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CNET

CNET

8 months ago

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. A collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among their star-studded owners. Right now the price of entry is 52 ether, or $210,000.

Which is why it's so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT for $3,066.

Unusual trades are often a sign of funny business, as in the case of the person who spent $530 million to buy an NFT from themselves. In Saturday's case, the cause was a simple, devastating "fat-finger error." That's when people make a trade online for the wrong thing, or for the wrong amount. Here the owner, real name Max or username maxnaut, meant to list his Bored Ape for 75 ether, or around $300,000. Instead he accidentally listed it for 0.75. One hundredth the intended price.

It was bought instantaneously. The buyer paid an extra $34,000 to speed up the transaction, ensuring no one could snap it up before them. The Bored Ape was then promptly listed for $248,000. The transaction appears to have been done by a bot, which can be coded to immediately buy NFTs listed below a certain price on behalf of their owners in order to take advantage of these exact situations.

"How'd it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess," Max told me. "I list a lot of items every day and just wasn't paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone."

"And here within the beauty of the Blockchain you can see that it is both honest and unforgiving," he added.

Fat finger trades happen sporadically in traditional finance -- like the Japanese trader who almost bought 57% of Toyota's stock in 2014 -- but most financial institutions will stop those transactions if alerted quickly enough. Since cryptocurrency and NFTs are designed to be decentralized, you essentially have to rely on the goodwill of the buyer to reverse the transaction.

Fat finger errors in cryptocurrency trades have made many a headline over the past few years. Back in 2019, the company behind Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, nearly doubled its own coin supply when it accidentally created $5 billion-worth of new coins. In March, BlockFi meant to send 700 Gemini Dollars to a set of customers, worth roughly $1 each, but mistakenly sent out millions of dollars worth of bitcoin instead. Last month a company erroneously paid a $24 million fee on a $100,000 transaction.

Similar incidents are increasingly being seen in NFTs, now that many collections have accumulated in market value over the past year. Last month someone tried selling a CryptoPunk NFT for $19 million, but accidentally listed it for $19,000 instead. Back in August, someone fat finger listed their Bored Ape for $26,000, an error that someone else immediately capitalized on. The original owner offered $50,000 to the buyer to return the Bored Ape -- but instead the opportunistic buyer sold it for the then-market price of $150,000.

"The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it's your fault or the tech," Max said. "Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on."

The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched back in April 2021, with 10,000 NFTs being sold for 0.08 ether each -- about $190 at the time. While NFTs are often associated with individual digital art pieces, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which allow owners to flaunt their NFTs by using them as profile pictures on social media, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has since become the second biggest NFT collection in the world, second only to CryptoPunks, which launched in 2017 and is considered the "original" NFT collection.

More on Web3 & Crypto

Vitalik

Vitalik

8 months ago

An approximate introduction to how zk-SNARKs are possible (part 1)

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has 2 very powerful applications: Perhaps the most powerful cryptographic technology to come out of the last decade is general-purpose succinct zero knowledge proofs, usually called zk-SNARKs ("zero knowledge succinct arguments of knowledge"). A zk-SNARK allows you to generate a proof that some computation has some particular output, in such a way that the proof can be verified extremely quickly even if the underlying computation takes a very long time to run. The "ZK" part adds an additional feature: the proof can keep some of the inputs to the computation hidden.

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has two very powerful applications:

  1. Scalability: if a block takes a long time to verify, one person can verify it and generate a proof, and everyone else can just quickly verify the proof instead
  2. Privacy: you can prove that you have the right to transfer some asset (you received it, and you didn't already transfer it) without revealing the link to which asset you received. This ensures security without unduly leaking information about who is transacting with whom to the public.

But zk-SNARKs are quite complex; indeed, as recently as in 2014-17 they were still frequently called "moon math". The good news is that since then, the protocols have become simpler and our understanding of them has become much better. This post will try to explain how ZK-SNARKs work, in a way that should be understandable to someone with a medium level of understanding of mathematics.

Why ZK-SNARKs "should" be hard

Let us take the example that we started with: we have a number (we can encode "cow" followed by the secret input as an integer), we take the SHA256 hash of that number, then we do that again another 99,999,999 times, we get the output, and we check what its starting digits are. This is a huge computation.

A "succinct" proof is one where both the size of the proof and the time required to verify it grow much more slowly than the computation to be verified. If we want a "succinct" proof, we cannot require the verifier to do some work per round of hashing (because then the verification time would be proportional to the computation). Instead, the verifier must somehow check the whole computation without peeking into each individual piece of the computation.

One natural technique is random sampling: how about we just have the verifier peek into the computation in 500 different places, check that those parts are correct, and if all 500 checks pass then assume that the rest of the computation must with high probability be fine, too?

Such a procedure could even be turned into a non-interactive proof using the Fiat-Shamir heuristic: the prover computes a Merkle root of the computation, uses the Merkle root to pseudorandomly choose 500 indices, and provides the 500 corresponding Merkle branches of the data. The key idea is that the prover does not know which branches they will need to reveal until they have already "committed to" the data. If a malicious prover tries to fudge the data after learning which indices are going to be checked, that would change the Merkle root, which would result in a new set of random indices, which would require fudging the data again... trapping the malicious prover in an endless cycle.

But unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in naively applying random sampling to spot-check a computation in this way: computation is inherently fragile. If a malicious prover flips one bit somewhere in the middle of a computation, they can make it give a completely different result, and a random sampling verifier would almost never find out.


It only takes one deliberately inserted error, that a random check would almost never catch, to make a computation give a completely incorrect result.

If tasked with the problem of coming up with a zk-SNARK protocol, many people would make their way to this point and then get stuck and give up. How can a verifier possibly check every single piece of the computation, without looking at each piece of the computation individually? There is a clever solution.

see part 2

Rishi Dean

Rishi Dean

4 months ago

Coinbase's web3 app

Use popular Ethereum dapps with Coinbase’s new dapp wallet and browser

Tl;dr: This post highlights the ability to access web3 directly from your Coinbase app using our new dapp wallet and browser.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) have gained popularity in the last year (DAOs). The total value locked (TVL) of DeFi investments on the Ethereum blockchain has grown to over $110B USD, while NFTs sales have grown to over $30B USD in the last 12 months (LTM). New innovative real-world applications are emerging every day.

Today, a small group of Coinbase app users can access Ethereum-based dapps. Buying NFTs on Coinbase NFT and OpenSea, trading on Uniswap and Sushiswap, and borrowing and lending on Curve and Compound are examples.

Our new dapp wallet and dapp browser enable you to access and explore web3 directly from your Coinbase app.

Web3 in the Coinbase app

Users can now access dapps without a recovery phrase. This innovative dapp wallet experience uses Multi-Party Computation (MPC) technology to secure your on-chain wallet. This wallet's design allows you and Coinbase to share the 'key.' If you lose access to your device, the key to your dapp wallet is still safe and Coinbase can help recover it.

Set up your new dapp wallet by clicking the "Browser" tab in the Android app's navigation bar. Once set up, the Coinbase app's new dapp browser lets you search, discover, and use Ethereum-based dapps.

Looking forward

We want to enable everyone to seamlessly and safely participate in web3, and today’s launch is another step on that journey. We're rolling out the new dapp wallet and browser in the US on Android first to a small subset of users and plan to expand soon. Stay tuned!

Protos

Protos

4 months ago

StableGains lost $42M in Anchor Protocol.

StableGains lost millions of dollars in customer funds in Anchor Protocol without telling its users. The Anchor Protocol offered depositors 19-20% APY before its parent ecosystem, Terra LUNA, lost tens of billions of dollars in market capitalization as LUNA fell below $0.01 and its stablecoin (UST) collapsed.

A Terra Research Forum member raised the alarm. StableGains changed its homepage and Terms and Conditions to reflect how it mitigates risk, a tacit admission that it should have done so from the start.

StableGains raised $600,000 in YCombinator's W22 batch. Moonfire, Broom Ventures, and Goodwater Capital invested $3 million more.

StableGains' 15% yield product attracted $42 million in deposits. StableGains kept most of its deposits in Anchor's UST pool earning 19-20% APY, kept one-quarter of the interest as a management fee, and then gave customers their promised 15% APY. It lost almost all customer funds when UST melted down. It changed withdrawal times, hurting customers.

  • StableGains said de-pegging was unlikely. According to its website, 1 UST can be bought and sold for $1 of LUNA. LUNA became worthless, and Terra shut down its blockchain.
  • It promised to diversify assets across several stablecoins to reduce the risk of one losing its $1 peg, but instead kept almost all of them in one basket.
  • StableGains promised withdrawals in three business days, even if a stablecoin needed time to regain its peg. StableGains uses Coinbase for deposits and withdrawals, and customers receive the exact amount of USDC requested.

StableGains scrubs its website squeaky clean

StableGains later edited its website to say it only uses the "most trusted and tested stablecoins" and extended withdrawal times from three days to indefinite time "in extreme cases."

Previously, USDC, TerraUST (UST), and Dai were used (DAI). StableGains changed UST-related website content after the meltdown. It also removed most references to DAI.

Customers noticed a new clause in the Terms and Conditions denying StableGains liability for withdrawal losses. This new clause would have required customers to agree not to sue before withdrawing funds, avoiding a class-action lawsuit.


Customers must sign a waiver to receive a refund.

Erickson Kramer & Osborne law firm has asked StableGains to preserve all internal documents on customer accounts, marketing, and TerraUSD communications. The firm has not yet filed a lawsuit.


Thousands of StableGains customers lost an estimated $42 million.

Celsius Network customers also affected

CEL used Terra LUNA's Anchor Protocol. Celsius users lost money in the crypto market crash and UST meltdown. Many held CEL and LUNA as yielding deposits.

CEO Alex Mashinsky accused "unknown malefactors" of targeting Celsius Network without evidence. Celsius has not publicly investigated this claim as of this article's publication.

CEL fell before UST de-pegged. On June 2, 2021, it reached $8.01. May 19's close: $0.82.

When some Celsius Network users threatened to leave over token losses, Mashinsky replied, "Leave if you don't think I'm sincere and working harder than you, seven days a week."

Celsius Network withdrew $500 million from Anchor Protocol, but smaller holders had trouble.

Read original article here

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Sad NoCoiner

Sad NoCoiner

24 days ago

Two Key Money Principles You Should Understand But Were Never Taught

Prudence is advised. Be debt-free. Be frugal. Spend less.

This advice sounds nice, but it rarely works.

Most people never learn these two money rules. Both approaches will impact how you see personal finance.

It may safeguard you from inflation or the inability to preserve money.

Let’s dive in.

#1: Making long-term debt your ally

High-interest debt hurts consumers. Many credit cards carry 25% yearly interest (or more), so always pay on time. Otherwise, you’re losing money.

Some low-interest debt is good. Especially when buying an appreciating asset with borrowed money.

Inflation helps you.

If you borrow $800,000 at 3% interest and invest it at 7%, you'll make $32,000 (4%).

As money loses value, fixed payments get cheaper. Your assets' value and cash flow rise.

The never-in-debt crowd doesn't know this. They lose money paying off mortgages and low-interest loans early when they could have bought assets instead.

#2: How To Buy Or Build Assets To Make Inflation Irrelevant

Dozens of studies demonstrate actual wage growth is static; $2.50 in 1964 was equivalent to $22.65 now.

These reports never give solutions unless they're selling gold.

But there is one.

Assets beat inflation.

$100 invested into the S&P 500 would have an inflation-adjusted return of 17,739.30%.

Likewise, you can build assets from nothing.  Doing is easy and quick. The returns can boost your income by 10% or more.

The people who obsess over inflation inadvertently make the problem worse for themselves.  They wait for The Big Crash to buy assets. Or they moan about debt clocks and spending bills instead of seeking a solution.

Conclusion

Being ultra-prudent is like playing golf with a putter to avoid hitting the ball into the water. Sure, you might not slice a drive into the pond. But, you aren’t going to play well either. Or have very much fun.

Money has rules.

Avoiding debt or investment risks will limit your rewards. Long-term, being too cautious hurts your finances.

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice, always do your own research.

Alexander Nguyen

Alexander Nguyen

26 days ago

How can you bargain for $300,000 at Google?

Don’t give a number

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Google pays its software engineers generously. While many of their employees are competent, they disregard a critical skill to maximize their pay.

Negotiation.

If Google employees have never negotiated, they're as helpless as anyone else.

In this piece, I'll reveal a compensation negotiation tip that will set you apart.

The Fallacy of Negotiating

How do you negotiate your salary? “Just give them a number twice the amount you really want”. - Someplace on the internet

Above is typical negotiation advice. If you ask for more than you want, the recruiter may meet you halfway.

It seems logical and great, but here's why you shouldn't follow that advice.

Haitian hostage rescue

In 1977, an official's aunt was kidnapped in Haiti. The kidnappers demanded $150,000 for the aunt's life. It seems reasonable until you realize why kidnappers want $150,000.

FBI detective and negotiator Chris Voss researched why they demanded so much.

“So they could party through the weekend”

When he realized their ransom was for partying, he offered $4,751 and a CD stereo. Criminals freed the aunt.

These thieves gave 31.57x their estimated amount and got a fraction. You shouldn't trust these thieves to negotiate your compensation.

What happened?

Negotiating your offer and Haiti

This narrative teaches you how to negotiate with a large number.

You can and will be talked down.

If a recruiter asks your wage expectation and you offer double, be ready to explain why.

If you can't justify your request, you may be offered less. The recruiter will notice and talk you down.

Reasonably,

  • a tiny bit more than the present amount you earn

  • a small premium over an alternative offer

  • a little less than the role's allotted amount

Real-World Illustration

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Recruiter: What’s your expected salary? Candidate: (I know the role is usually $100,000) $200,000 Recruiter: How much are you compensated in your current role? Candidate: $90,000 Recruiter: We’d be excited to offer you $95,000 for your experiences for the role.

So Why Do They Even Ask?

Recruiters ask for a number to negotiate a lower one. Asking yourself limits you.

You'll rarely get more than you asked for, and your request can be lowered.

The takeaway from all of this is to never give an expected compensation.

Tell them you haven't thought about it when you applied.

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

1 month ago

Reasons Why AI-Generated Images Remind Me of Nightmares

AI images are like funhouse mirrors.

Google's AI Blog introduced the puppy-slug in the summer of 2015.

Vice / DeepDream

Puppy-slug isn't a single image or character. "Puppy-slug" refers to Google's DeepDream's unsettling psychedelia. This tool uses convolutional neural networks to train models to recognize dataset entities. If researchers feed the model millions of dog pictures, the network will learn to recognize a dog.

DeepDream used neural networks to analyze and classify image data as well as generate its own images. DeepDream's early examples were created by training a convolutional network on dog images and asking it to add "dog-ness" to other images. The models analyzed images to find dog-like pixels and modified surrounding pixels to highlight them.

Puppy-slugs and other DeepDream images are ugly. Even when they don't trigger my trypophobia, they give me vertigo when my mind tries to reconcile familiar features and forms in unnatural, physically impossible arrangements. I feel like I've been poisoned by a forbidden mushroom or a noxious toad. I'm a Lovecraft character going mad from extradimensional exposure. They're gross!

Is this really how AIs see the world? This is possibly an even more unsettling topic that DeepDream raises than the blatant abjection of the images.

When these photographs originally circulated online, many friends were startled and scandalized. People imagined a computer's imagination would be literal, accurate, and boring. We didn't expect vivid hallucinations and organic-looking formations.

DeepDream's images didn't really show the machines' imaginations, at least not in the way that scared some people. DeepDream displays data visualizations. DeepDream reveals the "black box" of convolutional network training.

Some of these images look scary because the models don't "know" anything, at least not in the way we do.

These images are the result of advanced algorithms and calculators that compare pixel values. They can spot and reproduce trends from training data, but can't interpret it. If so, they'd know dogs have two eyes and one face per head. If machines can think creatively, they're keeping it quiet.

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given OpenAI's Dall-impressive E's results. From a technological perspective, it's incredible.

Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Dall-magic E's requires a lot of math, computer science, processing power, and research. OpenAI did a great job, and we should applaud them.

Dall-E and similar tools match words and phrases to image data to train generative models. Matching text to images requires sorting and defining the images. Untold millions of low-wage data entry workers, content creators optimizing images for SEO, and anyone who has used a Captcha to access a website make these decisions. These people could live and die without receiving credit for their work, even though the project wouldn't exist without them.

This technique produces images that are less like paintings and more like mirrors that reflect our own beliefs and ideals back at us, albeit via a very complex prism. Due to the limitations and biases that these models portray, we must exercise caution when viewing these images.

The issue was succinctly articulated by artist Mimi Onuoha in her piece "On Algorithmic Violence":

As we continue to see the rise of algorithms being used for civic, social, and cultural decision-making, it becomes that much more important that we name the reality that we are seeing. Not because it is exceptional, but because it is ubiquitous. Not because it creates new inequities, but because it has the power to cloak and amplify existing ones. Not because it is on the horizon, but because it is already here.