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Unpopular opinion - the economy has to become dynamic in order for it to have any longevity (and other musings on the progression)
Ain't no one gonna read this but here it goes! The issue of progression has recently been gaining some traction in the community with Klean and DeadlySlob covering this topic recently. Now any solution to this has an inherent issue associated with it - it'll be uncomfortable to someone. Whatever is done, it'll negatively affect someone, just by the fact of change alone. You cannot make something better by not changing anything. So anything you do or don't do, you will alienate a portion of your playerbase. Early/Mid-game vs Late game. Early and mid game is lauded, late game is considered boring. But why? For startes, firefights last longer, require more skill, movement, tactics and outsmarting your opponent. You value your life, you feel respect even for the shittiest of bullets. You have a feeling that the kill is earned. Guns have tons of recoil so you need to pick your shots. It's... I know it's illegal... but it's fun. Late game however is plagued with a number of issues. Gear gets dominated by very similar loadouts that cover approx 10% of the gear in the game. There's nowhere to progress as you've reached the ceiling. The excitement from killing a kitted player diminishes as time goes as the economy saturates. People start being picky with their loot and only the good stuff brings any sort of satisfaction. The hideout provides a steady, predictable stream of income. You let it run long enough it becomes a mindless PVP battleground. Side note - the black and white fallacy of the makeup of the community. Casuals vs hardcores. Rats vs Chads. Whenever a discussion pops up this dichotomy is always present. "Feature X hurts casuals but doesn't bother hardcore gamers playing 8h a day". No. Like anything in life the population of EFT is subject to the bellcurve distribution. There are hardcore sweaties grinding out the kappa within a week and there are also sunday gamers. Then there's everything else in between. Let's keep that in mind. You don't need to be a streamer or play the game as a full time job to make money. We have a discord for 30+ yr old gamers with families and all of us were swimming in roubles and gear after 3 months of the past wipe. Sure it takes us longer than streamers, but still. The meta Taking weapons as an example. Different items have different stats (recoil, ergonomics, etc), some are obviously better than others which obviously makes them more sought after. There are also different ammo types for every caliber. Then lastly we come to the guns which directly tie into the first point, by their base stats and how much those can be brought down/up by attachments. If you have a plethora of items that have different stats, there's sure to be an optimal loadout. If that optimal loadout is always available at an attainable price to the point where you can run it consistently, then there's really no reason to run anything less. This is the meta and at the moment it's basically a synonym for best in slot. Appealing to a greater good such as gameplay variety is in vain because people will do everything to put themselves in the best possible position. If that means running whatever flavor of meta weapon that is - VAL, M4, FAL alongside top tier lvl 5 or 6 armor over and over and over and over again, so be it. We all know that's not the only way to get by in EFT, but all else being equal - top gear puts you on equal footing at minimum. Trash contextualizes treasure. A rare item is not rare if everyone is running it. It's a normal item. Gear minmaxing combined with a ceiling in progression create a situation where the game becomes stale, people get bored and we get chants for a wipe to releave the pressure. Wipes Wipes however, even at set intervals, are not the solution. Every wipe, in the absence of something fundamentally new, gives you (rapidly) diminishing returns. Doing the same quests over and over is an absolute drag. It's my 7th wipe and this time around I've really hit a brick wall with them. Now imagine doing them every 3 months. Maybe just do an inventory and trader level wipe? Yeah, that's just skipping one part of it and arriving at the same point but even quicker, considering how quickly you can make money. The endpoint being - having enough money to run anything you want all the time without the fear of getting broke. Or in the abstract, having a big enough cushion to make any blow from a bad streak become inconsequential. All of that is just a perpetuation of the same sawtooth progression. Grind, saturate, wipe, grind, saturate, wipe. Side note - persistent character vs wiped character I know there have been talks about having two characters - one persistent that's not wiped and one seasonal that is. On paper this might look like a good solution, but there are some problems. POE players would have to chip in, but I reckong, that in a way this might become a form of matchmaking - the persistent character would be a mode for "sunday" players, while the wiped one for the sweats. I mean, maybe that's the way to go, but if the game is to gave any longevity, the persistent character will eventually face the same issues as the current game, it'll just take longer to develop. Unpopular opinion - The economy is just a set of time and effort gated unlocks. There have been multiple ideas to prolong a wipe, but in my view the fundamental issue with those is that they're based off the same linear progression - start from scratch and acumulate wealth until saturation. Some of these ideas include restricting labs till level X, locking behind a quest or just disabling it for a month. The problem with these is that it's just delaying the inevitable, while also giving a direct buff to those who get there first as they'll have the place virtually to themselves. What follows is also the concept of "starting mid wipe", which essentially means that the gear disparity is so big that the further into a wipe, the more difficult it is to catch up. That effort is directly correlated with experience - the more experience you have the easier it is for you to reset or jump in midwipe. Extending a wipe potentially alleviates that by giving people more opportunity to catch up, but also pushes away from coming back/into the game if they recognize that it had passed their personal breakpoint where it's too hard / frustrating. Perpetual mid-game So out of all of that, a clearer picture emerges. We have to somehow find a solution to always have something to work for, but also not give the impression that you're up against an impenetrable wall. That means that the game needs to pivot around something colloquially known as mid game. How would we define mid-game? That's another debate, but for the sake of the argument we could define that as something in the range of:
Armor: Kirasa/6B23-1 to 6B3TM-01M or Uley chest rigs,
Ammo: 5.45 BP to BT, M855 to M856A1, 7.62 PS to TS-45, etc.
That would be the sort of mean loadout you can run on a consistent basis and you'd see the majority of the time. From the sentiment across the community, this seems to be the most enjoyable state of the game, where the sweetspot is in terms of protection and vulnerability, but allowing a lot of headroom for both variety and Solutions Now we must have to remember that there's a number of changes inbound that will alleviate some of the issues:
Armor will get more realistic hitboxes to match the actual armor plates which should flatten the armor progression curve quite a bit and make more ammo more viable.
Suppressors will get durability
Barrell overheating mechanics should alleviate some of the issues with magdumps.
But those are sill far on the horizon. The uncomfortable reality is that in order to truly balance that you have only a few choices. One is to go down the route of typical FPS tropes where every weapon type is perfectly balanced (i.e. shotguns powerfull but limited range, smg's low recoil, high ROF but weaker, dmrs powerful but high recoil and low ROF, etc). I don't think this will be ever a thing in the game. Another one is to make attachments roughly equal and just attribute the differences to the tacticool visual factor. This would be realistic in a way, but would take away from the game. The last one is to price them out. Literally. I'm of the unpopular opinion that endgame should not be a stage, it should be a state. Dynamic pricing I know I know, last time it failed spectacularly. However, that was a different flea market and the implementation was poorly thought out. Since it didn't have a pivot point to relate to it caused widespread inflation of even the most basic items and was prone to manipulation. However the concept in principal has proven itself to work - M995 was essentially priced out of existence and forced people to look for alternatives like M855A1 or M856A1 or different calibers alltogether. Even the sweaties of sweats got a bit excited when they killed someone with 3 60rounders filled with M995. See where I'm going with this? The execution was poor and poorly thought out. But how about a different implementation? Adjust the prices based on how much an item is (or is not) bought compared to other items of the same item type. Most popular items' price (of a specific category) increases, while the least popular one decreases. This could also be coupled with (or as an alternative) an additional rarity factor which would sort of specify how volatile the price is. Continuing the ammo example M995 would have the highest rarity factor and would be very prone to price increases, while the likes of M855 would be considered common and have a much more stable price. Obviously this would be subject to long term trends and would not happen overnight. But the main aim is to dynamically scale the economy to the general wealth of the playerbase around a certain pivot point which we established before as the mid-game. This would be a quite significant blow to the uberchads as they would unironically struggle to maintain a profit from their runs. And yes, some of them would still probably be able to pull this off, but remember what we said about the bell curve? It's just about making them so insignificant in the global player pool that they'd be a very rare occurance. Global item pools This idea has been floated around by Nikita some time ago but we have no ETA on this. In short - for some items, there is only a set amount that is present in circulation. For example there are only X amount of ReapIR's in the entire economy - spawns, traders, player stashes. If everyone hoards them in their stashes - thats where they'll remain. They don't spawn on maps, they're not sold on traders. Only until they're lost they get reinjected into the item pool. This idea should be reserved only for the absolute top tier OP items. Something that you'd get all giddy if found/looted and you'd contemplate taking it out. Side note, the X amount should scale to the active playerbase, which could be something like a weekly or biweekly moving average of people actively playing the game in a set period. Insurance This one is a bit controversial but also attributes to some of the in game inflation and gear recirculation. If you run a large squad, even if one of you dies, there's a high chance someone will survive and secure others' gear. And even if all of you die, something's bound to come back. This might be a bit controversial, but I think group size should have a debuff to the chance of getting your gear back the higher the bigger your squad size, for example an incremental 10% chance for each additional squadmate. Hideout adjustments Right now fuel consumption is static no matter how much stuff is going on. What if the fuel consumption rate was tied to the size of your bitcoin farm and the amount of crafting going on. Additionally hideout appliances could wear out and require maintenance, which would grant them performance debuffs like increased crafting time. Dynamic stocks. Right now stocks are predictable. You have the same amount of items at a set interval. Things like traders missing some items or not getting a restock due to broken supply lines, which can be cheekily tied into... Dynamic global events/quests Such as as getting rid of scavs on a particular location to remove the roadblock. These might be done per player or as a global event where everyone has to chip in. Summary The subject is difficult and solutions are not simple, but what I do know is that eventually Tarkov will have settle into an identity which will come with a sacrifice either at the expense of vision or mainstream popularity. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk. I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to the 5 people that read this wall of text.
[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)
Source | Guestbook Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself?
I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you?
They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible?
I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught?
they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing?
I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks.
It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth
Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative!
I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks!
I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort?
There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies.
FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious?
We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts.
I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point.
I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you?
By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible...
The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually...
I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity?
A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics?
I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive?
I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all.
DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ?
So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins?
His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road?
Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question?
They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done.
lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online?
I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe?
It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru!
re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you.
I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back?
i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios?
Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits?
Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt.
Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there?
It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you."
No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"?
It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite?
After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him.
Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you
Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author?
I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it?
By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web?
There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76
1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
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Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop.
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit?
There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends
Part 1, Part 2 As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom. As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed. As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying. A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone. I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’ I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then- My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness. “James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.” I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.” Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.” ‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked. “James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.” I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch. “What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh. I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence. It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered. Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen. When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch. Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started. “I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.” “When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.” “As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.” Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked? “Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants. “I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out. “Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back. “She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now. “There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.” ‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?” “Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’ “I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.” Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?” “Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered. Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.” My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?” Karl studied me. “Why?” “It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted. Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking. I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with. Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends. We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park. By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch. “They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.” “Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt. Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her. “Tinder?” I asked. “It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said. Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub. Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd. I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her. She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her. The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped. The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt. Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone. “What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood. “Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all. “No I think I need to be alone right now.” Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames. Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again. I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip. There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution. ‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’ I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette. -MJL (Final part)
‘Baby Al Capone’ Ellis Pinsky pulled off a $23.8 million crypto heist
In January 2018, a team of some half-dozen computer hackers — scattered across Europe and the United States — scammed their way into Michael Terpin’s cryptocurrency account, fleeced it and laundered the funds: some $23.8 million, according to a bombshell lawsuit. Allegedly at the center of the heist was Westchester teen Ellis Pinsky. According to papers filed May 7 in Manhattan federal court, Pinsky is “an evil mastermind.” The suit asks for $71.4 million. The wildest part? Ellis was just 15 years old at the time of the theft. To neighbors and classmates at Irvington HS, he was an ordinary 10th-grader who ran track, played soccer, loved cool sneakers and got good grades. Ellis’ bedroom in the $1.3 million home he shared with his family, including his NYU Langone-physician mother, had three computer monitors for playing his favorite games, Counter-Strike and Call of Duty. But according to an insider, there was at least one unusual thing about Ellis. As related in the complaint, he once allegedly wrote to an acquaintance, “I could buy you and all your family. I have 100 million dollars.” The complaint also alleges that an accomplice saw, in December 2017, “records indicating that Ellis had $70 million.” Ellis and friends partying with champagne at Up&Down nightclub on 14th street. Pals outside the heist apparently viewed Ellis as a virtual-money wunderkind. “His best friend thought he was making money through trading Bitcoin and stock,” the insider said. But the complaint alleges that Ellis was the apparent ringleader in the scheme against Terpin, who is a pioneer in the world of cryptocurrency: “In his early teens, [Ellis] began hacking computers with the mission of accessing his victims’ private accounts where they store their cryptocurrency holdings or private information.” Ellis’ attorney, Noam Biale, told The Post: “Ellis was a child at the time of the alleged conduct . . . It is deeply unfortunate that Mr. Terpin has chosen to bring [a] lawsuit, full of smears and baseless allegations, for no imaginable purpose other than spite.” Video games were allegedly the teen’s gateway to crime. “Ellis is a gamer. That was his primary interest,” the insider said, adding that private video-game chatrooms — where Ellis was allegedly a regular — on platforms such as Discord and Skype are often full of people bragging about hacks. “From there he got interested in stealing cool usernames.” Using a technique known as SIM-swapping, hackers remotely transfer a victim’s digital identity from the SIM card that controls the victim’s phone to a blank SIM card in one of the hackers’ phones. Sometimes this is done to steal a victim’s social-media identity, as “OG handles” — such as @A or @evil — can be sold for big bucks. Ellis also allegedly used SIM-swapping to steal cryptocurrency. Going from nicking names to pulling off multimillion-dollar heists is not that much of a leap, the insider insists: “Once you are in somebody’s phone, stealing valuable names, taking their Bitcoin seems obvious. Plus, stealing crypto is impersonal. For kids who spend their whole lives staring at screens and playing games, it feels natural.” According to Terpin’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell, Ellis and his crowd were always on the lookout for vulnerable marks. As alleged in the complaint, one of the teen’s collaborators, Nick Truglia, specialized in that task. Four years older than Ellis and a onetime finance/economics major at Baruch College, Truglia’s “assignments included . . . obtaining [a victim’s] cellphone and passcode numbers, conning the mobile-phone carrier into giving him or another imposter a new SIM card and then handing the scam off to [Ellis] to execute the hack,” the complaint states. Last year, Truglia was arrested and charged with another hack. He is currently out on bail. In a civil case, a default judgment was issued against him for the Terpin robbery and he was slapped by a California court with a record-setting $75.8 million judgment. Nick Truglia (left) was found guilty on civil charges of stealing cryptocurrency from Michael Terpin (right) — a scheme allegedly led by Ellis Pinsky. The case against Ellis alleges that the teen oversaw the hijacking of Terpin’s BlackBerry — which led to his digital vault, called a “native wallet,” where the $23.8 million was stashed. Forty-eight hours later, said Terpin, the thieves had laundered his virtual cash. “Your phone goes dead and theirs is alive,” he told The Post last year. “Then they own you.” As the alleged ringleader, Ellis apparently had a knack for organizing and bullying. “He would tell everyone what to do [during heists],” said the insider. “He bragged about [the Terpin robbery] being his job. He’s a very smart guy and a control freak. If you pissed him off, he would start texting you from weird numbers and threaten you. He’d call your parents and say weird things.” One such alleged victim was a chat-room pal who lived nearby. According to a 2018 report that the 16-year-old pal filed with Eastchester, NY, police, Ellis “made threats to me about having me or my mom killed” after he accidentally let strangers into their chatroom. Things apparently escalated when the pal was allegedly enlisted by Ellis to help launder the Terpin money and lost some $700,000 after he sent funds to the wrong person. Crypto being what it is, the funds could not be retrieved. After the money went missing, the pal told police, “[Ellis] asked me to start getting him some money through selling drugs, shoes or in any way possible. He requested $3,000 to $4,000 a week.” It is unclear what, if any, action was taken by authorities. **I could buy you and all your family. I have 100 million dollars. – Ellis Pinsky, allegedly threatening an acquaintance** It seems that Ellis was spending his money — converted from cryptocurrency to cash — to live a high life. As per a JetSmarter order form provided to The Post by a source who asked not to be named, Pinsky maintained an account with the private-air service. Additionally, according to the insider, he drove an Audi R8, scored great Rangers hockey seats and dressed in splashy Louis Vuitton and Supreme streetwear. How a kid explains such conspicuous consumption to his parents remains something of a mystery. Said the insider: “I think he told his parents that he made Bitcoin online through video games and got lucky.” The complaint maintains, “Whether [Ellis’] parents were recklessly negligent or worse in failing to monitor and control their wayward son remains to be seen.” Ellis’ fly style helped the teen fit in when carousing with fellow hacker Truglia. A photo viewed by The Post shows Ellis at the nightclub Up & Down, brandishing an open bottle of Dom Pérignon while flanked by slinky young women. Still, the insider said, “He showed little interest in being at the club. After posing for pictures with bottles, he’d go outside.” Even while he was spending, the insider added, Ellis kept an eye on his money. “He had a designer wallet packed with $100 bills but he never liked to pay for anything,” the insider said. “He was an extreme miser. He anticipated retiring from crime after the Terpin heist.” Apparently, he didn’t anticipate getting busted by his alleged victim. After Truglia’s 2019 arrest, Ellis allegedly texted a mutual friend: “[Truglia] is a dumbass . . . and got caught.” ##How Ellis Pinsky allegedly spent his stolen loot: ## Things appear to have unraveled for Ellis during an investigation of the missing crypto. As Terpin attorney O’Donnell listened to recordings between collaborators in the crime, the teen’s name came up as a key participant. O’Donnell told The Post that he contacted Ellis’ mother at her office, and a lawyer returned the attorney’s call. Although Ellis did not admit to anything, he allegedly took unusual action. Soon after, according to the complaint, “Pinsky . . . sent cryptocurrency, cash and a watch to [Terpin] without any condition . . . There was no other reason to repatriate these items — worth nearly $2 million at the time — other than to make a partial repayment of what he had stolen from Terpin.” According to O’Donnell, among the items was a “Patek Philippe Nautilus [watch], worth over $100,000.” As the civil suit hangs — O’Donnell and Terpin anticipate a response from Ellis’ attorney within the next 60 days or so — no criminal charges have been filed against the teen. “I want to know why [prosecutors] have not indicted this kid,” said O’Donnell. “He is caught dead to rights.” A Department of Justice spokesman would only say that “Ellis Pinsky has not been charged by this office.” Terpin admitted to The Post that he waited until Ellis’ 18th birthday earlier this year to file suit against the teen as an adult. That way, Terpin said, “It will be easier to sue him [than it would be if he was a minor] and we’re intending to get treble damages” — repayment of three times the sum stolen. “These are crypto gangsters. My nickname . . . for [Ellis] is Baby Al Capone.’” Ellis, apparently, is still living at his mother’s Irvington home, as a Post photographer spotted him there last week. “Look at Ellis’ life and there is no reason for him to do what he did,” the insider said. “He’s a standout kid with a dark side.” Source: https://thedailyblockchain.news/2020/05/24/baby-al-capone-ellis-pinsky-pulled-off-a-23-8-million-crypto-heist/
I decided to go back and look at the info we’ve been told and compare these three women for similarities and differences as each were targets: Liz, Katarina, and Samar. Target: Liz 3.5 Arioch Cain Liz tells Red that the Cabal found them. He tells her it’s worse than that because Wendigo is after her. Wendigo
The myth of a nameless assassin.
He works for no one
Vigilante justice: He identifies, hunts, and kills targets he deems unfit for society.
Some believe he’s ex-special ops because his presence is felt but never seen.
Deadnotaliveorg - Website where Liz was nominated to be a target by Blair to avenge her mother’s death in the OREA bombing. She used the screen name Arioch Cain. - Bounty on the darknet of $700,000 to anyone who killed Liz. The amount came from Bitcoin donations (crowdsourcing). - Assassins had to prove the job was done: “By submitting the date, location, and method of execution, plus a unique identifier. Wendigo’s was Psalm 1:1.” - Two-key system: Only the person who nominated her to be assassinated can take her off the site Aram stresses “They’ll be others....There’s no limit to how many assassins could be coming after her.” This is a common thread among Katarina, Liz, and Samar. Target: Katarina 3.19 assassins in Cape May After killing the first intruder, Katarina tells Red: “It doesn’t matter. He’s one of them. Not the first, not the last” and “We don’t have much time. They’re coming.” Season 7 and the Townsend Directive -Reactivated - Motya and others bought in and are actively hunting Katarina - Groups involved: The Russian Vory, KGB, the Americans – her enemies – have pooled their resources and put a bounty on her head. - Named after Neville Townsend: “He’s at the top of a very long list of people who want her dead.” - Bounty amount is unknown We know the OUC was also after her; not sure if they bought into the TD or were separate from it. Target: Samar 6.14 OUC (Katarina was also a target of the OUC). Red’s statement to Levi is interesting: “The only condition that would justify what you’ve done is if she (Samar) were a traitor. She isn’t.” Does he view Katarina as a traitor, and therefore her assassination would be justified? Red, like Aram and Katarina previously did, stressed that there would be more assassins; Liz: The room’s destroyed, and the assassin’s dead. Red: An(!) assassin’s dead. There’ll be more. Samar knows that. Red: The only person with the authority to call off the contract is the Mossad’s D.C. Station Chief (Dagan). However, Dagan claims he wasn’t part of the vote. The decision was already made by Levi. And he refused to call it off. Similarities and Differences:
Samar’s was really personal. Levi, her colleague, made her a target after using Aram to find out about her illness and use it as cause for assassination
We don’t know Neville’s connection to Katarina yet. Was he in a position like Levi? Was he her colleague? We know she was a traitor to two superpowers.
With all 3, whoever nominated or made each woman a target was the one who had to call it off: Blair for Liz, Levi for Samar, and Neville for Katarina. No one else could/can do that.
Liz being targeted by Blair was a case of misinformation. She wrongly believed Liz to be her mother’s killer as she was framed by the Cabal.
I found it interesting Red refers to Wendigo as a “myth” and Katarina as “an illusion” and a “ghost.”
All of them had multiple assassins coming for them
Liz and Katarina had/have bounties on their heads. No bounty mentioned for Samar; just eliminate her.
Edited for formatting, errors, and additional points
Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos. Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%. The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women. For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text: By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers. Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited. He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape. Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail. Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers. The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein. In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.” Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again. Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works. 7 men and a headless parrot The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford. Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.” After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk. In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive. All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real. In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.” Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said. Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing. “Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?” A victim becomes a hacker Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California. But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015. Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.) By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued. On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia. Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras. Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail. “This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit. A chance to sway the Israeli election Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal. According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.) “Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote. Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out. “Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked. “Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered. Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images. “Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning. Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening. Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.” ‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’ The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish. You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business. One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos. Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements. Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said. Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.” Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men. “I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew. “Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.” “I call it our hot list,” he added. Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men. Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.” The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women. Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans. Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O. Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims. The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents. Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it. ‘We keep it. We keep everything’ Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men? Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room. “I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’” During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found. Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011. The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern. After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story. “I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed. A Weinstein cameo On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls. The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion. The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back. While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz. ‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’ One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies. “The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.” “Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.” “Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?” “Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.” “And you don’t have anything on me, right?” “I do not, no,” Kessler said. “Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.” What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed? Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too. “You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said. Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3. Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct. Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage. On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv. Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.” In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent. In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.” “No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.” “Thank you very much,” Kessler responded. Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”) Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients. ‘I just pulled it out of my behind’ The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. “I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.” Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines. Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion? Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.” Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them. By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse. Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said. But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands. In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.” The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler. As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said. Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.” He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
Overview of Major Risks of Buying Nyancoins - Version 6
This is the sixth version of the NYAN risks document (based on v5 (v4 (v3 , v2 and original)). These are obsoleted periodically as the old ones get archived to allow for comments again via a new post, to re-examine the risks in light of changes, and for greater visibility. The purpose of these documents is to provide a best-effort discussion of major risk factors in gambling on NYAN, modeled on the risks disclosure in a 10k (annual report) which is mandated for publicly traded companies in the United States. This document is provided with no guarantee that major risk factors have not been missed, and it is important to recognize my (coinaday) personal bias from holding about one-third of the total supply of NYAN. Please comment on any risks which are not mentioned here or additional aspects of risks here you think should be further emphasized or any other possible disclosure you think would be helpful to a person considering gambling on NYAN. Executive summary Nyancoins have no exchange, no core developer at the moment, uncertain demand, have had inconsistent blocks, are very vulnerable to 51% attacks, have the potential for serious bugs, an uncertain legal situation, concentrated ownership, low liquidity, depend upon the Internet, may be addictive, and could make you wealthy, which has been alleged to lead to more problems. Introduction: This is my best attempt to collect every major risk factor from buying Nyancoins, although I can offer no warranty of fitness for this information for any purposes. I believe in honesty and forthrightness. Having this available and obvious is a simple matter of basic decency. Much, hopefully all, of this information has been discussed previously in /nyancoins, but this document in particular is about being up-to-date and central. This page will be updated clearly as appropriate if situations change on a best-effort basis (which may mean updates do not happen for months at times, unfortunately; please ping for faster updates). If you believe that I am missing something, please note any other major risks you see in the comments. Exchanges: Nyancoins are not currently traded on any exchange. It may be listed on one minor exchange but have no volume there. Obviously an unlisted cryptocurrency is in a bad situation. I hope to see us gain a listing on an exchange which supports low volume coins in 2020 but I have no current prospect of this and it should be considered a longshot at best. Previously we traded on Trade Satoshi and prior to that on Cryptopia and prior to that on Cryptsy. All three exchanges failed us (Trade Satoshi delisted without allowing withdrawal; Cryptopia delisted and failed to provide withdrawal and then went bankrupt; Cryptsy went bankrupt). This is a further reminder that exchanges are a major risk and one should be extremely careful to not keep more coins on there than one can comfortably afford to lose. In theory, there are decentralized exchange technologies, notably CATE; however, I think we currently lack some needed APIs for this. I'm not certain but we haven't demonstrated the capability yet. On-Reddit exchanges are also possible with tipbots, but require trust as they are not atomic. It should be possible to build an "exchangebot" similarly, although I'm not currently aware of one, but my concept would still have the bot as a trusted central party. Atomic cross-chain transactions seem to me like a very promising core technology ultimately for building exchanges which can be more proveably secure. They could also allow exchanges to share a common listing protocol as well without having to trust the other exchanges (at least, beyond the core protocol development and maintenance; tanstaafl). This is not yet accomplished though and in the meantime we remain vulnerable to periodic exchange failures. Core developer: Although we have good general tech support in this community and have put up supporting infrastructure, there is not anyone officially currently working on core client code. This is a significant problem for the long-term, although we are not in any immediate known need of changes. ImASharkRawwwr has returned to the community and may do future client updates, but I'm leaving the lack of core developer risk unchanged until there is an update released. This is not intended as a slight in any way but merely being cautious in the risks document and recognizing that we aren't certain when or if there will be a next release. Demand: NYAN was introduced in 2014 and during the second half of that year had so little demand that it almost died out. In January 2015 I got involved in the coin and for most of 2015 and 2016 I was the majority of the buying pressure. I base these statements on my recollection of the trading history so far and the fact that I have acquired more than 120 million coins, somewhere around 41% of the coins (latest hodling report, June 2017), as well as my observations that I had usually had the leading major bid, and usually the leading bid regardless of size. In 2017, I have generally not been a major factor in the demand, as I haven’t had money to spare to gamble on NYAN. In June 2017, we have had a spike in buying from an unknown source. It is unknown whether significant demand for NYAN will continue. Because its value is purely speculative, it is entirely possible that demand for NYAN could simply end. This is a fundamental risk in gambling on NYAN; it is entirely possible that its value will go to zero and not recover. By the end of 2019, we lost exchange listing. I know of no current demand for NYAN. I hope to see us listed and demand exist in the future but should not be relied upon. NYAN last traded around 9 satoshi according to coinmarketcap but it may well not even trade that high even if relisted someday - there could be a flood of selling and no buyers. Inconsistent blocks: Although NYAN is designed to produce a block every minute, there have been times where there has been more than 24 hours between blocks. This results because of an imperfect difficulty function and low base hashing, along with price fluctuations, which can combine to have a low difficulty making the coin attractive for a flood of hashing power which can lead the difficulty function to overcompensate, leaving it stuck with a high difficulty no longer profitable to mine. I haven’t observed this lately, that is, I don’t recall incidents of this in 2017, but I’ve been paying far less attention to it as well. It is entirely possible for this to recur, as the difficulty function is not fixed (it would require a hard fork to fix it). We seem to have more baseline hashing which helps to avoid this, but it is possible for us to lose that. A workaround is to use large transaction fees (I've set my client to 337 NYAN) which is enough to cause pools to generally solve a block even if the chain were otherwise stuck. It may be possible to include a better difficulty function in a hard fork client, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done and it's not yet clear what design improvement if any would fix this. 51% attack: Because of the generally quite low hashing power on NYAN, it is highly vulnerable to a 51% attack. Either a leading pool or a new one could choose to do a denial-of-service attack, whether for extortion, lulz, or some other reason (like coinaday being annoying). Such an attack is capable of preventing any transaction processing for as long as it is sustained. I consider this a relatively low risk since I expect we would simply wait it out (and potentially not even notice such an attack for quite a while given the low volume of transactions currently), but it is definitely a potential vulnerability. Bugs: It is possible that there are bugs in the underlying code. I have never read through all of the bitcoin or nyancoin code, of any version, nor even studied the original bitcoin whitepaper in depth (by the way, we oughta make up a nyancoin whitepaper or ten someday), meaning I have no professional or technical knowledge about whether or not the system is fundamentally sound. I've been going based on "it seems to be working, so it's probably fine", which is, shall we say, more of an engineering than scientific approach. I have heard reference to a "time warp" bug vulnerability in the KGW difficulty function which Nyancoins has. I do not know details and my understanding is a fix to this would require a fork to change the difficulty function, so I do not anticipate a fix before NYAN3, the term for an eventual hard fork, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done. I consider this vulnerability to be likely to be related to the fundamental weakness to difficulty spikes after large amounts of hashing jumps on the network. Hostile (or simply passing interest with large capacity) hashing does degrade the performance of the network. As a workaround, this class of attack can be mitigated with a transaction to 'unstick' the chain after, since the difficulty function will adjust in the next block after enough wall-time has passed since the last block (so only need one high difficulty solve which can be triggered by a transaction fee). Legal: Bitcoin faces uncertain legal situations in almost every country. Nyancoin is even more uncertain, as people tend to consider bitcoin and not address impacts on altcoins. Between the potential tax implications and banking regulations and currency laws, there are a wide variety of ways a person could make a felony-level mistake. This can be somewhat mitigated by merely buying and holding, as you won't be responsible for KYC/AML presumably (although an argument could be made in your purchase), and presumably unrealized capital gains wouldn't be taxable (but I am neither a lawyer nor accountant nor any sort of expert on the relevant accounting laws in any country). Somehow getting legal opinions for Nyancoins in every country would be very useful in my opinion. If Bitcoin and altcoins are well-studied in a given country it should be relatively easy to adapt those opinions and research to Nyancoins, but it would still require some pro bono work in any case. So...hopefully we'll get some lawyer Nekonauts someday who are willing to semi-officially give us an opinion. In the meantime...hope that common sense can save you. If you sell Nyancoins directly, you're going to need to comply with the KYC/AML types of laws of your country. If you're going to do banking operations...may the central bank have mercy on your soul. I think the best advantage we have is the same bitcoin had for its first years: we're too small for anyone to care. But since we plan to grow significantly, we need to be aware of our legal issues upon scale. Which is to say, whether or not you're allowed to sell 10,000 NYAN to your friend probably has a lot to do with whether your friend legally acquired whatever is being offered in exchange, and whether the value of what you get in return is above a certain level or not. I'm not going to try guessing that level precisely because I know I'll be wrong. $1 is probably fine. $10,000 is probably illegal without some significant licensing. I would suggest either not touching fiat or else deliberately capping it without verification after getting an independent local expert legal opinion. concentration: The fact that I hold about 41%(? not sure the exact percentage as of Dec 2017 ; need to do updated survey to check; 41% sounds slightly high to me but I'll see...I'll try to update by the end of the year or shortly after) of the currently outstanding NYAN could be a major risk factor, particularly if I do not act in the best long-term interests of the strength of Nyancoins. For instance, I could pull my bids, sell only a small part of my holdings, crash the market, and potentially buy a lot of volume for a lower price. While I cannot foresee any circumstance under which I would do this, it is certainly conceivable that I could be financially, legally, or morally obligated to do so if I were to become insolvent. Liquidity: There is very little trading activity in NYAN. Therefore, large purchases will drive the price up and large sales will drive the price down. This means that entering and exiting a position is likely to result in "slippage", so even if the price has increased slightly overall since the time before one entered a position to the time before one exits it, it is quite possible that the overall trade will be neutral or negative as a result of the pressure on the market. For an extreme example, my own position would be essentially impossible to exit from the market without crashing the price, and even so it would likely be difficult to find buyers even at a satoshi, based on that I currently am the majority of the bids on the market. This is closely tied to the concentration risk but if I were to exit NYAN for any reason or simply fail to continue to renew bids the liquidity would dry up even further. At the end of 2019, having no exchange, there is functionally zero liquidity. In theory peer to peer trading could still be done but I’m unaware of any. Internet outage: if the Internet goes down, we hit a very nasty scenario. We can't process transactions, and all the miners go into a race to make 'useless' blocks on their own. If the Internet were never to come back up, Nyancoins would be dead. If there is a daylong internet outage, the longest blockchain discovered after, presumably representing the most hashing power dedicated to empty blocks during that outage, will win. So I suppose the block rewards in that case are for having the faith in Nyancoins to keep hashing and storing the blockchain during the day without the Internet. addictive: This was a curiosity to me when I started. Now it's an obsession for me. I'm constantly thinking about how I can help to smooth the path for Nyancoins to grow stronger and better and more valuable. You may find that once you start to realize the impact you can have upon Nyancoins, and that Nyancoins can have upon you, that you start to become addicted as well. It is possible to substitute another addiction in its place, such as dogecoins or pcp, but it is not recommended. Nyancoin addictions are considered 'mostly harmless'. The exception is if you go 'full coinaday' and start to accumulate more than 10% of your assets in Nyancoins. In this, this is essentially a variety of gambling addiction. I would argue that it beats roulette because you can tilt the odds in your favor, but then, I would argue that, wouldn't I? mo' nyan mo' problems: Some people have claimed that more money leads to more problems. Since nyan is money, it follows as a consequence of the conjecture. Should this be the case, your increasing nyan could potentially lead to such problems in the future as: enhanced attention from revenue collection services of all kinds (governmental and private), swarms of fake friends and gold-diggers, excessive risk-taking as a result of feelings of invincibility, an increase in certain varieties of targeted marketing, possible disqualification for asset-based welfare for you (or even your children, for instance college financial assistance), an inability to remember how many houses you own, or other serious problems. Conclusion The lack of any exchange trading Nyancoins is a major risk factor in its future survival. If it is listed, the lack of development is likely the next most serious. The coin currently survives but whether it will continue to do so in the future is far from certain. If those of us who have found or come back to NYAN choose to keep it alive, I believe it still has a chance at surviving into a stronger future. This self-certified infallible message has been brought to you as a Public Service Announcement of the NYAN Public Relations Council, a transparent front organization of notoriously lovable philanthropist and major NYAN hodler coinaday.
Which are your Top 5 favourite coins out of the Top 100? An analysis.
I am putting together my investment portfolio for 2018 and made a complete summary of the current Top 100. Interestingly, I noticed that all coins can be categorized into 12 markets. Which markets do you think will play the biggest role in the coming year? Here is a complete overview of all coins in an excel sheet including name, market, TPS, risk profile, time since launch (negative numbers mean that they are launching that many months in the future) and market cap. You can also sort by all of these fields of course. Coins written in bold are the strongest contenders within their market either due to having the best technology or having a small market cap and still excellent technology and potential. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s8PHcNvvjuy848q18py_CGcu8elRGQAUIf86EYh4QZo/edit#gid=0 The 12 markets are
Currency 13 coins
Platform 25 coins
Ecosystem 9 coins
Privacy 10 coins
Currency Exchange Tool 8 coins
Gaming & Gambling 5 coins
Misc 15 coins
Social Network 4 coins
Fee Token 3 coins
Decentralized Data Storage 4 coins
Cloud Computing 3 coins
Stable Coin 2 coins
Before we look at the individual markets, we need to take a look of the overall market and its biggest issue scalability first: Cryptocurrencies aim to be a decentralized currency that can be used worldwide. Its goal is to replace dollar, Euro, Yen, all FIAT currencies worldwide. The coin that will achieve that will be worth several trillion dollars. Bitcoin can only process 7 transactions per second (TPS). In order to replace all FIAT, it would need to perform at at least VISA levels, which usually processes around 3,000 TPS, up to 25,000 TPS during peak times and a maximum of 64,000 TPS. That means that this cryptocurrency would need to be able to perform at least several thousand TPS. However, a ground breaking technology should not look at current technology to set a goal for its use, i.e. estimating the number of emails sent in 1990 based on the number of faxes sent wasn’t a good estimate. For that reason, 10,000 TPS is the absolute baseline for a cryptocurrency that wants to replace FIAT. This brings me to IOTA, which wants to connect all 80 billion IoT devices that are expected to exist by 2025, which constantly communicate with each other, creating 80 billion or more transactions per second. This is the benchmark that cryptocurrencies should be aiming for. Currently, 8 billion devices are connected to the Internet. With its Lightning network recently launched, Bitcoin is realistically looking at 50,000 possible soon. Other notable cryptocurrencies besides IOTA and Bitcoin are Nano with 7,000 TPS already tested, Dash with several billion TPS possible with Masternodes, Neo, LISK and RHOC with 100,000 TPS by 2020, Ripple with 50,000 TPS, Ethereum with 10,000 with Sharding. However, it needs to be said that scalability usually goes at the cost of decentralization and security. So, it needs to be seen, which of these technologies can prove itself resilient and performant. Without further ado, here are the coins of the first market
Market 1 - Currency:
Bitcoin: 1st generation blockchain with currently bad scalability currently, though the implementation of the Lightning Network looks promising and could alleviate most scalability concerns, scalability and high energy use.
Ripple: Centralized currency that might become very successful due to tight involvement with banks and cross-border payments for financial institutions; banks and companies like Western Union and Moneygram (who they are currently working with) as customers customers. However, it seems they are aiming for more decentralization now.https://ripple.com/dev-blog/decentralization-strategy-update/. Has high TPS due to Proof of Correctness algorithm.
Bitcoin Cash: Bitcoin fork with the difference of having an 8 times bigger block size, making it 8 times more scalable than Bitcoin currently. Further block size increases are planned. Only significant difference is bigger block size while big blocks lead to further problems that don't seem to do well beyond a few thousand TPS. Opponents to a block size argue that increasing the block size limit is unimaginative, offers only temporary relief, and damages decentralization by increasing costs of participation. In order to preserve decentralization, system requirements to participate should be kept low. To understand this, consider an extreme example: very big blocks (1GB+) would require data center level resources to validate the blockchain. This would preclude all but the wealthiest individuals from participating.Community seems more open than Bitcoin's though.
Litecoin : Little brother of Bitcoin. Bitcoin fork with different mining algorithm but not much else.Copies everything that Bitcoin does pretty much. Lack of real innovation.
Dash: Dash (Digital Cash) is a fork of Bitcoin and focuses on user ease. It has very fast transactions within seconds, low fees and uses Proof of Service from Masternodes for consensus. They are currently building a system called Evolution which will allow users to send money using usernames and merchants will find it easy to integrate Dash using the API. You could say Dash is trying to be a PayPal of cryptocurrencies. Currently, cryptocurrencies must choose between decentralization, speed, scalability and can pick only 2. With Masternodes, Dash picked speed and scalability at some cost of decentralization, since with Masternodes the voting power is shifted towards Masternodes, which are run by Dash users who own the most Dash.
IOTA: 3rd generation blockchain called Tangle, which has a high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. IOTA aims to be the connective layer between all 80 billion IOT devices that are expected to be connected to the Internet in 2025, possibly creating 80 billion transactions per second or 800 billion TPS, who knows. However, it needs to be seen if the Tangle can keep up with this scalability and iron out its security issues that have not yet been completely resolved.
Nano: 3rd generation blockchain called Block Lattice with high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. Unlike IOTA, Nano only wants to be a payment processor and nothing else, for now at least. With Nano, every user has their own blockchain and has to perform a small amount of computing for each transaction, which makes Nano perform at 300 TPS with no problems and 7,000 TPS have also been tested successfully. Very promising 3rd gen technology and strong focus on only being the fastest currency without trying to be everything.
Decred: As mining operations have grown, Bitcoin’s decision-making process has become more centralized, with the largest mining companies holding large amounts of power over the Bitcoin improvement process. Decred focuses heavily on decentralization with their PoW Pos hybrid governance system to become what Bitcoin was set out to be. They will soon implement the Lightning Network to scale up. While there do not seem to be more differences to Bitcoin besides the novel hybrid consensus algorithm, which Ethereum, Aeternity and Bitcoin Atom are also implementing, the welcoming and positive Decred community and professoinal team add another level of potential to the coin.
Aeternity: We’ve seen recently, that it’s difficult to scale the execution of smart contracts on the blockchain. Crypto Kitties is a great example. Something as simple as creating and trading unique assets on Ethereum bogged the network down when transaction volume soared. Ethereum and Zilliqa address this problem with Sharding. Aeternity focuses on increasing the scalability of smart contracts and dapps by moving smart contracts off-chain. Instead of running on the blockchain, smart contracts on Aeternity run in private state channels between the parties involved in the contracts. State channels are lines of communication between parties in a smart contract. They don’t touch the blockchain unless they need to for adjudication or transfer of value. Because they’re off-chain, state channel contracts can operate much more efficiently. They don’t need to pay the network for every time they compute and can also operate with greater privacy. An important aspect of smart contract and dapp development is access to outside data sources. This could mean checking the weather in London, score of a football game, or price of gold. Oracles provide access to data hosted outside the blockchain. In many blockchain projects, oracles represent a security risk and potential point of failure, since they tend to be singular, centralized data streams. Aeternity proposes decentralizing oracles with their oracle machine. Doing so would make outside data immutable and unchangeable once it reaches Aeternity’s blockchain. Of course, the data source could still be hacked, so Aeternity implements a prediction market where users can bet on the accuracy and honesty of incoming data from various oracles.It also uses prediction markets for various voting and verification purposes within the platform. Aeternity’s network runs on on a hybrid of proof of work and proof of stake. Founded by a long-time crypto-enthusiast and early colleague of Vitalik Buterin, Yanislav Malahov. Promising concept though not product yet
Bitcoin Atom: Atomic Swaps and hybrid consenus. This looks like the only Bitcoin clone that actually is looking to innovate next to Bitcoin Cash.
Dogecoin: Litecoin fork, fantastic community, though lagging behind a bit in technology.
Bitcoin Gold: A bit better security than bitcoin through ASIC resistant algorithm, but that's it. Not that interesting.
Digibyte: Digibyte's PoS blockchain is spread over a 100,000+ servers, phones, computers, and nodes across the globe, aiming for the ultimate level of decentralization. DigiByte rebalances the load between the five mining algorithms by adjusting the difficulty of each so one algorithm doesn’t become dominant. The algorithm's asymmetric difficulty has gained notoriety and been deployed in many other blockchains.DigiByte’s adoption over the past four years has been slow. It’s still a relatively obscure currency compared its competitors. The DigiByte website offers a lot of great marketing copy and buzzwords. However, there’s not much technical information about what they have planned for the future. You could say Digibyte is like Bitcoin, but with shorter blocktimes and a multi-algorithm. However, that's not really a difference big enough to truly set themselves apart from Bitcoin, since these technologies could be implemented by any blockchain without much difficulty. Their decentralization is probably their strongest asset, however, this also change quickly if the currency takes off and big miners decide to go into Digibyte.
Bitcoin Diamond Asic resistant Bitcoin and Copycat
Market 2 - Platform
Most of the cryptos here have smart contracts and allow dapps (Decentralized apps) to be build on their platform and to use their token as an exchange of value between dapp services.
Ethereum: 2nd generation blockchain that allows the use of smart contracts. Bad scalability currently, though this concern could be alleviated by the soon to be implemented Lightning Network aka Plasma and its Sharding concept.
EOS: Promising technology that wants to be able do everything, from smart contracts like Ethereum, scalability similar to Nano with 1000 tx/second + near instant transactions and zero fees, to also wanting to be a platform for dapps. However, EOS doesn't have a product yet and everything is just promises still. Highly overvalued right now. However, there are lots of red flags, have dumped $500 million Ether over the last 2 months and possibly bought back EOS to increase the size of their ICO, which has been going on for over a year and has raised several billion dollars. All in all, their market cap is way too high for that and not even having a product.
Cardano: Similar to Ethereum/EOS, however, only promises made with no delivery yet, highly overrated right now. Interesting concept though. Market cap way too high for not even having a product. Somewhat promising technology.
VeChain: Singapore-based project that’s building a business enterprise platform and inventory tracking system. Examples are verifying genuine luxury goods and food supply chains. Has one of the strongest communities in the crypto world. Most hyped token of all, with merit though.
Neo: Neo is a platform, similar to Eth, but more extensive, allowing dapps and smart contracts, but with a different smart contract gas system, consensus mechanism (PoS vs. dBfT), governance model, fixed vs unfixed supply, expensive contracts vs nearly free contracts, different ideologies for real world adoption. There are currently only 9 nodes, each of which are being run by a company/entity hand selected by the NEO council (most of which are located in china) and are under contract. This means that although the locations of the nodes may differ, ultimately the neo council can bring them down due to their legal contracts. In fact this has been done in the past when the neo council was moving 50 million neo that had been locked up. Also dbft (or neo's implmentation of it) has failed underload causing network outages during major icos. The first step in decentralization is that the NEO Counsel will select trusted nodes (Universities, business partners, etc.) and slowly become less centralized that way. The final step in decentralization will be allowing NEO holders to vote for new nodes, similar to a DPoS system (ARK/EOS/LISK). NEO has a regulation/government friendly ideology. Finally they are trying to work undewith the Chinese government in regards to regulations. If for some reason they wanted it shut down, they could just shut it down.
Stellar: PoS system, similar goals as Ripple, but more of a platform than only a currency. 80% of Stellar are owned by Stellar.org still, making the currency centralized.
Ethereum classic: Original Ethereum that decided not to fork after a hack. The Ethereum that we know is its fork. Uninteresing, because it has a lot of less resources than Ethereum now and a lot less community support.
Ziliqa: Zilliqa is building a new way of sharding. 2400 tpx already tested, 10,000 tps soon possible by being linearly scalable with the number of nodes. That means, the more nodes, the faster the network gets. They are looking at implementing privacy as well.
QTUM: Enables Smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain. Useful.
Icon: Korean ethereum. Decentralized application platform that's building communities in partnership with banks, insurance providers, hospitals, and universities. Focused on ID verification and payments. No big differentiators to the other 20 Ethereums, except that is has a product. That is a plus. Maybe cheap alternative to Ethereum.
LISK: Lisk's difference to other BaaS is that side chains are independent to the main chain and have to have their own nodes. Similar to neo whole allows dapps to deploy their blockchain to. However, Lisk is currently somewhat centralized with a small group of members owning more than 50% of the delegated positions. Lisk plans to change the consensus algorithm for that reason in the near future.
Rchain: Similar to Ethereum with smart contract, though much more scalable at an expected 40,000 TPS and possible 100,000 TPS. Not launched yet. No product launched yet, though promising technology. Not overvalued, probably at the right price right now.
ARDR: Similar to Lisk. Ardor is a public blockchain platform that will allow people to utilize the blockchain technology of Nxt through the use of child chains. A child chain, which is a ‘light’ blockchain that can be customized to a certain extent, is designed to allow easy self-deploy for your own blockchain. Nxt claims that users will "not need to worry" about security, as that part is now handled by the main chain (Ardor). This is the chief innovation of Ardor. Ardor was evolved from NXT by the same company. NEM started as a NXT clone.
Ontology: Similar to Neo. Interesting coin
Bytom: Bytom is an interactive protocol of multiple byte assets. Heterogeneous byte-assets (indigenous digital currency, digital assets) that operate in different forms on the Bytom Blockchain and atomic assets (warrants, securities, dividends, bonds, intelligence information, forecasting information and other information that exist in the physical world) can be registered, exchanged, gambled and engaged in other more complicated and contract-based interoperations via Bytom.
Nxt: Similar to Lisk
Stratis: Different to LISK, Stratis will allow businesses and organizations to create their own blockchain according to their own needs, but secured on the parent Stratis chain. Stratis’s simple interface will allow organizations to quickly and easily deploy and/or test blockchain functionality of the Ethereum, BitShares, BitCoin, Lisk and Stratis environements.
Status: Status provides access to all of Ethereum’s decentralized applications (dapps) through an app on your smartphone. It opens the door to mass adoption of Ethereum dapps by targeting the fastest growing computer segment in the world – smartphone users.16. Ark: Fork of Lisk that focuses on a smaller feature set. Ark wallets can only vote for one delegate at a time which forces delegates to compete against each other and makes cartel formations incredibly hard, if not impossible.
Neblio: Similar to Neo, but 30x smaller market cap.
NEM: Is similar to Neo No marketing team, very high market cap for little clarilty what they do.
Bancor: Bancor is a Decentralized Liquidity Network that allows you to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network, with no counter party, at an automatically calculated price, using a simple web wallet.
Dragonchain: The Purpose of DragonChain is to help companies quickly and easily incorporate blockchain into their business applications. Many companies might be interested in making this transition because of the benefits associated with serving clients over a blockchain – increased efficiency and security for transactions, a reduction of costs from eliminating potential fraud and scams, etc.
Skycoin: Transactions with zero fees that take apparently two seconds, unlimited transaction rate, no need for miners and block rewards, low power usage, all of the usual cryptocurrency technical vulnerabilities fixed, a consensus mechanism superior to anything that exists, resistant to all conceivable threats (government censorship, community infighting, cybenucleaconventional warfare, etc). Skycoin has their own consensus algorithm known as Obelisk written and published academically by an early developer of Ethereum. Obelisk is a non-energy intensive consensus algorithm based on a concept called ‘web of trust dynamics’ which is completely different to PoW, PoS, and their derivatives. Skywire, the flagship application of Skycoin, has the ambitious goal of decentralizing the internet at the hardware level and is about to begin the testnet in April. However, this is just one of the many facets of the Skycoin ecosystem. Skywire will not only provide decentralized bandwidth but also storage and computation, completing the holy trinity of commodities essential for the new internet. Skycion a smear campaign launched against it, though they seem legit and reliable. Thus, they are probably undervalued.
Market 3 - Ecosystem
The 3rd market with 11 coins is comprised of ecosystem coins, which aim to strengthen the ease of use within the crypto space through decentralized exchanges, open standards for apps and more
Nebulas: Similar to how Google indexes webpages Nebulas will index blockchain projects, smart contracts & data using the Nebulas rank algorithm that sifts & sorts the data. Developers rewarded NAS to develop & deploy on NAS chain. Nebulas calls this developer incentive protocol – basically rewards are issued based on how often dapp/contract etc. is used, the more the better the rewards and Proof of devotion. Works like DPoS except the best, most economically incentivised developers (Bookkeeppers) get the forging spots. Ensuring brains stay with the project (Cross between PoI & PoS). 2,400 TPS+, DAG used to solve the inter-transaction dependencies in the PEE (Parallel Execution Environment) feature, first crypto Wallet that supports the Lightening Network.
Waves: Decentralized exchange and crowdfunding platform. Let’s companies and projects to issue and manage their own digital coin tokens to raise money.
Salt: Leveraging blockchain assets to secure cash loands. Plans to offer cash loans in traditional currencies, backed by your cryptocurrency assets. Allows lenders worldwide to skip credit checks for easier access to affordable loans.
CHAINLINK: ChainLink is a decentralized oracle service, the first of its kind. Oracles are defined as an ‘agent’ that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used in smart contracts.With ChainLink, smart contract users can use the network’s oracles to retrieve data from off-chain application program interfaces (APIs), data pools, and other resources and integrate them into the blockchain and smart contracts. Basically, ChainLink takes information that is external to blockchain applications and puts it on-chain. The difference to Aeternity is that Chainlink deploys the smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain while Aeternity has its own chain.
WTC: Combines blockchain with IoT to create a management system for supply chains Interesting
Ethos unifyies all cryptos. Ethos is building a multi-cryptocurrency phone wallet. The team is also building an investment diversification tool and a social network
Aion: Aion is the token that pays for services on the Aeternity platform.
USDT: is no cryptocurrency really, but a replacement for dollar for trading After months of asking for proof of dollar backing, still no response from Tether.
Market 4 - Privacy
The 4th market are privacy coins. As you might know, Bitcoin is not anonymous. If the IRS or any other party asks an exchange who is the identity behind a specific Bitcoin address, they know who you are and can track back almost all of the Bitcoin transactions you have ever made and all your account balances. Privacy coins aim to prevent exactly that through address fungability, which changes addresses constantly, IP obfuscation and more. There are 2 types of privacy coins, one with completely privacy and one with optional privacy. Optional Privacy coins like Dash and Nav have the advantage of more user friendliness over completely privacy coins such as Monero and Enigma.
Monero: Currently most popular privacy coin, though with a very high market cap. Since their privacy is all on chain, all prior transactions would be deanonymized if their protocol is ever cracked. This requires a quantum computing attack though. PIVX is better in that regard.
Zcash: A decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that hide the sender, recipient, and value of transactions. Offers users the option to make transactions public later for auditing. Decent privacy coin, though no default privacy
Verge: Calls itself privacy coin without providing private transactions, multiple problems over the last weeks has a toxic community, and way too much hype for what they have.
Bytecoin: First privacy-focused cryptocurrency with anonymous transactions. Bytecoin’s code was later adapted to create Monero, the more well-known anonymous cryptocurrency. Has several scam accusations, 80% pre-mine, bad devs, bad tech
Bitcoin Private: A merge fork of Bitcoin and Zclassic with Zclassic being a fork of Zcash with the difference of a lack of a founders fee required to mine a valid block. This promotes a fair distribution, preventing centralized coin ownership and control. Bitcoin private offers the optional ability to keep the sender, receiver, and amount private in a given transaction. However, this is already offered by several good privacy coins (Monero, PIVX) and Bitcoin private doesn't offer much more beyond this.
Komodo: The Komodo blockchain platform uses Komodo’s open-source cryptocurrency for doing transparent, anonymous, private, and fungible transactions. They are then made ultra-secure using Bitcoin’s blockchain via a Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) protocol and decentralized crowdfunding (ICO) platform to remove middlemen from project funding. Offers services for startups to create and manage their own Blockchains.
PIVX: As a fork of Dash, PIVX uses an advanced implementation of the Zerocoin protocol to provide it’s privacy. This is a form of zeroknowledge proofs, which allow users to spend ‘Zerocoins’ that have no link back to them. Unlike Zcash u have denominations in PIVX, so they can’t track users by their payment amount being equal to the amount of ‘minted’ coins, because everyone uses the same denominations. PIVX is also implementing Bulletproofs, just like Monero, and this will take care of arguably the biggest weakness of zeroknowledge protocols: the trusted setup.
Zcoin: PoW cryptocurrency. Private financial transactions, enabled by the Zerocoin Protocol. Zcoin is the first full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, which allows users to have complete privacy via Zero-Knowledge cryptographic proofs.
Enigma: Monero is to Bitcoin what enigma is to Ethereum. Enigma is for making the data used in smart contracts private. More of a platform for dapps than a currency like Monero. Very promising.
Navcoin: Like bitcoin but with added privacy and pos and 1,170 tps, but only because of very short 30 second block times. Though, privacy is optional, but aims to be more user friendly than Monero. However, doesn't really decide if it wants to be a privacy coin or not. Same as Zcash.Strong technology, non-shady team.
Tenx: Raised 80 million, offers cryptocurrency-linked credit cards that let you spend virtual money in real life. Developing a series of payment platforms to make spending cryptocurrency easier. However, the question is if full privacy coins will be hindered in growth through government regulations and optional privacy coins will become more successful through ease of use and no regulatory hindrance.
Market 5 - Currency Exchange Tool
Due to the sheer number of different cryptocurrencies, exchanging one currency for the other it still cumbersome. Further, merchants don’t want to deal with overcluttered options of accepting cryptocurrencies. This is where exchange tool like Req come in, which allow easy and simple exchange of currencies.
Cryptonex: Fiat and currency exchange between various blockchain services, similar to REQ.
QASH: Qash is used to fuel its liquid platform which will be an exchange that will distribute their liquidity pool. Its product, the Worldbook is a multi-exchange order book that matches crypto to crypto, and crypto to fiat and the reverse across all currencies. E.g., someone is selling Bitcoin is USD on exchange1 not owned by Quoine and someone is buying Bitcoin in EURO on exchange 2 not owned by Quoine. If the forex conversions and crypto conversions match then the trade will go through and the Worldbook will match it, it'll make the sale and the purchase on either exchange and each user will get what they wanted, which means exchanges with lower liquidity if they join the Worldbook will be able to fill orders and take trade fees they otherwise would miss out on.They turned it on to test it a few months ago for an hour or so and their exchange was the top exchange in the world by 4x volume for the day because all Worldbook trades ran through it. Binance wants BNB to be used on their one exchange. Qash wants their QASH token embedded in all of their partners. More info here https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/8a8lnwhich_are_your_top_5_favourite_coins_out_of_the/dwyjcbb/?context=3
Kyber: network Exchange between cryptocurrencies, similar to REQ. Features automatic coin conversions for payments. Also offers payment tools for developers and a cryptocurrency wallet.
Achain: Building a boundless blockchain world like Req .
Req: Exchange between cryptocurrencies.
Bitshares: Exchange between cryptocurrencies. Noteworthy are the 1.5 second average block times and throughput potential of 100,000 transactions per second with currently 2,400 TPS having been proven. However, bitshares had several Scam accusations in the past.
Loopring: A protocol that will enable higher liquidity between exchanges and personal wallets.
ZRX: Open standard for dapps. Open, permissionless protocol allowing for ERC20 tokens to be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. In 0x protocol, orders are transported off-chain, massively reducing gas costs and eliminating blockchain bloat. Relayers help broadcast orders and collect a fee each time they facilitate a trade. Anyone can build a relayer.
Market 6 - Gaming
With an industry size of $108B worldwide, Gaming is one of the largest markets in the world. For sure, cryptocurrencies will want to have a share of that pie.
Storm: Mobile game currency on a platform with 9 million players.
Fun: A platform for casino operators to host trustless, provably-fair gambling through the use of smart contracts, as well as creating their own implementation of state channels for scalability.
Electroneum: Mobile game currency They have lots of technical problems, such as several 51% attacks
Wax: Marketplace to trade in-game items
Market 7 - Misc
There are various markets being tapped right now. They are all summed up under misc.
OMG: Omise is designed to enable financial services for people without bank accounts. It works worldwide and with both traditional money and cryptocurrencies.
Power ledger: Australian blockchain-based cryptocurrency and energy trading platform that allows for decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. Unique market and rather untapped market in the crypto space.
Populous: A platform that connects business owners and invoice buyers without middlemen. Invoice sellers get cash flow to fund their business and invoice buyers earn interest. Similar to OMG, small market.
Monacoin: The first Japanese cryptocurrency. Focused on micro-transactions and based on a popular internet meme of a type-written cat. This makes it similar to Dogecoin. Very niche, tiny market.
Revain: Legitimizing reviews via the blockchain. Interesting concept, though market not as big.
Augur: Platform to forecast and make wagers on the outcome of real-world events (AKA decentralized predictions). Uses predictions for a “wisdom of the crowd” search engine. Not launched yet.
Substratum: Revolutionzing hosting industry via per request billing as a decentralized internet hosting system. Uses a global network of private computers to create the free and open internet of the future. Participants earn cryptocurrency. Interesting concept.
Veritaseum: Is supposed to be a peer to peer gateway, though it looks like very much like a scam.
TRON: Tronix is looking to capitalize on ownership of internet data to content creators. However, they plagiarized their white paper, which is a no go. They apologized, so it needs to be seen how they will conduct themselves in the future. Extremely high market cap for not having a product, nor proof of concept.
Syscoin: A cryptocurrency with a decentralized marketplace that lets people buy and sell products directly without third parties. Trying to remove middlemen like eBay and Amazon.
Hshare: Most likely scam because of no code changes, most likely pump and dump scheme, dead community.
BAT: An Ethereum-based token that can be exchanged between content creators, users, and advertisers. Decentralized ad-network that pays based on engagement and attention.
Dent: Decentralizeed exchange of mobile data, enabling mobile data to be marketed, purchased or distributed, so that users can quickly buy or sell data from any user to another one.
Ncash: End to end encrypted Identification system for retailers to better serve their customers .
Factom Secure record-keeping system that allows companies to store their data directly on the Blockchain. The goal is to make records more transparent and trustworthy .
Market 8 - Social network
Web 2.0 is still going strong and Web 3.0 is not going to ignore it. There are several gaming tokens already out there and a few with decent traction already, such as Steem, which is Reddit with voting through money is a very interesting one.
Mithril: As users create content via social media, they will be rewarded for their contribution, the better the contribution, the more they will earn
Steem: Like Reddit, but voting with money. Already launched product and Alexa rank 1,000 Thumbs up.
Rdd: Reddcoin makes the process of sending and receiving money fun and rewarding for everyone. Reddcoin is dedicated to one thing – tipping on social networks as a way to bring cryptocurrency awareness and experience to the general public.
Kin: Token for the platform Kik. Kik has a massive user base of 400 million people. Replacing paying with FIAT with paying with KIN might get this token to mass adoption very quickly.
Market 9 - Fee token
Popular exchanges realized that they can make a few billion dollars more by launching their own token. Owning these tokens gives you a reduction of trading fees. Very handy and BNB (Binance Coin) has been one of the most resilient tokens, which have withstood most market drops over the last weeks and was among the very few coins that could show growth.
BNB: Fee token for Binance
Gas: Not a Fee token for an exchange, but it is a dividend paid out on Neo and a currency that can be used to purchase services for dapps.
Kucoin: Fee token for Kucoin
Market 10 - Decentralized Data Storage
Currently, data storage happens with large companies or data centers that are prone to failure or losing data. Decentralized data storage makes loss of data almost impossible by distributing your files to numerous clients that hold tiny pieces of your data. Remember Torrents? Torrents use a peer-to-peer network. It is similar to that. Many users maintain copies of the same file, when someone wants a copy of that file, they send a request to the peer-to-peer network., users who have the file, known as seeds, send fragments of the file to the requester., he requester receives many fragments from many different seeds, and the torrent software recompiles these fragments to form the original file.
Gbyte: Byteball data is stored and ordered using directed acyclic graph (DAG) rather than blockchain. This allows all users to secure each other's data by referencing earlier data units created by other users, and also removes scalability limits common for blockchains, such as blocksize issue.
Siacoin: Siacoin is decentralized storage platform. Distributes encrypted files to thousands of private users who get paid for renting out their disk space. Anybody with siacoins can rent storage from hosts on Sia. This is accomplish via "smart" storage contracts stored on the Sia blockchain. The smart contract provides a payment to the host only after the host has kept the file for a given amount of time. If the host loses the file, the host does not get paid.
Maidsafecoin: MaidSafe stands for Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access for Everyone.Instead of working with data centers and servers that are common today and are vulnerable to data theft and monitoring, SAFE’s network uses advanced P2P technology to bring together the spare computing capacity of all SAFE users and create a global network. You can think of SAFE as a crowd-sourced internet. All data and applications reside in this network. It’s an autonomous network that automatically sets prices and distributes data and rents out hard drive disk space with a Blockchain-based storage solutions.When you upload a file to the network, such as a photo, it will be broken into pieces, hashed, and encrypted. The data is then randomly distributed across the network. Redundant copies of the data are created as well so that if someone storing your file turns off their computer, you will still have access to your data. And don’t worry, even with pieces of your data on other people’s computers, they won’t be able to read them. You can earn MadeSafeCoins by participating in storing data pieces from the network on your computer and thus earning a Proof of Resource.
Storj: Storj aims to become a cloud storage platform that can’t be censored or monitored, or have downtime. Your files are encrypted, shredded into little pieces called 'shards', and stored in a decentralized network of computers around the globe. No one but you has a complete copy of your file, not even in an encrypted form.
Market 11 - Cloud computing
Obviously, renting computing power, one of the biggest emerging markets as of recent years, e.g. AWS and Digital Ocean, is also a service, which can be bought and managed via the blockchain.
Golem: Allows easy use of Supercomputer in exchange for tokens. People worldwide can rent out their computers to the network and get paid for that service with Golem tokens.
Elf: Allows easy use of Cloud computing in exchange for tokens.
Market 12 - Stablecoin
Last but not least, there are 2 stablecoins that have established themselves within the market. A stable coin is a coin that wants to be independent of the volatility of the crypto markets. This has worked out pretty well for Maker and DGD, accomplished through a carefully diversified currency fund and backing each token by 1g or real gold respectively. DO NOT CONFUSE DGD AND MAKER with their STABLE COINS DGX and DAI. DGD and MAKER are volatile, because they are the companies of DGX and DAI. DGX and DAI are the stable coins.
DGD: Platform of the Stablecoin DGX. Every DGX coin is backed by 1g of gold and make use proof of asset consensus.
Maker: Platform of the Stablecoin DAI that doesn't vary much in price through widespread and smart diversification of assets.
EDIT: Added a risk factor from 0 to 10. The baseline is 2 for any crypto. Significant scandals, mishaps, shady practices, questionable technology, increase the risk factor. Not having a product yet automatically means a risk factor of 6. Strong adoption and thus strong scrutiny or positive community lower the risk factor. EDIT2: Added a subjective potential factor from 0 to 10, where its overall potential and a small or big market cap is factored in. Bitcoin with lots of potential only gets a 9, because of its massive market cap, because if Bitcoin goes 10x, smaller coins go 100x, PIVX gets a 10 for being as good as Monero while carrying a 10x smaller market cap, which would make PIVX go 100x if Monero goes 10x.
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