When special counsel Robert Mueller broke his silence in May, his main point was that his long-awaited report spoke for itself. But the report is 448 pages long. So Lisa Desjardins and William Brangham decided to dig into what the findings say – and what they don’t. Here, in less than 30 minutes, are all of the most important points from the Mueller report.
An under the radar thing is taking place… major companies are accepting crypto in their retail stores through an app called Spedn. Companies like Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Crate and Barrel, Express, GameStop, Jamba Juice, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot & OfficeMax, Petco, Regal Cinemas, Ulta Beauty, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, and Starbucks. In total, nearly 100 stores are expected to start accepting bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies via the Spedn app by the end of this year.
This is a huge deal for early adopters and a bigger deal for retailers who will be using it. Why? For one, cryptocurrency transactions are permanent. So this removes chargeback disputes that the retailer has to worry about.
Consulting firm Javelin Strategy estimates that chargebacks cost merchants $31 billion in 2017.
Crypto will also upend the fees of the existing payment industry. To give an idea of what’s at stake, $5.93 trillion in traditional credit card payments resulted in $88.39 billion in fees in the U.S. alone, according to a 2017 Nilson report. Average interchange fees in 2017 ranged between $0.22 and $0.52 depending on the transaction value and the percent fee. A larger transaction could end up costing significantly more. With crypto… it’s currently around $0.04 USD. As new technologies like the Lightning Network, Liquid Sidechain, etc. these could go even lower.
Jan 3rd is the 10th birthday of the Bitcoin genesis block. On that day, the Times led with “Chancellor on brink of
The genesis block contains the first 50 BTC block reward mined by Satoshi Nakamoto and was designed so that it can never be spent (all other mining rewards attributed to Satoshi still hasn’t been touched). Satoshi believed the old model of monetary philosophy was failing, so he built a new one without all of the controls and hazards that can lead to the debasement of fiat currencies with reckless printing practices.
His intent is covertly coded into the genesis block. Embedded in the hexadecimal code on the genesis block’s
The message is a direct allusion to the headline for The Times the day Bitcoin launched. As the article details, Alistair Darling, the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, was debating a second bailout for U.K. banks. This capital infusion would come nearly a year after the government flushed the same banks in an attempt to ballast credit flow and stanch impending economic downturn, something the United States did for its own banks in October of 2008.
The rest is obviously history.
The Lightning Network adds another layer to Bitcoin’s blockchain and enables users to create payment channels between any two parties on that extra layer. These channels can exist for as long as required, and because they’re set up between two people, transactions will be almost instant and the fees will be extremely low or even non-existent.
How it Works
The Lightning Network is dependent upon the underlying technology of the blockchain. By using real Bitcoin/blockchain transactions and using its native smart-contract scripting language, it is possible to create a secure network of participants which are able to transact at high volume and high speed.
Bidirectional Payment Channels. Two participants create a ledger entry on the blockchain which requires both participants to sign off on any spending of funds. Both parties create transactions which refund the ledger entry to their individual allocation, but do not broadcast them to the blockchain. They can update their individual allocations for the ledger entry by creating many transactions spending from the current ledger entry output. Only the most recent version is valid, which is enforced by blockchain-parsable smart-contract scripting. This entry can be closed out at any time by either party without any trust or custodianship by broadcasting the most recent version to the blockchain.
Lightning Network. By creating a network of these two-party ledger entries, it is possible to find a path across the network similar to routing packets on the internet. The nodes along the path are not trusted, as the payment is enforced using a script which enforces the atomicity (either the entire payment succeeds or fails) via decrementing time-locks.
Blockchain as Arbiter. As a result, it is possible to conduct transactions off-blockchain without limitations. Transactions can be made off-chain with confidence of on-blockchain enforceability. This is similar to how one makes many legal contracts with others, but one does not go to court every time a contract is made. By making the transactions and scripts parsable, the smart-contract can be enforced on-blockchain. Only in the event of non-cooperation is the court involved – but with the blockchain, the result is deterministic.