The importance of backups, from the other side.

Tuesday, 08 September, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Yesterday was a reasonably interesting day, as far as backups are concerned, because :

I. The Bad.

An agent buried in a distant land reported... well, a lengthy string of successive failures all adding up to a stash of about fifty to a hundred Bitcoins being perhaps lost. Because nobody could have predicted and the backups were in the safe but they keys to the safe were in the lost pile while at the same time the other backups seem to have either been poorly verified or not verified at all but in any case their substance wasn't usable for the intended purpose and so for all anyone knew once the safe's cut the contents might be equally useless and so on and so forth.

Sucky day so far, huh ?

II. The Ugly.

After screaming enough about the bad, I read the logs to find a mysterious line reading

anton_osika: antonosika has to sign a document stating the location of delivery. He however involuntarily lost his hands. So he can't sign documents anymore.

What the hell is that all about ? I have no idea, until someone conveniently digs up an old contract. It went like soi :

Hash: SHA512

Future Delivery Contract
For the Alleged Future Cryptocurrency "Ethereum"

This agreement entered today, the 27th of August 2014, between
The Long Party, antonosika, signature fingerprint of record 71A1EC4E1B6C7DD853FD856C86AC5789F93ED2E7
The Short Party, Mircea Popescu, undersigned as 6160E1CAC8A3C52966FD76998A736F0E2FB7B452

For the purpose that the Long Party shall deposit in Short Party's Bitcoin address 1JPvucRfu3ZzEvfBUQTJwsxMrZjeTqD6zR the sum of 3.00001000 BTC no later than August 31st, midnight GMT ;

And that the Short Party shall deliver to the Long Party in a manner to be agreed upon thence the sum of 15`000 ETH coins on September 15th, 2015, before midnight GMT, provided that the alleged future cryptocurrency Ethereum, scheduled to be released in the Winter of 2014 or fail that in 2015 is in fact released as specified on or before September 1st, 2015 ; and that the various direct buyers are delivered the ETH as promised ; and that ETH trades on a reputable exchange in total value of at least 100 BTC prior to the date of delivery ; or else deliver to the Long Party the sum of 0.0001 BTC.

The riders on the delivery clause above exist to protect the Short Party from the eventuality of having to deliver an inexisting asset, and will be interpreted constructively to that effect. In no case will this contract be deemed as a license for the Long Party to attempt to extract infinite value on the grounds that since the scammers pushing Ethereum have failed to actually make it available, its putative "value" approximates infinity.

This contract may also be extinguished by signed agreement among the parties prior to September 1st, 2015.

The Long Party will recognise assignments of this contract, but only if such assignments are integral, signed by the current holder and registered through confirmed notification in #bitcoin-assets on Freenode.

This contract is a matter of public record and serves as an invoice for Long Party's payment.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)


For some reason I thought this was never executed, but apparently the guy did send his 3 and change on the 26th (the contract itself was tendered after some discussion that same day, but I was so used with people idly discussing things because hey, it's the Internet, by which they mean the web, by which they mean AOL that I just didn't register someone was actually serious for once).

And so now it looks like I'm out another fifty to a hundred BTC. Not bad for a day's work, seeing how it is in fact mathematically provable that 99.9985% of the seven billion people alive will never have that much in their life.

But then...

III. The Deznodamintul.

As far as I is concerned, once the safe was opened the backups were fine. So that's that.

As far as II is concerned,

anton_osika: I got my hands cut off so I cannot make signatures; laptop stolen and broken backup. Got any tips for me?

So... that's also that ?

Backups, people. They are the very important, right up there with social engineering.

  1. Check it out btw, I found a way to wordpress proper contracts : wrap the header and signature part in pre and (optionally) font tags. Go me! []
Category: Zsilnic
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2 Responses

  1. IMO it bears pedanticizing that backups aren't make-and-forget, either. Folks above prolly could've done themselves a world of good by testing backups now and then.

    What should be a lifelong ongoing process, like self-hygiene, is so often treated as though it were a tattoo. Forgetting deodorant once upon a time is one thing; waking up and finding your "tattoo" gone is quite another.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 9 September 2015

    That's actually very apt!

    Yes, exactly : backups. Like washing, not like tattoos.

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