Eric Rogstad

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Leak and Loss Alarms for Bitcoin Wallets

This is a proposal that I wrote up few years ago (and emailed to Coinbase as a feature suggestion), but never published.

Suppose you’ve got a bunch of bitcoins, and you want to keep them safe.

There are two classes of threat that you need to worry about:

  1. Data loss
  2. Theft

You’ve got to somehow store your wallet’s private key(s) such that 1) you’re sure you can retrieve the private key when you need to, and 2) no one else can get to the key.

Whether you do it yourself or trust a wallet service, you want both of these conditions to be met.

It seems to me that, unfortunately, these two goals tend to trade off against each other. Making your private key easy for yourself to recover (e.g. making lots of copies of the key) tends to make it easier for others to steal, and making it hard for others to steal (e.g. storing it on a flash drive in a safe at the bottom of the ocean) tends to...

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Tax-related PSA

If, in a given year, you’re both going to:

1) donate to charity, and
2) sell stocks (or ether, or bitcoins, etc.) that have gone up in value

You should donate the stocks (or ether or bitcoins) directly to the charity, rather than selling and donating the proceeds. This way the charity ends up with more money and you pay less in income taxes.

Suppose you bought $1000 worth of ether, and it’s now worth $2000. Consider two possibilities, 1) you sell the ether and then donate the proceeds, or 2) you donate the ether directly to a charity that’s set up to accept them.

1) Sell and then donate. You pay 15% on long-term capital gains tax (see the edit below for assets held less than a year), leaving $1850 left to donate.

You can take an income tax deduction on this $1850, saving you ~$550 on your income taxes (depending on bracket).

So the charity gets $1850, and you save ~$550 on...

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Ethics Offsets to the Rescue

Hate hurting animals, but love eating meat? Throw money at the problem!

Farm animals seem to live in pretty miserable conditions.

I’m confused about whether to consider animals conscious in the way that humans are conscious (or in a way that I should care about). But in the interest of ethical caution, I’d prefer not to contribute to animal suffering.

I like eating meat, and am in general quite convenience-motivated, so I’d prefer not to go vegan or vegetarian.

So what to do?

My preferred solution is to purchase ethics offsets by donating to charities that work for the welfare of farm animals. If I donate enough, I can alleviate more suffering than I cause, and come out on net as an animal Champion and Protector.

I am not sure how much money it takes to alleviate as much suffering as eating meat causes, but I’d guess that $1 per day of meat consumption is more than enough.

I last...

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