'Heart Attacks': Ex Coindesk Director Reveals Stressful Nature of Crypto Transactions

  • Sending cryptocurrency is stressful for even the highly experienced and technically savvy users.
  • User experience must be improved in order for cryptos to become more usable, according to blockchain professionals. 

Jameson Lopp, a cypherpunk and engineer at CasaHODL, a crypto service that helps users securely store their digital assets, recently tweeted that “when creating a bitcoin transaction, … you’re actually destroying your money and recreating it with each transaction.”

While it is true at the technical level, as Bitcoin’s (BTC) distributed ledger debits the sender’s account and credits the recipient’s account by first “destroying” and then “recreating” the cryptocurrency at another address, Lopp’s comments were meant to “scare” Twitter user Ryan Selkis, the founder of Messari Crypto.

Scary, Stressful Crypto Transactions

Selkis, the former managing director at Coindesk, had said he “gives himself heart attacks sending [cryptocurrency] from mainstream best-in-class hardware wallet to mainstream best-in-class hosted wallet.”

He added, “the UX lag is too scary for most mainstream users” while Twitter user @CryptoSpark1 commented that he’d still “take that over ‘money’ from a fractional reserve system” - which probably meant traditional fiat money.

PayPal's Method Could Help Crypto

Meanwhile, another user described the experience of sending cryptocurrency as “the shit-your-pants feeling when you forget to double check the address before sending.”

In order to alleviate some of the stress and try to improve crypto-related technology, Naval Ravikant, the CEO and founder of AngelList, recommended:

[Crypto] wallets should ‘verify’ addresses by sending the recipient a tiny random fraction of a token and ... wait for confirmation that the intended recipient received them. Then add the address to a whitelist. Same as PayPal etc. [does] when linking a bank account.

Naval Ravikant

Notably, Selkis questioned whether different crypto wallet providers actually communicate with each either, presumably to improve their services through a collaborative effort. He also suggested that improving user experience when engaging in crypto transactions “might be something [Messari Crypto or other blockchain firms] try to tackle in 2019.”

"Massive Stress" When Sending Monero (XMR)

Zoe Dolan, a lawyer and decentralization enthusiast, expressed an interest in helping make crypto transactions more user-friendly while Working Lab Capital senior associate, Blair Marshall, said, “the most important hurdle to overcome [is that it] has to be impossible for the average user to mess up.”

Recollecting his experience sending privacy coin Monero (XMR), another Twitter user said he sent the cryptocurrency from a client which he forgot to upgrade. When he was unable to track his transaction on any block explorer, he “encountered massive stress.” Luckily, however, “it all worked out but we are miles away from usability. I’m an engineer and it’s stressful”, the Twitter user said.

Ravencoin Vulnerability Allowed Attackers to Increase Total Supply by 1.5%

Attackers have exploited a vulnerability found in Ravencoin, an open-source fork of Bitcoin that launched in 2018, to generate extra RVN tokens “beyond the coinbase of 5000 RVN per block.”

According to a Medium post published by Ravencoin lead developer Tron Black, community members from the CryptoScope team reached out to the Ravencoin team with the findings. Both teams then worked together to stop the exploit from being leaked, and started “code review to detect, isolate, and fix the issue.” The post reads:

A community code submission caused a bug that has been exploited. Law enforcement has been notified and is working with us. The vulnerability does not allow the stealing of RVN or assets that you own and control, but the minting did create RVN that should not exist.

In total, the extra coins that were minted beyond Ravencoin’s total 21 billion supply are the equivalent of 44 days worth of mining, or about 1.5% of the RVN tokens that will ever exist. Black’s suggestion on the post was for the community to absorb the economic cost of the extra tokens, or to move the halving 44 days earlier.

He added the minted RVN tokens were moved to an exchange and traded, and as a result were mixed with other circulating RVN tokens. This means that trying to burn the tokens, even if with community backing, will “cause irreparable harm to innocent victims.”

The burden, Black added, is currently being shared across all RVN holders in proportion to their holdings in the form of inflation. The developer urged users to keep trading to a minimum until a fix is issued. Details on the vulnerability will not be revealed until the fix is implemented.

Featured image by Tyler Quiring on Unsplash.