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Bitcoin Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Bitcoin and Blockchain Are Among the Fastest-Growing Skills Online (bloomberg.com) 80

As cryptocurrencies explode in popularity, employers are clamoring for workers with expertise in the emerging field. From a report: Demand for online freelancers who specialize in blockchain and bitcoin-related work surged last quarter, according to data compiled by Upwork, a website that connects freelancers with employers. The two skills were respectively the second and third fastest-growing skills on Upwork's platform. With the price of bitcoin having surged more than 500 percent this year, companies are rushing in to capitalize on the boom. Other skills in Upwork's list of fastest-growing skills include robotics (No. 1), as well as a cybersecurity specialty called penetration testing (No. 4) and a subfield in artificial intelligence called deep learning (No. 8).
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Bitcoin and Blockchain Are Among the Fastest-Growing Skills Online

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  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @11:46AM (#55477035) Homepage

    This is a job for liars. Only the people who claim 10 years of experience will be hired.

    • by Kenja ( 541830 )
      I recall seeing a similar requirement for Java a year after it came out.
      • I remember that too. Saw "5 years required", so I did a quick check and the only way someone had 5 years experience in Java is if they had been working at Sun 5 years prior.

        However, this is just HR boilerplate. What happens if if the job is entry level they say "experience in Java", if the job is junior level they say "5 years experience in Java", if the job is senior level they say "10+ years of experience in Java". The actual hiring manager never asks for this. It ca be a real problem with the "nice to

    • This is a job for liars. Only the people who claim 10 years of experience will be hired.

      I have a team in Bangalore who has 10 years experience

  • Fancy accounting. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @11:48AM (#55477047)

    In the olden days we called this a 'ledger'. Bitcoin itself, I bought some at $500 for fun, it could crash, it could go to the moon. I've cashed out break even.

    Now the blockchain is where I'm excited for my line of work (embedded automotive/industrial/aerospace). Accountable, recorded, distributed tracking of who signed off on what calibration and when.

    The current crop of tools AVL CRETA [avl.com] and Vector vCDM [vector.com] are traceability abominations. Digging into the underlying system it's just a terrible wrapper on a SQL database. A DB admin could go in and flip the "Violate Diesel Emissions" bit without having to go through the front end.

    When Grandma's self driving car goes through the Farmers Market the NTSB is going to start tracking down exactly when and who made the brake force calibration. I absolutely hope there's a block chain that points out it wasn't my decision to change it but Bob in accounting.

    • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @11:59AM (#55477147)

      I've tried to formulate a rule of thumb for the situations in which blockchain might be the right answer, given that it seems hideously inefficient.

      I think it boils down to:

      * there is a transaction between two parties who don't trust eachother
      * there is no mutually trusted third party who could manage the transaction ledger, or there is but the costs of such a third party exceed the costs of blockchain

      In this case blockchain becomes the third party.

      So for example in countries with strong institutions and rule of law, blockchain wouldn't at first blush make sense for a land registry (because a government agency performs that job) but in countries where there is endemic corruption the blockchain criteria are met.

      I'm still unclear how disputes and corrections to the ledger would be managed in the absence of a trusted third party, though.

      • > in countries where there is endemic corruption the blockchain criteria are met.

        Except you either restrict who can authenticate transactions or you run the risk of someone dumping a bunch of nodes on the network and taking control. And confirmed transaction or not, you're still depending on honest data entry.

        Corruption is always possible.

      • "So for example in countries with strong institutions and rule of law, blockchain wouldn't at first blush make sense for a land registry"

        It would to parties not located in that country. I've always felt bitcoin was actually the perfect way for nations to exchange value with one another. That of course would elevate "mining power" to a matter of national security.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Beware the three letter agency data miners, they will come for you one day, just entirely too much crime going on for them to ever ignore, when they nab you all, it will be like shooting fish in a barrel. The only crypto currency governments will accept in the long term, will be government ones, play and you will pay.

      • The only disputes and corrections on the blockchain are hard forks.  And the only way to do that is get the majority of the users to agree with the fork.  For every day stuff, no, there is no disputes or corrections.  Just do it right the first time.
      • Re:Fancy accounting. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @02:36PM (#55478315) Homepage

        I'd rephrase that a bit: Blockchains are appropriate where the effort required to corrupt the blockchain is significantly greater than the value to be gained by defrauding the other involved parties.

        That's very similar to a basic axiom of game theory: Players will be honest when the perceived cost of cheating is higher than the perceived value to be gained by cheating.

        In a private two-party system, a blockchain doesn't add anything, because either side can trivially rebuild the entire chain to fit their narrative. Publishing the chain brings in a trusted third party (a public record). In that case, the cost to cheat includes the cost to change the public record, which varies by implementation. In countries with endemic corruption, the cheating becomes simpler, because the trusted record-holder (say, a copy of the blockchain in a bank vault or published to a newspaper) can be changed for a certain fee (like bribing the bank officers or newspaper archivist). Even in a widely-published chain like BitCoin, the whole network can be adjusted by a quorum of nodes (though at great expense), and that in turn actually raises the value gained by cheating, because then it appears even more unreasonable to accuse someone (and all of the required accomplices) of the deception. When truth is determined by a simple majority, conspiracies become more appealing.

        In comparing technologies, it is important to compare them equally. Attacks on blockchains are different from those in more traditional business models, so it is tempting to simply say "blockchain has none of these normal risks" and assume it is perfect. It makes a more reasonable comparison to ask "what is the cost to compromise this?" and compare the results of the analysis. That also allows a grounded discussion about whether the project in question actually warrants the increased complexity of having a blockchain, or if a more traditional system is still secure enough for the project's value.

        • When truth is determined by a simple majority, conspiracies become more appealing.

          Unrelated to the topic under discussion, I'm gonna steal this as my sig.

    • Sounds like a great way to satisfy finger pointers and feed into the blame game. 99.999% of the time there is zero value in identifying who made a mistake, mistakes happen and everyone makes them, constantly. When a mistake happens to result in a high visibility problem being able to conclusively identify who made the mistake typically just means firing a perfectly competent and experienced resource and replacing them with at best an equally competent resource without that experience.

      Almost the only time th
      • it is by far the rare exception.

        Where have you been recently?

        So VW just accidentally fat fingered a calibration into their diesel software?

        Kobe Steel accidentally found some inaccurate data in their metallurgy?

        GM's ignition switch was accidentally ignored?

        • Those are three examples, how many thousands of mistakes do you think employees in those organizations make each day?
          • How many of those 'mistakes' make national news? Mistakes are made all the time. Mistakes don't get the attention of regulatory bodies and nations.

            • How many of those 'mistakes' make national news? Mistakes are made all the time. Mistakes don't get the attention of regulatory bodies and nations.

              It's not just the visibility of the mistakes, but the nature of them and the cost associated to them. There are mistakes made all the time and organizations remediate them when they have processes that attempt to do "the right thing".

              It's when mistakes are hidden on purpose, or worse, when falsehoods are propagated as truths, then those are no longer mistakes, but acts of wrong doings. Philosophically, I guess we can call them "mistakes", but it is one thing for an honest (albeit careless) regression to

    • Digging into the underlying system it's just a terrible wrapper on a SQL database.

      To be honest, you've just described 95% of all business software. The other 5% use a non SQL database. I used to work on a network management system (inventory, issue tracking, etc) and I used to think it was crap; after I left the company and had to use some of the competitor's products I realized that the product I worked on was actually high quality crap.

      Almost all of the application is the scripts and forms that sit on top of that database. In the past this meant forms on an IBM 3270 terminal, later i

    • I 'cashed out' a car, and a fucking nice one for that matter. :)
      • I 'cashed out' a car, and a fucking nice one for that matter. :)

        In a pyramid scheme, there are always some winners if they get in early enough. Just saying.

        • I think the bitcoin honestly wasn't meant to become a pyramid scheme, but because the supply is limited, it is unavoidable that the value will go up as more people get to know about it, and then it turns into an investment opportunity. But its price will rice only until the knowledge is 'saturated' among the population.
          Then either it will turn into the payment processing vehicle that it probably was meant to be, or it will come crashing down so hard that it's hard to recover from it.
          But still then there c
  • I feel like no one has learned anything from the first dotcom bubble. Cloud, software-defined anytthing, AI, machine learning, IoT, robots, cryptcurrency, blockchain...everyone is throwing massive amounts of money at anything remotely linked to these buzzwords. It's not so crazy as to have infected the entire stock market yet, but I have a feeling it's coming.

    Is it possible that sites like Upwork who connect freelance web guys and coders with individuals or small businesses are seeing an uptick in blockchai

    • everyone is throwing massive amounts of money

      Are they really though? Or is the media hype machine making it look like they're throwing around "massive amounts" of money? Because I totally know what a block chain is (now that I've read the wikipedia article), and if there are massive amounts of (real) money to be had, let's you and I go get some of it.

      • Because I totally know what a block chain is (now that I've read the wikipedia article), and if there are massive amounts of (real) money to be had, let's you and I go get some of it.

        Start a company for the sole purpose of fleecing investors? Shocking.

      • "and if there are massive amounts of (real) money to be had, let's you and I go get some of it. "

        Which of course ultimately means someone investing money in your effort.... which is how the amounts of money being thrown at it grows.
        • effort

          Wait, what? You didn't say anything about effort. I want massive amounts of money, that's all.

          • You have to figure out how to get it and then extract it. Even if you are just getting someone else to fleece the money for you, it's still an effort to do so.
    • I feel like no one has learned anything from the first dotcom bubble.

      What should they have learned? During the 1990s, hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth were created, and many of what are now the world's most valuable companies were either born or were greatly expanded. Sure, it got frothy at the end, but mostly investments in tech paid off very, very well.

      Early investors in Pets.com lost their money. Early investors in Google made their money back a thousandfold. If you invested X in both you would have made 500X instead of 1000X. A few winners make up for a lot

    • Bubbles may come and go, but stuff does remain from them. We will see blockchains rise and fall... and over the long haul, wind up a useful tool, just like SANs, Linux, and many other technologies.

      The reason we are seeing another bubble is that with the GDPR going in effect next year, ad companies are going to have to make a lot of changes, and this will result in some revenue losses due to this. So, people are taking their cash and going somewhere else that has a possibility of growth.

      AI especially. AI

    • The bubble will pop just like in any other pyramid scheme, when the majority of the lower classes and taxi drivers are going to step in and start reporting huge gains, enticing the remaining people to step in as well.
      That's when the bitcoin market gets saturated and that's a short time before it will either totally crash, or be used as a mode of payment and storage of wealth worldwide.
      In either way we can theorize about the value of 1 BTC at that point:

      There are 10 billion people vs 20 million bitcoins.
    • The great thing about Bitcoin, and the thing that distinguishes it from the Internet boom, is you can invest directly in the network, without using some giant fiber monopoly or application ISV as a proxy. It would be like if Arpanet was a startup you could invest in. Investing in ICOs on the Ethereum platform is much more akin to investing in Pets.com.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @12:03PM (#55477191) Journal

    https://motherboard.vice.com/e... [vice.com]

    "An index from cryptocurrency analyst Alex de Vries, aka Digiconomist, estimates that with prices the way they are now, it would be profitable for Bitcoin miners to burn through over 24 terawatt-hours of electricity annually as they compete to solve increasingly difficult cryptographic puzzles to "mine" more Bitcoins. That's about as much as Nigeria, a country of 186 million people, uses in a year.

    This averages out to a shocking 215 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of juice used by miners for each Bitcoin transaction (there are currently about 300,000 transactions per day). Since the average American household consumes 901 KWh per month, each Bitcoin transfer represents enough energy to run a comfortable house, and everything in it, for nearly a week. On a larger scale, De Vries' index shows that bitcoin miners worldwide could be using enough electricity to at any given time to power about 2.26 million American homes."

    • But which numbers did he use? Bitcoin mining on a CPU or GPU, or with custom ASICs?

      • Does it matter? The more efficient miners will drive up the complexity not drive down the usage of electricity.
        Bitcoin is basically designed to ensure people waste as much electricity as possible.
        • by thomn8r ( 635504 )

          Bitcoin is basically designed to ensure people waste as much electricity as possible.

          Excellent, Smithers! --Montgomery Burns

      • But which numbers did he use? Bitcoin mining on a CPU or GPU, or with custom ASICs?

        Not if YOU pay for the electrical cost

    • Luckily as computing becomes more power efficient so does mining which is performed with custom ASICs and not GPUs as some many deluded investors seem to think. Only alternative cryptocurrencies created by people who had large investments in existing obsolete GPU mining rigs are mined with GPUs.

      Also, at some point the fixed output rewards for unlocking new blocks will disappear and the reward for mining will only be the transaction fees paid on transactions. This will limit the incentive to pile on more min
      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        Luckily as computing becomes more power efficient so does mining which is performed with custom ASICs and not GPUs as some many deluded investors seem to think

        Wrong. The most power efficient mining is performed using javascript ads.

      • by hoggoth ( 414195 )

        > as computing becomes more power efficient so does mining

        No, as computing becomes more efficient the mining algorithm automatically increases it's difficulty to compensate to insure the entire global mining community can process approximately one block every ten minutes. Therefore as more miners enter the field mining will consume MORE power for the same results.

  • Say a blockchain is used as part of making a widget. Everything on the widget's bill of materials [1] would be signed for and part of the ledger. On one hand, this may be a good thing, as it ensures every part is signed off (the maker stated they used grade 8 bolts, so if they used grade 2, it would be obvious). On the other hand, I doubt companies want to guarantee every single part's quality, especially if they just buy and spec what's the absolute cheapest thing from China.

    [1] I hate saying the abbre

  • How the hell do you have "Blockchain skill"? That doesn't even make sense.
    • by Entrope ( 68843 )

      You only think that makes no sense because nobody hired you to work for the latest hot blockchain deep learning pen testing VR natural language processing startup. Did Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net reject your application?

    • No but in 5-10 years it WILL mean something. It's like when someone invented the word "cloud" or "automations" or "devops", none of these terms actually had real meanings, over time people trying to figure out what they mean while not admitting they have no idea have come to enough common consensus that some sort of meaning has begun to emerge.
    • How the hell do you have "Blockchain skill"? That doesn't even make sense.

      Only someone without Blockchain skill would say that.

  • I haven't seen this since 2010-2011... :)

  • "as well as a cybersecurity specialty called penetration testing"

    Long term readers of slashdot would already know what 'penetration testing' is and please don't use cyber-anything in relation to technology, if you want to be taken seriously.

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