Archive for the ‘bitcoin’ Category

Xi Jinping Thinks You're Stupid

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

I have so far two unpublished translations of Chinese articles related to Bitcoin. One is left unpublished due to me not knowing exactly what to do with it. There is nothing new to me in it about Bitcoin per se, and although it is interesting to see a not terrible run down of Bitcoin that was both produced and consumed within China, there are no either intelligent or retarded arguments that I haven't already seen countless times in Western media. Not to mention the quality of the English version is low. I could go through and correct the grammar mistakes, but I don't know if this is the right thing to do given my current skill level in Chinese. That leaves me with something that is both a pain to read for my readers, and also uninformative.

The other is unpublished due to being, well, not what I wanted. There was some kerfluffle a while back about Xi Jinping endorsing "crypto" and I wanted to find out exactly what he said. It turns out that, unless you were physically there at the party meeting, or whatever they call it, there is no way to know. The only texts that Mia could find were not direct quotes, but summaries by no one I ever heard of of what he said.

After seeing these, I explained that I really wanted to know exactly what he said, and asked her if she could maybe find a video of the event. Now, she did find a video of the event, but there was no audio of Xi Jinping, just a voice over by, again, someone I've never heard of, "summarizing" what Xi Jinping "said."

This obfuscation has to be intentional. This technique of only providing summaries of what Xi Jinping said by other people who no one ever heard of allows Xi Jinping never to have to say anything stupid or wrong, because if it turns out that whoever summarized what he said said something wrong, that's on him, not Xi Jinping.

So, although I consider these two translations to be negative results, perhaps there is still some value to them. The first thing I have learned is perhaps a question to ask, rather than some new information: "How do you best work with a translator that knows Chinese better than English?" The second thing I have learned is (although I always suspected this to be true) not only that English language news about "crypto" coming out of China is total trash, but specifically why, which is that until I see some counter evidence I must assume that all news articles are based on summaries in Chinese by no names, and that it cannot be assumed that these summaries are sourced from original content by anyone with any sort of reputation.

I am left, at this point, with no great desire to continue digging through the dung heap remotely. As for what's next, I am considering having Mia try to attend a Bitcoin meetup near where she's located and write up a report, or going to China myself and attending one.

Surfing in Tamarindo with Will

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

I didn't know what Will would look like, having only seen his tiny comment icon on my blog. But I knew he had hair, and lots of it, and that's how I knew it was him when I arrived at the Surf Culture surf shop. He had already procured a board for me, and, donning the white man's burden1, we made our way to the beach.

At the beach, Will showed me how to get up for a wave. He demonstrated by quickly bringing his left foot and then right foot forward, with knees bent, and both feet on the center line. I practiced this several times, and when I felt like I had it down, we went into the surf. When a good wave came, Will would give my board a push at just the right moment, and so I was able to catch multiple waves and stand up on the board before either falling or jumping off as I got too close to the shore.

Rather than discussing the details of our conversation, I will say that Will listened very closely to what I said, and responded to that, and that to my detriment I probably talked too much about myself and did not ask him about himself as much as I should have. I also regret not having read more of his blog. When I last checked it prior to the trip I only saw 4 or 5 of his most recent articles, but now I know there are many more going back a few years, which I look forward to reading.

For me it was great to meet someone who had, with interest, read my blog. I was somewhat taken aback that anyone would find it interesting since either a) the topics discussed are a non-starter for most of the population or b) for the log-reading population it's nothing new.

It was also interesting to try to have a serious discussion outside of IRC. I was frustrated by my inability to remember things I had written myself.

After surfing, we went to get my girl2, who we found about to cross the street in between the hotel lobby and the rest of the hotel buildings going back up the hill, and tried to decide where to eat. The girl wasn't up for anything exotic3 like sushi, so we ended up going to an Argentinian place with standard Argentinian fare. I had the Neapoliton chicken Milanesa, Will had a gigantic steak, and the girl had ... I forget.

We still had some time, so we decided to go to the casino, which turned out to be almost completely empty except for ourselves and a few employees. I am not a gambler, but the girl was so she went about losing some money while the conversation continued. What I remember most from this part of the discussion was that we touched on morality - whether there is right and wrong and I believe Will's stance was that for most people it is too complicated to figure out. I was woefully unprepared to support my stance that there is indeed an ought, which I regret. Perhaps we can discuss it more next time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon and evening and look forward to the next opportunity we have to get together.

Here are some photos from Tamarindo, where the whole thing took place.

  1. sun screen []
  2. She was from Honduras, and was friend of a girl I met on one of my previous trips []
  3. I found out later she didn't know about for example sailboats or how the worked, but fortunately for me she was an expert in Spanish as it is spoken in Central America []

Preparing to join #ossasepia

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Having spent some cycles following through with this comment, I've come up with the following.

I am interested in China and the Chinese.  I like how they play by their own rules wherever they go.  They are a good group to have connections with for obtaining dirty fiat cash, or building things.  I want more Chinese connections, specifically connections that grok Bitcoin.

I am persuaded that the news about Bitcoin coming out of China is filtered through a very specific class of characters - mainly bilingual diaspora Chinese such as Hong Kongers and Singaporeans, or the kind that have been merit-washed via the Ivies.  I suspect that the perspective of mainlander Chinese who don't speak English is not coming across.

In order to get that perspective, I would like to find or create a network of resources in China that can supply me with this perspective.  I would like to share this perspective via news stories in English.  I would also like to publish likbez in Chinese, just to see what I can dredge up from behind the firewall.

I am prepared to accept that there may be absolutely no thinking whatsoever concerning Bitcoin happening behind the firewall - this would also be good to know.

Monitoring the Chinese News Feed

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

I've been monitoring, on and off, the Chinese Bitcoin news feed1 I found a few weeks ago.  Thus far it appears mostly to consist of news originating in the West.  I suppose it is interesting to see what is of note to a Chinese audience, but this is disappointing none the less.

The only story originating in China on the front page today concerns some sort of scam being busted by provincial police in An Hui, with notes about the scammers attempting to flee to the Philippines.

  1. If you can call it that.  The Bitcoin specific feed appears only to be available on my iPad, and of course doesn't support Atom/RSS.  It's at http://8btc.com/flash, for reference, if you happen to have an iPad or iPhone. []

Surveying the Chinese Bitcoin Scene

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

I'm attempting to survey the Chinese Bitcoin scene.  I really don't even know where to start.  There are various "news" type sites that claim to convey news about what's happening in "crypto" in China/Asia in English, such as these:

http://www.chinacryptonews.com

https://www.asiacryptotoday.com/

http://www.coinnewsasia.com/

They are utter garbage1.  For an example of a news site that is not garbage, see qntra.net.

Another category is Chinese language news sites, such as chainnews.com.  Riddled with shitcoinery, obviously.

Then there are forum type sites.  There is for example the chinese language version of the mostly defunct Bitcointalk forum.  This is interesting in that it is dedicated mostly to Bitcoin.  It is not so interesting in that there's not much going on, going by the number and timestamps of posts.  It is even less interesting in that according to this site, at least, it is not reachable from within China.  I don't recall how I found it, but there is also this Chinese crypto forum, which does appear to be visible inside China.  From the name alone, it is obvious that this site is ridden through and through with shitcoinery.

Now although these sites are all garbage, maybe there's something good in there.  Maybe there's a post here or there by someone who has a clue.  But how would I know, not being fluent in Chinese?  I have made some inroads towards solving this problem.  At the moment I have a rather tenuous2 connection with a translator inside China.  I was able to have her do translation of a sample from this piece about China's purported new state sponsored crypto scam, and her work seems to be better than Google Translate, at least.

I don't want to say where I'm going next with this because I have no idea.  At this point I do think I have made some progress, though.

  1. Garbage in the sense that their content is not guided by any discernible principles, and therefore ethics []
  2. I found her via a Chinese masseuse who I'm having an affair with but who I'd like to dump, which is complicated []