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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)
Source | Guestbook Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself?
I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you?
They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible?
I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught?
they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing?
I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks.
It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth
Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative!
I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks!
I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort?
There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies.
FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious?
We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts.
I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point.
I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you?
By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible...
The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually...
I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity?
A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics?
I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive?
I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all.
DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ?
So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins?
His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road?
Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question?
They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done.
lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online?
I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe?
It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru!
re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you.
I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back?
i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios?
Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits?
Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt.
Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there?
It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you."
No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"?
It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite?
After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him.
Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you
Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author?
I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it?
By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web?
There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76
1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop.
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit?
There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
Hi All. A couple of months ago I was approached by a woman in words with friends asking me if I knew about bitcoin and if I wanted to invest in bitcoin mining. Thinking straight away that this is a scam, I chose not to do it. I had heard of bitcoin mining but didn’t really know much about investing in it. Over the next few weeks I played several games in wwf against her while she occasionally asked if I was still interested in investing in the bitcoin mining company she works for - Imtrader.co. Eventually I committed to investing after searching the company to see if it was a scam, but not finding anything. She asked me to message her through google hangouts from there on, and would serve as my account manager. Initially I sent through US$450 and was told that after one month I could withdraw my profit, with the company taking 20% of it. After seeing the profit grow I invested a bit more and after one month my total investment was US$1220 with the company chipping in US$150 on top of that. I had also been told that I would earn US$50 for each person I referred which I chose not to do. My profit at the end of the month was 2.56 BTC. Once I was able to withdraw I was told that I would have to pay the 20% brokerage fee (~US$5796) before I got my profit, which was confirmed to me in an email. Having been annoyed that I wasn’t told this before, I spoke to the company’s live chat as well as their WhatsApp support number. Both people in their support were surprised that I hadn’t been informed of this but told me that I would have to pay the fee before the withdrawal process could proceed. Still frustrated by this I paid US$1469 of the fee and informed them I would pay the rest the next day. I sent through 0.43088 BTC, which was enough to cover the US$4326 remaining amount to the company’s wallet address. After about 12 hrs I got confirmation from the company that they had received the payment, however, they had only received 0.321199 BTC, and asked me to complete the payment so that I could make the withdrawal. Quite frustrated by this time I asked their support why they didn’t receive the full amount, with their response being that it was no ones fault but the price action of bitcoin being the cause. I searched the blockchain ledger to find out that they had received the full amount I sent. My account manager has since kept apologising to me and saying that they are working on my withdrawal process, but support is telling me that nothing can be done and if I don’t pay the full amount my money will go back into the mining pool. I have told them that I will not be sending anymore and have demanded that they return the amount I paid for the brokerage fee (knowing that im not getting anything back). After doing some further research on bitcoin scams, I now unfortunately, realise I have probably been scammed. I feel stupid going through with this. I was hesitant about it right from the start and should’ve followed my gut. I wanted to get a second opinion on this and find out if anyone else has heard of this company? Thanks. Tl;dr - I invested US$1220 in this bitcoin mining company called Imtrader.co. Wasn’t told that a brokerage fee needed to be paid for until I was ready to withdraw my profit (~2.56 BTC). I paid the fee (~US$5796) only to be sent a receipt showing that only part of the fee was paid for. I’ve realised I’ve probably been scammed but just wanted to get second thoughts on this.
First of all I want to say a proper hello to you. Hello! :) I've been a member of this community not for a long time, but I've been in the crypto world since 2015. I'm not from US (since 90% of reddit is US) but I'll try my best to explain my thoughts in english in this post. Trust me, you won't regret reading it. I started studying the crypto world for my own since it's a passion, a hobby. Why? Because the whole concept of crypto fits my ideals, ideas and thoughts when it's about the world. But I will be talking about the Bitcoin, since it's the most important part here. We'll exclude any other alt-coin because makes no sense to talk about them here and is a way broader topic. The main statement : Bitcoin is the 8th wonder of the world. Is the chance of every single one of us, to have a free life. I want to explain why, because I'm too enthusiastic and all of my friends do not share the same ideas and have no clue about the crypto world, and you are my friends now :). Money. When it was first created, it got completely centralized. GOVs and institutions were controlling the money. Imagine a country with 1000 people and 1000 whatever-currency. Every one would have 1 currency (let's call it banana-coin). So every person would have 1 banana coin. The GOV is controlling all the banana-coins. If something bad happens, they product more banana coins. What happens when more banana coins are produced? Inflation, thats right. So in order to buy 1 bread, you need now 2 banana-coins instead of 1. This everyone can understand, right? But what if the GOV prints even more? Right, 10 banana-coins for a bread. But we have only one country. Let's add 2 more countries. The country with 10 banana-coins/bread is doing worse than the other 2 where they can still buy 1 bread with 1 banana coin. Then the 2 countries can "destroy" the first country only with the power of money. (I'm trying to keep this as simple as possible) Now imagine this with USD/EUROS, in a CoronaVirus world with the GOVs. Yup, everything is falling apart, everything is in chaos. The systems are controlled by greedy people. The conceptual idea of money, is to be UNCONTROLLABLE. Before the invention of money, the goods used as currencies were much better in term of freedom than the money created after. Then money was created, real gold coins, then data in systems, then recessions every time on a period of time, as example 2008 because THE MONEY WASN'T USED AS IT SHOULD BE. FINITE AND FREE. Then Bitcoin appeared. BOOM! Finite, free and sustained only by its users. It's a wonder. I'm sorry I can't explain this as I have everything in my mind, but I'm trying... The bitcoin creator is not known, but he gave us something he knew we would need. It's like someone came from future to give us this in order to evolve as a society. He knew that the currency in a modern world cannot be used forever if its not gonna change to something that NOBODY CAN CONTROL it. Very few people really understands the quality of this, the chance that we have. If 21 mil btc were mined, no more producing, the price lets say was at 100k. And the corona virus hits, WE DONT NEED TO PRODUCE MORE. The value will just go up, the bitcoin would help us. We don't need to MAKE more. The whole concept behind the Bitcoin is that HE WOULD WORK for us, we dont need to do anything else just to USE IT. Behind the scenes, it is the 8th wonder of the world. I'm so sad I can't explain exactly how I can in english because I know you would understand me.. I think I need better friends IRL lol Money = inflation, the GOV is controlling it, they produce it legally (if we produce it we go to jail), ITS NOT FREEDOM. People are not understanding this. You work 20 years of your life for 2.000$ a month and then boom everything crushes because of some greed people and you are ruined. Bitcoin = if we use it, we are saved. The price can go only up. Even in a Corona Virus situation, when businesses are closing, the bitcoin price would go up and it would sustain us on the timeframe we need. There is no need to do anything else JUST TO USE IT. Globally. It will be slowly implemented into the word more and more by different companies, BECAUSE WE DICTATE IT. The use of this, will make big financial companies TO USE IT FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR PROFITS. This is our chance. The price of it will hit big numbers. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow or after a month. But at one point, it will get extremely big. It can't hit 100$ anymore at it was. But it's at almost 10k. Remember the 2017? Most of you were like "Ohh If I would have invested then" etc etc. No. You have the chance to invest now. Even if its higher then before. Since it will go only up, there is ALWAYS THE BEST TIME TO INVEST. NOW is the "then" for what's coming next in the phrase "Ohh if I would have invested then". Thank you if you read the whole thing, I just wanted to share with you my enthusiasm. This is the wonder WE NEED.
There is a web of invisible slime that reaches out from the artificial traditions of psychological think tanks, like The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, whose roots trace back to the Vienna Psychology Club; a web that stretches across the entire world and inserts itself into your lives in intrusive, unethical and corrupt ways. Groups are deceiving you for a dollar, for a vote, for your personal information, for your labor; for your body and soul. This deception is carried out using every screen you look at, every song offered to you, every sign on a billboard, every popular book, magazine and newspaper. If you want honest information; if you want to see past the slime, you are going to have to look hard for it. If you are just starting down your journey of being cognizant of the deception, the scope is difficult to believe but well borne out by the evidence. We all know the news is dishonest, but the common myth is that it is for the ratings and for the views. The ways in which the news is dishonest is what is really difficult for people to swallow and the “why” still very much in debate until you understand the framework by which they operate. Systemic corruption is no exception to the march of modernization; more sophisticated than ever and more capable of staying hidden to the average person. Modern day slavers control the narrative and the reason it is a spiritual conflict between good and evil is because there are a very small group of people who believe that stealing your agency/free will/consciousness lends itself to their ability to become gods, in their own right. Understanding that the elite have deep occult traditions is important, though often scoffed at. However, to advertise their power and influence, occult messages are constantly and publicly advertised back and forth between these groups. It is no theory that think tanks have studied and implemented cult behavior even going so far as to create artificial cults in which to entrap people. Faceless, emotionless, unempathetic organizations that are merely constructed of words on paper are able to impose these cult tactics on you with impunity and in secrecy. This is the heart of the problem; when it comes to an organization, company, agency, church, etc., these abstract constructs are very much not human, at all. Their existence is alien and unknown to human instincts, who assign human attributes naturally and without conscious thought. These constructs take advantage of normal, honest, empathetic individuals by mimicking empathy, not by actually being empathetic. There are more slaves, now, than ever in human history and the methods of enslaving are far more insidious than ever. Modern slavery networks and the corrupt political ecosystems that allow them to endure are the heart of mankind’s problems. If we, as a society, were able to address the corruption that keeps these networks alive, then we, as society, would solve a lot of problems surrounding organized crime, in general, not just the problem human trafficking. How do we do that? It is very simple; “Zero Trust” policies in organizations and 100% government transparency. That’s it. A great deal of time, effort and money are spent making sure these issues never hit the ballot box and are never part of the platform of a candidate you are given the option to vote for. The movies you watch are constantly reminding you of dangers that allow a select group of idiots to maintain secrecy that is undeserved and clearly wielded for uses other than helping society. Common sense solutions are not prioritized by the media and politicians. Don’t be a part of the destruction of common sense and common courtesy. Stop taking the bait. Stop taking the path of least resistance. We are all guilty, but pushing yourself to be better and do better has a ripple effect in the world around you. Being a terrible person also has a ripple effect. There are enough bad ripples. The concept of an “epiphany” is an important one; where a person’s mind changes on a physical, neurochemical level to the extent that their world view changes. The moment a person is “red pilled” is an epiphany and it is very much the concern of media and Internet shills and their manipulative overlords because they do not want people to have the realization that the system is corrupt from top to bottom and that both sides of most narratives. But, if you do have that realization, there is a plan for you; to do nothing and sit idly by as corrupt forces continue their work. When you have an epiphany, the neurochemical storm actually is a moment where you are most suggestible and most ready to be manipulated. If you manage to raise your level of awareness across multiple narratives, the system almost doesn’t need to care about you, anymore, as they have likely already moved you to inaction and made you unwilling to tell others the truth. While there is a great deal of science that goes behind manipulating people, the tradition is as old as human history, itself; it’s origins, magical from the perspective of the ancients. Whether you call mass manipulation “hypnosis,” “psychology,” “magic” or “science,” the fact of the matter is that it is there in a more constant form than ever, impossible to avoid, and invisible to those who aren’t paying attention or willing to research and think for themselves. Like the idea of dark matter, you cannot see it directly (at least, when done well), but should be able to test and compare data data in different circumstances to detect it. There are many confirmed real world examples of mass manipulation that people should be aware of, because it is very easy for people to believe that it is not happening to them. Many say that is too big of a conspiracy to keep secret; though we already see how it works with a variety of leaks, court cases and plenty of proven real world examples. If you encounter this argument, you have probably encountered someone who is hypnotized into misunderstanding the word “conspiracy”, where a group of people work together to commit crimes. One easy way to create a consensus across media organizations is to enter into “non disparagement agreements.” For example, HBO entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Michael Jackson’s attorneys. A recent court case established that the agreement remains in effect even after his death. This means, with the right law firm, someone can enter into many unknown non disparagement agreements with many companies. It sounds weird, but this is like black magic. Occult literally means hidden. Secret words have been spelled out that the public is not aware of, but creates the illusion that there is a consensus about any given personality; like say a politician, a singer or an actor. A web of mutual non-disparagement agreements works as a form of forensic interruption, preventing people being held accountable for crimes. Between non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements, there is a web of protected relationships where people, products and even governments are not allowed to be discussed in a negative light. This has created an extortion racket by the media. If you don’t buy in, then you are fair game. Not only are you fair game, they will harass you until you buy in because they literally need something to do due to their lack of ability to speak negatively about their cohorts. When you consider the nexus between government and media, the problem is compounded when you introduce the concept of keeping things secret for national security. Policy has created the circumstance that corporate and secret government interests are intertwined and they become aligned in keeping each other out of jail. While a lot of this is managed at upper echelons, the system is merely taking advantage of human nature, which is why the government and media should be operating from a “zero trust” standpoint and not the other way around, like it currently is. There is and never has been any reason to trust the media or the government, and doubly so when their interests are aligned. There are many proven real world examples. The first ingredient to modern mass hypnosis is saturation and repetition. Your first clue that the message is artificial is when many corporate, government and astroturfing battlegrounds all agree on the same thing. Not only is a contrived message oft-repeated, it is generally very polarized; where, due to cognitive bias, it is designed for consumption by both sides with the ideal result of making one side feel schadenfreude and the other side feel outrage and injustice. Just being aware of this polarization tactic and allowing yourself to have more nuanced opinions that the black or white ones offered up to you, is incredibly effective at not taking the bait. “Systems Psychodynamics” is the name of the psychological framework that is used to monitor and control people, primarily based on attacking and reforming “basic assumptions.” By controlling everyone’s basic assumptions using the repetitious push and pulling narratives, the levers of political and monetary behavior are controlled through “influencers.” This framework reads like it was written for social media, though, in reality, it is much older; social media merely enhances the effects. One easy way to detect the agenda and the widespreadness of the corruption, without even knowing the finer points of mass persuasion techniques, is to see what is censored. Generally, the astroturfing campaigns seek to drown out good information that is contrary to their cause. However, when you find some information that is very damaging to their narrative, especially before they’ve scripted a response, it gets removed. Eventually, they will write up a standard response, but this takes time. For this reason, I incubate a number of censorship experiments across multiple sites. While people easily get away with discussions about aliens and flat earth, conversations about modern slavery are shut down everywhere; particularly if you call people to action in reporting crimes. Sites that purport to be “free speech” will not allow you to openly hunt human traffickers and the “system” seems to hate vigilantes more than anything. Most recently, the censorship around Covid “truth” is heaviest. Censorship of doctors has been swift and totalitarian. However, because I see generally what gets censored, first, I knew this was all a scam from Day One. The first SARS COV 2 tests, up until March, were merely SARS COV tests. Very literally. The SARS COV 2 tests hadn’t been invented, yet. Explaining that the body produces the CR3022 protein (what the antibody tests look for) for all human affecting coronaviruses was heavily censored. Even now, explaining this basic fact that exposes why a great deal of testing is fraudulent, is struck from both Right and Left astroturfing machines. If you really want a rabbit hole to dig through, search the coronavirus pandemic bonds that matured March 23, 2020. Prior to that, the name “Eric Ciaramella” was one of the most censored things on the Internet. Censored, in that the information was deleted immediately. The motivations behind these multi-site censorship campaigns should have everyone concerned because it is consistently in support of Democrat and RINO narratives, politically, and always in favor of human traffickers. However, even the Q Anon group will censor you with a variety of tactics if you speak of certain things in the wrong way or mention the possibility that they, themselves, are part of an astroturfing outfit. Fox News still won’t give a fair shake to the Uranium One/Skolkovo/Troika Laundromat evidence and it betrays them as controlled opposition/ a limited hangout, since it would destroy the Democrats. Any “side” of politics you can be on, whether it’s fringe or mainstream or Right or Left, every group has limits to what truthful statements they will tolerate and the nexus where all the groups meet in alignment is when it comes to discussing modern day slavery and who is profiting from it. Simply removing content is very overt and complaining about it to those who do it will usually earn you a mute or a ban. Running a “brand” across multiple platforms requires conformity to social media company ideologies, or you will be subjected to any and all means of censorship. Covert means of censorship are also rampant. Upvotes.Club offers a service that not only promotes the content you want, but downvotes topics that run contrary to your marketing strategy. This is one of many astroturfing services. Shadow banning is another tactic that can be difficult to detect. “Deboosting” is common in social platforms, as well, where the number or type of viewers who see your content is limited. This breeds “echo chambers” across multiple Internet communities. Out of frustration and curiosity, I began experimenting with different ways to engage with the shill communities. Very often, their own tactics work quite well against them. Years into this push and pull with these groups, my best strategy has evolved to monitor them as they often telegraph economic opportunity and subvert them from behind a layer of complexity a shill script can’t understand and is unable to deal with. When I noticed Bitcoin was being heavily shilled, I saw a signal to buy early. This was the catalyst for rethinking everything I was doing. When I noticed that there was blatant fraud in the media about SARS COV 2, I noticed the exact same behavior I had seen before when I struck it rich with Bitcoin. I even went to my audience and said on a podcast, “the market will be back to normal levels in a month… six tops.” I bought the dip, knowing the numbers were fully overblown. My $TSLA experience has been quite enriching. Every day, in the stock trading communities, shills are looking to pump and dump stocks and groups are spending money to illegally manipulate the stock market. However, you can use different ways to monitor social media to detect potential pumps and dumps. If you start seeing the same thing show up on different platforms, among different known shill groups, you know someone has paid for a pump and dump. So long as you have a set, small percentage to gain, you can avoid the pitfalls and get out early. Right now, that is my “edge”, in trading. I don’t feel nearly as obligated to spread the truth to others, since I’ve realigned my priorities. These technological tools for being the first to news items, to new evidence, finding new ways of searching existing information; not only does it help you navigate past censorship, you can use it to make more “realistic” decisions about the world around you. Politics and the stock market are inextricably linked. To be informed on one, is to be informed on the other. When you begin to pull in more intersecting information, like “systems psychodynamics” and overall agendas of differing groups, you are expanding your knowledge and your consciousness so that your intellect has more of a real world impact. When you delve deep into ancient traditions, you will, eventually, learn of alchemy; usually the pursuit of endless wealth or the search for immortality. Day trading well is, essentially, modern day alchemy in that you are making money from thin air. Musicians transform what is in their mind into a product that can be sold. There are many forms of alchemy. Bitcoin is another great example of modern day alchemy. In my humble opinion, augmenting your own well-disciplined intellect with good computing practices can make you a modern day wizard; an alchemist. Many people were saturated with pro-Nihilism marketing and ate it up with their Cheerio's while listening to Nirvana CDs. A couple of generations of nihilists later, combined with portable dopamine trap screens from waking moment 'til slumber, and people are literally having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Being a successful trader heals a lot of the damage from that consumerist propaganda and forces people to interact with the natural causes of their decision making. The Market is not racist. The only color you have to worry about is green. The market does not celebrate your success or mock your failures. The opinions of critics do not count. The Market does not care about your feelings or anyone else's. All people enter the Market equal and there are no participation awards. There is no busywork. Your test scores do not matter. All that matters are results and that type of black and white simplicity makes the Market the most sane aspect of society, right now. Though most of the obvious stocks have since reached preCovid normality, it has been easy to make money by sorting every ticker by Feb 20 high, then subtract the current price, calculate potential gain when they return to their old price and pick ones that had a high probability of doubling or tripling your money the fastest. I understand it seems tangential, the stock market angle, but when you are routinely called a “conspiracy theorist”, it helps to be as realistic as possible and there is no better way to prove your theories than by putting your money where your mouth is. The stock market is a vessel from which normal people (”retail investors”) are scammed constantly, for the benefit of institutional investors. The Epsteins, the Soros’, all the political elite; they are playing in this realm and they graduated to using AI and machine learning to augment their schemes years ago. In order to understand the elite, you have to understand their playground. In order to compete in the information age, you need to augment your intellect using technology. If nothing else, use it to be meticulously organized. If you get organized in only one aspect of your life, make it your finances. The Democratic party uses the ADA AI, named from Ada Lovelace and a competitor, in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, was used by the Republicans. These AI’s are augmented with databases and metadatabases of everything that can be served up by a social media APIs. They know everything about you and they don’t spy on your microphones, cameras and screenshots to catch you at crimes; they are spying on you in order to better teach you how to vote and spend money. Combined with an army of astroturfing accounts, these AIs are quite good at manipulating what shows up on your screen. This type of censorship is bad for stock traders, researchers and people who just want a few honest answers. In order to compete a bit better, I have taken to making by own custom feeds and scrapers, so that I can database text of many sites and subjects, which then is far easier to search, but is also able to sort information so that I can find what I am looking for in a few minutes, as opposed to trawling the same channels or search engines everyday and learning relatively little. I am really on the hunt for stuff that is voted up or noticed organically and is in that stage before it catches on by a shill group. I incorporate a lot of OSINT tools and I like to collect leaked databases to be able to compare information. It is very helpful to use machine learning to detect what I need as quickly as possible and serve it up to me, first. Applying my own knowledge of how the astroturfing system works, I have developed strategies to target influencers with new and original information and I can quickly and easily get it to them without influencers even knowing I am the source of the information. I just have to identify the correct group to get my message out, then make sure their leaders see the information, who will naturally post it on their own and their followers will naturally vote information up for free. I don’t do this with stocks (questionable legality), but I do feed good news to the right people and I exert a lot less effort to get ideas across all platforms than I used to. No astroturfing groups are into anti-consumerist ideas. “Hydro Homies” and “No Fap” are two great examples that recommend people be anti-consumerist and avoid specific products. As a result, these movements, despite being healthy and productive, have a lot of trouble gaining traction. There is no mainstream push for a truly healthy agenda. All contrived movements must pay to astroturf and shill because, otherwise, embracing their products and ideas is contrary to your well being. No shill group is working to save you money or trying to convince you to make the right decision, for yourself. There are certain messages almost no one will add social media velocity to; detailed instructions on how to report crimes or catch pedophiles, leaked information that hurts both sides of the political spectrum, anything a little too technical or complex. There are already efforts to make hijack the anti-human trafficking crowd. They will be tricked into meaningless pursuits that have no real world consequence. Money will be raised and wasted. News article after news article will be pumped out detailing how everyone is supporting victims and raising awareness. Meanwhile; nobody of consequence is arrested. The mining industry will continue to use forced labor and the networks they use will also feed the sex slavery and domestic servitude and the systemic policies and corrupt politicians will continue on unimpeded. Let’s hope that changes, but it will require a lot more people getting off their asses and getting involved. It will require a lot more people speaking up outside of their echo chambers. Ready. Set. Go.
Attention: Bitmain is currently performing a large scam
Bitmain has just announced a new mining machine, the antminer x3, that is designed to mine cryptonight algorithm cryptocurrencies, such as Monero. It is extremely efficient and profitable. A vega 56 video card has on average 1850 h/s at 190wh power usage. The x3 has 220000 h/s (118x stronger) at 550w power usage. It is then 41.08x more efficient. As can be seen, this is a money machine. Costing $12,000 to have it shipped 15-31 may would net you at today's difficult over $5.3k per month. Enter the most important part. Seems good to be true, right? It is. This machine is being released to the public because information that asics were being developed/already used leaked to monero developers, and naturally they worked on implementing a fix for that, in order to keep Monero's anti-asic and centralization nature. This month along with other things, code will be pushed to fix this issue and make asics not functional for monero. Every 6 month network upgrade will also have small tweaks in the algorithm to ensure no asic is ever developed or at least profitable to pull. Bitmain is only selling these machines because they knew monero was adding this feature on the upcoming fork. They then rushed to sell the machines they were using to people who don't know about this. On their site; 2. There are financial risks associated with mining cryptocurrencies. These risks can be related to changes in exchange rate of the cryptocurrency or to changes in the algorithm that is used to mine the cryptocurrency. Please deliberate well before making a purchase because we will not accept any requests for refund for orders of this batch. In other words: if a network upgrade for cryptonight coins ever happen (it will happen), we can't be responsible for this. You're on your own and don't dare requesting a refund, we never issue these (quick off-topic: I personally know this very well because bitmain didn't refund me on my s7s even when I didn't receive the miners) The shipping date is 2 months after the fork. These machines will be completely and absolutely useless. The biggest cryptonight coin will already have forked. Other cryptonight coins already signaled they will also push fix to this issue. Even if one or two CN coins don't implement anti-asic stance, you'll be left with shitcoins to mine. Imagine buying SHA256 asic for bitcoin only to have it available to mine peercoin only by the time you receive them. tl,dr: Don't buy bitmain's x3. They asic mined monero and now that this will not be possible anymore they want to dump their machines on you.
Starting a life after teaching abroad is the sour end note to most people's expat days. When I left the US for Asia in the early 2010s, the typical options for what to do after were:
Go home, try to find a job, fail, go back to Korea
Indefinite underemployment, followed by a delayed career path
Not going home. Ever.
And realistically, the options haven't changed. Making any kind of career shift is tough, especially since TEFL isn't known for its adaptability to the corporate world. The three main pathways remain, though a few offshoots have cropped up. The way the business world works has changed since earlier in the decade. With the economy stronger and the technology advancing, you can make a more seamless switch to a new career if you know what you're doing. All this advice comes from my own experience, and from the stories of other former teachers who also made it out. When you talk to them about their past lives, they always talk about it with a certain relief, warmly, though obvious glad they don't have to go back to it. I hope you get to feel that sense of relief someday as well. 1. Pick A Skill Being a decent teacher is probably a skill, but it doesn't mirror neatly with any other job. If your time abroad did actually improve your public speaking, group management, and ability to order soju with your fingers, you'd have to show that to an employer. Just writing them on a resume makes the recruitment AI tosses your CV in the recycling bin. You're going to have to build another talent. Learning to code is the common answer; common answers aren't what we're looking for. If your dream is to code then you probably already had a yen for it before you left. You don't need me to tell you how cool Node.js is. More likely, perhaps, is that your major is curséd, marred with some profitless word like 'history' or 'linguistics.' Don't fret too much - most people didn't learn anything in university. Even the STEM majors! Whatever you did prior to getting paid in foreign currency needs to be reviewed. Mine your previous interests for something profitable. College journalist? Congratulations, you write blog posts now. Art major? Better plunk down for that Adobe subscription. Don't spin the TEFL stuff too much. People can tell. The odds of finding a job are actually in your favor, provided you can do something people want. 2. Know Where To Look Most of the people I've known who've successfully 'come back' work in start-ups. The work environments are fairly similar to English academies, and the relative lack of experience isn't as notable as with enterprise companies. To figure out what you need to learn, check listings on angel.co and indeed.com. The programs, skill sets, and requirements written in job ads are basically your checklists. You don't need to pull off everything, especially if it'd cost you money or time - i.e. another degree. Work with what you have. My biggest asset in pivoting to a career as a writer was my portfolio. I hadn't done any professional writing since college, but after 5 years of teaching I'd improved somewhat anyway. I started taking gigs on Upwork, then eventually found clients in person as I traveled. (you always travel for a while after you finish teaching. It's not unemployment - it's an adventure!) Being able to show my work created a snowball effect for freelance gigs and, eventually, my full-time job. While my portfolio was (and is) more vital than my resume, there's one way to find opportunity that trumps both combined: 3. Network. Network. Network. The best part about finding a TEFL job is the absolute 0% effort you need to put in. You can spend 10 minutes on Dave's and have a reasonable first-timer offer by the time the sun rises over Mt. Fuji. Anyone who does more than a year or two of teaching will eventually realize networking is just as important in Seoul as it is in Seattle. Most TEFL jobs suck, and the people who stay somewhere for more than a year must at least tolerate it. (as with soju, beer, and garlic bread, tolerable is about as good as it gets.) There's high turnover at English schools (and startups, naturally), meaning every employee is on the lookout for new hires. People want to work with people they've met before. Your PC bang pal would much rather sit next to you at work than a complete stranger who might not pass his piss test. Closer friends can get you better gigs, but even a one-time acquaintance will put you up for something he thinks you won't fuck up. 4. Sustain Yourself. All of the above can be done while you're teaching abroad. If you're out in the bumblefuck sticks somewhere like Hokkaido or Harbin or god forbid Guro-gu then your options for meeting people are more limited, and real world connections count much more than online ones. Remember, though, that networking is technically step 3. While you should always keep yourself open to making new contacts, getting an offer is more likely when you're adept at the job description. I want to tell you to work on yourself outside of teaching hours, whiling away at the craft you've picked. Python courses, Facebook Ad certifications, Mandarin language classes if you're still clinging to that dream. And it's a perfectly reasonable proposition: study hard, work at it, and people will take note of your skill. The problem I have with this story - which is really only marginally different from my own - is that I've seen it fail more often than not. If you don't already have some buy-in on the career path you want, you'll probably just keep teaching. For example: to move into professional writing, I made sure to highlight two internships I had in college - one as an editor, the other as a transcriptionist. Neither paid, nor did they contribute much to anything but my penmanship. My English degree, while narrow in utility, did come in handy as well. The actual copywriting & content creation skills came later, but the reason I stuck with them is because I had the background. Coupled with what I taught myself, those minor resume assets I looked a lot sharper - like they were part of my development. The narrative you can tell about yourself means a lot; if TEFL is just a moment in your life out of many, you'll be more likely to find something new soon. All of this is a very flowery way to state a simple fact: it's a lot easier to lean than it is to pivot. You may have to put a heavy polish on your customer service or PC building skills, but showing you can do it is the first step to going full-time. You'll also be more likely to stick with the job hunt - which will still probably take a while. 5. Keep Traveling If you've read this far I'll assume a few things. You are:
Educated in the West, or at least at University
a native Speaker of English, of course
With few connections to the rest of the world, you may feel untethered. My advice? Keep traveling - at least for a while. Cutting your life neatly from TEFL back to the real world nets you a massive culture shock. With no real basis for what you should be doing, you're stuck between being your old self and the person you are now, who doesn't fit anymore. You'll feel connected still to where you were, and disassociated from where you are. This isn't meant to frighten you, and it doesn't happen to everyone. The feeling passes eventually, and it's sometimes the best call for certain people - particularly newlyweds who want the Western family support. If you have the potential to go somewhere new, do it. Backpack throughout the nearby countries like you couldn't do on 2 weeks vacation. Take a volunteer position on a different continent. Make a go out of being a travel blogger, affiliate marketer, or bitcoin asshole. Token attempts at a digital nomad field are actually some of the most fun to try. I'd encourage everyone to give it a shot - and former TEFL teachers are the best ones to do it. Networking is more challenging the more you move around, but you'll definitely meet a lot of people. Having a good bit of money is obviously beneficial, just like it will always be forever. If you have enough USD to live decently, you have options. There are places you can live in Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe for less than $1000 a month. Traveling, at least for a bit, can be hugely positive for your mental health. That's a big boost when you're working on getting back to a new career path. You don't want to let it turn into a resume gap, but hey - you've got that already. What's a few months? 6. Go Where The Jobs Are - Or Get Close. I don't work in my home country. I will, someday, probably, though it's just as likely I'll go somewhere new. The advantage to where I live now over Asia is time zones. The state of telecommuting has improved so much that as long as you're sharing daylight with your coworkers, you can basically work from anywhere. I go into the local office most days, but remote work is the strong thread connecting our team. My opportunities as a writer weren't as plentiful in Asia as they are in the Occident. My income was stymied by a 13 hour time difference with clients, although this won't be true for everyone. This has serious repercussions for where you choose to go. The worldwide start-up scene is doing well, though you're more likely to get hired where demand is high and supply is relatively low. Work visas are easier to get than you might think. This is where staying open comes in handy. I'd really only recommend going back home if you have a job lead already. Otherwise, your experience working and living abroad can be an asset. HR knows you're used to the ups and downs of expat living, as well as the nature of being on an international team. It's not a huge boon, but it counts. Another option is to look for a remote position. These are part of the many Catch-22s of job hunting: you have to have worked remotely before to get a remote job. It's not unheard of to go from TEFL to full-time remote, but it's not exactly easy either. Volunteering and apprenticeships help, though they're a luxury when you need money. Real-world experiences in a place you'd like to live are the best for this. They'll connect you to other volunteers who can help find you gigs. Seriously - I can't stress how beneficial this was to me, both in terms of portfolio building and networking. To fund all this, you could turn to the one thing guaranteed to make you money. It starts with VIP and ends with KID, but it really ends with you wondering why you ever listened to me. Yes, teaching English online is a steady $20/hr income, and I know more people doing that than I do start-up employees. I continue to hope all of them are taking the advice I've never directly given them, as they teach English by night and work on job hunting by day. Most of them are just living day to day. That's fine - we all do, after all - but it's basically the same as teaching at a hagwon, and as hard to get out of the longer you rely on it. Make it work for you if you try it out. 7. Be Lucky. Look, I've tried to make this comprehensive, sensible, and based on real world results. Even the smoothest transition out of TEFL is still going to be bumpy. There'll be times when you regret it all, times when you let yourself get overeager about a lead, times when you find yourself drifting through Dave's ESL Cafe, just thinking. Just a resume or two to China. You could do a year in China, right? Yeah. You could always go back to teaching. That was in the back of my mind the entire year I spent wandering through the jobless muck. It still is, in fact - you never know what might change. Both the good and the bad are unpredictable. Don't get discouraged. Be willing to change tactics when it's needed. None of my advice is iron clad, and most of it won't work for everyone. Maybe you need to be in a certain place, or a particular field, or by a certain date. Stay as flexible with your goals as you can without sacrificing your daily progress as a legitimate prospective employee. It's not easy, but I swear to you - there are payoffs. If you go about this with the right attitude, every gig, every new acquaintance, every minor victory along the road to change is going to feel really, really good. And when you do get to a place to settle, you'll look back on it all and think - damn. I'm really glad I didn't go to law school.
How I turned $3500 into $15000 mining Cryptocurreny during the 2017 boom at 17 years old
First let's start at my first interaction with Bitcoin. Back in 2016, I was trading Minecraft accounts, you could find my story about that in one of my previous post. Long story short, a buyer had offered to buy one of my accounts for a fair amount of Bitcoin. I declined not knowing what that is and not caring. Fast forward a little over a year, May 2017, I find out that you could actually mine cryptocurrency and profit from it. I talk to my techy uncle about it, he looks into it, decides to build a rig. This was easy for him since he had built computers before. Meanwhile summer, I am currently in New Zealand enjoying a vacation. When I come back, I look for ways to get this thing started. My uncle lives hundreds of miles away from me but luckily my mother knows someone who had mined crypto for a while. His name was CryptoNinja. Crypto Ninja was a cool guy, he was a security analyst for a contracting firm. Knew lots about computers and programming. This was easy for him to grasp. When I met him, he had 2 rigs, one consisting of 6 1080ti's and the other with 4 1070's. If you don't know what these are, a 1080ti is or was the top of the line mining graphics card that you could get. Best of the best. Each costed about $550 at the time. 1070's market value were around $300-400 which at the time made mining extremely and easily profitable. This guy taught me how to do everything and when I say everything I mean it all. We started off with ordering the parts, He told me which parts were good for what and bad for this. We ordered from all over the place, Amazon, Newegg, and Microcenter. I gathered a list of parts, SSD, HD, GPU, CPU, MOTHERBOARD, RAM, ETC. All totaling out to about 3.5k. I had 6 1080's that I bought for around 500 each. This was the first time I've built a computer. I was a complete noob. He guided me through the process of starting with software, finding a mining pool, starting up your operating system, and taught me how to manage and maintain the mining program, hardware, and external factors. The whole process of ordering/shipping was about a week, building the computer took about 3 days, setting up programs took about a day. After that, boom. I'm running the mining program with a pool on Zcash. A pool is pretty much a group of miners collectively putting their computing force to get more results. Meanwhile, I'm a senior in High School, bringing my macbook to school everyday to check up on the rig through Remote Desktop after every class. All of this was occuring around Sept. 2017 where BTC was going up up. And I'm talking around 10k. Boy was I racking in a ton of Zcash. Everytime after I'd rack in a good amount, I'd transfer my Zcash directly into my Bittrex account which then I traded for bitcoin and altcoins like OMG, OmiseGO, NEM, ETC. But there was this one time when I got on Bittrex at school and I saw Zcash had mysteriously went up to $400 in 10-15 minutes, the timing had never been better. Guess what I did? Sell all my Zcash yep. Made a good amount of money off of that. Every coin was going up. I continuously made successful trades because prices were going up. I felt like the man. By the time December came around, I had 10k worth of crypto in my exchange account. I know, dumb to keep it in the exchange account but hey I did it. I was the only one mining crypto at my school and people knew me for that but they didn't know how much I made, I joined the investment club. They talked about investing in crypto, what is it? is it safe? they wanted me to speak, i didn't out of fear. They all thought it was a fad. These were traditional stock trader type kids. It was hard for them to understand the concept but by the time they wanted in it was too late. I already cashed out $12.2k. Bitcoin was like 18k at the time and I needed somewhere else to put my money. I decided to buy a whole new gaming setup. Which costed me around 2.5k and a new desk and cool random stuff for my room which costed a few hundred. I spent a lil more money than I wanted to but it was okay. then it came time to sell my mining rig, Bitcoin was falling. People were freaking out. I was out already. The prices of GPU's multiplied by 2. This was insane. I sold my gpu's on ebay for 3k and gave the rest of parts to either friends and kept RAM for myself. At the time, I was still 17. People would look at my computer and say what is that? Oh Bitcoin? That's Stupid. Welp. Not anymore words. What am I doing now? Well I invested in some Quantum Computer Stocks, put some back into Crypto, and put some money into OG accounts which I have a whole story on on a previous reddit post. I learned a lot from this and look back smiling.
Based upon interest shown in my post here earlier today, the following is a ELi5 and AMA post on my perspective as a cryptocurrency investor and miner, specifically how I see the cryptocurrency space impacting AMD's performance in the near to medium term (0-3 years). My Background: I am not a computer scientist, and many on this form know significantly more than I ever will in regards to computing, computing hardware design, and software. Take this into consideration when reading my post, and feel free to open up discussion if you disagree with me. I am always looking to learn / assess new perspectives. I do though have a background in STEM, until recently have followed AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA closely in regards to consumer and enthusiast hardware release, and have been mining Ethereum on a hand-built machine for roughly the past year, and investing in crypto for a decent amount of time as well. Given this, I believe that I can provide insight into the cryptocurrency and crypto mining realm, which is tightly coupled to AMD's GPU sales. My Motivation for Writing This: About a year ago I was a daily browser of this sub. Check my profile history if you wish. It was this very sub that gave me confidence to make my first investments outside of a 401k. Through this sub’s members I laid a foundation for making future investments that I will carry with me through life. How I Got Started In Cryptocurrency: Ironically, my start in cryptocurrency came through this very sub. As a daily follower of AMD_STOCK, during the initial Ethereum run-up early last year AMD and NVIDIA GPU’s were selling like hotcakes. Prices for GPU’s released months prior were rising instead of falling. I had no clue what a cryptocurrency even was. I distinctly remember reading through a post on this sub explaining the GPU shortage. It was simply “Ethereum”. I don’t know why, but this post struck me more than it should have. How could a shortage of hundreds of thousands of GPUs, totaling millions of dollars, be summed up in one word? This was the entrance to the rabbit whole that is cryptocurrency, or what I think is more telling, the financial and supply chain tech revolution. Cryptocurrency Eli5: Cryptocurrency is currently so much more than Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is currently the financial, supply chain, + whatever else it ends up touching, technology revolution that is currently taking place as we speak. Cryptocurrency simply is a set of protocols that allow monetary/data transaction, smart contracts (think “if a, do b”), and/or storage in a distributed and trustless way, without a middle man. Eli5: It is a system that allows you and little Johnny from down the street to pay each other allowance money for things, without your mommies needing to get involved to make sure no one is getting cheated (Peer to Peer Payments). It can also allow you and Johnny to make deals with each other, and Johnny won’t be able to get out of it by saying “just kidding” later on (Smart Contracts). In both of these cases, you and Johnny write down the agreed upon payment, deal, information on a piece of paper, sign your names, and then send it out to everyone you know. Once those people recognize your and Johnny’s signature they sign it as well (distributed ledger). If there are any disagreements later, you look at the piece of paper and see what actually happened. For much more detail, visit cryptocurrency or some of the other cryptocurrency subs. Proof of Work (PoW) vs Proof of Stake (PoS): I had talked previously about handing out a copy of transactions to other peers for consensus. I was referring to a distributed ledger. This allows those who use the network to look over previous transactions and come to an agreement upon past history, avoid double spends (someone giving the same dollar to two different people), and verify a user’s current funds. Well, it doesn’t exactly work like that, and different cryptocurrencies employ different “consensus mechanism’s”. IT IS THESE CONSENSUS MECHANISMS THAT ARE OF IMPORTANCE AS AMD INVESTORS. I’ll try to go through the most prominent ones below. Consensus Mechanisms: Eli5: They solve the question: What if you and Johnny both hand out copies containing different information? Who decides what the truth is? Proof of Work (PoW): Eli5: Proof of Work is like if you and Johnny hand out copies of your transactions to each of your classmates, the teacher decides that this isn’t a democracy, and that not everyone gets to vote on what they think happened. The teacher says that for each math problem in today’s math quiz a student gets right, they get one vote to put in the jar up at the front of the class. After the quiz is done and everyone puts their votes in the jar, the teacher then reaches in and grabs a random vote on if you or Johnny were telling the truth. It is then recorded. Also, the student’s who’s vote was selected gets a gold star today (mining rewards, what makes this all profitable for miners). How is AMD involved in this? AMD’s GPU’s are what solves the math problems for the students in this example. The more math problems that they can solve correctly before the quiz is over, the higher chance that they have at getting to decide what is recorded on the ledger, and thus receive mining rewards (free cryptocurrency). Proof of Stake (PoS): Eli5: Well the teacher decided that she didn’t like doing math tests anymore because they took too much time and thought that the paper and pencils consumed during the quiz’s were a waste of the school’s resources (electricity used in PoW). She decided that instead, each student would get one vote based upon how many gold stars (how much cryptocurrency) they already have. But the catch is, if a student is caught lying somehow on their vote, they get all of their current gold stars taken away. This is what is “At Stake” in the Proof of Stake model. How does this differ from PoW from an AMD perspective? Well, if you haven’t noticed, there are no more math problems to be solved in this model, thus high-performance GPUs are not necessary for PoS mining. This provides several advantages in terms of energy savings, but would not be good for AMD’s sales. The Current State of The Market in Regards to PoW vs PoS: Currently, a majority of cryptocurrencies operate on the PoW model, but that ratio is dwindling as currencies switch over to PoS models. PoS is seen to provide several advantages, with major ones being energy efficiency and a potential reduced transaction time. Major cryptocurrencies using PoW include Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, etc.. with the most profitable over the past year usually being Ethereum. Ethereum is currently planning on switching over to a PoS model, but that transition has been delayed, and now has planned to first transition to a hybrid model of PoW and PoS before fully transferring over to PoS. I have not heard any rumors from Monero or Zcash about transitioning over to PoS in the short term. My Perspective/Predictions on AMD GPU Sales Over the Short and Medium Term:
Cryptocurrency over the medium term will continue to flourish/rise. There may be a major “crash” in the future, but I believe that is at least a year away, and a crash event would still leave the total market cap higher than it currently is valued at ~600 Billion dollars.
It will be 1+ year before a significant portion of current major PoW currencies phase out PoW for PoS.
AMD will continue to sell out GPU products for the foreseeable future (~1 year) as 1 & 2 above create a recipe for sustained/increased profitability in cryptocurrency mining.
Long Term – PoW will likely fade away as PoS grows in popularity. I foresee this happening in the 1-3 year time frame. What happens to AMD? Well, if the transition happens fast, gaming GPUs will flood the market and their new hardware sales will obviously be challenged to compete. If the transition happens slower, I see the trend being less violent to AMD as a company if they can keep performance improvements from generation to generation up. Although there will still be a flood of cheap used hardware on the market, before sufficient hardware floods the market new higher performance hardware could be released making old hardware obsolete for mid to high end gamers. This would be a huge win for AMD investors as it would minimize any impact to sales.
Because of the statement above, pay close attention to the PoS transition timeframe for Ethereum. This will be the first mass selloff of consumer GPUs.
Things I did not Cover:
AMD GPUs are typically more profitable than NVIDIA’s for cryptocurrency mining and why.
You cannot mine Bitcoin with consumer GPUs profitably. They require custom hardware (ASIC).
Getting into the actual process of how to mine (see the many Ethereum mining subs like ethermining for answers).
Have I made a profit – Yes, I have paid off my investment and then some.
What do I think of mining vs just investing – Okay I’ll answer this one. I personally would choose to invest directly into the cryptocurrencies over mining, unless you are using your existing gaming GPU, as I believe that investing will yield potentially an order of magnitude higher ROI over the next 2-5 years. Start with cryptocurrency and go from there. If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me. This is coming from a miner mind you.
My exit plan for the market? Well, I’ve stated above that I think a major crash (greater than 50%, we see 50% crashes every 3 or so months, but these are often largely exceeded by gains after) in this market will likely dip to current or slightly below current total market cap. I could be wrong though, but that’s a risk I am willing to take given my deep dive on this space. I currently hold currencies that will pay PoS mining rewards. I plan to sell these rewards.
Thanks for reading guys. I hope you found some useful information. If you have questions or see anything you disagree with feel free to comment! TLDR: I see cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency mining, and thus AMD GPU sales holding strong for the foreseeable short term ~1 year. This is just my opinion, do your own research, I could be wrong, but I live in this space.
So you think that 5% dip counts as a correction? Let me give you a helpful hint.. We're not in a correction until the sweat falling down your neck meets the sweat of your ass crack in a pool on your desk chair while your sitting up at 3am staring at a stamp chart 3 inches from your face trying to convince yourself thats its going to reverse any second now. Your hand shaking like a Parkinson's patient over an oily mouse when suddenly you feel the dire need to take a shit but you vomit in your mouth a little bit instead and before you have time to question how those two bodily functions could possibly be related we've already dropped another 20%. You've now got a big red dildo candle showing a 60% loss in a matter of minutes staring back at you as price has dipped far below your buy in spot, all the profits you made over the past several weeks, dreams of that new car, that new house disappear in an instant and you cant imagine what possibly could have caused this. You default to erroneously blaming the Chinese but that doesn't quite add up so you take to twitter with panicked breath searching for anyone, anything that might have the answer as to what the F is happening. Of course no one has any more of a clue then you do so you immediately start to internalize the struggle. What starts as a whisper of "why didn't I just sell" turns into a rampage scream in the back of your mind, after all its so obvious that this was the top, it's so clear now looking back, of course that was the top how the hell didn't I see that 15 minutes ago? Meanwhile we're down another 5% and you just can't take it anymore. Tears are rushing from your eyes, something that looks like dried blood is all over your arm emanating from the spot you didn't realize you were subconsciously digging your fingernail into. You close your eyes just for a moment but when they reopen you realize you've somehow already logged into your Coinbase account and punched in a sell order. Thats it. You sold. Your devastated, but manage to breathe a small sigh of relief. Well at least i can't lose anymore you say, at least i walked away with something. Your emotionally and physically exhausted now but you manage to drag yourself across the room, you fall flat on your bed with one final thought passing through your mind before you let the darkness overtake you..."why didn't i just sell the top?" In the morning you wake to the realization that you slept fully clothed and at an odd enough angle that your neck is surely going to feel exactly as bad if not worse for the rest of the day. The events of the previous night come back to you in a flurry of blurred emotions and while you almost can't bring yourself to check the price you just have to know. How much lower did it go? After all, there is still a glimmer of a hope, you think well, perhaps it isn't all bad, perhaps I can buy back in a bit lower and make the losses back in the long term. You begrudgingly open a chart and whatever small amount of hope that remained escapes your lungs before the sigh hits your lips. Price has fully recovered, it's actually trading up 10% from yesterdays highs... Thats a correction. Twitter: @dAnconiaMining Medium: @PercentEvil Edit: For those who didn't get the joke this is just some bitcoin satire not my life story. It's the result of reading too much bitcoin and nosleep at the same time... Everyone should invest based on their own risk tolerances and in accordance with their own investment goals. Hodling is a viable strategy for those who truly believe Bitcoin is the next big thing, but a word of caution to the new comers who are just here for a quick buck. This space can and will be more volatile then anything you've ever seen before.
Enjoy =) Larry Page = $41 billion Bill Gates = $86 billion All Cryptocurrency's = $200 billion Amazon = $402 billion Apple = $730 billion USD in circulation = $1,500 billion Gold Market Cap = $8,200 billion Physical Money (notes/coins) = $31,200 billion Stock Markets = $66,800 billion All U.S. Money (bank deposits/loans) = $83,000 billion
This doesn't include ALL future's exchanges (such as CME Group), ALL options exchanges, ALL stock exchanges, ALL forex exchanges.
This doesn't include ALL celebrities, ALL inventors (such as Elon Musk, and so on), ALL corporations/companies.
This doesn't include ALL and each and every single country that ALSO has examples of all of the above.
This doesn't include Visa/Mastercard/Discovery/AmericanExpress transactions.
But why doesn't EVERYBODY just convert ALL of the world's money of the ENTIRE PLANET to paying each other in gold? Gold is a great 'store of value', isn't it? Yes, it sure has value, but because it is inconvenient, hard to transport, slow, not divisible (without a third party), and difficult to keep from being robbed (without a third party), that is why the entire planet does not transact in gold, and hence why Gold's market capitalization is only $8,200 billion.
So, how do we fix this? How can we get more people to transact in gold? How can we convince people to say "Fuck transacting in everything other than gold"?
The only way this is possible, is if gold was more convenient to transact with than everything else, especially VISA. Which is impossible. You can't pay for a $100.37 item on Amazon.com, through the internet, without a third party, in a split second, by using gold.
Then, what SHOULD we use? Well.. VISA can do 80,000 transactions per second peak velocity.
Bitcoin (whitepaper version), can do 1,000,000 transactions per second CHEAPER than VISA. (It can probably do even more in the future), it's also at the same time a tangible currency (that takes trillions of video cards to create one single uncounterfeitable coin) aka "store of value".
And what does 1,000,000 transactions per second mean? It means that ALL of the world (as described above) EASILY has room to enter the system. And not only is it a payment system, it is a currency ("store of value"). You literally HAVE tangible coins. Not merely a payment system like Paypal, or VISA, but a 2-in-1. It is a CURRENCY that is also in itself a PAYMENT SYSTEM that doesn't require a third party.
So, for example's sake, let's add up all of the money (listed above), and "flood" the entire planet into using a currency ("store of value"), that is ALSO a payment system in itself BY DESIGN, able to send money to the other side of the planet, instantly, without needing to use ANY kind of outside third party, because the coin ITSELF is the third party IF it is the Whitepaper Version of Bitcoin. But if the witness data (aka transaction signatures) are segregated from the chain, then the coin (economy itself) is no longer ITS' OWN "third party" anymore, but prone to whoever wants to take advantage of the segregated witness data (whether its blockstream, bitcoin core, AXA, miners, or banks, doesn't matter). Because when the chain of digital signatures is no longer part of the blockchain, the incentive to take advantage of the system and introduce a traditional (bankegovernment) "third party" is now profitable/possible to do so. Whereas, originally, without SegWit, anybody who tried to do this would infinitely lose money in trying to do so---aka mining coins was more profitable than trying to do a 51% attack. Hence, with SegWit, we introduce a loop-hole into Bitcoin, allowing double spending of anyone's transactions, reversing anyone's transactions, halting anyone's transactions, freezing anyone's transactions, charge-backs, etc.
Bitcoin (whitepaper version) = $10.7 Billion current total market capital.
Now introduce $191,659 billion (see above) of the world's money to a ONE WORLD CURRENCY, that DOES NOT REQUIRE A THIRD PARTY.
$191,659 billion / $10.7 billion = 17,912x
17,912 x $650 current value of Bitcoin (whitepaper version) = $11,642,800 , for one coin.
Therefore, no one (on a global scale) will use a currency (aka "store of value") where you have to pay $5-$1000 for each transaction... Walmart does not profit from selling chewing gum for $.99 cents and paying a $5 network fee (at minimum).
90% of people who buy Bitcoin don't even know what is "Segwit" or "Blockstream" or "Satoshi" or "Whitepaper". They think it's the 'norm' that it takes hours upon hours (or even days) to get their Bitcoin. They assume that because it's "hard to get", then that is why it is valuable. Upon all of the other reasons. It's all media. It is exactly what BitConnect is doing. The only reason people are buying it, is because everyone is gambling, but are fully convinced that it is "investing". This is why Bitcoin is not going to lose its' value instantly. Nor is it going to skyrocket to an astronomical value like $100,000 instantly. But it will most definitely NOT be used as replacement currency by Walmart, Amazon, Sams Club, Coca Cola, Target, etc, and so on, it goes on FOREVER. All of these companies use VISA.
And this is why Bitcoin (Whitepaper version) is literally full-stop replacing VISA over the next decade.
But what about other coins that already exist with little to no fees, instant transactions and end up having little to no traction and don't look like anyone cares about them??
There are huge reasons why they have little to no traction and look like no one cares about them.
Ethereum = does not have a fixed supply. It does not matter how fast transactions are if a coin's end-total-supply is inflationary. (Lipstick on a pig).
Ripple = 70% of the supply is held by a third-party. (Banker coin).
Litecoin = has a Script hashing algorithm, instead of SHA-256 hashing algorithm. (Coins have weaker security model--aka potential to be counterfeited several decades from now when we have stronger computers).
Dash = has master node system. The more DASH anyone has, the more master nodes they have. Over 70 percent of coins are located in just 2 percent of wallets, with 20 percent more in 1 percent of wallets. This actually means that just 3 percent of Dash owners control more than 90 percent of coins. This distribution is way to uniform and unnatural, and opens a highway for price manipulations.
NEO, NEM, QTUM, OmiseGo, IOTA = not mined coins. AKA no proof of work. Are ALL coins that were not made with any kind of "proof of work". They are literally made from nothing. (It takes TRILLIONS of video cards to make one single Bitcoin). These coins rely on security systems that do not solve the Byzantine Generals problem. (Aka, the "third party" for these coins is the creators---hence these coins have a flawed security model in who has say in what happens. Whereas, the "third party" for Bitcoin (whitepaper version) is the freemarket (the economy itself), the people who work and/or buy in to the system.). But all of these coins without proof of work rely on a closed-source system to prevent double spends. In other words, they are ALL more or less improved versions of Ripple.
Monero = severe scaling issues, the transactions are far bigger than what Moore's Law can keep up with. (Technology wouldn't be able to catch up with how much bandwidth/storage space is needed to run this network, regardless of how many years into the future we go).
These are the top ones I felt like choosing. I can explain every coin on the list. But the entire point, is that for EVERY one of these coins, Bitcoin Cash does it better. Bitcoin Cash has 0-conf (Bitcoin used to have it until the system could not accept anymore transactions and started backlogging transactions---aka full blocks). Bitcoin Cash has scripting functions (aka smart contracts). Bitcoin used to have it when the transaction fees only cost 1-5 cents per block... But no one wants to use the scripting functions anymore when you have to pay $5-$100 for each block.
Bitcoin (whitepaper version) does much more efficiently what EVERY other coin attempts to do. Whether it's security, transaction capacity, inflation control, storage, or the solving of the byzantine generals problem. Bitcoin (whitepaper version) does it flawlessly. Every other coin has flaws to some degree or another that only succeed in proving that Bitcoin (whitepaper version) is the most secure system possible.
There is a reason why Satoshi did not design Bitcoin (whitepaper version) like any of the other coins. It is because he already thought about those other designs.
*Must read for newcomers* My friend worked in the Bitcoin industry (broker) for a couple of years and has been involved in the crypto world since 2014. This is what he had to say about the recent politics of btc when someone asked him on our crypto trading channel
(He first sent this article https://medium.com/@StopAndDecrypt/thats-not-bitcoin-this-is-bitcoin-95f05a6fd6c2, then followed up with this reply when someone told him he had no idea what he just read) "There was a big scaling debate and in the end there were two sides. Those that wanted to scale using bigger blocksize (short term solution that doesn't work long term and also causes more centralization) vs those who wanted to scale using changes in the code to make the network more efficient aka SEGWIT+second layer scaling solutions (bitcoin becomes massive settlement layer, and second layer solutions can take care of verifying your $3.25 coffee payment). On the big block side you had (most) miners because they were only able to see the short term benefits of increased blocksize and they do not care about network centralization. Also, a chinese miner controlling a sizeable chunk of the network's hashrate had access to (and was in the process of patenting) this technology called ASICBOOST which is an exploit in bitcoin code that allows you to "cheat" and get extra hashing power out of your miners. Essentially they had an unfair advantage and the KEY is that the segwit upgrade fixes this exploit. Alongside these miners you had a couple of misguided (but incredibly wealthy because of early adoption) individuals who either have a reason to see bitcoin fail (like they are heavily invested in altcoins now) or they are too pigheaded to back down when wrong (or some of them I'm sure are not actually intelligent enough to understand they are wrong). On the Segwit side you had all the core developers (the guys who worked side by side with satoshi to build all this and have been contributing to the code for years every day), the majority of the userbase, AND the vast majority of bitcoin companies. The two sides were basically arguing over who had control over bitcoin - was it the miners, or was it the users? Was it those who chose which software to run (users) or was it those who verified transactions for that software (miners)? (The answer as you will see shortly is Users). So basically these miners were stalling the upgrade because it would mean the end of their unfair (AND patented) advantage. This massive stalemate in the debate caused a community led uprising known as the User Activated Soft Fork movement (UASF). These guys basically said "We're switching our nodes to Segwit software starting Aug 1 and we will be rejecting all mined blocks that do not comply with the new code". This forced the miners' hand as they realized they would either be forked off the network or have to go along with the new upgrade to make sure everything continued to go smoothly (including their profits). The movement gained enough support to freak out some big money bitcoin CEOs who got together in a room with the miners and made a deal behind closed doors known as the New York Agreement (NYA). This is where Segwit2x was born. The key to note here is that not a single core dev was invited to this meeting (in fact, not a single competent dev in general was invited). The terms of the deal were: You guys agree to implement Segwit now, and then we'll agree to an increase in block size later (November). Deal was made and obviously the majority of the user community was in an uproar because bitcoiners hate closed door deals (and they should for good reason). That being said, it got Segwit activated because it gave miners an easy way to safe face and go with segwit and the community instead of seeing their profits get wrecked by a messy chainsplit. However, do you remember that sneaky miner who had patented the ASICBOOST technology? Well he was part of the NYA and he decided to fork off anyway and create Bitcoin Cash. So stop right here and realize that the only reason we have bitcoin cash is so that some miner with a ton of hashing power could keep his unfair advantage over the network (he stills mainly mines bitcoin by the way because he would go out of business if he switched entirely to bitcoin cash). Also at this point, technically the NYA was broken because the whole point of it was to avoid a chainsplit and go with segwit followed by a block size increase whereas bitcoin cash was a clear chainsplit. So for a few months everything was ok because we had Segwit, core devs were still with us, and (supposedly) anyone who wanted bigger blocks had forked off to bitcoin cash right? Wrong. See it turns out that those guys who made that backroom deal with the miners also had their own interests which involve removing the current core developers from their (imagined) seat of power. It is classic old school business politics - they don't care that core the devs are based around principles of meritocracy and peer review. They just want to have more of a say in the direction bitcoin takes. At this point, you might be thinking, "Ok but its fair for companies who use a product to have a say in its development, right?" NO. Not when the "product" at stake is meant to be an incredibly secure, incorruptible ledger that can hold trillions of dollars in wealth and still be hosted online accross the world. The fact is that no one understands the code better than the core developers and no one has more of an interest in seeing bitcoin stay decentralized and secure than these guys do. These guys literally cum buckets everyday to how much they love coding bitcoin. If Satoshi is Cypher Jesus then these guys are his Apostles. And on the other hand you have some severely misguided corporate buffoons who think they have the knowledge to negotiate a compromise with a group who has nothing but short term profit in their sights. And when the core developers are like "wtf dude?" and the community stands behind them, then these guys resort to essentially trying to kick core out of bitcoin by starting a new chain. A new chain which was based on a compromise that no one wants or needs anymore. And the excuse these CEO's are hiding behind is "We don't want to go back on our word." Classic business mindset vs coding mindset. ur word." Classic business mindset vs coding mindset. Now we come to the current situation where there are basically 4 sides
Core developers, and those supporting them
The (remaining) signers of the NYA and those supporting Segwit2x
Malicious third parties who just want to see bitcoin fail (invested in altcoins/bitcoin cash or they are the Joker and just want to see shit burn)
The core developers are continuing to code and improve bitcoin and they are working on second layer solutions. They haven't stopped development and have actually made a TON of beneficial changes to the code since the Segwit upgrade allowed them to. Being non-political or atleast being shit politicians, these guys do not know how to handle themselves with other people and either don't speak much or come off as pretentious d*bags (trust me I used to hate them before I smartened up). The remaining NYA signers. I say remaining because alot of companies left when they saw the massive backlash from the community. The only signers left are miners and then a group of around 30 companies which all have ties to Barry Silbert's holding company Digital Currency Group and suprise surprise who do you think got that NYA meeting together in the first place? Silly Silbert indeed. He's basically trying to do a sort of corporate take over of bitcoin where he decides who is writing the code and how they write it. Oh also I should note here that these guys have 1 developer working on the Segwit2x code. Yes 1, Jeff Garzik. Coding ability? Mediocre at best. All he did was copy and paste the entire bitcoin core code (because its open source) and changed the one little value that dictates block size. He changed a 1 to a 2 haha! And when he tried to make other changes he made critical mistakes that had to be fixed by CORE DEVELOPERS hahahaha! So how the f* does that even compare to an army of geeks who have been coding bitcoin for years and coding in general for decades who are all constantly trying to find mistakes in each others' work. SO people supporting Segwit2x are either severely misguided, hate core devs, or don't have all the information to make an informed decision. Now the malicious actors. These are people who have a vested interest in seeing bitcoin crumble. I'm talking about big altcoin investors and bitcoin cash supporters (yes the guys who have ASICBOOST and want are the reason for this whole mess in the first place). And Segwit2x has presented them with a beautiful vector of attack. Divide and conquer. Right? And whereas with bitcoin cash there was replay protection (meaning the split was pretty clean and bitcoin was largely unaffected) this time they haven't got any planned - so should things go through as planned, things could get messy. Then you have all those innocent bystanders who don't really know what to think anymore. Things have gotten so convoluted and complicated that it is hard to follow who wants what anymore. These are the people who will get the most fucked by something like Segwit2x because they won't understand the risks as it is happening and they won't have the knowledge to know which wallets to support. Imagine Segwit2x happens and one wallet sticks with the core version of bitcoin and the other wallet supports the segwit2x version but they both just say "Bitcoin". That is why people are soooooooooooooo strongly opposed to Segwit2x more than anything. It is nothing more and nothing less than a hostile takeover attempt. And at this point that should be more than clear because why else would you still support the compromise made with miners who broke the compromise by creating bitcoin cash? No one wanted Segwit2x in the first place. People wanted bigger blocks, or segwit, not both. Segwit2x was never a faction in the debate. It was a faction that was spawned by those who created the NYA because they saw an opportunity take control of the software development from a group of developers who have been working on it for years and who strongly oppose corporate interests getting involved in bitcoin development." (I will name and shame the main malicious\misguided actors and add details based on personal discussion with him and add articles for further reading) Barry Silbert
legit wants btc to succeed but he is also a corporate fool: used to be an investment banker and doesn't know dick about coding
hates core developers because they are pro decentralization over ease of use for businesses
Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
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