How to sell bitcoin on finance.

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

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Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum? No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
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That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims? That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft? Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up. Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness? Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird? there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More? It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends? Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms  The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
2.Hitman sites
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals  People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn  Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think? Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines? There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods. If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web? I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web? A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web? It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
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I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
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1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[deleted] It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help? I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome. I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
the below is another reply to the original answer
Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

Complete Guide to All r/neoliberal Flair Personalities [J-L]

Please see the first post [A-I] for more info about this post. Unfortunately, post character limit is 40k, so I will have to break this into multiple posts linked here:

[A-I]

[J-L]

[M-P]

[Q-Z]


James Heckman
1944 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD). Co-Director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group. Heckman is also a Professor of Law at ‘the Law School’, a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
· In 2000, Heckman shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel McFadden, for his pioneering work in econometrics and microeconomics.
· As of February 2019 (according to RePEc), he is the next most influential economist in the world behind Daniel McFadden.
· Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2005 and 2007 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzú Centre in 2008, the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2009, the 2014 Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society, the 2014 Spirit of Erikson Award from the Erikson Institute, and the 2016 Dan David Prize for Combating Poverty from Tel Aviv University.
“The best way to improve the American workforce in the 21st century is to invest in early childhood education, to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children have the opportunity to succeed alongside their more advantaged peers”

Janet Yellen
1945 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Successor to Ben Bernanke, serving as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and as Vice Chair from 2010 to 2014, following her position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen was also Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.
· Yellen is a Keynesian economist and advocates the use of monetary policy in stabilizing economic activity over the business cycle. She believes in the modern version of the Phillips curve, which originally was an observation about an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation. In her 2010 nomination hearing for Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Yellen said, “The modern version of the Phillips curve model—relating movements in inflation to the degree of slack in the economy—has solid theoretical and empirical support.”
· Yellen is married to George Akerlof, another notable economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, professor at Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley..
· In 2014, Yellen was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world. She was the highest ranking American on the list. In October 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked her first in their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers. In October 2015, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranked Yellen #1 in the Public Investor 100 list. In October 2010, she received the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
“In the long run, outsourcing is another form of trade that benefits the U.S. economy by giving us cheaper ways to do things.”
“I'm just opposed to a pure inflation-only mandate in which the only thing a central bank cares about is inflation and not unemployment.”

Jared Polis
1975 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· 43rd governor of Colorado since January 2019. Polis served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 to 2007 and was the United States Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district from 2009 to 2019.
· Polis is the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person (after Kate Brown of Oregon) to be elected governor in the United States.
· In 2000 Polis founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission is to “create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community.” Polis has also founded two charter schools.
· Polis was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He has received many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera's 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Denver consul general of Mexico “Ohtli”; the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League's inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award.
“Having alternative currencies is great, right, because, historically, government's had a monopoly on currency. At the end of the day, why should only politicians—either directly or indirectly—control the currency? We can reduce transaction cost, provide an alternative, and—look, I don't know whether it'll be Bitcoin or not—but I think the concept of digital currencies is here to stay, and the fact that a politician would write to try to ban them in their infancy is just the wrong way to go about it. Let the market determine whether there's any value there or not.”

Jeff Bezos
1964 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Best known as the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon, Bezos is an American internet and aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as “far richer than anyone else on the planet” as he added $1.8 billion to his net worth when Amazon became the second company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
· Bezos supported the electoral campaigns of U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, two Democratic U.S. senators from Washington. He has also supported U.S. representative John Conyers, as well as Patrick Leahy and Spencer Abraham, U.S. senators serving on committees dealing with Internet-related issues.
· Bezos has supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, and in 2012 contributed $2.5 million to a group supporting a yes vote on Washington Referendum 74, which affirmed same-sex marriage.
· After the 2016 presidential election, Bezos was invited to join Donald Trump's Defense Innovation Advisory Board, an advisory council to improve the technology used by the Defense Department. Bezos declined the offer without further comment.
· In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourage wealthy people to give away their wealth.
“Percentage margins don't matter. What matters always is dollar margins: the actual dollar amount. Companies are valued not on their percentage margins, but on how many dollars they actually make, and a multiple of that.”
“We have the resources to build room for a trillion humans in this solar system, and when we have a trillion humans, we'll have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts. It will be a way more interesting place to live.”

Jens Weidmann
1968 – Present Born: Germany Resides: Germany
· German economist and president of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements. From 1997 to 1999, Weidmann worked at the International Monetary Fund. In 2006, he began serving as Head of Division IV (Economic and Financial Policy) in the Federal Chancellery. He was the chief negotiator of the Federal Republic of Germany for both the summits of the G8 and the G20. He was given the 2016 Medal for Extraordinary Merits for Bavaria in a United Europe.
· Weidmann was involved in a series of major decisions in response to the financial crisis in Germany and Europe: preventing the meltdown of the bank Hypo Real Estate, guaranteeing German deposits and implementing a rescue programme for the banking system, piecing together two fiscal-stimulus programmes, and setting up the Greek bail-out package and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
· In a 2011 speech, Weidmann criticized the errors and “many years of wrong developments” of the European Monetary Union (EMU) peripheral states, particularly the wasted opportunity represented by their “disproportionate investment in private home-building, high government spending or private consumption”. In May, 2012, Weidmann's stance was characterized by US economist and columnist Paul Krugman as amounting to wanting to destroy the Euro. In 2016, Weidmann dismissed deflation in light of the European Central Bank's current stimulus program, pointing out the healthy condition of the German economy and that the euro area is not that bad off.
“I share the concerns regarding monetary policy that is too loose for too long. … As you know I have concerns about granting emergency liquidity on account of the fact that the banks are not doing everything to improve their liquidity situation.”

Jerome Powell
1953 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Current Chair of the Federal Reserve, nominated by Trump. Powell has faced substantial and repeated criticism from Trump after his confirmation. The Senate Banking Committee approved Powell's nomination in a 22–1 vote, with Senator Elizabeth Warren casting the lone dissenting vote.
· Powell briefly served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance under George H. W. Bush in 1992. He has served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2012. He is the first Chair of the Federal Reserve since 1987 not to hold a Ph.D. degree in Economics.
· Powell has described the Fed's role as nonpartisan and apolitical. Trump has criticized Powell for not massively lowering federal interest rates and instituting quantitative easing.
· The Bloomberg Intelligence Fed Spectrometer rated Powell as neutral (not dove nor hawk). Powell has been a skeptic of round 3 of quantitative easing, initiated in 2012, although he did vote in favor of implementation.
· Powell stated that higher capital and liquidity requirements and stress tests have made the financial system safer and must be preserved. However, he also stated that the Volcker Rule should be re-written to exclude smaller banks. Powell supports ample amounts of private capital to support housing finance activities.
“The Fed's organization reflects a long-standing desire in American history to ensure that power over our nation's monetary policy and financial system is not concentrated in a few hands, whether in Washington or in high finance or in any single group or constituency.”

John Cochrane
1957 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and economist, specializing in financial economics and macroeconomics.
· The central idea of Cochrane's research is that macroeconomics and finance should be linked, and a comprehensive theory needs to explain both 1.) how, given the observed prices and financial returns, households and firms decide on consumption, investment, and financing; and 2.) how, in equilibrium, prices and financial returns are determined by households and firms decisions.
· Cochrane is the author of ‘Asset Pricing,’ a widely used textbook in graduate courses on asset pricing. According to his own words, the organizing principle of the book is that everything can be traced back to specializations of a single equation: the basic pricing equation. Cochrane received the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award for this book.
“Regulators and politicians aren’t nitwits. The libertarian argument that regulation is so dumb — which it surely is — misses the point that it is enacted by really smart people. The fact that the regulatory state is an ideal tool for the entrenchment of political power was surely not missed by its architects.”

John Keynes (John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes)
1883 – 1946 Born: England Died: England
· British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in mathematics, he built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. Keynes was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party, which until the 1920s had been one of the two main political parties in the United Kingdom.
· During the 1930s Great Depression, Keynes challenged the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions.
· Keynes's influence started to wane in the 1970s, his ideas challenged by those who disputed the ability of government to favorably regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.
· Keynes was vice-chairman of the Marie Stopes Society which provided birth control education and campaigned against job discrimination against women and unequal pay. He was an outspoken critic of laws against homosexuality. Keynes thought that the pursuit of money for its own sake was a pathological condition, and that the proper aim of work is to provide leisure. He wanted shorter working hours and longer holidays for all. Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune.
“How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.”

John Locke
1632 – 1704 Born: England Died: England
· Known as the “Father of Liberalism,” Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
· Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.
· Locke advocated for governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. Locke was vehemently opposed to slavery, calling it “vile and miserable … directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation.”
· Locke uses the word “property” in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour aand that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods
· According to Locke, unused property is wasteful and an offence against nature, but, with the introduction of “durable” goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. In his view, the introduction of money marks the culmination of this process, making possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage.
“The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.”
“No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”

John Mill (John Stuart Mill a.k.a. J. S. Mill)
1806 – 1873 Born: England Died: France
· John Stuart Mill was arguably the most influential English speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. His most important works include System of Logic (1843), On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861) and An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1865).
· Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party and author of the early feminist work The Subjection of Women (in which he also condemned slavery), he was also the second Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage after Henry Hunt in 1832.
· Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from 1823 to 1858, argued in support of what he called a “benevolent despotism” with regard to the colonies. Mill argued that “To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error. ... To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject.”
· John Stuart Mill believed in the philosophy of Utilitarianism, which he described as the principle that holds “that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness [intended pleasure, and the absence of pain], wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness [pain, and the privation of pleasure].” Mill asserts that even when we value virtues for selfish reasons we are in fact cherishing them as a part of our happiness.
· Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. Mill originally believed that “equality of taxation” meant “equality of sacrifice” and that progressive taxation penalized those who worked harder and saved more. Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed.
· His main objection of socialism was on that of what he saw its destruction of competition. According to Mill, a socialist society would only be attainable through the provision of basic education for all, promoting economic democracy instead of capitalism, in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives.
· Mill's major work on political democracy defends two fundamental principles at slight odds with each other: extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level.
· Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official. In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the “radical” principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect.
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

John Rawls
1921 – 2002 Born: United States Died: United States
· Liberal American moral and political philosopher who received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, who acclaimed Rawls for having “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.” He is frequently cited by the courts of law in the United States and Canada.
· Rawls's most discussed work is his theory of a just liberal society, called justice as fairness. Rawls first wrote about this theory in his book A Theory of Justice. Rawls spoke much about the desire for a well-ordered society; a society of free and equal persons cooperating on fair terms of social cooperation.
· Rawls’s most important principle (the Liberty Principal) states that every individual has an equal right to basic liberties. Rawls believes that “personal property” constitutes a basic liberty, but an absolute right to unlimited private property is not.
· Rawls's argument for his principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the “original position”, in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy.
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”

Joseph Nye
1937 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American political scientist and co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism (a theory concerned first and foremost with absolute gains rather than relative gains to other states), developed in the 1977 book Power and Interdependence. He is noted for his notion of “smart power” (“the ability to combine hard and soft power into a successful strategy”), which became a popular phrase with the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
· Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board in 2014. In 2014, Nye was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of his “contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.”
· From 1977 to 1979, Nye was Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1979. In 1993 and 1994, he was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the President, and was awarded the Intelligence Community's Distinguished Service Medal. In the Clinton Administration from 1994 to 1995, Nye served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and was awarded the Department's Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Nye was considered by many to be the preferred choice for National Security Advisor in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.
· Nye has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a foreign fellow of The British Academy. Nye is also a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. The 2011 TRIP survey of over 1700 international relations scholars ranks Joe Nye as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the past twenty years. He was also ranked as most influential in American foreign policy. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him to its list of top global thinkers. In September 2014, Foreign Policy reported that the international relations scholars and policymakers both ranked Nye as one of the most influential scholars.
“When you can get others to admire your ideals and to want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction. Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights, and individual opportunities are deeply seductive.”

Karl Popper
1902 – 1994 Born: Austria-Hungary Died: England
· Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was a self-professed critical-rationalist, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally and a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’.
· In ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ and ‘The Poverty of Historicism’, Popper developed a critique of historicism and a defense of the “Open Society”. Popper considered historicism to be the theory that history develops inexorably and necessarily according to knowable general laws towards a determinate end. He argued that this view is the principal theoretical presupposition underpinning most forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He argued that historicism is founded upon mistaken assumptions regarding the nature of scientific law and prediction. Since the growth of human knowledge is a causal factor in the evolution of human history, and since “no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge”, it follows, he argued, that there can be no predictive science of human history. For Popper, metaphysical and historical indeterminism go hand in hand.
· Popper is known for his vigorous defense of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. His political philosophy embraced ideas from major democratic political ideologies, including socialism/social democracy, libertarianism/classical liberalism and conservatism, and attempted to reconcile them.
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

Lawrence Summers
1954 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank, senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration, Treasury Secretary 1999–2001, and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Current professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
· As a researcher, Summers has made important contributions in many areas of economics, primarily public finance, labor economics, financial economics, and macroeconomics. Summers has also worked in international economics, economic demography, economic history and development economics.[ He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1993 from the American Economic Association. In 1987, he was the first social scientist to win the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. Summers is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
· In 1983, at age 28, Summers became one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. In 2006, Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty. Summers viewed his beliefs on why science and engineering had an under-representation of women to be a large part in the vote, saying, “There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.”
· As the World Bank's Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist, Summers played a role in designing strategies to aid developing countries, worked on the bank's loan committee, guided the bank's research and statistics operations, and guided external training programs. The World Bank's official site reports that Summer's research included an “influential” report that demonstrated a very high return from investments in educating girls in developing nations. According to The Economist, Summers was “often at the centre of heated debates” about economic policy, to an extent exceptional for the history of the World Bank in recent decades.
· In 1999 Summers endorsed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which removed the separation between investment and commercial banks. In February 2009, Summers quoted John Maynard Keynes, saying “When circumstances change, I change my opinion”, reflecting both on the failures of Wall Street deregulation and his new leadership role in the government bailout.
submitted by learnactreform to neoliberal [link] [comments]

Have another perspective about Electroneum supply and decimal points! (RE-POST/reformat)

Argument 1: It is wrong that less number of decimals = less supply
Let starts with the background of the debate:
Hypothesis 1: Electroneum (ETN) has less supply than Bitcoin (BTC)
Hypothesis 2: BTC has less supply than ETN
The argument of Hypothesis 1 is that BTC has 8 “decimal points” and ETN only 2 “decimal points” which bring the argument to something like this:
1 satoshi = 0.00000001 BTC
1 mETN = 0.01 ETN
Max supply of BTC is 21 Million, which is equal to 21 * 1014 satoshi.
Max supply of ETN is 21 Billion which is equal to 21 * 1011 mETN.
Which means ETN’s total supply is 1/1000 of BTC’s.
The argument of Hypothesis 2 is that the “decimal points” is just “fractional notation” and it is not significant in the calculation of supply.
Max supply of BTC is 21 Million BTC
Max supply of ETN is 21 Billion ETN
Which means BTC’s total supply is 1/1000 of ETN’s.
At the beginning when Richard Ells explain about the 2 decimal points, I immediately thought: “No, you can’t do that!” “The fraction is insignificant; how can you include that into the calculation of total supply?”
So, for quite a while, just the same as other people I tend to believe Hypothesis 2 is right and this is quite disturbing to think that ETN has this “flaw”.
Then I came to a realization that I am thinking in technical/engineering formula concept and try to forced it into a dynamic currency calculation.
This is a big flaw in hypothesis 2 argument, because we are using Math (as in pure Math calculation) perspective instead of the understanding of how Currency behaves or works.
In Math, the unit of numbers is a standard, where 1 (100) is the lowest denominator, and decimal points are just the “fraction of the unit”, which gives the argument that no matter what is the length of the fraction, 21 Million will still be less than 21 Billion.
But we are not talking/discussing about “just numbers” here, we are talking about a Currency.
Currency has what is called as “circulating denomination unit”, and every currency has the lowest circulating denomination unit. For US Dollar and UK Pound, it is 1 cent or a penny. In Australian Dollar and Canadian Dollar, it is 5 cents (5 cents coin).
So, when we talk about BTC has 8 decimal points and ETN has 2 decimal points, we are not just talking about fraction of unit, we are talking about the “lowest circulating denomination unit” of a currency.
Consider this:
Let say that ETN and BTC mining is getting harder and harder. The lowest unit a miner can earn is 0.01 ETN in Electroneum supply and 0.00000001 BTC in Bitcoin supply (we are not talking about price at the moment, but focus on supply).
With 0.01 as the lowest unit that can be mined in ETN, that means for ETN to reach max supply is 21 Billion/0.01 or 21 * 1011.
With 0.00000001 as the lowest unit that can be mined in BTC, that means for BTC to reach max supply is 21 Million/0.00000001 or 21 * 1014.
Which simply means ETN will reach max supply faster, hence lower supply (or vice versa).
If we are talking about token, then arguably Hypothesis 2 can be right, because tokens are just token; and they are not designed to be a currency, there are significant differences.
Electroneum is designed as a currency and projected to be the “de-facto mass adopted” currency. So, think about it as a currency, NOT token.
Let’s get further into this with some examples of “real” (i.e.: fiat) currencies.
We know that currently US Dollar is one of the most (if not the most) dominant and popular currencies (fiat currencies). At the time of writing, these are the exchange rates of USD (US Dollar) to some other currencies (source: xe.com):
1 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) = 0.0000736762 USD (US Dollar)
1 USD = 13572.90414000722 IDR
1 VND (Vietnamese Dong) = 0.0000440036 USD (US Dollar)
1 USD = 22725.4133752693 VND
Argument 2: The 2 decimal point in Electroneum is a flaw?
Now, let’s talk about the lowest transactional/circulating denomination unit of USD. It is $0.01 USD, which is represented by a penny or 1 cent coin.
Have you ever heard anyone say: “Hey, because USD lowest denomination unit is $0.01, this doesn’t make sense, this is a flaw. How am I going to exchange 100 IDR to USD? Because based on the exchange rate, 100 IDR is 0.0073762, it is not even 1 cent USD.
The answer is you don’t. People (currency users) behaviour change, and they adjust to it.
Currency is dynamic and involves people’s behaviour, not a static Math numbers.
If you go to Bali (Bali is in Indonesia), the most common lowest denomination unit of IDR in circulation is Rp.500 (IDR). There might be 200, 100, 50 IDR in circulation, but people don’t use them much. I saw some drivers (Taxi or Uber) using 500 IDR as “parking fee” or as “small change”, some “parking operators” even say that 500 IDR is not enough for parking fee, it has to be 1000 or 2000 IDR or even more.
Let say you come back from Bali with 10000 IDR left in your pocket. So, you go to bank to convert 10000 IDR to USD. You will get a weird looking face from the Teller trying to say “Are you serious?”
Why? Because it is not practical or common practice to exchange 10000 IDR to USD (in cash), as it is less than 1 USD (not including fee/commission). They EXPECT you to exchange a much larger amount of IDR.
Argument 3: The 2 decimal point will limit the price of Electroneum to something like $100, so 0.01 ETN will still be $1
Consider this:
I never heard anyone say: “Oh no, this 2 decimal points in USD will limit the price of USD, so 1 USD will never go beyond 100 or 1000 IDR.
The fact is, in the 90’s, 1 USD was around 1000 IDR or maybe even less, and now it is more than 13000 IDR.
How can a 2 decimal points affect the price or limit the price of a currency? I cannot understand the argument.
And this is just a fiat currency, as we all know that crypto currency is more “explosive” in creating price trend.
Borrowing some examples from fiat currency again, does this mean that people will never use calculation that is beyond 2 decimal points (like 3 or more decimal points)?
No, not necessarily, I believe more decimal points (something like 4 decimal points or even finer) are used in calculation of interest, loans, in exchanges, etc. Yet, it doesn’t deny the fact that the circulating denomination unit only has 2 decimal point.
Currency is dynamic, people and businesses will find one way or another to adjust with the price and denomination unit.
For example, in the old days when cash was king, when someone buy something in a shop with price of 80 cents, paid with 1 dollar bill. Then, the owner of the shop realized that he/she runs out of 20 cents coin and other less value coins. The owner of the shop will try to offer candy or chocolate or other cheap items as replacement for the change. The buyer might actually be happy with that because the buyer might appreciate candy or chocolate more than the spare change or coins.
In some payment systems, they mathematically rounded the number to the closest denominator units, like 5 cents or 10 cents.
In term of ETN, if necessary, when the price is skyrocketing. I believe, there will be some options, including creating “sub-currency”, akin to “Dollar coins”. You can buy something in ETN and get the “sub-currency” as a change. The sub-currency can either be pegged to ETN value or not, that can be defined later in the dynamic.
Argument 4: Technology affects the price of currency. Really?
Consider this article or infographic: https://illicittrade.com/infographics/worlds-most-counterfeited-currencies/
US Dollar is considered as the one of the world’s most counterfeited currency.
Then, consider another article: https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0412/the-most-counterfeit-proof-currencies.aspx
“ International Association of Currency Affairs (IACA) holds an awards ceremony for currencies and individuals that have made great leaps in protecting the integrity of currencies and the technologies that go into creating and manufacturing them. In 2011, the IACA voted the Bank of Uganda as the winner of the best new banknote.”
Yet, 1 UGX = 0.000277417 USD. How come? Based on some arguments, that the more advanced the technology a currency has, the more valuable is the currency. Then, it supposed to be 1 USD = 0.000277417 UGX, not the opposite, right?
How about Bitcoin? At the moment, BTC has relatively the least technological advantage to other coins. Then why its price is the top of the chart?
Yes, you don’t want a currency that is very easily counterfeited that it is become “public secret” that everyone can counterfeit the currency at will. But you also don’t need the most secure anti-counterfeit technology to give value to the currency or make the currency as the most valuable currency.
Consider this:
  • US Dollar, EU Euro, Japanese Yen, UK Pound, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar and Swiss Franc, why are they perceived as valuable currency to people, investor and trader?
Because they are the most traded currency in the world. I understand there are fundamentals factors affecting the value, but it cannot be denied that people perceived the most traded currencies are more stable and valuable.
“Analyst says 94% of bitcoin's price movement over the past four years can be explained by one equation”.
That equation is about mass adoption or network effect. Put it simply, it shows that the success of Bitcoin and its price are NOT because it is the first, it is the most advanced technologically, it has the most unique features, etc. But because it gets the biggest mass adoption among other crypto currencies, at least for the time being.
  • Currency is dynamic. It involves people and people’s behaviour, not a static Math numbers or Technology features.
  • There are significant differences between crypto that is projected to be just token and the one that is projected to be currency.
When we talk about currency, people give value to currency because of “the fundamentals” value (because currency relates to the fundamentals of a country, policies and its users) and because it is the top traded/used currency in the world.
But when we talk about crypto currency, I think many people agreed it is hard to understand “the fundamentals”, so I believe the easiest to understand the value is how it will be mass adopted. The fundamentals values, I believe, will be easier to see at later stages as they will become more tangible.
These include relationships/partnerships, networks, how it will scale, how the team will keep progressing and keep making improvements (including technological improvements), the progression and manifestation of the planned roadmap, how agile is the team to respond to changes and challenges, and for ETN specifically, is the “ETN Community”. ETN community is a big asset for Electroneum like no other crypto currency has.
So, what’s the deal with 2 decimal points?
At the beginning, I thought this “2 decimal points” can be a drawback for ETN, but now I think it is a brilliant idea. Consider the following advantages of using 2 decimal points for ETN:
  • Easy to understand, human friendly notation.
Why is this important? In order for a currency to be widely adopted, people need to be comfortable enough to use it and understand the transaction quickly and easily. People are already accustomed to 2 decimal points in currency. People mindset are already trained to calculate in cents as in 0.01 and not more decimal points. Thus, this will greatly help mass adoption
  • Businesses’ accounting or business model are setup around this mindset of 2 decimal points or cents of currency.
So, if the business community wants to adopt a crypto currency like ETN, it is “just natural” adoption.
For examples, some little things like, how are you going to invoice customer with a number that has 8 decimal points? It will take longer for the business to adapt and adjust with 8 decimals. It looks like simple thing, but if you try to implement it in the business model, then it can be huge.
Another example, Businesses don’t need to adjust the format in their receipt/docket, because their current format is already 2 decimal points, just change the currency name to ETN, compare this with if the Business has to change the format of the purchase docket/receipt in 8 decimals. I am quite sure it will be quite chaotic in the first few weeks of implementation.
Then how about the data format in the database, reconciliation process, etc, etc. The list can be very long just trying to adapt with 8 decimals.
  • When Electroneum tries to create business partnerships and relationships with other big Enterprise, entity, organisation, network, etc. They don’t need to “overhaul” their system for ETN to be included in their systems.
Thanks to 2 decimal points, which comes natural in every system that uses fiat currency, these integrations can be done faster and more easily.
I think most IT people and developers understand how mind blogging it can be to change whole system just because we need to adapt with 8 decimal points and 2 decimal points at the same time.
The key here is the integration of the systems can be done faster and easier.
  • One of the target of Electroneum is to be adopted by the unbanked people, which means ETN will become one of the main currency for the payment system, which might involves, at least at early stage, features for exchanging between ETN and local currency.
You can see as ETN comes naturally with 2 decimal points, just like other fiat currencies. Integration of payment system and legacy point of sale (POS) systems can be done much easier, because ETN behaves similar to other fiat currency in term of calculation (decimal points).
The only differences (or benefits) are ETN is a crypto currency with faster transaction settlement, cheaper transaction fees, no country boundary (cheaper transfer fees), with no “middle man” like banks, no complicated registration to bank accounts, and has privacy features.
So, Electroneum community and ETN HODLers, we can look forward to the full realization of Electroneum’s potentials in the near future. I got the “feeling” that Electroneum community will play significant roles like in no other crypto currency.
Cheers,
PS: In using some currencies as examples, I am not undermining the currencies or users of the currencies. I have some friends and relatives from some of these countries whom I know are richemuch richer than average people in developed countries (in terms of Dollar wealth). It is just for the sake of example. I hope no one get offended by this.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Electroneum, but I am an ETN ICO investor and HODLer. This is my personal opinion and perspective regarding the matter and NOT to be seen/taken as advise or suggestion in any kind.
submitted by CryptoDeluge to Electroneum [link] [comments]

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency

Searching for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
For someone first starting out as a cryptocurrency investor, finding a trustworthy manual for screening a cryptocurrency’s merits is nonexistent as we are still in the early, Wild West days of the cryptocurrency market. One would need to become deeply familiar with the inner workings of blockchain to be able to perform the bare minimum due diligence.
One might believe, over time, that finding the perfect cryptocurrency may be nothing short of futile. If a cryptocurrency purports infinite scalability, then it is probably either lightweight with limited features or it is highly centralized among a limited number of nodes that perform consensus services especially Proof of Stake or Delegated Proof of Stake. Similarly, a cryptocurrency that purports comprehensive privacy may have technical obstacles to overcome if it aims to expand its applications such as in smart contracts. The bottom line is that it is extremely difficult for a cryptocurrency to have all important features jam-packed into itself.
The cryptocurrency space is stuck in the era of the “dial-up internet” in a manner of speaking. Currently blockchain can’t scale – not without certain tradeoffs – and it hasn’t fully resolved certain intractable issues such as user-unfriendly long addresses and how the blockchain size is forever increasing to name two.
In other words, we haven’t found the ultimate cryptocurrency. That is, we haven’t found the mystical unicorn cryptocurrency that ushers the era of decentralization while eschewing all the limitations of traditional blockchain systems.
“But wait – what about Ethereum once it implements sharding?”
“Wouldn’t IOTA be able to scale infinitely with smart contracts through its Qubic offering?”
“Isn’t Dash capable of having privacy, smart contracts, and instantaneous transactions?”
Those thoughts and comments may come from cryptocurrency investors who have done their research. It is natural for the informed investors to invest in projects that are believed to bring cutting edge technological transformation to blockchain. Sooner or later, the sinking realization will hit that any variation of the current blockchain technology will always likely have certain limitations.
Let us pretend that there indeed exists a unicorn cryptocurrency somewhere that may or may not be here yet. What would it look like, exactly? Let us set the 5 criteria of the unicorn cryptocurrency:
Unicorn Criteria
(1) Perfectly solves the blockchain trilemma:
o Infinite scalability
o Full security
o Full decentralization
(2) Zero or minimal transaction fee
(3) Full privacy
(4) Full smart contract capabilities
(5) Fair distribution and fair governance
For each of the above 5 criteria, there would not be any middle ground. For example, a cryptocurrency with just an in-protocol mixer would not be considered as having full privacy. As another example, an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) may possibly violate criterion (5) since with an ICO the distribution and governance are often heavily favored towards an oligarchy – this in turn would defy the spirit of decentralization that Bitcoin was found on.
There is no cryptocurrency currently that fits the above profile of the unicorn cryptocurrency. Let us examine an arbitrary list of highly hyped cryptocurrencies that meet the above list at least partially. The following list is by no means comprehensive but may be a sufficient sampling of various blockchain implementations:
Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is the very first and the best known cryptocurrency that started it all. While Bitcoin is generally considered extremely secure, it suffers from mining centralization to a degree. Bitcoin is not anonymous, lacks smart contracts, and most worrisomely, can only do about 7 transactions per seconds (TPS). Bitcoin is not the unicorn notwithstanding all the Bitcoin maximalists.
Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is widely considered the gold standard of smart contracts aside from its scalability problem. Sharding as part of Casper’s release is generally considered to be the solution to Ethereum’s scalability problem.
The goal of sharding is to split up validating responsibilities among various groups or shards. Ethereum’s sharding comes down to duplicating the existing blockchain architecture and sharing a token. This does not solve the core issue and simply kicks the can further down the road. After all, full nodes still need to exist one way or another.
Ethereum’s blockchain size problem is also an issue as will be explained more later in this article.
As a result, Ethereum is not the unicorn due to its incomplete approach to scalability and, to a degree, security.
Dash
Dash’s masternodes are widely considered to be centralized due to their high funding requirements, and there are accounts of a pre-mine in the beginning. Dash is not the unicorn due to its questionable decentralization.
Nano
Nano boasts rightfully for its instant, free transactions. But it lacks smart contracts and privacy, and it may be exposed to well orchestrated DDOS attacks. Therefore, it goes without saying that Nano is not the unicorn.
EOS
While EOS claims to execute millions of transactions per seconds, a quick glance reveals centralized parameters with 21 nodes and a questionable governance system. Therefore, EOS fails to achieve the unicorn status.
Monero (XMR)
One of the best known and respected privacy coins, Monero lacks smart contracts and may fall short of infinite scalability due to CryptoNote’s design. The unicorn rank is out of Monero’s reach.
IOTA
IOTA’s scalability is based on the number of transactions the network processes, and so its supposedly infinite scalability would fluctuate and is subject to the whims of the underlying transactions. While IOTA’s scalability approach is innovative and may work in the long term, it should be reminded that the unicorn cryptocurrency has no middle ground. The unicorn cryptocurrency would be expected to scale infinitely on a consistent basis from the beginning.
In addition, IOTA’s Masked Authenticated Messaging (MAM) feature does not bring privacy to the masses in a highly convenient manner. Consequently, the unicorn is not found with IOTA.

PascalCoin as a Candidate for the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
Please allow me to present a candidate for the cryptocurrency unicorn: PascalCoin.
According to the website, PascalCoin claims the following:
“PascalCoin is an instant, zero-fee, infinitely scalable, and decentralized cryptocurrency with advanced privacy and smart contract capabilities. Enabled by the SafeBox technology to become the world’s first blockchain independent of historical operations, PascalCoin possesses unlimited potential.”
The above summary is a mouthful to be sure, but let’s take a deep dive on how PascalCoin innovates with the SafeBox and more. Before we do this, I encourage you to first become acquainted with PascalCoin by watching the following video introduction:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=F25UU-0W9Dk
The rest of this section will be split into 10 parts in order to illustrate most of the notable features of PascalCoin. Naturally, let’s start off with the SafeBox.
Part #1: The SafeBox
Unlike traditional UTXO-based cryptocurrencies in which the blockchain records the specifics of each transaction (address, sender address, amount of funds transferred, etc.), the blockchain in PascalCoin is only used to mutate the SafeBox. The SafeBox is a separate but equivalent cryptographic data structure that snapshots account balances. PascalCoin’s blockchain is comparable to a machine that feeds the most important data – namely, the state of an account – into the SafeBox. Any node can still independently compute and verify the cumulative Proof-of-Work required to construct the SafeBox.
The PascalCoin whitepaper elegantly highlights the unique historical independence that the SafeBox possesses:
“While there are approaches that cryptocurrencies could use such as pruning, warp-sync, "finality checkpoints", UTXO-snapshotting, etc, there is a fundamental difference with PascalCoin. Their new nodes can only prove they are on most-work-chain using the infinite history whereas in PascalCoin, new nodes can prove they are on the most-work chain without the infinite history.”
Some cryptocurrency old-timers might instinctively balk at the idea of full nodes eschewing the entire history for security, but such a reaction would showcase a lack of understanding on what the SafeBox really does.
A concrete example would go a long way to best illustrate what the SafeBox does. Let’s say I input the following operations in my calculator:
5 * 5 – 10 / 2 + 5
It does not take a genius to calculate the answer, 25. Now, the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* would be forever imbued on a traditional blockchain’s history. But the SafeBox begs to differ. It says that the expression “5 \ 5 – 10 / 2 + 5”* should instead be simply “25” so as preserve simplicity, time, and space. In other words, the SafeBox simply preserves the account balance.
But some might still be unsatisfied and claim that if one cannot trace the series of operations (transactions) that lead to the final number (balance) of 25, the blockchain is inherently insecure.
Here are four important security aspects of the SafeBox that some people fail to realize:
(1) SafeBox Follows the Longest Chain of Proof-of-Work
The SafeBox mutates itself per 100 blocks. Each new SafeBox mutation must reference both to the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks in order to be valid, and the resultant hash of the new mutated SafeBox must then be referenced by each of the new subsequent blocks, and the process repeats itself forever.
The fact that each new SafeBox mutation must reference to the previous SafeBox mutation is comparable to relying on the entire history. This is because the previous SafeBox mutation encapsulates the result of cumulative entire history except for the 100 blocks which is why each new SafeBox mutation requires both the previous SafeBox mutation and the preceding 100 blocks.
So in a sense, there is a single interconnected chain of inflows and outflows, supported by Byzantine Proof-of-Work consensus, instead of the entire history of transactions.
More concretely, the SafeBox follows the path of the longest chain of Proof-of-Work simply by design, and is thus cryptographically equivalent to the entire history even without tracing specific operations in the past. If the chain is rolled back with a 51% attack, only the attacker’s own account(s) in the SafeBox can be manipulated as is explained in the next part.
(2) A 51% Attack on PascalCoin Functions the Same as Others
A 51% attack on PascalCoin would work in a similar way as with other Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. An attacker cannot modify a transaction in the past without affecting the current SafeBox hash which is accepted by all honest nodes.
Someone might claim that if you roll back all the current blocks plus the 100 blocks prior to the SafeBox’s mutation, one could create a forged SafeBox with different balances for all accounts. This would be incorrect as one would be able to manipulate only his or her own account(s) in the SafeBox with a 51% attack – just as is the case with other UTXO cryptocurrencies. The SafeBox stores the balances of all accounts which are in turn irreversibly linked only to their respective owners’ private keys.
(3) One Could Preserve the Entire History of the PascalCoin Blockchain
No blockchain data in PascalCoin is ever deleted even in the presence of the SafeBox. Since the SafeBox is cryptographically equivalent to a full node with the entire history as explained above, PascalCoin full nodes are not expected to contain infinite history. But for whatever reason(s) one may have, one could still keep all the PascalCoin blockchain history as well along with the SafeBox as an option even though it would be redundant.
Without storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain, you can still trace the specific operations of the 100 blocks prior to when the SafeBox absorbs and reflects the net result (a single balance for each account) from those 100 blocks. But if you’re interested in tracing operations over a longer period in the past – as redundant as that may be – you’d have the option to do so by storing the entire history of the PascalCoin blockchain.
(4) The SafeBox is Equivalent to the Entire Blockchain History
Some skeptics may ask this question: “What if the SafeBox is forever lost? How would you be able to verify your accounts?” Asking this question is tantamount to asking to what would happen to Bitcoin if all of its entire history was erased. The result would be chaos, of course, but the SafeBox is still in line with the general security model of a traditional blockchain with respect to black swans.
Now that we know the security of the SafeBox is not compromised, what are the implications of this new blockchain paradigm? A colorful illustration as follows still wouldn’t do justice to the subtle revolution that the SafeBox ushers. The automobiles we see on the street are the cookie-and-butter representation of traditional blockchain systems. The SafeBox, on the other hand, supercharges those traditional cars to become the Transformers from Michael Bay’s films.
The SafeBox is an entirely different blockchain architecture that is impressive in its simplicity and ingenuity. The SafeBox’s design is only the opening act for PascalCoin’s vast nuclear arsenal. If the above was all that PascalCoin offers, it still wouldn’t come close to achieving the unicorn status but luckily, we have just scratched the surface. Please keep on reading on if you want to learn how PascalCoin is going to shatter the cryptocurrency industry into pieces. Buckle down as this is going to be a long read as we explore further about the SafeBox’s implications.
Part #2: 0-Confirmation Transactions
To begin, 0-confirmation transactions are secure in PascalCoin thanks to the SafeBox.
The following paraphrases an explanation of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmations from the whitepaper:
“Since PascalCoin is not a UTXO-based currency but rather a State-based currency thanks to the SafeBox, the security guarantee of 0-confirmation transactions are much stronger than in UTXO-based currencies. For example, in Bitcoin if a merchant accepts a 0-confirmation transaction for a coffee, the buyer can simply roll that transaction back after receiving the coffee but before the transaction is confirmed in a block. The way the buyer does this is by re-spending those UTXOs to himself in a new transaction (with a higher fee) thus invalidating them for the merchant. In PascalCoin, this is virtually impossible since the buyer's transaction to the merchant is simply a delta-operation to debit/credit a quantity from/to accounts respectively. The buyer is unable to erase or pre-empt this two-sided, debit/credit-based transaction from the network’s pending pool until it either enters a block for confirmation or is discarded with respect to both sender and receiver ends. If the buyer tries to double-spend the coffee funds after receiving the coffee but before they clear, the double-spend transaction will not propagate the network since nodes cannot propagate a double-spending transaction thanks to the debit/credit nature of the transaction. A UTXO-based transaction is initially one-sided before confirmation and therefore is more exposed to one-sided malicious schemes of double spending.”
Phew, that explanation was technical but it had to be done. In summary, PascalCoin possesses the only secure 0-confirmation transactions in the cryptocurrency industry, and it goes without saying that this means PascalCoin is extremely fast. In fact, PascalCoin is capable of 72,000 TPS even prior to any additional extensive optimizations down the road. In other words, PascalCoin is as instant as it gets and gives Nano a run for its money.
Part #3: Zero Fee
Let’s circle back to our discussion of PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation capability. Here’s a little fun magical twist to PascalCoin’s 0-confirmation magic: 0-confirmation transactions are zero-fee. As in you don’t pay a single cent in fee for each 0-confirmation! There is just a tiny downside: if you create a second transaction in a 5-minute block window then you’d need to pay a minimal fee. Imagine using Nano but with a significantly stronger anti-DDOS protection for spam! But there shouldn’t be any complaint as this fee would amount to 0.0001 Pascal or $0.00002 based on the current price of a Pascal at the time of this writing.
So, how come the fee for blazingly fast transactions is nonexistent? This is where the magic of the SafeBox arises in three ways:
(1) PascalCoin possesses the secure 0-confirmation feature as discussed above that enables this speed.
(2) There is no fee bidding competition of transaction priority typical in UTXO cryptocurrencies since, once again, PascalCoin operates on secure 0-confirmations.
(3) There is no fee incentive needed to run full nodes on behalf of the network’s security beyond the consensus rewards.
Part #4: Blockchain Size
Let’s expand more on the third point above, using Ethereum as an example. Since Ethereum’s launch in 2015, its full blockchain size is currently around 2 TB, give or take, but let’s just say its blockchain size is 100 GB for now to avoid offending the Ethereum elitists who insist there are different types of full nodes that are lighter. Whoever runs Ethereum’s full nodes would expect storage fees on top of the typical consensus fees as it takes significant resources to shoulder Ethereum’s full blockchain size and in turn secure the network. What if I told you that PascalCoin’s full blockchain size will never exceed few GBs after thousands of years? That is just what the SafeBox enables PascalCoin to do so. It is estimated that by 2072, PascalCoin’s full nodes will only be 6 GB which is low enough not to warrant any fee incentives for hosting full nodes. Remember, the SafeBox is an ultra-light cryptographic data structure that is cryptographically equivalent to a blockchain with the entire transaction history. In other words, the SafeBox is a compact spreadsheet of all account balances that functions as PascalCoin’s full node!
Not only does the SafeBox’s infinitesimal memory size helps to reduce transaction fees by phasing out any storage fees, but it also paves the way for true decentralization. It would be trivial for every PascalCoin user to opt a full node in the form of a wallet. This is extreme decentralization at its finest since the majority of users of other cryptocurrencies ditch full nodes due to their burdensome sizes. It is naïve to believe that storage costs would reduce enough to the point where hosting full nodes are trivial. Take a look at the following chart outlining the trend of storage cost.

* https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-cost-per-gigabyte/
As we can see, storage costs continue to decrease but the descent is slowing down as is the norm with technological improvements. In the meantime, blockchain sizes of other cryptocurrencies are increasing linearly or, in the case of smart contract engines like Ethereum, parabolically. Imagine a cryptocurrency smart contract engine like Ethereum garnering worldwide adoption; how do you think Ethereum’s size would look like in the far future based on the following chart?


https://i.redd.it/k57nimdjmo621.png

Ethereum’s future blockchain size is not looking pretty in terms of sustainable security. Sharding is not a fix for this issue since there still needs to be full nodes but that is a different topic for another time.
It is astonishing that the cryptocurrency community as a whole has passively accepted this forever-expanding-blockchain-size problem as an inescapable fate.
PascalCoin is the only cryptocurrency that has fully escaped the death vortex of forever expanding blockchain size. Its blockchain size wouldn’t exceed 10 GB even after many hundreds of years of worldwide adoption. Ethereum’s blockchain size after hundreds of years of worldwide adoption would make fine comedy.
Part #5: Simple, Short, and Ordinal Addresses
Remember how the SafeBox works by snapshotting all account balances? As it turns out, the account address system is almost as cool as the SafeBox itself.
Imagine yourself in this situation: on a very hot and sunny day, you’re wandering down the street across from your house and ran into a lemonade stand – the old-fashioned kind without any QR code or credit card terminal. The kid across you is selling a lemonade cup for 1 Pascal with a poster outlining the payment address as 5471-55. You flip out your phone and click “Send” with 1 Pascal to the address 5471-55; viola, exactly one second later you’re drinking your lemonade without paying a cent for the transaction fee!
The last thing one wants to do is to figure out how to copy/paste to, say, the following address 1BoatSLRHtKNngkdXEeobR76b53LETtpyT on the spot wouldn’t it? Gone are the obnoxiously long addresses that plague all cryptocurrencies. The days of those unreadable addresses will be long gone – it has to be if blockchain is to innovate itself for the general public. EOS has a similar feature for readable addresses but in a very limited manner in comparison, and nicknames attached to addresses in GUIs don’t count since blockchain-wide compatibility wouldn’t hold.
Not only does PascalCoin has the neat feature of having addresses (called PASAs) that amount to up to 6 or 7 digits, but PascalCoin can also incorporate in-protocol address naming as opposed to GUI address nicknames. Suppose I want to order something from Amazon using Pascal; I simply search the word “Amazon” then the corresponding account number shows up. Pretty neat, right?
The astute reader may gather that PascalCoin’s address system makes it necessary to commoditize addresses, and he/she would be correct. Some view this as a weakness; part #10 later in this segment addresses this incorrect perception.
Part #6: Privacy
As if the above wasn’t enough, here’s another secret that PascalCoin has: it is a full-blown privacy coin. It uses two separate foundations to achieve comprehensive anonymity: in-protocol mixer for transfer amounts and zn-SNARKs for private balances. The former has been implemented and the latter is on the roadmap. Both the 0-confirmation transaction and the negligible transaction fee would make PascalCoin the most scalable privacy coin of any other cryptocurrencies pending the zk-SNARKs implementation.
Part #7: Smart Contracts
Next, PascalCoin will take smart contracts to the next level with a layer-2 overlay consensus system that pioneers sidechains and other smart contract implementations.
In formal terms, this layer-2 architecture will facilitate the transfer of data between PASAs which in turn allows clean enveloping of layer-2 protocols inside layer-1 much in the same way that HTTP lives inside TCP.
To summarize:
· The layer-2 consensus method is separate from the layer-1 Proof-of-Work. This layer-2 consensus method is independent and flexible. A sidechain – based on a single encompassing PASA – could apply Proof-of-Stake (POS), Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPOS), or Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) as the consensus system of its choice.
· Such a layer-2 smart contract platform can be written in any languages.
· Layer-2 sidechains will also provide very strong anonymity since funds are all pooled and keys are not used to unlock them.
· This layer-2 architecture is ingenious in which the computation is separate from layer-2 consensus, in effect removing any bottleneck.
· Horizontal scaling exists in this paradigm as there is no interdependence between smart contracts and states are not managed by slow sidechains.
· Speed and scalability are fully independent of PascalCoin.
One would be able to run the entire global financial system on PascalCoin’s infinitely scalable smart contract platform and it would still scale infinitely. In fact, this layer-2 architecture would be exponentially faster than Ethereum even after its sharding is implemented.
All this is the main focus of PascalCoin’s upcoming version 5 in 2019. A whitepaper add-on for this major upgrade will be released in early 2019.
Part #8: RandomHash Algorithm
Surely there must be some tradeoffs to PascalCoin’s impressive capabilities, you might be asking yourself. One might bring up the fact that PascalCoin’s layer-1 is based on Proof-of-Work and is thus susceptible to mining centralization. This would be a fallacy as PascalCoin has pioneered the very first true ASIC, GPU, and dual-mining resistant algorithm known as RandomHash that obliterates anything that is not CPU based and gives all the power back to solo miners.
Here is the official description of RandomHash:
“RandomHash is a high-level cryptographic hash algorithm that combines other well-known hash primitives in a highly serial manner. The distinguishing feature is that calculations for a nonce are dependent on partial calculations of other nonces, selected at random. This allows a serial hasher (CPU) to re-use these partial calculations in subsequent mining saving 50% or more of the work-load. Parallel hashers (GPU) cannot benefit from this optimization since the optimal nonce-set cannot be pre-calculated as it is determined on-the-fly. As a result, parallel hashers (GPU) are required to perform the full workload for every nonce. Also, the algorithm results in 10x memory bloat for a parallel implementation. In addition to its serial nature, it is branch-heavy and recursive making in optimal for CPU-only mining.”
One might be understandably skeptical of any Proof-of-Work algorithm that solves ASIC and GPU centralization once for all because there have been countless proposals being thrown around for various algorithms since the dawn of Bitcoin. Is RandomHash truly the ASIC & GPU killer that it claims to be?
Herman Schoenfeld, the inventor behind RandomHash, described his algorithm in the following:
“RandomHash offers endless ASIC-design breaking surface due to its use of recursion, hash algo selection, memory hardness and random number generation.
For example, changing how round hash selection is made and/or random number generator algo and/or checksum algo and/or their sequencing will totally break an ASIC design. Conceptually if you can significantly change the structure of the output assembly whilst keeping the high-level algorithm as invariant as possible, the ASIC design will necessarily require proportional restructuring. This results from the fact that ASIC designs mirror the ASM of the algorithm rather than the algorithm itself.”
Polyminer1 (pseudonym), one of the members of the PascalCoin core team who developed RHMiner (official software for mining RandomHash), claimed as follows:
“The design of RandomHash is, to my experience, a genuine innovation. I’ve been 30 years in the field. I’ve rarely been surprised by anything. RandomHash was one of my rare surprises. It’s elegant, simple, and achieves resistance in all fronts.”
PascalCoin may have been the first party to achieve the race of what could possibly be described as the “God algorithm” for Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies. Look no further than one of Monero’s core developers since 2015, Howard Chu. In September 2018, Howard declared that he has found a solution, called RandomJS, to permanently keep ASICs off the network without repetitive algorithm changes. This solution actually closely mirrors RandomHash’s algorithm. Discussing about his algorithm, Howard asserted that “RandomJS is coming at the problem from a direction that nobody else is.”
Link to Howard Chu’s article on RandomJS:
https://www.coindesk.com/one-musicians-creative-solution-to-drive-asics-off-monero
Yet when Herman was asked about Howard’s approach, he responded:
“Yes, looks like it may work although using Javascript was a bit much. They should’ve just used an assembly subset and generated random ASM programs. In a way, RandomHash does this with its repeated use of random mem-transforms during expansion phase.”
In the end, PascalCoin may have successfully implemented the most revolutionary Proof-of-Work algorithm, one that eclipses Howard’s burgeoning vision, to date that almost nobody knows about. To learn more about RandomHash, refer to the following resources:
RandomHash whitepaper:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/storage/whitepapers/RandomHash_Whitepaper.pdf
Technical proposal for RandomHash:
https://github.com/PascalCoin/PascalCoin/blob/mastePIP/PIP-0009.md
Someone might claim that PascalCoin still suffers from mining centralization after RandomHash, and this is somewhat misleading as will be explained in part #10.
Part #9: Fair Distribution and Governance
Not only does PascalCoin rest on superior technology, but it also has its roots in the correct philosophy of decentralized distribution and governance. There was no ICO or pre-mine, and the developer fund exists as a percentage of mining rewards as voted by the community. This developer fund is 100% governed by a decentralized autonomous organization – currently facilitated by the PascalCoin Foundation – that will eventually be transformed into an autonomous smart contract platform. Not only is the developer fund voted upon by the community, but PascalCoin’s development roadmap is also voted upon the community via the Protocol Improvement Proposals (PIPs).
This decentralized governance also serves an important benefit as a powerful deterrent to unseemly fork wars that befall many cryptocurrencies.
Part #10: Common Misconceptions of PascalCoin
“The branding is terrible”
PascalCoin is currently working very hard on its image and is preparing for several branding and marketing initiatives in the short term. For example, two of the core developers of the PascalCoin recently interviewed with the Fox Business Network. A YouTube replay of this interview will be heavily promoted.
Some people object to the name PascalCoin. First, it’s worth noting that PascalCoin is the name of the project while Pascal is the name of the underlying currency. Secondly, Google and YouTube received excessive criticisms back then in the beginning with their name choices. Look at where those companies are nowadays – surely a somewhat similar situation faces PascalCoin until the name’s familiarity percolates into the public.
“The wallet GUI is terrible”
As the team is run by a small yet extremely dedicated developers, multiple priorities can be challenging to juggle. The lack of funding through an ICO or a pre-mine also makes it challenging to accelerate development. The top priority of the core developers is to continue developing full-time on the groundbreaking technology that PascalCoin offers. In the meantime, an updated and user-friendly wallet GUI has been worked upon for some time and will be released in due time. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
“One would need to purchase a PASA in the first place”
This is a complicated topic since PASAs need to be commoditized by the SafeBox’s design, meaning that PASAs cannot be obtained at no charge to prevent systematic abuse. This raises two seemingly valid concerns:
· As a chicken and egg problem, how would one purchase a PASA using Pascal in the first place if one cannot obtain Pascal without a PASA?
· How would the price of PASAs stay low and affordable in the face of significant demand?
With regards to the chicken and egg problem, there are many ways – some finished and some unfinished – to obtain your first PASA as explained on the “Get Started” page on the PascalCoin website:
https://www.pascalcoin.org/get_started
More importantly, however, is the fact that there are few methods that can get your first PASA for free. The team will also release another method soon in which you could obtain your first PASA for free via a single SMS message. This would probably become by far the simplest and the easiest way to obtain your first PASA for free. There will be more new ways to easily obtain your first PASA for free down the road.
What about ensuring the PASA market at large remains inexpensive and affordable following your first (and probably free) PASA acquisition? This would be achieved in two ways:
· Decentralized governance of the PASA economics per the explanation in the FAQ section on the bottom of the PascalCoin website (https://www.pascalcoin.org/)
· Unlimited and free pseudo-PASAs based on layer-2 in the next version release.
“PascalCoin is still centralized after the release of RandomHash”
Did the implementation of RandomHash from version 4 live up to its promise?
The official goals of RandomHash were as follow:
(1) Implement a GPU & ASIC resistant hash algorithm
(2) Eliminate dual mining
The two goals above were achieved by every possible measure.
Yet a mining pool, Nanopool, was able to regain its hash majority after a significant but a temporary dip.
The official conclusion is that, from a probabilistic viewpoint, solo miners are more profitable than pool miners. However, pool mining is enticing for solo miners who 1) have limited hardware as it ensures a steady income instead of highly profitable but probabilistic income via solo mining, and 2) who prefer convenient software and/or GUI.
What is the next step, then? While the barrier of entry for solo miners has successfully been put down, additional work needs to be done. The PascalCoin team and the community are earnestly investigating additional steps to improve mining decentralization with respect to pool mining specifically to add on top of RandomHash’s successful elimination of GPU, ASIC, and dual-mining dominance.
It is likely that the PascalCoin community will promote the following two initiatives in the near future:
(1) Establish a community-driven, nonprofit mining pool with attractive incentives.
(2) Optimize RHMiner, PascalCoin’s official solo mining software, for performance upgrades.
A single pool dominance is likely short lived once more options emerge for individual CPU miners who want to avoid solo mining for whatever reason(s).
Let us use Bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin mining is dominated by ASICs and mining pools but no single pool is – at the time of this writing – even close on obtaining the hash majority. With CPU solo mining being a feasible option in conjunction with ASIC and GPU mining eradication with RandomHash, the future hash rate distribution of PascalCoin would be far more promising than Bitcoin’s hash rate distribution.
PascalCoin is the Unicorn Cryptocurrency
If you’ve read this far, let’s cut straight to the point: PascalCoin IS the unicorn cryptocurrency.
It is worth noting that PascalCoin is still a young cryptocurrency as it was launched at the end of 2016. This means that many features are still work in progress such as zn-SNARKs, smart contracts, and pool decentralization to name few. However, it appears that all of the unicorn criteria are within PascalCoin’s reach once PascalCoin’s technical roadmap is mostly completed.
Based on this expository on PascalCoin’s technology, there is every reason to believe that PascalCoin is the unicorn cryptocurrency. PascalCoin also solves two fundamental blockchain problems beyond the unicorn criteria that were previously considered unsolvable: blockchain size and simple address system. The SafeBox pushes PascalCoin to the forefront of cryptocurrency zeitgeist since it is a superior solution compared to UTXO, Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), Block Lattice, Tangle, and any other blockchain innovations.


THE UNICORN

Author: Tyler Swob
submitted by Kosass to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

A brief teardown of some of the flaws in the Lightning Network white paper

This post will perforce be quick and sloppy, because I have other things to do. But a recent comment provoked me to re-read the Lightning white paper to remind myself of the myriad flaws in it, so I decided to at least begin a debunking.
When I first read the Lightning white paper back in early 2016, the sheer audacity of the author's preposterous claims and their failure to understand basic principles of the Satoshi paper just offended the living shit out of me. I presumed - incorrectly - that the Lightning paper would be soon torn to shreds through peer review. However Core was successful in suppressing peer review of the paper, and instead inserted Lighting as their end-all be-all scaling plan for Bitcoin.
I'm sorry I didn't post this in 2016, but better later than never.
Let's start with the abstract.
The bitcoin protocol can encompass the global financial transaction volume in all electronic payment systems today, without a single custodial third party holding funds or requiring participants to have anything more than a computer using a broadband connection.
Well now, that's an awfully gigantic claim for someone that hasn't even written a single line of code as a proof of concept don't you think?
This is what's called "overpromising," the Nirvana fallacy, or more appropriately, "vaporware" - that is to say, a pie-in-the-sky software promise intended to derail progress on alternatives.
In the very first sentence, the authors claim that they can scale Bitcoin to support every transaction that ever happens, from micropayments to multibillion dollar transfers, with no custodial risk, on a simple computer with nothing more than broadband. It will be perfect.
Honestly everyone should have put the paper down at the first sentence, but let's go on.
A decentralized system is proposed
The authors claim that the system proposed is decentralized, but without even a single line of code (and indeed no solution to the problem they claim is the issue, more on that later) they have zero defense of this claim. In fact, the only known solution to the problem that Lightning cannot solve is centralized hubs. We'll get back to this.
whereby transactions are sent over a network of micropayment channels (a.k.a. payment channels or transaction channels) whose transfer of value occurs off-blockchain. If Bitcoin transactions can be signed with a new sighash type that addresses malleability, these transfers may occur between untrusted parties along the transfer route by contracts which, in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, are enforceable via broadcast over the bitcoin blockchain in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, through a series of decrementing timelocks
So right here in the abstract we have the promise: "support the entire world's transaction needs on a measly computer with just broadband, totally decentralized, and... (drum roll please) all that's missing is Segwit."
Yeah right. Let's continue.
First sentence of the paper itself reads:
The Bitcoin[1] blockchain holds great promise for distributed ledgers, but the blockchain as a payment platform, by itself, cannot cover the world’s commerce anytime in the near future.
So the authors have constructed a false problem they claim to solve: scaling Bitcoin to cover every transaction on Earth. Now, that would be neato if it worked (it doesn't) but really, this is like Amerigo Vespucci claiming that the problem with boats is that the sails aren't big enough to carry it to the moon. We aren't ready for that part yet. . In infotech we have a saying, "crawl, walk, run." Lightning's authors are going to ignore "walking" and go from crawling to lightspeed. Using the logic of this first sentence, Visa never should have rolled out its original paper-based credit cards, because "obviously they can't scale to solve the whole world's financial needs." Again, your bullshit detector should be lighting up.
Next sentence. So why can't Bitcoin cover all the world's financial transactions?
The blockchain is a gossip protocol whereby all state modifications to the ledger are broadcast to all participants. It is through this “gossip protocol” that consensus of the state, everyone’s balances, is agreed upon.
Got it. The problem is the "gossip protocol." That's bad because...
If each node in the bitcoin network must know about every single transaction that occurs globally, that may create a significant drag on the ability of the network to encompass all global financial transactions
OK. The problem with Bitcoin, according to the author, is that since every node must know the current state of the network, it won't scale. We'll get back to this bit later, because this is the crux: Lightning has the same problem, only worse.
Now the authors take a break in the discussion to create a false premise surrounding the Visa network:
The payment network Visa achieved 47,000 peak transactions per second (tps) on its network during the 2013 holidays[2], and currently averages hundreds of millions per day. Currently, Bitcoin supports less than 7 transactions per second with a 1 megabyte block limit. If we use an average of 300 bytes per bitcoin transaction and assumed unlimited block sizes, an equivalent capacity to peak Visa transaction volume of 47,000/tps would be nearly 8 gigabytes per Bitcoin block, every ten minutes on average. Continuously, that would be over 400 terabytes of data per year.
I'll just point out that Visa itself cannot sustain 47K tps continuously, as a reminder to everyone that the author is deliberately inflating numbers to make them seem more scary. Again, is your bullshit detector going off yet?
Now we get to the hard-sell:
Clearly, achieving Visa-like capacity on the Bitcoin network isn’t feasible today.
So the author deliberately inflates Visa's capabilities then uses that to say clearly it just can't be done. But really, Visa's actual steady-state load can be accomplished in roughly 500MB blocks - which actually is feasible, or nearly so, today. 500MB every ten minutes is actually a small load of data for a decent-sized business. There are thousands of companies that could quite easily support such a load. And that's setting aside the point that we took 7 years to get to 1MB, so it's unlikely that we'll need 500X that capacity "in the near future" or "today" as the authors keep asserting.
No home computer in the world can operate with that kind of bandwidth and storage.
whoopsie!!
Did he say, home computer??
Since when did ordinary Bitcoin users have to keep the whole blockchain on their home computers? Have the authors of the Lightning white paper ever read the Satoshi white paper, which explains that this is not the desired model in Section 8?
Clearly the Lightning authors are expecting their readers to be ignorant of the intended design of the Bitcoin network.
This is a classic example of inserting a statement that the reader is unlikely to challenge, which completely distorts the discussion. Almost nobody needs to run a fullnode on their home computer! Read the Satoshi paper!
If Bitcoin is to replace all electronic payments in the future, and not just Visa, it would result in outright collapse of the Bitcoin network
Really? Is that so?
Isn't the real question how fast will Bitcoin reach these levels of adoption?
Isn't the author simply making an assumption that adoption will outpace advances in hardware and software, based on using wildly inflated throughput numbers (47K tps) in the first place?
But no, the author makes an unfounded, unsupportable, incorrect blanket assertion that -- even in the future -- trying to scale up onchain will be the death of the entire system.
or at best, extreme centralization of Bitcoin nodes and miners to the only ones who could afford it.
Again, that depends on when this goes down.
If Bitcoin grows at roughly the rate of advancement in hardware and software, then the cost to . independently validate transactions - something no individual user needs to do in the first place - actually stays perfectly flat.
But the best part is that his statement:
centralization of Bitcoin nodes and miners to the only ones who could afford it
Ummm... mining and independent validation has always been limited to those who can afford it. What big-blockers know is that the trick isn't trying to make Bitcoin so tiny that farmers in sub-Saharan Africa can "validate" the blockchain on a $0.01 computer, but rather to expand adoption so greatly that they never have to independently validate it.
Running scalable validation nodes at home is dumb. But, there are already millions of people with synchronous gigabit internet at home and more than enough wealth to afford a beefy home computer. The problem is that none of them are using Bitcoin. Adoption is the key!
This centralization would then defeat aspects of network decentralization that make Bitcoin secure, as the ability for entities to validate the chain is what allows Bitcoin to ensure ledger accuracy and security
Here the author throws a red herring across the trail for gullible readers. It is not my ability to validate the chain that produces trustlessness. If that was the case, there would be no need for miners. Users would simply accept or not accept other people's transactions based on their software's interpretation of validity. The Satoshi paper makes it quite clear where trustlessness is born: it is in the incentives that enforce honest mining of an uncorrupted chain.
In other words, I don't have to validate the chain, but Poloniex does. And, newsflash, big companies can very easily afford big validation nodes. "$20K nodes" is a bullshit number I hear thrown around a lot. There are literally hundreds of thousands of companies that can easily afford $20K nodes in the event that Bitcoin becomes "bigger than Visa." Again, the trick is getting many companies in every jurisdiction in the world onto the blockchain. Then no individuals ever need to worry about censorship. Adoption!
let's continue. I'll skip a few sentences.
Extremely large blocks, for example in the above case of 8 gigabytes every 10 minutes on average, would imply that only a few parties would be able to do block validation
If this were written in 1997 it would have read
Extremely large blocks, for example in the above case of 8 megabytes every 10 minutes on average, would imply that only a few parties would be able to do block validation
Obviously, we are processing 8MB blocks today. The real question is how long before we get there. At current rates of adoption, we'll all be fucking dead before anyone mines an 8GB block. And remember, 8GB was the number the authors cooked up. Even Visa can't handle that load, today, continuously.
This creates a great possibility that entities will end up trusting centralized parties. Having privileged, trusted parties creates a social trap whereby the central party will not act in the interest of an individual (principalagent problem), e.g. rentierism by charging higher fees to mitigate the incentive to act dishonestly. In extreme cases, this manifests as individuals sending funds to centralized trusted custodians who have full custody of customers’ funds. Such arrangements, as are common today, create severe counterparty risk. A prerequisite to prevent that kind of centralization from occurring would require the ability for bitcoin to be validated by a single consumer-level computer on a home broadband connection.
Here the author (using his wildly inflated requirement of 8GB blocks) creates a cloud of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that "Bitcoin will fail if it succeeds" - and the solution is, as any UASFer will tell you, that everyone needs to validate the chain on a weak fullnode running on a cheap computer with average internet connectivity.
How's the bullshit detector going?
Now the authors make a head-fake in the direction of honesty:
While it is possible that Moore’s Law will continue indefinitely, and the computational capacity for nodes to cost-effectively compute multigigabyte blocks may exist in the future, it is not a certainty.
Certainty? No. But, we should point out, the capacity to actually approach Visa is already at hand and in the next ten years is a near certainty in fact.
But, surely, the solution that the authors propose is "around the corner" (- Luke-jr) ... /s . No, folks. Bigger blocks are the closest thing to "scaling certainty" that we have. More coming up....
To achieve much higher than 47,000 transactions per second using Bitcoin requires conducting transactions off the Bitcoin blockchain itself.
Now we get to the meat of the propaganda. To reach a number that Visa itself cannot sustain will "never" be possible on a blockchain. NEVER?? That's just false.
In fact, I'll go on record as saying that Bitcoin will hit Visa-like levels of throughput onchain before Lightning Network ever meets the specification announced in this white paper.
It would be even better if the bitcoin network supported a near-unlimited number of transactions per second with extremely low fees for micropayments.
Yes, and it would also be even better if we had fusion and jetpacks.
The thing is, these things that are promised as having been solved... have not been solved and no solution is in sight.
Many micropayments can be sent sequentially between two parties to enable any size of payments.
No, this is plain false. Once a channel's funds have been pushed to one side of the channel, no more micropayments in that direction can be made. This is called channel exhaustion and is one of the many unsolved problems of Lightning Network. But here the authors declare it as a solved problem. That's just false.
Micropayments would enable unbunding, less trust and commodification of services, such as payments for per-megabyte internet service. To be able to achieve these micropayment use cases, however, would require severely reducing the amount of transactions that end up being broadcast on the global Bitcoin blockchain
Now I'm confused. Is Lightning a solution for all the world's financial transactions or is it a solution for micropayments for things like pay-per-megabyte internet?
While it is possible to scale at a small level, it is absolutely not possible to handle a large amount of micropayments on the network or to encompass all global transactions.
There it is again, the promise that Lightning will "encompass all global transactions." Bullshit detector is now pegged in the red.
For bitcoin to succeed, it requires confidence that if it were to become extremely popular, its current advantages stemming from decentralization will continue to exist. In order for people today to believe that Bitcoin will work tomorrow, Bitcoin needs to resolve the issue of block size centralization effects; large blocks implicitly create trusted custodians and significantly higher fees. . (emphasis mine)
"Large" is a term of art which means "be afraid."
In 1997, 8MB would have been an unthinkably large block. Now we run them live in production without breaking a sweat.
"Large" is a number that changes over time. . By the time Bitcoin reaches "Visa-like levels of adoption" it's very likely that what we consider "large" today (32MB?) will seem absolutely puny.
As someone who first started programming on a computer that had what was at the time industry-leading 64KB of RAM (after expanding the memory with an extra 16K add-on card) and a pair of 144KB floppy disks, all I can tell you is that humans are profoundly bad at estimating compounding effects and the author of the Lightning paper is flat-out banking on this to sell his snake oil.
Now things are about to get really, really good.
A Network of Micropayment Channels Can Solve Scalability
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Here's where the formal line by line breakdown will come to an end, because this is where the trap the Lightning authors have set will close on them.
Let's just read a bit further:
The above quote questions the relevance of unobserved events —if nobody hears the tree fall, whether it made a sound or not is of no consequence. Similarly, in the blockchain, if only two participants care about an everyday recurring transaction, it’s not necessary for all other nodes in the bitcoin network to know about that transaction
Here and elsewhere the author of the paper is implying that two parties can transact between them without having to announce the state of their channel to anyone else.
We see this trope repeated time and time again by LN shills. "Not everyone in the world needs to know about my coffee transaction" they say, as if programmed.
To see the obvious, glaring defect here requires an understanding of what Lightning Network purports to be able to do, one day, if it's ever finished.
Payment channels, which Lightning is based on, have been around since Satoshi and are nothing new at all. It is and has always been possible to create a payment channel with your coffee shop, put $50 in it, and pay it out over a period of time until it's depleted and the coffee shop owner closes the channel. That's not rocket science, that's original Bitcoin.
What Lightning purports to be able to do is to allow you to route a payment to someone else by using the funds in your coffee shop channel.
IN this model, lets suppose Alice is the customer and Bob is the shop. Let's also suppose that Charlie is a customer of Dave's coffee shop. Ernie is a customer of both Bob and Dave's shop.
Now, Alice would like to send money to Charlie. This could be accomplished by:
  1. Alice moves funds to Bob
  2. Bob moves funds to Ernie
  3. Ernie moves funds to Dave
  4. Dave moves funds to Charlie
or more simply, A-B-E-D-C
Here's the catch. To pull this off, Alice has to be able to find the route to Charlie. This means that B-C-E and D all have to be online. So first off, all parties to a transaction and in a route must be online and we must know their current online status to even begin the process. Again: to use Lightning as described in its white paper requires everyone to always be online. If we accept centralized routing hubs, then only the hubs need to be online, but Lightning proposed to be decentralized, which means, essentially, everyone needs to always be online.
Next, we need to know there are enough funds in all channels to perform the routing. Let's say Alice has $100 in her channel with Bob and wants to send this to Charlie. But Bob has only $5 in his channel with Ernie. sad trombone . The maximum that the route can support is $5. (Edit: not quite right, I cleaned this up here.)
Notice something?
Alice has to know the state of every channel through which she intends to route funds.
When the author claims
if only two participants care about an everyday recurring transaction, it’s not necessary for all other nodes in the bitcoin network to know about that transaction
That's true -- unless you want to use the Lightning Network to route funds - and routing funds is the whole point. Otherwise, Lightning is just another word for "payment channels." The whole magic that they promised was using micropayments to route money anywhere.
If you want to route funds, then you absolutely need to know the state of these channels. Which ones? That's the kicker - you essentially have to know all of them, to find the best route - and, sadly - it might be the case that no route is available - which requires an exhaustive search.
And in fact, here we are over 18 months since this paper was published, and guess what?
The problem of the "gossip protocol" - the very Achille's Heel of Bitcoin according to the author - has been solved with drum roll please --- the gossip protocol. (more info here)
Because, when you break it down, in order for Alice to find that route to Charlie, she has to know the complete, current state of Bob-Ernie, Ernie-Dave, and Charlie-Dave. IF the Lightning Network doesn't keep *every participant up to date with the latest network state, it can't find a route.
So the solution to the gossip protocol is in fact the gossip protocol. And - folks - this isn't news. Here's a post from ONE YEAR AGO explaining this very problem.
But wait. It gets worse....
Let's circle around to the beginning. The whole point of Lightning, in a nutshell, can be described as fixing "Bitcoin can't scale because every node needs to know every transaction."
It is true that every node needs to know every transaction.
However: because we read the Satoshi white paper we know that not every user needs to run a node to validate his transactions. End-users should use SPV, which do not need to be kept up to date on everyone else's transactions.
So, with onchain Bitcoin, you have something on the order of 10K "nodes" (validation nodes and miners) that must receive the "gossip" and the other million or so users just connect and disconnect when they need to transact.
This scales.
In contrast, with Lightning, every user needs to receive the "gossip."
This does not scale.
Note something else?
Lightning purports to be an excellent solution to "streaming micropayments." But such micropayments would result in literally millions or billions of continuous state-changes to the network. There's no way to "gossip" millions of micropayment streams each creating millions of tiny transactions.
Now, there is a way to make Lightning scale. It's called the "routing hub." In this model, end-users don't need to know the state of the network. Instead, they will form channels with trusted hubs who will perform the routing on their behalf. A simple example illustrates. IN our previous example, Alice wants to send money to Charlie, but has to find a route to him. An easy solution is to insert Frank. Frank holds 100K btc and can form bidirectional channels with Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dave, Ernie, and most everyone else too. By doing so, he places himself in the middle of a routing network, and then all payments come through Frank. Note that the only barrier to creating channels is capital. Lightning will scale, if we include highly-capitalized hubs as middlemen for everyone else to connect to. If the flaw here is not obvious then someone else can explain.
Well. As Mark Twain once quipped, "if I had more time I would have written a shorter letter." I'll stop here. Hopefully this goes at least part of the way towards helping the community understand just how toxic and deceptive this white paper was to the community.
Everyone on the Segwit chain has bet the entire future of Segwit-enabled Bitcoin on this unworkable house-of-cards sham.
The rest of us, well, we took evasive action, and are just waiting for the rest of the gullible, brainwashed masses to wake up to their error, if they ever do.
H/T: jonald_fyookball for provoking this
Edit: fixed wrong names in my A-B-C-D-E example; formatting
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Bitcoin. A simple Introduction UPDATED! - YouTube Bitcoin Explained - YouTube How Does BitCoin Work? - YouTube BITCOIN EXPLAINED (BC Explained ep 1) - YouTube What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin Explained Simply for Dummies ...

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Bitcoin. A simple Introduction UPDATED! - YouTube

"We all have a crypto-friend who sounds like this guy. Gold back in 698BC was no different..." _____ Like our stuff? Want us to make m... Bitcoin explained and made simple (animation). FOLLOW MICKAEL MOSSE ON SOCIAL NETWORK’s: Twitter: https://twitter.com/MosseMickael Medium: medium.com/@mickae... Bitcoin explained and made simple If money is only valuable when we believe in it, how much is a BitCoin actually worth? Jonathan explains the virtual currency as well as how to mine it and t... Baffled by bitcoin? Confused by the concept of crypto-currencies? Well, fear no more. In 190 seconds we explain what bitcoin actually is, where the idea came...

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