Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quepos: Day Two

I was very blessed today.  Five items came up, and they all broke my way.  I did not fish today.

After breakfast, I took a walk along the road here.  And saw a morpho, a BIG blue butterfly, native only to the American tropics.  Here's a picture:

Link to above:


My brother has collected butterflies almost all of his life.  So, when I see a big pretty one like this (call it a 4" wingspan), well, I notice!


I had a great meeting today...


Then I went down to the beach (edge of Manuel Antonio park), where I found a patch of nice grass to do my tai chi forms.  Next to the ocean...

I decided to try my luck bodysurfing, something I have not done in FIVE years (worried about what would happen if I things went wrong and I hurt my cervical spine again, frown...).  So I just took two easy 4' - 5' waves, child's play...  But, I had missed the ROAR of a wave while riding it.  So I was OK passing up the more dangerous 6' waves (hey, I'm almost 58..., yes: "I'm getting too old for this s...!").

Like I mentioned above, truly blessed...


Eight of our group (14 in total) went to the La Mariposa Hotel, where they have a great view of the Pacific for drinks (orange juice in my case, LOL, or would that be </LOL>?).  We watched the sun go down, not a cloud on the horizon...  First, a picture of six of us:

Sunset, seconds after it went down:

A cruise ship, powered by sail!  Alex, our sailing expert, said this was a four-masted ship capable of carrying perhaps 100 passengers.   The picture is fuzzy because it was far away, I had my camera on the maximum zoom, this was picture No. 10, estimated distance about one mile:


And KBC arrived to Ameru there in Peru.  January sales will work out just fine...  Things are going our way in Peru as well.


Pura Vida!

I wonder what tomorrow will bring...  One good thing I already am pretty sure about.  But, this will help innoculate me (I hope) for when bad times come.  One of my "virtual friends" has spinal surgery coming soon.  Best to you "DZ", Godspeed!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quepos, Costa Rica

I am on vacation with a bunch of "alpha males", many from Beaufort, SC, but all of them friends or relatives of our family.  Accompanying me a day early (to meet our customer in Costa Rica) was Ameru's General Manager Cesar Rodriguez.  We had a delightful meeting with Guillermo and now have the opportunties to explore some business niches...  But we were here on serious business: sportfishing!

The day before we (14) started fishing we took a bus from San Jose to Quepos.  I will leave out the copious amounts of alcohol consumed to protect the guilty, "what happens in Costa Rica, stays in Costa Rica".  Other than the beautiful scenery of the country (of which there are many, many pictures better than I can take), there was really only one stop worthy of note, the Rio Tarcoles that is famous for crocodiles visible from the bridge (as always, *click* on any image for a better view):

That was a hit!  The next picture is towards the mountains (from the same bridge, we had just entered the Pacific lowlands).


The next day we headed out, there were five on our boat, L - R Cesar Rodriguez, Robert Mix, Alex Stapleton, Robert S., Steve Mix, and crew members Walter and "Memo" (Captain Jesus took this photo):

Now one of the world's most famous dorados ("dolphin fish", "mahi-mahi") that Robert S. is reeling in, first fish of the day...:

Dinner!  The fish weighed about 40 lbs, which yielded about 20 lbs of filet, mmm...  That fish fed all 14 of us last night (Sunday), there is still some left over (second picture shows Memo filleting the fish):

Alex here with his first ever sailfish, typically when someone catches their first one, the crew hauls it aboard briefly for a photo.  Costa Rica is a "Catch & Release" place, so they just throw the sailfish back into the ocean.  Their experience would be roughly akin to NFL players getting "shaken up" (get smacked) on a play, the fish suffer no damage.  Alex's fish weighed about 80 lbs, a pretty typical weight for a sailfish.

That day our boat brought in an impressive 17 fish, the first one was the dorado, then 16 sails...  Here is Cesar, with one of the three he brought in:

Cesar's next fish was a jumper and big (approx. 100 lbs).  From the photo you can deduce how strong these fish are...  You can also imagine the expletives heard when we saw that!


After we got back to our hotel (The Mono Azul -- Blue Monkey), here is what we saw crossing the power lines over the road, look closely about dead-center of the photo:

Not a bad start, more days to go...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 Ameru Results

Ameru Trading del Peru S.A. had a good year in 2013, our sales were up some 5% over 2012.  2012 was a BIG year for us in that we were up some 21% over the year before.

Year Sales
1999 $442,634.70
2000 $545,369.41
2001 $413,146.06
2002 $390,902.78
2003 $396,484.10
2004 $422,405.76
2005 $495,858.49
2006 $629,388.58
2007 $780,246.53
2008 $894,069.17
2009 $863,963.03
2010 $905,912.08
2011 $926,366.52
2012 $1,126,911.04
2013 $1,184,041.76

Our sales growth of about 5% is in line with Peru's estimated 2013 growth rate (emphasis mine):

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank said on Friday it was lowering its 2013 economic growth forecast for the second time in less than 2 months to around 5.2 or 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent, in line with estimates by analysts and banks.  


Most of our sales come from the Lima metro area (some 8,000,000 of Peru's nearly 30,000,000 people):

2011:  61.6%
2012:  59.4%
2013:  61.2%

Lima sales vs. the provinces are stable.  Actually, I would like to see our sales to the provinces go up, we give very little credit (collecting money is difficult from the provinces) so our cash comes right in before delivery, and the provinces have most of Peru's population.


We had two interesting developments last year (2013).  The first was seeing our Chinese double-row bearings and "hub & bearing assemblies" grow strongly.  This caused a big change in the types of bearings that we sold.  Below is a table showing our historical sales by rank (No. 1 is our long-term best selling type) vs. 2013 results:

    Rank Rank
Type 1999:2013 2013 Comment
b61      1    3 6000 series ball brgs, mostly for Tico
bdr      2    2 Double row ball brgs, "Gen 1"
tmet      3    5 Tapered roller brgs, metric sizes
boc      4    1 "Hub & Bearing Assemblies"
b62      5    4 6200 series ball brgs
tpre      6    6 Tapered roller brgs, "prefix"
tpul      7    9 Tapered roller brgs, inch sizes
b63      8  11 6300 series ball brgs
tsp      9  12 Tapered roller brgs, special types
club    10  14 Clutch bearings
ot    11  10 Other types
bbo    12      8 Ball brgs, other series
tdr    13    7 Double row tapered brgs, "Gen 1"
cnb    14  13 cylindrical and needle brgs

Hub & Bearing Assemblies are now our biggest selling type of bearing.    The 6000 series (includes our number one item, the 02-6007-RS) is mostly sales of our pieces for Daewoo Tico, a car now finally in decline in Peru.  Note that we have about 27 types of bearings that we have sold in recent years.  The above are "the ones that matter".

Because I like numbers, I did a "Correlation Coefficient" on the sales figures (not ranking numbers above) just to see how 2013 compared to our historical numbers.  The C.C. was 0.64, lower than I would have guessed.  The Hub & Bearing Assemblies are now very important for us, a big change...

We have four main suppliers.  We sell very little now beyond those four brands.  KBC bearings (Korea) have our internal coding prefix of "02".  Iljin (Korea) prefix is "11", MBS (Japan) is "13" and "Delfu" (China) is "50".
  Qty   Qty
Codigo Total Qty        Sales  2012  2013
02-6007-RS        75518 $270,197.64 35402 40116
11-IJ-212001        1743 $  95,918.66     850     893
13-38BWD22          5971 $  83,296.13   2669   3302
50-E90A/40202       1832 $  71,098.63     500   1332

The same four bearings above were our "Top Four" in both 2012 and 2013.

I should note that there are various bearings similar to the 02-6007-RS that will fit and run well with the Tico, these other pieces (not listed) were DOWN in sales in 2013 vs. 2012.  The Daewoo Ticos are finally starting to die off in Peru, they are still there (for the most part), but on the same decline curve we saw decades ago re the VW Beetle, once ubiquitous as well.

There were no significant changes in Ameru policies nor brands that we buy (other than phasing out our old ones, and that takes time).


Once I had the final sales figures in, I went ahead and ran a "Factor Analysis" routine using my S-Plus 6.1 stats program.  This time I had more and "better" data (more time for our relatively new Delfu pieces to make it into the bestsellers).

Factor Analysis is fairly complicated and subjectivity DOES enter into choosing the variables (I excluded some "orphans" that are old brands we are heavily discounting for example) and interpreting the results.  Interpretation of the results is an art, and an art that I have not mastered yet.  FWIW, here are the top 20 factors with a comment on each.  I looked at our top 225 selling bearings (to our to 260 customers), the purpose of Factor Analysis is to "reduce" the number of similar variables (kind of grouping similar selling pieces) to look for patterns...

   Factor No.    Eigenvalue       Comment
1 16.5       Hard to find Korean and Japanese
2 15.8       Unusual Korean, some Chinese assys.
3 14.4       Cheaper alternatives to Japanese
4 13.4       Daewoo Tico (more important in the past)
5 10.9       MBS double row, some Delfu
6 9.8       Mostly Iljin double row & assys
7 8.9       More odd KBC, light loadings on Delfu
8 7.9       Delfu hub & bearing assys
9 6.6       MBS!
10 6.0       ZWZ big tapered roller bearings
11 5.6       KBC tapereds, but not for wheels
12 5.2       Our NEW flange pieces from Delfu
13 5.1       Certain wheel bearings, low Delfu loadings
14 4.9       MBS and a few others for American trucks
15 3.1       Delfu pieces substituting for NTN (Japan)
16 3       Light to moderate loadings on KBC and Delfu
17 2.9       Daewoo Matiz (some pieces differ re Tico)
18 2.4       Some KBC and MBS, low loadings
19 2.4       Light loadings on Delfu and "orphans"
20 2.2       KBC M12649/10 & KM48548 (pair for van)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Screenshot: Big Money at Bitcoin

I visit two websites often now to pick up more experience with Bitcoin: fiatleak.com (upgraded, worth a look!) and blockchain.info (which monitors much of the activity of recent BTC transactions).

Take a look at a screenshot I captured a few minutes ago at blockchain.info:

*CLICK* on the image to see the details.

BTC Guild just mined a block (and got transaction awards) for almost $23 million!

And the top transaction (in green) just crossed the wires...

BIG MONEY is going into and through BTC...


ounce.me is another nice little site, showing quick info at a glance, another screenshot:

One other little feature of this site that I like is the 10-Year Treasury yield (2.83% above).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gold And Bitcoin

Gold and Bitcoins (BTC) are both now considered "worth holding" by many, myself included.  I am in no way trying to make these two assets "equivalent", but I do want to mention some similarities and differences that show that both assets are complimentary, at least for those with the risk-tolerance to deal with BTC.

The consensus estimate is that there are some 170,000 tonnes (1000 kg / tonne) of above-ground gold in stock.  Note there are claims that there could be 1,000,000 tonnes actually in stock, but these claims are very doubtful and mostly the ideas of the somewhat conspiratorial set (Bix Weir, Yamashita's Gold, etc.).  Recapping what the top holders among the central banks own, the top 15 central banks own some 25,020 tonnes or about 15% of the total (that 15% is worth some $950 billion today).

China *

* China has been importing over 1000 tonnes of gold for over a year now (as reported by Zero Hedge and others), here are three links, the first one (from Jesse/Arthur, an influential blogger) says that maybe China now has some 2710 tonnes (3rd place, the IMF gold above is in large part the USA's gold):


Re the second link above, it is interesting that Chinese gold imports dropped despite the fall in price of gold.

Also re China, I have read a couple of accounts that China may already have between 2000 - 4000 tonnes (plausible) and other reports that they may already hold 8000 + tonnes (not likely, IMO).  I have even heard that China may have been buying 1000 tonnes per month (not per year), but this seems unlikely in that world mining production is only about 2900 tonnes for 2013, source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/20/gold-mine-output-idUSL5N0J44T720131120).

Recycling of gold accounts for about 1145 tonnes (2013):  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kitconews/2013/11/14/wgc-global-gold-supply-falls-in-3q-on-less-recycling-mine-output-up/

Russia has apparently also been importing more gold, although this link shows Russia's gold holdings at 1015 tonnes (been going up since the +/- 600 tonnes from 2010):

A picture of a Russian gold bar (Reuters, via the above story, *click* any image for a better view):

Note that the above gold storage figures may not represent actual amounts of physical gold stored by each country.  Many foreign countries have gold stored at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has not been audited in a public and transparent way in a long time.  The gold of the United States is mostly at Ft. Knox, but that has not had a public and transparent audit either...

The central banks are, of course, the single largest owners of gold.  The jewelry sector has a whole own even more, but much of that is "locked up" as family heirlooms, etc.  It is NOT KNOWN how much gold is owned by "FOFOA's Giants" (the Rothschilds, etc.).

There has been a lot of commentary about the drawdowns of gold from the GLD (the ETF that "holds" gold for investors who want to make a bet on gold's price moves, a bad bet ("paper gold"), IMO).  Influential gold bloggers "Turd Ferguson" and Harvey Organ follow the GLD's "gold holdings" (the GLD is a complicated instrument that does not even claim to hold any gold, they allow custodians and sub-custodians to hold it for them, hmm, could we have a problem here...?).  The GLD has had gold "leave" this year, what this all means is best left to the pros to discuss, but here is a snippet that gives a good overview as to how much gold "left" the GLD (551.70 tonnes!) in 2013 (link: http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/5397/fun-gld):
We spent a lot of time documenting the pillage of the GLD in 2013. Here are links to just a few of the biggest hits:
Let's begin with the math. The GLD began 2013 with an "inventory" of 1,349.92 metric tonnes of gold. It finished the year with an "inventory" of 798.22 metric tonnes of gold. This brings the total 2013 plunder to 551.70 metric tonnes or 40.87%, roughly 17,737,567 troy ounces of gold.

Top producers (countries):

Top 10 Gold Producers (2011)
South Africa
goldinvestingnews.com  (2012)

Total, top 10 producers: 1802 tonnes, which looks about right considering total world mining production of about 2900 tonnes.  A key metric of gold is the stock to flow ratio: 170,000 tonnes  / (2900 mined + 500 (est.) recycled) = 79:1, very high (a well known fact).


Bitcoin is mostly held by wealthy individuals who were either founders or early adopters of BTC.  The largest owners are in the below table.  Note that the largest owner (No. 1 on the list) is now the FBI since "Dread Pirate Roberts" was arrested and his BTC seized.  "Bitcoin Insider" wrote me (in an update to this article) that the FBI apparently DOES have the passwords to DPR's BTC wallets, I wonder what they will spend them on...
Rank USD Bitcoins Address
1$ 122,202,420.56144,341.521FfmbHfnpaZjKFvyi1okTjJJusN455paPH
2$   94,071,849.63111,114.611933phfhK3ZgFQNLGSDXvqCn32k2buXY8a
3$   72,803,393.74  85,993.0017ewBhK712mY2E4uPAbinThibdY2LRyabd
4$   67,693,235.08  79,957.051FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF
5$   64,343,202.22    76,000.101CbR8da9YPZqXJJKm9ze1GYf67eKAUfXwP
6$   58,815,613.41    69,471.091HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx
7$   45,615,923.52  53,880.041GLEtzJ1H2zoGrUA4RMbRJam5UJSdrk6T2
8$   44,870,897.77  53,000.0416cou7Ht6WjTzuFyDBnht9hmvXytg6XdVT
9$   42,331,036.33  50,000.041P3S1grZYmcqYDuaEDVDYobJ5Fx85E9fE9
10$   37,982,934.38  44,864.211MuYkciQTfRsU94ReAe5MiAfUpCrbLBcFR
11$   35,304,054.00  41,700.0016unci4w6erqKNFYAGYTVUyJUsXV9EUH28
12$   34,706,823.17  40,994.571QAHVyRzkmD4j1pU5W89htZ3c6D6E7iWDs
13$   33,865,066.46  40,000.3114j6jLececs66ZQ8ew6vTFNiEn2NupacWJ
14$   33,864,836.84  40,000.041cXNTyXj4xPGopfYZNY5xfSM1EPJJvBZV
15$   33,864,835.95  40,000.0412HddUDLhRP2F8JjpKYeKaDxxt5wUvx5nq

Note that the above BTC dollar values are calculated at approximately $846 each, approximately at today's market value.  The above BTC is worth some $821 million or perhaps some 7% of the total market value of Bitcoin (some $12 billion or a little more).  There are about 12 million Bitcoins in circulation now, the eventual total will be about 21 million BTC, so over half of them have already been "mined".

Note also that each BTC gets a little bit harder to mine all the time.  The reward also goes down.  The system is designed so that ALL the computation in the world (working on solving BTC's "math problem"), some 30 trillion hashes per second, find approximately one solution every 10 minutes.  Success in finding such solutions can be found at blockchain.info -- right there at the top of their home page.

Bitcoin production, mostly earned by "mining" which is mostly solving the "math problem" as well as conducting some transactions works out to about 25 BTC every 10 minutes.  But, this figure (which would work out to approximately $128,000 every hour) does not seem to square what I see at blockchain.info, which typically shows the large mining pools raking in some $7,000,000 per hour in "Total Sent" to the big miners.  I invite more knowledgeable readers to take a look and comment, thank you!

Update: my Bitcoin contact "spartacus" may have resolved the issue of the high numbers coming in to blockchain.info vs. the mere 25 BTC value of each "win" by the mining pools, here is his comment (saying that blockchain includes other money vs. just the 25 BTC "won"):

Each block contains BTC transactions, _plus_ 25 new BTC.  If I send somebody 100 BTC and you send somebody else 200 BTC, then that's  a total of 300 BTC sent.  At 1000 $/BTC that would show as $300,000 on this display.  I don't know if the 25 new BTC are also included or not, but the display gives us an indication about how much "real" money (hahaha) is changing hands.


BTC has issues, that I would like to explore briefly.  I have already discussed some of these points re gold elsewhere at this blog.

BTC may be a compromised system, I do not think so, but there are many who are suspicious that BTC may be a precursor by TPTB to a NWO (New World Order) currency that would make anonymity impossible.  That BTC is a "test run" to accept public acceptance of an electronic currency with the end-goal of displacing cash once and for all.  While this is possible (I have NO private information than any of you do), I doubt it.  The encryption systems (three of them) appear to be very robust, particularly taken together.  Such breaches of the BTC Ecosystem have been because of sloppy security at links into the system as far as I can tell.

BTC is also criticized as "not being backed by anything", which is true, other than being backed by "math".  But, the US dollar is not backed by anything either!  (Prior to FDR, it was backed by gold 100%, and until Nixon "closed the gold window" in 1971 to foreigners wanting to changed USD into gold at $35 / oz).

For that matter, gold is not backed by "anything" either, it just is...

BTC is not widely accepted.  This is changing, about a week ago overstock.com started accepting BTC for purchases, I believe the first day they rang up $130,000 in sales.  Other companies are watching this for sure...  Once accepted, it is believed that BTC will offer a significantly lower transaction costs (less than 1%) than payments by credit cards (2% - 3%).

BTC may have competition, it even has some now.  So far, the BTC network (people who use them) is very much larger than any competitor, which is a big advantage ("network effect").  Litecoin and dogecoin are very much second string electronic crypto-currencies now.  One to keep an eye on would be zerocoin, which will apparently run on the same blockchain as BTC while offering anonymity...

Finally among risks that I can identify, there has been a lot of chatter in the BTC community about miner GHash.IO's recent hashrate production nearing the 50% amount of all attempts at solving the "math problems".  Apparently if you produce over 50% of the BTC, then you are in a position to corrupt the blockchain...  Bad!  But, GHash.IO has released a statement that they want to do nothing that would hurt the system, and some even wonder if they really are a threat...:



I myself plan to probably permanently hold some BTC.  I have already made it clear that I plan to hold a fairly large (for me) position in gold.  In this section, I would like to compare the two "assets" and discuss them further.  Here is a table showing some characteristics of interest re gold and BTC:

Characteristic Gold BTC Comment
Quiet / Anonymous? Y N BTC is "fairly" quiet, but…
Quiet Transport in Qty? N Y Note 1 below
Intrinsic Worth? N N
Tangible? Y N Gold is shiny,yellow and heavy
Long History of Value? Y N
Limited Quantity? Y Y Apparently BTC is secure
Store of Value? Y N Some would say BTC is…
Currency? N Y BTC is limited but growing …
Getting More Attention? some lots
Volatile vs the US$? some very But, each has its own value…
Other Ways to Play? Y Y Note 2 below
Concentrated Ownership? Y Y Note 3 below
Widely Owned? N N Less than 3% own each…
Vulnerable in its Niche? N Y Other cryptocurrencies…
Is This Asset Diversification? Y Y Clearly both are…
Risk of Seizure / Loss? some some Note 4 below
Note 1:  Done correctly, a virtually unlimited amount of BTC could be taken out by air…
Note 2:  Gold miners (riskier IMO), and BTC mining equipment (same IMO)
Note 3:  Re investment ownership, few own either one
Note 4:  Low (IMO) risk of government seizure of both, but both can be "lost".


Despite the intangible nature of BTC and its recognized issues, in my opinion BTC is worthy of further study by anyone interested who has some extra money and is seeking diversification.

As with gold, I suggest following FOFOA's general advice: buy (gold or BTC) only up to your comfort level...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fun With Bitcoin For Beginners: Part Six: The Blockchain

Bitcoin (BTC) continues to gather more attention, having had a nice bounce back up in price off its lows.  In this article, I wanted to discuss the blockchain, a vital piece of infrastructure in the BTC Ecosystem.  The blockchain serves as a public ledger for all BTC transactions, from birth of each Bitcoin (currently 25 BTC are created approximately every 10 minutes), including the original Bitcoin (by still little known Satoshi Nakamoto) to each transaction up to the present.

An excellent place to start learning about the blockchain is to go visit the service blockchain.info.  I first encountered blockchain.info after making a few BTC transactions with my Multibit client software.  My excellent source "Bitcoin Insider" ("B.I.") encouraged me to track my transactions via a link at blockchain.info to see how it is recorded, by whom, etc.

Here is a screen shot of blockchain.info's home page (*click* on any image to see it better):

Like so many other pages dedicated to BTC, the page is "information dense", a lot going on.  Note that the above screenshot does not capture the whole home page (see scroll bar on the right), there are little gems "underneath", so of which I will discuss below.  The two most obvious things to look at are the latest mining results (top), dominated by two large "mining pools": BTC Guild and GHash.IO.  These two large pools currently mine a bit over 50% of brand new BTC:

Those of us who have concerns about ANY GROUP mining over 50% current BTC really hope that these two groups dislike each other...

My understanding of blockchain.info is that it is NOT the blockchain itself, nor a supervisor nor overseer.  They are a SERVICE.  The service provides easy to use information on the blockchain itself.  "Bitcoin Insider" (B.I.) comments as to blockchain.info's location:

[...]My weak hacking skills locate them in Europe and Costa Rica with corporate registry in Hong Kong. This looks like an intentional set up to avoid US jurisdiction.[...]

I have just recently received some information about the blockchain and it is not the same as blockchain.info, I have another BTC expert who is known as "spartacus", here he comments on my question of blockchain.info vs. the blockchain itself, he also mentions blockexporer.com as another service that can be used to explore transactions on the blockchain:

[...]it sounds like blockexplorer.com or blockchain.info.  Both of these are what I've referred to as 2nd layer services.  They have a copy of the block chain (like everybody else does) and they connect it to the web in a more user-friendly manner and add extra services.  Nuke 'em from orbit and their services die, but the core BTC system won't bat an eyelash.[...]

Note that spartacus specifically notes that the blockchain.info, blockexplorer.com and the blockchain itself are all independent...

There are apparently 3,000,000 separate copies of the whole blockchain worldwide, just at blockchain.info alone you can see there are about 500 - 1000 nodes online at anytime (I do not know what the difference is between a "node" and an active BTC miner/transaction processor would be).  

In other words, the blockchain itself looks to be pretty secure against attacks.


I asked both B.I and spartacus about getting a more secure way to disguise transactions.  Both of them suggested that the "mixing services" (that could also include BTC gambling sites -- Hey!  Would that be one of the MAIN REASONS the gambling sites even exist, for washing BTC transactions...?).  As a general rule you would send all such sites some BTC, you would either gamble some of it or pay the "mixing service" their fee, and then have them send whatever BTC remain to a new wallet that you open anonymously...

In other words, "do-able", but not easy.

spartacus also had this nice little thing to say re privacy and security that is really more general advice about ANY physical asset you want to hold quietly:

Always remember the existence of "rubber-hose" cryptanalysis.  Guido don't know nuthin' 'bout all that cryptoshit, but he's going to beat your ass until you remember where the boat sank.  [...]  And this is nothing to rush into anyway.


One item of interest to me is worldwide access to any BTC that I might have.  Whether I have my laptop or not...  Well, blockchain.info apparently has that problem already solved.  That service allows you to open a wallet right there on the blockchain through them!

From their home page (first image above), click on the "wallet" tab at the top, and you will get the below.  You just follow the instructions and easily create a wallet.  This appears to allow you worldwide access to your BTC in that wallet, anywhere there is internet service.  Then all you need to do, when overseas for example, is to find a way to monetize or spend your BTC.

B.I. told me that the risk is "low but not zero" that a wallet up there on the blockchain would be compromised (by bad security of theft).  Perhaps the smart way to use a blockchain wallet like this is not to keep all of your BTC there...


Here are some images from various of the blochain.info pages.  It is an interesting site, and well worth exploring!  The service monitors all (most?) BTC transactions in near-real-time.  The home page has a tab to view recent LARGE BTC transactions.  Here is a BIG transaction that they had, so I took the screen shot (again, *click* the image to see!):

The bottom transaction is for a total of 25,000 BTC ($20 million dollars...)  Note that ANYONE can get this information, so spartacus' advice above (re "Guido") is appropriate...

This next image comes from looking at the "Bitcoin Nodes Globe" link under the "Other Bicoin Links" on their home page:

Note Lima, Peru has a node (at about Seven "o'Clock", blue pin sticking out approx to the SW into the Pacific).  You are allowed to "turn" the globe around, you can then see that the very long red spike appears to be coming from Russia...

Here is an image of information transmission about a recent transaction on the blockchain.  Note that I backed-out part of the security hash:

I do not have that map all figured out, but I think that the yellow spots are locations where there are various nodes that checked out the transaction OK, blue would be locations with fewer nodes.  Note the interesting high number of nodes located at 0 degrees latitude and 0 degrees longitude at the yellow node in the "Bight of Africa"...


There still a number of questions I have on the blockchain.  This article is just an introduction!  Both of my contacts provided me more information than I could properly understand (quickly) on BTC as well as the blockchain.

But at least it appears that the blockchain is secure.  There may indeed be "scalability" issues with BTC and/or the blockchain (how will future fast growth affect the BTC Ecosystem), but for the moment we are OK.  We, the brave (the foolish?), the explorers of Bitcoin.


I would like to pass my sincere gratitude to my two knowledgeable advisers "Bitcoin Insider" (yet again) as well as "spartacus" for helping me to learn more about the whole BTC Ecosystem, and in particular about the blockchain for this article.

Thank you very much guys!