably also see things about how they are focused on things like scalability. That’s for the most part misleading as the underlying technology created by the ZCash team is what is solving the scalability problem, not the forked coin. The same could be said for the other ZCash forks.
- The zk-SNARK’s coins as a whole have not really taken off yet in the grand scheme of things. There seems to be a consolidation of resources starting to occur amongst these coins to work together. As a result there is a good chance that one of them could explode in the near future. When one does take off it will probably bring 1-2 other coins with it. Personally, my money is on ZCash, BTCZ, and BTCP, with BTCP as the front runner even though it is the newest of the group.
ITS NOT ALL ROSES FOR ZK-SNARKS
zk-SNARK’s technology is not perfect especially when it comes to decentralized projects like cryptocurrencies or token networks. JP Morgan/Chase is using ZSL, but it is private. In the wild zk-SNARK’s has problems you should familiarize yourself with. I am not going to go over all of them, but one of the problems is especially concerning.
KNOWING THE TEAM BEHIND ZCASH PROTOCOL BASED COINS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
One of the problems that is currently being solved by the ZCash team is that of “cryptographic toxic waste”. To put it as simply as possible, when you first implement zk-SNARK’s there is a piece of information that will be required to get it started. If that piece of information is not destroyed after it is started, the person who has that information can mint new coins without mining them. They can also do this without being detected. If they go overboard obviously the massive influx of coins may lead to suspicion when the price crashes, but there isn’t a way to know it is happening. While having the secret piece of information does not change the privacy features of the coin, it can be used for pump and dump scams. For the time we do not see many zk-SNARKs coins because it is 100 times easier to fork Bitcoin or build something off of Ethereum. You don’t have to worry about this problem with Ethereum and Bitcoin, while with zk-SNARKs coins you do.
When creating ZCash there was a special ceremony where the piece of information used to get zk-SNARKs implemented was split up amongst many people. Each of them entered their part which no one else knew and then destroyed it. This means only 1 person had to be honest and destroy their piece of the information and the network would be secure. To compromise this method every single person involved would need to work together and not destroy their piece of information. The ZCash team is working on a secure way to implement zk-SNARKs without having to enter that piece of information or have a level of randomness that cannot be compromised.
What does this mean? A coin like BTCZ as much as I love it could be a scam and no one would know it for a long time. The creator could just be sitting back minting themselves coins and selling them without anyone knowing. With that in mind the only two projects with the smallest risk of this being a problem would be ZCash and Bitcoin Private. Again, this is where the team involved is much more important when dealing with zk-SNARKs coins as opposed to other ECDSA based coins like Bitcoin forks or Litecoin (Scrypt) forks.
The ZCL/BTCP team has put a lot of time and planning into branding, but it isn’t an overload of hype like most coins out there. The team seems to understand the importance of building a brand the way McDonalds would and the cycle of updating that will come a long with it. This is a major factor for me when looking at coins. They could have gotten a lot more attention using the methods of the other coins and even gotten the price of ZCL pumped up very high prior to the fork, but they didn’t. I respect them for that. As an example, I feel that BTCP will be more like Stellar Lumen when it comes to not spamming news of new partnerships that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Whereas something like Ripple does it all the time. I may be completely wrong here, but I have a feeling BTCP may set a new standard for branding. I get this feeling it will be run like a Rockstar Wharton graduate is in charge, as opposed to the slimy Wall Street and Forex types creating the marketing you see from many other big projects.
Understanding the network effects at play in any cryptocurrency will come down to being able to predict if the token network will be able to reach a critical mass where enough users adopt and use the technology. There are only a handful of cryptocurrencies currently that have reached what might be a critical mass where the network is able to grow exponentially because it is big enough with enough transactions utilizing the cryptocurrency or token. I personally do not think anything in the cryptocurrency space has hit that critical mass, not even Bitcoin. Keep in mind that high price or market cap does not mean critical mass has been reached. If the token network effects are not allowing the cycle to repeat, it hasn't reached that tipping point. For all practical purposes Bitcoin has turned into an investment and lost its purpose of being able move money around some time ago.
While I have been involved in cryptocurrency for a long time, there has never been a project that has excited me outside of my own. Don’t get me wrong, I really like a lot of stuff out there like Ethereum and the innovation that projects like that are brining into the crypto arena. Though as a whole there are some problems I do not agree with Ethereum about. Bitcoin Private is by no means perfect either, for example by airdropping tokens to all the Bitcoin users there could be unforeseen consequences down the road with a small percentage of people controlling the majority of the circulating supply of a coin. Many of the current Bitcoin whales know who the other Bitcoin whales are and that problem has been transferred to BTCP also. On the other hand the Bitcoin brand and name is the most likely in my opinion to have the best chance of helping cryptocurrencies go mainstream. Many people fault Bitcoin Private for forking Bitcoin like everyone else, but when you look at the project as a whole I think it was a smart decision. If the BTCP is able to hijack the masses into discarding Bitcoin and focusing on BTCP, then I think that it will be a good thing for cryptocurrency in the long run. BTCP solves many problems and most importantly already has a large diverse team of experts unlike any other cryptocurrency out there. Don’t get me wrong there are ICO’s and crypto’s out there with star studded line ups of advisory panels and people with experience in the VC space. BTCP to me seems to be made up of a bunch of young Mark Zukerburg’s and Bill Gates. Not from the age point of view, but as a group as a whole when you look at how they have functioned so far as one. When you look at the team it doesn’t feel padded like other projects often come across.
Key Takeaways About Bitcoin Private
- One area where the cryptocurrency community fails is the ability to identify problems in achieving their goals. For example most projects just hate banks or do not want to make changes that they don't feel are needed that could decrease friction for greater adoption by the general public. An area where I feel the BTCP team can beat out other cryptocurrencies is through changing the public perception of cryptocurrency. Bill Gates see's nothing good about cryptocurrency. If the BTCP team also places a small emphasis on real world applications cryptocurrency can help with, such as things which are not for profit, but a social good, then they will be on top.
IN FACT, I CHALLANGE THE BTCP TO PROMOTING SOCIAL SIDE PROJECTS LIKE CRYPTOCURRENCY APPLICATION TO EDUCATION.
I have never met Jacob Brutman of the BTCP team, but researching about him makes me feel that he would be very good at spearheading a social side project like this. Show the world how cryptocurrency can solve social problems we struggle with. Win the public by relating to what hits at home for them on a daily basis. How can cryptocurrency and token network effects be applied to things like education? If you need a hint think about Steemit and how it incentivize's things and disincentivize's things. Now apply that to the funding for schools and how our test based system continues to fail us. Republicans cannot solve it and Democrats can't solve it. Looking at the members of the BTCP team, I feel like many of them would easily be able to tackle these sorts of problems. This is part of what I mean when I say the team is diverse, both in a direct technical sense, but also indirect things they bring to the table.
I would argue that the philanthropic value of their work would be worth more than ANY amount of money Bill Gates may throw at a problem. Bill Gates has a lot of money, giving it away is not really a sacrifice for him. If Bill Gates used his real strength and got down and dirty like when he was starting Microsoft to solve the causes he cares so much about, he would leave a much longer lasting impact than measuring the philanthropic impact of his work on the quantity of resources he has provided.
-Another problem is that we need to differentiate the Zooko's and Matthew Green's of the world from something like the Bitcoin Private team. The ZCash team are once in a generation type people who are building the underlying technology, but the fact that they have build the technology does not mean their cryptocurrency will win. (I am not saying it won't either) What I am saying is that while the underlying technology is important, there is more to building a cryptocurrency than the work the ZCash team is doing. You cannot say BTCP is just taking what ZCash is doing, copying it and stealing the Bitcoin brand while they are at it. The work they do on the wallet, the relationships they build, features they incorporate into their cryptocurrency are all things that can make BTCP different.
- If you own any zk-SNARK’s coins, then keep an eye on the other coins as well as BTCP. You are looking out for support of other projects decreasing and a more focused push from other coins developers placing their support behind BTCP.
- I don’t believe the great crash has come yet and do not believe we are currently in it. Most likely this year Bitcoin will reach astronomical high’s which are not realistic. It will heavily be caused by a mentality of wanting to not miss out on the action. As this happens the number of uneducated users will enter the crypto space pumping up the price of not only Bitcoin, but many other cryptocurrencies. It will be a bubble and it will pop, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Bubbles are almost a guaranty when your dealing with world changing technology because everyone will want to not miss out and drive prices beyond where they should be. When Bitcoin does go parabolic, it will come crashing down harder than we have ever seen. It is during this recovery that BTCP will need to make its sprint to the top. The smartest thing they could do is ride the wave up and prepare for the crash that must come. If they plan it correctly they have the power to take over the market. To be perfectly honest, I feel a lot more comfortable having a crawling Rhett and his team represent me as a member of the crypto currency than I do the unpredictable powers of Bitcoin core. - Miners should keep an eye out for BTCP as it could become a good mining opportunity it even if it is not profitable currently, because of it’s high potential for large increases in value in the future. Specifically, watch out for Ethereum’s move to PoS and figure out where the miners are going. If they all jump onto BTCP, then it may not be as attractive of an opportunity.
- A good buying opportunity will come when Bitcoin goes parabolic and starts a rapid ascent to new unsustainable prices. You will know this is happening when Bitcoin is increasing in value rapidly and other coins are being dumped rapidly to catch the waive. BTCP in particular may see a massive sell off from the BTC whales.
- Keep an eye on ZCash and BTCP moving forward. BTCP definitely needs the team of once in a generation type brains working on zk-SNARKs technology for ZCash, but at the same time I feel as if BTCP has a strong opportunity to surpass ZCash within the next year in terms of market cap. If this happens it will be interesting to see if ZCash’s focus shifts to helping companies like JP Morgan/Chase implement use of their protocol privately or continue under the ZCash brand. I doubt that the team involved will ditch ZCash, but it is important to understand that it would be detrimental to BTCP. People like Matthew Green, Zooko Wilcox, Madars Virza, Ian Miers, etc are smart beyond most people’s ability to understand how insanely smart these people are. Honestly, outside of the ZCash team I doubt there is a team that exists on the planet can do what they are currently doing. There are not many people on the planet that have the intellectual capability to do what they do let alone specialize in the areas that allow them to do what they do.
- Lastly, miners should keep an eye on ZCL as it will likely be used for similar forks resulting in some price spikes. There won’t be much mining power focused on ZCL moving forward. One thing to watch for are sustained spikes in the network hash rate for ZCL as it could be someone preparing to fork or with inside knowledge of an upcoming fork announcement.
I hope that this post helped you to understand BTCP and also why it is important for everyone to keep close watch of this project. This is not just another Bitcoin fork like Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin Gold, I for one am excited to see this project succeed.
Do not forget to follow @ByzantineHash for my future posts. Feel free to provide feed back in the comments.
Disclaimer: I have holdings in ZCL, BTCP, ZCASH, BITCOIN, BTCZ, as well as other cryptocurrencies. The information in this post is not meant as investment advice.