Bill, The Blockchain, and Bank of America | dinbits

Tropical Storm Bill Viewed from The International Space Station

HOUSTON, TX USA - Nobody likes a bill, but that's exactly what Texas residents received early Tuesday morning when Tropical Storm Bill hit the coast and slammed into Galveston Island. 

The storm created high surf and dangerous waters, agitated to the point, that rip currents were impressively visible from the International Space Station. With high winds and drenching rains, Bill hit the Houston/Galveston Metropolitan Area, causing enough disruption in services, flooding, and entity closures to put a damper on daily Bitcoin activities, but it was only temporarily and very short-lived.

One Galveston Island resident, and professional Bitcoin trader, was met with a locked door and a sign on the front of a local Bank of America branch, when he set out to take care of some early morning transactions.

Bank of America Branch in Galveston, TX - Courtesy of Holiver Corporation
It's difficult to determine which is more disturbing, local traders more concerned with their bitcoin transactions than the dangerous and Tropical Storm (which at the time had 50mph winds, with over 65mph gusts) just minutes away from slamming into the island, or the astonishing discovery that Bank of America had a sign for this.

Not just any sign, a well designed sign by a graphic artist, in tune with Bank of America's corporate identity, and professionally printed on commercial grade material. This was, undoubtedly, a product of their marketing department, specifically [created] for an occasions exactly like this.

Somewhere, in some executive board room, in a big shiny office building, on a white board long since erased, was once a sole written a line. A line of designation, that would soon mature into an assignment that would change branches across the entire United States of America.

This line was the result of copious amounts of meeting hours, discussions, arguments, opinions, and presentation of statistical research, analytical reporting, and  interpretation of the facts best fit into alignment with the mission, the motive, the goals and a line item it would forever satisfy, that had been meticulously outlined in the pages of the Bank of America Annual Business Plan.

It read "Design A 'Cover Our Ass' Sign'".

This, of course, was prior to its addition to a project plan, and ultimate entry into the production environment of the financial institution, which we all now, by evidence of the above posted photograph, has come to fruition.

Apparently, this sign is now contained in the marketing materials used by managers at each branch. They have been put there as a tool for use in circumstances like the one that unfolded with Bill's arrive in Texas. This certainly raises a few questions, and concerns, however. If it was so dangerous, and out of control, that nobody could mange their way into work, then who the hell put the sign there?

Obviously banks take off just about every single day possible, but this is a little over the top. The simple insertion of the warning itself proves lack of merit (well that and the clear skies and seemingly normal day in the reflection of the front door glass). How could it possibly have gotten there? Can we unlock this mystery? Is this trick photography? Did this sign manage to "self post"?

The sign did no such magical thing. Likely the branch manager put it in the window the night before. The sign goes on to apologize for the inconvenience, and that it was out of their control. Let's think about that little gem for a minute. It is out of their control. What exactly is "out of their control"? Did somebody lose the key to the front door? Because from the looks of things to me, the only thing standing between this poor guy, and his bank, is a locked front door (and the sign). There's nothing else going on here!

This sign annoys me because this sign is on earth. What Bank of America really needs, is a sign that states "once you deposit cash in an account, it cannot be withdrawn without the permission of the account holder", or better yet, save the money, and hire some individual who can say no. Every time a depositing party attempts to withdraw cash from an account that is not his, just say no. That's it. That's the the entire job description. The sole purpose of the position. Just say no when this is attempted. Simple. Right?

Wrong. 

This is a seemingly manageable policy rule in which to comply with, but Bank of America's armada of wizards have proven quite the contrary. They are notorious for allowing cash deposits to be reversed back to the depositing party.  Recently, they have stressed the fact, that it is against their policy for tellers to allow reversals of cash deposits, and give the funds back to the depositor. Against the policy. Not allowed.

Well I guess the policies at Bank of America are just followed when tellers feel like it, or this particular policy items really hasn't been implemented yet, or everyone follows all of the rules, but not this one, or perhaps Bank of America just sucks at following directions, because Scammers manage to keep doing this, every single day, and people keep getting ripped off. They make a deposit, coins, or other digital products are sent to the buying party, and then they turn around and manage to pull off this reversal, and make off with the cash, and the digital goods.

Slow Bitcoin Transactions


Despite Bill's interfering efforts in the area, and the lack of Bank of America efforts to do much of anything, neither one did much in the way of slowing bitcoin transaction down. Nope. The Blockchain took care of that all by itself.

By mid-morning on the Texas Coast, the network was grinding at a painfully slow pace, barely managing to confirm anything at all. During which time, of course, the price saw one of the largest increases of 2015, and while many traders sat dormant while waiting for their transactions to confirm. At the peak of the congestion, there were many thousands of unconfirmed transactions and little movement.

37% of the Blockchain is Unknown Mining - Image Courtesy Blockchain.info


This is not abnormal, this occurs for many reasons, the most obvious being network congestion, heavy transactions periods, large portions of the network running slowly for whatever reason, such as hardware issues (37% percent of it is currently being report as unknown so that's not easy to pinpoint). It is very similar to a funnel, you can only pour so much in for a continual flow, before it's begins to overflow. You can only send so much data through the Blockchain at the same time before it's performance is effected.

I am not referring to the size of the Blockchain, or "bloat" as it's commonly referred to. Currently, that is an issue of initial downloads, not delta downloads. In the respect of "bloat", the Blockchain can take hours, if not days (depending on hardware and network speeds), to initially download, due to the mass amount of data it contains, currently (at the time of this writing) it is 35,601 GB (Mega-bytes), 35.6 GB (Gigabytes), or 0.035601 TB (Terra-bytes). A Terra-byte is 1,048,576 Mega-bytes, most of [us] half at least a 3rd of a Terra-byte in our laptops, many of us have a full TB. So we're no where near having any issue with "bloat" yet. 35.6 GB is nothing, you can get a USB drive with 128 GB at any Wal-Mart or Best Buy, well over three times the capacity required to store the entire Blockchain.

If you haven't heard the term "Bloat", it is the ongoing concern that, eventually, the Blockchain will become so large, that it will render itself inefficient, because it will take to long to process anything due to it's shear size. This certainly is something to be cognizant of, however, it's not going to happen tomorrow, and there have been several solutions, that would work, already proposed to solve this.

It's all good topic of discussion, but until mass adoption happens, we are not going to see a major problem, and adoption is what needs to be the core focus right now.

The Rain Has Passed


Here at headquarters, the rain has finally passed, the Blockchain is zipping along, and the flood waters have begun to recede, in some areas anyway, in others, the worse is yet to come in the way of River flooding, but that's another story, for another day. It's time to get moving on other things, other leads, other story's, and technology to build. 

As I reflect on the past two days, and the blabbering of topics bleeding into each other in the words above, it is still the sign in the window at the local Bank of America branch that was the most interesting bit of information I received, and that's actually saying quite a bit. 

It's not the sign or even what it says that gets me, it's the fact that Bank of America has thought up an prepackaged excuse for it's bank managers to provide it's customers. It's because it is a planned failure. It's because it is a planned failure, with a marketing departments carefully [premeditated] way, to [pass] the blame to somebody else. 

Had they written it on a piece of paper with a crayon, it would have been more heartfelt, and it [may] have been believable. They didn't, and that says it all. You don't even have to read the sign, because it's not the sign that is the problem, it's that it exists.



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