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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 2/2)
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum?
No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
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That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims?
That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft?
Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up.
Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness?
Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird?
there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More?
It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about
I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends?
Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms ￼ The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals ￼ People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn ￼ Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think?
Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines?
There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods.
If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web?
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
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web?
A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web?
It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs?
I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks!
I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them....
I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in?
Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat?
OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
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I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤
he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web?
There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web?
Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive?
I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
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1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety?
I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret?
We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work.
Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help?
Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help?
I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome.
I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line.
Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash?
I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all.
Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare?
No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies?
I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it.
Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account.
No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series
Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon?
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia?
The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon?
Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk)
No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR?
I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply!
Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke?
I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped?
The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts!
Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business?
Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is?
Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
the below is a reply to the above
Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible?
It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
the below is another reply to the original answer
Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it??
Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way?
I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code.
It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity?
I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature?
Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: First of all, can you have a brief introduction about yourself as well as about Chromia? Henrik_hjelte, Sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Hello. My name is Henrik Hjelte. I am Co-Founder and CEO of Chromia. I have more than 30 years of experience in programming and a degree in Economics from Uppsala University. BTW economics and computers = blockchain, so finally found a job that fits me. I was introduced to the blockchain by the leader of the colored-coins project Alex Mizrahi in 2013 Colored coins project was a very influential thing It was the first way for user created tokens bolted on to the only blockchain at the time (almost) bitcoin We started ChromaWay 2014, with Or Perelman too, to explore if the world was interested in “tokens” and those kind of applications We worked with enterprise blockchain for some time, but now we are focused on Chromia, a new public platform for mainstream decentralized applications using relational blockchain technology. Ok, maybe I should tell something about Chromia and not myself too. Chromia is a better blockchain for building decentralized Apps. better because it follows the “normal worlds” way of managing data. A little history: I found a text/description to paste: Chromia is a brainchild of ChromaWay. ChromaWay has a long record of delivering pioneering projects around the world. We issued Euros on the Bitcoin blockchain with LHV bank, allowed investors to invest in startups in a wholly decentralized way with Funderbeam, digitized the title transfer process with the Swedish land registry, and mediated the green bond market. ChromaWay’s core team created the world’s first protocol to issue tokens already in 2012, when blockchain was called “bitcoin 2.0”. Then ChromaWay introduced the relational model to enterprise blockchains with a consortium database called Postchain. Now Postchain is going public as the foundation for Chromia, a better blockchain for building decentralised Apps. Chromia is a new public blockchain based on the idea of integrating traditional databases, Relational databases with blockchain security. Chromia is a general purpose blockchain with full smart contract capabilities, just that it is a lot easier to code, even complex applications. You code with an easy to learn new programming language that combines the power of SQL and normal languages but makes it secure in a blockchain context. Up to 1/10 the code-lines vs other blockchains. If you don’t believe me, check this blog (later, stay in the chat): https://blog.chromia.com/reasons-for-rell-compactness/ The aim of Chromia is to combine relational databases, which exist in every kind of organization, with blockchains. We want to provide a platform for our users to develop totally decentralized apps securely. Our goal is for Chromia to be seen as the number one infrastructure for decentralized applications. Think about it: blockchain is about managing data (in a shared context). And… What do we use to manage data? A Database! Serge: Sure! My name is Serge! And I work in Chromia marketing department. Also, I help coordinate various projects inside the company My background is in Economics and Marketing Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 1️⃣ DApp is currently mainly concentrated in the field of games, and its life cycle is basically short, just like the Crypto Kitty is only hot for a while, how to dig the application of DApp in more fields and how to improve the utilization rate of DApp? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Good one, let me answer Gaming is quite a challenging target because good UX is expected, it needs to be fast, responsive, etc. If we can do that, then we can also do all sorts of other stuff. Also, it lets us experiment with things without a lot of hassle, it’s easier to get users, and so on. It’s also a growing niche within blockchain. You can check our latest game, Mines of Dalarnia https://www.minesofdalarnia.com We also have Enterprise projects already, for example Green Assets Wallet https://greenassetswallet.org/about that already launched on the first Mainnet version called Bootstrap Net,we also have https://capchap.se built on our tech, more projects like non-profit review platform Impactoria, public land registries, medical projects and so on Also don’t forget about our fully decentralized social network/forum that is live already on the testnet https://testnet.chromunity.com. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 2️⃣ How will dapp face the world change after the epidemic? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Nobody can say for sure, but maybe people will tend to be online more than offline, so demand on online products and dapps as well will increase. I just came in from an internal demo of a secret project we do, and it can be seen as a way to hang out online (a bit cryptic answer) There are also interesting use cases of dapps in the medical field. For example, we participated in the world-wide hackathon Hack for Sweden. Where our submission was to create an app on Chromia blockchain that increases the coordination between countries and hospitals especially during the hard time and COVID19. Chromia wants to help the European Union (and the world, but we saw problems in the EU…) and its citizens to provide transparency over the necessary medical and protective devices and appliances of which we see shortage during this emergency crisis. You can watch our promo here https://twitter.com/chromaway/status/1247557274337447938?s=20. For me it was a fun Hackathon too because for once I got the opportunity to code… I told everyone else I will not do any bossing… We try to continue this path on medical applications a bit. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 3️⃣ DApps are still not directly embedded in mobile phones like Apps at this moment, and DApps have also been flooded with bet content. How can guests increase the use of DApps and lower the threshold for using DApps? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: The answer is — better User Experience. We believe that in order for a DApp to be usable and become more widely accepted it has to feel like a normal App. A DApp needs to have quick transactions, scale well & shouldn’t require users to pay for each transaction. This is something that is possible now with using Chromia. It’s an extremely exciting time since we are going to see a new generation of DApps. On top of that, we think that we might have an ace coming up. We have built a game to demonstrate the powers and possibilities of Chromia. A little bit about the game: In Mines of Dalarnia (https://www.minesofdalarnia.com), players get to explore the vast expanses of interplanetary treasure mines. With an innovative Dalarnia Token system, players can purchase virtual mining plots, and put them up for rent into the community, allowing for real-estate tycoons to earn more Tokens. Mining plots can also undergo their own upgrades, making them more lucrative to explore, as well as a hot property for rental by miners. The game takes advantage of these NFT-based tokens to securely track exchanges, and provide a sense of ownership and wealth to players as they grow their mining and resource empire. Watch our trailer https://youtu.be/bDXKOp1Asqw and sign-up for the TestNet on the website! Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 4️⃣ Many practitioners think that the main reason for restricting the development of DApp is “incomplete infrastructure”. How effective is the current “cross-chain” and “side-chain” solution? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Our infrastructure resembles Alibaba Cloud, so a DApp developer just goes and deploys his DApp’s blockchain into it, it’s easy. Also our language Rell https://rell.chromia.com/en/maste is more robust than any other blockchain programming language.Or Azure or AWS Rell combines the following features:
Relational data modeling and queries similar to SQL. People familiar with SQL should feel at home once they learn the new syntax.
Normal programming constructs: variables, loops, functions, collections, etc.
Constructs which specifically target application backends and, in particular, blockchain-style programming including request routing, authorization, etc.
We want people to join our channels such as telegram, twitter, email also our decentralized forum https://testnet.chromunity.com and participate in discussions
We want people to try our dapps such as Mines of Dalarnia
We want to get feedback and understand the most important issues people care about Chromia and the blockchain industry in general
We want to get more developers building on top of Chromia
LBTS: What was your motivation for creating RELL and not use other languages? What benefits? Why name it RELL also? Henrik Hjelte: We have a private/federated relational blockchain called Postchain, and it allows SQL. But that can work in a small environment when you know all parties, and if you are really careful in checking code. But not for a more secure, distributed on the web setup, so we had to make it more secure (Deterministic, statically typed). In the process, we also took the opportunity to make it cool and nice. Also: it is simply not possibly to use evm, jvm, or web assembly. We need/want a database in the bottom. Postgresql is our virtual machine. You do not reimplement that…. 10+ years codebase…. Lee: Being part of the gamer community, I would like to know what you would think about collaborating with a MOBA, RPG or Arcade game or some kind of project? Henrik Hjelte: We are already collaborating with some smaller studios. For bigger fish, we want to show them what is completely unique and visionary with Chromia, and we think we need various examples. So, first arcade game MoD (linked above) is one example, it is not the full potential or anything but a start. In this summer, krystopia 2 a puzzle game from Antler Interactive will be released. What is even cooler is the “demo project” we do together with them, where we will show how a mutliplayer game with real blockchain features will work. I just saw it an hour ago and was blown away OH, and there is another studio releasing something very cool. Full logic on chain strategy game. Chain of Alliance. oyibo pepper: Do you encourage HACKATHON programs for intending Developers to test their skills and build on RELL Can you explain more about CHROMIA AMBASSADORS PROGRAM, CAN I BECOME AN AMBASSADOR Serge: Yes, you can, but you will need to change your avatar 🤣 Seriously, we are growing our Chromians community if you want to become one please ping our admins in Chromia telegram group. Also, we are planning virtual hackathons soon, please subscribe to stay updated Infinite Crypto: Since the Chromia project is currently working on the Ethereum blockchain ERC20 standard! But we know that there are a lot of scalability issues with Ethereum, so why would you choose the Ethereum blockchain over other scalable blockchains? Do you have any plans for Mainnet launch of Chromia? Henrik Hjelte: ETH is just used in a pre-phase for tokens. We will have our own mainnet tokens interchangable with ETH. Oyinbo pepper What’s CHROMIA SSO and SDK, how can I get started Henrik Hjelte Both are 3 letters. That is what they have in common. SDK = software development kit, check docs on https://rell.chromia.com SSO = single sign on. A unique UX improvement. You approve an app in your wallet (vault) with super ease. no need to remember codes sso: https://blog.chromia.com/chromia-sso-the-whys-and-the-whats/ We have a fundamentally different model from bitcoin and ethereum and the likes. The blockchain is not run by anonymous computers in basement and student dorms across the world. We have more of known identities, so 51% attacks is protected not by PoW/PoS but other consensus. Please see our whitepaper. Note that we are not noobs when it comes to this, our CTO Alex has published papers in academic journals on consensus etc. from 2013, and done several important ideas for blockchain. Sidechains we think he was first with, tokens too. Sheron Fernando: Is there any plan to makes partnership with local cryptocurrency developers from each country to make $CHR usage more worldwide? Serge: Yes, we are looking for cooperation with more external developers. Send me a message if you are interested in developing something on Chromia. Stella: What are the underlying problems in the Dapps today that can be solved with the Chromia protocol? Serge:
Scalability — on Chromia your dapp can have unlimited numbers of users thanks to parallel scaling
Easiness of use — you don’t need external wallets, no need to buy crypto to pay for gas etc
Cost — in general to deploy the dapp and to use the dapp
Marcel Lagacé: Why build this platform? What is Chromia mission? What are the most prominent features of the platform? Can you clarify the use case for this feature? Henrik Hjelte: We build the platform to fix the problems with blockchains, that we ourselves have experienced since 2014 (before ethereum existed). LBTS: Can you tell us about Chromia developers? How motivated and experienced are they to always deliver the best products? Henrik Hjelte: I can tell you that we recruit developers that are really good, from all parts of the world. Vietnam has been a hub because we found many good, so in Ukraine. How can we say “we have so good developers”? First one thing that is a bit different is that we are pretty experienced in leadership team of development. I do not code much anymore since I’m a CEO. But I do have now over 30 years of experience. Got published and was payed when I was 15. First full-time professional developer job at 18. Have released open-source projects used by 10: s of thousand developers. And Alex, our CTO is Extremely good. That is why I recruited him to my old startup 2006 or so… So: we have experience to sort out good developers from bad. Marcel Lagacé: Does Chromia staking model is different from other staking platform?? What are the beneficial advantages of chromia staking system? Serge: The main difference is that we have independent Providers, entities that are not connected. These serious players are exchanges, data centres, professional staking companies. They provide a backbone of the ecosystem and host dapps. Like Amazon servers in the cloud. They cannot have stake bigger than the maximum thus they can’t control the network. This is probably the main difference with classic DPoS networks Nguyen Duy Bao: A lot of people will want to know what the strength of Chromia is but I want to know the weaknesses and problems Chromia faces ? How do you plan to solve it? Henrik Hjelte: A weakness I guess is weak compared to “competition”. And there are some blockchain projects that got crazy amount of funding. So how can we compete with that, when they can hire more developers for example? Well here is what experience comes into play: More developers does not always increase productivity a lot, it is diminishing returns. You can see many large projects, with 100 of developers fail miserably with no results. And actually, sometimes true with marketing spend too. It is generally good with money, but if you are a bit clever you can compete also on marketing with less money than your competition. Please follow Chromia on Social Media: Website: https://www.chromia.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/chromia FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/teamchromia LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/chromia Telegram: https://t.me/hellochromia Decentralized Social network Chromunity: https://testnet.chromunity.com Free-to-Play Blockchain Game Mines of Dalarnia: https://www.minesofdalarnia.com
Want to scrap RMT? Reduce cheating and hatcheting? Dissolve the meta? Open your mind and let's talk.
Disclaimer #2: I wrote this early yesterday morning and since then, the podcast happened and FIR Flea Market was announced. I have redacted some sections as a response. Disclaimer: I know this is a long read and contains many sensitive subjects such as Secure Containers, the Flea Market, and Soft Skills, but it is simply a compiled list of ideas and in no way am I demanding for ultimate order in my favor or holding anybody else's ideas in contempt. I understand that my ideals may drastically differ from others. I only wrote this because of my passion for this game and my desire to see it succeed in the scope of what the devs outlined it to be, or at least how we interpret it: a hardcore looter shooter. I implore you guys to offer your own suggestions, ideas, and pick apart mine. This thread should only serve as the foundation for a greater Tarkov. First, let's establish some terms to better differentiate between the two types of cheaters. There are consumer cheaters who use programs to gain an advantage over other players simply for the satisfaction of winning. Then, there are commercial cheaters, who are using these same programs but in order to generate an income in real life. Commercial cheating will always be prolific in any video game that offers players transferable goods, and for as long as there is real money profit to be made, the benefits will continue to outweigh the risks. Any security expert can tell you that no lock is unpickable, no chain is unbreakable, and no password is unsolvable, but that doesn't mean we should all keep our doors unlocked, bikes unchained, and our passwords as "1234". And while a chain might not prevent your expensive road bike from getting stolen, having a chain, a disk lock, lojack, and the front wheel taken with you will certainly deter the grand majority of otherwise would-be thieves, who will of course, make an attempt on the less-protected bike adjacent to yours instead. Battleye is a good start, the equivalent of a quality bike chain if you will, but of course--enough to stop most consumer cheaters, though not enough to stop most commercial cheaters. So let's ask ourselves: Where should intervention be focused on the most? We could target the cheat providers, but they'll keep writing more cheats. A game of cat and mouse. We could target the (commercial) cheaters, but they'll just buy more accounts and more cheats with the money they made cheating. Cat and mouse. Who else, then, if not the problem? They aren't the problem. Your every-day player. He is the problem. Small businesses are closing for good because the risk of COVID-19 is preventing customers from supporting their establishment. Let's increase the risk for the RMT customer to get the product that they paid for. How? Make secure containers "read-only". Anything in your container can be "used" i.e. meds, keys, loose rounds for magazine packing, but nothing can be taken out or put in. It will then act as a non-transferable stash that can safeguard your valuables. No more accidentally dropping your S I C C case full of keys and then getting killed. However.. want to drop a keycard, case of bitcoins, or other valuables to a friend or a customer? It has to start and end the raid outside of either persons' secure container. This puts tradeable goods at risk for both the buyer and seller for the entirety of the raid, and not just at the extract when the transaction is made. This simultaneously makes PVP more rewarding. Now, when you murder that pistoling who risked nearly nothing and put an annoying crack in your shiny, expensive face shield, you'll be able to take the graphics card or LEDX off of his body to remind him that his chances at those items would have been greater had he risked some gear of his own. More gear taken into raids is more gear taken out of the economy. Combined with the current weight system, this is a necessary and intuitive money sink. On the topic of money sinks, let's consider changing how insurance works. Rather than insure items, we could insure ourself. Pay Prapor or Therapist a reasonable, fixed fee in advance to recover any goods left on our body (only what was taken IN to the raid. I was exploring the idea of having the game take a snapshot of your corpse's entire inventory upon the conclusion of the raid and sending it in the mail, but it would be too easy to abuse for RMT purposes. The seller could give the customer a backpack full of bitcoins and kill him in a bush for example). Because the body is insured and not each individual item, things such as ammo and meds could be returned without the bloat of having an insurance status on each individual bullet in a magazine, the primary reason I believe ammo to not be insurable currently. The fee could scale with the "safety" of the map. For example, Prapor's boys would probably feel less comfortable scouring Reserve for your dead body than a place like Factory, and thus the fee for body recovery on Reserve could be upwards of 100K and unless you were completely stripped, you would still probably make money back on unlooted ammo/meds alone. Factory on the other hand, because of how small the map is and therefore easy to find dead PMCs, the fee could be a reasonable 10K. This does two things: First, it stops insurance fraud. Dumping your gear (to ditch a thermal or wear someone else's kit, guaranteeing you get yours back) or your dead buddy's gear into a bush is unimmersive and bad for the economy. The current insurance system unreasonably rewards squad play for the wrong reasons, effectively removing the penalty for death if at least 1 competent person in the group survives (I personally frequent 3-5 man squads and it just feels unfair how much gear I get back when I die). Second, it sets up a new dynamic in place of insurance fraud. Now, if you want your buddy to get his stuff back, you have to defend his body or extract with his gear. This rewards scavs for properly scavenging, looking for the fruitful casualties of groups that made it out. This is good for the economy, as the punishment for death almost always will result in a transfer of wealth to those who work for it and not a retention of wealth for non-solos. Next up, the Flea Market. It has been expressed many times by streamers that the Flea Market has ruined the game and should be removed but on the other hand, there were people complaining that level 15 was too high of a level to access the Flea Market and it has since become available earlier. I believe that the Flea Market is the core reason this game experiences the stagnant meta that it does. Global stock and personal limits from traders mean nothing when you can just visit the Flea Market and stockpile VALs and SR3Ms to run EVERY raid. Of course I am nobody to try and force anybody to play a certain way or use a certain loadout, but I do believe that the game would be more exciting if rare loadouts were actually rare. One solution is to make the Flea Market "find in raid" only. Not only would this be another nail in the RMT coffin (it would prevent customers from selling transacted barter items for exorbitant prices), but it would mark the first true player-driven economy by removing flipped goods from traders. Traders could offer a (per-person, not global) tailored, but random assortment of goods each restock that you can piece together a kit from rather than a static array of goods unlocked by loyalty level. The (loyalty) level of the player would determine the frequency and strength of their goods. At Prapor LL4 for example, you may see VALs pop up more often, but once you buy them, that's all, and you have to wait until next restock and he might not even have any by then either. You might see a VAL available at lower loyalties as well, but even less frequently. Traders could then scale their prices dynamically to global demand (not the old, abusable system. This one would change the price incrementally based on purchase frequency. Global purchase frequency rising on a specific item? Global price on that item raises accordingly). This is good for the economy and, combined with making the Flea Market "find in raid" only, I believe it to be a solution to stagnant meta. How cool was it when you were new and killed that guy who had an SV-98 that you had to examine because you hadn't seen it until now? You'd get that feeling more often this way. Lastly, if the "find in raid" status is spoofable by cheaters, add a server-side check for the status. Now on to weapon attachments. Because of how unusable most stock rifles feel, there is a huge appeal for sticking as many appendages as possible to rifles to achieve that sweet <70, or god forbid, <40 recoil. Many of the attachments in the game go untouched because they don't offer even close to the arbitrary stat benefits of those in the meta. It is such a shame, as one of Tarkov's greatest strengths is the weapon modding system. I believe a step in the right direction would be to improve base weapon stats around the board (excluding weapons with fewer attachments such as the DVL) and and then nerf and bring each attachment more in line with each other, especially some of the outliers. Compare the RK-2 to the VPG for example. As such though, if an unmodded weapon vs a modded weapon wasn't night and day, it would promote significantly more weapon and attachment diversity. Of course some people are still going to min-max no matter how insignificant the benefits are. I would just like to be able to use a shortened SA-58 and be remotely competitive with a BMD'd 21" CASV SA-58. Or be able to C-clamp a Zhukov AK-102 without a foregrip and not lose to an equal-skill player 3/5 times who has the same gun, but with an RK-2. Soft skill requirements for tasks and upgrades should be removed. They incline people to figure out ways of abusing the system and given people a reason to endorse it in order to progress through the task lines and upgrade their hideout. Soft skills should only be a passive reward for playing the game, not something people feel obligated to abuse. Additionally, PMCs should start at a higher level of soft skills, say... 10, to reflect the training and experience they received during employment. It doesn't make sense that untrained scavs have the same physical and mental capabilities as professional soldiers. Certain skills as well can benefit greatly from a rework. Let's look at the following: Strength The elite perk is incredibly overpowered, but only because of how extreme it is. It could be changed so that each level of Strength increments a small % of the current elite perk, such as 0.5% per level, and then an additional 5% or so for elite, so at level 51, only 70% of the weight from worn gear would be counted. Run speed and Jump height could be reduced, and the leveling speed increased. On the topic of gear weight, now that the weight system has been introduced and we get slower the heavier we get, could flat movement speed penalties from armor be removed? 6B43 already weighs 20KG. Why does it also slow for an additional 42%? Nobody uses heavy armor anymore because the extra protection is not worth the forfeiture of loot AND lowered base movement speed AND lowered sensitivity/ergonomics. Sensitivity inconsistency is another issue and most consider it a cardinal sin in FPS games. Recoil Control Heavily reduce the benefits. -0.3% recoil per level totaling -15% at level 50. As well, -0.4% recoil on the first shot per mouse click. The elite perk could be an additional 5% reduction on the first shot per mouse click. This would be a nice buff to semi-autos and make them more competitive against the current laser beam meta guns. Search The elite perk, again, is overpowered. Perhaps starting at Search level 0, we should be able to search two items at the same time, but at 40% speed each if searching two items at once. If only one item is searched at a time, speed would remain at 100%. With each level, search speed for double search increases by 1% and single search by 2% and the elite perk adds an additional 10%, bringing double search speed up to 100% at level 51 without the black and white difference between levels 50 and 51. TL;DR: No TL;DR because I know some people will draw wild conclusions before fully understanding the content of the post.
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.
*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
Bitcoin is the most censorship resistant money in the world.
You don't have to buy a “whole” bitcoin so don't freak out if you look at the price. You can buy a piece of one no problem.
The Dallas Mavericks accept Bitcoin on their website. You don't trust Mark Cuban. He's the best shark.
Bitcoin is the best performing asset of the last decade (better than S&P500).
Diversify your current portfolio.
It's not illegal in the USA.
You holding just one satoshi slightly limits the supply and can rise the price for everyone else.
[In late 2019] hash rate is the highest it has ever been
Suicide insurance; if Bitcoin rises in price there is no worse feeling than regret.
Some of the smartest people in computer science and cryptography are working on it. Trust nerds.
Look at the all time historical chart. No technical analysis just tell me what you think when you look at it.
Money is a belief system... and I want to believe.
Transparent ledger, no funny business going on it's easy to audit.
Elon Musk appears to be a fan. How's that for an appeal to authority
There is a fixed limit in the number of bitcoins that will exist. 21 million bitcoin, 7 billion people on earth. Do the math.
There are so many examples of governments inflating their currency to the point where it becomes unusable. Read the wikipedia page for Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
Altcoins make sacrifices in either security or centralization. There are altcoins out there that claim to be innovating but just check the scoreboard nothing has flipped Bitcoin in market value or even gotten close.
With technology developing at a rate faster than law, governments and for-profit businesses have the ability to monitor our purchases, location, our habits, and all of this has happened without consent. People made jokes and conspiracy theory, but sometimes conspiracy is real. Most people are good, but there is absolutely evil out there. There are absolutely evil people in positions of power. There are absolutely evil people that work together in positions of power. Does anyone actually believe that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. Go read about Leslie Wexner. Go read the cypherpunk manifesto.
The upcoming halvening in 2020 will reduce the number of Bitcoin created in each block, making them more scarce, and if history repeats more valuable.
Bitcoin has lower fees than traditional banking.
Gold has the advantage of being a physical thing. But unlike gold you know Bitcoin is not forged, or mixed with another metal, and you can easily break it into tiny pieces and send it over the internet to someone.
Bitcoin could spark new interests maybe you start to read more into economics, computer science, or Brock Pierce.
Bitcoin has survived with no leader, marketing team, public relations, or legal team.
Because Wired magazine said Bitcoin was dead at $2, Forbes said it was dead at $15, NY Times at $208, and CNN at $333.
Just do a cost benefit analysis. What happens if Bitcoin fails and it goes to zero vs. what happens if it succeeds, and becomes world money.
Bitcoin encourages long term thinking, planning, saving. Due to inflation we are punished by holding on to cash. Look up the statistics on the average savings account while we are bombarded with consumerist bullshit like Funko pop heads, Loot crate subscription services, and new syrup flavors for coffee. Currently we are encouraged to spend now, seek immediate gratification, and ignore what we are becoming as Amazon picks out our clothes and toothpaste ships it to the house and we sit and watch streaming services where content is pushed to us and I'm supposed to buy that this garbage is actually “trending”. Our lives have become so comfortable that idiots spend $60 to escape a room and have someone take your picture when you get out. What would our ancestors think.
Maybe you're a day trader looking to use a trading bot in an unregulated market.
Bitcoin has 7 letters in it. Lucky number 7.....
Bitcoin promises to bank the unbanked, and provide services to those not otherwise “qualified” to open a bank account.
It's just cool, don't you want to seem smart to all your friends.
The origin story is so nuts there's going to be a movie or several movies about the early days of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto remains anonymous to this day. Imagine if the inventor of the cell phone was anonymous.
If you have money to burn, don't buy soda, weed, or some girls private snapchat it's a dead end put it towards Bitcoin and give it to your child in the future.
To avoid getting ripped off by foreign exchange fees just because you were born one place and your friends were born in another place.
Can't live off the grid in your log cabin and still use Mastercard. Bitcoin is one piece of opting out.
If one country adopts BTC as the national currency, it doesn't take much thought to realise that others will follow.
Join a welcoming and unique community. Everyone is super nice because they want your money.
You can stick it to the baby boomers.
You can stick it to the vegans.
You can stick it Roger Ver.
Maybe your IQ is 70 and you'll do whatever CNBC Fast Money recommends.
Maybe a hacker infects your computer, records you doing that thing, and threatens to release the tape if you do not pay them 1.5 Bitcoin.
You're a risk taker looking for some risky investment.
Aliens attack like Independence Day, blow up major cities in major countries, your money is still safe with Bitcoin. As long as there is a some guy, some person, living on an island with a copy of the ledger out there on your'e good. We're all good.
Many proposals to scale the number of transactions, may the best plan win.
One day you might have to use BTC to pay taxes, buy food, and charge your Tesla.
You want to support a political group and remain private.
You can trust math more than you can trust people to set an emission rate.
Government don't know how much you have.
The first response to Bitcoin being published by Hal Finney stated that Bitcoin was positioned to reach million dollar valuation. Hal was the first bull and passed away in 2014, missing a lot #doitforHal.
Baddies can't freeze your money if they mad at you.
The Big Bang Theory mentioned it, maybe you want to be like Sheldon the bazinga guy.
Be contrarian. In a world where everyone zigs it's sometimes good to zag.
Don't have any hobbies, and you just need a reason to get up in the morning.
Enjoy learning? Bitcoin is a topic where there is so much to learn, and so much development, that it really becomes a never ending journey. For someone who likes learning, it's more productive than speedrunning a video game.
Yolo. You only live once. This isn't a dress rehearsal, if there's something your kind of interested in pursue it. That's true for anything not just Bitcoin. But if you're reading this I'm assuming you're interested.
Bitcoin is not a ponzi scheme. The difference is Bitcoin does not need new people buying in to work, blocks being added will continue even if the community stopped growing.
With religion on the decline maybe you want to join a cult. Crypto twitter is a great echo chamber to meet like minded people.
Satoshi Nakamoto found a way to distribute a global currency in a fair way with the ability to adjust the mining difficulty as we go, it's really incredible. You still need computers and electricity to mine new bitcoin today but it's an extremely fair way for people to earn. There was no premine of Bitcoin. Everyone who has Bitcoin either bought it at what the market said, or they earned it.
No CEO in charge of Bitcoin to make bad decisions or a board of directors that can make changes. The users, an ever growing number, are in charge.
Bitcoin has no days off, it has no workers in charge who can get sick or take a holiday.
Bitcoin has survived 10 years (and more). While there will always be dangers, I'd argue that those first few years it was most vulnerable to fail.
Have some trust in the cypherpunks. Anyone who held and didn't sell bitcoin as it went from pennies to five figures is not looking to get rich. They want to change the world.
Potential president Tulsi Gabbard disclosed owning some.
Digital money is the future, anyone who has tried Venmo can see that. Well Bitcoin is a digitally native asset.
Refugees can use Bitcoin to store their wealth as they flee a failing country.
Bitcoin is an open source project. Anthony Pompliano likes to call it a virus but I like how the author of the Bitcoin Standard describes it. Bitcoin is like a song. As long as one person remembers it you can't destroy a song.
Triple entry accounting. When humans first started recording who owes who what we had single-entry accounting. The king's little brother would keep everything written down, but we had to really trust this guy because he could simply erase a line and that money would be gone. When double-entry accounting started to spread 500 years ago it brought with it massive innovation. Businesses could now form relationships across the ocean as they each kept a record. We did not have innovation again until Satoshi's Bitcoin, where blockchain can be used as the neutral third party to keep record. It might not sound important but blockchain allows us to agree upon an objective reality.
Bitcoin is non-political.
Bitcoin is easy to accept. I mean kind of. It's certainly easier than setting up a bank account.
A sandwich used to cost 10 cents in America, I walk into Subway and they don't even have $5 foot longs anymore. Inflation man..
It's a peaceful protest.
Critics say that mining wastes electricity, but if Bitcoin adoption continues the world will actually be incentivized to produce more renewable energy. There are so many waterfalls and sources of energy in the middle of nowhere right now. People might not see a reason to build a power plant over there now, but in the future it can make business sense. Take that waterfall mine bitcoin, and sell them to the people who can't mine. It allows for a business to sell their energy anywhere.
Get into debates around Bitcoin, build those critical thinking skills.
“Predicting rain doesn't count, building arks does”
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
"I never considered for one second having anything to do with it. I detested it the moment it was raised. It’s just disgusting. Bitcoin is noxious poison.”
The immaculate conception. No cryptocurrency can have a start the grassroots way Bitcoin did, it's just impossible given how the space has changed.
There are more than 1000x more U.S. dollars today than there were a hundred years ago.
Bitcoin is the largest transfer of wealth this decade from the least curious to the curious.
The concept of the Star Wars Cantina, Galt's Gulch, or young Beat Generation kids sitting in a basement smoking cigarettes and questioning the world can only exist if money remains fungible.
You can send money to your Dad even if he lives in a country run by bad boys.
Memorize your key, and walk around the world carrying your money in your head.
The Federal Reserve is objectively way too powerful.
John Mcafe promised that if bitcoins were not valued at 1 million dollars by the end of 2020 he would eat his own penis on national television. It will be a sad day if we don't hit that 1 million.
The Apple credit card.
If we ever get artificial intelligence it'll be able to interact with Bitcoin.
Katy Perry is aware of crypto so if by some chance you run into her, you get one chance to strike up conversation, so here's your chance to shine. You don't ask for a picture, you don't say she's pretty, or name your favorite song. Take your shot and ask about what type of cold storage she uses for her bitcoin.
Many people are afraid of a world currency because it's associated with a centralized world power taking control. Bitcoin allows for neutral world money.
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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Bitcoin Mining in August 2018 - Still Profitable? - YouTube
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