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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)
Source | Guestbook Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself?
I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you?
They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible?
I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught?
they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing?
I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks.
It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth
Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative!
I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks!
I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort?
There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies.
FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious?
We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts.
I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point.
I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you?
By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible...
The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually...
I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity?
A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics?
I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive?
I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all.
DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ?
So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins?
His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road?
Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question?
They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done.
lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online?
I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe?
It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru!
re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you.
I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back?
i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios?
Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits?
Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt.
Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there?
It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you."
No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"?
It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite?
After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him.
Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you
Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author?
I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it?
By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web?
There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76
1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop.
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit?
There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
10-02 23:29 - 'Blah blah blah. / I'm tired of this game so I'll show my hand and be done with all of you. / Firstly, I've been redditing for a _very long fucking time_. / And beyond that, I've been on hundreds of active online forums si...' by /u/Crippling_D removed from /r/worldnews within 38-48min
''' Blah blah blah. I'm tired of this game so I'll show my hand and be done with all of you. Firstly, I've been redditing for a very long fucking time. And beyond that, I've been on hundreds of active online forums since before the World Wide Web had pictures. Usenet groups, somethingawful, albinoblacksheep, digg, myspace, fark, most of the chans including 2ch, countless other small niche tech and geek boards. Not only that but I have a data analysis hobby, mostly written text. My first ever actual program was a random story generator that used functions to pull from dictionaries and (try to) create a coherent plot (it didn't work very well). I've always been fascinated with the texture, pacing, word choice, intent, subtext, and nuance of human written communication. So these hobbies and passions have suited me very well in identifying suspicious posts, and have done so for literal decades. I mean, the tactics and subjects that trolls use are always changing, but the same spirit drives all of those tiny little cheetoh stained fingers as they furiously pound out insults to me from their basement lairs. It's said you can get an idea of the emotional state of an artist by seeing how it influenced their art, and they're right. Pretty much any act of human creation is always stamped with a bit of its creator's soul, and people with wise enough eyes can see the signs of each mental tick and twitch. Writing on the internet is no different. No matter how hard someone tries to hide their inner mental state, word choice, pacing, texture, and nuance always reveal a bit more than the writer ever intended. So using my instincts, I crafted many scraper bots and semiotic matrices to make sense of the vast amount of content that gets posted to the forums I frequent. First started doing this during my bitcoin phase, when I was speculating on that one russian exchange. I scraped trollbox and fed it through a very basic sentiment algorithm, and used that to cautiously make a little money predicting pump and dumps. I have to tell you that experience was a solid education in identifying illegitimate posts, as literally my income depended on it. I used it over at Digg and predicted the gamification of the front page by 2 months. I've been using those skills here on reddit too, and oh man I can't even tell you how much it's opened my eyes!! Especially in the last 6 years, such a shift in dynamics, it's been very enjoyable to learn and taking that experience to refine my algorithms. I've developed 8 axes of identification that are rather reliable at recognizing suspicious posts, especially ones originating from sources where english isn't their first language. I shared 3 of them back in 2016 on several reddit subs, in relation to the uptick of troll posts starting the year before. Funny enough, most of the troll farms back then immediately started crafting accounts specifically to avoid those 3 revealing metrics, which is why I'm not going to detail the other 5 I've developed. It's true, that not all of the 30+ comments I've gotten in this thread are sockpuppets or trolls, but the vast majority of them are. And most of them bear the stamp of an American speaker being paid to promote a russian dictator, and most of them are all using the same reply pattern to try and browbeat me into worshiping that false-flagging trump buggerer. Again, you can change username, buy an aged account, even run your words through google translate a few times, but there's always telltale indicators. The position of verbs in the sentence, how plural groupings are handled, misplaced honorifics and most blatantly just using the same sentence with one or two words changed to produce the illusion of a larger coherent opposition. All red flags to me, all giving me some clue into the mindset of the writer. It's fascinating how much you can learn just by reading carefully. I don't care if you don't think I'm on-point, I've been validated in my own experience far too often to have my method cast into doubt by some aged account no karma internet rando like yourself. I don't care if you think I look bad for the same reason. I don't care if you (or anyone) thinks I'm stupid or childish, what I do works and it works better than most propaganda filtering systems I've looked into. And I'm not going to stop calling out inauthentic accounts, I will not stop refining my system and expanding its scope. And literally no words typed into the internet by some stranger will ever change that. Good day sir. ''' Context Link Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link Author: Crippling_D
[ 🎶 Thinking Cap ] This post is framed around results of cypher-based queries for the number 1234 against my custom lexicon files built up over a year of phrase inputs (mostly gleaned from newspaper headlines and their 'quoted phrases', or stream of conciousness inspired by them). There are not very many, but the few there are appear to be instructive. I have used some repetition to aid those with trouble remembering numbers. Perhaps NSFW. (For the confused: see here, here and here) If you are brand new to this collection of scrolls, I recommend reading (as much as you can of) this before returning here, which will help to justify my particular focus below (the belt). Did you gnow A=1? There are 26 letters in the English-Latin Alphabet. The basic alphabetic gematria code acknowledges that A=1, B=2, C=3, ..., Z=26 (ie. ordinal gematria). In this basic alphabetic cypher (which is implied if I do not specify):
"Alphabetic Codes" = 123
... "Reveal The Code" = 123
... .. .. "To Reveal All" = 123
If you flip the numeric ordering about (ie. look in the mirror: treat 'Z' as 1, down to 'A' as 26), then...
This ("The ABC") is the name of the earliest alphabet primer textbooks for kids.
The first church primers paralleled the introduction of school textbooks known as “the ABC”
The Alphabet is a vessel for messages:
"Boat" = 123 primes (ie. an Ark ... an Archive ... built using a geometric Architecture of symbols)
If, instead of the basic alphabetic ordinal cyphers above, we use another cypher some call Agrippa's Key, and some call the 'jewish cipher', which is based on the ancient Hebrew and Greek gematria charts, and maps that scheme to the Latin Alphabet, we can ask a catch-phrase question (written more formally than usual)
What's in a name?
"What is in a name?" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
Here we move beyond the three steps of ABC and arrive at the Door of Dalet. Behind it, if we have the write keys, we might discover...
ie. quantum-entanglement: you cannot give birth to your first alphabetic Son, a strong boy named Aleph, and deny he is '1'. You cannot have your second child, a beautiful maiden, Beth, and deny she is '2'. Animals on the ark 2 by 2. You cannot order the alphabet, and deny the letters have ordinal indexes (ie. numbers associated with them - significant others)
Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. As a medical specialty, obstetrics is combined with gynaecology under the discipline known as obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) which is a surgical field.
... ( "The Last Proof of Life After Death" = 911 primes )
I have a spell-matching feature that can cross-match multiple cypher results and return the 'closest frequency matches' of all the spells I've ever entered into my gematria tools. At the time of writing the lexicon file is half a megabyte in size (plain text) and contains 37,694 words and phrases. When I ask for the spellings that most closely match: "live forever", I get the following three results as top matches:
'white liquid', 'into the girl', and 'the dilution' (with 8+ cypher matches)
There are a lot of flowery symbolic or metaphorical phrases that it could have returned, but it seems the Heptapods are rather blunt. Again:
"Divine Feminine" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa
... .. "Sexy Girl" = 911 jewish-latin-agrippa
From... Revelation 9:11 King James Version (KJV):
And they had a king  over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon  , but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
This is perhaps a dual - the Abaddon is both Father Beast (and Lord of the Harem, perhaps, given the plural 'them') and the Beastly Progeny (ie. King and Prince):
"Pregnant" = 333 jewish-latin-agrippa
"The Temple" = 333 jewish-latin-agrippa
... "A Baby" = 333 trigonal
The angelic little baby, retrieved from the bottomless pit, is the apple of mommy and daddy's eyes (even though it is very naughty, ruling over their lives for many years after his or her noxious retrieval from the Underworld).
Viva Las Vegas (ie. V.L.V ): 777 (ie. to win at slots):
"A Triple-Seven" = 1234 trigonal | 2,322 squares
The Boeing 777 is a premiere passenger aircraft. The Boeing 787 is called the Dreamliner (ie "The Call" = 787 squares ... of Morpheus) The Boeing 747 is Old Faithful, the Jumbo Jet of Time Air Force One is a 747
"Air Force" = 223 primes
"Winds" = 223 primes
"Goddess" = 223 primes
... "The Law" = 223 primes
... "Air Force" = 223 primes
"Winds" = 223 primes
"The Law" = "Goddess" = 223 primes
She steps on "The Scale" = 223 primes ... ...and hopes she is ...
"Weightless" = 1234 jewish-latin-agrippa
From an old Alphabet Primer:
... He that ne'er learns his ABC, ... For ever will a Blockhead be. ... But he that learns these Letters fair, ... Shall have a Coach to take the Air.
Enregisterment is often partially, rather than completely, true, sort of like an accent viewed through a funhouse mirror.
I was triggered to made this post due to various recent media 'events', this 'crazy' 'news item' the final straw that broke the gimel's black (I link to old reddit theme because it is objectively better ):
These are things we can imagine Alphabet Sages might desire to encode and honour - as much for a mnemonic purpose, as for teaching purposes, or for archiving [...] knowledge [...] or purely for the sake of esoterica itself (ie. wizard just likes math, or architecture, and thus honours math and arches, secretely in words using basic algebra and references to certain idioms and golden numbers. Wizard works for King, shows him tricks. King decrees new Bible edition, and new Dictionary version).
He found me to be of a tractable, inquiring, and fearless disposition. A dash of melancholy is lacking in me, else I would make all, who are inclined to blame the Comte de GABALIS for having concealed nothing from me, confess that I was a not unfit subject for the Occult Sciences. One cannot make great progress in them, it is true, without melancholy; but the little that I possess in no wise disheartened him. You have, he told me a hundred times, Saturn in an angle, in his own house, and retrograde; some day you cannot. fail to be as melancholy as a Sage ought to be; for the wisest of all men, as we learn in the Cabala, had like you Jupiter in the Ascendant, nevertheless so powerful was the influence of his Saturn, though far weaker than yours, that one cannot find proof of his having laughed a single time in all his life. The Amateurs must, therefore, find fault with my Saturn and not with the Comte de GABALIS, if I prefer to divulge their secrets rather than to practise them.
First of all, what is an OG username? An OG username is a virtual account that has a name such as a verb/noun/place/animal etc. This makes the account's value go up. Now you may ask yourself, why would I want such accounts? These accounts aren't modified like most of them are, meaning that they don't have "xx" or numbers which make them unique". For example, Kiwi is an OG name, but KiwiIsCool, Kiwi5 or Kiwising (2 prefixes aren't even semi) wouldn't be classified as OG. However, "Kiwis" would be Semi-OG as it is plural or has an added suffix or prefix. ( -s, -ing, -ed, -er, etc) Having an OG or Semi-OG name makes you get more noticed and recognized. In other words, owning an OG username make you look cool and shows a high social status among young fellows. It shows that you are an early adopter of a platform. Second of all, where do you sell an OG username? You could sell an OG username at pretty much any online forum that offers a wild west-type marketplace. Now, how did I make money? There are so many ways (many of which are illegal) but the most common is to buy and resell. Just like buying and selling shoes/clothing products. Buy low, sell high My story about selling instagram handles: It started out with my affiliation with dealing Minecraft accounts. I have a reddit previous reddit post about this that you can view by looking at my posts. I was deep into the online account selling community and would say I was reputable enough to get into other marketplaces. I had funds set aside from mining crypto, selling minecraft accounts, and fortnite accounts (which I will get into on another post). Anyways, I had connects from the Minecraft community. A long time friend of mine (let's call him Bobby) that was known for selling some of the most top tier accounts ended up moving over to selling social media accounts. Bobby had several methods of retrieving these top tier social media handles. The handles he owned ranged from $100 to $5000. He had a list of over 200 usernames. Now how did he get these accounts? There could've been 3 ways: Recreating Emails, Turboing/Autoclaiming, and Jacking,
He recreated the emails that the instagram accounts reside on. For example, username @ Hello is on the email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). Yet, the email is many years inactive and also the instagram is also 5 years+ inactive so in all honesty, who uses the account? Nobody. It's an asset waiting to be recovered. So in order to find the email that the instagram account @ Hello, Bobby searches through leaked databases, leaked email lists, and public or private 0day exploits. All of this info is legal and out there on public databases. After finding the email, chances are it's on a common email provider (yahoo, outlook, hotmail). Bobby then submits a support ticket to the email support with some info and ends up getting a brand new email that matches the Instagram email @ Hello. Sends a password reset link to the email. Then boom, he's in. Once he has access to the account, he can list his new asset for sale on the forums.
The second way that he could've claimed this many accounts is by turbo. A turbo is a program thats coded by someone who knows what they're doing. I guess you can kind of relate turbos to hypebeast/sneaker check out bots. What it is essentially, is spamming the name change button super fast, like 10x faster than a human can ever do it. So pretty much the program is either running 24/7 with servers with a huge username list or targeting specific usernames hoping that when the person who owns the handle changes the username, the program will snag it up on either a already created instagram account or a fresh uncreated email one.
The third way is by jacking. And this right here folks is illegal. Sim Swapping is one of these jacking ways. So someone steals your phone number and gets the two factor authentication codes then steals whatever else is connected to your phone number. The next way is by finding a way to get into the recovery email of your primary email. Which first of all is probably found by searching through legit, public, leaked databases. You'd be surprised what they got in these leaked databases. It doesn't take much to just search an email up and find anything connected to it. Anyways, Bobby jacks the email or instagram account. Boom! Flips it for profit.
So Bobby here has loads of instagram accounts, I have no idea how he got em. But the most common ways to obtain them are listed above. Very rarely do people buy a username from someone just by DM'ing on instagram. This story starts with me buying 2 short usernames for $750. I proceeded to list these 2 usernames separately on the forums and sold one for $700 only a few days after posting and the other for $500. Profit was good, I was motivated. Of course when I listed the usernames online, I got many people attempting to waste my time and scam me by not sending the funds first. I noticed this because these users that messaged me had a low reputation. Furthermore, I knew I had profited from this and I saw more potential. I decided to buy 10 usernames that had values from $300-$1000 for $3000 in Bitcoin. You're probably wondering how I even have money for this? Quick answer, I mined cryptocurrency back in 2018 and made a good savings amount from it. $3000 is a big leap from $750 I'd say. After I bought these, I proceeded to list em all separately on the forums and began selling them one by one for bitcoin. People messaged me, we talked, boom. These accounts sold only weeks after I listed them and I ended up profiting around $850-$900 after selling all of my accounts. After I got rid of that batch, I was ready to pick up another batch. 10 accounts for $4000 this time. Same process, secure accounts, list them on forums with set prices. Receive messages from potential buyers, talk to people, negotiate. I was selling about 2 accounts per week. There was this one time I messaged a business with the username account that they are known for. They were extremely interested, so I go ahead and price the username at $1000. They accept the price, send the money via paypal and I hand over the details. That just goes to show what type of value instagram handles have towards businesses. I priced about each account $300 above how much I paid. And made good profit. That is until the price of bitcoin went up 40%+. All the profit I made from this batch almost split in half because the price of Bitcoin went up. I was back to square one but with a few accounts left with potential to profit more. I made quite the reputation for myself on the forums for selling top notch username accounts. I had repeating customers and people coming back for more and more every re-up. I stopped picking up batches of accounts when College Semester Fall 2019 approached due to my busyness. All in all, I learned lots about hustling instagram accounts, talking to people, building a reputation, and having a right mindset for this type of thing. I profited around $2000 but would've probably made so much more if the price of Bitcoin didn't go up 40%. All this shows that the internet market is still growing. And with more and more businesses and people getting involved with instagram/social media, means values and demand skyrocketing. I noticed this is just the dotcom era and instagram handles will sell just like domains sometime in the future.
/r/Monero - Newcomers Please Read. Everything You Need To Know.
What is Monero (XMR)? Monero is a secure, private, untraceable (crypto-)currency. It is open-source and freely available to all. Don't believe us? Click here. Monero is a tool that people can actually use. It makes receiving payments hassle-free, since merchants and individuals no longer need to fear the source of funds they are accepting. With transparent systems like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Verge, or Dash, these people need to hope (or spend substantial resources verifying) the sender did not use the funds illicitly. Furthermore, merchants do not want all their vendors known, and individually do not want everyone to know how much they are spending. If I spend more than I should at Newegg (store), that's my own business. Monero is different because every transaction is always private. There is no way for pools and exchanges to opt out of sending private transactions. Thus, Monero's anonymity set far exceeds any other coin's anonymity set. Over 86,000 transactions in the past month of August, 2017 hid the sender and receiver, and about 99.95% of them also hid the amount (will increase to 100% of all new transactions in September)! There is no suspicion in using a private transaction, since all transactions are private. A single transaction does not stick out.* This privacy is afforded with the best technology. I implore you to take a few minutes to learn about the four main technologies that Monero uses to provide privacy:
Ring signatures hide where the money comes from. Spent inputs in a transaction are hidden among several others that also appear to be spent. Thus, no one knows which source of money is actually being spent. Think of inputs as individual dollars or euros. View a video about this topic here. Note: this is NOT the same as mixing.
RingCT hides the amount. Instead of spending a known value of an input, you can cryptographically commit to a certain value without revealing what the value actually is. This is a very complicated topic, so please view this video for more information.
Kovri is a work-in-progress tool to hide the transaction broadcast. Kovri will make it easy for users to hide their IP address when telling the network that they would like to make a transaction. Kovri will work with other cryptocurrencies and other projects through a common API, and Kovri can be used in a way to hide that you are using Monero at all. Kovri adds additional layers of network security for miners and pools, and it allows for the highest level of censorship resistance possible. A video for this project is available, and you can also check out the Kovri website. In the meantime, there are several guides to using Monero with Tor that work today, including an unofficial Tails build.
Stealth addresses hide where the money goes to. Instead of sending money to a specific address directly, certain outputs are allocated for addresses, but outside observers do not know which addresses these belong to. Even if ring signatures were compromised for some reason, then people would still not know the sending address in a transaction thanks to stealth addresses. View a video about this topic here.
There are several other things that make Monero great! It has a smooth tail emission, dynamic blocks and fees, and an accessible Proof of Work (mining) algorithm. *You can optionally choose a very large, unusual ringsize to make the transaction stick out. This is not recommended, and normal users who leave the ringsize at the default setting will not experience any issues. Also, it's possible for a user to manually add identifying information to the tx_extra field, which is something that a user must seriously go out of their way to do. Now you know Monero (XMR) has the best technology. What else makes Monero (XMR) different than other cryptocurrencies?
Fungible: Every Monero remains equal and identical to any other Monero. It is the property of a crypto asset whose units/value are capable of mutual substitution no matter what historical transactions occurred in the past.
Value-Growth: Monero has a proven chart record of growth and will continue to grow. Don't believe us? August 2015: $0.45, August 2016: $12, August 2017: $100. Growing really fast right? The difference is that it is growing because it's being used appropriately for it's technology and the demand keeps increasing. Swiss banks and offshores management organizations are starting to move from physical assets to Monero (XMR). Monero is dedicated to continue growing.
Development-Growth: Monero has the best team. Over 270 contributors have brought Monero to where it is today. The vast majority of people donate their time to help Monero, but a few get paid through the Forum Funding System (FFS). This is how Monero can be a strong project despite not taking a portion of the block rewards or launching with a premine.
P.S. Want a quick-start, simple your-grandma-could-do-it guide?Here's a great one! Am I a bad person to consider using this? No, Monero is freedom money. You can do whatever you want with it, whenever you want, where ever you want. We make it clear that you should own your wealth 100%. What you do with it, is none of our concern. Where does the word Monero come from? The word Monero comes from the language Esperanto. Monero means coin oand currency. The plural way of saying Monero in Esperanto and in our cryptocurrency is Moneroj.
Is there a lightweight wallet for Monero? Not yet, but you can use the official GUI with a remote node.
Are there any other ways to store Monero (XMR)? Yes, there are many mobile wallets out there that allow you to store Monero (XMR). We do not recommend them, because they are not official releases of Monero. If you do decide to use other wallets, please make sure to do your research first before storing any Moneroj in the wallet. Anything used for Monero outside of official releases, will be used at your own risk. Some may be used for scamming purposes. If you still decide to take the risk; do not use them for large amounts. Also keep in mind that there is a high chance that Monero support will not be able to help you if you bump into any problems from applications outside of official releases. Why should you not use non-official wallets? Well would you buy a house and give your only key you have to the buildemanagement and wait for him/her to open the door to the house you supposedly own? No. Same goes with cryptocurrencies. You should always have possession of your private keys, and your Moneroj. Most non-official releases own your private keys, therefore you do not own the Moneroj.
How can I setup a local wallet while running node with little bandwidth? You can use GUI, as a remote node as it uses very little bandwidth. Go to settings tab and change: "localhost:18089" to "node.moneroworld.com:18089". If you are still having problems, then just use our Monero Web-Wallet.
My vendor only accepts bitcoin but I only have Monero, and I know bitcoin is not private/anonymous. What should I do? Use XMR.TO, but you should also educate them about bitcoins lack of privacy. Tell them to visit this post.
How long does it take to sync to the blockchain? It can take from a few hours (using SSD drive) or even 24 hours, depending on hard drive and connection speed.
List of scams: (Always do a background check / research for anything outside of official releases.)
Freewallet (Mobile Wallet App)
Did you knowover 50 high profile artistsaccept Monero on their online stores? Check out Project Coral Reef
Are there any other sub-reddits that specialize in certain parts of Monero or just related to Monero? Yes, there are a few. However, please keep in mind that this sub-reddit (/Monero) is the official Monero sub-reddit. /xmrtrader - Trading, and investing related discussions & inquires. /MoneroMining - Mining related discussions & inquires. /MoneroCommunity for those who want to help grow the community. /moonero for shitposts and memes. /MoneroMarket for buying and selling wares for Monero. /MoneroSupport for, you guessed it, Monero support. Want to get involved?Click here for a list of sources.
How can I participate in the Monero community? We welcome everyone to join us and help out. Check the "Community Info" section on our subreddit for our website, forum, stack exchange, github, twitter, and facebook. Anyway, we hope you stick around beyond the hype. Monero has a lot going for it, and we hope you agree! We really need your help, since this project is entirely driven by the community!
u/Tempatroy: "u/adam3us, u/nullc, u/luke-jr don't even understand the basic premise of Bitcoin." ... u/nullc: "You have been around for thirteen hours and you think you understand Bitcoin better than people who have been maintaining it for the last six years" ... PLUS: a lengthy response from me :)
I mean if you base your understanding of what Bitcoin is based on the whitepaper or even Satoshi’s talk, people heavily associated with Blockstream (like adam3us, nullc, luke-jr et al.) don’t even understand the basic premise of Bitcoin.
Welcome to Reddit, Tempatroy. Thank you for pinging me to your insult. I’m always interested in hearing when someone who has been around for thirteen hours (and, in fact, needed to be manually whitelisted to get past the 24 hours automod rule in rbtc) thinks that they understand the premise of Bitcoin better than people who have been maintaining it for the last six years, participated in it before the overwhelming majority of people here, or who worked on cryptocurrency for a decade even before Bitcoin.
~ u/nullc Here is my response to u/nullc: TL;DR: Bitcoin cannot be decentralized and permissionless and trustless if we use some political / social process to decide on “the rules”. The only way that Bitcoin can be decentralized and permissionless and trustless is if we use Proof-of-Work to decide on “the rules”. This implies that “the rules” of Bitcoin cannot be be defined using some political / social process before a block is appended several-confirmations-deep into the chain. In the system invented by Satoshi, “the rules” can only be defined using Proof-of-Work. This requires observing which chain has the most Proof-of-work after a block has been appended several-confirmations-deep into the chain. Yes this seems upside-down to people who are accustomed to rules being “handed down” by some authority (Satoshi, Greg, Blockstream, etc.). But - if we want Bitcoin to remain decentralized and permissionless and trustless - then we must recognize that:
The chain with the most Proof-of-Work is the “valid” chain - ie, the chain with the most Proof-of-Work defines “the rules” after the fact; and
There is no concept in Bitcoin of some pre-existing “rules” defining the valid chain.
To put it even more bluntly:
”The rules” are not defined “before the fact” by Greg, or by Blockstream.
”The rules” are defined “after the fact” by observing the chain (not the “valid chain” - simply the “chain”) that has ended up having the most Proof-of-Work.
Details As others have pointed out to u/nullc: u/Tempatroy wasn’t being insulting - he was merely making a factual observation - pointing out that:
Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc does not understand (or perhaps is merely pretending not to understand) the must fundamental aspect of Bitcoin.
I will describe this problem at length below. I apologize in advance for the convolutedness of this exposition - this is only a first draft off the top of my head now. Other people have explained this better - and hopefully I will also someday manage to put together a more succinct exposition of my own. This major “blind spot” of Greg’s has already been commented on at length, eg:
Mining is how you vote for rule changes. Greg’s comments on BU revealed he has no idea how Bitcoin works. He thought “honest” meant “plays by Core rules.” [But] there is no “honesty” involved. There is only the assumption that the majority of miners are INTELLIGENTLY PROFIT-SEEKING. - ForkiusMaximus
a naive, incorrect approach used throughout most of human history - called ‘Approach (1)’ below, versus
the correct approach developed by Satoshi - called ‘Approach (2)’ below
‘Approach (1)’ - The “naive” (incorrect, pre-Satoshi) approach This is the approach adopted by Greg Maxwell u/nullc, and many of the people who follow him - eg Adam Back u/adam3us CEO of Blockstream, and Luke-Jr u/luke-jr (who also thinks he can decide which transactions are “spam” and which are not - ie, he is authoritarian, the antithesis of Bitcoin) - and by the “low-information” people on the censored forum r\bitcoin. I know it sounds like I am being rude here - but the situation is dire, after so many years of censorship, and with Bitcoin’s market cap dropping to 60% of total cryptocurrency market cap for the first time (despite the moderate price rise which actually makes people overlook this drop in market cap), and in view of the hope and promise of Bitcoin as designed by Satoshi - enabling a more rational and sustainable system for capital allocation.
Sidebar on Bitcoin’s “killer app”: I think that “rational and sustainable allocation of capital” is the most important “killer app” of Bitcoin - not coffee, not remittances, not even as a store-of-value or a speculative asset class - although those are all nice things. I would argue that “rational and sustainable allocation of capital” is the main thing which “fantasy fiat” has not been doing - causing the various social and economic and ecological crises which may destroy civilization on our planet in a few decades. The main hope offered by Bitcoin is that, by preventing central bankers from “ninja-mining” their “fantasy fiat” and handing it out to their buddies to invest in non-rational, non-sustainable projects, Bitcoin could help people make decisions for allocating capital which actually increase our well-being, instead of increasing our suffering.
People like Greg and his followers (naively, incorrectly) believe (or pretend to believe) that the “rules” (specifically: the “rules” governing which block to append next) are somehow “pre-defined” and are somehow (already) manifested / incorporated / coded in “the software” - and that the miners must “honestly” obey these pre-defined rules. On the surface (and to people who are used to obeying “rules” handed down from some authority: eg from a government, a religion, a dev team, etc.), this may have a certain appeal - but it is not how Satoshi actually designed Bitcoin. ‘Approach (2)’ - Satoshi’s approach - Proof-of-Work Satoshi, (correctly, brilliantly, counter-intuitively) specified (in the whitepaper, and in his software) that the “rules” of Bitcoin are decided in a totally different way. He specified that the “rules” are decided after the fact - because they are decided by Proof-of-Work. This means that whichever (branch of the) chain ends up having the most Proof-of-Work is by definition the valid chain. The (counter-intuitive, hard-to-understand) implication here is that before any particular (branch of the chain) has clearly “won” in this ongoing, every-ten-minutes battle...
The “rules” determining which “next” block is “valid” are still “up in the air”;
The rules are “not yet decided” until after a block has been buried a-few-blocks-deep into the chain;
The “rules” will only become clear / manifest after we inspect the last few blocks appended to the chain which ended up (“after the fact”) having the most Proof-of-Work.
If we closely examine these two (quite different approaches), we can make a several observations: First: There is a massive logical flaw in “naive” ‘Approach (1)’, when people try to apply it to Bitcoin. This flaw can perhaps be informally captured by the following phrase:
“In ‘Approach (1)’, it’s turtles all the way down (which is of course impossible).”
‘Approach (1)’ suffers from a fatal omission: it fails to specify how the rules manifested / incorporated / coded in the software get put there in the first place. This might seem like a “detail” - but actually it is everything. This can be seen if we ask ourselves the following (rarely asked) questions:
Where do the “rules” come from?
Who makes those rules?
Greg / Adam / Luke-Jr?
“Users”? (see: “User-Activated Soft Fork” / UASF)
“Investors” (aka: the “economic majority”)?
This also leads to other, specific questions, which are applicable in the current situation:
Here’s the answer: Satoshi’s revolutionary solution to defining “the rules” is not based on social or political processes - which can be manipulated (eg by sybil attacks, bribes, coercion, violence, etc.) Instead, Satoshi’s brilliant mechanism for deciding which block to append next is based on Proof-of-Work, as summarized in the slogans “One CPU, one vote” or “They vote with their hashpower”. This moment of “voting with their hashpower” is the actual process where “the rules” (governing the validity of the next block) come into existence. This is all very counterintuitive to many people. But other people (who perhaps have a more “sophisticated” appreciation of social and economic processes - or perhaps a “deeper” understanding of game theory) can often begin to glimpse the massive flaw in “naive” ‘Approach (1)’. The problem with “naive” ‘Approach (1)’ is that it neglects to specify where the rules come from - ie, who makes “the rules” - and how. Once Satohsi himself is removed from the picture, we have a situation where we have to “somehow” do all of the following:
agree on certain rules,
then get them into software,
and then get that software deployed on the network,
and then 51% of all hashpower has to start mining using those rules,
and then in a 10-minute period where various “candidate blocks” are competing to be appended to the chain, one of those blocks ends up getting “buried deeper” under more Proof-of-Work
and at that point , the system has been “upgraded”, and the newly appended block reflects the new “rules”.
In most cases (but not in all cases) “the new rules” are the same as “the old rules”. This is because this system does allow the rules to be changed, when Bitcoin evolves or gets upgraded. We should also add the ‘caveat’ there that this system only works if the majority of hashpower does not adopt “crazy rules” - ie rules which would decrease the value of everyone’s bitcoins. The system only works if the majority of miners are always “intelligently profit-seeking” - ie, if the majority never adopts “crazy rules” which would destroy the value of everyone’s coins. The important thing is that the rules are “post-defined” - after the next block has been added chain (and a few more blocks have been piled on top of it).
This means that there are no “pre-defined” rules in the system.
There are only “post-defined” rules, which can be observed by inspecting the decisions made by the majority of “intelligently profit-seeking” hashpower, as new blocks got appended to the chain.
The only part of this scenario that guarantees a decentralized, permissionless, trustless system is the on-chain Proof-of-Work stuff - not the off-chain social / political stuff. All the other stuff (the political / social process where people argue about rules, code them up in software, and deploy that software on the network) - all that “prior” stuff is done using the “old” “pre-Satoshi” methods - so it’s not actually reliable (ie, it’s not decentralized or permissionless or trustless - ie, it can be sabotaged by sybils, or bribery, or threats of violence, etc.) So the political / social process of talking about the rules on Reddit or on a mailing list, or coding up some rules in some code and offering that code to the public (eg, Greg Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream, saying “These are the rules”) - that part of the process is not “Nakamoto Consensus”, so it’s not reliable, and it’s not “Bitcoin.” The magical moment where the system actually becomes “Bitcoin” is when the majority of “intelligently profit-seeking miners” use Proof-of-Work to decide what block is the one that gets appended to the chain. Another metaphor might be that the (naive, incorrect) ‘Approach (1)’ assumes that some other higher authority (Satoshi, Greg, Core/Blockstream) has already handed down the “rules” in C++ code. Meanwhile the correct ‘Approach (2)’ - (Nakamoto Consensus a/k/a “one CPU, one vote” a/k/a “They vote with their hashpower”) does not require the existence of any authority (no Satoshi, no Greg, no Blockstream) to pre-define the “rules”. Bitcoin simply requires that the majority of miners must be “intelligently profit seeking” - and then whatever they vote on as being “the next block” is by definition the next block - and they “re-decide” on this (essentially “re-deciding” on what the rules are) every ten minutes. This is incredibly counter-intuitive to many, many people - especially to people who are of an “authoritarian” mindset - ie, they are accustomed to “rules being handed down from some higher authority”. But this is how Bitcoin actually works. The rules are decided not by me or by you or by Satoshi or by Greg or by Blockstream. The rules are decided by the miners - and re-decided every ten minutes (usually the “same old” rules as during the previous ten minutes - but not “always”: because there are times when the rules may indeed be upgraded, if the majority of hashpower suddenly decides so). And the mechanism for these rules being decided (and re-decided, and re-decided, every ten minutes) is: hashpower, a/k/a “one CPU, one vote” - which simply requires that the majority of miners must be “intelligently profit-seeking”.
Sidebar: Of course, Exhibit A in any discussion about “authoritarianism” would be Luke-Jr, because he provides the most glaring and grotesque example of the “error of authoritarianism”. This may indeed be a deep-seated psychological problem, so we can’t really “blame” the person for it. But at the same time, we should always be vigilant to make sure that this “error of authoritarianism” does not get adopted as part of Bitcoin’s system for determining “the rules” - because the only way that Bitcoin can remain decentralized and permissionless and trustless is if we use Proof-of-Work (and not some “higher authority”) to determine “the rules”.
‘Approach (1)’ is used quite widely. It powers many legacy systems in the world - but it’s not what makes Bitcoin decentralized and permissionless and trustless! In “legacy” systems, people used a political / social process to agree upon some rules (vulnerable to all the old attacks: in particularly sybil attacks, social coercion, ostracism, bribes, threats of violence or actual acts of violence, etc.) - and, eventually, through this messy process, a set of rules was finally hammered out. Then these socially / politically selected rules become manifested / incorporated (“coded up”) in some software, and that software gets deployed on the network, and then everything becomes wonderfully easy: it is now just a question of checking whether a particular block satisfies those rules or not. This (naive, non-Bitcoin) ‘Approach (1)’ all sounds wonderful until one remembers that it does not provide us with any decentralized, permissionless, trustless mechanism for actually forming consensus on what these “rules” should be, and then coding them in software, and getting everyone to install that software on the network! At this point, many people (eg, the smart investors who understood Bitcoin from the very beginning) can see that this “naive” ‘Approach (1)’ neglects to specify the process of how these particular “rules” got manifested / incorporated / coded in the software itself - and how people reached a consensus to deploy this particular software on the network. The current ongoing “blocksize debate” uses a social / political process for deciding on “the rules” - ie, it does not use Proof-of-Work. This is the social / political / off-chain war we’re seeing now - where:
One faction (Core/Blockstream today) wants a “rule” that says that blocks must be less than 1 MB,
Another faction wants a rule that says that blocks must be less than 8 MB,
Another faction (BU / Emergent Consensus) wants a convenient “on-chain pre-signaling system” where miners can pre-announce their intention to adopt certain rules regarding the maximum size of the next block that they will mine (1 MB, 4 MB, 8 MB, etc.)
Another faction (SegWit) wants a new rule where all transactions would be considered “anyone-can-spend”, plus a new rule added to the system to do a different verification process regarding who can actually spend them.
It’s all fine for this social / political / off-chain “rule-deciding” process to be taking place now - wherever it happens to take place - eg, on Reddit, on Slack, in various dev mailing lists, perhaps at meetings at Blockstream, perhaps in secret gathering places such as the notorious “Dragons Den” - and also now to some extent it has been starting to take place at other social / political venues - eg other online forums devoted to discussing other clients (BU, Classic, etc.). But any rules which are decided “off-chain” like this aren’t really “rules” yet. They can only become “rules” if the majority of “intelligently profit-seeking hashpower” actually mines a block which satisfies these “rules”. ‘Approach (2)’ is the major breakthrough invented by Satoshi - his solution to the Byzantine General Problem, supporting decentralized formation of consensus among parties who do not trust each other. This breakthrough was also so counter-intuitive that very, very few people even understood it when Satoshi first proposed it in the whitepaper, and in the accompanying C++ code. In particular, as amazing as it may sound, there are many Core / Blockstream devs who do not actually understand the subtle stuff here about how Bitcoin really works. Why are people always so angry at Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr? I’m going to step on some people’s toes by making provocative and even somewhat unkind statements - I do apologize, but I also do believe I am describing real and unfortunate problems which are critically important to address and resolve. People who do not have a very clear understanding of how political and social processes - and markets and economics - actually work might have a hard time understanding this mechanism invented by Satoshi. Yes this (unfortunately) means guys like Greg Maxwell and Adam Back. They both know cryptography - and Greg knows C++ - but these two guys in particular apparently do not have a very good understanding of how political and social processes - and markets and economics - actually work. They understand how (given a pre-existing set of rules) a particular implementation can reflect / express those “rules”. But they never have shown any understanding for the “bigger” process whereby those “rules” got selected in the first place. Indeed, in their arrogance and hubris, they assume that they are the ones who define those rules (in a non-decentralized, non-permissionless, non-trustless manner - ie, in a totally anti-Bitcoin manner). I know this may sound like an insult - and I have certainly hurled it as an insult on many occasions in this forum over the years - out of frustration at the fact that these two guys have set themselves up as leaders for this system - so they are effectively attempting to sabotaging Bitcoin. But in addition to being an “insult”, it also happens to be a fact. (So maybe we can just call it an “insulting fact”.) I did not originally (several years ago) hurl this as an “insult”. I only started to raise my voice and get angry when (and many other people) I had to repeat this fundamental (but admittedly subtle) aspect of Bitcoin over and over again for years - because guys like Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr - who don’t actually understand how Bitcoin actually works - kept telling people like me that we were “wrong” (when in fact Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr are wrong - at least on this subtle and crucial point about when and where and how the “rules” of Bitcoin get decided). Anyone can read the whitepaper. And if you do, you will notice this amazing thing. The “rules” are not pre-defined by any authority. The “rules” are actually “post-defined” as a by-product of the process of hashing, which is based on the fact that the majority of miners are always “intelligently profit-seeking”. Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr erroneously “assume” that they are the ones who decide the rules. But this is not how Satoshi designed Bitcoin. And this - in a nutshell, is the main reason why people are so angry at Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr. And it’s also, the reason why Bitcoin’s market share has been declining, now dropping below 60% of total cryptocurrency market cap - due in large part to the fact that, for the past few years, Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr have been running around telling everyone that they get to define the rules - when all the really intelligent people involved in Bitcoin know that this is not the case: the hashpower defines the rules, as manifested by Proof-of-Work! Of course, if we want to be “charitable”, then we cannot really “blame” them for being wrong about this subtle but fundamental about where the “rules” of Bitcoin actually come from. The sad but likely truth is that people who spend most of their waking hours thinking about things like C++ and cryptography may have a certain kind of “mindset” which makes them suffer from “blind spots” when it comes to understanding how political and social processes - and markets and economics - actually work. Sorry if this sounds harsh - but at this point, after all the damage inflicted on Bitcoin by Adam and Greg and Luke-Jr (now with Bitcoin’s market share below 60% of total cryptocurrency market cap), a certain amount of “tough love” diagnosis (or even anger, or insults, or name-calling) is certainly justified - in order for Bitcoin to survive. And the only way that Bitcoin can survive is if we reject the attempts by guys like Adam and Greg and Luke-Jr to pre-define Bitcoin’s rules for us. The only way Bitcoin can survive is if we remember that the rules are defined by the majority of the miners, who are “intelligently profit-seeking”. What is at stake here is nothing less than the economic future (and perhaps even the very survival) of humanity. We cannot allow a tiny group of arrogant devs (who apparently lack certain social / economic skills) to destroy Satoshi’s vital invention by forcing “their” rules onto the network. This is why it would be nice if Greg and Adam and Luke-Jr would do some deep inner reflection, to understand that they do not decide the “rules” for Bitcoin.
The “rules” are decided by Proof-of-Work - not by Adam and Greg and Luke-Jr.
So, the only phase of this whole process which actually “matters” (in the novel system devised by Satoshi) is the moment where all this debate actually gets manifested during a ten-minute period where several “candidate blocks” are all simultaneously competing to be appended to the tip of the growing blockchain. And then, only one of these new “candidate” blocks ends up getting a larger amount of Proof-of-Work on top of it (as other, succeeding “candidate” blocks gets added) - and then (and this is the really brilliant part of Satoshi’s invention), the “economic incentive” aspect of Satoshi’s brilliant invention starts to act - combined with the “stochastic” aspect - which is just fancy mathematical terminology for saying that “as more and more blocks get piled on to the chain, it becomes vanishingly improbable for those deeply buried blocks to ever get ‘un-confirmed’ via a chain re-org.”
Sidebar: These two parts - the “economic incentives” stuff involving the valuable economic token, and the “stochastic” stuff where blocks “buried deeper” in the chain will almost certainly not be “un-conformed” by a chain re-org - were hard for guys like Greg and Adam to understand in the early years. Remember, in the early years, when these two “brilliant” guys first heard about Bitcoin:
Greg Maxwell “mathematically proved” that Bitcoin couldn’t work.
And Adam Back ignored emails from Satoshi explaining the system, and didn’t get involved until the price of Bitcoin was over $1000.
Meanwhile, many other people (who are actually smarter than Greg and Adam about economics and consensus) simply read the whitepaper, understood all this subtle stuff about “(re-)deciding rules every 10 minutes using hashpower” - and they started mining (or buying).
So Greg and Adam are not among the smartest people people when it comes to understanding how Bitcoin really works. This shows that people with a more “mathematical” or “computer science” mindset can’t always grasp the other, non-mathematical, non-computer-science-based aspects of Satoshi’s invention: ie, the “economic incentive” aspect, where miners are “economically incentivized” not only to compete in the hash race to get their block appended to the chain, but also “economically incentivized” to only attempt to append blocks which don’t use any “crazy rules” (eg, the majority of miners will not attempt to append a block which would violate the 21 million coin issuance limit). Most importantly this means that the “rule” which says “let’s not violate the 21 million coin issuance limit” also is not handed down from some higher authority, such as Satoshi, or Greg or Adam or Luke-Jr, or Blockstream. Instead, this rule is decided, and re-decided - and enforced, and re-enforced - essentially put up for a vote, and put up for a re-vote - every ten minutes in Bitcoin. And - mirabile dictu - in every single one of those every-ten-minutes insta-votes, the majority of the miners vote to “do the right thing” - not because they’re “honest” - but because they’re “intelligently profit-seeking” - ie, they don’t want to destroy the value of the bitcoin that they’re mining. If Adam and Greg really understood that no single person decides the “rules”, then they wouldn’t try to force their own rules on Bitcoin. Instead, they’d sit back like the rest of us do, and let the majority of mining hashpower decide (and re-decide, and re-decide) the “rules” - every 10 minutes - which is how Bitcoin works - with no need for any enlightened (ie, non-decentralized, non-permissionless, non-trustless) “intervention” from “well-meaning” “authorities” like Adam and Greg. We don’t need to presume malice on their part. But we do need to confront the massive damage which Adam and Greg have started to inflict on Bitcoin. As seen in Greg’s quote at the beginning of this OP (where he proudly proclaims that he has been “maintaining [Bitcoin] for the last six years”), Greg thinks he’s an “expert” (and he might even feel that he is “benign” - ie, he “only wants the best for Bitcoin”). So Greg might feel comfortable dictating the “rules” of Bitcoin to other people - even though this would end up being fatal - ie it would kill Bitcoin if we allow Greg to impose his rules on us like this. Bitcoin does not work based on “benign” dictators or authorities defining our rules for us. Bitcoin works based on the majority of mining hashpower being “intelligently profit-seeking”. This is why Adam and Greg must be stopped (or at least ignored). And the only way we can stop (or ignore) them is with our hashpower. This has been a long and messy process - a political and social debate that has lasted years, and which has involved many shenanigans. In the end, if Bitcoin actually works, new and better rules will be adopted. (Otherwise, it will be surpassed by some alt which does adopt new and better rules.) And they will be adopted by the process which Satoshi specified: at the precise moment when the majority of mining hashpower (which is always “intelligently profit-seeking”) adds a new block to the chain which happens to satisfy a new set of rules - eg, a block that’s 1.1 MB. We don’t know when a block like this will get added to the chain. But when it does happen, it will be because the majority of mining hashpower (which is always “intelligently profit-seeking”) decided to do so. Which means that Bitcoin will continue to function, and everyone’s investment will continue to be preserved (in probably dramatically increased at that point, as people flood back into Bitcoin from the alts =).
Back to the actual process of appending a block to the chain: Each of these competing “candidate blocks” carries with it a “coinbase reward” (currently 12.5 Bitcoins) - and all the miners, who are “intelligently profit-seeking” (see the OP cited previously quoting some very insightful posts by u/ForkiusMaximus), quickly form consensus to recognize the “candidate block” which is accumulating the most Proof-of-Work on top of it as the “accepted” block, while “orphaning” the other “candidate blocks” which were also competing to be added to the chain. So the tip of the chain looks during any given 10-minute period is actually “fuzzy” or non-deterministic. Many of us may simply think in terms of “the chain”. But the tip of the chain - where multiple “candidate blocks” are still competing to get added to the chain - the tip of the chain is non-deterministic or “fuzzy”, since it is actually plural and not singular, while various “candidate blocks” are still “fighting it out” to become “the” block that actually gets added to the chain. Here is where the “stochastic” aspect of the situation comes into effect - because any particular “ordering” of the tip of the chain (whereby the miners have selected only one of the “tips” being appended to the blockchain as being the “accepted” one) could still of course undergo a “re-org”. We use the word “stochastic” to describe the fact that the chances of such a re-org actually happening rapidly become smaller and smaller, as each successive new “candidate block” gets appended on top of the the chain-tip which ended up getting the majority of the hashing power... so that after about 6 blocks, we can say that (in this “stochastic” process), the probability of a block already “six blocks deep” getting kicked out in a re-org is vanishingly small. And voilà - distributed consensus about the ordering of blocks has been achieved, in a decentralized and permissionless and trust-free environment, brilliantly solving the Byzantine Generals Problem - truly a historic breakthrough. So Bitcoin is based on multiple components There’s lots of things going on here.
There’s a decentralized system.
There’s the hashing - based, yes, on the hashcash system developed by Adam - and previously by other researchers as well - and also based on the cryptographic signatures.
But the more interesting (albeit subtle) parts of the system are the economic and game theory / social aspects - ie, the token having value, and the “stochastic” aspect where a block gets buried deeper and deeper in the chain - and the majority of miners being “intelligently profit-seeking” so they will compete to have their block included in the chain, but they also won’t “cheat” by awarding themselves more coins, or by trying to not recognize some other miner’s “winning” or “accepted” block - because in the end, they want the system to keep going - and they want the tokens maintain their economic value.
This system, as invented by Satoshi, does not involve a notion of “validity” based on some pre-existing “rules” which are (already) manifested / incorporated / coded in some software (by some unspecified political / social process) - because that would be the old systems which Nakamoto Consensus was designed to replace. The notion of “validity” in Bitcoin as Satoshi designed it is not based on any “pre-defined” rules. It never could be - because then we’d need a way to “pre-define” those rules. The notion of “validity” in Bitcoin is based on “post-defined” rules. This means that the “rules” can only be observed “after the fact” - based on whatever blocks “ended up” getting buried a-few-confirmation-deep-into-the-chain, as a result of the majority of miners being “intelligently profit-seeking” as they decide, and re-decide, and re-decide - every 10 minutes - on “what block to append next”. As shockingly counter-intuitive as it may seem, there are no “pre-defined” rules in Bitcoin. There are only “post-defined” rules - which can only be observed “after the fact” - by examining which block “ended up” getting added by hashpower. It’s very weird to try to wrap your head around a system where the “rules” are defined “after the fact”. So how do the rules get “changed” - for example when we eventually really do want something like a bigger blocksize? This is how it works: While the next block is about to be appended to the chain (ie, while several of blocks are still competing for this honor), these various competing blocks might actually reflect various rules (eg, at a moment when an “upgrade” is being “deployed”). We won’t know which rules were “The Rules”TM until after only one of those blocks has been buried a few blocks deep in a chain (eg 6 confirmations), Then we can say that this is the (branch of) the chain having the most Proof-of-Work.
Sidebar: Of course, Satoshi’s explanation was much more succinct than this OP - and he even provided an executable version! And other people may also offer their own “informal” explanations of this same system. I hope that these explanations might help more people (including Greg?) gain a deeper understanding of Satoshi’s invention.
The only thing we have to guide us (regarding the “rules” of Bitcoin) is the hashpower of the majority of “intelligently profit-seeking miners”. In particular, we cannot turn to any of the following wannabe “authorities” when trying to figure out what “the rules” of Bitcoin are:
At some level, Greg and Adam still don’t understand Satoshi’s brilliant design for Bitcoin, where the hashpower decides (and re-decides) the rules every ten minutes. This may due to the observation by Sinclair Lewis that “A man cannot understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it” - ie, because Greg and Adam are getting millions of dollars in fiat by companies such as AXA - who might not want guys Adam and Greg to understand Satoshi’s invention. Conclusion Satoshi’s brilliant solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem of Decentralized Permissionless Trust-Free Consensus-Forming is based on Proof-of-Work. This involves multiple blocks competing to be added to the “tip” of a blockchain and then everyone forming consensus around the “branch” of the chain which has the most Proof-of-Work. This is based on a “stochastic” process where a block which is 1, 2, 3... etc. levels deep becomes “more and more” confirmed - ie, “less and less” likely to be orphaned - because it would be “harder and harder” to switch (re-org) to another “branch” of the chain now that that block has got so many other blocks appended after it. The “rules” in Bitcoin are “post-defined” - based Proof-of-Work. Proof-of-Work is not, technically, based on pre-defined “rules”. This is really subtle! It’s hard for some people to wrap their head around the concepts that:
There are no (pre-defined) rules.
During any given 10-minute period, there are often multiple “tips” to the chain.
The “rules” are “post-defined” - after one of those tips has the most hashpower piled on top of it.
But this is how Bitcoin really works!
In Bitcoin, the “rules” are “post-defined” and not “pre-defined”. The rules can only be observed after a block has become “buried” a few confirmations deep into the chain. And during certain (generally rare) 10-minute periods, it may even be the case that the various competing “candidate blocks” satisfy different rule-sets (eg, when a new rule-set is being deployed). Only after hashpower has added a block - ie, retrospectively - are we able to look back and see what “the rules” are. Yes this stands everything on its head. But this is the only way we can get a system which is decentralized and permissionless and trustless. Because if Proof-of-Work doesn’t decide the rules, then we’re back to the “bad old days” where Greg, or Blockstream, or some other “centralized trusted authority” decides the rules. So, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, Proof-of-Work decides the rules (and not the other way around). This stuff is subtle - and I hope better explanations continue to be provided. My way of working through it all has been to write up posts like this - while also reading posts by important people who really understand this subtle stuff - eg, guys like u/ForkiusMaximus and u/Capt_Roger_Murdock. Meanwhile Satoshi’s explanation (the whitepaper) - and the code - are one of the most important accomplishments in the history of humanity. Hopefully as time goes on, more people (including Greg and Adam!) will be start to be able to understand this amazing system invented by Satoshi - where the majority of miners are always “intelligently profit-seeking”, and they “vote with their hashpower” to decide (and re-decide, and re-decide - every ten minutes) - in a decentralized, permissionless, trustless manner - on the “rules” for appending the next block to the chain.
A simple search on your preferred search engine will provide you with numerous blockchain lottery listings. Kibo Partners, Fire Lotto, Although the proper Latin plural would be fora, forum has been adopted into the English language--and in most cases follows the rules of English pluralization. Similar changes can be seen with the adoption of other words like octupus (the proper plural would be more like octopedes, but in English we usually say either octopi or octopuses).. The current entry from the Oxford Dictionary says: Seite 1 der Diskussion 'BITCOIN/ BLOCKCHAIN - nächster Gamechanger?' vom 06.10.2017 im w:o-Forum 'Bitcoin'. Großbritannien ist die Heimat einer enthusiastischen Bitcoin-Szene ist, steht der Kryptowährung insgesamt aber extrem ambivalent gegenüber. Während viele Einzelne das Potenzial des Bitcoins erkennen und sich daran machen, seine Möglichkeiten auszuloten, bleibt das Establishment eher reserviert. Dieser Konflikt wird wohl die Akzeptanz von Bitcoin in Großbritannien behindern und ... Bitcoin Deklination der Wortformen. Die Flexionstabelle listet die vier Fälle Singular und Plural des Substantivs bzw. der Substantivierung »Bitcoin« auf.
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