Dorion Mode

November 29, 2019

Implementing TMSR OS

Filed under: TMSR OS — Robinson Dorion @ 17:44

The Most Serene Republic has decided to make an operating system. I've received the call to head the project and this article is my first attempt to clarify the needs and requirements for success.

As an implement of TMSR, the operating system serves as the point of integration between V -- the most important advancement in human thought and only sane manner of deploying software -- and all other software worth the mention. Given the sad state of computer hardware and software in these dark modern ages, the switchover guarantees to be bloody in all the correct places.

While the technical implications are profound and technical conversation is likely to dominate the first phases of development, eyes and efforts must be continually aimed at capitalizing on the capacity for TMSR OS to be a political implement to use in talking to the right people as the Republic continues to carve a sane living space for the elite to productively defect to.

The form of the core work follows the function of meeting the dependency requirements of the clients, implicitly : time and money 1, chat 2, publishing 3, "the masterclass in economy masquerading as a video game", and strong encryption. Or as the man himself put it, "the legitimate and for that reason possible-in-the-future uses for a computer definitively enumerated : you can publish with it, you can hack with it, and that's the fuck it with it already! You can't pantsuit with it, nor should you."

To address some management considerations prior diving into the technical topics :

  1. Continuing to hold the initial design and strategy conversations in #trilema is preferred, a #tmsr-os channel is the next step when the technical details deepen and as a landing beach for new blood.
  2. I see no reason to change the process of the author and signers of a v patch writing a blog article to provide context on the patch and their seals. A central website that aggregates and organizes the articles and patches as well as high level introductory literature can be added as an integrating layer.
  3. Weekly or biweekly planning and reporting articles to clarify status, maintain alignment and ensure reporting is central. As more ownership is taken and work specified, delivery timelines for the high level goals will solidify.
  4. trinque mentioned in the log he was working on a ticketing system ; mod6 also stood up a ticketing system (tbot) for TRB, but I'm unsure if it's still online. I think a ticketing system is smart, my present preference is to use mod6's if available, primarily because it was complete and would only require mod6 to genesis and someone to stand up.
  5. Much of my thinking so far has been focused on clarifying the technical requirements and who we have today to deliver on that front. As the technical requirements become properly specified, raising the quantity and quality of participants we become a higher priority.

So what are the primary domains of the technical work ?

  1. The Linux kernel
    1. Owner: bvt
    2. Status: Linux 4.9.95 was genesis'd and feeding the RNG with FG is implemented.
    3. Questions/Comments: Latest vpatch and write up coming over the weekend. Unclear at present what next priorities are. There was previous mention of rolling back to 4.4.
  2. The Compiler and C Library
    1. Owner: ave1 (tentative) 4
    2. Status: Work towards a GCC 4.9 genesis underway, unknown how far developed.
    3. Questions:
      1. I understand GCC 4.9 coming into Republican use as the last GCC prior to version 5 wreckage. Gales Linux uses 4.7.4 in part because it's the last GCC that doesn't require any C++ to compile. What are the cost/benefits of genesising 4.9 vs 4.7.4 ?
      2. C, C++ and Ada are the desired initial GCC front-ends.
      3. Static or Dynamic linking ? musl, glibc or other C library ? Is there a way to have the default be static linking, but provide a dynamic linking option for software that won't link statically, e.g. libGL ?
  3. Coreutils
    1. Owner: unowned at present
    2. Status: Cuntoo bootstraps from Gentoo stage3, Gales Linux bootstraps from Busybox.
    3. Questions: Busybox is spartan enough for one to approach understanding, though it leaves a lot to be desired. Gentoo stage3 is a more robust tarball of binaries from Gentoo that requires a Gentoo system to build and doesn't support cross-compile. What does a Busybox + Gnu Coreutils approach look like in comparison ?
  4. Package Management
    1. Owner: unowned 5 at present
    2. Status: Cuntoo uses Gentoo's portage/ebuild based on Python, Gales uses a custom, shell based build script system.
    3. Questions/Comment: The former is more mature and more complex; while the later has far fewer packages ported, it's much simpler. Porting the dependencies of the list of implicit TMSR OS clients is the first priority once the framework has been decided.
  5. Graphical Interface
    1. Owner: unowned
    2. Status: needs reporting
    3. Questions/Comments: X11 is not ported to /cuntoo/portage. I am under the impression that it could be emerge built, but would be under the more traditional /usr/portage. Gales doesn't have a X11 port, though jfw has a recipe to built the X11 stack by hand.
  6. The Install Process
    1. Owner: unowned at present
    2. Status: livecd/usb, initramfs
    3. Questions/Comments: Process for creating and using install media for deployment.
  7. The Boot Process
    1. Owner: unowned at present
    2. Status: BIOS, bootloader, init
    3. Questions/Comments:
      1. Does Coreboot fall within the scope ? This seems it should be optional given limiting TMSR OS to Corebootable machines would be quite restrictive. With that being said, owning the BIOS for those who do want to take the step is a big win.
      2. Bootloader: LILO, grub.
      3. init: Gales Linux uses a 57 LoC init in combination with djb's daemontools.
  8. Process Supervision and Logging
    1. Owner: unowned at present
    2. Status: Gales uses djb's daemontools and multilog while Cuntoo imports Gentoo's OpenRC based init system.
    3. Questions: Gales uses daemontools and multilog to great effect, including leveraging daemontools to simplify the boot process.

There remain many wrinkles to iron out, but here is where I make the cut in this attempt to clarify my understanding of the way forward, solicit feedback from the commenters and encourage any bystanders to come out of the shadows.

  1. The Real Bitcoin []
  2. ircd as a predecessor to gossipd []
  3. MP-WP, see The Whet and billymg's v-tree []
  4. He shared the news of his genesis efforts in the log, yet to respond to my ping about his status. []
  5. lobbes is taking up Gentoo portage/ebuild reporting; spyked has published his notes on bootstrapping Cuntoo; it's unclear at present if either wants to own this domain. []

November 16, 2019

JWRD Computing: The why, how, what and way forward.

Filed under: JWRD — Robinson Dorion @ 03:52

The JWRD1 Computing why, how, what and way forward, i.e. business plan.

This venture exists to support clients in pursuit of enforcing personal sovereignty through strengthening their digital security. We provide qualified individuals a relatively sane, customizable computing environment and set of key management tools. With a clean learning environment and one-on-one consultation we guide the individual in strengthening himself. On the one hand, as Ayn Rand 2 put it, "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." On the other hand, as computers become more central to human life, and Bitcoin continues to disrupt socialism on all levels, sane computer operation becomes an ever increasing responsibility of the thinking man.

While in the short-term, the r-selected, fast food 3 computing paradigm has spread like the virus it is, the K-selected, home cooking computing paradigm has been the only tenable method of sane computer operation since 2015 and will remain the case moving forward. The tools and training we provide clients accelerate their transition from their current, unsustainable, fast food diet to the healthier, more sustainable, home cooking technology lifestyle.

The layers of transition are:

  • On the Hardware level, we transition clients from chip sets that are backdoored by design -- e.g. Intel ME, AMD PSP -- to Corebootable machines.
  • Operating System usage moves from proprietary systems -- e.g. MSFT Windows, AAPL MacOSX/iOS, GOOG Android, Canonical Ubuntu, IBM RedHat -- to compilable from source systems -- e.g. Gales Linux 4, OpenBSD.
  • Software Platform usage transitions from third party provisioned accounts -- e.g. Google Mail, WhatsApp, iMessage, Twitter, AWS -- to protocols where the operator may deploy the software on systems he owns -- e.g. qmail for email, IRC for chat, MP-WP for publishing.
  • Code Access shifts from closed source or third party compiled binaries to open source deployments managed with V.
  • System Changes move from being forced upon the user by unaccountable corporations to the operator's choice and responsibility to implement.
  • We shift clients' Modality of Operation from the visual, mousey, point and click control, emotionally stimulating usage to the verbal, command line environment where logic comes to the forefront.
  • The Locus of Complexity is transitioned from a complex system for simple users to simple systems for complex operators.
  • On the Key Management front, the fast food model of weak passwords over insecure protocols falls away as operators come to understand secure key management.
  • From there, Asset Custody moving from insecure online account via leveraged and leaky socialist licensed financial institutions to operator owned digital cash becomes that much more of a no-brainer.
  • When considered in the context of Sound Money, moving from digital, centrally issued, non-fungible scrip of unverifiable supply to a digital, transparent, perfectly fungible cash that's undebaseably scarce becomes that much easier when the skills and awareness home cooked 5 computing engenders are sharpened.

The Bottom Line result is clients owning their hardware infrastructure ; lowering the cost to understand the software they use by enumerating goodness, minimizing complexity, verifying sources and compiling everything ; becoming stronger operators through education and practice of sensible skills such that they build the capacity to establish private communications and ownership of money and transactions.

Training through the Active Learning Methodology

We work one-on-one or in small groups with clients and assign reading and exercises between sessions. Clients build their skills and confidence by practicing commands and operations with instructor guidance. Sessions are broken into a warm up 6, presentation to introduce the new topic, controlled practice and critical thinking. Complex abstractions are broken into simple parts using whiteboard, pen and paper and knowledge is converted into action. Proficiency reports are delivered following each section with plans of action for specific areas of improvement.

The Learning Curve

  1. Laptops delivered with Gales Linux and Coreboot preinstalled.
  2. Unix 001 to build awareness of environment and confidence in command line operation.
  3. Apply and strengthen Unix 001 skills with System Administration tasks.
  4. Follow recipes and understand how the system is built, from Operating System (Gales Linux) to BIOS (Coreboot) to Router.
  5. Introduction to V usage, which allows the agent to consider a given text's meaning, source, and context.
  6. Apply V in deployments of Bitcoin software.
  7. Send and Receive Bitcoin payments while verifying the Bitcoin blockchain.
  8. GnuPG usage to encrypt, decrypt, sign and verify messages.
  9. Data Diode operation for administering an offline system.

Ideal Client Profile

  • $10M or greater in net worth.
  • Uses or has used legal asset protection instruments.
  • Values privacy, individualism, capitalism.
  • Not stupid, but not afraid. Mind for risk reduction. Strategic. Quantitative skills.
  • Values substance over form. Form follows function. Economy is Art.
  • Life long learner. Patience and humility to learn.
  • Trust oriented, values long term relationship development.

Training Packages

All packages and pricing include the following hardware and software:
Computer Hardware: 2 Corebootable laptops, Router, Data Diode, TRNG ; package valued at $2,500.
Software7: Bitcoin, GnuPG, Gales Linux, Gales Scheme, Gales Bitcoin Wallet, yrc IRC client.

Study Heavy Study Heavy Class Heavy Class Heavy
Number of Sessions: 25 sessions 8 25 sessions 50 Sessions 50 sessions
Study/Session Ratio: 3:1 3:1 1:1 1:1
Session Time: 25 x 90 min = 37.5 hrs 37.5 hrs 50 x 90 min = 75 hrs 75 hrs
Study Time: 112.5 hrs 112.5 hrs 75 hrs 75 hrs
Time Commitment: 150 hrs 150 hrs 150 hrs 150 hrs
Payment Options 9: 2 x $6,250 1 x $10,000 2 x $10,000 1 x $18,000
Cost: $12,500 $10,000 $20,000 $18,000

Success to Date

We started with 3 pilot clients September this year. Each took the study heavy option. Two are in a group pacing at two sessions a week and the other is once a week. None had substantial command line experience and after 20 sessions with the twice weekly group they've : grasped command line usage and system administration in a text only environment, compiled the entire system from source following the Gales build recipe, installed and configured the system, installed and configured the router we provisioned, generated test GPG keys, transferred data between online and offline machines via Data Diode, V pressed TRB and have their node syncing.

With FUCKGOATS usage and Coreboot build and BIOS flashing remaining, this proof of concept gives us confidence our program can turn potential into relatively robust resourcefulness in 25 sessions. With the knowledge, skills and reference notes they acquired, they have a high probability of reproducing the hardware and software environment provisioned independently. If not completely, we've saved them substantial time and they're much more informed as to what are the important questions to ask.

2020 Projections

I have a soft commitment from a financial adviser from my meat-WoT that he'll be starting in February 2020 and expects to refer 9-10 of his clients over the year. He may start in a group of 3 in February ; we're meeting face to face Nov 25th to game plan further.

We also have soft commitments locally, one of which preferred simply to not be our initial client 10. Despite lingering in the online shadows hindering our local relationship development to a degree, we have developed enough relationships locally such that 5-10 clients over next year is not a stretch. With that being said, January and February will likely tell us a lot about what the year holds in store. The more clients we close and on board earlier, the more likely we have referrals in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Taking the more conservative 5 referrals from the north and 5 local clients all at the $10k upfront payment option, that's $100k revenue. With Jacob primarily instructing and me selling, we've agreed to 30% going to the instructor, 30% going to sales and 40% to the company to replenish hardware stocks and retain capital for future expansion. When we're referred business 11 the referral fee is paid from the 30% sales commission. At present, we've decided it's not advantageous to operate from an office and have been delivering sessions at either the office or home of the client. The $2,500 value we place on the hardware builds in a mark up on the cost of the parts and refurbishing when required.

Up until now, our marketing has mainly consisted of meeting and talking to people in person. We plan to work referrals as much as we can, but a broader strategy for lead acquisition needs to be planned and implemented.

Operating Considerations

With the curriculum now developed, we estimate 30 minutes of preparation per 90 minute session for the instructor to deliver quality to study heavy clients. Thus, 37.5 hrs + 12.5 hrs = 50 hrs of instructor time. At 20 clients all doing individual sessions, that's 1000 hours or 20 hours a week on a 50 week year. Practice rarely works out as clean as the numbers and this doesn't consider commute time, which will be dependent on the location of the sessions, but this shows at optimistic demand levels our capacity to deliver under this two man operation is far from being maxed out.

To support remote clients, we're most likely to carry out the initial 2-4 sessions 12 in person to kick things off and will need to build out infrastructure and processes to deliver sessions when being face to face isn't feasible. Using a tmux shared session on a server combined with a phone or video call is looking like the best way to implement remote delivery at present, but we still need to test it to work out whatever kinks there are.


While we think the service we're delivering is important, we don't want to necessarily be personally drilling ls and cd into the heads of beginners long term. We expect to reach a threshold of developing sufficiently resourceful clients such that new, more interesting and profitable opportunities emerge. That is, this initial phase will create a new market and bootstrap other ventures 13. What that threshold is 14 and what those opportunities may be will in large part depend on who the clients are. At the same time, we don't necessarily want to completely abandon a quality service we've poured substantial time and effort into. Thus, managing to build processes and people such that we can delegate the delivery of the basic training and administration and steer this business at a higher level will be an ongoing focus.

  1. Jacob Welsh & Robinson Dorion. []
  2. from The Soul of an Individualist essay from For the New Intellectual []

  3. dorion: I think the problem is they're aiming for the masses rather than elite. think bitcoin can/will/is for liberating poor. so they push fast-food technology.
    spyked: lulz @ "fast-food technology". I'm wondering how this translates to software in technical terms. is it just the inflation of code, or what?
    diana_coman: spyked: fast-food tech seems to me very aptly put, really; think of it: shiny and BIG, cheap and available in 1001 varieties of the same thing, "attractive" if you don't look much/haven't seen much else, shitty content and abismal quality that will screw you up in the end; what's there not to fit, really.
    diana_coman: spyked: + there is that important part "you don't have to do it yourself!!"
    diana_coman: make it out of whatever shit you find, pre-packaged solutions tech or food-wise.
    spyked: diana_coman, I can quite see the "one size fits all"/"pre-packaged silver bullet" angle. I'm only mildly curious what this says about the code itself, e.g. I looked at the google-android code at one point and it was grossly overengineered. and I suppose that's also the case with code that's otherwise proven to be working under extreme conditions, such as the linux kernel.
    spyked: imho useful to make the distinction between "complexity for fast consumption" and "complexity that gives a huge productivity boost"
    ossabot: (trilema) 2018-06-05 mircea_popescu: "thetarpit blog scaffolding is a few kLoC of CL, but lacks *any* editor-side interface" << understand something : i publish more than anyone, and by anyone we don't mean solo operators, we mean whole fucking outfits. there's a reason for this. the fact that trilema is comfortable to me provides those last edges of extra productivity and intellectual leverage that convert exceptional performance into mindblowing performance. t
    diana_coman: possibly; at the other extreme, the copy/paste/autogen horrors are anything *other* than overengineering, lol.
    diana_coman: spyked: heh, yes, the two types of complexity mirroring the two types of simplicity
    ossabot: (trilema) 2019-10-31 diana_coman: there's all sorts of simple and not all of it boring; that there though would be the boring-simple, more like the simple remains of a cut-out than the simple path to the core of an intricacy.
    diana_coman: but fast-food is not really about no-complexity at all, quite on the contrary it would seem to me that it's precisely a lot of complexity just of the wrong kind (it's industrial for a reason, after all)
    dorion: << and building off diana_coman's comment, I see at least a couple angles. the first is who the technology is designed for. it seems since the '80s there has been a major push, primarily by aapl and msft, for computers for the masses, i.e. lowest common denominator, 'over 1 billion served'.
    ossabot: Logged on 2019-11-01 06:32:40 spyked: <-- lulz @ "fast-food technology". I'm wondering how this translates to software in technical terms. is it just the inflation of code, or what?
    dorion: this aim lead to 'point and click' (visual/spacial) rather than command prompt (verbal) usage modality. 'it should be so easy grandma can use it,' etc. further, the incorrect labeling of learned behaviour as 'intuitive', which really means luser ought never have to think, read manual or even error messages.
    ossabot: (trilema) 2016-09-14 asciilifeform: 'the only intuitive notation is the tit' or how did it go.
    dorion: To compensate for low quality user, all sorts of complexity needs to be built in, which is one part of the code inflation. another secondary part, described by naggum iirc (but don't have link handy) is demand for ever more 'programmers'. excess demand lowers quality on the creation side combined with sillycon valley, 'move fast and break things' so we can 'scale' (nevermind profitably) and sell
    dorion: to the suckers on the public markets.
    diana_coman: 'point and click' aka click-and-cluck
    ossabot: Logged on 2019-08-29 19:13:57 diana_coman: shrysr: different yes but not better; it's usually touch-screens that they throw at kids from nursery, yes; + "learning to program by click-and-cluck"
    diana_coman: and all of it coming from the core cause of too much money distributed to idiots; it makes for perverse incentives and the inevitable result of products made for them.
    dorion: lol at click-and-cluck
    dorion: more technically, "I'll import entire library rather than re-implement the one function I 'need'". and then the 'library' imports libraries.
    ossabot: (trilema) 2018-08-21 mircea_popescu: Mocky he has a point, "library" is oreilly-ism. before the free/open source struggle for power, it was rather a teaching tool.
    dorion: which leaves us in dark modern ages where can't buy professional computer -- everything is 'sysco' -- as well documented in , the logs, etc. []
  4. For the time being, we're going to market with the system we have and know. As Cuntoo/TMSR OS become further developed and better known to us, we'll decide at that juncture how we ought to change. []
  5. We give them a tour of the kitchen, show what it looks like to follow recipes, cut vegetables, marinate the meat, which knobs of the stove to turn and give them enough warning in a controlled environment so they don't set a grease fire and burn down the house. []
  6. Evaluate and reinforce retention of knowledge from prior sessions []
  7. The latter four are originally developed by Jacob Welsh. []
  8. Training Sessions are either once or twice per week. []
  9. Bitcoin, cash, check and ACH accepted in that order of preference. []
  10. "I like what you're doing, I see value in it for me and friends to refer come to mind. However, I don't want to pay you to develop your service, I want something developed and tested." []
  11. Our preference is for referral agents to first be clients so they know what they're referring. []
  12. For example, I'll likely spend a week in Vermont first week of February, then client(s) will travel with me to Panama the second week. []
  13. E.g. With 25 clients who run their own nodes, manage GPG and IRC and whose trust we've earned, one thought has been to use our centrality in the network to broker trades between them. []
  14. Could be 10, 25, 100 depending on the whos and what we do with them. []

November 14, 2019

Life on the Isthmus, 83 months in.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robinson Dorion @ 09:22

November 2019 marks my 83rd month living in Panama City of the isthmian Republic of Panama. I arrived a month prior to my 23rd birthday which means I'm about 100 days away from turning 30. As such, the majority of my adult life and over 20% of my life in total has been spent here, unavoidably making a marked impact on who I am 1. Why I immigrated here and why I intend to stay for the foreseeable future will be covered in this article. This isn't about why you should come or stay away -- it's an overview of my subjective experience -- judge for yourself and drop me a comment if there's anything you'd like clarified or an important aspect you reckon I've overlooked.

First the context for why I chose Panama in the first place.

When I arrived in January 2013 I was on a mission working the best opportunity I was aware of. Where I was living was only important in the scope of how it would help support the prosecution of that mission. Worn out by the island nonsense, Panama's prospects were relatively bright: a competitive offshore banking industry, six month tourist visa for gringos, and centrally located in the geography of the western hemisphere.

My colleague Ashe and I took a six month lease on the first apartment we looked at and set up shop. We continued our hunker of grinding on our work and didn't get out much the first six months. The bank prevented us from dealing directly with clients in our country of residence 2 as the brokers were never required to obtain any sort of securities license.

After another year working the bank, I upgraded my mission upon correcting my evaluation to recognize the centralized nature of so-called offshore banking and learning enough about Bitcoin and Coinapult to take a job with the later in February 2014. Coinapult's office was across town, which caused me to hire a driver who picked me up everyday at 5am so I could avoid the traffic 3. After 8 months of that commute, I moved within walking distance. By March 2015, Coinapult folded, but unlike all the other gringos who worked the company, I stayed. So, why ?

While, Panama has made others of note and assuredly more refined tastes than your author ill, I've learned to like it.

Tú sabes, Panamá: corvina, patacones, ron Abuelo con agua de pipa, comida mala, tiempo peor, La India jodiendo Dormida, Panamá 4.

The first difficulty that'll hit you when you step from plane to jetway will be a wall of humidity. Panama City has two season: less sunny and more humid 5 and more sunny and slightly less humid 6. The temperature stays between ~23-33 degrees C and humidity between 80 and 90%. During rainy season mornings are typically bright, cool and pleasant, evenings clear with an afternoon storm ~5 days a week. The thunder and lightning can be quite impressive, with thunder seemingly setting off car alarms and chains of lightning that span the sky. Summer can pass months without rain 7 and the high skies bring more breeze to provide relief. While visitors are prone to shock from the heat and humidity, I've acclimated to not pay it much mind 8. So you bring an umbrella when you hit the street May-November, deal with breaking a light sweat when you walk across town midday 9 by throwing your suit coat over your shoulder 10 and hit the A/C to knock out the humidity a few times a day 11. While the city is hot and humid enough the cooler mountainous areas like El Valle de Anton 12 and Cerro Azul 13 are accessible enough 14.

The local food culture is quite rudimentary and so-called restaurants tend to pay waiters as opposed to servers 15. The relatively strong dollar against other fiats makes Panama relatively expensive in the region with restaurant prices comparable or more expensive to North American and Europe. The relatively weak dollar in dollar terms 16 combined with Panama's cooling economy generally means the streets are much quieter and restaurants much emptier 17 than they were a decade or two back -- so I'm told.

Why is the economy continuing to cool you ask ? Like most things, it's multi-faceted. The high-level summary of my understanding is gaining control of the canal combined with Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen artificially low interest rates fueled a ~2 decade real estate boom that's run out of legs. Meanwhile, the competitive advantage Panama earned from a well advised legal asset protection regime has been eviscerated by outside pressure from the virtual fiat banking system. Trade volume in the Colon Free Trade Zone trade has fallen by 1/3 measured in nominal dollars since 2012. These cooling pressures have been offset somewhat by the canal expansion project, incentives for multinational corporations to headquarter here and relatively friendly immigration laws.

The Panama Canal Authority gained full control of that 7th wonder of the world after USG control phased out from 1977-1999 and much of the Canal Zone has become privatized 18. The 10 year expansion project 19 was finished in 2016. While in 2018, the canal transits were down 20) ~3.5% from 2010 21, cargo tonnage was up 24.5% 22 and tolls were up nominally 74% 23 It doesn't go without saying that virtual measuring stick misnamed dollars had its M1 diluted from ~$1.6T to ~$3.6T (125% (!!!)) over the same period because those counting at home already knew that. I dare you to price those revenues in the numeraire you ought to be using, the BTC, which experienced even greater inflation that the fed's thingamajig. The bottom line is, over the past decade they've moved more tonnage for less purchasing power.

For another data point on the logistics side, the Colon Free Trade Zone at the Caribbean entrance of the Canal has seen trade volume drop from $30B in 2012 - $19B by 2016 24 and was $20.5B in 2018 25. I'm embarrassingly not intimate with the causes here, but word on the street is trade has fallen off as the Venezuelan socialist shitfest continues to deteriorate combined with the Chinese and US establishing more direct trade routes with Colombia 26.

To paint a picture of the real estate bubble, up until 1996, there were 2 buildings taller than 30 stories 27. Today, there are 38 taller than 40 stories, 13 of which are greater than 60 stories. This looks cool in pictures, but the facts on the ground are the skyline frames a mostly hollow interior. I didn't find vacancy statistics published, but it's not unheard of for office and apartment buildings to remain 50% unoccupied and hotels are fortunate to have 30% occupancy 28. From my perch, this bubble has been fueled by the primary cause of all bubbles: artificially low interest rates 29, and is primarily being popped because former influxes of foreign capital that were attracted by Panama's formerly competitive legal self-defense mechanisms have since peaced out with those mechanism being eviscerated and secondarily because they've already overbuilt.

Before we get into the opportunities this may present, let's explore the problem further. In terms of the capital flight, back before Bitcoin started eating the world 30, tax neutral banking was a thing and Panama had a multifaceted legal framework that proved to be competitive for those who execute plans for self-defense. Sociedad Anonimas with Bearer Shares, the Panamanian Private Interest Foundation, zero capital gains tax, territorial taxation, no central bank or legal tender laws attracted substantial foreign capital for a country with a population of 3 million. The 2008 bubble that had to burst was a crisis not wasted by Hussein Bahamas and fellow bureaucrats of western demonocracies. Sure, it wasn't the first bankruptcy they've declared and won't be the last and like the others, they attacked individual privacy and continued to pressure the financial institutions they license to divulge more information. FATCA was passed by the failed European colonies in 2010 and yurop followed through with CRS 31 in 2014 ; with access to the virtual corresponding banks who remit the monopolized virtual fiats 32 as the sword of Damocles held to the neck of the smaller virtual banks in the smaller fiat jurisdictions. Despite reluctantly falling in line as the socialist continued their invasion 33, the Isthmian Republic continues to have an on-again off-again relationship with various gray and black lists. The tradition seemingly to be on-again as an inauguration gift to each incoming administration, with 2019 34 being no different. As everyone expected, substantial has capital walked away to take better deals and 'all of a sudden' more lawyers were seeing less fees for corporations and foundations and introductions to banks for new accounts.

So what does a bursting bubble look like ? Deals can be found today, though you've got to hunt for them. In my experience, for whatever reason, many owner's would rather leave a rental vacant for months, sometimes years, at a price that may have been filled in the market 3 years ago but is quite a ways away from today's market reality than have the apartment filled and cash flowing. Older buildings tend to have higher quality construction than the boom time shiny (!) high rises. Also, you're more likely to find a longer term owner who owns it outright rather than has it mortgaged. $4-6/square meter monthly payment deals 35 are available at present on the rental market 36. I've lived near the city center my entire time, namely in El Cangrejo 37, Punta Pacifica 38, Paitilla 39, San Francisco 40, Coco del Mar 41 and Obarrio 42. In my scale of values, Marbella is the other neighborhood I'd consider living. It's west of Obarrio and spans from Calle 50 to Avenida Balboa on the water. Other neighborhoods I'll note here that are rather towns on their own are Costa del Este 43, Casco Viejo 44 and El Dorado 45.

On the brighter side, Panama has maintained a more competitive stance attracting immigration of companies and people who run those companies or otherwise. A wise decision that's mitigated the logistics, real estate and financial contractions has been the Multinational Headquarter law first implemented in 2007, which provides substantial tax 46 and labor 47 law incentives to qualifying companies. Over 150 such companies 48 have obtained the license and many of which operate their Latin American headquarters under it. In a country with ~3 million and a city with ~1.5 million, ~12k residency visas for employees of multinationals and ~21k friendly nations visas 49 have been issued since 2012.

Since finding Bitcoin, I've not looked hard for employment with more traditional companies. On the one hand, there are less opportunities in the market, but on the other hand quality skill and work ethic do tend to be scarce. The future will tell how good of a decision that has been, but for better and worse that's my advantage/problem. What I can tell you is once you have a residency, work permits or operations license for your corporation are a few hundred bucks and some forms.

In terms of the general picture here moving forward, the Torrijos 50 political line was re-elected in this year with Laurentino Cortizo becoming the newest president. They were last in power 2004-2009 and there are high hopes of a turn around and return of the boom in the streets. As I understand, their agenda priorities include bringing transparency to the spending of the public purse 51, making labor laws more agreeable to management, and emphasizing tourism 52 and technology as emerging economic drivers to fill the hole in the chest of the golden goose the socialists' attack on licensed capital has made.

What they mean by technology isn't exactly clear to me. As far as I've seen, they're complete infected by the cultural cancer of tvphones. Cuckerburg and Bahamas were down here in 2015 shortly after Facegram acquired Whatbook for $20B or whatever it was. As far as I understand, since then, all the data used by usg.fb apps and twatter are 'phree' to the end luser, which has made whatsapps' use in particular ubiquitous 53, primarily as an asynchronous walkie talkie 54. I tend to think they mean fast food technology. While I've received numerous complements when I flash my Nokia feature phone 55 I can tell by looking at their faces that to not have whatsapp would be like shooting their family, friends and dog. On the other hand, ~no one has known the meaning of my GPG fingerprint on my business card. There are even several OTC brokers 56 here that trade several BTC at a time over whatsapp.

I'm currently of the position that sane computing is desirable politically, but to date, those with a chance to matter have allowed themselves to be DDOSed from learning what sane technology is. To a degree, this is understandable. The good 'ol days of competing globally on the strong privacy and asset protection front are sorely missed 57 ; the back office management of the information was largely paper based while the front office was largely face to face 58. My understanding is computers weren't necessarily central to the business. What is keeping me here on this isthmus is the opportunity I see to be useful in working with select individuals to better understand their computing environment to help them bridge the gap from the current socialism to sound money, sane computing and personal sovereignty through digital security.

  1. While I've spent more time in my childhood environment of Vermont's green mountains, I didn't choose to be born there. I've chosen to live here. You see the difference ? []
  2. Commission splitting agreements weren't prohibited, but also weren't encouraged. I believe I had some, but it never made up any substantial part of my book. Looking back, capitalizing on this to a greater extent would've been smart, but what can you do except learn ? []
  3. 'El tranque' in local parlance. On the one hand, it's a big fat tragedy of the commons problem with too many free roads and cheap financing for vehicles. On the other hand, observing the traffic tells you a lot about Panama itself. Traffic laws aren't strictly enforced and open space is filled to keep it fuckin' moving. Ever had a taxi drive 300 meters on the wrong side of a side street to bypass a 100 car line up ? Yeah, he'll pull over onto the sidewalk should oncoming traffic pressure him to, only to continue when it has passed. How many minutes did he save you ? He'll be more than pleased with a $1 tip on the standard $2 fare (never metered), believe me. []
  4. You've seen Snatch, yes ? []
  5. From May-November with October bringing the most rain. []
  6. From December-April []
  7. Can be a problem towards the end of summer if the hydro power reservoirs are low. []
  8. Perhaps this is an effect of growing up in America's northeast as an athlete where I'd shovel the driveway and shoot hoops past my hands being numb (makes it easier when you're in the gym), where baseball games could be snowed out midseason (or played through a light snow shower) and you're excited to buckle on the your chinstrap and shoulder pads during football's double sessions in the middle of August's hot, humid 15 hour days. That is, what you're doing is more important than what the weather is and if it sucks -- embrace the suck, winning will be that much better. []
  9. Walking mornings and evenings doesn't cause my skin to leak and I walk pretty much daily. For sure it's more of a driving than walking culture, but ~everyone apart from gringo tourists wears pants (and usually sleeves too) year round whether they're walking or not. []
  10. Wherever your destination is will likely be cold with locals pumping A/C like it's their job, so do guard against being cold inside. []
  11. I sleep fine with a ceiling fan and only occasionally run the A/C at night. []
  12. ~140 km drive from the city to the west. []
  13. ~41km drive to the east. []
  14. For that matter, San José, Medellín, Bógota and David in Panama's westernmost province of Chiriquí are all 1-2 hr flights away. []
  15. Cause they wait more so than serve, geddit ? On the one hand, this may annoy you, on the other, they're not going to be bugging you and won't care if you sit and talk for an hour after your meal prior to asking for the bill. They're not going to ask you, you've got to ask for it. A 10% tip is standard. []
  16. With all the Venezuelan style in principle inflation these past decades, the dollar hasn't bought a nickel for some time and how many bucks to buy a buckskin these days is an exercise for the reader. []
  17. The supply of cafes, restaurants and bars has at least tripled over the past decade I'd say. []
  18. The zone was an unincorporated US territory until 1979 and USG formerly headquartered SoComm here, cutting the country in two geographically. []
  19. So get this: instead of reusing the original design of the original canal which chains the ships to locomotives to guide them through the locks, in the expanded locks they use... tugbots. 15 of the 700 (~2% !!) transits of the expanded locks experienced damages the first 6 months. With the bigger ships there is less room for error, yet they chose the design with less stability. []
  20. Source: Georgia Tech University, Panama via The Panama Canal Authority. ( []
  21. 14,230 in 2010 to 13,795 in 2018 []
  22. ~204M vs ~255M tons 2010-2018. []
  23. ~$1.5B vs ~$2.6B 2010-2018. []
  24. Source: Georgia Tech University, Panama via National Institute of Statistics and Census of Panama (INEC) (archived). []
  25. Source: Georgia Tech University, Panama via National Institute of Statistics and Census of Panama (INEC) (archived). []
  26. Dem COPs have been getting ragdolled these past years too. []
  27. Sourced via Wikipedia. []
  28. The oversupply of hotel rooms lead to a law prohibiting short-term rentals. Short-term rentals of course can be found. []
  29. In the 90s the Effective Fed Funds Rate was above 5% most of the time and only briefly touched below the 3 handle by a whisker in December '93; compared to these last decades where 5% was only breached those few fateful months in autumn 2007. []
  30. There's a Trilema quote about Bitcoin being an eater of world, but I wasn't able to track it down. If you recall it, please link me ! []
  31. They signed onto this "Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement" with 97 other countries which means they all automagically give the information they have on you to whatever other country claims you. []
  32. I don't have to tell you it's some one and zeros on some server plugged somewhere 'in teh cloud', you know all about that I'm sure. Tell me again how US-no-longer-dollars or GB-no-longer-pounds are fundamentally different than WoW Gold ? I know, I know, only weirdos and children have WoW Gold, whereas ... []
  33. The so-called Panama Papers (The leaky law firm was global and the majority of corps in the dump were BVI.) scandal (It certainly is scandalous to allow your client db and emails to leak from a derpy wordpress.), the stick up of Waked and the multi-decade attack on a fundamental characteristic -- fungibility -- of what competes to become the market's most marketable good were big raids in 2016. []
  34. Word on the street is the 2014 gray listing lead to the loss of upwards of 70 (seven zero) virtual fiat correspondent accounts. How you like 'dem apples ? []
  35. Encuentra24 and OLX are the primary online entry points locals use. Craigslist is essentially dead here apart from gringos not knowing the better places to look. I've also walked through the neighborhoods I'm interested in and asked the guards about vacancies in the buildings that appeal. []
  36. I've not considered buying here, would rather save the BTC, you know ? []
  37. Central, older, commercial, residential, very walkable. []
  38. Coastal, central but a bit isolated, more expensive. I only lived there to walk to the Coinapult office. []
  39. Coastal, residential, more central than Punta Pacifica. This is the primary Jewish neighborhood with 2 temples. It's a great walking neighbor on it's own and is adjacent to La Cinta Costera park which stretches the coast ~3km to Casco Viejo. []
  40. East Central, easy to walk, mix of commercial, restaurants and residential. Parque Omar forms San Francisco's northern hat. []
  41. Coastal sliver east of San Francisco. Very residential. []
  42. The most central neighborhood it lies between Via España and Calle 50, two primary tranque arteries. It's a blend of commercial and residential. The metro follows Via España so there tends to be a lot of foot traffic. []
  43. A relatively newer development between the city center and airport, best accessible via ~5km toll road. Many multinationals are headquartered here. []
  44. The primary nightlife and tourist destination west of the city center. []
  45. 5km North of the city center, this is Panama's China Town. While Chinese are ~everywhere in the world, they have a long history here, first as imported labor for the Canal. Every neighborhood (And every town in the interior I've visited for that matter) has multiple bodega's referred to as Chinos. []
  46. Not only in terms of corporate, but also executive compensation. []
  47. One of the more onerous labor laws is 9 of 10 employees are supposed to be Panamanian. There are traditional ways around this such as an employee contracting through a company he owns or having a consulting agreement that's less binding than an employment contract. []
  48. Archived version of original pdf. []
  49. Implemented in 2012, citizen of 50 countries are eligible. I obtained this visa in 2014 by a) forming a corporation, b) depositing $5k in a local bank (which can be immediately withdrawn), and c) submitting various documents along with the application including a police background check from your country of origin. It was really a piece of cake and provides me lifetime permanent residency status with the option to apply for naturalization after 5 years. []
  50. You know, the guy that managed to negotiate control of the canal with that Georgian nobody cares to remember. []
  51. Former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) was extradited from Miami on corruption charges after fleeing shortly after his term was over. []
  52. Primarily focusing wellness - e.g. medical tourism, adventure, ecology - e.g. vegan hunting stuff like bird watching, and digital nomads. []
  53. I wonder how much dirt on public officials, etc. has been collected and sent north for sillycon valley and co analysis.. []
  54. Who wants to type with thumbs when they can talk ? Who needs to read when they can watch the tv movie ? "People who don't want to end up being fuckin' waffle waitresses, that's who !" []
  55. Complete with flashlight, thank you very much! []
  56. The OTC market has some depth. Some volume is settled via internal bank transfers, but cash is king here. []
  57. And the imposed change deeply resented. []
  58. Even today I understand this to be so in some cases. []

October 28, 2019

Simple Steps: The Fabled Outlines

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 05:56

Following what seemed to be a strong start of mapping my past to the present, I found I had bit off more than I could chew in the time I had allotted imagined to do the chewing. I was assigned to type my hand written article outlines into one post, so that's1 what you find here, laid bare2.

Part of my assumption causing the, "5 articles in total by Sunday," claim was the first flowed relatively well, the following ought flow better, and after all, I'm writing my story not something I have to research. Then I found myself wanting to explain in more detail, take more negative space into consideration and add pictures, i.e. do it better. So then the break pumping started and here we are.

To make it explicit, it may appear fingers are being pointed and blame cast at others. I am 100% responsible for the people I chose to include3 in my life and my intent here is sanity which means to describe what is/was. Names have been named because it's not like any of it was a secret anyways. I'm not claiming perfect memory from events half a decade ago and comments are open for corrections.

I hope it's obvious, but before delving into the content here, a note on the list structure: There are 4 articles outlined, numbered 2-4 in the respective headers, each with its own set of nested lists. Picking an example off the top, point is, "Sit on volcanic island, call globe, sun never sits on lead pool, learn to take good notes."

2. January 2012-January 2014: Diving into EPB, shifting from Schiff Radio to Freedomain Radio, Barmalos -> SVG -> PTY, XA{U,G} -> BTC

  1. Preparing to make the jump.
    1. interview
    2. contract
    3. moving with "strangers", James Guzman and Ashe Whitener, and discovering the joy of having people to talk with and learn from about my interests.
  2. Settling in to the islands.
    1. Barmalos4
      1. overcoming island pace to find a house, scarcity of food on island.
      2. making calls all day everyday was the constant, the refuge that maintained sanity.
      3. tourist trap that confiscated passports
      4. evacuating to St. Vincent.
    2. St. Vincent
      1. Living at Racquet club was a racket.
      2. Ashe and I settle into "wind tunnel" for hunker, James departs for Acapulco.
      3. Sit on volcanic island, call globe, sun never sits on lead pool, learn to take good notes.
  3. Working the bank.
    1. Bank business processes, technology infrastructure woefully underdeveloped.
    2. "Gold backed debit card" more expensive than it was cracked up to be.
    3. How many banks in a bank - describe centralization of asset custody.
    4. Lead pool stale, "Peter Schiff's nostalgia file." "The leads are weak ? The fuckin' leads are weak ?"
    5. I was not well organized, didn't know how to run a computer. Ashe was guide.
    6. Breakthrough: Selling isn't telling, selling is managing the sales process.
    7. "Changing world: helping clients protect purchasing power, collapse immanent!"
    8. Developing business from referral sources.
      1. Competitive edge: streamlined account opening, Private Banker to call that's not an islander.
      2. Offshore Corporate Agents, newsletter writters, etc.
    9. 2012 Gold rally fades into what has turned out to be multi-year pull back.
  4. Freedomain Radio evicts Schiff Radio from mental real estate.
    1. Real Time Relationships, in practice.
    2. Shift to introspection/self knowledge, evaluating childhood, new words to describe weak foundations felt.
    3. The state is a function of the family. Change the society/state by applying values to personal relationships.
    4. Anarchocapitalism displaces minarchism.
    5. Arguments for embracing strong atheism.
  5. St. Vincent visa tightens from 3 to 1 month, stay illegally.
    1. Island paradise turns to island fever by year's end.
    2. Panama is selected, after considering western hemisphere only. Reasoning: offshore banking hub, 6 month tourist visa.
  6. Arrive to Panama, January 2013.
    1. bank was improving
    2. new website built by a broker for free, he5 needed it.
    3. improvement of products: trading platform improved, commission on debit card usage.
  7. Start Freedomain Radio Meet Up Group.
  8. BTC takes shine from gold/EPB during Cyprus bank run of 2013.
    1. client arbing Mt. Gox/Bitstamp spread.
  9. Meet evoorhees and Coinapult, July 2013.
    1. Develop relationship through the autumn.
    2. Ashe joins them at La Bitconf in Buenos Aires.
  10. Paradigm shift: EPB/XA{U,G} -> BTC
    1. AML/KYC pressure grows, unpaid gov't spy, client assumed guilty, has to prove innocence.
    2. Commerzbank fires all Caribbean banking clients due to too much USD volume causing greater regulatory requirements under FED.
      1. More compliance agents than bankers.
    3. Not actually private.
      1. CRM in the clouds, calls/chats on Skype, client email docs in the clear/upload to website.
      2. Get exposure to GPG through Coinapult.
    4. Not actually secure.
      1. Counterparties abound; exposed to leverage via counterparty risk.
      2. Flimsy legal layer of protection.
    5. Begin to understand an alternative.
      1. Conversation with Coinapult people.
      2. Negative space: while Romania mentioned, #bitcoin-assets, trilema never linked6.
      3. Let's talk Bitcoin, Reddit.
  11. Previous paradigm crushed in December with Erik and Peter debating.
    1. Peter counters Austrian theory claiming gold has intrinsic value, Erik demonstrates better grasp on Austrian theory, value is subjective, son.
    2. Peter seemingly falls victim to sales pitch of intrinsic value narrative helps people protect purchasing power, so justifiable, even if incorrect.
    3. Previous passion turns to guilt.
  12. January 2014:
    1. Erik and Ira bought a banking license, plan to hire Ashe to run, he'll hire me.
    2. Coinapult position opens up, I jump.

3. January 2014-March 2015: Launched for a ride with Coinapult, taking ownership of personal relationships.

Q1 2014
  1. Day Quitting Bank
    1. Meeting with Ira, Erik and Ashe to discuss bank, out on town with new Coinapult hires.
    2. In bed for 3 days, emotional reset, how much unprocessed emotion am I holding in body ?
  2. Describe Coinapult
    1. Market making/arbitraging fiat interfaces
    2. brokering/merchant processing
    3. email/sms interfaces
  3. Transformation and First projects:
    1. Move to Ubuntu from Windows.
    2. GPG via thunderbird plugin.
    3. send transactions regularly in support role.
    4. document on boarding experience by writing new employee handbook.
    5. responsible for choosing CRM, business requires open source, on premise.
  4. Storm clouds evident:
    1. Charlie Shrem7 picked up by USG.
    2. Goxxed, despite knowing better.
  5. FDR meet up pays: Meet JFW, talks about weak RNGs in first conversation.
Q2 2014
  1. LOCKS imagined to be killer app.
    1. Major focus on website development.
  2. Ticker drift bug causes need to rewrite orderbook.
    1. symptoms of move fast and break things abound.
  3. Move from sales to website copy writing, marketing, QA.
    1. experience power/appreciate technical ability.
    2. Become bridge between business dev and technical teams.
  4. Establish permanent Panamanian residence.
  5. Coinapult employees harassed at border, property confiscated.
  6. Start Talk Therapy : have a professional listen to you, ask questions you don't want to ask.
Q3 2014
  1. LOCKS/website flop.
  2. After 2+ years of attempts at real conversations with parents is met with continued hostility, I tell them off.
    1. They must change if they want to earn their way back into my life.
    2. Everyone in my life is my choice, but how strong is my evaluator ?
    3. "Are they implying what I'm inferring ?"
  3. Living alone for first time, personal responsibility stakes are raised.
  4. Coinapult lays off in-house counsel.
  5. Bridge loan/convertible note + employee option plan.
  6. Friendship with Ashe strengthens as we move apart.
    1. Bank business w/ Erik/Ira is abandoned.
    2. Ashe wants out of EPB, would've worked for Coinapult on incentives only, no salary. They don't hire him.
  7. The Bit Drop waste abandoned.
  8. SMS launch, I do much of testing and documentation.
Q4 2014
  1. Coinapult returns to trading/market making/arbitrage
  2. Pivot to aim at high volume brokerage rather than masses.
  3. Missed Thanksgiving family reunion, first Christmas without family, Co-workers and friends become surrogate family.
Q1 2015
  1. Office landlord tries to raise the rent 50%, liquidate office.
  2. By January know I need a break, 6 days/week since start, first in office last to leave most days. Make plans to unplug in February.
    1. By now, much of business communication depends on me being present, make moves to prepare for off time in late February.
  3. Unplug from Coinapult and Internet generally final week of February. Start handwritten journaling habit.
  4. January 2015 : Bitcoin blocksize war boiling.
    1. Find TMSR: #bitcon-assets,,,,,, etc.
    2. Difficult to understand, but understand it's important.
  5. March 2015 Coinapult denied Series A funding round from wall street investors.
  6. Too volatile to press on, clean wind down to ensure all customers made whole, final paycheck, talks of alternative investors.
  7. The following week 150 BTC spent away from company control.
Q2 2015
  1. Coinapult sold to group in Panama, customers made whole, unaware of situation of previous investors.
  2. Ira Miller and Guilherme Polo (Coinapult CTO) spin off Deginner and negotiate technical support and development contract for Coinapult; plan to rewrite brokerage, exchange and wallet software as opensource.
  3. I take job with them as support engineer.
  4. Coinapult shifts from ~12 employees to four with outsourced engineering.
  5. Integrates with Crypto Capital.

4. Poorly done salt mining with Deginner.

May 2015
  1. Ashe leaves Panama.
  2. I start spending more time with JFW ; he actually has capacity and curiosity to parse the log and help me process technical concepts, but he's less inclined to grapple with politics.
  3. Development of Deginner tools drags.
  4. Coinapult increasingly difficult to work with8.
  5. Deginner incubator model of $25k worth of cash and equity for software and consulting.
    1. DASH is only client landed, December 2015. I wasn't directly involved, in part because log/blog reading had me very skeptical.
August 2015
  1. I read Absolute OpenBSD9, install on laptop. First real Unix-like install.
  2. I reconnect with Justin Mabanta, fiat finance contact who later brought brokerage motivation.
  3. Find myself stuck in a petrified state of knowing Deginner work isn't worthy, from tmsr reading and discussions with Jacob.
  4. Lack of managerial oversight at "work" allows me to read more, try grappling with what's being said.
  5. Intimidated to interact due to witnessing countless idiots make a fool of themselves/waste time of people I value and fearing my past is sewage in the wine. Also, the two prior business leaps without sufficient due diligence had resulted in progress overall, but in quite the disorienting manner.
  6. Steal from saltmine was not my ethos/understood, which further damaged psyche/self-esteem.
  7. Prior projects, where passionate and 'nuke' driven -> had floor removed.
  8. tmsr quite the learning curve, took "6 months" to heart, much easier10 to spend time reading than engaging ; reading exposes more previously unknown complexity.
December 2015
  1. Deginner development projects never delivered.
  2. Coinapult transitions from Deginner poorly managing servers to bringing JFW on in part-time capacity based on my recomendation. Key management being key.
  3. After a couple months, JFW decides to walk away, our relationship strengthens through the process.
  4. By April 2016, Guilherme Polo left Deginner and Ira transitions to bounty-based model, renamed Git Guild.
  5. May 2016: Justin Mabanta expresses interest in starting a BTC/fiat brokerage with me.

5. Failed brokerage development leads to birth of JWRD Computing.

June 2016-June 2018
  1. Roles : Justin: bring clients and investors ; JFW: all matters technical ; Myself : act as bridge as well as business admin.
  2. Justin said while he could fund himself, preferred to bring in strategic investor, market to his book to start11
  3. I wrote the business plan, focus on HNW clients, stay away from retail, security is top priority, I bring in Jacob.
  4. Initial Plan was to terraform Ira's exchange/brokerage packages12 to our needs, only use what's useful, discard what's not, build what we otherwise need
  5. Justin demonstrated a resourceful network, e.g. introduced us to several of his contacts13 that he thought would invest, but nothing closed.
  6. Our project turned out to be a low priority for Justin as he continued fiat securities business and other venture deals, would be unresponsive for weeks and didn't commit to the technical training we offered him.
  7. Jacob and I understood technical development was taking a long time, Justin had other responsibilities/investments, and when we did talk, he continued to say he was interested and would come up with new potential paths.
  8. I continued networking locally throughout 2016-2018, by June 2018 unresponsiveness reached a breaking point and we began looking for other partners.
  9. In autumn 2016, reconnected with family based on questions I wanted answered and observing positive change from them.
  10. I registered for Chartered Financial Analyst exam during this time, didn't properly study.
June 2018-Present
  1. Based on the Panama networking I'd done and JFW's technical development14, we pivoted to explore opportunities locally.
  2. While we've brought on clients, a relationship development hang up has been lack of publishing/public presence.
  3. JFW has solid outline of essay describing design philosophy/goals of Gales Linux since July 2018, but yet to publish15.
  4. Guide clients in transitioning from fast food computing culture to home cooking computing. Learn command line, minimize complexity in system, compile everything from sauce.
  1. As I was typing, I couldn't help but expand/clarify some points as the thoughts arose. Perhaps I should have asked, but it seemed silly to not capture the improvements here. []
  2. Please pardon there's not proper sourcing and referencing. When I add meat to the bones below references there will be in all their glory ! []
  3. Enumerate goodness. []
  4. They want you to call it Barbados. []
  5. What we ? []
  6. Of course it was my responsibility to find via due diligence. []
  7. Coinapult and Bitinstant grew together, from same Manhattan office. Erik worked Bitinstant prior to Coinapult. []
  8. Ira recommended the most passive person, Gabe Sukenik, from Coinapult v1 to figurehead Coinapult v2 to the new owners. I reckon Ira imagined he'd steer from the outside. Gabe grew some teeth, but didn't know how to use from previous passivity, thus tension. []
  9. OpenBSD was still relatively well regarded in the forum at the time []
  10. In short term []
  11. By then he was running multi-family office, had numerous IPOs in Canadian markets, etc. []
  12. By mid 2017 Ira had abandoned his, I stopped communicating with him and Jacob said he'd take on the development. []
  13. The most serious was Jake Cormack, COO of Cantor Fitzgerald, HK and Justin's partner on several deals. Jake managed GPG key and IRC connection. []
  14. I first installed Gales Linux in autumn 2017 and synced TRB node []
  15. Autumn 2018 shifted to Gales Scheme development in lieu of publishing; January 2019 decided to do a review of system prior to publishing, review of completed June 2019. []

October 25, 2019

Taking my blogging lumps and asking for help.

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 17:42

I made the claim in the #ossasepia forum that it'd take me five articles to cover my intellectual and ideological development from 2010 to the present to be delivered by Sunday, October 27th. The periods I had privately outlined were:

  1. January 2010-January 2012: Extracting toxic university from my life as an intellectual awakening.
  2. January 2012-January 2014: Starting at the ground floor of a startup bank I thought was changing the world, while moving to foreign lands with a stranger who became a brother.
  3. January 2014-March 2015: After identifying Bitcoin as a parallel system without the inherent flaws of fiat financial system, taking a job with what turned out to be a fiat company pretending to Bitcoin, Coinapult (archived).
  4. March 2015-May 2016: Reading about Actual Bitcoin Corporations, and a whole lot else, while becoming rapidly disillusioned with my work with a another pretender, a software consulting spin-off from Coinapult, Deginner (archived).
  5. May 2016-October 2019: Investing in what I believe to be a strong technological arm, while keeping the political arm in a cast by embodying the coy failure modality to presently working to eviscerate the inner coyote.

I published the first article Sunday evening, which clocked in at just over 3k words, going by the mp-wp counter.

As Diana Coman noted: dorion: your text is quite dense and at times touching on several directions at once but at any rate, it seems useful to you especially if you never took the time before to look at it all in a more structured way.

It was useful for me and my thought had been, I'll work through getting these dense, multi-directional articles out, then recurse to drill into the density of the various topics as I develop the blog. Fast forward to 2.5k drafted words into article number two by Wednesday noon. While I managed to describe the trials and tribulations of settling into a foreign land and the weak asset custodial structure that lie at the foundation of Euro Pacific Bank, I wasn't even half way through my outline. Is this about to explode into a 5-6k word article ?

Two thoughts then came to mind, the first being, "is this compressed memoir path I chose a continuation of the coy avoidance of conversation?" ; that is, the stupid internal protection mechanism I've submitted to Young Hands to help kill. After all, in an article, the author is in control of the information flow, while in a conversation, questions can and will be raised midstream to disrupt the flow.

The second being, the point / focus of submitting to being a Young Hand is sustainable growth. Is 15 or even 10k blog quality words in a week remotely sustainable for the blogging n00b I am? While I'm satisfied1 with my first article, it was Dunning-Kruger stupidity to think I'm going to write quality articles in a dense multi-directional fashion at a sustainable pace given I've not scratched with regularity, let alone mastered, the simple article.

Where does this leave me then ? While I've not yet properly outlined the article list2 of chewable chunks to document my past 10 years3 and thus, have yet to make an estimated delivery time, I am committed to finishing the job at a sustainable pace. In terms of my Young Hands application, I infer this failure means I've lost whatever control I had of the process and it's now in Diana Coman's choice. I would gladly accept to provide her context about me through conversation as Jacob Welsh did, but that carries its own costs to her. In the meantime, this is me failing forward by attempting to act out the Page Boy's Pledge.

"So help me my own intelligence and cursed be my own stupidity that is holding me back."

  1. Given my noo0b level. []
  2. Since my priority presently is to make note of my failure. []
  3. Which must also pull in prior context. []

October 21, 2019

Simple Steps Part 1 School Spirit

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 04:57

This is the first in a series of articles which will document the path I carved to the chair I'm seated in today, in Panama City, Panama.

The path was first summarized publicly in the #ossasepia log, in response to my application to take The Pageboy's Pledge and become a Young Hand for Her Ladyship the Marquess Eulora, Diana Coman, WoT : diana_coman, but some context was left out, let's begin to fill it in.

In January 2010, I found myself in a University Mary Washington economics class structured around debating economic policies. The assignment at hand was to argue either for or against the minimum wage, Resolve: The correct minimum wage is $0.00. The professor seeded some citations arguing both sides. For the affirmative, he linked a 10 minute video of a fellow, who turned out to be Peter Schiff, sitting in an office explaining how the minimum wage destroyed the American Samoan economy.1 I was interested both by how I'd never heard the case against the minimum wage effectively argued and how logically and seemingly effortlessly he delivered the argument.

Over the coming months, I learned the logic Peter demonstrated there wasn't a fluke; he'd taken plenty of arrows in the back from the socialist savages on lamestream media networks prior to the 2008 financial crisis for correctly pointing out2 "the real estate boom" was actually a big, fat, stinking speculative bubble fueled by price controls of interest rates and moral hazard perpetuated by the central bank propaganda bureau. That a recession is not the problem, a recession is the necessary price and resource allocation adjustment for correcting the malinvestment made during the bubble. That to fight a recession with further inflationary price distortions only causes a bigger bubble to form and means a deeper recession is required to purge the additional malinvestments.

Thus, it can be said, January 2010 was when my personal US-centric bubble burst3 and deflation and working through the initial phase of recession would take several months. Up to that point in my life and during that spring semester, athletics were the central focus of my life and identity. The 30 hours weekly minimum commitment to baseball, on top academic requirements, standard UStarded university binging and general youth being wasted by the young resulted in me not really getting the implications of what Peter was forecasting until about May, when after watching documentaries such as, The Dollar Bubble and Melt Up, which feature him, I said, "Holy shit, we're fucked." What did this mean for myself, family, friends and the entire paradigm which I'd grown up in ? Whatever it meant, I knew I had to pay closer attention and change.

Summer 2010 was the first time since before I can remember not playing baseball, which gave me the experience of getting out of the athlete rhythm and provided more time and space to grapple with the potential consequences of the federal reserve note being proper fucked. By the end of the summer, I told my parents I was likely quitting baseball to focus on preparing myself for the real world. My old man was rattled to hear that, which for my immature self wasn't easy to process, but I said it and meant it.

Looping back to January 2010, I had decided to add a minor degree in Spanish to my economics major and use that autumn to study in Spain. Living outside the USian bubble for the first time was extremely healthy on a lot of levels, including further disrupting the athlete rhythm. My god was it nice to live in Europe! I took Spanish classes at Universidad de Deusto, across the river from the Guggenheim in Bilbao and boarded with an Andalucian lady whose place was a couple blocks from the beach. I visited San Sebastian, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Toledo and London among some other sites in Vizcaya whose names now escape me.

My intellectual life was allocated between learning Spanish and consuming all the Peter Schiff material I could. I read his three books, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, Crash Proof, and The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets a couple times each, subscribed to his newsletter and when he started his daily call in radio show that November I became a daily listener. The radio show was quite stimulating as while he discussed markets daily, the scheduled guests and listener calls touched Philosophy4, Politics5, History6, Education7, and Economic Theory8. Meanwhile, gold and silver were on a ripping rally9, and I watched my USD savings lose ~15% against the Euro watered down Deutsche Mark falling from ~$1.22/EUR in June to ~$1.40 by October 2010. My thinking was on the one hand, this dollar collapse situation is frightening, but on the other hand, if I commit myself to understanding the situation for what it is and capitalize on the change a fortune could be mine.

I was energized to commit myself to study for the first time and returned to universtitty in January 2011 excited to engage my professors and extract the most value I could from the experience and extra time available as a full-time student, rather than my previous life of full-time athlete working in studies when convenient. In addition to whatever books they assigned me, I filled my shelves then my mind with titles from Peter's recommended reading list10, including Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand11, The Road the Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek and Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis12 by Ludwig von Mises. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and hope with which I entered the semester quickly transformed into disgust fueled anger as I realized these so-called professors were dedicated to socialist propaganda13. I decided I wasn't going to regurgitate their propaganda and used the assignments to apply what I reasoned to be true14. By the end of the semester I concluded : a) going to class was taking away from my education, b) the university environment was toxic, c) online courses with the Mises Institute were a couple hundred bucks,15 and d) the businessman I aimed to work for didn't care about some paper16. Meanwhile silver and gold continued to tear USD purchasing power to shreds with silver piercing $50 per the ounce as the spring's buds were blossoming.

I made a verbose written appeal to my parents explaining the situation and to at least take a semester off and work, continue studies through the Mises Institute, etc, to which I received the reply from dear old Dad, "You will get your degree." I didn't accept this and made a call into Schiff Radio May 2nd17 to serve Peter a softball question framed as seeking career advice I knew he'd hit out of the park in my favor about the value of a university degree. Armed with a conversation with the man I aimed to work for supporting my position, I returned to Vermont for a couple months. The first book I read when I arrived on a suggestion from a university girl who listened was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and I'll be damned, it was as if it was written to me : Howard Roark laughs at idiot professor who failed him out of architecture school for not regurgitating idiocy and decides he'll go work for an outcasted Master who shared his philosophy and would help him develop his skills of expression. I barely put the book down until it was read and by the end of the first week back, the parents had accepted my plan to replace the fall semester with an attempt to get an internship with Euro Pacific Capital, Schiff's brokerage.

And now for a brief interlude : "Told'em, 'I finished school, started my own business.' They said, 'Oh, you graduated ?' 'Nah, I decided I was finished. Chasin' ya'll dreams and what you got planned, now I spit it so hot you got tanned.'" - Kayne West, College Dropout, School Spirit18.

That summer I had a job as a caddy at a Hamptons country club on Long Island, New York. The pay ranged from $20-$5019 an hour and was my first regular exposure to upper class Americans, who included executives and principals from a range of industries from finance to media to law to booze. Whether correctly or not, interacting with these folks gave me confidence I could compete in their world20.

When I wasn't carrying golf bags, tending pins and raking sand traps, I took several online classes through the Mises Institute, which covered texts such as Rothbard's Man, Economy and State, Hazlett's Economics in One Lesson, Mises' Theory of Money and Credit and spent a week in Auburn, Alabama at Mises University21. I also read Rand's Atlas Shrugged, half a dozen Ron Paul books, and an English translation of Bastiat's The Law22.

Despite applying and even showing up without an appointment to the Westport, CT office, I didn't manage an internship that fall. Instead I worked the course23 until Halloween and continued my studies. I returned to Vermont in November and upon parental prodding, George Mason University accepted me as a transfer for the spring semester. I chose GMU because they had a more free market oriented faculty.

November and December 2011 were the most precious months I had to date. I had no external commitments and awoke early everyday to chew through the backlog of study I had laid out for myself. Sit and read Rothbard or Mises all day, I did. That period is also when I dove into Stefan Molyneux's books and Freedomain Radio podcast. On the one hand Stef showed me the Statist gun in the room24 opening me up to anarchocapitalism and on the other hand he focuses heavily on self-knowledge and bringing integrity first and foremost to personal relationships. The latter point on relationships I had taken very much for granted up to that time, but in the years to come would have profound impact in my life.

January 5th, 2012 I was 9 days from making the move to Langley, VA to enroll at George Mason. After supper, I listened to that day's Schiff radio to learn Peter was accepting applications for sales people to help him launch his newly established Euro Pacific Bank in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, one of the requirements being non-US residency. I was filled with energy and immediately talked to my parents about applying, which they certainly resisted. One point I raised was I was about to move to the belly of the police state, which trigged my Father's temper causing him to walk out of the conversation yelling25. Anyways, I sent my application the following morning, along with analyses of Euro Pac's mutual fund strategies in the context of Austrian theory.

My move date was January 14, so I did all my packing the morning of the 12th. I laid down for a siesta early afternoon, to be awoken by a call from Mark Anderson, the President of Euro Pacific Bank, in which he negative sold me to test if I really wanted to leave USia for a commission only, no moving fees included, bring your own computer, need six months savings to give it a chance, are your parents going to let you26 etc. I remember talking with him for half an hour or so at which point, at his demand, I'd get back to him after talking to the parents. I got back to him the next day to learn next steps.

My next article will cover taking the job, moving to a foreign land with strangers, working the business and then leaving it after having more bubbles burst.

I decided to provide this context for the move from USia decision at this juncture because it didn't happen in a vacuum, it had priors27. If I didn't go to Spain, would I have quit baseball ? If I didn't quit baseball, would I have quit school ? The answer to those questions isn't clear, but demonstrates the importance of choosing the thing that needs to be done, the right thing at each juncture. Every decision you take changes your situation. If I'd not quit school in spring and picked up Benjies28 off the golf course throughout the summer and autumn, I'd not have been in position to take the job come January. For all I know, if I stayed in school I'd have had an Everclear29 bottle sucker smashed over my head at a party that autumn because some pantsuit got all triggered because I laughed and called him and his family tax slaves when he claimed freedom30. That could've been the end of me, but acting out enumerated goodness resulted in the potential of that poor outcome being killed, rather than yours truly. Was it easy to make the right choice then ? Was it comfortable ? Fuck no, but it was simple.

  1. The short story is the price fixing priced the Samoans out of the global market, wrecking their one industry : tuna canning. Unemployment was widespread and prices sky rocketed because without tuna to export and pay for imports, ships leave empty rather than with tuna. Moral : if for whatever reason you want to help the tuna canners, pay your tuna canners what they're worth, not what you wish them to be worth. []
  2. and positioning himself and his clients on the short side []
  3. Not that it had reason to form in the first place and emerged from unexamined intellectual inertia. []
  4. What is the difference between economic freedom, i.e. owning the product of your labor, and political freedom, i.e. having franchise ? Would you rather not vote and not be taxed or "vote" and be taxed through the nose ? Hm ? []
  5. Primarily libertarian, free market principals, discussions of the US Constitution and its context, i.e. Federalist Papers and Articles of Confederation, and promoting Dr. Ron Paul while ripping regularly on the Hussein Bahamas regime. []
  6. Pretty much exclusively American history. At the time, Peter was the best scholar of America I'd encountered and made me appreciate being an American and motivated me to work to restore what had been lost. []
  7. He was the first person I heard say a modern university degree is essentially worthless due to the dilution of quality of accepted students and artificially inflated costs, both of which caused by government subsidization. []
  8. Which meant Austrian School and introduced me to The Mises Institute. []
  9. I sold my minimal share holdings in around September and bought metal. []
  10. Link previously at Euro Pacific Capital website since rotted. []
  11. A collection of essays by Rand and company, it was the strongest, most thorough explanation and case for Capitalism and also best use of the English language I'd come across, which was a bit of a mind fuck at first to be reading from a Russian lady. Notably, Alan Greenspan's Gold and Economic Freedom essay is included, in which he explains not only the inflation tax, but also the 1920s FED actions to prop the GBP causing the late 20s stock market bubble and subsequent and necessary crash. []
  12. In part, Mises deduced socialism must fail due to lack of market pricing mechanism to allocate resources. []
  13. I shit you not I witnessed a professor instruct a class to read aloud Das Kapital in unison like some cult, which promptly caused me to pack my things and walk out. []
  14. I applied this most notably in a macroeconomics final where the task was to write monetary policy recommendations in response to some crisis, to which I detailed why the central bank ought to be wound down, a re-institution of precious metals as money and slashing of the state were the only sane choices. To perhaps no one's surprise, the scum failed me. []
  15. You know the etymology comes from the Dollar, 371.25 grains (troy) silver (1792 Coinage Act), being worth a buckskin on the frontier ? []
  16. Even to the point of telling some people to lie on a resume to get past whatever filters the corporate HR has in place, lol. []
  17. Starts at 52m 20s mark on mp3 []
  18. For better and worse was for sure on my soundtrack of those days. []
  19. Tide dollars, of course. []
  20. To the various members who asked about me, I replied I was a student at the Mises Institute. Out of that number, none had heard of Mises, which I inferred as unfamiliarity with the virtue of sound money and free markets, since Mises and the Austrians are stout proponents of both. []
  21. This week was one of my most enjoyable experiences to date as I went from studying essentially by myself on an island to conversing with hundred's of free market people. While I felt I was the dumbest in the room, I noted I knew what I wanted to do with the information, while the more informed seemed to lack direction. []
  22. Despite my surname, my Québécois ancestors failed to pass down the language leaving me in my late 20s grasping to reclaim my cultural heritage, failed European colonies and all that. []
  23. The Esau comment wasn't exactly idle. []
  24. He operates from the non-agression principal, i.e. the initiation of violence violates property rights and is immoral and given the state has a legal monopoly on the initiation of violence, the state is immoral. []
  25. As fate would have it, he walked into the other room and turned on (TV is an emotional coping/avoidance mechanism) Freedom Hour by Judge Andrew Napolitano to promptly find a segment covering the increasing frequency of SWATing in "The Phreheheheeest Motherfuckin' Country on Earth". A win for the truth. To his credit he returned and apologized. []
  26. I reckon that was the moment where I stopped asking them. []
  27. There are various Republicans above my rank making their own exit plans, so I hope this helps. If my 21 year old self can do it, you obviously can too. []
  28. You know Franklin himself was a runaway ? That when he returned to Boston after earning his keep in Philadelphia he was damned proud to flash his pocket full of precious metals in the face of those Bostonians who had provisioned themselves paper bills ? Go read about it in his Autobiography, you and your English and whomever else has to listen to you will thank you. []
  29. Have to buy out of state, e.g. D.C., because Virginia prohibits the sale of grain alcohol. []
  30. That's partially based off a true story from the spring before quitting. No Everclear bottle was involved and no blows were landed on me, but when it's time to get out, it's time to get out. []
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