If we both join the bitcoin network, we can exchange $1B for $0.48.
If we both join set up accounts at a regular bank like RBC, we can exchange $1B for free.
The point I'm making is that fees are not bitcoin's strong point. Any financial network can undercut it. What is unique about bitcoin is that not everyone can get an account at RBC, but anyone can join the more expensive bitcoin network.
You don't have to trust RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) to not run off with your money because they are regulated by the Canadian government. Canada has one of the most respected and stable banking industries in the world with a proven track record.
If somebody breaches your Canadian bank account you get your money back. If somebody steals your money from your bitcoin wallet you start all over again.
You get your money back up to the CDIC insured limit which is $100k right?
Canada’s banking industry avoided the Great Recession only because Canada did not have a housing market reset. Prices continued upward unabated, along with household debt which is now among the highest in the world. They kicked the can down the road, but didn’t avoid the issue permanently.
The United States didn't face a mortgage crisis purely because of housing price collapse, it was a combination of the collapse with widespread use of subprime lending. Instead of having this argument with a random guy on the Internet I suggest you read the vast amount of documentation and analysis from people in the industry. Beyond that, the Canadian banking industry did not start up in 2008, even if that's only as far back as your memory goes.
If a Canadian bank runs off with your money you have an actual entity to pursue in court. With Bitcoin you're pretty much SOL.
The CDIC insured limit is not money to be reimbursed by the bank, it's by the CDIC in case of bank failure. There are other avenues to take first to recover your funds.
Canadian banks are stable because our regulators do not allow them to assume as much risk as banks in other jurisdictions.
For the record, 'more stable' would have been correct here.
I'm not too upset it's harder to qualify for a mortgage here because it saved us from getting hit even harder ten years ago.
I've been banking for about 15 years and never had much to complain about. Sometimes I get an NSF fee from TD, I just call them and they reverse it as a 'one-time courtesy.' I've lost count of how many times I've done that and they've never said no. My credit card has no yearly fee and I pay $15 a month for my chequing account with unlimited transactions and E-transfers. You can go cheaper but I use debit and e-Transfer a lot. That's the sum of my personal banking fees.
For my business account I use FirstOntario's eChequing account with no monthly fee. Only thing I ever pay on this account is a $1.50 e-Transfer fee when I pay myself or others. I did have to buy shares when I opened the account as it's a credit union but they were only $25. The shares have appreciated by $10 in the few years I've had the account so I'm not complaining.
Really not that bad for me. What's your situation?
That's one use for btc that I hadn't thought of. Neat! However one still has to be careful to somehow fund a cold wallet without linking your ID via the transactions.
I.e. to use an exchange like binance or coinbase, I have to link my US ID. So if a government actor were after me, they could easily find out about my cold wallet by viewing my transactions, no?. I guess I could -not- divulge the seed words, but that's assuming I'm not being accosted/tortured either.
I would have to use a btc atm (none near me...), swap a visa gift card for btc (and take a ~10-20% haircut...) or find someone to trade cash for coins, which is its own issue.
localbitcoins. It's like craigslist: you find people you meet up with, give them cash, they transfer you the BTC (through escrow). No KYC, no shenanigans, you just need to be willing to pay their few-percentage-point fees.
Exactly, you can't officially reverse wires. You can ask your bank nicely, and they can ask the receiving bank nicely, and if the money's still there, it may or may not be transferred back. But there is no official mechanism for reversing wires, and if the other side withdraws/spends the money before you start the process you're SOL.
But reversibility is provided by the intermediary, and isn't a property of the currency itself. For instance, if you're dealing in cash, there's zero reversibility. Likewise, I don't see the difference between a bank reversing a transaction for you, and the marketplace platform reversing the transaction for you.
Libertarians would argue that this is where insurance comes in.
Insurance in this example has two functions:
1. Protecting you from losses
2. Applying standards to Bitcoin exchanges etc to help prevent losses. A good example of this is fire insurance. An insurance company will require a potential customer to have fire alarms, use specific materials etc before they decide to cover that company's building.
Anecdote, but I once ran a blog for many years. Country breakdown for traffic was roughly 30% China, 30% Russia, and 30% US. Almost 100% of requests out of China and Russia were hacking attempts, I assume mostly by bots. They've earned a reputation and there's nothing wrong pointing it out. If you operate a website, unless China and Russia are part of your market/audience, I'd suggest blocking them altogether.
Just wanted to second this. I ran several public Linux servers at a major university. China and Russia based IPs we’re constantly trying to brute force all of our servers. It got the point where we would just apply a geoblock just in case one finally managed to get through.
I’m all for avoiding nationalistic dog whistles when discussing things, but both China and Russia have rightfully earned their places as bad actors on the internet.
It adds no information or value to the discussion by giving the hackers a nationality. If there was a statistic that the majority of hackers wore hoodies, would we be calling that out and saying "Attacked by hackers in hoodies?" Obviously not because their clothing has nothing to do with the fact that they're malicious. What's happening here is profiling and it doesn't work.
Add that to the fact that there are of course bad actors in countries including the US who happen to have proxies in other countries. Geolocating the IP address tells us nothing.
The largest botnets came from a variety of nationalities and are rarely Chinese. Conficker was allegedly from the Ukraine, and a Swede plead guilty. Alureon came from Estonia. Mariposa from spain.
Stop with the emotionally-charged flame baiting based on shallow data and anecdotal information.
Please note I never used a nationality in my comment, but referred to the countries themselves. Nothing I stated had any emotions behind it. I stated simple facts from personal experience.
Geolocating the origination points of an exploit is extremely useful. Your point of other countries using proxies being the prime reason. The simple fact is if China and Russia wanted to limit the number of attacks originating from their IP blocks they could do so. Since they more or less allow it to continue they are a common source of malicious traffic, and geo blocking will significantly reduce the number of attempted exploits you experience.
If I had a shop and everyone that robs me has a hoody I would damn well point it out and ban them. That doesn't mean every person with a hoody wil rob me but it's a very effective and filter. It's not emotionally charged it's completely logical.
Either the problem is with the analogy and you're taking it too literally, or your reasoning is severely distorted and leads into very dark, hellish places. People can decide not to wear hoodies anymore. Chinese people cannot choose to just not be Chinese anymore, nor should they have to.
I don't think that we should 'ban' Chinese or Russian people if you are pointing towards that. I do think that we shouldn't pull a smokescreen over the truth by dissallowing statement of fact that most hackers are Chinese or Russian.
We also shouldn't shout down people who are hit everyday by this as rascist or emotionally charged. It's completely logical for them to want to ban these groups. Instead we should educate on exactly what kind of a very dark and hellish place banning leads to.
Change your statement to read “black” instead of Chinese and see if you still think it’s OK.
The crime is hacking, and your attempts to “expose” Chinese hackers is more like an agenda to prejudice Chinese even if statistically many Chinese-originated traffic is attempting to hack you.
In the chance that the hacking is actually caused by American hackers routing their traffic through China, then what purpose does your Chinese assumption serve except to encourage others to profile and prejudice Chinese?
In a more realistic example of how your comments may incite racial prejudice for no good reason is that it is actually very likely the biggest botnets have Chinese victims (because they are poor, run Windows XP still, and generally have very poor internet security practices). Oh, and also they happen to have the most people on Earth, so statistically any given thing would be mostly Chinese.
So, unless you are absolutely certain that being Chinese makes you a criminal hacker I would recommend leaving race or nationality out of the discussion.
The implication isn't that being Chinese makes one likely to be a hacker. It's the other way around. It's that being a hacker makes it unusually likely that you're Chinese (or Russian). Similarly, being a Nigerian doesn't make you an email scammer, but being an email scammer makes you unusually likely to be Nigerian. Being a drug lord makes you unusually likely to be Mexican.
These are archetypes, i.e. popularly associated examples of particular actions. But I'm not sure if they're full-blown stereotypes, where they get over-applied to members of that group. People don't believe that all Chinese and Russians are hackers, that all Nigerians are email scammers, that all Mexicans are drug overlords, etc.
Stereotypes tend to be more insidious. Many people (in America) do believe that Blacks and Mexicans are criminals, that Chinese are great at math, etc., to the degree that it changes how they actually treat people. So I think these are much worse and shouldn't be equated.
That said, despite the above analysis, I can see how being Chinese you would still cringe when you see the phrase "Chinese hacker" being used casually. I'm an ethnic minority and have felt similarly in similar situations.
Yes but I also gave a pretty likely hypothesis as to why the hackers appear Chinese. The OP is claiming DDoS attacks which are likely from compromised machines.
So if that is true then the viewpoint of blaming it on Chinese becomes nonsensical and also wrong. So given that there is reasonable doubt, is it right to attribute this "being a hacker" to having anything to do with being Chinese in any way?
"China" is a place, which is an origin of hacking attempts detected by some users, which could be of known or unknown origin (i.e. people who are pink or AI)
"Black" refers to an ethnicity of a given group of people. Or their skin color, if you want things simple.
These are non-interchangeable terms, so by asking to switch them you are indicating they are interchangeable. You are doing this because you think it's important to keep people from blaming an individual based on group membership.
Yet, it remains that the CPC is something else beyond a person, a culture or a people. Defending it is irrational, but maybe people want to stand up for something important to them and think that defending everything's right to exist and speak its mind is more important than existence itself.
Except that being a fairly homogenous place saying "China" has in all practical purposes the same effect as saying Chinese.
That being said, see my other replies on how the OP's assumptions may very likely be wrong, and attributing hackers to China has the same effect as calling the coronavirus "China virus" in that for all intents and purposes it has the effect of associating Chinese people with hackers in the same way that calling the coronavirus is an attempt to deflect blame to a particular group of people.
I'll third this. Every single IP that I have geo-located that has attempted to get into one of my home servers/routers is coming from China. I didn't go as far as blocking all of China because I was sure that some point down the line it would cause some other random issue and I would have long forgotten blocking Chinese IP's. If I remember correctly I used fail2ban or similar software to blacklist IP's after X failed attempts. That plus moving all services to non-standard ports (save for 80/443).
Why just those two countries then? Why don’t I see a thousand get requests for /wp-login from countries all around the world? Wouldn’t that be significantly more effective since you can’t simply block a range of addresses to mitigate it?
I think it's serving as shorthand for "in a country halfway around the world, with a government that isn't going to intervene on your behalf as a foreigner even if you figure out who did it and hand them the evidence on a silver platter".
Right, it wasn't necessarily hateful on purpose, but as another poster pointed out, what does it mean that we default to using one specific group of people for that example? If they'd said "PRC hacker" it'd be a different story, but the word "Chinese" conflates a nationality and heritage. It does this, by the way, in written Chinese as well, hence a lot of arguments I've had in the past with PRC-citizen exchange students about whether Taiwanese people are Chinese or not (even though they are, obviously, not PRC citizens, Taiwan being a sovereign nation).
I find your worry interesting and mildly humorous. You seem to be worried about hurting the feelings of chinese people for personal western moral reasons, but seem fine with insulting the PRC.
Personally, given that the Chinese will likely dominate the world over the course of the next century, I'd be less worried about insults for ethical/antiracism reasons (they're going to be the ascendant ethnicity and culture soon, don't worry- they'll be fine!) and more worried about insulting them or the PRC for reasons of self-preservation.
This is assuming, of course, that the PRC value system and legal framework is lock-step with Chinese modern ethics, traditional ethics, or Chinese culture.
Whiiiiich of course assume that that's homogeneous, which, obviously, it isn't. Just like "Western morals" aren't (I'm trying to be good faith in parsing that and I can't figure out what you mean by western morals).
So when you say "The Chinese will be the ascendant ethnicity and culture," do you mean the rural American scapegoat? Aka, chopsticks, epicanthic folds, and Simplified Chinese? I could see how that could be the meat and potatoes of the argument, because even if what that actually ends up meaning in reality is that though a separatist Democratic movement overthrows the CCP, the (future) USA populist government successfully redefines the Chinese Threat to include this completely different political structure to fall under the umbrella of "Chinese," which society has allowed to mean what I'm arguing we should prevent it to mean.
I can say where you're completely wrong - it's not mildly humorous to find me in this position. It's fucking hilarious. Of all political considerations on earth nothing heats my blood more than the evils of Xi Jinping and the tyrannical PRC regime. They are bullies, they violate human rights, and they should be overthrown. I have to balance this against my love of all the good things that Chinese culture brings to the table, just by nature of being a bunch of humans with a rich ancestral background forming their language, food, traditions, etc. And by Chinese I again refer to that concept vague even in any of the languages that adopted the Chinese writing system.
You're incorrect. Chinese is a nationality, not a race, which means this isn't racism. An accurate description would be that this is stereotyping on the basis of nationality.
As such, a more accurate comparison than "black man stealing a bike" would be to something like a "Nigerian scammer," which is an archetype I don't think most of us have a problem with. Other examples I never see complaints about: "Russian hacker," "American imperialist," etc.
This isn't really true on it's own, and besides, isn't even a good faith interpretation. In an America where rural Asian-ethnicity people are facing discrimination because of covid being called "Chinese Virus," I think it's bold to claim that the concept of China as a country and Chinese as a racial heritage are not conflated.
> In an America where rural Asian-ethnicity people are facing discrimination because of covid being called "Chinese Virus…"
That's because of the specific context of who is saying "Chinese Virus," who their audience is, and why they're saying it.
This context is different. Nobody on Hacker News who encounters the phrase "Chinese hacker" is going to suddenly start discriminating against Chinese people, any more than we discriminate against Nigerians despite the fact that "Nigerian scammer" is a cliche in tech circles.
I'd delve deeper beyond my comment because there's a lot of reasons I'm not the greatest source, not the least of which I'm just some white american dude with a comically terrible grasp of ONE dialect/language of Chinese and a wikipedia sourced knowledge of Chinese history.
Here's my understanding: Chinese can refer to many things that have their origin in what we call Mainland China these days. Chinese Language. Chinese History. Chinese Food. Chinese territory. Chinese government. Chinese people (citizens). Chinese people (ethnicity). The word is super-descriptive in that way, because that region, for three thousand years, was "homogenous" in a convenient way for propagandists and the history writers throughout time.
But if you delve in, you can see that it's truly absurd to refer to anything as Chinese. Chinese language - well, sure, Mandarin, right? But only because the seat of government is in Beijing, and it just picked that flavor. Nearly every city in the borders of the PRC have their own distinct dialect, or straight up separate language. The written system was invented in the 1950s based off a historical system that didn't just write Chinese, it wrote Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and also every language in between (Guangzhounese aka Cantonese, Shanghainese, Japanese sub-languages, etc). Which is "Chinese writing?" Which language is "Chinese language?" And what about when the Huns were around? What about when the Mongolians ruled it all? Was that "Chinese?" (a PRC censor would say ABSOLUTELY NOT and probably say you were treasonous to the harmony of Chinese culture for even suggesting it).
Chinese food - different in every city.
Chinese government - which one, the Democratic one that is seated in Taiwan, or the Autocratic one seated in Beijing? Or the City State of Hong Kong? Or the dead kingdoms?
I'm trying to indicate here why trying to say "Chinese is a nationality, not race" is a silly thing to say when Chinese can mean so many things that so say it's "not" something is a hard thing to prove. On top of all this, walk up to your average American and say "Chinese" and these subtleties are completely lost - EVERYONE knows what you mean by Chinese, well, it's Orange Chicken and Communism! That's what the American education system teaches us, after all, or at least, what it taught me growing up in rural America.
Ask Chinese people, or Taiwanese people (which I have done), what it means to be a Chinese person, and you'll likely get a very careful separation of the concept of Chinese person from the PRC. Many Taiwanese people would consider themselves Chinese if they had the opportunity to ensure the distinction was being made that this didn't mean they were pro-Beijing, simply that their history and culture shared or was identical to many people that happened to be born in Beijing.
> Nobody on Hacker News who encounters the phrase "Chinese hacker" is going to suddenly start discriminating against Chinese people,
Yesterday there was a thread about the experience of Black programmers in tech and I got into some discussions there that have destroyed my ability to believe in a sentence like this. There are avowed racists on this site. I went through the history of one who danced the blade well enough to occasionally fire off comments about how African people are genetically predisposed to lower IQ, without getting flagged/banned. This is a website like any other, a good one with better rules and moderation, yes, but an internet breeding ground anyway.
Better censorship is what you are after? A website to censor things along the lines of how you think? A website that will protect you from racists? I heard reddit is trying really hard these days to be the censorship hot spot perhaps take a look.
The original point was Chinese are not a race they are a nationality.
You both are wrong.
Chinese are not a race.
Chinese are not a nationality.
The Han Chinese are a nationality. China is made up of many nationalities.
The important story now is the government of China is forcing birth control on a minority population called the Uighurs.
Save your outrage for something meanful. Real minority populations are being oppressed and your worried about your fellow Americans insulting them more by blocking ip ranges that China owns that military style hacking is coming from? If that's the case I would suggest you care more about trying to make yourself look a certain way (by putting other Americans in their place) than helping minority populations in great need. The next generation is watching, they will demand real action vs virtual signaling.
> Better censorship is what you are after? A website to censor things along the lines of how you think? A website that will protect you from racists?
Deplatforming racists isn't censorship.
> Save your outrage for something meanful.
Big words coming from someone that didn't mention that Black Lives Matter even once in their comment, and also didn't do anything to bring more attention to North Korean concentration camps, and hasn't even provided a donation link to an African farming initiative. See where I'm going with this?
> Real minority populations are being oppressed
Like ethnically Chinese people in the USA, or really just Asian people in American in general that get lumped under a random Chinese umbrella, for example?
> they will demand real action vs virtual signaling.
What's your point? What is anybody on this website doing besides "virtue signalling?" We're talking. That involves our virtues being put on display. Despite what conservative detractors might think, saying "you're virtue signalling" doesn't automatically win a debate any more than calling someone an SJW does. Yup, I have virtues, yup, I'm telling you what they are. Yup, I like social justice. You don't?
Isn't deplatforming racist because it creates a segregated society. Do you really want to separate society based on race? Soon we'll have schools for racist only. People will complain they when they get higher marks.
You think you like the idea of social justice? What you are doing is social judgement. Bullying.. using your power over someone less powerful to make yourself feel better.
Many causes need attention. Ignoring them all and pretending to care when people are around doesn't help anyone. The next generation is going to call you fake.
"Free speech activists" inevitably show off their actual value system.
> Isn't deplatforming racist because it creates a segregated society.
Racism is a choice, race isn't. Racists segregate themselves from society by believing that some humans are subhuman. Can't exactly share a well with someone that believes you're an animal, can you? Certainly can't have them in a jury.
> Do you really want to separate society based on race?
Transparent strawman argument lobbed at me most times I engage an "all lives matter" type. Black lives matter = white lives don't matter, right?
> People will complain they when they get higher marks.
Why would racists get higher marks? As racists they disproportionately fail to correct for cognitive biases - they are therefore either stupid or have a mental disorder.
> You think you like the idea of social justice? What you are doing is social judgement.
The SJW bit was fairly obvious bait that you bit straight onto. Something wrong with shaming racists? Bullying the bully? And today I learned, asking a bully to leave, is apparently bullying.
> Many causes need attention.
Again, you fail to address why you are spending time commenting on this instead of solving world hunger. Why are you spending time virtue signalling at me? Don't you care about starving children?
Culture war.. everyone is winning their own mono-culture war. All of your facebook friends agree? Twitter echoing back similiar opinions. The software is working if you think you are winning something.
You will hear shut up grandpa move over. When you had your chance you just talked but made no real gain in the world. You won't understand.. why does real change matter? You will say we got everyone to bully racism underground. They will shake their head you fools you made racism worse and now it's more secretive and powerful.
Sure, but there are degrees of offensiveness, and racism is a great deal higher on that totem pole than nationalist stereotypes (archetypes, really) like "Mexican druglord," "Chinese/Russian hacker," and "Nigerian scam," etc.
IMO, if one can't make the point that something shouldn't be said without inaccurately labeling it as racism, then one shouldn't make the point. The only thing they're accomplishing is watering down the negative connotations of racism.
I didn't see where the banks are at fault in the above article. It appeared that the woman received a fraudulent email on where to wire the money. This fraudulent email did not come from the banks. So, how could they be liable if she provided them bad information? GIGO. I'm not saying banks care, just this article doesn't highlight that very well.
The point is that there are options available to you when you use i.e. a credit card to spend money, versus bitcoin. With btc you will never, ever have a chance of getting it back once it's spent or if someone takes control of your wallet.
To be fair, debit cards and wire transfers have a similar issue. However there are still ways to get your money back in some situations.
Assuming miners are smart, you can 'bribe' them without ever speaking to them.
Your coins have been transfered to Mr Evil in block number 6000.
Simply publish a transaction which pays your $1B in bitcoins to another address you control with a $200M transaction fee.
Any rational miner who sees this will decide to 'undo' Mr Evils transaction and all that occur after it by acting as if those transactions don't exist. They will mine your new transaction as part of a new block number 6000, and pocket the $200M for themselves. However, they will need to make sure their block number 6000 remains part of the chain.
By the time they've done this, block number 6001 and 6002 have been mined on top of Mr Evils transaction in block 6000. That means someone must mine block 6001 and 6002 again, at significant computatonal cost. To do that, the miner who mined the new block 6000 can incentivise others to work on top of their block by paying the 200M to themselves, but again with a big fee.
The above only works if all miners are rational, and have coded this strategy into their mining pools. Are there examples of this happening in practice? (There will be public evidence of it in the blockchain).
I presume double spends happen often, as people try to trick counterparties who don't wait long enough for transactions to settle. Note that neither branch of a double spend is the "real one" (the feelings of the double spender don't matter), only the future development of the chains picks which is real and which is fake. It's basically equivalent to putting a bank check in one envelope, and another check in another, for a total that overdraws your account, and then sending them out to pay people. It's unknown which payment is invalid, until later.
And people would start losing trust in the network if this was happening, thus the value of the currency would start dropping, thus all the network participants including the miners would be in a losing position in the long run, which is not what you are looking for after you have invested money in the mining equipment and the whole operation.
That's why the total "hash rate" (the computational effort spent by all the participating miners) is in direct relation to the perceived value of the currency.
No the average person is less well off in a world where $1 billion can be moved anonymously.
The need to move such funds anonymously is usually due to illegal activities, money laundering, or at least tax evasion (evasion, not avoidance).
This leaves every average person at the very least, on the hook to pay for those taxes evaded, or lacking the services they would have provided.
If the need is due to criminality beyond tax evasion, every average person suffers the corrosive effect of that criminal activity (e.g., while I'm for most drug legalization, I can't begin to argue that organized criminal drug distribution is anything but a massive destructive tax on society - & in fact, a main point of legalization is to eliminate that corrosive costs of gangs).
So, the average person is definitely worse off with the existence of an ability to move & billions anonymously.
I'm sorry plenty of people would disagree with our taxing system, 99% of them not being drug Lords. I think most people would be better off with the ability to move billion of dollars anonymously, as it would also give them the ability to move hundreds or thousand of dollars anonymously as well.
I fall into that category.
Most people I know, and they aren't rich tax avoiders would also fall into that category.
Cryptocurrency liberates everyone in so many ways. And yes it liberates criminals as well. But hey are know how to dodge the system anyway.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm seeing you specify the use-case other than 'less-rich people can also move money anonymously'.
Other than small-scale tax evasion or nefarious activities, what use cases are you advocating?
I also used to be pretty excited about the potential for crypto currencies, still think it may have some, but the security overhead, value volatility, & scalability issues have pretty much rendered it less useful than cash or (ugh) ACH-based services like Venmo, Google Pay, etc., ir just credit cards.
Also, you're not addressing losses of tax evasion - one tax evader failing to pay $1B in taxes means a million people need to pay an extra $1000 to make up for his crime. Not victimless.
Bitcoin transactions are already being de-anonymized at least in the U.S. - and if not today, the permanent ledger record means that the 'data exhaust' (hidden data surrounding a transaction) can back into it.
Is there a difference between expressing moral support for a terrorist organization and sending them $1 million? I was never very compelled with the "money = speech" argument when taken particularly literally.
yes. its an adaptation to that economy and allows for mitigating risks. not a panacea
the escrow service would be one party of the multisignature transaction. no party can move the funds on their own. you are moving an arbiter to the point of transaction, instead of after a transaction doesn't go as planned.
You don't seem to know much about banking and large sums of money in practice.
Let me give you an example which I know exists: EU airliner buys an airplane at Boeing. How do you transfer the money?
This is how they do it today: They are at Boeing where the transfer needs to go through. The money needs to be transferred then and there. So airliner calls their bank to transfer the money. But there is a 9 hour difference, so they need to wait when EU bank opens, but before the US bank closes. Call the bank, transfer first to UK bank (I can't remember why they had to do this :(), confirm money is there. Then transfer from UK to US, confirm that the money is there. This all before the US bank closes of course. Very cumbersome and James Bond like.
And I'm not an expert in international money transfers, but I'm guessing it's not 0.
That’s not how large transfers work at all though. Banks have international agreements, or go through 3rd parties that have. You’ll also never be expected to pay right then and there, if you’re a respectable enterprise entity, the other part will expect you to pay and the funds to arrive within reasonable time, which can be half a year later.
As for the transfers themselves, they are typically free. You’re such a big customer to the bank, and so is the recipient to their bank, that the banks are earning their money without taking transfer fees.
The most important part, and the reason things like bitcoin will never replace old school banking, is that you can roll the money back or cancel if you decide to walk away from the deal like Norwegian just did for 90something Boeing aircraft that they can no longer afford because of corona. Sure you’ll spend a few years in legal, but that’s besides the point.
That walkback depends on trust, honor, and suability between all actors involved.
You can walk back a bitcoin transaction, too, if you have those preconditions. Just ask the other guy to send the money back.
What you describe is the process of buying a laptop on Ebay.
When you buy a plane, perhaps you have already payed months ahead, perhaps you'll pay five years later, perhaps you pay on a monthly basis, perhaps you don't pay at all but transfer the rights do to something
it is all contractual obligations, sometimes money does not even trade hands
the idea that you would need to wait for a bank to open to transfer money while watching the timezones is completely unrealistic
$50 + a few basis point spread if using a different currency, but you don't know exactly what that spread will be from the sending bank and what the spread will be at the receiving bank, so you can lose anywhere from .001% to 4% with major currencies.
There are, there is also a parallel global economy that allows for obtaining goods, services and investing in private equity or other assets directly using bitcoin, so those conversion fees are not an issue for the bitcoin owner. To counter the easiest rebuttal, there probably are only about $1bn worth of things to buy using bitcoin any given day, most of which are other new digital assets that would not be a great investment and would otherwise struggle to obtain any purchases.
But for reference, in today's market you could expect to be able to negotiate a 1-2% spread in converting $1Bn in bitcoin to US Dollars. It would have to be multiple orders throughout the day as an OTC dealer will quote on price for $100m and a different price for $1bn.
Block orders in the bitcoin OTC market often has more daily volume than the lit market on exchanges. Similar to other commodities markets.
yes that is one use case of digital assets like BTC: converting any international money transfer to a domestic money transfer, greatly reducing compliance flags, time and possibilities of banking errors that no bank wants to be accountable for and figure out themselves. often times leaving no record in payment networks like SWIFT, because only two local payment networks were used, one in their respective monetary union.
the cost is 100% tied to liquidity of that market. the bigger and deeper the market, the lower the transaction cost.
It is more likely that HKD's bitcoin market would be less liquid than USD's bitcoin market, so you would want your bank in Hong Kong to accept a USD deposit from a local OTC broker, and then convert to HKD at that point if you wanted or needed it.
It's never .001%. I've done so many international transactions with currency conversion (one of the most liquid pairs - USR-EUR). On the best day a bank will get that 3% difference. I've been using TransferWise in the last year, it's definitely better, but still over 1%.
I get extremely tight spreads closer to .001% with Bank of America wire transfers, Wells Fargo wire transfers, and ATM withdrawals in foreign countries, specifically Mexican Pesos, Swiss Francs, Euros.
It exactly matches the spot FX rate that I would see on my broker's terminals.
Transferwise has not been better for me, except to easily allow me to have Euro bank accounts as an American.
> Are you trying to argue that a financial transaction - a service provided by a bank where THEY take all the risk and responsibility of said transfer - should be free of charge?
I think that they are making the point that they actually are free of charge. Fees for moving money at banks are negligible. They might not actually be entirely free, but wire transfer fees are ~$20, and I've moved a million dollars this way before. I don't know if there's much of a difference between a million and a billion in this context.
>I think that they are making the point that they actually are free of charge.
An "on-us" transaction, one that simply requires RBC to update its database by debiting funds from RBC customer A and crediting them to RBC customer B, is free. (If your bank is charging you for that, switch banks!).
A wire transfer is more complex than an "on-us" transfer because it involves two bank database. RBC has to debit its database, and Bank of Montreal has to credit its database, and the central bank is usually involved as an intermediary. This often involves a wire transfer fee.
Bank transfers are free because you have to deposit (aka lend) money to the bank before transferring it. And the bank get to use that money for profit while it is deposited.
There's a billion dollars difference between a million and a billion. You can't just plop a billion dollars into your checking account. It's part of a hugely complex context (how would you even accumulate a billion dollars to deposit?)
If it's your bank, it should be easy. When I asked for my account and routing number for my checking number from a chase branch, the teller incorrectly assumed the routing number was for the current state when in fact i opened it in another state which meant a different routing number. Come my first direct deposit and I see nothing in my checking account, I panicked, guessed the problem looking at the routing number the teller gave me and where I opened it, went to a branch and they fixed it in like a day.
> I believe because the name / information doesn't match what's listed on the receiving bank.
In India and Australia, the banks just use the account number not the name. If you screw that up its completely your fault. The bank might help but its not obligated to do so since you accepted these terms and conditions.
They do not "take all the risk". In fact, they have none of the risk. If your money disappears, you can only recover $250K through FDIC insurance. For the rest you will have to get into a lengthy legal battle with the bank.
Sure, which is why I said on account transfers. A Tobin tax wouldn't impact those, the one the EU wanted was for financial instruments. e.g. if you buy and sell a new financial product on average fifty times per day to take advantage of some weird quirk - because you can make 0.001% per trade this way, the Tobin tax makes that money losing and you stop doing it.
Is that a good idea? I'm not sure, and apparently enough EU states weren't sure that this never got past Council.
But even if it's a great idea and gets implemented it doesn't care about moving money from one account to another itself which is all we're talking about here.
Who give away a 1Billon? Tipically a 1 Billon transaction is raised as a red flag into the tax system, and trigger an investigation with the label "i do not believe this is a gift, must be a comercial transaction, why it is not paying taxes?"
$Million is pretty simple. That's an everyday real estate purchase is a major US city. Tens to hundreds of millions is different. But even tens could be handled by any attorney in the field. That's estate planning level.
As long as you have clean money with an obvious & documented provenance (i.e., how it was earned), and an obvious above-board purpose such as buying a house, sure, transferring a few million is likely to be straightforward.
But that is off-topic - the topic is anonymous transfer for unspecified reasons.
Even transferring between two accounts of different businesses you own can generate SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) at $5K level. Even multiple deposits of a few $thousand in cash will draw attention & be subject to confiscation if you don't have a solid & documented explanation, such as running a big & legitimate cash business.
Unpopular opinion: why do we care so much about making it cheaper for rich people to move money around? Do we think somehow that will “trickle down” to us mere mortals and put western union and their ilk out of business?
And how many years have they been at it? My impression in 2019, trying to add it to an Android app, was badly documented or deprecated libraries.
And then there is the whole debacle with XRP, the currency, and Ripple, the underlying tech, being used interchangeably and confusing everyone. Banks aren’t even interested in XRP.
Because the converting currency X to crypto to currency Y is certainly not going to be cheaper or less volatile than a remittance service's existing forex setup which skips the middle bit, and it introduces a risky counterparty in the form of crypto exchanges.
Fundamentally bitcoin (and most other cryptos) are trying to fill two mutually exclusive goals. On one hand, they’re supposed to be the currency of the future; on the other you’re supposed to invest or trade in them like a speculative instrument to grow your net worth (hodl, mooning, lambos, etc.)
The issue is that these two can’t be filled by the same instrument effectively. Currencies need to be stable and predictable, nobody wants to discover that their paycheck has suddenly halved in value. They can inflate, but they should do that in a slow and steady manner so wages can keep up. On the other hand you want some volatility in your speculative instruments, as without volatility there’s no real opportunity to earn a profit and grow your net worth.
If something tries to be both, the results are disappointing. Either there’s no enough volatility to make traders happy, or there’s enough volatility to expose laborers or payment processors (depending on use case) to purchasing power shocks or conversion rate risks.
Unfortunately, it’s my belief that bitcoin maintains a lot of its value by trying to continually bring in new suckers (sorry, investors) in order to keep demand high without significant use cases. This kind of continual recruitment process is both fascinating, and really ruins bitcoin for anyone who wanted to use it for non-speculative purposes.
How is that relevant? I’m familiar with the extremely stretched reasoning people use to describe welfare as a “walmart subsidy”, but if anything that just supports my argument - importing low-wage welfare recipients doesn’t benefit society.
All I see is how a certain corporation appears to benefit, as one of the largest employers in the country, by providing part-time employment to a portion of the absolutely massive pool of low-skilled, border-line unemployable labor which happens to exist in America today and which also happens to be subsidized by the government. I fail to see how those people would not otherwise need to be fully supported by the social welfare system if it were not for this employment, and I fail to see how it is Walmart's fault that there aren't other employers providing part-time jobs for these people to fill the gap. Maybe one could say they are taking advantage, but either way I don't see how this works as a counterpoint, or how it shows that "Capital" is draining on social welfare systems... Just the opposite.
In this scenario, in America, the reason a social welfare subsidy exists at all is because the supply of capital offered through jobs to low-skilled labor is smaller than the supply low-skilled people. Without this excess of low-skilled people, after all, there would be no need for such a subsidy.
From the perspective of the social welfare system, the part-time, low-skilled employment (capital) Walmart is able to provide to people who otherwise, ostensibly, would be unemployed actually reduces the burden (created by these people) on the welfare system. Without those part-time jobs, the subsidy these people would need in order to live would be even greater. No?
I guess your perspective is that somehow the social welfare system is subsidizing Walmart's labor force, and, if I'm being generous and give you the argument, that Walmart wouldn't be able to exist/profit without this low-skilled, part-time labor force, transferring the responsibility for the drain onto Walmart (Capital) NOT the people it ultimately supports, which, again, the system must support regardless of the existence of a Walmart or any other employer, so long as the people exist in the country? Is that about right?
How is the actual drain on the social welfare system not the oversupply of people? Would removing Walmart's capital improve the situation? Or is Walmart actually responsible for the increase in low-skilled labor, using its capital to demand mass immigration and creating the over-supply which they then take advantage of? Because if so, that wasn't explained when I googled "walmart subsidy."
I don't care about Western Union. I do care about Visa and MasterCard.
And I'm definitely not saying that the current generation of crypto has figured this problem out, but I am hopeful for the sake of SMB that they won't always have to pay 3% fees on cashless transactions.
I would agree with you but all I see from “big tech” is further middlemen and more fees- orders of magnitude larger than 3%!!
Want to order food online? That’ll be 30% on top of your order, please.
Oh, you wanted to pay for some bits through our app on your iPhone? Apple will take 30% of that too, thank you very much.
We just switched HOA management companies and they had the audacity to charge a three dollar convenience fee if you pay your bill online! So I will just continue to pay via paper check and make life miserable for them because that incurs no fee.
All I see is hypocrisy and more hands in my pocket wanting my money, not less.
The ship has sailed for bitcoin as an everyday currency and it has turned more into a store of value than a currency. However, the crypto world is diverse, still infant, and has many applications beyond currency. Look at IPFS (libp2p, IPLD, Multiformats); it’s open source free software that allows user to view content without it being censored.
Filecoin (the currency) exists on top but is completely independent and unnecessary to make use of the underlying utility of IPFS.
While bitcoin is a bit of a monolith even it has utility beyond currency as you can write information along with your transactions. An example is [ION] an identity service pegging state to transactions wiring to the blockchain and so long as bitcoin holds value you can have high certainty this information will not go away or be modified.
There are trade-offs to everything but often the benefit of crypto projects is lost when they’re viewed as currency rather than utility. Look at the forest not the trees.
This separation of layers nonsense is only something that’s been proposed to cover up flaws in the core protocol. The original paper didn’t envision a store of value, but rather a means of daily transactions
Many have speculated he may be a time traveler, although they don't give any reason. The only thing I can think of is he possibly traveled back in time after witnessing a massive economic downturn that had people eating rats off the street and an even further (much more serious) dichotomy of rich and poor. Bitcoin could level the playing field stopping banks from having nearly full monopoly of your money.
Not really sure which poor countries you are talking about but in India the smaller the amount, the cheaper it is to transfer. <10k INR is most simplest transaction you can do by simply downloading any payment app and using UPI. >100k INR is where transaction costs usually creep in.
Whats worse is Bitcoin's security depends on high fees, but you have articles like this celebrating low fees.
Satoshi intended for bitcoin to scale to hundreds of millions of transactions, all paying sub cent fees. All those fees would add up to millions of dollars per day. The fees are what secure the chain when the block reward runs out. Around 2014/2015 some devs who worked with blockstream started campaigning to keep the block size limit at 1mb. They succeeded and now bitcoin can only process an average of 350k transactions per day.
In order to provide the same financial incentive to miners when the block reward gets too small to matter, the minimum fee on the network will need to be $25 per transaction.
But ye, horray, this whale got to send big cash for a "low fee"
That isn't even slightly true. This debate has been settled a long long time ago.
Running a full node is the only way to assure the integrity of the currency. Increasing the block size decreases the number of people that run full nodes. It's obvious to anyone who works on Bitcoin that a linear increase to blocksize can never scale, while maintaining an open and decentralized environment.
> Running a full node is the only way to assure the integrity of the currency.
Another method is to use cryptographic proofs to demonstrate the validity of a blockchain state. A lot of newer projects are taking this approach, such as the project I work on, Mir Protocol.
Granted, it doesn't seem like a realistic option for Bitcoin. The community doesn't seem very open to major protocol changes, and even if it were, cryptographic proofs for Bitcoin might be prohibitively expensive since the protocol wasn't designed with that in mind.
That's not the point though. You're not in control of that billion dollars, banks and governments are. The small 48 cent fee is the price for freedom. At any moment a bank can freeze your funds for any reason. The Bitcoin network does not suffer from that.
For all of the talk about how Bitcoin is not truly anonymous, this wallet demonstrates otherwise, with the apparent 'anonymity proviso' being that you don't do too much with it, and just let the coins sit.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous. Every member can be uniquely identified but if you are careful not to link your pseudonym (e.g. wallet address) to any personally identifiable information, nobody else can. But this is really hard when it is about money since in general you'd want to spend that money an that's where the link appears. As long as you don't spend the money, there is no information to link.
That site requires identification. So the owner of the coins is known by everyone with the dataset (which that will be shared with chain analysis companies), as well as the website owners and the trader you trade with. Pretty big set
Ansil849 already said this, but when talking about things like this there are actually multiple related, sometimes orthogonal, factors:
Anonymity - the quality of the user being unknown
Privacy - the quality of the user's actions being unobserved
Authenticity- the quality of the user's actions being certainly the user's
Bitcoin provides pseudonymous transactions, which may approach anonymity if the user is careful. It does not provide true privacy as all transactions are public. But the purpose of the transactions is not communicated, though may be inferred if the parties are identified. If I transfer $20 in BTC to a pizza joint, you can guess that I bought a pizza, but it's just a (well-founded) guess. It provides a high degree of authenticity in that it is a hard problem (in the mathematical sense, unless your keys have been obtained by an adversary) to fake a transaction.
Yes, I have a PhD in cryptography and designed two of the first privacy-preserving extensions to Bitcoin. Bitcoin provides pseudonymity. If no other information can be inferred about a transaction from other sources, users may be able to protect their privacy. In practice this is extremely challenging, and the information leakage this post is discussing is highly unnecessary, and a weakness of Bitcoin.
You're describing pseudonymity, not anonymity. We know that a specific user has moved money under a pseudonym. If they do other things with that money, we'll learn more. These are very different concepts.
Publishing the value and timing of specific transactions isn't actually the point of Bitcoin and specific cryptocurrencies, nor is it necessary to preserve the total amount of the currency. Satoshi specifically called the privacy issues in Bitcoin out as a weakness to be improved upon, and several projects inside and outside of Bitcoin have been doing this.
> Your house has to be registered to someone and you have to declare who lives in it, if it's yours.
I don't think this is true in every jurisdiction. You can certainly have a property registered under a corporate entity, and there are jurisdictions in the US that allow for anonymous corporate ownership. Further, I'm not aware of any requirement where you must declare who is residing in a property. I've had family members from abroad reside in my house for over a year without informing any authorities, for example.
The fact that you didn't doesn't prove you shouldn't
I'm not from US. I don't know the technicalities, in Italy for example you should declare who's residing in your house, even if it's a no paying guest
Many don't, but it's still a requirement
BTW the point was anonymity is not about being anti social, it's about hiding your true identity
If you stay home and never talk to anybody you're being secretive, but probably are not anonymous (police can still come and knock at your door because neighbors called then since you came in and never went out, for example)
Professional gangsters don't register their house in their own name. They're happy with a girlfrield, or 'similar,' and just use their apartment and travel all over the world uninhinged. All cars and apartments etc are usually registered in someone else's name. Someone """"legit"""""", so to speak, apart from the affiliation.
If you have tons of illegal money it's not the worst thing to live in a ~~ 'moldy' apartment and eat SCSI every day and know that you _really_ have a __ton__ ___of___ ____money____
Bitcoins main feature isn't being anonymous and also the wallet is more likely an exchange wallet than some random billionaire's. There's privacy coins that heavily lean towards achieving anonymity. But I mean if I had a billion dollars and I wanted to have it in Bitcoin, there's nothing stopping me from having one hundred million Bitcoin wallets each with $10. If performed properly, I think that would sufficiently obfuscate my identity until I had to liquidate them.
I've been party to large Bitcoin transactions (100M USD or so). It had a team of people involved, each responsible for independently verifying the transaction before it was signed for correctness. It's hard to make mistakes if you have a group of engineers who are all tasked with ensuring the validity of a transaction with their own tools.
The fun bit is that the signer can backdoor transactions, and that part isn't something that can be verified by anybody who doesn't have the private keys.
Sure. The basic idea is that signer can choose a ECDSA nonce (k) that they know, and leak the private key. If I choose a known nonce for my signature, I can recover the private key from the published transaction instantly. With some ECDSA magic, you can even produce a nonce that is only recoverable with another key that you hold. So a hardware wallet for example can backdoor transactions to leak the seed through the signature, or a specific key, or put any data there that they wish. The "offline signing" defense is only good for one way, as there's always data leaving the system which you can't easily audit.
This is only detectable if you have multiple signers signing the same transaction using the same private key and the same method for generating the nonce, and you compare them before broadcasting. So perhaps using hardware wallets from 3 manufacturers which all implement bit-identical implementations of the signer (with RFC6070 deterministic signatures), and treating the signed transaction as a private key leak until you've verified they all match.
For ECDSA a single bit bias in the nonce, or a single bit leakage of the nonce through other methods is enough to completely break the cryptography. So we could have hardware wallets that produce otherwise impeccable transactions and signatures, but leak a bit of the nonce in the ordering of the outputs, the lock time, the sequence numbers, and that would still be enough to steal all of the funds.
This stuff is trickier to get right than most people imagine.
That requires some sort of malware (or similar) installed on the device/software creating the transactions which has access to the private key to leak it via some predetermined way and is different from what I thought you were saying that a pre-signed transaction could directly send funds to an unwanted address without you knowing by inspecting the signed transaction itself before broadcasting it.
Regardless, whatever job you have where what you've said is a legitimate threat model sounds like the most interesting job in the space.
Oh no, inspecting the transaction means you know where the money goes, absolutely. There's just no assurance that it's all you need to be safe. Given the amount of absurdity going on in this industry you have to be very sure of things like hardware wallets. It would take zero effort to replace a Bitcoin hardware wallet with one that is backdoored, so it's a very real threat to many companies, if they know it or not.
I've never heard of someone successfully and unintentionally fat fingering a Bitcoin address typo to a valid Bitcoin address nobody owns. Fee box is a different thing, the recent $2.5m ETH headline you saw was not an accident but an attack/blackmail. Bitcoin core itself prevents you from using too high of a fee without an express override in the config.
>In short, the researchers claim that the hackers have gained access to an exchange’s funds. They are able to send money to certain whitelisted accounts that are marked as reliable in the exchange’s database to—but not to their own. So, they are sending the funds with excessively high transaction fees to sap the exchange’s accounts, and they’re demanding a ransom if it’s going to stop.
A 1 in 200 chance doesn't make much sense. In (legacy) addresses there's a 4 byte checksum done with sha256, so it should be something like a 1-in-4-billion (1 in 2^32) chance of a typo being valid. bech32 does something even smarter, but I'm not familiar with the details
2. In all likelihood this is someone manually crafting a transaction. It's not going to happen to your typical user (eg. your granny). A better analogy to this situation would be someone's trading bot going awry and losing thousands/millions on the market.
The thing to be really aware about is insidious malware that detects valid bitcoin addresses being copied and modifies them in place, sometimes even to the point of including the same first/last alphanumerics to a certain degree.
You'd hopefully be using a bootable linux distro and multisig for transferring such amounts.
There's probably a good chance you could reverse it if you bribed the right 'thought leaders' in the bitcoin community. The Ethereum team was considering pushing an update to reverse a much smaller amount when one of their donators lost money due to a bug, not sure if they followed through. Something similar was also seriously discussed by bitcoin devs when binance lost 40m to a hack not long ago.
I had my life savings (all funds in my bank account) frozen, without notice, without explanation, and without recourse for 3 weeks. They literally couldn’t tell me why my account was frozen besides “social security has flagged the account.” This was at one of the largest banks in US. I never committed any crime or suspected of one, or had any weird transactions. When I protested at the branch asking how I’m supposed to pay rent they said “sorry”. After almost 3 weeks they unfroze it without explanation and offered to pay the bounced check fee for my rent.
Yeah I’d rather have bitcoin. Bitcoin removes the need for banks altogether. I don’t want the banks and government in control of my money.
I'd start with two separate accounts, less likely to be frozen simultaneously. After that, I'd try holding some cash in a safe somewhere. Or prepay rent for a free months. Or keep some money in a friend or family account.
Bitcoin would be lower on my list.
I find this a ridiculous thing to brag about. The only way Bitcoin will have low fees is if it fails. Since the network does not scale, if the network sees any substantial load the transaction fees will spike. We have already seen this happen back in 2017 at the peak of the bubble.
High fees are, in fact, part of the security model. The reward for "mining" a block will eventually dry up, so "miners" will be funded more and more by fees. Unless people are paying billions of dollars a year in fees, the financial incentive for "miners" will be too small to protect from bad actors.
Bitcoin can only have low fees if it both remains unpopular and dies before the block rewards dry up. Recommending Bitcoin because of its low fees is trying to sell it by predicting its failure.
I'm a Bitcoin skeptic, and much of my skepticism is around the practicality of use for day-to-day transactions. Seeing low fees is very encouraging to me - the last I had checked, fees were in the several to many dollars range.
Now if they can hammer out the volatility, figure out a simple UX, encourage adoption at most places of business, and increase trust in exchanges for USD conversions, I'm on board.
A transparent ledger is an invitation for mobs to threaten and torture people! Identifying and threatening BTC owners is not that difficult. If we're serious about protecting financial privacy, use something like Monero instead!
The meaning is that for 48 cents, anyone may participate in a global transaction network that cannot freeze or restrict your transactions. Banks have a habit of monitoring and interfering with transactions because they are heavily regulated.
Maybe. But in the latest Cra1g Wr1ght drama, he claimed to the court that some early addresses people thought might have been Satoshi's belonged to him. A message surfaced afterwards which was signed with those addresses calling Cra1g a liar.
I think it's more correctly stated that it's not public knowledge if they were mined by Satoshi or not. One can say they were not part of the "Satoshi miner pattern" that was identified years ago, but we don't know exactly how many of the blocks mined outside that pattern were or were not Satoshi's. Hence my "might".
Amounts of 50,000€ are treated differently. Previously this was the maximum amount you could transfer.
Now they just convert the transfer to SWIFT or some other protocol and you get charged accordingly.
They certainly are not. Not between countries (even if they are EU countries and both use the Euro) and not for 1 billion Euros/Dollars.
Edit: A lot of people here are saying "I do not pay for it so it is free". Just because you don't pay does not mean it is free for everyone. The law just states that fees must be the same for domestic and EU transfers, not that the transfer is free and, there are countless examples of regions where there are no banks that charge nothing (especially regions where a lot of intra-EU immigrants come from).
A) Not charging differently does not mean it is free (which was the original argument).
B) The "target" bank can still charge you independently of your bank.
E.g. (and I do this kind of transfer very very often so I am 100% sure it is so and I am also 100% sure this is legal): A transfer from Germany to Germany is free. A transfer from Germany to Greece is not as the Greek bank charges a fee.
All banks in Greece charge a fee. The fact that plenty of people do SEPA transfers for free means nothing for the other people (e.g. the whole population of Greece) that can not do SEPA transfers for free.
First of all, you are not allowed to have a German account if you are not a resident of Germany.
Besides that, this is not the point of the conversation. The original comment compared SEPA to Bitcoin, saying that SEPA is better since it is free. It is not. There is no law that mandates it to be free and it is de facto not free everywhere (it might be for your use case but not for everyone). It is many times a lot more expensive than Bitcoin. If I also elect to not transact with Greek bank accounts, I exclude 99.9% of the Greek economy since I have no influence on what kind of account my counterpart has.
Technically yes but SEPA is not quite so ubiquitous and definitely not so quick.
Even within Euope more often then not I just end up paying the fee and doing my international transfers via TransferWise anyway.
I transfer quite a bit of money to our freelancers all over Europe and SEPA has served us very well, I'd definitely not use a service like TransferWise over regular banks for such payments, and that's besides the ease of integration with our accountants who can now easily match up invoices with payments from the current account.
Taking an educated guess here, that the miner of the block which moved that transaction must be related to the owner of that wallet. Nobody would otherwise accept such a low fee for a big transaction. Find the miner, you find the wallet owner.
Transaction fees are based on digital storage requirements. This transaction was 404 bytes, which is small. It doesn't matter the value exchanged, only the number of inputs and outputs and how much space they take.
Yes, miners can read the metadata of a transaction, in transfers that includes the amount being moved, miners do not care about that.
It is important to understand that "transactions" in this context is the same as a database transaction. There are many kind of transactions, some of which include the movement of bitcoin from one address to another.
Yes in a way it's a flaw, or rather a misfeature. Monero solves this by hiding all transaction amounts (and sending/receiving address as well).
The transaction fee isn't set by the amount but the size (a large and small number take the same space). A larger transaction can for example be created by combining many inputs (spending from multiple addresses in a single transaction).
The fee isn't set by miners, but by the user who makes the transaction. If there's competition in the block, which there usually is in Bitoin, then you need to guess a large enough fee and if you get it wrong your transaction can get stuck and not confirm for a while.
Yes, I knew that the transaction value (and source, sink) was known after processing it and putting it in the blockchain, just not that it was known by the miner processing the transaction before putting it on the blockchain - I assumed when "mining" a transaction that somehow the details would be hidden.
Them being visible seems to raise interesting attacks, such as an individual being doxed and then unable to have their transaction verified/accepted.
A sibling comment suggests Monero have addressed this.
Edit: If 51% agree not to process any transactions for accounts holding >$1M worth of Btc can they steal financial value? Like a stock buyback but you pay zero to the holder and get the stock anyway.
In the interim, perhaps you could clear up a couple of questions, as you realise I've not studied the process for maybe 16years (I forget a lot in that time). Are these true?
1) Those processing transactions know which wallet they belong to before they choose to process it (this was the surprise to me presented here).
2) Wallets can be linked to people as the blockchain shows wallet holding value and transactions. (State actors can probably correlate with bank transactions; people in general can learn 'oh John Doe bought pizza from me using that wallet').