Four short links: 11 September 2017

Criminal Smart Contracts, Economic Damaged Goods, Crypto Bar, and Equifax Advice

By Nat Torkington
September 11, 2017
Four short links.
  1. Investigating the Future of Criminal Smart Contracts (A Paper a Day) — readable and interesting summary of a paper on using smart contracts around criminal activities: leaking stolen confidential information, buying stolen keys, and assassination.
  2. Damaged Goods — this is how economics refers to intentionally crippled offerings (e.g., a student version that only has half the features of the pro version, when the code for the pro features has already been written and the marginal cost to the vendor for including those features is 0). The provoking example is Tesla (60kWh and 75kWh models have the same batteries, the lower range is software-imposed based on how much you’ve paid for your car). Without selling to the high willingness-to-pay customers at the high price, the good might not be produced at all because the profit from customers who are only willing to buy at a discount aren’t enough to support the R&D. Thus, the high willingness-to-pay customers aren’t worse off from the existence of a discounted version and the low willingness to pay customers and the firm are clearly better off. See also Tesla offers $20K in software-upgradable options when you buy a car and Cory’s take.
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  4. The BletchleyUse WW2 Enigma machines and protocols, and Sherlock’s deduction principles to create personalized cocktail recipes. The recipes will be ciphered and handed over to you with your drinks, for these are to stay a secret between and you and our agents. Neat video in this tweet.
  5. Credit Report/Identity Theft Advice — in the wake of the Equifax breach, some solid steps to take in the scenarios that might play out with your identity. In particular, the problem of someone else opening a bank account with your identity (the bank won’t close it, as you’re not the person who opened it, and therein lies most of the pain).
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