Biting Into The WoT Elephant (And IRC Nicknames)

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.i

A few months ago, an IRL friend asked to borrow a not inconsiderable number of bitcoins for a term of 6 months. He’s running a Bitcoin ATM and wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t run out of coins.ii I explained to him that, as much as I liked him, I wouldn’t do it.

For one, I couldn’t calculate a fair interest rate, nor could I have asked for anything less than his new Ford Focus as collateral. For another, since he would be borrowing bitcoins and repaying bitcoins, even if we could agree upon a fair rate, I didn’t see any way that he could borrow the fiat equivalent of x and repay the fiat equivalent of multiples of x just half a year later.iii Plus interest. I persuaded him that taking out a loan denominated in BTC is crazier than “investing in securities” denominated in BTC.

So what on God’s Green Earth possessed me to accept not one but two bitcoin-denominated loans? And from almost complete strangers, no less?

WoT, of course.

As I explored previously, the Web of Trust is sine qua non for those who matter in Bitcoin. As such, it’s also an obvious next step in my IRC Yeshiva and my quest to learn that Variety Speak.

Sidebar Lesson: 

Your WoT rating is tied to your IRC nickname, which makes protecting your nickname of the utmost importance.iv Failure to protect your nickname can result in it being “squatted”, wherein impostors pose as you, taking advantage of your hard-earned reputation even though they can’t identify themselves with your PGP/GPG keys.v. To protect your IRC nickname from squatters, register it with the irc.freenode.net NickServ by entering the following commands in your IRC client:

(1) Type “/msg nickserv” and go to the new conversation that pops up.
(2) There, enter “/msg nickserv register YourPassword YourEmailAddress” replacing your appropriate info.
(3) Open the email message from freenode automailer, copy “/msg NickServ VERIFY REGISTER xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx” and paste it into your conversation with NickServ.
(4) Type “/msg nickserv SET ENFORCE ON” to require a password upon future logins.
(5) Next time you login, if your client doesn’t prompt you for a password, type “/msg nickerv identify AccountName YourPassword”.
(6) Et voila!

/Sidebar Lesson

Nickname protected, now about those loans…

During this conversation, I was made two offers from two individuals, each with the same conditions. I would borrow 0.1 BTC on a Friday and repay 0.10001928 BTC a week later.vi I sent them each PGP/GPG-signed and encrypted e-mails,vii stating the terms of the contract and the public address that they would send the coins to. Once I’d received the loan, I waited for the ascribed week to come and go, then fulfilled my end of the contract as stated, sending back the loaned coins and interest from whence they came. Simple as that.viii

The purpose of all this, as with all WoT ratings, is to establish a reference guide to inform future decisions. Is this person a good actor or a bad actor? Do they act in good faith or do they lie+cheat+steal? Do they do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it?ix

So although borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry, borrowing also shows that you’re not being false to, if not any man, a man. While this might be a debatable means of establishing a WoT rating, it’s a start.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Update: If you’re technically-minded and a skilled programmer thinker, consider contributing a patch to therealbitcoin as a means of earning a rating. If you’re more of a writer and more politically-minded, consider contributing to Qntra as per these guidelines.

___ ___ ___

  1. Polonius, from Hamlet: Act I Scene III. []
  2. As it turns out, the ATM hasn’t exactly been overwhelmed so far, rendering the loan’s purpose moot, but we couldn’t have known that then. []
  3. Using historical data, had my friend borrowed $1,000 worth of BTC on January 1, 2013, I would’ve lent him 76.86939508 BTC. To repay that number of BTC on July 1, 2013, he would’ve needed to repay $6,575.71, or 6.5x the original loan. Such is the danger of trying to wedge Bitcoin into the world of fiat. Or more properly, vice versa. []
  4. As I recently found out the hard way. Just another step in the IRC Yeshiva! []
  5. As per the ;;eauth, ;;everify, ;;ident series of gribble commands !register, !up, and !verify assbot commands. []
  6. Fair terms, wouldn’t you say? []
  7. Confusingly at first, encrypting e-mails is done with other peoples’ PGP/GPG keys, which means that you have to import the recipient’s key from the key server. Thankfully, there’s the PillowFortress guide. The most important thing that I learned was to use a PLAIN TEXT FILE. This, however, assumes that you’ve already figured out how to create a PGP/GPG keypair in the first place. If you haven’t, see the Contravex PGP guideBingo Boingo’s handy document  or the GPG Tools tutorial for Mac users. []
  8. The deceptive aspect of this apparent simplicity is that not everyone gets such generous offers, or any offers for that matter. Am I lucky or am I me? Hmm… []
  9. So far, so good. []

42 thoughts on “Biting Into The WoT Elephant (And IRC Nicknames)

  1. […] It’s not that hard to imagine a syndicate of well connected Bitcoin players stretching out to the four corners of the globe, creating a blood-bound financial network. What’s harder to imagine is that anyone with Rothschildsesque connections and means would focus their attention on remittances rather than financing the wars and industrial growth of the future. Bitcoin is a better gold, after all, and it’ll be in high demand as a reserve currency with which to fund global expansion. Bitcoin has already solved the centralization of global currency control, but it will never resolve humanity’s struggles over scarce resources, nor the need to pay for said struggles. In a few decades’ time, it will make far more sense to make such BTC-denominated loans, even if it doesn’t right now. […]

  2. […] some of us have been getting in the WoT and reading logs for 6 months, Derpers With Attitude continue to expound braindamaged wisdom and […]

  3. […] All of which is true and not surprising, in view of its ancestry and its strange background. But, like my pet snake, Bitcoin is more than he appears to be. If you don’t trust Bitcoin, blindly and all out, it can be instantly aggressive and much more deadly than that coral snake. Especially if you’re outside the WoT.” […]

  4. […] is listed on MPEx, that stock exchange thing, and therefore in that WoT thing. And as a further reminder that Bitcoin does strange things to people, BitBet is also the first […]

  5. […] The list of non-scams is much easier to formulate: they’re either on MPEx on otherwise in the WoT. That’s it, that’s all. […]

  6. […] Saffron made her way into the WoT using a Bitcoin public address instead of PGP/GPG. Yes, this is possible! […]

  7. […] MP on the #bitcoin-assets IRC channel using webchat, and I imagine you’ll need to get in the WoT as […]

  8. Dread Knight says:

    Good to know about the “/msg nickserv SET ENFORCE ON” command, I feel a little safer now.

  9. […] IRC. And aren’t Ben and I hipper now that we changed our IRC nicknames to first_last names? No? Well who asked you anyways. […]

  10. […] odd thing happens when use a screen name  long enough and act with established, credible pseudononymity in a space long enough, especially […]

  11. […] wherein he stated the this system is on the decline ((“This system” is essentially the WoT, and contrary to Green’s imaginings, it’s getting stronger by the day.)) (note: this […]

  12. […] Xapo though the D.XAPO offering on MPEx, which you can purchase through MPEx directly, or through WoT-approved broker CoinBr. Easy! Fun! Profit! […]

  13. […] from the other. In reality, men who neglect their duties, that is, are base and abusive of their WoT, don’t last long in aristocratic cultures.vi Perhaps unsurprisingly then, thinking that she […]

  14. […] in the past, as recently as the 20th century even, but in computer times – with Bitcoin, WoT, and PGP – Marcus is every bit as fucking useless as a dildo on an […]

  15. […] that actually works and it lends itself naturally to a built-in reputation system called the Web of Trust (WoT). The authority on the matter, Mircea Popescu, has even gone so far as to […]

  16. […] if Bill would just get in the WoT already maybe he wouldn’t feel like he was talking to the fucking wall all […]

  17. […] means that you’re also ready to use the most important tools of Computer Times, namely the Web of Trust, Bitcoin, and […]

  18. […] in the WoT and those who’ve completed their IRC Yeshiva, that is, those with a PGP key registered […]

  19. […] includes two things: spending the next 6-12 months reading logs on #bitcoin-assets and getting in the WoT.v The logs won’t make a lick of sense at first, and you’ll probably be oh-so-offended […]

  20. Paul says:

    Don’t EVER write anything that’s remotely secure or personal into ANY kind of IRC. Those IRC commands are not secure. Your password had better be entirely unique to your IRC username, and you should change your password just as soon as you’ve verified your account through the above means.

  21. […] is sort of the unwritten agreement, intentionally or not. Get in the WoT and get on Mircea’s good side or you have a snowball’s chance in hell of mattering in […]

  22. […] This tribute to the one true sovereign will be made payable to the Bitcoin Foundation and is to be the only tax for those in the WoT. […]

  23. […] Web of Trust: the #bitcoin-assets WoT fought off spammers, scammers,x Sybils, and other immunogens this year, while slightly expanding […]

  24. […] their value, the value of their user, and the value of the words accredited them. Just get in the WoT already. […]

  25. […] value to Bitcoin and you’ve already ticked those first few boxes. Basically, you’re in the WoT and you’ve read some logs. Wonderful! But what […]

  26. […] I was content to read books recommended to me either someone in my WoT or by the author of another book I’d enjoyed. While this might seem narrow, clearly […]

  27. […] in the grand forum of public opinion. You’d be far better served to, oh I dunno, get in the WoT, present your ideas to #bitcoin-assets, and, if you* pass muster, diligently and reliably build […]

  28. […] might’ve saved myself all this trouble in the first place. But hey, guy’s not in the WoT, what can I tell ya. Plus, I could use the unix and command line […]

  29. […] if you’re looking for relevancy and a cure for all that meta-ails you, PGP up, get in the WoT, and we’ll see you in […]

  30. […] Web of Trust continues to be one of these useful security implementationsi that those on the outside just […]

  31. […] who have and continue to refuse to fully answeriv the call of the #b-a WoT, and even those in the #b-a WoT who still willingly live in […]

  32. […] a diligent WoT, it’s too fucking easy to let the Mike Hearns of the world in the side […]

  33. […] 4654 07CC 5D7C 4A02 08B8 and sig, though unregistered in either gribble’s or assbot’s WoT. […]

  34. […] if Bill would just get in the WoT already maybe he wouldn’t feel like he was talking to the fucking wall all day. Unless, […]

  35. […] no other reason than that you’re unlikely to see me take greater tact with randoms outside my WoT, I figured I’d reproduce the latest back-and-forth for you here […]

  36. […] have their heads so deep in each other’s assholes that they imagine they can make a non-WoT Bitcoin news site that could compete with Qntra, like seriously now, but let’s not allow […]

  37. Seeing as how this article has become rather popular of late, it’s been updated with fresh links, fresh means of earning ratings, and the correct #b-a gpg identification bot : assbot, which replaced gribble in early 2015. Go forth and enjoy !

  38. […] system” is essentially the WoT, and contrary to Green’s imaginings, it’s getting stronger by the day. […]

  39. […] is Bitcoin, the Internet, PGP, the WoT, and the only means by which individuation is possible in computer times. Full […]

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