Thursday, March 6, 2014

Email #2 Preview, Subscription Pricing, Poloniex Hack, and Auroracoin Insanity

Below is a (rather heavily edited) preview of the first portion of my subscription newsletter, which went out late yesterday -- or really early today if you prefer. In the interest of keeping the blog regularly updated I'm going to post portions of each newsletter here. As far as pricing goes, I think the current structure is good for now: roughly $5 for one email (and I might occasionally send two), $10 for a week of emails (typically three per week), or $30 for a month. But we're dealing in cryptocurrencies, so really it's "send me the equivalent in a -- preferably moderately stable -- cryptocurrency and then email me (jarred.walton at gmail -- again, note the two R's) and I'll get you on the list. If you come up a bit under $5 (or $30 for the month) after conversion, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it; and if you want to pay a bit more than $5, be my guest. And if you think you should have received the email but didn't, send me a note (and check your spam folder)!

So not a whole lot has changed since Monday, and rather than repeat things I'm going to talk about a few other topics that have come up lately, specifically where and how to mine any particular cryptocurrency. If you've done this much at all, you are probably familiar with the "please don't mine at the biggest pools" comments on new coins, and even on the pools themselves. The reason is basically to distribute the network hash and keep any one pool from compromising the security of a coin. To my knowledge, no one in recent time has even attempted to do this -- after all, if you make a coin like BTC worthless by compromising the security of the network, then any coins you might steal in the process likewise become worthless. I suppose the idea would be to do a "51% attack" and not get caught, but that seems a stretch at best.

In fact, a far bigger risk it seems is for either the pool you mine at or an exchange you use to get hacked. Last week it was and, and this week it appears Poloniex had 12.3% of their BTC (around 97 BTC) stolen. Thankfully, Poloniex is being very forthcoming about what happened and what they're doing to refund users, but make no mistake about it: leaving tons of coins on an exchange is a big risk.

The problem is, while statistically everything is supposed to more or less average out over time, in reality it's only work that gets completed that counts, and every time a block is found everyone has to restart their work. So let's say it takes your mining rig on average 40 seconds to complete a typical piece of work for a coin XYZ, but the block time is only 30 seconds. If you were to try and solo mine, nearly every attempted block solution would be old/stale/worthless before you could even finish! Which is why someone created stratum servers that send a message to the connected clients saying in essence, "stop what you're doing and start on a new piece of work" -- you at least don't continue trying to find a block solution for another minute only to find that the network has moved on. This is all basically Cryptocurrency Mining 101, but sometimes it's good to get back to the basics. The goal then is to find pools that are a decent sized chunk of the network hash rate, but not too much (i.e. less than 30% but more than 15% would be good), which is sometimes easier said than done.

And last thing before I sleep, let's talk about AUR. Seriously, what is up with Auroracoin? It's such a silly idea -- "Save Iceland!" ("save the whales", "save the trees", etc.) -- but apparently the marketing is working. Even if they do properly destroy any excess AUR that isn't claimed by the Icelanders, we're still looking at 42 million AUR that was premined for this publicity stunt; otherwise this is just LTC cloned and premined with a message of helping out poor Iceland. How anyone got duped into mining AUR is something I don't get, but perhaps even crazier is that if you actually took the chance early and mined, you're sitting on some good profits.

My advice: cash out while you can! I can't see this being sustainable, and if you look at the market depth I don't think there are nearly enough buy orders to prop up the current prices (and they've fallen quite a bit from an insane high of roughly 0.08 BTC). Put another way, AUR is currently valued at more than LTC and basically every other alternative cryptocurrency, and apparently Iceland is going to get a huge dump of AUR to any citizen that's interested starting in a few weeks. If you could get a free 31.8 AUR that's worth about 1.5 BTC (around $1000) for doing nothing, and everyone else in your country can get the same...would you sit on it hoping it will go up in value, or would you cash out for BTC as a safer bet? Well, I'd do the latter, so take that as you will.

Also, the chance for abuse of this "airdrop" is absolutely huge -- I mean, there are potentially 330K payments of 31.8 AUR going out to basically anonymous AUR addresses. If you were sending out these payments and "accidentally" sent 100 such transactions to your own accounts over a few months, would anyone be able to tell? I doubt it, and I can't help but think that some of those involved with this coin might earn an extra few hundred thousand dollars this coming year. Like I said, it feels like a publicity stunt that's working well so far, but don't get caught holding the bag! Then again, DOGE was a joke that caught fire and actually surpassed LTC in terms of hash rate for a while, and even now it's still a bit more profitable to mine DOGE than LTC (though not by much).

I couldn't have called the DOGE phenomenon in the first two weeks, so I certainly can't hope to tell you what will happen with AUR. I really do hope for the sake of human decency and all that it works out and no one gets scammed, but it's an awfully big temptation. Even so, I wouldn't count on a copy of AUR managing a repeat performance, which is what some people are trying to do with Ekrona. That's sounding like pure pump and dump, so whether or not the creator intended it as such, I'd be careful of any long-term plans there.

And with that, I'm off to bed, having finally finished my Dell XPS 15 review. Whew! Happy mining everyone, and if you want the rest of this newsletter, just kick a few coins my way.


  1. Hey Jarred, the newsletter was a nice insight. I was wondering though, since i've never touched Scrypt-Jane coins (which you mentioned a couple of times), what kind of hashrate do you get with a GPU? I have 2 rigs with R9 290 cards... what kind of rate do your cards give you?

    I just want a rough figure to aim for since i assume i'll need to tweak settings as with the other algos.


    1. 3 of my R9 290 is averaging at 11,000 khash using the miner for Scrypt-Jane. Hope thats give you an idea.

    2. Wow, so you're getting about 4x more than regular Scrypt hashrates? I assumed it was going to scale downwards like with Scrypt N Factor.


    3. It depends on the current N-Factor of the coin you're mining. Scrypt-Jane starts at N-Factor of 4, which will basically fly on most GPUs and give you something like 11MHash on a 7970/280X. At NF 5, you'll drop to ~7MH, then NF6 will drop again to 4MH, and so on. (I might not have those numbers right, but you get the idea.)


  2. You need a permanent button for "Subscribe" as well as a "Use my NewEgg/Amazon Link". Searching for the original link now...