21's big idea......$75M of funding

I found this interesting, wondered what others thought:


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I haven’t gotten an AOL CD in a very long time. It would be nice to have some more coasters…

I do think in the long term micropayments and machine to machine payments is going to be where Bitcoin takes off…

Paying to connect to websites is a part of the plan.

That part sounds like Microsofts 90’s plan for everyone to pay to use the internet via MSN. People bypassed that always.

Automatic registration with their social network.

While people may gain mBTC occassionally, they are going to be paying some/much of it out to others for services that they are not using now or are getting free now.

The sting is in the detail. Its a lot more than just micropayments machine to machine.

Without getting into the loss of an amount of privacy (to 21) either.

Pay per view is nearly a perfect fit for bitcoin. The Comcast track is the right one.

They either need a solution to bitcoin’s problems (mining centralisation, poor transaction throughput and latency, energy inefficiency etc.) or they are going to fail.

The bitcoin community seem to be making zero progress addressing these issues. The only tech I’ve heard of that claims a solution is side-chains which are years away I think, and then are not a real solution as I understand them, but a kludge based on trading off one characteristic for another within an isolated area. So for example, less security for higher throughput etc.

Then there’s Safecoin :slight_smile:


Yes, I don’t know about all the techie stuff, but I thought the “BitSplit chip” that they are planning on embedding in every Intel device/laptop etc provided the de-centralising bit? To be honest, as they are also building some kind of mega Data-Centre/Mining thingy too, I think the idea is to take over things….along with the “Internet of Things”really.
I just find all this quite disconcerting tbh.- remember when we were talking of Intel back-Door chips etc? I just think it is all part of the same thing really, given all the secrecy.
So now we have Intel, ISP’s and Bitcoin all integrated, micro-payments made possible etc, all on the normal Internet. When you piece it all together, it has all the same functions and operates pretty much like Safe…inc farming small amounts that can be used to buy “stuff” on the Network etc. I see it as a kind of “Darkside Safe” developing really, as it seems to have all the opposite qualities.
Looking at the sketched out business model, certain things jump out at me. Everyone with an Intel/Bitsplit device (potentially most everyone in near future), now spends their resources farming Bitcoin and then giving up 75% to “21” ……I mean a) what if you don’t want this in your laptop and b) why the hell would you?..…there is an incentive though– you can purchase Bandwidth….and an ad free internet :
“ a user is able to use his BTC to skip 15 minutes of commercials on online video service Hulu”
Lol, so you can mine Bitcoin, using your own resources, keep only 25%, which you then hand over, in order not to be harassed by advertisers……brilliant! How’s this not a protection racket….lol
I don’t get how this is going to be sold to consumers……and that is my concern really (rips large piece of baco-foil off and starts fashioning into a hat).
Anyway, waffled enough…but does anybody else worry about the possible implications of just this one quote:

“In particular, 21 had been working on a process that would allow developers to block users from accessing websites unless funds are sent to a bitcoin address.”

Just think about this a bit……


It’s one of the mute evil plans.

But my tech point relates to this:

“functions and operates pretty much like Safe…inc farming small amounts that can be used to buy “stuff” on the Network etc”

I don’t see how their tiny chip can do anything useful. I haven’t done any analysis, but this is now the problem with bitcoin. Mining is so hard (competitive) that you need to use serious kit to mine at all.

So they are not mining bitcoin with those things, and if they created an altcoin, centralised miners could step in and capture the market.

So again, I don’t see what their proposition can be. Maybe that’s why it’s secret… :slight_smile:

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Apparently, users get about 17 cents per day, so only very small amounts,so yes, pretty useless apart from for micro-transactions That illustrates my suspicion really that there’s an ulterior (dons the hat) motive.
If a bitcoin wallet is hard coded into the computer chip, then there is future potential to link every computer to every website visited, provable on the Blockchain, isn’t there?
They don’t plan on an alt coin and appear to already have massive mining centre - plus 75% of all the tiny amounts mined on the devices - this may be a large amount when added up. It looks like a takeover bid involving a number of entities toward a common goal - a means to an end…rather than an end in itself. :smiley:

Yes, good analysis. That sounds plausible to me.


Just feels like “21” are some kind of front, bringing certain players/capabilities together to me. I mean, if Govts/Corps wanted to do such a thing,how could they “sell it” to the public? The ideal way would be to create an entity like “21” with no clear use case/shrouded in secrecy (until they think of one). How has it attracted so much money and from what sources, based on what looks like a poor business model? if this really is not tin-foil hat stuff (no idea, just thinking aloud) and its the worst case scenario, then this is the ultimate dark mirror image of Safe.- total invasion of privacy.
It would be interesting to find out exacrly how much and from where.
Just as an aside, how would this affect Net Neutrality – does it overcome it across the 21 states that Comcast operate in – was it intended to, but now can’t due to recent rulings? Where would that leave “21” investors? There just seemed to be a lot of interesting angles/possibilities within the article……maybe just me….lol. :smiley:

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A waste of money in my opinion. That is so much money that you could use it to improve the Bitcoin protocol or make something better than Bitcoin by far.

But we’ll find out if they do something useful.

  1. it’s going to be awesome to have decentralized mining and everyone gets a hardware wallet built in to their smartphone that automatically generates small amounts of bitcoin to , for instance, pay their phone bill for free. Free phone service and unlimited data just keep it charged. Boom go from 1% to 50% adoption of bitcoin in two years after rollout.

  2. If you don’t like 75% going to 21, just download a crack app that redirects to a mining pool you configure. All the power user and settings tweakers and root/unlock people will be able to do this easily.

Does sound like microsoft’s effort to monetise people’s use of the internet

Does sound like they are trying to lever their bitcoin mining, while offering the pawns 25% to pay for what largely becomes a pay-to-use internet. (apart from connection costs)

Does sound like they want their app in every bit of technology that can be made to communicate on the net. Imagine the implications to security, privacy, and so that go with it. And in Australia with metadata retention laws, the government would be able to not olny track the movements of ones cell phone, but also any piece of electronic equipment because they all are communicating on the net leaving their meta-data which includes location that communications were made from (ISP generated location data)

Does sound like there is a whole lot more than to this than giving people mBTC and ability to use it, but to fundamentally change the way we use the net from a “free to use” system with costs to connect, to one where you pay for every aspect of the net, connect, visit websites, etc. And then pay for additional privileges (many free now) so in the end we only get what we already enjoy now without paying.

And 21, and other partners are the ones earning all the money off the backs of the people who then have to use up their mBTC to maintain their current use of the net.

Does sound like if this took off then people not participating would be at a great disadvantage and costing them a lot more to do what they do for free now. Microsoft tried this with MSN where they wanted everyone to pay them a monthly fee to access much of the internet (and still pay your ISP connection charges too of course). It failed because the net was not built that way and that a browser developer challenged them. Microsoft was going to use the browser to do this, but 21 is going to use the net and offering web servers the ability to charge for connection.

Who knows if the government is behind it or not, but I can see large corporations loving i without any inducement from government or likes of NSA

[EDIT: grammer, speeeling]


That’s my worry, it’s de-centralising the mining, but still under a central entity, which has full control.

I don’t get this bit, surely it is costing more. If say a device earns roughly $4 per month to knock off phone bill, theyhave mined $16 dollars worth, as 75% goes to Comcast/21/Intel. We know that mining Bitcoin has a cost in resources - so how are you not a net loser?

Is this possible if hard coded into the chip?
The biggest cost is in user privacy though - it would be total lockdown of your online life. The percentage of the population that could “easily” do this would be minuscule though in any case.

Yes, I think it’s an either/or or both situation really and I’m thinking both, as there are clear benefits to both. Also given the way Corporations are subsuming Govt functions generally, it seems to fit. Definitely more than meets the eye here I think.
If you put this in all the shiniest, newest, all singing, all dancing tablets and gadgets (that all the kids want), then mass adoption almost overnight. Scary…
The NSA and US defence Industry are to all intents and purposes a private run Company anyway now - as Eissenhower warned about.

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If they can hide the costs, then like mobile phone contracts people will think its a good deal and happily pay without realising (e.g. through their electricity usage) for apparently free services. The danger is that this model competes well in people’s minds with something like SAFE where your cost is more visible (a monthly connection bill, bandwidth charges), even though the net cost/benefit of SAFE would inevitably be much better.

SAFE Network may need to develop ways to offer this style of business model so that even those who think like this will see SAFE as a better deal. I believe @dirvine is already mindful of the benefits of this approach from his comment here, but it may be useful to put thought into this as a community - it’s certainly an opportunity for us :slight_smile:


This would be so much easier with safe, without the massive power consumption. Throw a 32gig micro SD card in a phone charge. Mine stays plugged in 95% of the time. It can build income without the power usage. Microwave, washer, set top box (maybe going the way of the Buffalo) all these things could perform the same function as this proposes company for much less cost, and be contributing to the network in a much more functional way than Bitcoin mining.


Excerpt from: A bitcoin miner in every device and in every hand

Well, at 21 we are less concerned with bitcoin as a financial instrument and more interested in bitcoin as a protocol — and particularly in the industrial uses of bitcoin enabled by embedded mining. These uses include:

  • A new approach to micropayments. Historically, it has been difficult to get people to dig out their credit cards in order to purchase things online, particularly on mobile devices. The fixed cost of signup alone exceeds the benefit for the vast majority of sites. A continuously replenished stream of digital currency on your device generated by default from a 21 BitShare chip can change all that.
  • Silicon-as-a-service. Because bitcoin mining is embarrassingly parallel, mining can scale down to one core or up to hundreds. We’ve used this observation to develop a single core version of our technology that can be integrated into an existing chip. This means any vendor can take a chip performing a normal function (say video decoding or networking), add 21’s BitShare technology, and thereby enable the chip to continuously generate revenue simply by being connected to power and internet. Because this technique can replace or augment traditional methods for silicon monetization (namely chip sales and IP licensing), it has the potential to revolutionize the way chips are built and sold.
  • Decentralized device authentication. Many applications of bitcoin are not strictly monetary. Embedded mining means that any device can authenticate itself to the network by sending one Satoshi to a specified address. When used in combination with multisig, a 21BitShare offers new paradigms for device authentication.
  • Machine Twitter. The constant stream of Satoshis provided by a 21 embedded mining chip means that any device with an internet connection can now write to a globally readable, always accessible database — with obvious benefits for device coordination, ad-hoc networks, and the like. While the bitcoin blockchain itself is not designed for this particular use case, future sidechains that accept bitcoin may be.
  • Devices that can pay for associated services. A wide variety of new internet-connected devices require an associated SAAS subscription to work. Rather than paying a number of different subscription bills, by including the right-sized 21 BitShare with the device one can under many scenarios wholly or partially defray the expense of the cloud service.
  • Devices that can pay your channel partners. At the manufacturer’s discretion, the 21 BitShare chip can be configured to support a variety of different revenue shares for the mined bitcoin. For example, one could build an internet-connected device that shared some portion of mined bitcoin between the user, the retailer, the handset maker, and the carrier — thereby reducing costs and/or increasing margins throughout the entire supply chain. And because of the nature of mining as an embarrassingly parallel problem, embedded mining can scale up or down to fit within the power and thermal envelope of virtually any device.
  • Bitcoin-subsidized devices for the developing world. 21 was built by immigrants, and using our technology to get more people around the world online is important to us. We believe the most significant long-term application of bitcoin may be reducing the upfront cost of internet-connected devices to make them more accessible for the developing world. The success of the iPhone was in nontrivial part due to the carrier subsidy; with embedded bitcoin mining we can in theory extend that model to any internet-enabled device, turning a lump sum upfront cost into a potentially more manageable cost of power over time.

What I notice here is not using the blockchain technology as a technology to achieve the objectives, but rather using the blockchain to do some things, but always sending BTC/Satoshi to a central point(s) and from their other doco that central point is them.

So we have a new system that is designed to channel money to them no matter what you do.

  • devices are hard coded to their specifications, unlikely to be upgradable to prevent others hacking the devices to direct the profit to others instead. (easy to do, program stored in ROM not flash)

  • (micro)mining 75% to them

  • Every time a device authenticates one(/more?) Satoshi to them. The world of IoT is taking off as we speak, I am buying some $9 computers that are similar in power to the Pi running Linux. Its more than reasonable to expect that the average home will explode in devices that need authentication. (temp sensors for A/C is an example) B/Millions of devices authenticating regularly around the world,

  • micropayments - multiple paths to them (1) 3 times what you paid already went to them (2) when you micropay someone else the fees for validating the transaction will invariably go to them. Imagine the fees from billions of transactions a month.

  • By reaching out to the developing world they increase this revenue stream.

  • Privacy is non-existent as everyone will have to register their wallet address with them and I expect they will collect a measure of personal information when you do.

  • Others will attempt to monetise what you currently reasonably do for free. EG just connecting to some websites will cost.

Basically they are not doing this to progress the world of bit coin, but rather they want to be the first and are setting up to corner the market, by doing all the mining, receiving 75% of your mining. Will it even be profitable to the user after all the energy and increase in cost of buying the enabled devices. Of course the people putting in the chips will recover their costs at manufacture. They (21 & Co) will become trillion-airs if they can pull it off.

NOW consider a SAFE network alternative.

  • you get coins (fractions?) from doing real work (farming)
  • you benefit 100% from your farming
  • your micropayments are fee free
  • no centralised mining, no exposing your personal information
  • no one levering your electricity/machine costs for their benefit, no rich cats off your efforts

There is a lot of interesting/good ideas behind 21, BUT they are all engineered to benefit 21 & Co financially in a huge way.

There is so much potential (same way) in SAFE, but each individual user is the sole beneficiary.


Wouldn’t disagree when they have Larry as an advisor

Larry Summers:

Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them

Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders


I totally agree. My main concern is the potential for abuse of Civil Liberties and Human Rights - whatever the given reason or profit motive, one would have to admit that this is also putting in place a system for mass surveillance. I see it as the case that we could end up by way of clever marketing, buying our own “TeleScreens”. we could potentially be buying the shackles of our future enslavement.

“telescreens are used by the ruling Party in Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against Oceania.”