You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
I keep hearing "Deflation before massive inflation"
So what can we do about it? Any ideas are welcome. It has a lot of "what if's"... It depends how tax and law play out with it.Historically speaking:
Commodities and things people use every day become expensive,
Luxury goods fall in value.
Inflation wipes out all savings, there is often a rush to spend money while it has value. "Bank runs" and "Bank Bail in's" where the bank will limit your withdraws to prop up the bank temporarily. Sure here the FDIC may insure it, but its nothing if your money is losing value by the hour and it takes months to get it actually into your hands. And many countries have issues with a person holding cash..."You're automatically a drug dealer! >your money is now drug money! >Asset forfeiture" ...I cant count how many times this happens.
People yell " physical gold and silver!" ... yeah, those do hold value well, however the gov does tax that at 26-30% when sold, and will often ban its use in dire times. ....huge grey / pirate area.
Mining stock is the same in the tax range, and nearly anything you "resell", imposed taxes and royalties can be added leaving you high and dry.
Precious metal holdings have been banned in the past, even here in the USA...aka Government confiscation.
Nationalization of Precious metals mines have happened.
Edit: I now realize there are many ways stocks can play out.
Real Estate will raise in value hugely, However so will the taxes, longer contracts at fixed rates benefits the lendee.
Things that you use, if you can stock or invest in it.
-I stock bulk diesel for my cars while following historical averages to buy cheap.
-Rotating food stock
-Extra maintenance items, including the big things like a roof on your home if its coming time. Not joking I have a spare water heater and backup heating options, along with minor parts and filters to fix them. Same with cars and engines, (spark plugs, filters (all different filters), oil, cheap sensors that usually go bad and are only 4-10$ each, 1-2 extra alternator per vehicle, belts, mowing belts, bearings, grease, ... and I've literally had to use everything on that list and reorder.)
Things that directly pay you back or are insurance. Saving money is making money.
-Security, Locks, Alarms, Cameras, people steal.
A deep freezer for instance can stock food you use and buy on sale.
Solar energy and solar heating supplements energy you use anyways
Rainwater can be collected and used rather than buying from a source.
A cooking gadget vs eating out.
Tools and learning to fix things vs hire.
House insulation.-Better insulative windows, and sealing.
Bidet on toilet (lol serious though...)
Your education can be a huge one, not just for prepping but also in your work.
Things that prevent rot, fire, flood / humidity, or failure. Humidity is a silent killer to many preps. (water sump pumps, dehumidifiers, leak prevention, fire extinguishers / sprinklers, )
Things that last and can be resold on the street if need be. This list can be huge, you have to balance it with liquidity, what you use but can also sell before it goes bad / fails.
Honestly and unpopularly, Things that can avoid tax when the price inflates out of control and you wish to sell. The numbers can be so distorted in both price and taxing of income. Eggs for instance, in many countries from Weimar Republic of Germany to Venezuela, increased 15,000%+, So that $15,000 egg / $150,000 dozen that you sold from your chickens gets taxed in the highest tax bracket? (which can go into the 90% range if rules aren't changed for the massive inflation) Taxes usually try raising during this and many companies flee the country, add robots / machines, or downsize as the result of more taxes making work and jobs even more of an issue. .. honestly history shows the whole thing being a cluster-duck in so many ways. Alternative currencies pop up, actual trades happen and go unreported, crime even shifts when things get too bad, again with Venezuela, I read that criminals were moving to other countries because the people were too poor to even make anything robbing! You can also have a business where you write off so many things that you would use anyways. The numbers get... err... odd, play the game.
It is usually around 10 years of chaos before things start "stabilizing." and even then, so much damage has occured.
This is a serious thing that has happened to once prosperous people / civilizations in the past...don't think you're exempt, especially when the numbers are at historical limits in many countries. Invest in yourself and what you use regularly.
[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum?
No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
the below is a reply to the above
That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims?
That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft?
Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up.
Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness?
Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird?
there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More?
It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about
I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends?
Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms ￼ The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals ￼ People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn ￼ Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think?
Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines?
There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods.
If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web?
I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web?
A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web?
It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
the below is a reply to the above
How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs?
I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
the below is a reply to the above
Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks!
I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them....
I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
the below is a reply to the above
Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in?
Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat?
OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
the below is a reply to the question
I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤
he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web?
There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web?
Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive?
I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
the below has been split into separate questions
1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety?
I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret?
We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work.
Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help?
Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help?
I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome.
I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line.
Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash?
I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all.
Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare?
No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies?
I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it.
Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account.
No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series
Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon?
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia?
The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon?
Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk)
No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR?
I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply!
Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke?
I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped?
The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts!
Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business?
Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is?
Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible?
It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it??
Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way?
I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code.
It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity?
I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature?
Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
What is Bitcoin Cash and some exchanges to try out!
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came about in August 2017 after a hard fork and a split in the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash is a direct result of the constant debates and many opinions about the future of Bitcoin’s scalability and mass adoption.
Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin’s blockchain has grown exponentially in recent times. This means that many more users are using the cryptocurrency, which is slowing down the network. The limited Bitcoin block size of 1 MB means that blocks are filling up quickly, resulting in a long queue of unconfirmed transactions. As a result, at peak times, transactions have become slow and expensive. Bitcoin cash, on the other hand, was initially created with an 8MB block, which was later on increased in size to 32MB. This change allows for more transactions to be processed in each block mined. Many see this as a step forward in terms of how best to scale the network. Bitcoin Cash opposers remain adamant that it’s simply a short-term fix that doesn’t solve the problem in the long run. Also, they claim there’s no implementation of ideas such as Segwit to help effectively break transactions down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Sometimes referred to as Bcash, is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC). When a fork occurs on a Blockchain, the currency is basically duplicated. This means that anyone with Bitcoins in his possession at the time the fork occurred, got credited with the same amount of Bitcoin Cash.
Buying Bitcoin Cash in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Get a Bitcoin Cash Wallet
Before you can buy Bitcoin Cash, you’ll need a Bitcoin Cash wallet to store it in. Hardware wallets that support Bitcoin Cash include industry leaders Ledger and TREZOR. Both Ledger and TREZOR provide functions for you to use Bitcoin Cash as you would any other cryptocurrency. Both have also introduced the ability to claim your funds if you already owned Bitcoin at the time of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork. Additionally, there are a variety of software wallets you can use to store Bitcoin Cash as well. Exodus provides a great user experience with a seamless coin exchange service known as Shapeshift built in. Edge is a mobile wallet for iOS and Android that supports multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash. It also has a variety of features allowing you to buy cryptocurrencies and exchange them from within the app. Electron Cash is a clone of the awesome Electrum wallet for Bitcoin. If you’re used to Electrum, then you’ll have no problem jumping on board with its sister technology. Other wallets that support BCH include Keepkey, BTC.com, Bitpay, and Coinomi. You can view all available wallets on the official Bitcoin Cash website. Once you have your wallet, you will need your Bitcoin Cash address. It’s a long string of letters and numbers that start with either a “1” or a “3” — similar to normal Bitcoin addresses. Since many people got confused and started sending Bitcoins to Bitcoin Cash wallets and vice versa, a new format was invented for Bitcoin Cash. The format, called “Cash Address” is 42 characters long and starts with a “p” or a “q”. Here’s an example: qpm2qsznhks23z7629mms6s4cwef74vcwvy22gdx6a Keep in mind that Cash Addresses are just a representation of original Bitcoin Cash addresses. This means that the same address can be represented in two different ways (normal format or Cash Address format). Not all wallets support Cash address format.
Step 2: Find a Bitcoin Cash Exchange
Most Bitcoin exchanges will also allow you to buy Bitcoin Cash, here are top ones around.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through eToro
eToro allows users from around the world to buy and sell Bitcoin Cash with a variety of payment methods. eToro is more aimed towards investing in BCH for making a profit in fiat currency (i.e. Dollars, Euros, etc.) rather than actually using it. That being said, eToro does give you access to your coins and allows you to send coins from eToro to other people. If you use eToro for investment only, you don’t actually need a Bitcoin Cash wallet as you won’t be withdrawing the coins. *75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. CFDs are not offered to US users. Cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinmama
Coinmama, one of the oldest exchanges around, allows you to buy Bitcoin Cash with a credit card, debit card or SEPA transfer. Coinmama accepts users from almost all countries around the world.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through CEX.io
CEX.IO, based in London, is a trusted, experienced name in the industry, having been around since 2013. You can choose from a selection of cryptocurrencies on the site, including Bitcoin Cash. The exchange has a brokerage service (easier to use, more expensive) and a trading platform (cheaper but more complex).CEX accepts credit cards, debit cards, wire transfers and SEPA.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinbase
Coinbase is a reputable Bitcoin exchange that supplies a variety of other services including a wallet, a trading platform (Coinbase Pro) and a Bitcoin debit card. If you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to use the brokerage service which is a bit more expensive, but easier to use. Advanced users can use Coinbase Pro to buy Bitcoin Cash with lower fees. Coinbase accepts debit cards and wire transfers.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Bitstamp
Bitstamp, the oldest exchange around, supports the trading of BCH to Bitcoin and direct purchases with US dollars or Euros. There’s also an option to buy Bitcoin Cash with your credit card at a higher price. If you know your way around Bitcoin trading platforms it’s best to use that service and not the credit card service since you’ll save substantially on fees. Other options to purchase Bitcoin Cash include Bitfinex, Cryptmixer, Kraken, Poloniex, HitBTC, and more (you can view all available exchanges on Bitcoin Cash’s website).
Step 3: Transfer the BCH to your wallet
As usual, I recommend that you never leave money on an exchange. Once you’ve finished buying your Bitcoin Cash, move it to your own wallet (the one you chose in step 1). You can then follow the status of your transaction using a Bitcoin Cash block explorer. Once you receive three confirmations for your Bitcoin Cash, you can safely say you’ve completed the process.
It’s apparent that Bitcoin Cash has still not gained full acceptance by large parts of the cryptocurrency community. It still sits firmly in second place to its older brother in terms of both price and usage. Bitcoin Cash has the advantage of being the first major split that has garnered acceptance. Most forks after it didn’t receive nearly enough attention from the community or the media. However, with internal conflicts inside its founding team and accelerated Bitcoin development for scalability solutions, I’m not sure if there’s an actual use case for Bitcoin Cash other than price speculation.
I've read lots lately on Bitcoin (and other cryptos), both good and bad. Can anyone help me with this point: What's the difference between Bitcoin and Gold? (or any Crypto Currency vs any precious metal). - Both are mined (one digitally, one physically) - Both can be sold for cash (i.e. a fiat currency) - Both can be bought/sold on secondary markets - Both have a mining cost (e.g. equipment used to mine gold vs the electricity cost for mining Bitcoin). - Both are scarce At a high level, the only differences I can see are that whilst both are scarce, the finite amount of Bitcoins is known (21 mil) whereas nobody knows how much gold there is still to be discovered. Also, gold can be used in the manufacture of other items (jewelry for example) but all that can be done with Bitcoin is that it can be spent or sold to someone else. I'm kind of seeing this as a case in the favor of Bitcoin, but where I still get a bit lost is that there's not just Bitcoin.... there's (thousands?) or other Crypto currencies being created all the time, all (presumably) with finite numbers. So I guess my question is why is there so much 'buzz' around Bitcoin, and why does it have a greater dollar value by far than any other Crypto? Just because it was first?
Link to our website:https://block.co/blockchain-in-the-public-sector-webcast-qa/ Block.co fourth webcast titled "Digital Transformation of the Public Sector & The Upcoming Legislation of Blockchain Technology in Cyprus” was an immense success. We gathered some of the best experts in the field, Deputy Minister Kyriacos Kokkinos, Jeff Bandman, Steve Tendon, and Christiana Aristidou to share their experience and discuss with us the latest updates regarding Blockchain in the Public Sector. In its fourth series of webcasts, Block.co gathered 281 people watching the event from 41 different countries, for a two-hour webcast where guests answered participants’ questions. Following the impressive outcome and response we received from the audience, Block.co’s team has done its best to address all the questions for which public information is available. Below is a list of the questions that were made and were not answered due to time constraints during the webcast. For the remaining questions from our audience, the team will reach out to our distinguished guests to receive their comments and feedback. Please note, that the below information is only for informational purposes! Question 1: How can asset tracing be accomplished with bitcoins and cryptocurrency? And how can this be regulated? Block.co Team Answer: Digital Asset tracing may be accomplished with cryptocurrency intelligence solutions such as Cipher Trace and the ICE cryptocurrency intelligence program. FATF (Financial Action Task Force) embarked on a program of work from summer 2018 to June 2019 to strengthen and update the provisions dealing with virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. FATF updated Recommendations in October 2018 and Guidance in June 2019 include several new obligations that apply to VASPs. The so-called “Travel Rule” FATF announced in October 2019 agreed on the assessment criteria for how it will assess countries’ compliance with the new global standards. Under the Travel Rule, the transmitter’s financial institutions must include and send information in the transmittal order such as Information about the identity, name, address, and account number of the sender and its financial institution Information about the identity, name, address and account number of the recipient. The ”Travel Rule” is effectively being applied to cryptoasset transfers when there is a virtual asset service provider (VASP) involved. The scope of focus has broadened from “convertible” virtual assets to any virtual asset. Countries should make sure businesses can freeze crypto wallet or exchange accounts for sanctioned individuals. Question 2: Which kind of software or technical knowledge is required to develop cryptocurrency? Block.co Team Answer: It depends on the type of cryptocurrency you wish to create, as well as the preferred functionality and features, and characteristics of the token or coin (i.e. will it be pre-mined, what type of hashing or cryptographic algorithm will be used (i.e. proof of work (POW) or proof of stake (POS) or a hybrid of both), etc. Likewise, it is useful to utilize a programming language that is broadly used and supported by a vast and active development community; more data could be found here: more information could be found here: top programming languages in 2015/2016, published by IEEE here, and TIOBE. Hypothetically, you can utilize any programming language to make cryptocurrency digital money, however, the most widely recognized are C, C++, Java, Python, Perl. The beauty of cryptocurrencies is that you can literally have access to the entire Bitcoin and Ethereum open-source programming scripts, and create your alternate coin (altcoin). Question 3: Hello all, I want to know about the current status of the European Union Blockchain initiative in currency or public identity. Block.co Team Answer: Please refer to the European Services Blockchain Infrastructure (EBSI) website. Question 4: Mining is also the process of confirmation of transactions in the Bitcoin Blockchain. What is the process of confirmation of transactions in the Blockchain of an Organization? How do we call it? Block.co Team Answer: That would depend on the specific consensus algorithm used for the confirmation of transactions. The consensus algorithm is part of the blockchain protocol that defines the rules on how consensus is reached on that blockchain. In order to participate, entities on the blockchain must obey and follow the same consensus algorithm. Make sure to check our glossary for more information. Question 5: How does a small business implement blockchain into its current non-blockchain software systems? Who do they hire to install it? Block.co Team Answer: It is easy when there are APIs to connect the various software. For more information, you can check Block.co API. Question 6: What is your opinion on digitizing developing economies like India by using AI and blockchain? Block.co Team Answer: Watch a very interesting webinar on the matter by Mr. Prasanna: Question 7: Blockchain technologies have been around since 2008. What would you say has been the biggest obstacle in widespread adoption? Block.co Team Answer: In our opinion, the biggest obstacles are volatile cryptoasset prices, complicated UIs, undefined blockchain technology standards. Moreover, the legislation around the technologies is still now being developed and does not offer legal certainty for broader adoption. Question 8: Limitations to Blockchain Usability in the Public Sector? Block.co Team Answer: Blockchain in the Public Sector, like any other innovative concept with big potential, cannot be a solution to every problem. Users and developers are still figuring out technological and managerial challenges. From a technological perspective, some aspects such as platform scalability, validation methods, data standardization, and systems integration must still be addressed. From a managerial point of view, the questions include business model transformation, incentive structure, and transaction scale, and maturity. Read more here. Question 9: How can these blockchain initiatives be practical for the African context Block.co Team Answer: As long as the internet infrastructure is in place, these blockchain initiatives may have the same benefits for the African region. Question 10: What are some compelling use cases you’ve seen lately, and how do they serve to further legitimize blockchain as a solution? Block.co Team Answer: You can see the global trends from all around the world when it comes to further legitimization as a solution, with China leading the way. Read more here. Question 11: How does digital currency manage the issue of money laundering? Block.co Team Answer: Depends under which context you are looking at the term digital currency. A digital currency usually refers to a balance or a record stored in a distributed database, in an electronic computer database, within digital files or a stored-value card. Some examples of digital currencies are cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and e-Cash. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to fight money laundering. Since 2001 FATF is also looking into terrorism financing. The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. FATF is a “policy-making body” that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas. FATF monitors progress in implementing its Recommendations through “peer reviews” (“mutual evaluations”) of member countries. It is the global watchdog for anti-money laundering & counter-terrorist finance. In June 2019, it updated its guidance paper for Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) regarding the transfer of digital assets. There was an insertion of a new interpretive note that sets out the application of the FATF Standards to virtual asset activities and service providers. To apply FATF Recommendations, countries should consider virtual assets as “property,” “proceeds,” “funds,” “funds or other assets,” or other “corresponding value.” Countries should apply the relevant measures under the FATF Recommendations to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs). Read more about the FATF recommendations here). https://preview.redd.it/58tt7mt1pld51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=d24811c4864ebf02cb9aacc8d6b877a1fbc3756b Question 12: To what extent can blockchain be used to improve the privacy of healthcare? Block.co team Answer: Please refer to our previous webcast, blog, and articles for more information. Question 13: What is Blockchain technology in Shipping? Block.co team Answer: The shipping sector has been in the hold of phony maritime institutes charging exorbitant fees via agents, issuing certificates to candidates who do not have the imperative attendance, or those candidates who just pay the fees for the course and ask for the certificate. In view of these fake accreditations, the possibility exists that someone could be harmed or killed, and we could face any number of potential ecological disasters. Having the option to easily verify the genuine origin of a certificate by an approved maritime center is foremost for shipping companies to fast-track their operation and streamline their labor. Question 14: Different uses of blockchain other than cryptocurrency? Block.co team Answer: Please refer to our blog and glossary. Question 15: Upcoming trends in Blockchain concerning Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations in the Public and Private sectors. Block.co Team Answer: Regarding the application of blockchain technology to media copyrights, please see Block.co use case proposal during the Bloomen Ideathon. https://preview.redd.it/48zc8j38pld51.png?width=3622&format=png&auto=webp&s=79987d1dc7eb8d0c8e32dbce8680b17801d0d244 Question 16: How to create a decentralized blockchain? Block.co Team Answer: An excessive number of individuals feel that blockchain is some supernatural innovation that makes up a decentralized system. In truth, this innovation only enables decentralization. Which means, it permits cryptocurrency to work in a decentralized way. Yet, it doesn’t give any guarantees that it will work that way. Along these lines, it’s really, some outer variables that decide genuine decentralization. Technology, itself never really guarantees it. That is the reason it’s a mistake to expect that if it’s a blockchain — it’s decentralized. From a technical perspective, both blockchains, centralized, and decentralized are comparative, as they take work on distributed peer to peer to network. This implies every node is individually responsible to verify and store the shared ledger. Both Blockchains utilize either a proof-of-work or proof-of-stake mechanisms to make a solitary record and they have to give upper and lower limits on the security and productivity of the system. For more information please refer to our infographic. Question 17: Dubai government Blockchain implementation progress? Block.co Team Answer: You can see more information here. Question 18: How Blockchain and IoT can be integrated to secure data being transmitted through IoT devices. Block.co Team Answer: You can read more about it here. Question 19: How can the Nigerian government use Blockchain to effectively implement its existing launched eGovernment master plan? Block.co Team Answer: Perhaps it can draw its attention to the initiatives of Dubai, Estonia, and Malta to prepare an implementation framework. Question 20: What impact is blockchain going to have in today world of business especially in the financial sector Block.co Team Answer: Please refer to our recent article titled Benefits of Blockchain Technology in the Banking Industry. Question 21: Is Blockchain Technology affect individuals? Block.co Team Answer: The social effect of blockchain innovation has just started to be acknowledged and this may simply be a hint of something larger. Cryptocurrencies have raised questions over financial services through digital wallets, and while considering that there are in excess of 3,5 billion individuals on the planet today without access to banking, such a move is surely impactful. Maybe the move for cryptocurrencies will be simpler for developing nations than the process of fiat cash and credit cards. It is like the transformation that developing nations had with mobile phones. It was simpler to acquire mass amounts of mobile phones than to supply another infrastructure for landlines telephones. In addition to giving the underprivileged access to banking services, greater transparency could also raise the profile and effectiveness of charities working in developing countries that fall under corrupt or manipulative governments. An expanded degree of trust in where the cash goes and whose advantages would without a doubt lead to expanded commitments and backing for the poor in parts of the world that are in urgent need of help. Blockchain technology is well placed to remove the possibility of vote-apparatus and the entirety of different negatives related to the current democratic procedure. Obviously, with new innovation, there are new obstacles and issues that will arise, yet the cycle goes on and those new issues will be comprehended with progressively modern arrangements. A decentralized record would give the entirety of the fundamental information to precisely record votes on an anonymous basis, and check the exactness and whether there had been any manipulation of the voting procedure. Question 22: As Andreas Antonopoulos often says in his MOOC: ”is a blockchain even needed?” Ie. Are there better methods? Block.co Team Answer: In combination with nascent technologies, IoT, distributed computing, and distributed ledger technologies, governments can provide inventive services and answers for the citizens and local municipalities. Blockchain can provide the component to create a safe framework to deal with these functions. In particular, it can provide a safe interoperable infrastructure that permits all smart city services and capacities to work past presently imagined levels. On the off chance that there were better techniques, they would be researched. Question 23: Would any of this be also applicable to the educational sector (as part of the general public sector), and if so in which way? Block.co Team Answer: Yes, please refer to our Webcast on Education and our blog post. Question 24: Will we be able to get a hold of this recording upon completion of the meeting? Block.co Team Answer: Yes, here is a link to the recording of our webcast Blockchain in the Public Sector. Question 25: Was wondering if there are any existing universal framework in governing the blockchain technology? Block.co Team Answer: The short answer is NO, as this framework is currently being prepared in collaboration with the various Member States. We would like to thank everyone for attending our webcast and hoping to interact with you in future webinars. If you would like to watch the webinar again, then click here! For more info, contactBlock.codirectly or email at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). Tel +357 70007828 Get the latest from Block.co, like and follow us on social media: ✔️Facebook ✔️LinkedIn ✔️Twitter ✔️YouTube ✔️Medium ✔️Instagram ✔️Telegram ✔️Reddit ✔️GitHub
Introduction This story starts with DCG and it’s relationship with Dr. Darren Tapp of ASU (Arizona State University). But Dr. Tapp does not stand alone, for there is a loose network of friends with a shared agenda, not only to make dash a regulator-friendly project but to wilfully weaken end-user privacy by upholding a principle of transparency-first. More than ever, society is engaged in a war on privacy. And when it comes to financial transactions, DCG has taken the position of transparency-first. In sharp contrast, many other projects in this industry are either improving end-user privacy (decred, tezos etc), or actively pursuing privacy first (monero, beam etc). As you may know, the scaling wars of the past revolved around block size, eventually giving way to “big blocker” projects like bitcoin cash and dash. By enforcing small blocks, Blockstream successfully syphoned off miner fees to the Lightning Network and it’s own Liquid Network. I believe we may be witnessing a similar event with dash. This time it’s not a scaling issue, it’s a privacy issue; transparency-first vs privacy-first. The Power of Inaction As many of you know, Dr. Darren Tapp is a research professor at ASU. And you may also be aware, in July 2019, the dash treasury paid ASU 345 dash for research into zero-knowledge proofs. Here’s an excerpt from the proposal along with the relevant link:
“This proposal seeks funding to renew our annual funding commitment to ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab and specifically to fund a research project which would investigate methods to apply zero-knowledge proofs to blockchain identities. It is possible Dash could leverage this research to apply zero-knowledge proofs to identity functions within the Dash network.” https://www.dashcentral.org/p/dash-core-group-research
To date, there has been zero feedback from this project and, so far, all requests for an update have resulted in silence, including it’s omission from the DCG quarterly call. I am particularly concerned by a seemingly gross contradiction. The result of this research into zero-knowledge proofs was to apply to blockchain identities but not to actual payments when they hit the dash blockchain. DCG and it’s proponents argue that privacy-first negates the ability to audit the chain for inflation. But if this was true, how can anyone argue with confidence that zero-knowledge proofs would only work with blockchain identities? It is, I say, a bit disingenuous to suggest it can work one way but not the other. A Tapp Perspective I now want to draw your attention to a recent interview between Joel Valenzuela and Dr. Darren Tapp on 8 May 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tikj0O0xphE Here is a particularly pertinent quote from Dr. Tapp:
@ 1:06:13 DT: “Well, I’ll just tell you my use case for dash, right. You’re talking about your use case. My use case for dash is, well, I’m not going to worry about the coffee guy thinking I have a whole bunch of money because I’m going to pay with my phone and I’m only going to keep a small amount on my phone, right? So that right there, they would have trouble you know, they have to go a few steps back and then they’re not even sure if it’s mine if there’s no Private Send. Um, if I don’t use Private Send. And if, let’s say, if I did want to take some money and put it into Coinbase. Well, if I don’t use Private Send and they’re asking “where’s the money came from?” - and that’s what they’re going to do - it’s going to be a little bit easier to say, “this is where it came from”, right?. I mean, I wouldn’t lie to them, I’d tell them the same thing no matter if I used Private Send or not, but I just think I’m going to have less problems with the bank and stuff if it wasn’t so obfuscated. So yeah, I think there’s a kind of, I think there needs to be room for both on chain. There needs to be.. I mean, I’m glad you’re enjoying Private Send. I think there are some improvements that can be made to Private Send. Umm, but I mean, there were some discussion of MimbleWimble and there is, no, we do not do that. No no no. But like, I mean, if you want to bring over some improvements, maybe start reading about the Cash Fusion that’s on the Bitcoin Cash. Umm, so err and like, I believe if you read Cash Fusion, their paper, I believe we can do Private Send in a way where the masternodes doesn’t know which output corresponds to which input. So, right now we trust that the masternodes aren’t paying attention, aren’t going to, you know… they’re... yeah I mean, and they have the word trust in it, they have a vested interest in the network working so that Private Send works the way it’s supposed to work. But, you know, at the same time, if you can do some small little cryptographic thing for no real cost on your processors and stuff like that, umm, why wouldn’t you? So that’s one thing I think that can be brought in. I think Cash Fusion also might do a better job of keeping the balance separate or something like that, but err., I would definitely be in favor of improving Private Send. Umm, but also at the same time, I’m glad that I’m given a choice if I want to use it or not. And pretty much anything when I’m interacting with the banking system, which I know you’re doing a fiat-free, so you don’t need to worry about that Joel.. but when you’re interacting with the banking system, the easier it is to explain to them, the better off, the easier time they’ll give you. That’s the way it is.”
In other words, Dr. Tapp’s priority is transparency-first for the benefit of the banking system. What I found particularly interesting was Dr. Tapp’s body language. While he was making the above statement, at 1:07:04 he says, “I wouldn’t lie to them [the bank]” and at this exact same moment he goes to touch his face and pulls back. This is a body language clue that he’s lying or somewhat anxious about saying this. This doesn’t mean he is actually lying because with body language you normally need multiple clues to be sure, but having watched it multiple times, I am personally more convinced than not that he was in fact lying or anxious. Dr. Tapp has outright rejected MimbleWimble, which is fine because MW is just one of several privacy enhancing technologies. But given the complete lack of feedback regarding zero-knowledge proofs from ASU. And given Dr. Tapp’s stance on transparency-first for the benefit of the banking system, I am wondering if there’s more to this than just one person’s opinion on the matter. The Yes Chain DCG asserts that dash has fewer privacy features than bitcoin. To make this case, considerable effort has been made to educate exchanges and regulators: https://blog.dash.org/dash-complies-with-the-financial-action-task-force-fatf-guidelines-including-the-travel-rule-a4c658efc89d According to DCG, the benefits of a transparency-first approach are: a) Transaction monitoring b) Identifying and blocking transactions that utilized mixing, or are in close proximity of known bad actors or sanctioned wallet addresses. c) Track anonymity enhanced convertible virtual currencies and wallet addresses sending more private transactions. d) This means that the VASP can choose to identify, block, and report on all transactions sent with Dash PrivateSend and can track and report on all the components of a mixed transaction. e) Reporting on your users’ blockchain transactions f) Establish an automated record keeping system for suspicious activity g) Activity reporting, customer due diligence, and currency transaction reporting. h) Track anonymity enhanced convertible virtual currencies and wallet addresses sending more private transactions. i) Customizable risk scoring Clearly, the scoring / ranking of coin histories (“risk assessment”) is producing a situation where some coins are more worthy than others. Let us also consider the recent initiative to get dash re-listed on Japanese exchanges at a cost of 428 dash: https://app.dashnexus.org/proposals/listing-dash-in-japan/overview Coinfirm-ation For a number of years, in pursuit of regulatory approval, DCG has been courting chain analysis companies. This started in August 2016 when Robert Wiecko (Dash COO) was invited to attend a bitcoin meetup in Warsaw where he met Pawel Kuskowski (CEO and co-founder of Coinfirm) . Here is the original proposal along with the subsequent Coinfirm interview with Amanda B Johnson: https://www.dash.org/forum/threads/dash-on-warsaw-block-on-25-08-2016.10211/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJOhIkeK3Ho Mr Wiecko’s original proposal failed to mention any relationship or intention to engage with chain analysis companies. Nor was it mentioned that this meetup itself was sponsored by Coinfirm. It comes with little surprise that Robert Wiecko does, in fact, have some experience working with compliance (see @ 27:05 of Amanda’s video).
“Btw, we have, both of us have a compliance background. My last job was with [inaudible] bank, before that within a banking compliance department”
“The thieves didn’t move the funds right away. A couple months after the initial theft, they started to move the funds to multiple wallet addresses across the world. During their hundreds of transfers, the thieves converted the Dash into other cryptocurrencies. We were able to track their every transfer, whether it was from one Dash address to another, or from a Dash address into another cryptocurrency. In the end, the thieves had transferred the stolen Dash into hundreds of different wallet addresses and exchanged the Dash for Bitcoin, Ether and Bitcoin Cash. We collaborated with the FBI and traced the funds to an exchange in Asia. Through our connections with that exchange, law enforcement was able to obtain details of the account owner, which led to a bank account. By September 2018, three months after the theft, our tools and collaboration with law enforcement had identified a person involved in this theft. At that point, the victims, law enforcement and us at BlockchainIntel were hopeful there would be some recovery of stolen funds. But that’s when things slowed down. A lot.”
“Over the past few years, Iranian visa-holders resident in the United States have seen their bank accounts at U.S. financial institutions shuttered as a result of U.S. sanctions. The most recent case is that of Chase Bank, where NIAC has learned that Chase is closing the bank accounts of Iranian visa-holders. NIAC is deeply concerned that U.S. banks are denying financial services to Iranians in the United States on the basis of their national origin and calls on Chase Bank and other U.S. financial institutions to cease and desist from such discriminatory policies. At the same time, NIAC believes that the repeated nature of these account closures makes it incumbent on the U.S. administration to take immediate steps to provide clarity as to the scope of existing U.S. sanctions laws — none of which bar U.S. banks from opening and maintaining accounts for Iranian visa-holders resident in the United States.”
Great! Who needs banks when Iranians can use dash! But then again, what if the recent history of your dash coins was linked to an innocent Iranian, disqualified and excluded by sanctions? Closing A global peer-to-peer electronic cash system needs to be cheap, fast and very easy to use. Dash’s technical ability to meet demand is very much in sight and the Velocity protocol certainly seems promising. But digital cash also requires a high degree of fungibility. The less fungibility there is, the more discretion and division it sows. The path of a coin should not unduly taint a person’s reputation. Incremental improvements have been made to Private Send but it is today, fundamentally, the same as it was six years ago. Mixing takes a long time and the user requires knowledge to use it in a safe manner. For example, external actors proactively breaking VPN connections to reveal the underlying IP address during mixing. A poor user experience is probably why Private Send isn’t used very much and that seems like a very convenient situation for those people actively pursuing regulatory approval. I have to wonder, has the internal workings of DCG been compromised by state level actors? Is this why key members of DCG have refused to undergo a polygraph test?
What is EPIC CASH? Epic Cash is the final point in the journey toward true P2P internet cash, the cornerstone of a private financial system. The Epic currency aims to become the world’s most effective privacy-protecting form of digital money. In order to fulfill that goal, it satisfies the three principal functions of money: 1. Store of Value — can be saved, retrieved, and exchanged at a later time, and of predictable value when retrieved; 2. Medium of Exchange — anything accepted as representing a standard of value and exchangeable for goods or services; 3. Unit of Account — the unit by which the value of a thing is accounted for and compared. Website: http://epic.tech Whitepapers: http://epic.tech/whitepaper Epic Cash Community: https://t.me/EpicCash Miner Chat: https://t.me/EpicMiners Gitlab: gitlab.com/epiccash Twitter: twitter.com/EpicCashTech Social Media: http://epic.tech/social-media Exchanges: https://epic.tech/service-list Oleg✌🏻 Hello community! Our AMA with EPIC begins🚀 We are very happy to have you here, on our joint AMA👌 So, lets start! The very first question for you. Can you introduce yourself? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble I’m Max Freeman, which stands for “Maximum Freedom for Mankind” — we believe that the existing fiat money system enslaves people by unfairly confiscating their wealth through inflation. By using an honest money system such as Epic, we can improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide. Yoga Dude Hello, I am Yoga Dude 🙂 I handle Marketing and PR, in crypto since 2011 started as Bitcoin miner, and in 2014 in Monero, and in 2015 in Ethereum, oh and briefly in DOGE for fun and unexpected profit. Heard about Epic Cash while learning about the Mimblewimble algo and joined the team last year. JLong I am John, Doing the general engineering and managerial work Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble I have been involved in early stage cryptos for the past 3 years, after building a global trading business for the past 20 years. Oleg✌🏻 nice to meet you🙂 Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Epic is a decentralized community project like Bitcoin or Monero, there is no central authority or corporation involved. We had no ICO and no premine, we had a fair launch at 0 supply last September. Yoga Dude Great to meet everyone :) Oleg✌🏻 Here we go the 1st question for you ~ 1. What is Epic Cash about? Yoga Dude Epic Cash is designed to fulfill Satoshi’s original vision of P2P electronic cash, adjusting for what we learned from Bitcoin, a medium of exchange that is fast, free, open to all, while being private and fungible. We launched in September 2019 as a Proof of Work mineable crypto, without an ICO or a premine. Oleg✌🏻 Look like a real Bitcoin🙂 Yoga Dude with privacy and fungibility 😄 Oleg✌🏻 Sounds cool! move on to the next question… 2. What makes Epic Cash better than Monero or other privacy coins? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble First off, we have a lot of respect for Monero and other privacy coins, we learned a lot from what they did right and what they did wrong, Our blockchain is much lighter than Monero or Bitcoin, our transaction engine is faster than Monero or ZCash. We use a three mining algo approach to allow more users the ability to obtain Epic Cash. We are a new, highly undervalued, coin and we look great not only for future use but for today's investment. Our blockchain is 90+% smaller than Monero or Bitcoin. Coins such as Zcash have optional privacy. Epic makes all transactions private, and it is impossible to trace movements of coins by watching wallet addresses. Oleg✌🏻 Young and hot😋 security and privacy level is very important now but… 3. Why copy the same supply economics as Bitcoin? Yoga Dude It is hard to compete with the success of Bitcoin today, part of the elegance and the appeal of Bitcoin is the responsible emission rate, terminating at 21million highly sub dividable coins. Like the Bitcoin supply curve, Epic Cash encourages early adopters, and with subsequent halvenings maintains a gradually diminishing flow of additional currency while preserving the overall value. Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble In 2028, the supply of Epic matches that of Bitcoin and they stay in sync until the final coin is mined in 2140. We have 4 halvenings between now and then, which is demonstrated in Bitcoin to drive the value over market cycles. Epic is a chance for people who were late to Bitcoin to ride the wave and not miss their opportunity this time. Oleg✌🏻 Interesting! 4. Why Choose Epic Cash over Grin and Beam? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble First of all, we have tremendous respect for all Mimblewimble currencies and their talented teams, they all taught us a lot and we are thankful for that. Without sounding too contentious, the choice seems obvious. We offer the same core tech, but with a much more responsible emission curve — Grin is an endless fountain of emission and inflation (60 per second forever), and Beam is even more frontloaded outpacing even Grin’s aggressive emission schedule for the next several years… We respect Grin and Beam, we learned from them, and we believe we are the next evolutionary step. Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, we offer more ways to mine Epic Cash, both with GPU and CPU and ASICs, this gives us more potential users and miners, vs Grin and Beam that are only mineable with GPUs. Yoga Dude Yes, all that ☝️😄 Oleg✌🏻 I hope the miners read it all carefully 👌 Next question 5. Why have a development fund tax and what will it be used for? Yoga Dude Dev fund tax today is at a reasonable 7.77% dropping by 1.11% every year until it hits zero. As Epic Cash grows in value these funds will become increasingly more relevant in additional technical, marketing, and fintech partnerships developments. Oleg✌🏻 Very smart! 6. What is the advantage of 3 mining algorithms? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble By having multiple mining algorithms we are able to attract CPU, GPU, and ASIC miners simultaneously. Currently all other Mimblewimble currencies are mineable with GPU only ignoring a large segment of CPU miners. Monero made a splash migrating to the RandomX CPU mining algo. Epic Cash from the beginning embraces all mining communities. Many miners are successfully using older hardware such as Xeon processors to help secure the network. We use RandomX for CPU, ProgPow for GPU, and Cuckoo for ASIC. Longer term, our flexible architecture means we can have many algorithms, not just 3. Our roadmap includes an allocation for SHA3 Keccak, which will help further decentralize the network and keep it unstoppable. Yoga Dude We love miners 🙂 and Epic Cash can be mined with laptops and gaming rigs 🙂 Oleg✌🏻 A wide selection of mining methods is a great way to create a stable, decentralized and large network👌 Let’s talk about persons… 7. Who are the people developing Epic Cash? Yoga Dude We are blessed with a very talented team of skilled developers with diverse backgrounds, many of them are volunteers who believe in what Epic Cash stands for and contribute with product and usability innovation. Our teams main focus is to make Epic Cash the best, most secure, most user friendly and usable product on the market, without making it unnecessarily techie, with as much mainstream user appeal as possible. This is a serious challenge but we are up for it 😄 Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble It is also important to note that we are a truly open ecosystem that anyone can participate in. Our community has developed wallets, mining pools, educational content, and much else besides. We are not limited by the funding generated during an ICO or VC investment, our users are an essential element of our team. Oleg✌🏻 Sounds very attractive. 8. What do you think is currently lack in today’s crypto? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble We believe there is not enough privacy, anonymity and fungibility, although there is a growing awareness in the community as to why these are necessary. People are waking up to the fact that privacy is a right for everyone but today it is being exploited and violated by corporations, governments and unscrupulous individuals. Privacy does not mean that you have something to hide. We have doors on our houses, curtains on our windows, we wear clothes, and we have security on our bank accounts and businesses, not because we are criminals. Fungibility (the property of not being able to distinguish one unit of currency from another) also has become a hot issue as people have started to get in trouble because of someone else’s misdeeds. Tainted money (coins that are blacklisted or restricted) is a problem for Bitcoin and Ethereum, the top two cryptos today. Mimblewimble eliminates the risk of tainted coins making them indistinguishable from each other. With traceable coins, you always have to worry if the coins you are getting were involved in a hack, or perhaps the darknet. Oleg✌🏻 It’s good to see strong and safe coin in our time Let’s talk about your future… 9. What does the Epic Cash roadmap look like going forward? Yoga Dude First and foremost, we are focused on security and usability. We are working on a new, improved GUI wallet to incorporate the community feedback on ways to improve it. We are in the process of completing final testing phases for the next iteration of Epic Cash which will make it more secure and stable. Once that is done, we will be rolling out Android and iOS support to make Epic Cash usable on leading smartphones and smartwatches. Beyond that without going into too much detail we are focused on continuous evolution of privacy, ease of mining, and overall speed and usability. And of course we are constantly looking to add more exchanges both with and without KYC. Oleg✌🏻 Are you working on Android and IOS wallet ? What will your application be? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Yes, we will release a mobile wallet this year. It will bring us one step closer to people being able to actually use cryptocurrency as money in daily life. Yoga Dude The idea is to be able to access Epic Cash from any platform and device Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Epic is very lightweight, which means that low-end devices such as smartwatches can participate. Oleg✌🏻 Ok, got it. Thanks for clarification! 10. What else can you tell us about Epic Cash? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Well one thing I really want to mention is our great Epic Cash community. We’ve been building a decentralized community organically, without the talk of price pumps, pressure to HODL and other BS crypto-gimmicks. Our community is truly global and consists of developers, volunteers, miners, and other Epic enthusiasts spreading the word about Epic Cash, helping us reach millions of people around the world to improve their quality of life through social media and directly. Everyone is an evangelist, everyone is an influencer, everyone has the power to make the world a better place to live in. As we continue to grow — the future looks Epic 😊 Yoga Dude Definitely the community! We got a talented crowd of very cool and motivated people from all over the world! Oleg✌🏻 Thank you guys, for such informative answers 🙂 Now we proceed to Section 3, where a Community can ask their questions to the EPIC team Now I’ll open chat for the quite some time … Oleg✌🏻 Thank you all, dear community! EPIC team, please choose the 10 best questions you want to answer. AngeI Everyone likes Privacy & Epic Cash provides their Best Privacy to users But, Which Technologies are being used by Epic Cash to make Blockchain very Private and Completely untrackable ? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble From the wallet to the node, Epic uses Dandelion++ to bounce transactions around the world before they go into the mempool for mining. Within the blockchain itself, Cut-Through merges all transactions in a block together, with CoinJoin automatically mixing all coins. Beyond that, there are no addresses, so it’s impossible to watch someone’s wallet. Arnold Even litecoin is implementing mimblewimble, Don’t you think it’s a significant threat for Epic if they implement it, then why would anyone use a less popular and a new cryptocurrency. Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble LTC is implementing mw as an “extension block”, meaning that it is optional and not all transactions will use it. This is very different than the core protocol leveraging mw to make all transactions private and all coins fungible. Aluta Why Epic cash so much focus on fungibility? Does fungibility matters that much? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Fungibility is going to be one of the key issues within the cryptocurrency space in the coming years. Today, if you accept traceable coins from a seller, you are liable if they have ever been used in any illegal activity. This has led to a two tier market where freshly minted coins sell for more than circulated coins. When coins are fungible, like Epic, you don’t have to worry that you will run into a problem when an exchange or merchant blocks your transaction. Joxes It is a pleasure. When I first researched EpicCash, google showed me a youtube video that talked about how to mine with EpicCash. It made me ask: is this mining activity profitable so far? We are in the early stages of development I guess, what adoption strategies are you taking to have sustained growth? is it feasible to reach N ° 500 rank in coinmarketcap in the medium term? Yoga Dude When I got into crypto, it was by mining Bitcoin back in 2011 when you could still solve blocks on a single computer, but Bitcoin at the time was anything but profitable 😄 Today Epic Cash is still new, still young, and still undervalued. I believe it is mining-worthy because of its potential, not because of today’s price. By allowing Epic Cash to be mined with GPU and CPU on gaming rigs, servers, and even laptops we offer maximum public participation in our project. More people involved in the project, the more evangelists there are. We empower people to mine Epic Cash and to promote it. S.P.A.D.E What new features of Epic Cash provide that Grin or Beam does not offer. Why do we need Epic Cash? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble They are great coins, but there are some ways in which Epic improves. Epic has better tokenomics than Grin and a more sustainable model than Beam, that has a company behind it that needs to repay investors via its high dev tax. this article explains in more detail https://medium.com/@frodofreeman/overview-of-mimblewimble-cryptocurrencies-7c70be146f50 Sahil What’s the Minimum Hardware / setup Required for Mining of EPIC Cash coins? Is Mining Profitable and Can we Mine EPIC Cash coins at Home? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble It is possible to mine on an ordinary laptop or desktop from the last 5 years, sometimes older. Epic is open to everyone, and our friendly community is standing by to help you get started at t.me/epicminers Erven James Sato “TOKEN BURN” is BENEFECIAL for any projects, in able to CONTROL THE NUMBER OF TOKEN CIRCULATION and TO PROVIDE GREATER INCENTIVES TO INVESTORS. Does your GREAT PROJECT have plan about TOKEN BURN? Xenolink For deflating projects It is beneficial to drive the demand / scarcity / and price up in a faster pace. Epic Cash is here for the organic long run not the short run. However when it comes to long term economics elastic supplies whether inflating or deflating will not be a solid long term economic model. This has been heavily discussed already with Bitcoins inelastic Fixed 21 million supply in the past. Having a fixed model demonstrates good long term economics without worrying about balancing a deflating/inflating model. Bitcoin is a perfect example of a 21 million inelastic fixed supply model that has been proving itself till today. Which is why we are also using the same fixed 21 million supply model. Epic Cash plans to have a solid organic long term future to bring free private fungible money and make this world a better place. Red Z🔥🤙 No one predicted the COVID-19 pandemic while developing their business model. But the crisis and recession of the global economy is our present with you and it affects all sectors, including blockchain. Will you make or have already made changes to the project roadmap, tokenomics? Do you have a plan in case the situation does not improve in the coming months and will affect the crypto industry even more? Yoga Dude One thing we have seen as the result of the COVID-19 is more governments are talking about moving to digital cash — digital dollar in USA, digital Lira in Turkey, etc… If in the past the idea of digital money was not graspable by some people, today its the governments that are educating the people for us about the value of digital currency… What is ironic, the governments, by printing money to solve the economic consequences of COVID-19 also educating the consumer about the true “value” of fiat… What we offer is a touch free, borderless, private, anonymous, fungible currency that can not be printed beyond the initial defined algo. We are more responsible than the printing presses of the governments 🤔 kunlefighter How does the Dandelion++ Protocol, Confidential Transactions (CT) and CoinJoin assist in protecting the privacy of individuals and their transactions on Epic Cash Blockchain? Max Freeman | Epic Cash | Mimblewimble Dandelion++ bounces transactions around before committing them to the blockchain, making it impossible to determine where they originated from. Confidential Transactions means that all tx are private, you can’t tell anything about where the coins have been or who they belonged to. CoinJoin in essence melts down and re-mints each coin every time it is used, making it impossible to track their ownership or usage history. Epic provides comprehensive privacy to everyone, without the compromises that other pre-mimblewimble coins have. Dr Mönica Hello sir @maxfreeman4@Johnsstec@Yogadude Thanks for the ama I notice that Epic Cash has 2 type of new algorithm, progPoW version 0.15.0 and randomX version 1.0.3 NOW , CAN you tell me why you choose these 2 algorithm??? Yoga Dude We went with RandomX because it is a solid and very popular CPU centric algo used by several coins — most recently Monero. Most miners today heavily favor ASICs or GPUs, leaving a lot of solid high end users in the dust unable to mine emerging cryptos. As far as ProgPow, again its an established algo for GPU miners, and thanks to many cryptos starting with Bitcoin/Monero/Ethe etc there is no shortage of GPU rigs out there :) plus again the casual user with a video gaming caliber card can get in on the action. Oleg✌🏻Perfect!It was a great AMA, but it is coming to an end, thanks to everyone who was with us. Thanks EPIC team for taking the time👏. I hope our projects will be able to collaborate even more closely in the future and achieve new successes. Cheers!🎉
This is all ridiculously hypothetical; and is probably best ignored. Bust, having had the thought, I can’t stop thinking about it. So if you are in to detailed descriptions of low probability events, please enjoy the rabbit hole. I know people like the idea of a gold standard, but it is unpalatable. Having worked in mining, there is a tail risk a deposit can be found which devalues existing assets. It is pegging your finances to the unknown, and it was abandoned for a reason. This is why, since World War II, the USD has been a global reserve currency. And it kept this role after it abandoned the gold standard in the 1970’s. This has remained the case for a number of reasons: 1) The US has been a surprisingly large chunk of global GDP: in the post WWI world under the Bretton Woods system, the US at one point represented 50% of GDP, crucially at a time when other countries were getting their financial house in order. US treasuries, particularly when the dollar was still backed by gold, were one of the safest investments. A reminder that US debt isn’t just about profligacy, but also about long-term yields. 2) This created a built-in house wins effect - when the US removed the gold standard, countries stayed with the USD because it was still so stable compared to other options - and they were already heavily invested. As a fiat, the US can run higher deficits because other counties hand it cash for their own stability stability (you can almost think of US debt like tribute to a dominant political power, or protection money to the mafia). 3) No competitors. I understand the skepticism about fiat in this community - but if you had to choose a fiat, what would be the alternative to the USD? The Renminbi’s value is manipulated by Chine. The Euro lacks a body like the US federal reserve to intervene in the event of inflation, and the block is increasingly unstable. The US government has supported its currency as the global reserve currency because it vastly strengthens its hand in international diplomacy. US sanctions against countries like Iran are effective because the US can enforce financial penalties via soft power through other countries banking systems. This is why there is increasing pressure from countries like Russia and China to find another reserve currency. But it is bad for the US economy to be the reserve currency. Think about manufacturing. If your currency goes through inflation, then your exports cheapen relative to other markets. This is why the Chinese government tries to peg the Renminbi at a little over 8 yuan to the USD. Thus they can Incentivize manufacturing to move to their county. The US cannot play the same game - because it is the denominator for other countries financial systems, it is guaranteed to be on the losing side of the equation every time. Thus despite its strong post-war economy, manufacturing was always doomed to leave, which has introduced instability in the US political system. Allowing the USD to inflate (as all fiats want to do) relative to a global currency would incentivize manufacturing to return. Or, at minimum, stem the bleeding. That said, there would be significant disruption from the higher deficits the US has run for decades. Crypto As The Global Reserve For a global reserve currency, the following conditions must be met (there are others, but this is the minimum):
Must remain stable (I can hear the eyes rolling, but hang in with me here)
(politically) Must convince other nations that it is at greater risk of deflation than inflation (e.g. value more likely to go up than down over the long term).
(politically) Must have a secure transaction system that cannot be manipulated to benefit one country over another (e.g. satisfy concerns of China, Russia, and others).
Crypto, despite its short life, is capable of achieving these. The system designed by Satoshi and adopted by others is as strongly counter-inflationary as possible. From the viewpoint of a global reserve currency, this structurally removes the need for a body like the US federal reserve. The deflation side of the coin would potentially convince the US government to let go of its global financial role for the sake of economic growth. The big negatives of using crypto as a global reserve are its current volatility and its slow transaction times. The latter is a technological problem that can be solved either by speeding up times or guaranteeing value at time of transaction. The first I suspect may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once a currency is the global reserve denominating debts, confidence would follow out of political and financial necessity. Power resides where people think power resides. This would be a long term road for Crypto if it continues for the next two decades. Ideally; a slowly deflating world reserve would provide inflationary benefits to all counties. It would also potentially stabilize fiat currencies barring government manipulation. But in that case, government manipulation would be more obvious and less an us-vs-them scenario given the current financial system. Any such transition, should it happen, would taken one of two form. Either a) a significant economic crisis forces the US to accept a shock on its high deficits or b) the transition to crypto occurs slowly enough over decades to allow a battleship-style course realignment. The biggest obstacle I see to crypto is climate change. Most countries take it very seriously (imho, as they should), and crypto has a high energy cost, thus a high carbon cost. Most countries are bound by diplomatic and treaty agreements to hit certain targets. A crypto system would need to resolve this to have a chance at being the global reserve. Or, renewable energy infrastructure would be built fast enough so that a given crypto is at least carbon neutral. Lastly, it is possible that this transition could happen after mining is no longer profitable. If Bitcoin, for example, exists in 2050 and is still undergoing slow deflation while block rewards are infinitesimally small, it may behave in ways that satisfy concerns about stability. tl;dr: Structural deflation in crypto could satisfy political and economic needs for a global reserve currency in a multi-polar world.
Why we won't have a long term bear market, and how to systematically pick your future investments in crypto
With so much uncertainty right now it would be a good time to take some time to go over what happened recently and how to invest moving foward. We've seen a peak bubble at around 850 billion total market cap in the first week of January, consolidated down to $750 billion and have now just experienced a 40% correction.
What's happening now and how bad will it get?
First of all you should realize that there is a January Dip that happens every year, when we see a roughly 20-30% decline around mid January. This year its been much more severe though for several additional factors that have compounded on top. Different theories exist on why this happens (its actually the mirror opposite of the "January Effect" that happens in the US stock market), but the two major theories are: 1) Asian markets pull into fiat because of Asian New Year spending needs 2) People in the US sell in January to defer their capital gains tax liability an extra year While this cyclic event has lead to a healthy correction in the last few years, this year we got these new factors making more fear as well:
We had a new breed of speculators come in during the NovembeDecember timeframe after media made cryptocurrency mainstream following the Bitcoin 10K landmark. While cryptocurrency markets have always had too much hype, the latest rise wasn't just over-enthusiasm in fundamentally sound cryptocurrencies like Monero and Ethereum, but mass inflows of fiat into vaporware and complete nonsense without any use case. Many people came in to essentially gamble on symbols on an exchange, and are thus short term oriented and quick to sell on any slight downturn, which such further adds to selling pressure.
So in essence we got a storm of scary news along with the usual cyclic downturn. Currently I don't see this as being a systematic crash like Mt.Gox was that would lead to a long term bear market because the fundamental ecosystem is still intact, and I suspect that after about a month we should consolidate around a new low. All the exchanges are still operational and liquid, and there is no breakdown in trust nor uncertainty whether you'll be able to cash out. What range the market trades in will all depend how Bitcoin does, right now we've already broken below 10K but I'm seeing a lot of support at around $8000, which is roughly where the long term MA curve settles. We don't know how bad it will get or what the future will bring, but as of right now we shouldn't be in a bear market yet. What should you do if you recently entered the market? If you did buy in the last few months at or near ATH, the very worst thing you can do now is sell in panic and lose your principal. You shouldn't have more money in crypto than you can afford to lose, so it shouldn't be a problem to wait. You have to realize that 30% corrections in crypto are relatively common, just last fall we had a 40% flash correction over more China fears. Unless there is a systematic breakdown like we had during Mt.Gox, the market always recovers. The other worst thing you can do is unload into Tether as your safety net. If there is one thing that could actually cause a long term destruction of trust within the cryptocurrency investment ecosystem, its Tether having a run up on their liabilities and not having enough reserve to cover the leverage. It would not only bring down exchanges but lead to years of litigation and endless media headlines that will scare off everybody from putting fiat in. I don't know when the next Mt.Gox meltdown will occur but I can almost guarantee it will involve Tether. So stay away from it. What should long term investors do? For long term holders a good strategy to follow each year is to capture profit each December and swallow the capital gains taxation liability, park a reserve of fiat at Gemini (whose US dollar deposits are FDIC-insured) and simply wait till around late January to early February to re-enter the market at a discount and hold all year until next December. You can keep a small amount in core coins in order to trade around various Q1 opportunities you anticipate. Others may choose to simply do nothing and just keep holding throughout January which is also a perfectly fine strategy. The cyclical correction usually stabilizes toward late January and early February, then we see a rise in March and generally are recovered by end of April. Obviously this decision whether to sell in December to profit on the dip and pay tax liability or to just hold will depend on your individual tax situation. Do your own math sometime in November and follow suit. Essentially revaluate your positions and trim your position sizes if you don't feel comfortable with the losses.
How to construct your portfolio going forward
Rather than seeing the correction as a disaster see it as a time to start fresh. If you have been FOMO-ing into bad cryptos and losing money now is a time to start a systematic long term approach to investing rather than gambling. Follow a methodology for evaluating each cryptocurrency Memes and lambo dreams are fun and all, but I know many of you are investing thousands of dollars into crypto, so its worth it to put some organized thought into it as well. I can't stress enough how important it is to try and logically contruct your investment decisions. If you follow a set methodology, a checklist and template you will be able to do relative comparisons between cryptocurrencies, to force yourself to consider the negatives and alternative scenarios and also sleep comfortably knowing you have a sound basis for your investment decisions (even if they turn out to be wrong). There is no ideal or "correct" methodology but I can outline mine: 1) Initial information gathering and filtering Once I identify something that looks like a good potential investment, I first go to the CoinMarketCap page for that symbol and look at the website and blockchain explorer.
Critically evaluate the website. This is the first pass of the bullshit detector and you can tell from a lot from just the website whether its a scam. If it uses terms like "Web 4.0" or other nonsensical buzzwords, if its unprofessional and has anonymous teams, stay away. Always look for a roadmap, compare to what was actually delivered so far. Always check the team, try to find them on LinkedIn and what they did in the past.
Read the whitepaper or business development plan. You should fully understand how this crypto functions and how its trying to create value. If there is no use case or if the use case does not require or benefit from a blockchain, move on. Look for red flags like massive portions of the float being assigned to the founders of the coin, vague definition of who would use the coin, anonymous teams, promises of large payouts...etc
Check the blockchain explorer. How is the token distribution across accounts? Are the big accounts holding or selling? Which account is likely the foundation account, which is the founders account?
Read the subreddit and blogs for the cryptocurrency and also evaluate the community. Try to figure out exactly what the potential use cases are and look for sceptical takes. Look at the Github repos, does it look empty or is there plenty of activity?
2) Fill out an Investment Checklist I have a checklist of questions that I find important and as I'm researching a crypto I save little snippets in Evernote of things that are relevant to answering those questions:
What is the problem or transactional inefficiency the coin is trying to solve?
What is the Dev Team like? What is their track record? How are they funded, organized?
Who is their competition and how big is the market they're targeting? What is the roadmap they created?
What current product exists?
How does the token/coin actually derive value for the holder? Is there a staking mechanism or is it transactional?
What are the weaknesses or problems with this crypto?
3) Create some sort of consistent valuation model/framework, even if its simple I have a background in finance so I like to do Excel modeling. For those who are interested in that, this article is a great start and also Chris Burniske has a great blog about using Quantity Theory of Money to build an equivalent of a DCF analysis for crypto. Here is an Excel file example of OMG done using his model. You can download this and play around with it yourself, see how the formulas link and understand the logic. Once you have a model set up the way you like in Excel you can simply alter it to account for various float oustanding schedule and market items that are unique to your crypto, and then just start plugging in different assumptions. Think about what is the true derivation of value for the coin, is it a "dividend" coin that you stake within a digital economy and collect fees or is it a currency? Use a realistic monetary velocity (around 5-10 for currency and around 1-2 for staking) and for the discount rate use at least 3x the long term return of a diversified equity fund. The benefit is that this forces you to think about what actually makes this coin valuable to an actual user within the digital economy its participating in and force you to think about the assumptions you are making about the future. Do your assumptions make sense? What would the assumptions have to be to justify its current price? You can create different scenarios in a matrix (optimistic vs. pessimistic) based on different assumptions for risk (discount rate) and implementation (adoption rates). If you don't understand the above thats perfectly fine, you don't need to get into full modeling or have a financial background. Even a simple model that just tries to derive a valuation through relative terms will put you above most crypto investors. Some simple valuation methods that anyone can do
Metcalfe's Law which states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2). So you can compare various currencies based on their market cap and square of active users or traffic.
Another easy one is simply looking at the total market for the industry that the coin is supposedly targeting and comparing it to the market cap of the coin. Think of the market cap not only with circulating supply like its shown on CMC but including total supply. For example the total supply for Dentacoin is 1,841,395,638,392, and when multiplied by its price in early January we get a market cap that is actually higher than the entire industry it aims to disrupt: Dentistry.
If its meant to be just used as just a currency: Take a look at the circulating supply and look at the amount that is in cold storage or set to be released/burned. Most cryptos are deflationary so think about how the float schedule will change over time and how this will affect price.
Once you have a model you like set up, you can compare cryptos against each other and most importantly it will require that you build a mental framework within your own mind on why somebody would want to own this coin other than to sell it to another greater fool for a higher price. Modeling out a valuation will lead you to think long term and think about the inherent value, rather than price action. Once you go through this 3-step methodology, you'll have a pretty good confidence level for making your decision and can comfortably sit back and not panic if some temporary short term condition leads to a price decrease. This is how "smart money" does it. Think about your portfolio allocation You should think first in broad terms how you allocate between "safe" and "speculative" cryptos. For new investors its best to keep a substantial portion in what would be considered largecap safe cryptos, primarily BTC, ETH, LTC. I personally consider XMR to be safe as well. A good starting point is to have between 50-70% of your portfolio in these safe cryptocurrencies. As you become more confident and informed you can move your allocation into speculative small caps. You should also think in terms of segments and how much of your total portfolio is in each segment:
You should also think about where we are in the cycle, as now given so much uncertaintly its probably best to stay heavily in core holdings and pick up a few coins within a segment you understand well. If you don't understand how enterprise solutions work or how the value chain is built through corporations, don't invest in the enteprise blockchain solutions segment. If you are a technie who loves the technology behind Cardano or IOTA, invest in that segment. Think of your "circle of competence" This is actually a term Buffet came up with, it refers to your body of knowledge that allows you to evaluate an investment. Think about what you know best and consider investing in those type of coins. If you don't know anything about how supply chains functions, how can you competently judge whether VeChain or WaltonChain will achieve adoption? This where your portfolio allocation also comes into play. You should diversify but really shouldn't be in much more than around 12 cryptos, because you simply don't have enough competency to accurately access the risk across every segment and for every type of crypto you come across. If you had over 20 different cryptos in your portfolio you should probably think about consolidating to a few sectors you understand well. Continually educate yourself about the technology and markets If you aren't already doing it: Read a bit each day about cryptocurrencies. There are decent Youtubers that talk about the market side of crypto, just avoid those that hype specific coins and look for more sceptical ones like CryptoInvestor. If you don't understand how the technology works and what the benefits of a blockchain are or how POS/POW works or what a DAG is or how mining actually works, learn first. If you don't care about the technology or find reading about it tedious, you shouldn't invest in this space at all.
Summing it up
I predicted a few days ago that we would have a major correction in 2018 specifically in the altcoins that saw massive gains in Decemebeearly January, and it seems we've already had a pretty big one. I don't think we'll have a complete meltdown like some are predicting, but some more pain may be incoming. Basically take this time to think about how you can improve your investment style and strategy. Make a commitment to value things rather than chasing FOMO, and take your time to make a decision. Long term investment will grant you much more returns as will a systematic approach. Take care and have fun investing :) Edit March 2018: Lol looking back I'm regretting starting the title with "Why we won't have a long term bear market" now, I was more karma whoring with that catchy title than anything. We recovered up to 11K from this post, but then crashed again hard later in February-March because of a slew of reasons from Tether subpeona to unforseen regulatory issues.
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