Marketing and Business Development

This blog is an overview of my thoughts on marketing and business development for SilentVault.

New Client Updates, New Client Development

Tyrone Thursday January 25, 2018

We are currently preparing updates to SVSpark which should be helpful to our user community. As a developer recently wrote, "I'd like to give you a thumbs-up for the current implementation with current app I have skimmed through source-code of the customization this app has on top of Spark-client. It looks really good and curated work. The concept is something great what you guys have created."

So, our ongoing effort to keep the code curated and fully operational continues. New updates will be available soon.

In addition, through the recent addition of a major customer, we are now working on a smart phone app development project. Teams of developers have been solicited and many copies of a scope of work have been distributed. At least three qualified and competent teams have provided bids for their work and we anticipate several more soon. These will be evaluated by our team for technical competence issues and by our customer for business and timing issues.

We are very excited to be moving forward with Android development. In addition, our customer anticipates a serious user interface design activity will commence in mid-February which should feed into the Android app. We anticipate iOS app to follow.

Getting ready for Ascension

Tyrone Monday January 22, 2018

Our team has been hard at work developing new features for our systems and building out several additional currencies. Two of the people we've worked closely with for many years, Kevin Wilkerson and Sean Daley, have written a white paper, edited by Jim Davidson, that is now available for review. Ascension is already capable of atomic swaps between Bitcoin and Litecoin, with an escrow-enabled exchange.

There are also several new clients we are working with, including one in the travel and resort transaction processing service industry, and others involved in overcoming the odds. As 2018 progresses, we expect to see a great deal of new business activity.

Paul Rosenberg on SilentVault for Bitcoin Users

Tyrone Thursday September 3, 2015

Recently, the following article about a speech in November 2014 by Paul Rosenberg was brought to our attention.

Here is that article:

In it, Paul says, among other things, "SilentVault is a completely private network that lets you send and receive bitcoin and litecoin completely off the blockchain, while maintaing that ability to reconcile back to it later. Bitcoin transactions are ‘silenced’ within private servers with no public-facing IPs."

Recently, Paul joined the team at Digital Cash Alliance as an adviser. You can find more about the work of the Alliance by visiting their site.

The Digital Cash Alliance

Tyrone Monday August 31, 2015

Users of Silentvault's services will be pleased to learn that there is now a Digital Cash Alliance, a new membership group, which is promoting our software products.

The goals of the Digital Cash Alliance are to bring freedom to the world through competing currencies while supporting freedom for the individual by providing digital cash which has the anonymity and privacy available to users of physical cash. Silentvault has long supported the privacy and anonymity of our users by working with the Voucher Safe technology to silence the blockchain for both Bitcoin and Litecoin circulating within our system.

You can learn more about the Alliance at their web site. In order to visit their secure site you'll need to accept their self-signed security certificate. Their non-secure page includes links to the Electronic Frontier Foudation and other sites which explain why security certificate authorities are neither secure nor authoritative.

The Digital Cash Alliance currently has two advisers, Jim Davidson and Paul Rosenberg. Mr. Davidson has already written an essay on their behalf which explains some of the philosophy behind the Alliance. You can find copies of it here and here. Mr. Rosenberg's company, Cryptohippie, is responsible for the Virtual Privacy Network product offerred by the Alliance.

If you believe in individual freedom, economic freedom, free markets, and the individual's power to issue money, you should take a good long look at the Digital Cash Alliance. You'll find me there, as I am now working for the Alliance full time.

There Are Risks

Tyrone Friday March 27, 2015

The SilentVault system does not record identity information when a user creates a new wallet. Therefore, in the event a bankruptcy receiver, say, took control of the Silent Bitcoin Trust bitcoin wallets, it is not as though users could show their identity papers to the bankruptcy receiver or court.

A given user with Silent Bitcoin in their wallet could prove their ownership of Silent Bitcoin using their signed vouchers, of course. But, if the SilentVault servers are down, those signed vouchers would be inaccessible.

So, you have a group of anonymous persons with no way to prove what they owned and probably no one to whom to prove it, anyway.

The same situation pertains to voucher issuers. Although we are careful about who gets to issue vouchers, and do our best to be diligent in this regard, it is a fact that any issuer could abscond with everybody's money at any time. That's true because the issuers have physical control of the assets, whether they are bitcoins, gold, bank money, cash dollars, or whatever. It remains possible that an issuer could be caught and punished after the fact if they did so, though there are limitations to that possibility, too.

In being asked to prove that one cannot steal value from our users, we
are asked to prove a negative. It is not possible to prove a negative;
that's a law of logic.

Of course, the way to approach such questions is to counter with the question, "How is this situation different from any other case where value is not in the personal custody of the owner?"

For example, bank safety deposit boxes were entered by government agents after the Franklin Roosevelt administration declared individual ownership of gold by Americans to be illegal in the 1930s. Bank accounts are routinely seized through Internal Revenue Service "bank levy" of accounts. Real estate and other physical assets are seized through civil asset forfeiture processes every day. People have no control over these situations, yet they are clearly comfortable placing valuable items and documents in bank safety deposit boxes, they are clearly comfortable keeping money in bank accounts, they are clearly comfortable having real estate and other assets registered with the state.

The SilentVault system allows individual users to hold and exchange assets under conditions of much greater privacy. Greater privacy does not eliminate risks of dishonesty. It does dramatically reduce risks related to force majeure. We use the best technology available to make it hard to find the servers that operate our wallet technology, and to make it difficult to brute force attack the access to those wallets.

It is possible for a person to eliminate all risks of dishonesty by others by simply holding their assets in their own hands, but then they have the risk of being robbed. And, it is much more impractical to engage in trade and commerce if you are holding onto physical assets for everything. Any system of trade and commerce implies that there are parties who have to be trusted, whether those parties are in government agencies, banking enterprises with state licences, or other organisations. Even in the case of holding all your assets in physical form in your own possession requires that you trust that you have the ability to defend those assets against whatever group comes to take them
away. Trust is involved, no matter what you do.

While it is impossible to eliminate all risks, it is possible to look at the economic advantages and incentives that motivate SilentVault and Issuers to serve users of our system according to the terms of use agreements on our site. SilentVault and the Issuers stand to make a great deal more money by serving users effectively and honestly over time because doing so causes more economic activity to take place in our system and with the issued currencies. At any given moment, the amount to be gained by absconding with all the funds is less than the net present value of all future economic activity that is due and payable from transaction processing fees in the event that users are treated honestly.

Risks related to tracking the user's identity are mitigated by anonymity measures. Risks related to trusting the vendor are not. There is a price to be paid for meaningful anonymity, and that price is reflected in the transaction fees as well as in the risk the user takes in keeping assets in an anonymous system.

We do have multiple issuers to compartmentalise the risks for a given currency issuer. We do make an effort to know the issuer organisation in each case so we have some idea of who is issuing the currency and whether they are trustworthy. We also have security measures that help protect our users from loss due to technical failure, hacking, phishing, or other attacks.

However, if a user doesn't want to trust the Silent Bitcoin Trust, they do not have to do so. At any moment, a given user can transfer all their Silent Bitcoin out of the system and into Bitcoin wallet addressesof their choice. So, users who are sceptical are free to keep zero balances in their wallets.

No system can be free from all forms of risk. If you are going to get anything done, you end up trusting someone else. You can control which types of risk you take, how much value you embed in each system, you can spread risks, insure against them, and mitigate them in various ways. But risk is real. It is part of the world.

The clever work of Blythe Masters and the crew at JP Morgan Chase to package risks and issue credit default swaps to sovereign central banks in Europe in the late 1990s didn't eliminate those risks; all that cleverness simply shifted risks, brought about a sovereign debt crisis, and imploded in 2008-9 with the global financial crisis that seems to have required banks like JP Morgan Chase to be bailed out with taxpayer resources. In other words, even extraordinarily clever people using the generosities of multiple government agencies cannot eliminate risk from the world of trade and commerce. Attempting to do so can have dramatic results, cost trillions of dollars, and ruin tens of millions of lives, but it cannot eliminate risk.

Paul Rosenberg of CaseyResearch endorses SilentVault

Tyrone Friday February 20, 2015

In his recent essay for Casey's Daily Dispatch, author and adventure capitalist Paul Rosenberg endorsed SilentVault. Here are his words about us:


One of the biggest concerns with Bitcoin is that it has serious privacy issues. Bitcoin is the most transparent currency ever created. If you don’t take steps to protect your privacy when using Bitcoin, anyone anywhere can view your entire transaction history. SilentVault offers a solution to the Bitcoin privacy issue. It also facilitates trade in other currencies, including gold and silver.

SilentVault is a wallet application that allows users to bring in cryptocurrencies (currently Bitcoin and Litecoin), then to spend them “silently,” or “off chain” (not recorded on the transparent ledger/blockchain).

What you hold and trade with your SilentVault wallet are vouchers representing assets, not the assets themselves. While this is obvious for gold or silver, which are not digital assets, the distinction is important for Bitcoin. The wallet contains vouchers, which are cryptographically signed, digital bearer certificates that are analogous to coins.

These vouchers can be traded and exchanged with other SilentVault wallet users privately, securely, and in a peer-to-peer fashion. The system can also be used as an exchange, as you can trade vouchers backed by different assets (bitcoin, gold, silver, etc.) with fellow users.

SilentVault systems are built using privacy and security-focused software. All communications are made within private servers with no public-facing IP addresses. End-to-end encryption is used so that even SilentVault can’t monitor chats or view the contents of users’ wallets.

SilentVault is available for use today.

A Free-Man’s Take is written by adventure capitalist, author, and freedom advocate Paul Rosenberg. You can get much more from Paul in his unique monthly newsletter, Free-Man’s Perspective.

Bitcoin Mining in 2015: ASICs, Difficulty, and More

Tyrone Thursday February 5, 2015

Huge facilities all over the world are now packed with Bitcoin mining hardware. A single facility near the Arctic Circle in Sweden boasts 45,000 machines running around the clock.

Why? Well, if your computer finds the correct answer to a problem in computing a hash algorithm, your bitcoin wallet address is built into the answer with 25 more bitcoin. Also, your bitcoin address collects the transaction fees implicit in that answer. You get these additional bitcoin after 99 further blocks are built onto the system. Today, at $196 per bitcoin, the 25 new bitcoin are worth $4,900. So, there are good reasons to dedicate additional computing power to the task.

Bitcoin Mining continues to grow....

Read the rest of this article at Coinbrief.net: Bitcoin Mining

An Endorsement

Tyrone Thursday February 5, 2015

My old friend Jim Davidson wrote today to say:

"I continue to believe that the state of the world's financial markets is symptomatic of a basic limitation with not only the centralised nature of international banking, but also of the complete lack of freedom and privacy in financial matters. People are too often excluded from opportunities to do as they think best because those in power, or those with vested economic interests, have made sure that many choices are excluded.

"Those facts, it seems to me, are a powerful incentive for people to seek out and use a free market alternative that promotes greater freedom of choice, greater privacy, and an uncensored environment for choice taking. I think the work that was originally financed by Pecunix.com on Voucher-Safe established a very carefully planned and thoroughly developed ecosystem for private exchanges of digital bearer instruments. The SilentVault technologies built on top of the Voucher-Safe architecture are an important path forward."

SilentVault Welcomes New Operations Lead Seamus O'Pearse

Tyrone Wednesday January 7, 2015

For Immediate Release
7 January 2015

SilentVault's Anonymous Bitcoin Multi-Asset Wallet & Exchange Platform

Welcomes New Operations Lead Seamus O'Pearse

Anonymous peer-to-peer instant Bitcoin wallet and exchange platform SilentVault

has a new Operations Lead Seamus O'Pearse.

SilentVault payments are just another kind of message
SilentVault's anonymous peer-to-peer, multi-asset Bitcoin wallet and exchange platform uses sophisticated technology to enable anonymous communication and secure off-blockchain transactions for Bitcoin and Litecoin. The company is now announcing a change in personnel with the the transition of SilentVault founder Sean Daley who is leaving his position as Operations Lead to take the role of the company's general counsel (non-practising). Law and business expert Seamus O'Pearse will take over the Operations role as of 1 January 2015 maintaining the uncompromising professionalism and commitment to privacy associated with SilentVault.

New Operations Lead Seamus O'Pearse is an attorney experienced in alternative online payment systems with 15 years of experience in digital currency businesses. Seamus was one of the earliest legal adopters of digital gold currency and has now embraced Bitcoin and its fast-evolving, censorship-resistant descendants. One of Seamus's favourite quotes is from a poem of rebellion by freedom-fighter Patrick Henry Pearse (Pádraic Mac Piarais).

"Did ye think to conquer the people, or that Law is stronger than life and than men's desire to be free?"

Seamus is currently dedicated to and immensely enjoying a sabbatical term 'unlawyering in the new badlands' with the support and protection of some very technically adept friends. Seamus is now ready to invest decades of past experiences and professional expertise as 'Operations Lead' at SilentVault where he has now relieved the Founder, Sean Daley, effective January 2015.

About SilentVault:

SilentVault is an open source peer-to-peer anonymous Bitcoin wallet with built-in exchange and embedded escrow; the wallets are multi-asset and can hold any supported asset types side-by-side. SilentVault allows cryptocurrency adopters to spend and receive Bitcoin and Litecoin entirely off the blockchain enabling users to freely transfer assets to and from regular Bitcoin and Litecoin addresses rapidly and anonymously.

Unlike ordinary exchanges which require the user to hold their entire balances within the exchange and use a browser to log in and trade, SilentVault uses a built-in trading floor within the anonymous wallet. Users can exchange assets with other users anonymously and choose to fund escrow for the trades they enter or accept. Assets traded with SilentVault are stored in the wallets at all times if the user doesn't choose to trade using escrow.

SilentVault provides a completely private client network and considers all aspects of conducting business including communication. SilentVault wallets communicate using XMPP (Jabber chat), within private servers with no public-facing IPs. End-to-end peer-to-peer encryption ensures that not even SilentVault can monitor private chats or access other wallet related information bringing complete anonymity and privacy to users.

For more information please visit: https://silentvault.com/

Media contact:

Name: Tyrone Johnson

Contact: tyrone at silentvault.com

Officeconnection GmbH
Untermüli 6, 6300 Zug

Screengrab of SilentVault web site

Silent Coins

Tyrone Tuesday September 9, 2014

By now, unless you have been very carefully avoiding all contact with advanced technology and other people, you have probably heard about bitcoin. In 2008, bitcoin was first described by Satoshi Nakamoto in a paper published on The Cryptography Mailing List. In 2009, the open source software Bitcoin Core was introduced by the same party. It is an interesting side note that nobody really knows who Satoshi is, whether the name is a pseudonym, or even whether Satoshi is a single individual.

Satoshi faded back into the woodwork in 2010, turned over control of the software source code repository and key alert functions to Gavin Andresen, and let bitcoin.org and related domains go to various activists in the bitcoin community. Don't worry about Satoshi - he probably has about half a billion US dollars of bitcoin to call his own.

Bitcoin Mining
Bitcoins come from having computer systems solve certain mathematical problems. Because coins are discovered by performing mathematical calculations, the process is called "mining." Miners may be located anywhere in the world having electricity and an Internet conection. In the early years, bitcoin mining could be performed competitively with nearly any computer. Today, very specialised technology is used. The most efficient bitcoin miners use custom-designed application-specific integrated circuits or ASICs. These chip-based systems perform an enormous number of computer operations in an effort to add new blocks of data to what is called "the block chain." Doing so can generate a reward of 25 newly created bitcoins per block added.

To claim the reward, a special transaction, called a coinbase, is included with the processed payments. All bitcoins in circulation may be traced back to initial coinbase transaction events. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block is halved about every four years, until an arbitrary limit of 21 million bitcoins is reach. After all bitcoins have been discovered or mined, transaction processing would only be rewarded by transaction fees. It is optional to pay transaction fees, but doing so may speed up the confirmation of the transaction. Miners can choose which transactions to process, and obviously would prefer to process transactions that pay fees.

The Blockchain
Every bitcoin comes with a database of transactions called the blockchain. This part of the bitcoin system is very important. The blockchain is a public ledger that records financial transactions in bitcoins. This recording function is performed without any central authority. Multiple intermediaries exist in the form of computers running bitcoin software. Connected over the Internet, these computers form a network that anyone can join.

A typical transaction takes the form of wallet X sends the amount Y of bitcoins to the wallet Z. Wallets may be specified using a hash function. Here is a typical transaction record:

Status: 558 confirmations
Date: 8/22/14 21:19
To: payment for SILentVault press release distribution 13xwbYYaKknEj2MxkG6KegDJhpvD8ME8BC
Debit: -0.169 BTC
Transaction fee: -0.0001 BTC
Net amount: -0.1691 BTC
Transaction ID: 97616d23a4a55655db81b83dc5be199acf3ee084ac1aa3a447c6410f03b4cbc9-000

Notice that in the five days from when this transaction took place (August 22) to when this essay was composed (August 27) a total of 558 confirmations took place. The more confirmations of a transaction, the harder it is to deny. Since the network of computers that examine and confirm transactions is very large, it may be possible for one or two confirmations to take place within a small network of computers, so there is a small potential for such an event to be fraudulent. However, the longer you wait (typically ten minutes per confirmation) the more confirmations your transaction should accumulate, and the harder it becomes to be defrauded. After about six confirmations, the transaction is so deeply embedded in so many different computers that it is effectively impossible to "back out" the transaction. That fact means it is also impossible to spend the same bitcoins again and again.

Now that the above transaction is confirmed 558 times, it is very, very deeply embedded in the blockchain. It cannot be undone. It cannot cease to have been. That event is fixed. It has been added to a large number of copies of the database of bitcoin transactions.

About six times an hour a group of accepted transactions, a block, is added to the blockchain which is quickly published to all network nodes running relevant copies of the open source software. The software subtracts the necessary amount of bitcoin from one wallet and adds it to another. So, the wallet software and the fact that the transaction is widely published prevents double-spending.

As you can see from the indicated transaction, any text may be used to comment on the purpose of the transaction. It need not be spelled correctly, as the capitalisatoin error shows. And the description is entirely optional.


Drawbacks of the Blockchain
The blockchain grows and grows. A recent comment from one user suggests that it is about 33 gigabytes at present. It isn't going to get any shorter, as more users spend more amounts of bitcoin to more other users. In addition to its increasingly cumbersome size, the blockchain is fully public, by its nature. So there is no financial privacy using bicoins directly.

The success of bitcoin as a currency has, naturally, generated similar entries in the market. One of the really nice things about fully decentralised, open-source software systems is that if you can build one, someone else can build another. There are now dozens of active bitcoin-mimicking software systems, such as Litecoin, Dogecoin, and many more. The same cryptographic protocols have also been used to show chain of ownership of domain names (Namecoin) and are being pursued for creating public ledgers of other types of assets, such as real estate. Digital rights management, voting, smart contracts, and money transfer all work with blockchain software.

Enter SilentVault
In the midst of all this technology development, the needs for economic privacy, information security, and anonymity remain. When you make a cash transaction at a store you've never previously visited, you can be entirely private, anonymous, and secure in the knowledge that your cash is accepted and you are on your way with what you bought. You may be aware that some merchants treat cash transactions with enthusiasm. It is quite likely that not every cash transaction is reported to the sales tax authorities in every jurisdiction where such taxes are collected from merchants.

SilentVault has implemented a technology called Voucher-Safe which provides for the creation by currency issuers of digital bearer instruments for assets in the possession of the issuers. These digital bearer instruments are called vouchers. Vouchers are circulated within the SilentVault system, and the circulation of them is paid for with tokens. At current prices, a token cost about 5.5 cents (in US$).


How It Works
"You can bring bitcoin in and arrange to spend it back out, any time, anywhere," Justin Turrell of the SilentVault team says. "Once you have assets in your SilentVault wallet, you can use it to make person-to-person payments to other SilentVault wallets, offer or accept exchanges for other supported types of assets, or redeem your vouchers."

Once a bitcoin is transferred into SilentVault it goes by the name Silent Bitcoin. In the SilentVault system, there is no public transaction record. While a bitcoin is in the SilentVault there is no change to its blockchain.

"We created SilentVault because privacy and anonymity are important aspects of freedom," said SilentVault's operations lead paesean.

SilentVault currently supports bitcoin, Litecoin, and Silent Silver. There is a built-in exchange where transactions between two parties who do not know each other can take place through escrow. Each party in the exchange can post an offer, make a payment of the offered asset to escrow, and await acceptance. The party accepting an offer also makes a payment to escrow, and the escrow system automatically transfers the assets to the respective users, keeping a 1% fee from each party. Exchange offers can be given short or longer expiration periods.

Bitcoin is often called an anonymous payment method, but that is a mistaken idea. Bitcoin is, at best, pseudonymous. Anyone who knows your wallet number can look at the funds you've transferred and the recipients. Anyone who knows the hash or destination address and the amount of a particular transaction can probably find that event in the public record, in the blockchain.

There are other ways to obscure this data. A technique called "coin join" attempts to mix payments together, making smaller payments simultaneously to attempt to obscure the data in the blockchain.

Other people try to identify bitcoin users. Systems that tie your bitcoin purchases to a bank account such as Coinbase or to a credit card such as Trucoin are required by law to comply with anti-money-laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) laws in the countries where they operate. Necessarily, their data is open to government agencies in law enforcement, including tax enforcement. So, transactions involving such systems may expose users to undesirable scrutiny of their financial affairs. Careful research can reveal someone's wallet number and purchase history. SilentVault can help solve that problem.

"We're interested in making a better world with more freedom," said paesean. " We hope you'll join us."

SilentVault marketing and business development lead Tyrone Johnson says, "SilentVault is to bitcoin what an offshore bank account is to mainstream banking. Within the SilentVault system there is no ledger of transactions. So while you make payments with your Silent Bitcoin and those who receive your payments use their Silent Bitcoin to make further payments, nothing is registered on the block chain. No transaction, including an internal voucher asset to voucher asset exchange, generates an entry on the blockchain. Only when a bitcoin is exchanged out to a bitcoin wallet destination does any new information show up on the blockchain. If you value your privacy, you'll prefer a silent blockchain."

The company has deployed two open-source wallet applications. The SilentVault WebApp is built as an application for Java webstart. This means that it can be installed and invoked from within your browser, but runs in a Java virtual machine independent of your browser. After you've installed it, you can start it from the icon installed on your desktop without needing to use your browser at all.

The SilentVault Spark Jabber (XMPP) client or plugin aka SVSpark is both a robust Jabber chat client (based on Spark 2.7) and a secure p2p wallet
client. The wallet client is implemented as a Spark plugin. Other plugins provide OTR (off-the-record) for end-to-end chat encryption, voice communication, and a host of other features. SVSpark is aligned with their slogan "payments are just another kind of message." The SVSpark wallet's desktop icon is a blazing flame, reminiscent of Wyatt's Torch from the novel "Atlas Shrugged."

You can get more information by visiting their secure web address https://SilentVault.com/

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