News: NiceHash, credit cards cut off cryptos, Ethereum predictable “random” numbers, deanonymising Tor, Bail Bloc

  • NiceHash announces: it will fully reimburse users whose mined bitcoins were stolen in the hack! Of course, you may have to keep mining with NiceHash — “Conditions for payment to external wallet addresses do apply with the Repayment program. When you reach 0.01 BTC you are eligible for payment.”
  • More banks won’t be letting people buy cryptos with credit cards any more — they’re too risky. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. Discover has joined them — “It’s crooks that are trying to get money out of China or wherever. Or if someone steals our credit card numbers they’re going to ask for payments in Bitcoin. Those are the only use cases I’m actually seeing today.”


  • William Shaw reviews Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. “Crisp, witty, and refreshingly clear-sighted, it is the single best thing I have read about the Bitcoin/blockchain racket, even if it occasionally assumes a bit more technical knowledge than is perhaps reasonable.”
  • Shaw also has nice reviews of my co-conspirators’ books Neoreaction a Basilisk and The Basilisk Murders — “As premises go, ‘stranded on an island with the alt-right’ is surely one of the most nightmarish in recent memory.” I also reviewed it elsewhere in November. Currently reading Andrew Hickey’s new one, The Glam Rock Murders (UK, US), which so far nails the classic rock scene much as the first one nailed the right-wing transhumanists.
  • In further stream-crossing, Scott Alexander returns to LessWrong to write about cryptos. With a single clear point, and in less than 6,000 words. His thesis is that it’s a failure of rationality not to have gone all-in with Pascal’s Wager, which is how we ended up with Roko’s basilisk. His 2018 Slate Star Codex survey had a question for how much you’d made from cryptos, and no option for having lost on them. Yudkowsky disagrees, FWIW: “I find it amusing to be sure that the LessWrong forum had a real-life Pascal’s Mugging that paid out.”
  • From the comments, it seems that MIRI and CFAR, the people valiantly defending us against basilisks, are getting lots of donations in cryptos these days, and particularly from Vitalik Buterin. Looks like I need to get cracking on Roko’s Basilisk, before Tom Chivers steals my thunder …



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