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Friday, August 23, 2013

Cashing Out Bitcoins for Gold

So slick ... I just transferred some bitcoins to my smartphone and bought 1 OZ of pure gold from Capital Coin and Bullion ... no cash, no credit card, and no hassle!  Bitcoin is superior to everything.  All we need is more and more merchants to accept them.   Transaction fees to process bitcoin payments are lower for merchants than what credit card companies charge too.   Word is getting out!  Get some bitcoins!   If you are a merchant, find out how to accept bitcoins for payment at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil:

But... But... Bu' I really loooveeeeee money!  I'm not evil ... muahhhaha, well ok, I'm a little bit evil, but not like ... central banker evil.

Ok, well, if I think about it, what I really love is "making" money.  I enjoy the money itself, but what I really love is making money.  The only thing I love more than making money is my sweetheart ... and the only thing I love more than her is making a bunch of money without having to work for it!

Gold button from e-scrap
I could see where some folks might think that is bad.  After all, people should make money the old fashioned way and earn it ... right?  Well here's my little insight on that ... people ain't gonna give you no money unless you've earned it.  The trick is to earn it (i.e. provide value to others) without having to exert much effort.  Simple example: you can dig a ditch with a shovel or you can dig a ditch with a backhoe.  It's the same ditch and it adds the same value (or not) to the same customer, but one way takes a lot of effort and the other not much.  And, the least effort method actually enables you to dig more ditches faster, creating more value for more people, and making more money for you for less effort.  See how that works?  Being lazy is actually a good thing!

Well, it is a special sort of lazy that works best.  Laziness is best accompanied with a love of "making" money which is in essence a love of creating value for others in the most efficient (least effort) way possible.  Creativity and imagination are your best tools for this sort of task.  This way of thinking is what drives invention.  Please don't say, "well, I'm no inventor" and stop reading here.  Everyone is an inventor!  Everyone has thought, "if only I had a such-n-such thingy that did this or that, this job would be a lot easier!"  Also, inventions include more than physical products, inventions are new processes as well as the adoption of a product or process for a new task.  Anything that helps produce a good or service in a more efficient way is an invention!  So, please repeat after me: "I am an inventor!"

OK, now that that is settled, let's go on about making a bunch of money without having to work very hard for it.  Now we need to talk about another facet of this topic, scale-ability.  The idea is to do the work once and have it benefit many people.  Suddenly, digging ditches doesn't seem like such a great career.  The guy who makes the big money is the guy who buys the swamp and pays someone else to dig the ditch to drain it, and then sells the dry land.  Environmentalists ... please don't hate me!  That was just an example.

The point is that the guy digging the ditch is only helping one person, the owner of the swamp.  The owner of the swamp has a bigger plan that will ultimately benefit many people when a neighborhood is built there.  Our world is ripe with opportunity to create value in a scale-able way!  Sometimes the processes involved are complex, and that is what we use our creativity and imagination tools for.  The goal is to find a path: the steps, the recipe, the combination of services and products that will create value for a large number of people.

Some careers are naturally scale-able   Content creation like writing, art, or computer application development are great examples.  You create the content once, and there is no limit to the number of people who can benefit from your content.  The possibilities are endless!  Another easy way to create value for others is to spot a revolutionary new idea that some genius came up with and then implement a niche for yourself to extend that person's idea towards some practical task.  You won't need genius skills to do this.  There are countless millionaires who don't have a clue about how to route data packets on the internet.  They just know how to sell the hell out of used golf balls online.  In a way, they are mooching off the genius skills of all the people who did invent the internet ... Al Gore was it?  It's all good; the goal is to create goods and services as efficiently as possible.  When you exploit the ideas and inventions of others, that actually adds value to their ideas too.  It is a win win situation for all!

There is a new revolutionary idea happening right now.  It is at least as big as the invention of "email".  It is so new that there is absolutely time for you to get in on the action.  People have already become millionaires with it.  There are both technical opportunities available as well as "down-to-earth" practical niches ripe for the picking.  If you want to make a bunch of money without having to work very hard, I implore you to learn everything you can about this new technology.  

BitScavenger: Android phone app
I personally started with $300 and have grown that into assets that are now worth over $20,000 in less than 2 years (with virtually no effort).  This is only the beginning.  I speak of Bitcoin.  Please google that term and know that there are Bitcoin scams and Bitcoin bonanzas ... read all.  Let the information percolate through your brain.  Follow Bitcoin writers on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  Never believe a word anyone tells you, but pay attention to every detail of every word.  Become an expert and notice especially where people complain that they would like to be able to do "this or that" with their bitcoins.  Therein lies your opportunity.  Once you know this topic thoroughly, network and find others to swap ideas with.  Find people willing to act and find people who can do things, like programming, that perhaps you cannot do.  For a quick start to trading, please also check out my blog on the topic:

In closing, be optimistic that the world is full of ways to make huge amounts of money with relatively little effort.  The object is to scale your efforts such that many people benefit from your work.  All you have to do is take the time to notice what other people need and want, and think up creative ways to provide it for them.  Remember to focus on scale-ability of your effort, where you plant an orchard once to provide fruit for many people for years to come.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

JamBit Crypto-Currency Design Proposal

The following is a non-technical overview of concepts that will be helpful to design a better Cryptography enabled virtual or electronic currency (crypto-currency) system.

Crypto-currency represents an amazing opportunity to bring fairness, prosperity, and freedom to all citizens of our planet.  There is no limit to the number and type of crypto-currencies that may be implemented, and like any new invention, only the best implementations will thrive.

The first examples of crypto-currency have been demonstrations of the viability of the concept.  Some crypto-currency examples, like Bitcoin and Litecoin have proven that an electronic token, independent of any national government, can hold value and transmit that value fairly and securely among members of the currency network.  Others, like BBQcoin or MMMcoin, had design or implementation flaws that led to their early demise.  All of these first attempts were primarily focused on overcoming the engineering difficulties associated with creating and distributing the currency, and managing transactions securely.   However, there is no limit to the features that a crypto-currency could have.

Eventually, the most successful crypto-currency will not only solve the technicalities of electronic funds handling, but it will also present more economic value to its users than any other system.  Now is the time to ask the right questions to make newly designed crypto-currencies more economically viable for more people.    If you have ideas, please submit them in the comments section below.  Until then, here is my list of concepts that I believe should be considered in the design of a new crypto-currency:

1.  How might we achieve a reasonable level of price stability?
2.  How might we promote productive behavior and discourage destructive behavior?
3.  How might we protect individuals who live under oppressive governments?
4.  How might we automate financial services like escrow, loans, insurance, and investments?
5.  How might we protect people from, or compensate them for, fraudulent activities?
6.  How might we provide probate services and protect against lost funds?

In the real world, we have governments to regulate and handle the issues mentioned above.  I believe we can do a better job by designing a monetary system to handle these issues as an engineering problem rather than from a social or regulatory perspective.  In fact, my goal is to remove people from the process as much as possible.  People have self-interests, computers not so much, yet.

So, here we go off to build a better monetary mouse trap.  First, in order to scale up a crypto-currency for worldwide usage by billions of people, we need to move away from "proof-of-work" reward/mining systems to "process transactions as efficiently as possible" reward systems.  The idea is that new money will be introduced into the system as a reward for people who support the network with their hardware and processing power.  Of course measures will be needed to assure that people aren't making bogus transactions simply to earn rewards (discussed in answer to question #2 above).  Automatic adjustments to rewards for transaction processing and fees on transactions will be the primary tools used to implement monetary policy in the network.


The first goal for a good currency is to achieve price stability, and some form of monetary policy will eventually be needed to accomplish that goal.  The goal is to prevent hoarding, depressions, rampant inflation, and all the other monetary problems that keep repeating throughout history.  One cool feature about crypto-currency is that all transactions can be known in real time.  All the economic data that is painstakingly collected, submitted quarterly, and used for making real world monetary decisions would be instantly available to a crypto-currency network.  So, it is simply a matter creating a system that can process the data and make adjustments to money supply as needed.   Bitcoin is off to a great start, and it is now being propelled by investors and speculators.  That's great for the beginning stages of a new currency, and that situation can be mimicked by limiting any increase of currency supply to a rate below the adoption rate by new users.

As the currency matures, it would enter a new "era" called the usage era.  During the usage era, new currency would be introduced at a rate slightly higher than what is demanded by new users and crypto-economic growth.  The idea is to get a very slight inflation rate such that the currency itself is no longer valuable as an investment item.  If the system detects excessive inflation, currency would be automatically removed from the system.  One method would be to lower the rewards paid out for processing transactions coupled with an increase of fees charged per transaction.  Users will always be protected from that slight inflation rate by being able to freely convert their savings to a crypto-currency, like Bitcoin, which is designed to always appreciate in value.


We live in a world where one's reputation has been devalued by law, regulation, and government enforcement.  There was a time when it wasn't safe to do business with someone that you didn't already know and trust.  Today, we don't necessarily bother to check out a restaurant's reputation before we eat there.  We trust the government, in part, to make sure that the restaurant is safe and/or to provide a means of recourse in court if we are cheated or poisoned.  In the world of crypto-currency, there is no law, regulation, or government.  The best crypto-currency networks will have built-in features to promote healthy and productive interactions among its users.  The best networks will at least include a capability to log complaints and compliments.  While any user could always get a new ID if there was a complaint against them, they couldn't fake compliments from other users with impeccable reputations, at least not without a lot of extra effort.  Since every transaction is logged in a crypto-currency network, unique users with multiple IDs can often be isolated.  For reasons listed in the section on protecting individuals from oppressive governments, a user's real world identity is not always wanted, but that user's "in-network" reputation is a very effective tool to help promote productive behavior.  This is seen to be the case on sites like the silk-road.

The organizers of the MtGox exchange for Bitcoin already implement one strategy that will also be effective. That is to offer verified accounts which have more freedom, but which also are associated with a user's real world identity.  There is a fine balance between offering user's new freedom, but also encouraging them to use that new freedom wisely.  There are many options that the crypto-currency system might use.  For example, higher rewards might be paid for transaction processing to verified account holders.  Rewards could be offered for transaction feedback.  Transactions which become suspect of fraud or (bogus transactions to gain transaction processing rewards) might be automatically categorized and charged higher transaction fees.  Specific units of a crypto-currency could also be labeled as "dirty-money".  The possibilities are endless, but we shouldn't get too carried away with them lest we end up with a monetary system that is more cumbersome than the one we have in the real world with its myriad of laws and regulations.


Control of money is probably the most effective way a government has to control its citizens.  Crypto-currencies have the potential to empower more individuals to live life as they choose more than anything since the Gutenberg Press.  It is a lost concept that an individual may produce what others want, and that individual has the right to request from others a reward similar in value to that which was produced.  It is a simple contract among individuals.  No other entity deserves a portion of that value unless they were a part of creating that value.  If another entity does contribute to the creation of value, like by providing roads for example, then it is the responsibility of the providing entity to monetize that contribution in a way that is voluntary to all parties involved.   In other words, it is not OK to produce something that no one wants, and then force them to buy it at the point of a gun (the working mantra of most governments).  It is OK to restrict usage to paying customers.  Any system that threatens the power of governments over their citizens will meet with resistance by the people currently in power.  The resistance will be more harsh in some countries than others, and so "real-world" anonymity is an absolute requirement for any crypto-currency network.


Think about how many people are employed in financial services.  Now think about how much more productive our world would be if their jobs were all automated.  Think about how much better off you would be if there were no closing costs associated with selling or buying a house.  Imagine that interest was always paid directly to the lowest bidding lender and that there were no middle men in the process.   This one aspect of potential for crypto-currency stands to improve the living standards for billions of people.  How frustrating is it that banks can borrow money at 0.01% interest rate, yet we have to pay 5 to 6% if we borrow money from them?  At the same time, if we keep savings in a bank, we would only make .01% interest on our savings while the money itself devalues at a rate of 3% per year.   All of these shenanigans would become history with a properly designed crypto-currency.

Rates for insurance can be automatically calculated in real time based on claims history.  As far as automating the process, imagine this scenario:
     - someone buys a house with Jambits.
     - insurance is purchased
     - house is reported to have burned
     - claim is filed

The crypto-currency system is now tasked with the job of determining whether or not a legitimate claim is being filed, or a fraudulent one.  Suppose that once a claim was filed the process was to auction off the property to highest bidder.  The claim would only payout the difference between the purchase price of the house, and the amount received at auction.  If the house really didn't burn, it would draw market value at auction.

We can also suppose that an owner might file a claim if the value of the house dropped.  In that case it becomes true that the insurance policy actually provides devaluation coverage also.  That is in fact superior to currently available insurance; and when one factors in the cost savings of having the whole insurance system automated and "not-for-profit", the premiums are not likely to be much higher.

Of course, the whole process must start from an auction based approach on asset sales from the beginning.  That is the only way to off-load the task of determining an asset's value and legitimacy to the network of users rather than paid appraisers, surveyors, agents, etc.   All insurable items must be bought and sold in an auction format in order to accomplish any sort of automation.   A system of auction based transactions for larger ticket items also lends itself to loan automation.

Since any user can always go get a new ID, individual bankruptcy should be expected to be a quick and easy process.  Given that, credit should be approached with caution and only offered in amounts and terms comparable to the credit worthiness of a given ID.  In other words, the system should not lend a 2 month old ID enough money to buy a house.  Since algorithms and transaction fees can constantly be tweaked to root out bogus transactions, it will be somewhat straight forward to determine an ID's income and credit worthiness.

Escrow services are often used in external systems related to current crypto-currency transactions.  It will be a value add to the users of the network to have escrow services built in and automated as fully as possible.  It is a fact of life that mail gets lost and stolen.  Cargo ships even still sink sometimes.  The escrow services could also be combined with insurance services to protect users as much as possible;  users must receive the items that they purchased, or a refund.  Fraudulent claims must always be guarded against, and this is where having real time access to all currency movements will be useful to the system.  Even in the Bitcoin world, suspicious activity is watched by the community.  That information can be used to affect the ratings of suspicious ID's and to flag new ID's who appear to be related to suspicious ID's.  I like the theme here though, any real person has the opportunity to turn a new leaf at any time.  The past is always forgiven, albeit built into the cost structure that everyone must bear.


Trust in this new crypto-currency system is a prerequisite to wide spread use of the system.  The most important goal of the whole system is to protect value that individuals have entrusted to the system.   Fraud that unfairly wipes out a single individual's value is the most damaging of all to their trust in the system.  Many safeguards can be implemented at the client level.  As the MtGox exchange limits withdrawals of Bitcoin based on their value, so can the Jambit client limit transaction sizes for various account ID's.  Users must be educated on strategies to protect their assets.  They could even be rewarded with insurance protections based on how well they comply with recommended best practices.   In other words, if you use a hardware key device and a secure password, keep large sums in offline encrypted wallets, have a great community reputation for your ID; if you are defrauded, the system can automatically settle reimburse you for your losses.  The information provided by the user on how they were defrauded could be used to improve the whole system.

Other helpful options might be to integrate transactions with shipping tracking numbers, or at least provide tools for vendors to do that easily.  I'm dreaming now, but wouldn't it be cool if the network of users handled deliveries for packages within their cities.  Everyone would have an easy way to earn JamBits by providing package delivery services.


As crypto-currency usage grows, people will want to know that their assets are safe from loss and that they can be passed down to people of their choosing even in the case of their own demise.   Currently, if a person encrypts their Bitcoin wallet and forgets their password, the funds are lost forever.  If their computer crashes and they lose their wallet.dat file, their funds are lost forever.  If they die and haven't told anyone else how to access their funds, the funds are lost forever.  There is a simple solution for these situations that can be built into the JamBit client tool.  When a new ID is created, a user should have an option to select an inactivity period and a beneficiary ID address.  If an ID goes inactive for 5 years (or whatever time the user chooses), then the funds credited in that account would automatically be split as defined by the original user, and credited to the beneficiary account or accounts.  This would help protect people from lost passwords and provide a means of transferring funds postmortem.

This article is just my brainstorm on the subject, so please do add your ideas to the comments sections below.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Making the most of a bad situation.

A car accident can be a traumatizing experience.  Even if the accident was not your fault, it can end up costing you money if you are not careful about how you approach the situation.  Insurance adjusters sometimes count on your emotional state and will use that against you when determining how much to pay out.  A key take away here is good advice for all aspects of life, "Wait until your emotions are calm before you make any big decisions."  Make sure you are in a calm a clear state whenever you talk to the adjusters, or else have someone else talk to them for you.

My second thought on this topic is that there is usually more money available to you in an accident payout situation than will be initially offered.  A little patience on your part can get you a bigger check.  Let's look at a real world situation that I just went through and see how everything played out.  My one of past girl-friends got backed into in a parking lot.   Parking lots can be a strange place as far as traffic law goes, and the other person would not claim full responsibility even though the accident was totally her fault.   The other person's insurance would only offer to cover 80% of the damages to my girl.  That meant she would have to make a claim with her own insurance and pay a $500 deductible.   My girl was more distraught over that than the accident or the damage to her car.   Fortunately, she was too broke to pay the $500 and she followed my advice and haggled with the other driver's insurance company.

She did get some work done on her back and the lady who worked on her spine said that the stiffness was definitely from the accident.  Armed with a potential bodily injury claim, we began to haggle with the insurance company and threatened to hire a lawyer if they didn't at least send someone out to assess the dollar amount of damage to my girl's car.   After two months of crawling in from the passenger side, we finally got the other insurance company to cave.  They assumed 100% liability for the accident which was fair based on the way the accident occurred.  Their adjuster gave an estimate of about $3000 to repair the damage to both doors on the drivers side of my girl's car.

Now, there were two options for making repairs to the car.   One, we go to a body shop that works with the insurance company on a regular basis, and they would bill the insurance company directly, or two, we take a $3000 check and get the car fixed our-self.   We went shopping at various body shops and we found some that would fix the damage for slightly less, but they wouldn't make any promises if they found more damage than what was visible on the outside.  This was a little intimidating for us and we almost  went with option 1.  Option 2 is where you can pocket some money though.  You just have to make sure you can get the car fixed cheap ... and if you are willing to do some work yourself, you can save even more money.

For parts, I recommend for any parts that you can't find off Craigslist or local pick-part businesses.  Again, only because my girl was broke did she let me talk her into fixing it our-self.  I drove about 200 miles to get two doors that were the wrong color, and they cost $500 each, but we still pocketed $1100 after the whole job was done.   I did all the work that I was capable of doing ... removing panels and trim and test fitting the doors.   Then I shopped for a body shop that wouldn't turn his nose up to me bringing in my own replacement parts.   He was a guy that understood we were on a tight budget, and he gave us a very competitive quote to paint and mount the replacement doors.  We got the body work done for only $900, and the car is back to original condition.

My last tip is to save any parts that you have left over and then resell those after the job is done.  I have a side mirror for a 2008 Saturn Aura, two glass windows, and the electric window regulators to sell now.  I should be able to recover a couple more hundred dollars once I sell those parts.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Government Study Concludes: Regulations Don't Cost Jobs

New Government Study Concludes: Regulations Don't Cost Jobs

Can you feel me cringe?  If only you guys knew me better, you'd know how much it hurts me to read stuff like that.  To add insult to injury, I had to read that article knowing full well that most people in America have never tried to start their own business.  That means most people have no clue about the malaise of federal, state, and local regulations that restrict almost any form of business.  They don't understand how regulations keep us "little people" out of so many trades, and keep us from working independently as business owners.

In order to stay positive about this reality, I must remind myself that this is my niche.  The harder the government makes it for people to earn an honest living, the more demand there will be for unique ideas to get around the government.  The ultimate purpose of "MrMoneyHustler" is to present new ideas for people to make money honestly, but also without all the hassles and regulations placed on established forms of business.  As frustrating as it is when the government restricts people from working independently, we should all be reminded that everyday brings a new way to make a little pay.

My strategy is to present new ways to make money that are honest, but not regulated.  Mostly, only new ways to make money are unregulated.  If it's been around for a while, someone will have lobbied for regulations to impede new competition.  If you have any ideas for new ways to make a buck, please share.

Ultimately, this is a quest for freedom.  We live in a world where money is required to survive, and people who control money use that as a means of control over us.  We will do what we have to do to make the money that we need to make to survive.  This is the mechanism that causes us to allow our government to make us contribute to actions that we find immoral, because our own survival is tied to compliance through the use of money.

Some people are upset that their tax dollars might be taken and used to perform abortions.   Others are upset that their tax dollars are taken and used to kill innocent people in foreign lands.   The Occupy Wall Street folks are upset that money is used to keep wealth and power in the hands of a few.   We can take much of their power away, by reducing our dependence on what they control, money.  We have to be wily with our views on "money" in order to preserve the power that we are rightfully entitled to, and to stand up for morality in our world.

In order to re-establish our power, we need to get back to the basics of what is "money" and what is a "fair exchange".  Money is an abstract concept after all.  If someone is abusing that abstract concept to control us, then it should be fairly easy to shift that abstract concept a little in our favor.  The key is to convince a lot of other people to go along with the plan.  When the system is rigged this heavily against the people, the people need to come up with a new system.  Anytime you set out to re-design a system, the first step is to identify the basic principles at work.

We the people create "value" in the form of goods and services.  One feature of "money" is that it is a tool to allow different people to exchange their goods and services in a way that is fair to everyone involved.  So, one of the first ways we might consider a new system, is to focus on "value" creation as the goal, and money as a secondary concept that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with actual value.  Many great systems spawn from a focus on "value" creation: co-opts, charity, partnership, and off-grid living just to name a few.  In all these systems there is exchange of goods and services that are not always tied to an exchange of money.

The main point about "value" creation is that when you are broke, sometimes the wrong question to ask is: "How can I make some money today?"   The right question is: "How can I create some value today?"  Of course, the next question to ask is: "How do I get what I need to keep creating value?"  The simplest answer to that is to create value for yourself, but this has a lot of limitations.   You will always have to go beyond that in order to thrive.   We all must figure out how to create value for others and make sure that we eventually derive some benefit from that as well.  Let's take an example at this point.

We all need a place to live.  Because of the way the world works, it costs money to reserve the use of a shelter.  However, some creative thinking on how you can add "value" to yourself, and then others might make it possible for you to occupy the space for free.   Suppose you rent or buy a run down old house and fix it up to be more comfortable for yourself.  This is a simple example of creating "value" for yourself.  Your effort to improve your living standards was not taxed nor was it devalued by inflation or other monetary meddling of the government.   Simply put, you have a nicer place to live.

That "value" creation also has potential for you to create value for others by letting others live with you.  Perhaps that other person would be so grateful as to buy the groceries and pay the electric bill.   Now you have added value to someone else and they have added value back to you, and no money was exchanged between.  If you have other practical examples, please submit them in the comments section.

Another feature of "money" is its ability to store value.   So, how can we store value without using money?  Again, please submit your ideas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Get Pure Gold From Electronic Scrap in One Place

The following presentation will describe the process of refining gold from electronic scrap.   The descriptions and instructions given in text below are supplemented with video taped demonstrations of the process.  The videos are closed captioned, so be sure to click the "CC' in the lower right of the YouTube viewer.

The "no duh" first step is to collect a bunch of electronic scrap.  In this series we focus on simple gold fingered computer connector cards.  Simply shear off the part of the electronic card which contains the visible gold connectors.  Other scrap sources include processor chips and connector pins.  It is best practice to keep each specific type of scrap in separate batches at least until you've gone through the whole process a couple of times.

The cards can still be sold to a scrap yard minus the gold fingers. Watch out for the occasional high end electronics that have gold plated traces under the green paint.

For the second step, here are the materials you will need:

1.  32% HCL (muriatic acid).  This can be found at any pool supply store and some hardware stores.
2.  Two clean five-gallon buckets with lids
3.  PC cards with only the gold connector strips
4.  Safety gear, goggles, latex gloves, eye wash bottle, and baking soda
5.  Filtering station ... for small scale a 12 cup coffee pot and coffee maker will do
6.  Filters and paper napkins
7.  Container to collect paper filters (with gold)
8.  Container for all napkins and used gloves
9.  Jugs to store fluids in.
11. 24" plastic stir rod ... half of a wand from mini-blinds will do.

Simply put the IC cards with the gold fingers into the five-gallon bucket and cover with acid.  Some distilled water can be added to raise the level of fluid if needed.  Swish the stuff in the bucket around every day for a week or so.  Of course, be careful with all the fluids.  Once copper starts to dissolve, the fluid will turn green and it will be toxic to people, animals, and especially to fish.  Make sure to keep everything locked away where no neighbor's kid can get to it.

After inspection of the cards reveals that there is no gold on any card, remove the cards.  Squirt them off with distilled water to wash gold as much gold as possible down into the acid bucket.  Now filter the acid in the five-gallon bucket to separate the gold flakes from the copper chloride acid solution.  

Put all filters and gold flakes into a coffee pot and cover with clean 32% HCL.   Bring this to a boil and stir vigorously to break up the paper filters.  Now pour off the acid (save for re-use) . Only gold, paper goo, and a few small fragments remain now

Now we need some more materials:

1.  A second filter station
2.  A small jug for the gold solution
3.  Clorox bleach
4.  (Ice cubes made with distilled water) ...not needed in cool weather

With all the gold foils and insoluble junk in one coffee pot, add more clean 32 % HCL.  If the temperature is over 75 deg in your work area, add a few cubes of ice made from distilled water to help chlorine stay in solution.  Now dribble small amounts of Clorox bleach into the coffee pot while stirring.  Stop with the Clorox if excessive fizzing begins or if the fumes bother you.  Swish it around, let it sit, swish it around again, let it sit overnight, swish it around again.  If it is hot outside, you can set the coffee pot in a cooler with regular ice in it.  The object is to keep chlorine gas, which is released with the Clorox, in your solution.  The chlorine is what reacts with the gold to dissolve it.

Make sure all the gold flakes are dissolved into a golden to golden green solution.   Now we can filter this solution to separate the gold in the solution from all the paper goo and any other insoluble fragments.   Now we have clean clear liquid with AuCl dissolved in it.

Now it is time to get back to a solid form.  Here are the materials we must add to our list now:

1.  Sodium Metabisulfite powder -- Na2S2O5 (readily available on eBay or restaurant supply store).
2.  95% tin solder wire

You can test for the presence of gold in the solution using the stannous chloride test.   It's easy, just allow a strip of tin solder wire to dissolve in a "tiny" cup of HCL ... you only need a few drops really.  Wet a paper napkin with the gold bearing solution, and then dab the stannous chloride solution onto the napkin with a q-tip.  A purplish-brown splotch should appear quickly if gold is present in good concentration.  If the gold test reaction is weak, you should consider trying to dissolve more gold into your solution.

Transfer the solution back to a good coffee pot, preferably an old-school flame proof glass coffee pot.  Bring the solution to a boil for a couple of minutes to drive off excess chlorine gas.  Then double the volume of your solution with distilled water.  Now the solution is ready to precipitate the gold back out of solution as a solid brown powder.   Now add a few table spoons of the Sodium Metabisulfite to the gold solution. There needs to be room in the container to allow for fizzing.  Be sure to go outside for this step, as it releases noxious fumes.   

Stir the pot until everything turns cloudy brown and ugly.  The Na2S2O5 reacts in solution to steal the chlorine ions away from the gold, leaving the gold behind as solid metal.  So, let the gold settle and you can pour the liquid off and leave the gold powder in the coffee pot.  Filter the fluid in case any gold floats out with it, and save the fluid too, in case more gold is in solution.  Now it is time to refine the purity of the gold powder.  It may be disappointing to know that over half of the powder could still be copper.

Add more clean HCL to the powder, not a lot, just enough to swish it all around in.   Bring this to a boil while swishing from time to time.  Let it cool and pour off the acid.  Be sure to filter lest any gold float out, and save the acid for re-use.   Repeat the swish, boil, swish routine two more times with HCL and then 3 more times with distilled water.

The gold powder is now mostly pure.  We will also use potassium nitrate when we melt it to help burn off any remaining atoms of base metals like copper, nickel, iron, tin, and zinc.   The following materials are required at this time:
1. Graphite crucible
2. Borax
3. Potassium nitrate.

Transfer the gold powder to the graphite crucible.  For every spoon full of gold, add one spoon full of potassium nitrate and five spoon fulls of borax.   The crucible should not be over half-full at this point.  The borax does expand and bubble as it is heated.

To melt the gold, have these items ready:

1. Leather gloves
2. Furnace, acetylene torch, or my "microwave kiln kit" and a microwave oven
3  Graphite ingot mold, or carbonized iron mold
4. Tongs to handle and pour the hot graphite crucible

The microwave kiln is made from a light weight refractory fiber board.   It comes in two inch thick panels.  Aluminum silicate works well, and so do other similar refractory materials.  It can be easily cut into the correct shape with a drywall hole saw.  Two inches is a sufficient thickness of insulation around all points of the crucible to protect the microwave oven.

All metal melting should be done outside as well.  The insulation may off-gas worse on it's first time use.   It takes about 30 minutes to melt about 5 grams of gold in a regular 1000W kitchen microwave.  Be sure to watch closely and check frequently to make sure your microwave is not getting too hot.

If you need to stir the mixture of gold and borax, use a clean graphite rod.  Give the gold plenty of time to heat up in the microwave, and then have you tongs and mold ready so that you can flip the crucible quickly to pour out your gold into a graphite ingot mold.  A less expensive alternative is a piece of angle iron or cast iron depression.  Be sure to coat the surface of the iron with a layer of soot (from acetylene torch or candle.

Project End: Proper Waste Disposal and Recycling

 Please dispose of all materials, leftovers, acids, metals, and toxins appropriately.  This will help you get more gold out and save the little fishes of the sea.

Here is a list of additional items that are needed to recycle and dispose of the waste stream materials:

1.  Plastic storage bin
2.  five-gallon bucket with lid
3.  UPS power supply (or other source for 2 to 3V)
4.  Wire, electrical clips
5.  tywraps
6.  strong plastic bag
7.  10' x 1/2" PVC pipe
8.  graphite anodes - maybe be recovered from some D-cell batteries
9.  stainless steel straps and screws
10. PC fans
11. plastic mesh washable home A/C air filter
12. coffee pot (glassware capable of boiling fluids)
13. hotplate
14. 2' x 3/4" Copper pipe

The first step here is to verify that there are no precious metals remaining in the CuCl acid solution using the stannous chloride test.  If there is any suspicion that precious metals remain, a large scrap of copper can be added to the solution to make sure that all precious metals precipitate out of solution.   After some time is given to allow solids to settle, the waste fluid can be siphoned off the top and base metals can be removed via electrolysis.  Any sludges that form at the bottom of the bucket should be treated as if they contain precious metals, and they should be run back through the whole process with the next batch of gold bearing electronic scrap.

 Video: Making a graphite anode rack

A high-end UPS backup power supply can be used as the power source for the electrolytic tank, but do verify that the voltage settles in the 2V to 3V range when everything is hooked up.  If the voltage goes higher, gases will be generated, electricity will be wasted, and the surface quality of the copper plate will be jagged and unsalable. A plastic five-gallon bucket can still be used as the tank although a secondary containment system is recommended to catch spills and drips.  A plastic storage bin is adequate.

An anode rack should be made from graphite rods because the acid bath is too corrosive for any metal to exist on the anode (+) side of the electrolytic cell.  Graphite anodes can be recovered from some used D-cell batteries.  Besides the method shown in the video above, stainless steel screw clamps are another handy way to attach a lead wire to the graphite anodes.  In order to keep the solution free of solid particles, simply wrap the anodes with coffee filters since they will eventually deteriorate.  In the case of an electrolytic cell, the anode should be attached to the positive terminal of the power supply. 

Video: Prepare a copper starter plate to serve as the cathode.

The cathode, a flattened piece of copper pipe, should be attached to the negative terminal of the power supply.  Metal from the solution will accumulate on this copper starter plate.   If the rate of accumulation is too fast, and a rough surface develops, the voltage should be lowered and/or a physical barrier should be placed around the pipe to slow the ions in solution from getting access to the copper pipe.

On my first attempt, the rate of deposition of copper got too high at some locations on the starter plate.  That led to rough formations of copper deposits.  The copper would flake off in places, and that is not a desirable form to sale it in. The first thing to check is voltage if that happens.  If the voltage is staying between 2 and 3 volts, then you will need a physical barrier around the pipe to control deposition rates.   Cut the ends off flexible plastic drinking bottles and slide them over the copper plate.  It will be good if the plastic tubes are deformed into an oval shape in order to fit around the copper plate as that will prevent deposition on the edges of the copper plate.  Holes can be drilled into the plastic tube as needed to increase deposition if a higher rate is needed.

Video: Electro-cell operation and copper recovery

If you are starting with solution that is saturated with copper, it will be dark, opaque, and chemically it will have one copper ion associated with one chloride ion -- Cu(+)Cl(-) or just CuCl.  As electric current is run through the system, oxidation and reduction reactions occur and the result is that soon there will only be one copper ion available for every two chloride ions -- Cu(+2)Cl(-)2 or CuCl2.   The extra copper ions come out of solution as solid metal on your cathode plate.  You will know when that process is done because the solution will turn into a beautiful emerald green liquid that you can see through.

The solution can now be reused with a new batch of gold bearing electronic scrap.  This process helps save you the need to buy more clean HCL, and it reduces the volume of metallic salt bearing solution that must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way later.

VideoCuCl solution ready for reuse.

If you continue to run current through the electrolytic cell, the rate of copper deposition will begin to fall sharply.  When the amount of copper ions drops below the number of chloride ions, the chlorine will begin to associate with hydrogen in the water, and regenerate the HCL in solution.  But, other reactions also occur which can lead to the generation of H2 and Cl2 gases.  That could possibly result in a fire risk, but also chlorine gas is very corrosive to tools or anything you have in the area.   There is no need to run the electrolysis for that long however.  Simply run it until the solution goes emerald green and clear, and it will be ready to dissolve more copper.

After your last batch, you must dispose of everything in a safe way, or find a market for all waste stream.  All solid materials must be washed repeatedly with clean water to get all the metal salts out.  To deal with the volume of water, you will need a dryer unit.  Fans from computers can be used with plastic buckets and plastic air filter mesh materials to evaporate the solutions.  As the solutions are re-concentrated, metals can be electroplated out again.  Finally as the solutions are dried completely though, only metallic salt crystals will remain.  These can be sent off for assay to a precious metal refiner.  For a fee, they will let you know exactly what metals are present.  Then you can plan best how to sell or dispose of the salts once their composition is known.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Currencies

     Throughout history humans have had two types of currency.  The purpose of the first type of currency is to provide a handy and available medium of exchange.  Cash is an example of this type of currency.  It is what we use everyday to buy stuff.  The purpose of the other type of currency is to be a safe store of value.  Silver coins are an example of this type of currency.  The buying power of this type of currency holds steady or even increases with time.   All matters concerning money are relative, but in general, there are two needs that money provides solutions for: a medium for exchange, and a store of value.

     In ancient times we might have seen this dynamic play out with gold and silver.  Silver was used for everyday purchases, and gold was used as a more desired form to store large quantities of value and for longer periods of time.  Today, many forms of investments are used to store value, or even appreciate value, over long periods of time.  For example, real estate could be seen as this second type of money I'm referring to.  Real-estate and many other forms of investment are sometimes used as a safe store of value, or a form of money that either preserves or gains in purchasing power.  Other examples of items that are used to store and appreciate value are gold, stocks, antiques, and diamonds.   These items often satisfy the need humans have for storing their efforts for production from one day, and reclaiming the value of their efforts on some day in the future.

     When we think about how to design money or a monetary system, we might like to have a single currency that satisfies both the need to store value, and the need to have a handy and available medium for exchange.  Because of human behavior however, this is not possible.  If we try to make the currency that is used for daily exchange also satisfy the need for safe value storage, the result is that it will be hoarded under certain economic conditions.  People will value the currency itself, and it will no longer be readily available to trade for goods and services as people begin to accumulate the currency and hold onto it.  In order for a healthy economic system to operate smoothly, there is a need for a slight disincentive to hoarding the type of money that is used for everyday purchases.

     The Federal Reserve System accomplishes this by slowly devaluing the purchasing power of the currency that is used for everyday trading.  This is done fairly simply by introducing currency, US dollars for example, into circulation at a slightly faster rate than economic activity increases, or slightly faster than goods and services are made available to the economy.  The result is mild but steady inflation, and that situation encourages people to seek to trade their dollars for assets that will not lose value.   Those assets might be gold, real-estate, stocks, or anything else.  The point is that it is not in the best interest of the average person to save dollars for a long period of time because they will slowly lose value.  It is better to accumulate assets that will appreciate in value relative to dollars.   This is the mechanism by which dollars become like a hot potato and people are eager to trade them for more tangible assets.  This arrangement keeps the dollars flowing around in circles through the economy, and it helps keeps them handy and available for everyday transactions.

     People have many choices as to what they want to use for the second type of currency, their "store of value".  The best choices for a currency that is to be used as a store of value are currencies which are made available at a slower rate than the growth of the overall economy.  The idea is to have demand for the currency outpace new supplies of the currency.  So, in this case, the purchasing power of the currency will hold steady or even increase with time.  Gold has been a good example of this over the last 10 years.  Because of limitations on mining, supply is limited.  The economies of the world have grown handily, and so the purchasing power of gold has grown also since supply is limited and demand increases.

     Our current system has some problems though.  Namely, people are in control of the system, and people have conflicts of interest.  People don't always do what is best for everyone when they have to option to do what is best for themselves, or their friends, or their family.  That's not to mention the potential for humans to screw up.  Also, our current system depends on an incredibly complicated system of accounting which is used to get information to the decision makers.  Error and delay are always possible along the way.  These issues may be short lived however, because we are standing on the brink of a revolutionary solution to these problems.  We now have the ability to design our two types of currency in a way that eliminates the human factor, and in a way that bases adjustments to money supply on real-time data from the economic conditions of the moment.

      Welcome to the era of electronic crypto-currency!   We have one, thus far, successful example of a crypto-currency.  It is a currency which is optimized to behave as a "store of value," and it is called Bitcoin.  Bitcoins are designed to appreciate in value by virtue of limitations on the introduction of new Bitcoins.   Demand is far outpacing supply, and as a result, the price for each Bitcoin is rising very rapidly.  The effect of this situation is clear; people tend to hoard Bitcoins rather than buy stuff with them because they are appreciating in value so rapidly.  As the world of crypto-currency matures, we will need another currency type that satisfies the need to have a handy, readily available medium for exchange ... ergo, a currency that people don't tend to hoard.

     We can accomplish that goal by copying the Federal Reserve system in the context of a computer program.  One cool feature of a crypto-currency is that every transaction is logged electronically.  That means that the volume and velocity of monetary movement is known in real time.  The actual amount of economic activity is known.  With that information readily available, a computer program can easily control the introduction of new currency at a rate that is slightly higher than the increase in economic activity.   A reduction in monetary supply could also be programmed to take effect as needed.  The key thought here is that the human element of the Federal Reserve system is now expendable.   We have better options at our fingertips.