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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)

Source | Guestbook
Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Questions Answers
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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[deleted] You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe? It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru! re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you. I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back? i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios? Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits? Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt. Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there? It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you." No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"? It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite? After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him. Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author? I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it? By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web? There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76 1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop. Yes, I wrote about them in The Darkest Web
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
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

D100 Ways to Mess With "I wish for all the gold in the world!"

  1. It rains down on the character and kills them
  2. Infinite gold is just a single gold piece that constantly reappears in your pocket after being spent
  3. That's the gold from the town treasury used to pay it's workers, now there's rioting in the streets
  4. Can't be arsed to go through all the comments but all the gold could teleport back into the interior of the world - to the mines it originated in or just like dispersed through the mantle again?
  5. All of the gold in the world is condensed into one single coin that flotas in front of the wishmaker for a few seconds. When he goes to grab it, it stops floating and the combined mass of all the gold in the world is to heavy for any mortal to hold. It tears through his hand and throws him to the ground, leaving a 20 meter wide crater where the coin landed. Nothing can pick up the coin, but that just means that no one can steal it from the wish maker.
  6. Everyone in the world gains the belief that gold is your personal property and feels weird about possessing it. It's like an old roommate's CDs, or an ex boyfriend's hoodie. They'll put the same amount of effort into returning it to you, but only when it's convenient. You can't really spend it anywhere either, unless they have an unhealthy desire for your possessions.
  7. "ok it's all yours, go get it". (no gold moves)
  8. Trade continues with coins made of other metals, and gold is a weird fringe metal that nobody will honor
  9. All your gear is now gilded, and all other gold coins lose their color. Nobody other than you remembers the old color of gold
  10. The uncaring diety that granted your wish also brought all the dragons that guarded hoards of gold
  11. All the gold from underground bursts from the earth in front of you, with no convenient way to move it.
  12. All the gold in the rest of the world disappears. Widespread chaos and confusion reigns. Literally all the gold in the world is carried in his pack. No gold in temple decorations.. magical items with gold no longer work.. etc.
  13. The world is not defined as this world. You got all the gold in the only diamond world, so, none.
  14. "All the gold in the world" was a poem written by a bad bard. You get a worthless piece of paper with a lackluster poem.
  15. "All the Gold" is almost dead nag of a riding horse and was in the world. The rapid trip to get to you kills it.
  16. You are encumbered by the gold in your possession and can not empty your inventory fast enough to escape encumbrance in the middle of nowhere. (Hope a town eventually forms around you fast.)
  17. You get what you wish and everyone and everything else knows it, but, you do not immediately know. (good luck with all the thieves, assassins, nobles, bandits, demons, etc. gunning for you and your gold.)
  18. Every creature that falls under "fae" or similar are forced to deliver the gold to you. Everyone from a common fairy to fae deities come one after the other, each with only one gold piece until you have all the gold in the world. They're concious of their actions but can't move freely until the deed is done. Who knows what they'd do to you once they regain control of their bodies
  19. You get the gold... but its somewhere. Good luck finding it.
  20. All the gold in the world, except for what’s on your person, vanishes in an instant.
  21. All gold within 60’ of the wish maker flies to them as metal to a powerful magnet and sticks to them. They can only remove gold from their body that they are giving/donating to a person, cause, church, or kingdom/city-state, empire etc. (the person must be a stranger or passing acquaintance, no more than that, or they are using as payment for goods or services or repaying a financial debt. STR checks for movement and CON checks to remain standing will eventually be needed.
  22. Gold-rust monster.
  23. They get all the gold in the world in a spendable and secure manner. But some of that gold is cursed by various wizards and magical entities in various ways for various reasons. The owner of it now bears at least a dozen unrelated curses, maybe more.
  24. You get all the gold but now no one has any so it holds no value. We move back into a barter system until a new form of currency can be established.
  25. They get midas' touch and everything they touch turns into gold but if they touch a creature the creatures gains +5 ac and can still attack and move normally
  26. The character becomes coated in gold, lowering mobility but greatly increasing defense
  27. All gold not owned by them turns into silver.
  28. They get their gold, only to find that the primary currency is now platinum. Gold is now only used as a component some spells, or for the properties of the material itself.
  29. All the gold in the world disappears. There is no gold, so you have all that there is.
  30. The gold stays where it is but technically IS their property. Good luck convincing everyone else that...
  31. All of the gold in the world immediately teleports to their location, killing the PC immediately via crushing and flattening entire cities at once beneath thousands of tons of gold ore, coins, and dust
  32. Ok, you now own all the gold in the world. However, it is still located exactly where it was before. You own it but it hasn't moved. Go get it if you want. And try convince the current possessor of it that you are the owner.
  33. All the gold comes with all the dragons...
  34. .. they cant physically shift the huge mountain of gold and people come from far and wide to take a wheelbarrow full of gold that is too large to be protected by the party..
  35. Theres no gold anywhere else so everyone reverts to spending lead coins instead. Gold decreases in value substantially. ...
  36. All the gold in the world technically belongs to the player but it's still wherever it was before he/she owned it. It now depicts the players head on every coin and people everywhere say things like "hey I know you you're from money!" Etc
  37. It’s in bitcoin, what’s bitcoin? Just wait a couple thousand years.
  38. Because wishes are directed to the gods themselves, and they see the entire universe as their "world" the gold from all around the universe is summoned to the PC's or NPC's location, the sheer amount of gold is so large that the entire planet is destroyed, along with any moons it might have, if the dm decides that the universe the campaign is in is very very very VERY rich in gold, he might aswell say that because so much gold was teleported to a specific location, it collapsed upon itself and formed a black hole.
  39. Your players hear a loud, familiar sound of earth moving as if an earth elemental started traveling beneath them. Your player hears something rustle in the grass, PC looks down and there, under a dead leaf, lies a single spec of gold ore. Pulled from the earth they stand on the gold ore inside the earth always moves up towards the player. If they stay in one spot for longer than a week it begins to pile.
  40. It is in one enormous coin, and nobody can make change. You try to break it into smaller pieces, but are stopped by the authorities because it has the emperor's face on it.
  41. Everyone else will see the color gold as a muted grey.
  42. You now possess all the gold in the world, but now everyone wants to kill you for it
  43. The wisher get the world's supply of fool's gold (pyrite). Hope they enjoy the irony.
  44. Every sentient creature is "informed" that you are now the owner of all the gold in the world. No gold actually moves anywhere and it is up to you to enforce your righteous claim.
  45. The color "gold" is suddenly drained from all things which become more brown or yellow. Now only you can bestow this color onto objects and creatures.
  46. You get your wish, but no one has any gold left so the economy crashes.
  47. All the gold in the world includes the gold guarded by every dragon. Bringing the gold to you also brings you its previous owner or notifies them of your act.
  48. This could also be applied to innumerable other monsters as well.
  49. At first, the gold rivers streaming through the air above the wisher's location is amazing. Verucai Saltberry can eat her heart out. Then, as the rivers make landfall, a nervous quiet overcomes all those who witness the spectacle.
  50. All the gold in the world now rains down upon their location.
  51. After half of one hour, 2d12 * 10 acres are covered in anything made of gold. Coins. Ore. Candelabras. You name it. I don't think there are enough dice to calculate the weight...
  52. Hot molten gold floods in your direction
  53. The world decides that gold is now useless since no one has it. They switch to using electrum.
  54. You get it. Exactly as you intended, all the gold coins in the world. But, every dragon, king, crime boss, even members of your own party just had all their gold stolen from them, and they aren't happy about it.
  55. The color gold dissapears from everything in the world unless it is owned by the wisher. Gold is suddenly indistinguishable from silver except by alchemists and smiths and dragons. As a trade currency it becomes almost worthless. The economy plunges into turmoil and as the value of gold plummets so do dragons interest in it. The land devolves into chaos as they suddenly struggle to work out wealth. Gems and iron both skyrocket in value. Dragons, furious at their essentially worthless hordes that they’ve amassed over the years rage across the land. Gold dragons go black. They’ve lost their color. There is a sudden increase in black dragons. Chaos takes hold and the black dragons start taking over the land.
  56. All the gold in the world disappears leaving only what they have on their person
  57. The dragons of the world soon realize where their horde has been taken. They all have you in their sight.
  58. It’s in one solid brick that’s practically worthless for the size
  59. You find yourself atop a mountain of all of the world's gold. Every greedy dragon in the world will soon be converging on your location to fight for this prize, with you in the middle. This being all the gold, that pile includes the scales from every gold dragon in the world, which you've just forcibly torn apart with your wish. Even the good-aligned dragons now see you as a genocidal monster that must be destroyed for the safety of their own kind. Your death is suddenly the singular goal that unites almost every dragon in the world. Also, all Electrum becomes a sort of brittle silver. That will please our DM, who hates having to include electrum coins in currency conversions.
  60. "Granted" and it seems as if nothing happens.Then, after a moment passes, there is a slight thump nearby.And then something light hits the player, rattling off of him, looking down he sees a small, wonderful necklace with a lithe, golden chain attached to it.And then a coin lands next to it.And then another.And another.The sound of falling gold escalates, turning into a storming, crashing chaos as all gold in the entire world falls from the sky in a roaring hail of death.And then all is silent, coins, jewelry, ore, newly refined gold and everything else stands as a small mountain where once there was a campsite and a forest, all of the players are dead or dying underneath that silent, golden hill.
  61. The planet's core loses all of its gold, which, in a supercritical molten state, appears floating as a series of masses overhead. This explodes and showers the area in forcefully-flung chunks of gold. Good job.
  62. The gods of wealth and trade are suddenly obliterated, and you are filled with divine power contained only by your mortal vessel, which wrecks havok on the divine realms and the mortal world. You probably don't survive. Good job.
  63. The gold is helpfully contained for you, and only consists of gold coins! ...Unfortunately, they appear in every single container or vessel you own or touch, forever, making it impossible to eat or drink except off the ground and makes clothing, home ownership, or trade tricky. Good job.
  64. They now own the license to obscure Half-Orc Bard Elzic Pagavian's folk album "All the gold in the world". Elzic is, however, an extremely competent adventurer and will not stand for having his art stolen out from under him.
  65. The power behind the wish misunderstands the intent and makes the wisher the only person to have a thing of that color.
  66. They get all the gold in the world, being the only one to posses gold, it becomes useless and the world's currency standards change.
  67. They didn't specify which world, molten gold pours in from a fire world
  68. Granted, since they specified “in the world” they now have a mountain sized pile of unrefined and impure Gold Ore, this pisses off all the Dwarvern clans as each ones mining operation is funded mostly by processing and selling Gold and similar materials. You and the party are now enemies of every dwarf Clan and their allies.
  69. I started an entire campaign with a similar premise involving a lamp, an efreet, and a Wish. I had a kingdom's worth of gold appear in a magical bag (like a bag of holding), but it was a solid cube that couldn't be pulled through the tiny opening of its container. Made for a lot of memorable scheming on the part of the players!
  70. They get all the gold in the world, the economy is no longer based on gold as there is none in circulation, brass coins replace gold coins
  71. You immediately stand upon a mountain of all the gold in the world. Seeing as you are the only one who has any, Silver becomes the dominant currency, making gold worthless. In addition, you piss off several dragons with hoards. At the same time, most kingdoms fall into financial ruin as they desperately attempt to find a new currency. While all this is happening, sinkholes begin to appear around the world as huge underground deposits of gold have vanished, allowing the ground to give way.
  72. All the gold not owned by the players is suddenly converted into silver. Currency now takes up 10x the amount of space which means any storage suddenly becomes limited.
  73. For the wealthy lords, it’s a nuisance that their pockets are suddenly weighed down or overflowing. For the banks that have just exploded... it’s a different matter.
  74. All the gold deposits from underground are drawn to the PCs creating huge destructive geysers and destroying everything in their path on the way to them.
  75. All the gold deposits from underground are drawn to the PCs creating huge destructive geysers and destroying everything in their path on the way to them.
  76. They start magnetically attracting every coin they walk by forever.
  77. All the gold in the world disappears and the world is changed to a paper-money system. The gold you have is the only gold remaining in the world, but it is useless as a currency. Maybe some alchemist will buy it from you?
  78. The rest of the gold in the world disappears, all that's left is what three player has on them
  79. Assuming they mean currency they're giving all the gold in the world translated into copper and they need to find a way to haul the several million metric tons of copper they have now. assuming they mean or they are now surrounded by all currently existing veins of unrefined gold ore
  80. The player now owns all the gold in the world... And the accompanying tax bill.
  81. Elderly people appear
  82. You get all the Gold in the world, and everyone is hunting you for thievery
  83. Gold is molten, appears in your pocket
  84. total collapse of the gold economy because there’s a lot more gold beneath the crust than in it, and it’s all technically in the world
Contributions by: Everyone who commented
submitted by ThatDnder to d100 [link] [comments]

Lessons learned - Crypto and Divorce - In January I was a millionaire thanks to BTC, then my wife divorces me and now I have $30,000 AMA

Crossreferencing u/nanoissuperior He wrote earlier today: https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/a3n6uw/in_january_i_was_a_millionaire_thanks_to_nano_now/
Title: In January I was a millionaire thanks to Nano, now I have $25,000 AMA

I was replying to his post, but my reply ended up being a bit too large as a reply and steered off-topic, albeit an interesting one. So I decided to make it its own post, because there may be a good lessons to be learned and hoping some will come forward with good information to be shared.
I hope it can help anyone on this sub avoid the costly mistakes that I made. Here it goes: FLAIR: LEGAL (not in the list)
----
u/nanoissuperior are you who I think you are? I won't give out any further identifying clues, but I happen to know someone in the exact same position that could have written that exact same headline. If you read the first paragraph, you'll know if you know me.
The person I know bought Nano really early, based on a tip from a friend. I got in much later. By the time he told me it had already spiked to the $5 range, when I ended up buying. I then sold in the $20's so it was a good buy nonetheless. We were former colleagues at a large, large software company somewhere in the PNW, I left the company to venture out on my own and try to launch some projects I had in mind and relocated overseas for a few years. We lost contact with each other during my time away, but we connected again during the market runup and started exchanging coin information on a daily basis during the big bull run of late 2017. That was a crazy time.... the market trend was a few degrees short of vertical for pretty much all coins!

Hey, guess what? Now that I think about it, I could have written that same headline myself! In January 2018 I was a Millionaire too! Not with Nano, but thanks to purchasing a good chunk of Bitcoin in 2011 at $1.20 each. I ended up a single digit millionaire with what I had left in Bitcoin around January of 2018.
And, just like you, today, from all that wealth, I have about $30.000 left, with little to show for. Can we call that even? Although my disaster was not caused entirely by market fluctuation; Mine is a more complex story and I am going to mention it, because hopefully, it could serve as a lesson to be learned for any crypto holder out there, so they don't make the make mistake I made: Don't trust anyone. Always be skeptical and watch out for your own interests. Anyhow, here it goes:
After 5 years overseas, I had enough and wanted to come back to the States. My wife stated her preference to stay abroad, but eventually, she conceded albeit reluctantly. We chose a small town in CO to settle, and landed in November of 2017. We had plans to settle down and considered purchasing a home with my/our new fortune, based on the market price during that period. At the same time, I was also hesitant about the inherent tax payments due caused by such large liquidation. I was trying to have to pay taxes as far away as possible. So, I decided to wait till New Year's Eve and started liquidating my crypto on January 1st, 2018 right after midnight. This way, I would have 16 months (till April, 2019) to pay any capital gains taxes, and I was confident at the time that the market would give me that for free, especially at the pace that it was going. I have been an early adopter and have since then acquired the high levels of verification and trading limits per week, with many exchanges, but for a large sum like this, I needed several separate transactions, over the course of several weeks, especially wanting to do it with a US-based exchange that was linked to a US bank accounts, to avoid overseas wire transfers, meaning more fees. (Yes, I did look at all OTC options, but for reasons not relevant to the story, I couldn't make it happen, so I had to use the traditional Exchange channels for asset liquidation).
My wife and I, initially had some fundamental disagreements on the gross amount to be spent and the type of property we should be purchasing. I wanted a smaller place, with a denser, younger community, where there'd be kids our son's age for him to play. She insisted that we should go big; we had been traveling for so many years, and we had not been able to call any of our past residences our home. It was time to settle and nest; She convinced me that we should own a property of our own that we would be proud of living in for years. One that we could own outright and would not easily outgrow. We ended up splurging and purchased in cash two luxury cars for ourselves and set our sights on a large dream house in the city's Golf & Country Club, free and clear, for us and our two kids. I don't even play golf, nor do I even like it, but, if it makes her happy and it is within the safe margins of making it happen, I figured, why not? My concerns were largely financial and the numbers were adding up. It was a bit tight against my personal safe margins, but, at the same time, I was imagining to never have to make, or even have to think about, a car or home mortgage payment ever again! Bitcoin is on a roll and there is no sign of it stopping. Fine. Let's do it, before I change my mind.
Now, I admit I was extremely lucky with choosing the time of when to sell the assets. I had no clue the market would take a dive in February, and so it seemed to many that I had timed the market perfectly, selling most of my coins in the first two weeks of January of 2018. Many called me a genius for selling at the very top, as if I had some sort of wisdom to know when it would drop; the truth is much less flattering; it was nothing but dumb luck, based on me wanting to pay taxes in 2018 and defer to 2019. Awesome, well done! Yeah? well, slow down, son, not so fast.
So, I gather the 7-digit lumpsum in January 2018 and we write a check for the full amount at closing in February on the property of her dreams. A property that could easily be showcased on a luxury Real Estate magazine cover. Also, remember we had just moved back to the United States with just a few suitcases each from overseas. We had no furniture, kitchenware, curtains, TV's, bed sheets, winter clothing and so many other essential things that one usually purchases over time, but which we now had to purchase all at once. Not a problem, Bitcoin had dropped slightly but still well above $15k, I believe, at the time. And, earlier, in January, I had diligently taken this expense into account and effortlessly set aside a small fortune for equipping such a large house with everything we would ever need, brand new. It seemed we were protagonists of one of the Home Makeover Shows.
Finally, after working day and night, prepping the house non-stop for days and when every piece of furniture had finally arrived, been unpacked and carried to its corresponding room, it seemed most of the essentials were in place and the hard work was done. I longed for pouring myself a Scotch and to finally sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I head downstairs to the dedicated walk-in, cigar-humidor / wine / Scotch cellar in the basement and grab the better bottle of Whisky of the few bottles of Scotch that I had bought earlier in the week. On my way up, I remember feeling a sense of calm, combined with a glow of excitement and this undescribable profound inner peace, all at once. This was such a rare, natural, non-drug induced high that I had never experienced. It felt so good! This sense of accomplishment of achieving that one thing I had been chasing and longing for my entire life. I had expected I would be chasing this goal for the next 15-20 years, and yet, here it was. No, where I was, was even better than expected! A place where not even my parents, who still have to make their monthly mortgage payments. I had done it! With a smile from ear to ear, I take a deep breath of relief and while looking around the property, I think to myself: "It's perfect, everything is in place and I can finally call this our home. We are so lucky and we are going to live a great life. A life that few can only dream of. So many concerns will be lifted and become redundant. Everything will be better. I'll start a fire in one of our two fireplaces and I am going to begin enjoying my semi-retired life with the first sip of my drink. That will be the official start of our new life".
I head over to the kitchen to get a glass and some ice cubes, while I struggle to find which one is the freezer among the many drawers in the kitchen. It was then when I notice a handwritten note placed front and center on the kitchen counter. It is from my wife and read: "There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it..... I want to legally divorce [ ...]". It continued saying that she had taken our son, and had unequivocally decided to leave me. She had already filed the paperwork for divorce and that I should expect to be served in the morning.
My bliss had lasted less than 5 minutes and in less than two seconds, it turned dark, somber and I saw it all crumbling down in front of me. Like a long-awaited rocket launch, years in preparation, which then unexpectedly explodes on the launch pad during the countdown. My stomach, heart and everything in my body just sank and melted into one ball of poison in my core. I felt like throwing up. I was completely blindsided; she had played the game all along, not giving me the slightest hint of what was being concocted in the background. She had already engaged with her lawyers weeks beforehand. Her mother was already in town from another state to help out with I don't know what. I had been gaslighted and was threatened by her that I needed to see a psychiatrist due to a change in my temper that I had supposedly developed - my temper was awesome: with BTC at that price? Everything was perfect! But I obeyed and went anyhow (this would later fit her story that she had to leave with the child because she feared for her safety due to my supposed temper for which I was under treatment, therefore, I must have this temper problem, see?). Also, the purchase of the overpriced home also seemed clearly premeditated: Price was the main driver of the decision making; not location, demographics, taxes, etc. It was the wrong neighborhood for us (people much older than us, retired, golfers and no kids the same age as our son to play with). Our house happened to also be the most expensive in the neighborhood. I can see it all so clearly now.
See, your crypto coins on the blockchain, are not within the US court's jurisdiction (or, at least, it's quite debatable - a gray area - ask me for the seed and I can tell you that I may have the seed, or that I may not have the seed, I may have the wrong seed, I may have forgotten it, I may have lost it - you can't prove I did not forget, or lost it, etc). However, once it is in FIAT in a bank, or invested in a property, the courts can rule on the asset(s), freeze, disburse or order a sale of the property, etc. It's done all the time.
Also, the coins were technically mine, and by definition private property (not to be divided during the divorce) as they were acquired before the marriage. I could not prove its origins (I bought many of them via direct messaging members on Bitcointalk.org and mining rather than exchanges, so no records, receipts or nothing to prove otherwise: the big exchanges like BitStamp and Coinbase didn't start operations till 2013, if I m not mistaken. Instead, I would talk to one of the forum members offering coins we'd agree on a price, I'd send a check to wherever the individual seller instructed me to (Russia, Bulgaria, Japan, UK. etc) and the coins would be deposited to whatever address I provided. Yes, it was quite crude at the time.
However, once I converted my coins to cash and used that cash to buy a property for the benefit of the family, it became common property and thus she then had rights to a portion of it when divided between the two parties should a divorce occur - which ended up being almost 3/4 of all assets.
I was robbed in broad daylight. By the one person, I trusted with my life. The one you should trust with your life. Your life partner. And while I was in complete denial, trying to bargain, I waited too long to obtain good legal representation. When I finally ended up getting a lawyer, I was quite distraught and I clearly did not do the proper research and this resulted in a less than stellar performance and detrimental to me at many key steps in the process. I had to switch legal representation right before mediation and I can't blame my new lawyer either, as (s)he did not have the required time to catch up on all the details, (s)he did his/her best, but I was ultimately strongarmed into conceding my soon-to-be-ex-wife to let her return to the house, in exchange to obtain 50% of my son's custody, with serious and strict clauses I had to abide by. So, I had to move out, find a hole in the wall in a student apartment, pay my rent and pay our kids pre-school, while she lives grandiose, without monthly payments in the country club, till the house sells, which will likely be in the spring of next year. Nice!
Due to my delay, legal mishandling and somehow every other element in her favor, she inexplicably ended up with around 3/4 of the worth of all assets, free and clear, no taxes due. Mind you, she has never financially contributed, nor made a single $ during our entire marriage. She has never worked and had $0 in her pocket when we married. She didn't even have a checking account, well in her thirties. She is no dummy; she is street smart, knows how to manipulate people, get her way with flirting and charm, while I am more intellectual and book smart. and She beat me hands-down. She is walking away with a sum of, not quite 7 figures, but close.
With what I am left with from the sale of the house, I am responsible to pay for all the capital gains taxes from the liquidation to the IRS, which are due in April 2019. I don't expect there to be more left over than the estimated $30k mentioned above.
Hate the market all you want, I made peace with the market and am keeping busy at hating my ex for a while for putting me in the same situation. She tripped me 1 yard before the finish line and pushed me in the prickly bushes, to cross it by herself. Go figure. When I am done hating her, I'll get back to rebuilding my life again from scratch. I am not worried, I have done it before. Just pissed, I was so close and that I was so naive to not see it coming.
Sorry, I am not meaning to hijack the thread, just wanted you to know that others may have lost more than just "free" money; money we didn't really have to work for. We were the lucky ones. It is what I keep telling myself to stop me from jumping off a bridge.
PS - Woah: Sorry for the wall of text; I was just going to write the first paragraph and ended up venting about my current situation. I know, I should take this issue to /depressed, /exes or /whereisthenearestbridgeIcanjumpfrom.
Hopefully, this can be a lesson to those holding crypto and some can learn what NOT to do. I learned the hard way and was left with nothing. Don't be a nice guy. Don't trust anyone with your crypto. Anyhow, I am sure either our vigilant subreddit bot, or one of the mods will remove my post for not adhering to rule, and if not, I am sure that you fine people will downvote me to hell. Go ahead. Take away from me the little Karma I left too! Thanks!

I learned many lessons, but here are some key ones [IANAL - any crypto-educated AL opinion appreciated here, thanks] :
- Understand the concept of private property - property you acquire before getting married. INAL - this depends on the state legislation, but it is hard to prove with crypto, especially if you obtained your crypto through foreign exchanges, outside of legal jurisdictions, the petitioner might not understand or willing to invest in obtaining subpoenas and requests to businesses operating overseas, as this may result costly.
- Get a lawyer who understands, or is willing to understand crypto, its benefits of being somewhat unreachable and how that can work for you. Don't let them shortchange you with: "well, let's just convert the rest to cash, because that I understand" type of reasoning.
- If you do go to mediation, the above applies as well. This arbitrator or mediator needs to be one that understands the intrinsic details of crypto - for example, during the ATH, I bought 6 digits worth in $USD of Stellar. I used the very first version of the software, supporting Stellar on my hardware device, and put it all in a cold storage wallet somewhere around January. I routinely checked on my coins on the blockchain and they are there. A few months later, I try to access my account and the device returns a different public address, which contains 0 funds. I am still trying to debug this issue with the manufacturer, but the fact is that I was accused of hiding these coins or negligence and was demanded that I paid half of what was lost. or not lost, out of my pocket for money that I didn't have access either. I tried to explain it in the simplest terms, there are risks involved with using first come software. There is no 1800 number, mo tech support. no CEO, no, you can't call the BBB and complain, etc and no one seemed to be able to understand, nor willing to either. It became a huge roadblock for which I had to concede, not cash, but a concession, I was not wanting to concede. The petitioner leaned on the fact that I was either wilfully cheating or stupid enough to lose the coins and managed to create enough doubt in my character and integrity and there was nothing rational I could explain that she, or anyone else in the room would understand. Perhaps mutually contracting a seasoned crypto expert that can offer a neutral view and give his/her opinion might be worth considering. Andreas, where were you when I needed you? :)
- Other examples were some coins I had bought in 2012 and gifted to some of her family's kids. I was holding these, till they would turn 16 for them to pay themselves their college, or so I told them. These coins were demanded back by the petitioner. Ok, I suggested that I would send them, but with a CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY value with a block height of let's say,10 years from now, out of fear that she would spend the coins and the kids would never know (they are toddlers). No one understood what I was talking about, I was made out the crazy one, I gave up, sent her the coins, unlocked and, just as I expected, within 20 minutes of receiving them, she spent $1200 worth of it (for a flight, I think). If you are the only one speaking your language, no one is willing to listen or make an effort to understand you.
- It appears my coins were private property, which means, that I acquired them before the marriage and in case of divorce, if I have not moved them or used them for the common good of the marriage, then they remain mine. However, I liquidated them and cash ended up in my checking account to be used to buy groceries, cars and eventually a house, and it is then that they became common property. Only once they landed in my checking account on which she is named on. It appears that had I taken proper legal precautions with documentation, or a company/trust, where that money would have gone, instead of my checking accounts, elsewhere, I would have still been able to be the legal proprietor of the resulting cash. I can't quite remember the details, but it as something that was explained to me afterward, and I honestly think I just tuned it out, because it made me sick to know I could have held on to my wealth. Perhaps a lawyer can chime in? Again, much of the lack of information and every misstep taken was because of dealing with people that are accustomed to traditional assets and will not deviate from it. Crypto is different and is treated differently. It is so important to know the strengths and weaknesses when going into litigation about something that people don't understand.
- Some more I can think of, but this post is getting way out of hand in size. Feel free to comment/suggest your own and I'll add more to the comments.

Credits to: u/nanoissuperior Thanks for your post, it inspired me to write this one. Anyone, any karma you feels needs to go his way, for providing the source of inspiration, please give to O-OP.

TL;DR: Wife, having contributed $0 during entire marriage, waited until I cashed out all my crypto at the top of the bull market in January 2018, for a nice seven-figure amount, and then immediately divorced me for the money.

Edit: added TL;DR
submitted by mijalis to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to nosleep [link] [comments]

Tyuiop

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submitted by KlausFox to KlausFox [link] [comments]

Initially, I liked SegWit. But then I learned SegWit-as-a-SOFT-fork is dangerous (making transactions "anyone-can-spend"??) & centrally planned (1.7MB blocksize??). Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited is simple & safe, with MARKET-BASED BLOCKSIZE. This is why more & more people have decided to REJECT SEGWIT.

Initially, I liked SegWit. But then I learned SegWit-as-a-SOFT-fork is dangerous (making transactions "anyone-can-spend"??) & centrally planned (1.7MB blocksize??). Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited is simple & safe, with MARKET-BASED BLOCKSIZE. This is why more & more people have decided to REJECT SEGWIT.
Summary
Like many people, I initially loved SegWit - until I found out more about it.
I'm proud of my open-mindedness and my initial - albeit short-lived - support of SegWit - because this shows that I judge software on its merits, instead of being some kind of knee-jerk "hater".
SegWit's idea of "refactoring" the code to separate out the validation stuff made sense, and the phrase "soft fork" sounded cool - for a while.
But then we all learned that:
And we also got much better solutions: such as market-based blocksize with Bitcoin Unlimited - way better than SegWit's arbitrary, random centrally-planned, too-little-too-late 1.7MB "max blocksize".
This is why more and more people are rejecting SegWit - and instead installing Bitcoin Unlimited.
In my case, as I gradually learned about the disastrous consequences which SegWit-as-a-soft-fork-hack would have, my intial single OP in December 2015 expressing outspoken support for SegWit soon turned to an avalanche of outspoken opposition to SegWit.
Details
Core / Blockstream lost my support on SegWit - and it's all their fault.
How did Core / Blockstream turn me from an outspoken SegWit supporter to an outspoken SegWit opponent?
It was simple: They made the totally unnecessary (and dangerous) decision to program SegWit as a messy and dangerous soft-fork which would:
  • create a massive new threat vector by making all transactions "anyone-can-spend";
  • force yet-another random / arbitrary / centrally planned "max blocksize" on everyone (previously 1 MB, now 1.7MB - still pathetically small and hard-coded!).
Meanwhile, new, independent dev teams which are smaller and much better than the corrupt, fiat-financed Core / Blockstream are offering simpler and safer solutions which are much better than SegWit:
  • For blocksize governance, we now have market-based blocksize based on emergent consensus, provided by Bitcoin Unlimited.
  • For malleability and quadratic hashing time (plus a future-proof, tag-based language similar to JSON or XML supporting much cleaner upgrades long-term), we now have Flexible Transactions (FlexTrans).
This is why We Reject SegWit because "SegWit is the most radical and irresponsible protocol upgrade Bitcoin has faced in its history".
My rapid evolution on SegWit - as I discovered its dangers (and as we got much better alternatives, like Bitcoin Unlimited + FlexTrans):
Initially, I was one of the most outspoken supporters of SegWit - raving about it in the following OP which I posted (on Monday, December 7, 2015) immediately after seeing a presentation about it on YouTube by Pieter Wuille at one of the early Bitcoin scaling stalling conferences:
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/3vt1ov/pieter_wuilles_segregated_witness_and_fraud/
Pieter Wuille's Segregated Witness and Fraud Proofs (via Soft-Fork!) is a major improvement for scaling and security (and upgrading!)
I am very proud of that initial pro-SegWit post of mine - because it shows that I have always been totally unbiased and impartial and objective about the ideas behind SegWit - and I have always evaluated it purely on its merits (and demerits).
So, I was one of the first people to recognize the positive impact which the ideas behind SegWit could have had (ie, "segregating" the signature information from the sender / receiver / amount information) - if SegWit had been implemented by an honest dev team that supports the interests of the Bitcoin community.
However, we've learned a lot since December 2015. Now we know that Core / Blockstream is actively working against the interests of the Bitcoin community, by:
  • trying to force their political and economic viewpoints onto everyone else by "hard-coding" / "bundling" some random / arbitrary / centrally-planned 1.7MB "max blocksize" (?!?) into our code;
  • trying to take away our right to vote via a clean and safe "hard fork";
  • trying to cripple our code with dangerous "technical debt" - eg their radical and irresponsible proposal to make all transactions "anyone-can-spend".
This is the mess of SegWit - which we all learned about over the past year.
So, Core / Blockstream blew it - bigtime - losing my support for SegWit, and the support of many others in the community.
We might have continued to support SegWit if Core / Blockstream had not implemented it as a dangerous and dirty soft fork.
But Core / Blockstream lost our support - by attempting to implement SegWit as a dangerous, anti-democratic soft fork.
The lesson here for Core/Blockstream is clear:
Bitcoin users are not stupid.
Many of us are programmers ourselves, and we know the difference between a simple & safe hard fork and a messy & dangerous soft fork.
And we also don't like it when Core / Blockstream attempts to take away our right to vote.
And finally, we don't like it when Core / Blockstream attempts to steal functionality away from nodes while using misleading terminology - as u/chinawat has repeatedly been pointing out lately.
We know a messy, dangerous, centrally planned hack when we see it - and SegWit is a messy, dangerous, centrally planned hack.
If Core/Blockstream attempts to foce messy and dangerous code like SegWit-as-a-soft-fork on the community, we can and should and we will reject SegWit - to protect our billions of dollars of investment in Bitcoin (which could turn into trillions of dollars someday - if we continue to protect our code from poison pills and trojans like SegWit).
Too bad you lost my support (and the support of many, many other Bitcoin users), Core / Blockstream! But it's your own fault for releasing shitty code.
Below are some earlier comments from me showing how I quickly turned from one of the most outspoken supporters of Segwit (in that single OP I wrote the day I saw Pieter Wuille's presentation on YouTube) - into one of most outspoken opponents of SegWit:
I also think Pieter Wuille is a great programmer and I was one of the first people to support SegWit after it was announced at a congress a few months ago.
But then Blockstream went and distorted SegWit to fit it into their corporate interests (maintaining their position as the dominant centralized dev team - which requires avoiding hard-forks). And Blockstream's corporate interests don't always align with Bitcoin's interests.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/57zbkp/if_blockstream_were_truly_conservative_and_wanted/
As noted in the link in the section title above, I myself was an outspoken supporter championing SegWit on the day when I first the YouTube of Pieter Wuille explaining it at one of the early "Scaling Bitcoin" conferences.
Then I found out that doing it as a soft fork would add unnecessary "spaghetti code" - and I became one of the most outspoken opponents of SegWit.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5ejmin/coreblockstream_is_living_in_a_fantasy_world_in/
Pieter Wuille's SegWit would be a great refactoring and clean-up of the code (if we don't let Luke-Jr poison it by packaging it as a soft-fork)
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4kxtq4/i_think_the_berlin_wall_principle_will_end_up/
Probably the only prominent Core/Blockstream dev who does understand this kind of stuff like the Robustness Principle or its equivalent reformulation in terms of covariant and contravariant types is someone like Pieter Wuille – since he’s a guy who’s done a lot of work in functional languages like Haskell – instead of being a myopic C-tard like most of the rest of the Core/Blockstream devs. He’s a smart guy, and his work on SegWit is really important stuff (but too bad that, yet again, it’s being misdelivered as a “soft-fork,” again due to the cluelessness of someone like Luke-Jr, whose grasp of syntax and semantics – not to mention society – is so glaringly lacking that he should have been recognized for the toxic influence that he is and shunned long ago).
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4k6tke/the_tragedy_of/
The damage which would be caused by SegWit (at the financial, software, and governance level) would be massive:
  • Millions of lines of other Bitcoin code would have to be rewritten (in wallets, on exchanges, at businesses) in order to become compatible with all the messy non-standard kludges and workarounds which Blockstream was forced into adding to the code (the famous "technical debt") in order to get SegWit to work as a soft fork.
  • SegWit was originally sold to us as a "code clean-up". Heck, even I intially fell for it when I saw an early presentation by Pieter Wuille on YouTube from one of Blockstream's many, censored Bitcoin scaling stalling conferences)
  • But as we all later all discovered, SegWit is just a messy hack.
  • Probably the most dangerous aspect of SegWit is that it changes all transactions into "ANYONE-CAN-SPEND" without SegWit - all because of the messy workarounds necessary to do SegWit as a soft-fork. The kludges and workarounds involving SegWit's "ANYONE-CAN-SPEND" semantics would only work as long as SegWit is still installed.
  • This means that it would be impossible to roll-back SegWit - because all SegWit transactions that get recorded on the blockchain would now be interpreted as "ANYONE-CAN-SPEND" - so, SegWit's dangerous and messy "kludges and workarounds and hacks" would have to be made permanent - otherwise, anyone could spend those "ANYONE-CAN-SPEND" SegWit coins!
Segwit cannot be rolled back because to non-upgraded clients, ANYONE can spend Segwit txn outputs. If Segwit is rolled back, all funds locked in Segwit outputs can be taken by anyone. As more funds gets locked up in segwit outputs, incentive for miners to collude to claim them grows.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5ge1ks/segwit_cannot_be_rolled_back_because_to/
https://np.reddit.com/btc/search?q=segwit+anyone+can+spend&restrict_sr=on&sort=relevance&t=all
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5r9cu7/the_real_question_is_how_fast_do_bugs_get_fixed/
Why are more and more people (including me!) rejecting SegWit?
(1) SegWit is the most radical and irresponsible change ever proposed for Bitcoin:
"SegWit encumbers Bitcoin with irreversible technical debt. Miners should reject SWSF. SW is the most radical and irresponsible protocol upgrade Bitcoin has faced in its history. The scale of the code changes are far from trivial - nearly every part of the codebase is affected by SW" Jaqen Hash’ghar
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5rdl1j/segwit_encumbers_bitcoin_with_irreversible/
3 excellent articles highlighting some of the major problems with SegWit: (1) "Core Segwit – Thinking of upgrading? You need to read this!" by WallStreetTechnologist (2) "SegWit is not great" by Deadalnix (3) "How Software Gets Bloated: From Telephony to Bitcoin" by Emin Gün Sirer
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5rfh4i/3_excellent_articles_highlighting_some_of_the/
"The scaling argument was ridiculous at first, and now it's sinister. Core wants to take transactions away from miners to give to their banking buddies - crippling Bitcoin to only be able to do settlements. They are destroying Satoshi's vision. SegwitCoin is Bankcoin, not Bitcoin" ~ u/ZeroFucksG1v3n
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5rbug3/the_scaling_argument_was_ridiculous_at_first_and/
u/Uptrenda on SegWit: "Core is forcing every Bitcoin startup to abandon their entire code base for a Rube Goldberg machine making their products so slow, inconvenient, and confusing that even if they do manage to 'migrate' to this cluster-fuck of technical debt it will kill their businesses anyway."
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5e86fg/uuptrenda_on_segwit_core_is_forcing_every_bitcoin/
"SegWit [would] bring unnecessary complexity to the bitcoin blockchain. Huge changes it introduces into the client are a veritable minefield of issues, [with] huge changes needed for all wallets, exchanges, remittance, and virtually all bitcoin software that will use it." ~ u/Bitcoinopoly
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5jqgpz/segwit_would_bring_unnecessary_complexity_to_the/
Just because something is a "soft fork" doesn't mean it isn't a massive change. SegWit is an alt-coin. It would introduce radical and unpredictable changes in Bitcoin's economic parameters and incentives. Just read this thread. Nobody has any idea how the mainnet will react to SegWit in real life.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5fc1ii/just_because_something_is_a_soft_fork_doesnt_mean/
Core/Blockstream & their supporters keep saying that "SegWit has been tested". But this is false. Other software used by miners, exchanges, Bitcoin hardware manufacturers, non-Core software developers/companies, and Bitcoin enthusiasts would all need to be rewritten, to be compatible with SegWit
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5dlyz7/coreblockstream_their_supporters_keep_saying_that/
SegWit-as-a-softfork is a hack. Flexible-Transactions-as-a-hard-fork is simpler, safer and more future-proof than SegWit-as-a-soft-fork - trivially solving malleability, while adding a "tag-based" binary data format (like JSON, XML or HTML) for easier, safer future upgrades with less technical debt
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5a7husegwitasasoftfork_is_a_hack/
(2) Better solutions than SegWit are now available (Bitcoin Unlimited, FlexTrans):
ViABTC: "Why I support BU: We should give the question of block size to the free market to decide. It will naturally adjust to ever-improving network & technological constraints. Bitcoin Unlimited guarantees that block size will follow what the Bitcoin network is capable of handling safely."
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/574g5l/viabtc_why_i_support_bu_we_should_give_the/
"Why is Flexible Transactions more future-proof than SegWit?" by u/ThomasZander
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5rbv1j/why_is_flexible_transactions_more_futureproof/
Bitcoin's specification (eg: Excess Blocksize (EB) & Acceptance Depth (AD), configurable via Bitcoin Unlimited) can, should & always WILL be decided by ALL the miners & users - not by a single FIAT-FUNDED, CENSORSHIP-SUPPORTED dev team (Core/Blockstream) & miner (BitFury) pushing SegWit 1.7MB blocks
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5u1r2d/bitcoins_specification_eg_excess_blocksize_eb/
The Blockstream/SegWit/LN fork will be worth LESS: SegWit uses 4MB storage/bandwidth to provide a one-time bump to 1.7MB blocksize; messy, less-safe as softfork; LN=vaporware. The BU fork will be worth MORE: single clean safe hardfork solving blocksize forever; on-chain; fix malleability separately.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/57zjnk/the_blockstreamsegwitln_fork_will_be_worth_less/
(3) Very few miners actually support SegWit. In fact, over half of SegWit signaling comes from just two fiat-funded miners associated with Core / Blockstream: BitFury and BTCC:
Brock Pierce's BLOCKCHAIN CAPITAL is part-owner of Bitcoin's biggest, private, fiat-funded private dev team (Blockstream) & biggest, private, fiat-funded private mining operation (BitFury). Both are pushing SegWit - with its "centrally planned blocksize" & dangerous "anyone-can-spend kludge".
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5sndsz/brock_pierces_blockchain_capital_is_partowner_of/
(4) Hard forks are simpler and safer than soft forks. Hard forks preserve your "right to vote" - so Core / Blockstream is afraid of hard forks a/k/a "full node refendums" - because they know their code would be rejected:
The real reason why Core / Blockstream always favors soft-forks over hard-forks (even though hard-forks are actually safer because hard-forks are explicit) is because soft-forks allow the "incumbent" code to quietly remain incumbent forever (and in this case, the "incumbent" code is Core)
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4080mw/the_real_reason_why_core_blockstream_always/
Reminder: Previous posts showing that Blockstream's opposition to hard-forks is dangerous, obstructionist, selfish FUD. As many of us already know, the reason that Blockstream is against hard forks is simple: Hard forks are good for Bitcoin, but bad for the private company Blockstream.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4ttmk3/reminder_previous_posts_showing_that_blockstreams/
"They [Core/Blockstream] fear a hard fork will remove them from their dominant position." ... "Hard forks are 'dangerous' because they put the market in charge, and the market might vote against '[the] experts' [at Core/Blockstream]" - ForkiusMaximus
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/43h4cq/they_coreblockstream_fear_a_hard_fork_will_remove/
The proper terminology for a "hard fork" should be a "FULL NODE REFERENDUM" - an open, transparent EXPLICIT process where everyone has the right to vote FOR or AGAINST an upgrade. The proper terminology for a "soft fork" should be a "SNEAKY TROJAN HORSE" - because IT TAKES AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5e4e7d/the_proper_terminology_for_a_hard_fork_should_be/
If Blockstream were truly "conservative" and wanted to "protect Bitcoin" then they would deploy SegWit AS A HARD FORK. Insisting on deploying SegWit as a soft fork (overly complicated so more dangerous for Bitcoin) exposes that they are LYING about being "conservative" and "protecting Bitcoin".
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/57zbkp/if_blockstream_were_truly_conservative_and_wanted/
"We had our arms twisted to accept 2MB hardfork + SegWit. We then got a bait and switch 1MB + SegWit with no hardfork, and accounting tricks to make P2SH transactions cheaper (for sidechains and Lightning, which is all Blockstream wants because they can use it to control Bitcoin)." ~ u/URGOVERNMENT
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5ju5r8/we_had_our_arms_twisted_to_accept_2mb_hardfork/
u/Luke-Jr invented SegWit's dangerous "anyone-can-spend" soft-fork kludge. Now he helped kill Bitcoin trading at Circle. He thinks Bitcoin should only hard-fork TO DEAL WITH QUANTUM COMPUTING. Luke-Jr will continue to kill Bitcoin if we continue to let him. To prosper, BITCOIN MUST IGNORE LUKE-JR.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5h0yf0/ulukejr_invented_segwits_dangerous_anyonecanspend/
Normal users understand that SegWit-as-a-softfork is dangerous, because it deceives non-upgraded nodes into thinking transactions are valid when actually they're not - turning those nodes into "zombie nodes". Greg Maxwell and Blockstream are jeopardizing Bitcoin - in order to stay in power.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4mnpxx/normal_users_understand_that_segwitasasoftfork_is/
"Negotiations have failed. BS/Core will never HF - except to fire the miners and create an altcoin. Malleability & quadratic verification time should be fixed - but not via SWSF political/economic trojan horse. CHANGES TO BITCOIN ECONOMICS MUST BE THRU FULL NODE REFERENDUM OF A HF." ~ u/TunaMelt
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5e410j/negotiations_have_failed_bscore_will_never_hf/
"Anything controversial ... is the perfect time for a hard fork. ... Hard forks are the market speaking. Soft forks on any issues where there is controversy are an attempt to smother the market in its sleep. Core's approach is fundamentally anti-market" ~ u/ForkiusMaximus
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5f4zaa/anything_controversial_is_the_perfect_time_for_a/
As Core / Blockstream collapses and Classic gains momentum, the CEO of Blockstream, Austin Hill, gets caught spreading FUD about the safety of "hard forks", falsely claiming that: "A hard-fork forced-upgrade flag day ... disenfranchises everyone who doesn't upgrade ... causes them to lose funds"
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/41c8n5/as_core_blockstream_collapses_and_classic_gains/
Core/Blockstream is living in a fantasy world. In the real world everyone knows (1) our hardware can support 4-8 MB (even with the Great Firewall), and (2) hard forks are cleaner than soft forks. Core/Blockstream refuses to offer either of these things. Other implementations (eg: BU) can offer both.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5ejmin/coreblockstream_is_living_in_a_fantasy_world_in/
Blockstream is "just another shitty startup. A 30-second review of their business plan makes it obvious that LN was never going to happen. Due to elasticity of demand, users either go to another coin, or don't use crypto at all. There is no demand for degraded 'off-chain' services." ~ u/jeanduluoz
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/59hcvblockstream_is_just_another_shitty_startup_a/
(5) Core / Blockstream's latest propaganda "talking point" proclaims that "SegWit is a blocksize increase". But we don't want "a" random, arbitrary centrally planned blocksize increase (to a tiny 1.7MB) - we want _market-based blocksizes - now and into the future:_
The debate is not "SHOULD THE BLOCKSIZE BE 1MB VERSUS 1.7MB?". The debate is: "WHO SHOULD DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?" (1) Should an obsolete temporary anti-spam hack freeze blocks at 1MB? (2) Should a centralized dev team soft-fork the blocksize to 1.7MB? (3) OR SHOULD THE MARKET DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5pcpec/the_debate_is_not_should_the_blocksize_be_1mb/
The Bitcoin community is talking. Why isn't Core/Blockstream listening? "Yes, [SegWit] increases the blocksize but BU wants a literal blocksize increase." ~ u/lurker_derp ... "It's pretty clear that they [BU-ers] want Bitcoin, not a BTC fork, to have a bigger blocksize." ~ u/WellSpentTime
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5fjh6l/the_bitcoin_community_is_talking_why_isnt/
"The MAJORITY of the community sentiment (be it miners or users / hodlers) is in favour of the manner in which BU handles the scaling conundrum (only a conundrum due to the junta at Core) and SegWit as a hard and not a soft fork." ~ u/pekatete
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/593voi/the_majority_of_the_community_sentiment_be_it/
(6) Core / Blockstream want to radically change Bitcoin to centrally planned 1.7MB blocksize, and dangerous "anyone-can-spend" semantics. The market wants to go to the moon - with Bitcoin's original security model, and Bitcoin's original market-based (miner-decided) blocksize.
Bitcoin Unlimited is the real Bitcoin, in line with Satoshi's vision. Meanwhile, BlockstreamCoin+RBF+SegWitAsASoftFork+LightningCentralizedHub-OfflineIOUCoin is some kind of weird unrecognizable double-spendable non-consensus-driven fiat-financed offline centralized settlement-only non-P2P "altcoin"
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/57brcb/bitcoin_unlimited_is_the_real_bitcoin_in_line/
The number of blocks being mined by Bitcoin Unlimited is now getting very close to surpassing the number of blocks being mined by SegWit! More and more people are supporting BU's MARKET-BASED BLOCKSIZE - because BU avoids needless transaction delays and ultimately increases Bitcoin adoption & price!
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5rdhzh/the_number_of_blocks_being_mined_by_bitcoin/
I have just been banned for from /Bitcoin for posting evidence that there is a moderate/strong inverse correlation between the amount of Bitcoin Core Blocks mined and the Bitcoin Price (meaning that as Core loses market share, Price goes up).
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5v10zw/i_have_just_been_banned_for_from_rbitcoin_fo
Flipping the Script: It is Core who is proposing a change to Bitcoin, and BU/Classic that is maintaining the status quo.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5v36jy/flipping_the_script_it_is_core_who_is_proposing_a/
The main difference between Bitcoin core and BU client is BU developers dont bundle their economic and political opinions with their code
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5v3rt2/the_main_difference_between_bitcoin_core_and_bu/
TL;DR:
You wanted people like me to support you and install your code, Core / Blockstream?
Then you shouldn't have a released messy, dangerous, centrally planned hack like SegWit-as-a-soft-fork - with its random, arbitrary, centrally planned, ridiculously tiny 1.7MB blocksize - and its dangerous "anyone-can-spend" soft-fork semantics.
Now it's too late. The market will reject SegWit - and it's all Core / Blockstream's fault.
The market prefers simpler, safer, future-proof, market-based solutions such as Bitcoin Unlimited.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

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