A recent telephone call caused me to seriously question how our competitors deal with ethics in investigations. A client asked for a quote on a case and said that “everything has to be above board.” This led me to respond with a serious disclaimer that everything we do is above board. I went on the explain that we at MI:33 take pride in knowing that Federal judges all over the United States trust our testimony. This means that every single thing that we do or report can be demonstrated plainly and honestly to a judge and jury.
Throughout the years, when assigning work, we have had clients tell us “don't tell me how you got it”, or “I don't want to know”. Despite these attorneys' attempts to turn a blind eye to the law, we never, ever acquire our information in a way that cannot be demonstrated honestly in Federal Court. In one aspect, it is a compliment for the Intellectual Property industry to think that our results are so magical that they must have been obtained unethically. But on the other hand, knowing that so many peers must cut corners, it is paramount that we differentiate ourselves from the rest.
I am not sure if this is more of an indictment of the morals of the average client, or the ethics of other investigators. But, in the age of OSINT specialists and hackers, it is of extreme importance that ethics in investigations is pronounced and accented when cases are being filed. A competitor may provide some shady results, but can they explain their steps to a jury in a way that make them feel comfortable that you did your job fairly and ethically?
Trust is everything. Judges are juries are everything. That means ethics in investigations is also everything. Hire an agency that makes this their number one priority.
Here we are.
Ethereum Merge for Attorneys is yet another installment in a series to help busy executives take a dive into the new world of crypto in bite-sized chunks. The purpose of this week's entry is to give the reader a basic understanding of the Ethereum Merge, how it is being implemented, and where thought leaders project it going. Here are this edition's nuggets for the Ethereum Merge for Attorneys.
- If you have been paying attention to Ethereum headlines in the news, you may have heard about the big upgrade to ETH 2.0. Well, I have news for you. It occurred last night at around 11pm PT.
- The Merge is an upgrade to the Ethereum network that will move the system from a proof-of-work model to proof-of-stake (explained here in previous post). The result is that Ethereum will use 99% less energy.
- Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of over $200B and thousands of successful projects have been built on top of it including Polygon, Decentraland, The Sandbox, Chainlink, the OpenSea marketplace, the Brave browser, and even Tom Brady's Autograph.
- Ethereum will use much less energy than it does now. Massive energy consumption has been a big hurdle for crypto adoption. Many institutions simply aren’t allowed to use it because of the carbon footprint. This is expected to remedy some of that.
- Since Ethereum will use less energy to run, the payouts will be lower. Experts have said that this means Ethereum will become deflationary.
- The upgrade will not make the Ethereum network noticeably faster. This upgrade the first of five major upgrades. Speed may, or may not, be the focus of a future upgrade.
- Fees will not be reduced by the upgrade. For context, transaction (“gas”) fees are imposed by Layer 2 companies that bridge use of the network and third party services. However, this upgrade will make it easier for those companies to scale, so it is conceivable that these savings will be passed down to the consumer.
- There is nothing you need to do to prepare for the merge. It is supposed to be a seamless. In fact, if anyone says you need to do something… run! They are scamming you.
Crypto Mining for Attorneys is yet another installment in a series to help busy executives take a dive into the new world of crypto in bite-sized chunks. The purpose of this week's entry is to give the reader a basic understanding of Crypto Mining, how it is currently being implemented, and where thought leaders project it going. Here are this edition's nuggets for Crypto Mining for Attorneys.
- The process of mining is solving math problems to confirm transactions on the blockchain. This work is rewarded in small amounts of digital currency. For example, my basic, run-of-the-mill work PC mines during off-hours and nets me a meager $7/month in BTC.
- Crypto mining was invented to give users incentive to host transactions on their own computers. While mining, the user is volunteering their computer as a ‘node’, or ‘link’. in the blockchain.
- It is the redundancy of this process that ensures the unhackability of a decentralized blockchain. Many iterations of the same transaction are confirmed on so many independent machines the information then excludes errors and attempted fraud.
- The more computing power one has, the more one can mine. Some people use their personal computers and reap very small rewards (better than nothing), and some build farms of mining rigs and reap thousands of dollars a month. A $15,000 BTC mining rig could net $1K per month. Some folks build entire farms of these.
- Video cards, or GPU’s, have skyrocketed in price since the crypto mining goldrush began. Sort of the opposite of business computing, a mining rig needs very little RAM, and CPU power, but a lot of video memory. This has affected the gaming industry greatly because miners will often pay much more for these cards than gamers.
- Crypto mining uses so much electricity in its current state, it is not considered environmentally friendly, nor do electrical bills often justify mining. The current state of mining is called Proof of Work, where miners all work at the same time and, the more work, the more transaction verification. This creates more redundancy than needed and more coin doled out for unneeded work.
- The next generation of mining, called Proof of Stake, promises to be much more efficient. This is where miners wait in line to confirm transactions in an orderly fashion as needed.
- Etherium 2.0 (coming very soon) promises to be the gold standard for Proof of Stake and, hence, the new standard for crypto going forward. I believe this is true and am banking on it.
Crypto Wallets for Attorneys is yet another installment in a series to help busy executives take a dive into the new world of crypto in bite-sized chunks. Here is this week’s bulleted list for Crypto Wallets for Attorneys:
- Cryptocurrency wallets can be physical, software-based, or even hosted. Each has a different level of privacy.
- Physical crypto wallets are still technically software-based, but the assets only exist on physical media that you hold in your hand. However, providers of physical wallets offer backup software so that your assets can be recovered if the physical media is lost or destroyed.
- Most software wallets are encrypted and usually stored on a central server so that a customer can recover their assets with a passphrase, and without the need to track the whereabouts of storage media.
- Wallets are a completely separate ‘place’ than an exchange, where your assets are deposited right after you make a purchase. Think of the most popular exchanges like Coinbase or Crypto.com.
- Any wallet that is private, and not visible on an exchange is considered a DeFi (decentralized finance) wallet. This includes the wallet products sold by the exchanges themselves.
- Purchases on the Coinbase or Crypto.com exchanges are not private. That information is easily subpoenaed, similar to the balance of your bank account.
- In order for your assets to be private, you must move them into a wallet. Exchanges like Coinbase and Crypto.com provide separate wallet products, as do countless other organizations.
- Think of your wallet as a safe or a safe deposit box. A subpoena can reveal the balance of a bank account, but only the existence of a safe deposit box, not its contents. No one knows about the existence of a safe except people to whom you reveal it.
- Everyone charges a fee to move from the exchange to a wallet. For example, if you decide to move your $10K in Bitcoin from an exchange, you will likely pay a sizeable fee. Even if the wallet is branded the same as the exchange. To many people, this is called double-dipping.
- Most wallets are created to support specific blockchain-based assets, including NFT’s. For example, a Bitcoin-specific wallet will not hold NFT’s because most NFT’s are minted on other blockchains.
- Your crypto assets are only as safe as your passphrase. So you need to memorize them, print them and put them in a safe, or encrypt them. Once someone has the phrase and your wallet address, your assets are as good as theirs. Including the government. If that phrase is hidden, so are your assets.