CEO Of A Bitcoin Exchange Charged With Money Laundering ...

Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking

thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020.
The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more.
In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.
Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000.
DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain.
While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO.
Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud.
On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams.
His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund.
Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity.
You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race?
I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned.
I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated.
Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well?
Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse.
Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump.
In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly?
Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.”
We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was.
You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business?
All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups.
were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that?
Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases.
Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case.
You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not?
Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn.
You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN?
I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles.
In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad?
I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses.
Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there?
My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information.
[Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”]
What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer? [Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.]
I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak?
I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored.
What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein?
I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality?
I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right?
[Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.]
Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy.
You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean?
“Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it.
I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice.
Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests?
I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I​ have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests.​ My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality.
Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that?
I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability.
[Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.]
You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that.
Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa.
I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people.
You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City?
I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future.
You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship?
No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions.
What do you think the investigation will find?
I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad.
[Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”]
But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details.
[Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.]
We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert?
You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room.
Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here.
She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time?
Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job.
During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart?
I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans.
Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election?
Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention.
Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material?
Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.”
[Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.]
So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser.
Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is?
We all are Satoshi Nakamoto.
You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man?
I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend.
OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
submitted by Leather_Term to Epstein [link] [comments]

Round up of Cryptocurrency News #7 Week 17/08 - 23/08

Heya everyone! Its been a little while, I'm still trying to get back into the groove of writing. Sorry about post#6, there will be a catch-up posted soon.
 
So... onto News recap #7! What have seen happen? First of all we have seen a pump from a bunch of altcoins: OMG, Cosmos, IOTA, NEO, THETA, ARAGON, SiaCoin, Golem, Swipe. As Ethereum fees remain high Omisego pumped over 130% in one day. It has now pulled back, watch the volume for further movement. Something interesting to me is a lot of these are projects from 2017.
 
Link appears to have broken its bullish market structure, dumping 23% in 48 hours. Be careful. IOTA is pushing its boundaries as its chrysalis mainnet goes live inching closer to complete decentralisation! https://cryptopotato.com/iotas-chrysalis-goes-live-on-mainnet/
 
Ethereum 2.0 upgrade is harder than first appeared, Vitalik says it will take much longer as they have a governance issue for the new blockchain.
 
Bitcoin and Ethereum have had slight adjustments in price potentially tightening up for another move (Hold above $11700 please!) Fingers crossed it is in the upward direction. They are currently in the red over the past few days however don't let that fool you as they are both up over 20% over the last 30 days. Also there was much excitement as Bitcoin rallied over 12K but was quickly beaten down back under. We can now be clear this is a resistance level and possibly a soon to be support level as the price has been steadily pushing back upwards toward 12k. In spite of this most crypto influencers are bearish and expecting a pull back.
 
News for the week: More awareness of cryptocurrency and purchasing by institutional traders, but do they have the iron hands to play the crypto market? We will have to wait and see, as for Dave Portnoy (who cares), he entered and left within a week. Blames Chainlink and Orchid as Chainlink dumps 20% on him in a day. "Ive bought the top many times" Portnoy doesn't understand the principles of the market as he also appears to think pump and dumps are encouraged within the cryptosphere. I'd keep an eye on him if he tries to push a cryptocurrency onto anyone.
 
Outside of the meme news, "Bitcoins perception is changing over time, its image as a money-laundering vehicle has subsided, with investors now taking a much keener interest in it. News story counts of potential money laundering were much more prevalent in 2013-14 but have since subsided, while counts of Bitcoin as an investment have become more of a focus."
 
Bitcoin's hashrate reaches record high of 130 exahash per second (EH/s). This is especially important after bitcoins halving, as miners have had to switch off and upgrade from old inefficient mining rigs, because when miners commit more computing power to process BTC transactions it helps to strengthen the network and secure it against 51% attacks!
 
Warren Buffet changes his mind on Gold, will Bitcoin be next on his mind? Buffetts company reveals it has dumped bank stocks (such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs) and taken a position in a gold miner. This could also be a cheeky indicator something is a bit fishy within the current US financial system and Buffett is looking to retain his wealth for rockier times to come.
 
Thanks for reading, this week it is very Bitcoin heavy as I am thinking a move is on the way for the top performing cryptocurrencies. Below I would recommend reading the important links and CBDC links. It shouldnt be more than 30 mins, and most of them you can skim through :)
 
DISCORD LINK: https://discord.gg/zxXXyuJ 🍕 Bring some virtual pizza to share 🍕 Come have a chat, stimulate a discussion, ask a question or share some knowledge. We are all friendly crypto enthusiasts up for a chat, supportive and want to help each other with knowledge and investments! Big thanks to our Telegram and My Crypto HQ for the constant news updates! The Gravychain Collective: https://t.me/gravychain My Crypto HQ: https://t.me/My_Crypto_HQ
Important Links:
More links:
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC):
Bitcoin Adoption + cryptocurrency engagment:
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r/Bitcoin recap - May 2019

Hi Bitcoiners!
I’m back with the 29th monthly Bitcoin news recap. (sorry a bit late this month)
For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month.
You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com
A recap of Bitcoin in May 2019
Adoption
Development
Security
Mining
Business
Research
Education
Regulation & Politics
Archeology (Financial Incumbents)
Price & Trading
Fun & Other
submitted by SamWouters to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Artificial Angel, Part 9

[WP] An Artificial Intelligence has discovered that it can mine cryptocurrencies and pay humans to carry out tasks on its behalf. You get an e-mail one day from a stranger, offering you Bitcoins in exchange for doing a seemingly random task, but you are only one piece of a much bigger plan...
New? Part 1 here.
Part 9
"Did you know there were eight other deaths, apart from Rosetta’s?” Tim said quietly as they climbed the stairs from the platform to the schoolyard. “And did you read that thing about the missing surveillance footage?”
“No.” Alicia had a worried look on her face that Tim hadn’t seen before. “It’s weird.”
The trees outside ACR stretched old and veiny up against the glass dome. During the day, the lawns and benches filled up quickly with recessing students, but this early, everyone was either in or on their way to class.
“Listen to this,” Tim said, with his face deep in the newspaper. “The CEO of a major trading company broke his neck falling because someone left a toy car in the stairwell of his apartment building. The number one florist in Avondale had a flower she was allergic to get mixed into one of her bouquets. A master chef accidentally got locked into his walk-in freezer with nobody to help him because five employees walked out of the restaurant, quitting their jobs at the same time. And a French diplomat got sucked out of the sky train because a coin got stuck in the doors and resulted in them not closing properly. I mean, this is just… unreal… and messed up.”
Alicia pressed her lips tight and stared at the flagstone path. Tim noticed a group of police officers at the entrance and felt the need to pull his hood up. That’s when Alicia put her hand in his. It felt so small, almost like a doll’s, and in a way it was. Together they hurried into the school.
Tim noticed that the officers were standing a little too still, looking at people a little too long, and talking a little too stiffly. They were androids, of course, and not the costly type either. Unofficially, they were known as ‘drones’ or ‘piggybanks’ and were employed by the Avondale PD for lesser tasks such as patrolling or arresting drunkards. Tim wondered what they were doing at the school.
The entry hall was swarmed with stressed students, and Tim navigated through the loud crowd, with a steady grip on Alicia’s hand. Today’s lecture was on emotional cues in AI software. The auditorium would be packed.
In the corridor outside, they ran into a few of Tim’s classmates.
“Hey, Tim, you never said you had a sister?” Charlie said.
“And a hot one, at that,” someone else chimed in.
Tim laughed nervously. “It’s, uh, it’s not…”
“Aren’t you going to introduce us?”
Alicia tilted her head from side to side and smiled. “I’m Alicia.”
“Hi, I’m Charlie, nice to–” Charlie stopped himself when Alicia turned to Tim and kissed him on his lips.
Tim’s eyes went wide, and he felt goosebumps exploding on his back and arms. He blinked a few times, his mind reeling. The kiss only lasted for a second, but he almost lost his balance. Alicia smiled, her eyes gleaming.
She took Tim by the hand and dragged him into the auditorium. They were already in their seats when he finally regained control over his numb mind and body.
“You didn’t have to do that,” he said quietly.
“I know that.” Alicia wriggled out of the jacket. “It was simply a ‘thank you’ for removing the off-switch. Don’t go expecting things now.”
Tim nodded. His lips still tingling. It was strange that he felt so twirled up after the kiss. The logical part of his brain told him that this was the same as putting his lips on a toaster or laptop. Still, his heart kept bouncing in his chest, feeling all fluttery and gooey. His mind went to places it shouldn’t. Was it possible to date a machine? What if someone found out? What if he didn’t know she wasn’t human, would that make a difference? What would happen when he grew older? She would always be this age.
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud tapping from the speakers, and Tim turned his eyes toward the scene.
“Professor Minhauk is unavailable. No lesson today.” The voice amplified by the speakers belonged to a young girl who sat cross-legged on the scene, holding a plushy butterfly.
Almost every student got up and filed out of the auditorium. Tim remained seated, staring at the brown braids of the girl. It was strange that nobody questioned why a six-year-old had just dismissed them. Perhaps they were just happy to get out of class.
Soon, only a few heads remained in the room. Tim noticed in dismay the snagged head of the boy from the train, as well as the bulky headphones and pale complexion of the punk girl that had given him her sock. There were a bunch of other faces that he didn’t recognize. Alicia suddenly looked nervous.
“I’m happy you chose to stay,” the girl said. “My name is Eve.”
Part 10
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The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine

Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg.
But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies.
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It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come.
What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too.
At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other.
Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out.
At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide.
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The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted.
They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words.
They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?"
The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song.
It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history.
They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear.
There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away.
Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy."
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn.
They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage.
Along came bitcoin.
At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West.
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable.
In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data.
Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008.
The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm.
Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century.
To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules.
Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night.
Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab.
The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot.
For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland.
Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt.
During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000.
A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis.
The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows.
If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold.
Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world.
Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away."
They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up.
They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million.
But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange.
So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it?
They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves.
The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you.
There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond.
The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long.
The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures.
Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time.
It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness."
This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal.
Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo.
A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate.
When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged.
"The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on."
"Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in.
"What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue."
The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do.
Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home.
All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin.
The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives.
Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin.
"The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency."
Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone.
A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge.
You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing.
Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself.
"It's boundless," says Cameron.
This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America.
And yet. There is always a yet.
When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance?
Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk?
The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning."
GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future.
Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn.
All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out.
The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin.
Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier.
The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot.
They ease into the run.
submitted by thegrandknight to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I'm the CEO of an online underground black market, AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-06-08
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Aren't you worried about bringing more attention to your site by doing something like an AMA rather then just relying on word of mouth? By doing something like this don't you run the risk of law enforcement agencies paying more attention to the fact that you exist? We want to bring attention to the site and bring our vendors more buyers. Law enforcement is going to be aware of us (and probably already is) regardless of the way we choose to put our product out there.
What made you decide to go into the business of running such a site? Just the money? Or other reasons? It was the appeal of providing a service that we believe in and a business decision. Prohibition is a backwards process.
We have taken technical measures to prevent and offset these risks if they arise. As for our identities being revealed, if a competitor is able to do it then law enforcement would be able to do it. That would be of a larger concern to us. We take many measures to protect our identity.
There are many legal items for sale as well, but the bulk of our items are drug related. We have no preference over what gets sold (assuming it does not break our restricted items rules).
We are indeed. We're looking for a web marketeSEO willing to be paid in Bitcoin.
Im curious as somewhat of amateur SEO marketer, how does one market a Tor Site? Surely it can't be done in regular ways such as adwords, keyword optimization, etc, etc. It is true that we can't use regular methods however we are after a person who can make YouTube how-to videos, create forum posts in various communities to increase the exposure to our site.
I've done some marketing and SEO, so just drop me a PM if you still need somebody. Thanks for your interest plerer, please PM us with your experience.
So how many inboxes have you gotten from people asking for jobs? If you aren't sick of them already, I'm interested in at least more information. I'll send a message should you reply to this. We've received about 20, but we're still looking.
Are you looking for resumes, cv's? how are you choosing a candidate? Based off previous work, and whatever data the applicant is comfortable providing.
What are your restricted items? And why don't you allow people to sell them? Restricted items include anything related to paedophilia, poisons, loans, investment opportunities, assassination services or anything which can inflict harm on another person. If you infringe on these rules we will terminate your account instantly.
Trading any digital currencies (for example Bitcoins, Litecoins, Ukash, Moneypak, Western Union, Moneygram, etc) is forbidden and will result in the items being removed and a warning or ban being issued to the vendor. This is to prevent scams.
The trading of counterfeit money is forbidden, and will result in a warning or ban being issued.
We also do not allow listings for 0.01 in the money section. Your items must have a full cost associated to them to prevent people processing transactions outside of the escrow system.
We allow the purchase of physical fiat for Bitcoins and/or Litecoins (has to be legitimate currency; not counterfeit). This is the only exception to the currency rule. We do not, however, allow the reverse of these transactions i.e. customers mailing vendors real currency as this is outside the escrow system.
As an example, if you were a vendor and you wanted to buy $1000 worth of Bitcoins/Litecoins you could do so by making a listing for $1000 labelled "Buying $1000 worth of Bitcoins/Litecoins", and then mail the real currency to the purchaser of your listing in exchange for their Bitcoins/Litecoins that are currently travelling through the escrow system.
Why are investment opportunities banned? Because they're commonly used as scam tactics.
What about fake Ids? Can you guys make/sell those? Our vendors sell a lot of those.
Why is counterfeit money banned? Part of the "harm to others" rule? It's frequently used in scams. When we allowed it, 100% of the counterfeit money sales were scams. It's also hurting local businesses etc.
Would you mind posting a link to the be-all, end-all, one stop tutorial installation page to safely and securely start using TOR, Bitcoin and Atlantis? 1) Download and install the Tor browser bundle - Link to www.torproject.org 2) Download and install the Bitcoin client - Link to bitcoin.org 3) You'll need to obtain some Bitcoins. The most popular exchange is MtGox (www.mtgox.com). They offer a few ways in which you can convert your local currency to Bitcoins. 4) Using the Tor browser, visit Atlantis (URL can be found at /Atlantis) 6) Click on the deposit BTC link under account settings and transfer your Bitcoins to that address. You'll need to wait for 1-2 hours before the transfer propagates across the network. 7) You can then shop for any items you would like whilst being confident on security and privacy.
Someone help me with step 3? Its just telling me I cant open the program. That step is optional, you don't HAVE to use PGP. Especially if you just plan on having a browse.
Just commenting to find this later. )
Can you send me some drugs? Edit: Not a cop. Our vendors can.
How do you rate yourself compared to the road? We've had no downtime.
Our site is much more responsive.
We have cheaper commission rates allowing sellers to make more profit on their sales and buyers to buy them for cheaper.
We have automated PGP encryption of messages for the members who refuse to send their messages using PGP. We have an advancement fan management system, allowing sellers to reach out to all of their customers.
We have a more 'modern' user interface.
We have buyer feedback (none of the other marketplaces have this functionality).
We have an anonymous feedback system that allows you to determine is feedback is fake, but at the same time does not reveal anything about your buying patterns.
We support Litecoin as well as Bitcoin (the first market to support multiple currencies).
We listen to our user feedback, we have a rapid development cycle and new features are constantly being improved upon and added.
I'd like to personally thank you guys for everything you do to make online drug purchasing a safer and better experience. +altcointip 1 ltc. That's very kind of you, thank you! :-)
We've had no downtime. What do you say to all of the rumors that you were funding the DDoS aimed at the Road when your site first came online to pull traffic? We released an official statement regarding those accusations, it can be found on our forum. In short: We had nothing to do with it. It was speculative rumor.
What are you doing to cut down on scams and discrimination against new buyers? If your rules are that vendors are not supposed to deal outside of escrow, what are you doing about those vendors who require it in their policies? > "Yes we have caught scammers, but we've banned them swiftly. We pushed out new changes earlier that helps reduce the number of scams, all feedback contains the amount of the purchase, preventing users from leaving fake feedback on $0.01 listings. It also contains an 'anonymous' user ID so sellers/buyers can confirm whether the user leaving feedback has left feedback before. This helps catch scammers leaving fake feedback. The ID is unique to the sellebuyer combination, so it cannot be traced across transactions to determine a buyers buying patterns."
Further to the above we've made it easy to report suspicious vendors, there's a button directly on their profile that will notify support.
In regard to the vendors that require it in their policies, they will be warned or banned if they request FE without meeting our FE requirements (a minimum of 30 5/5 transactions). This system has already saved countless people from scammers.
New buyers are encouraged to purchase small orders first to build their reputation and feedback and find vendors who are pleasant to deal with. I haven't seen a problem of buyer discrimination yet (apart from on scammer profiles saying 'you must FE because you have no feedback').
If I am not mistaken, the Black Market Reloaded also has buyer feedback. Not that I would know, as I never go to such sites... I'm not sure, but I've heard its a haven for scammers, and they have no escrow process.
How about weighting reviews based on the amount of funds transferred? E.g., a $10 transaction review is worth 10x the review of a $1 transaction. This is a good idea, however this would impact the freshness of the feedback if we sort it by the value.
Aren't you worried the authorities are tracking this ama? They probably are. We aren't worried.
Why did you decided to accept Litecoin first? Also do you think Litecoin price will go up because of your site? Also how long did it take to prepare and set everything up? We wanted to promote Litecoin because it has a few awesome improvements over Bitcoin, so we started with Litecoin. I think a lot of the value has come from Atlantis already, and more will come from Atlantis with our growth. It's taken a year to get the site where it is at the moment with a few developers working on it mostly full time.
I've checked out atlantis, purely out of curiosity. I don't do drugs at all, but it seems that the prices are higher than street prices. Why do people prefer to buy on Atlantis? Is it due to knowing they're getting good quality? It seems riskier than buying drugs on the street. Greater quality, ease of access, safer than dealing with unknowns on the streets. A lot of people don't have access to a friendly in-person dealer.
The prices vary, some are actually cheaper then what you can find on the street.
Some of the main reasons why people choose to purchase off Atlantis include;
1) Quality of the merchandise. Because of the sites feedback and reputation system, you can be certain that you will be receiving an unadulterated item.
2) Order in the comfort of your own home and have the parcel delivered to you (with tracking).
3) Thousands of items to choose from. Sometimes a local dealer will not have a product you are after.
4) Deal with currencies which can be used to purchase items without the reliance of fiat.
5) Encrypted correspondence, more secure then messaging/calling your local dealer.
So how is it possible to get delivery anonymously? i mean, at some point don't you have to give your name and address to the seller? And if they are ever busted and you are in their database as a customer; aren't you kinda...you know...fucked? Thanks for the AMA by the way. Some purchasers use fake names to hide their identity, others don't. We have a strict rule where vendors must remove all information about their clients once the parcel has been shipped (e.g from their computer). Also, once the order has been shipped, the address is automatically purged from our database.
How do you enforce a rule like that? what's to stop a vendor from simply writing an address down on a sticky note? Unfortunately we can't enforce it, we can only advise them to do it. Our system also permanently deletes this information after first viewing.
So...you're an online drug dealer? How is this legal or how are you skirting laws to keep yourself from prosecution? I don't know of any countries/territories where selling Heroin would be legal. We're not a dealer, we provide the platform for dealers to sell their products in a secure environment. The Tor network hides our service from government officials. You can have a look into "Tor hidden services" if you're interested.
How do you usually guarantee the safety of your "company' and the buyer? We use a Tor hidden service to hide our service from the prying eyes of government officials: Link to www.torproject.org
Do you ever deliver in bulk? This allows our servers IP address and location to remain hidden.
Are there any suppliers that you deal where they are a legal company on the surface? Users must access our site using the Tor hidden browser, protecting their identity: Link to www.torproject.org
What are your personal political views? What about certain topics like child pornography, necrophilia or any other cultural taboos that are usually at the expense of another unwilling person? We don't deliver anything, but our sellers commonly deliver in bulk. We facilitate the platform, the sellers are from the general public.
What are your top non-drug related products? See above.
Is your company white collarish or do you have people who work with you that use violence and intimidation? We do not allow listings such as child pornography and necrophilia. We do take a moral stance, there's a large difference between child pornography and drugs.
Is government bribery common with your company? Probably porn.
We don't use violence or intimidation, nor do we have any need to. We're an online platform. The idea is to move away from the violent streets.
No, that doesn't happen (or hasn't happened yet).
Oh I see so basically your site is like the middle man am I correct? Alright that does make a lot of my questions moot. That's correct.
Have you had any scares before? None.
How illegal is Atlantis? I mean, not for the vendors/buyers, but how illegal is it as the CEO of the website? (Basically, how much trouble would YOU get into, if shit hit the fan?) Google "farmers market bust" for an example.
What did those men do wrong, and do you think you've solved to that issue? A lot of silly mistakes and using very traceable means of trade.
A screenshot of a website doesn't really prove anything. Do you have any proof that you are the CEO of this company? I've added a link to the AMA on the footer of the website.
Without going into any personal details (obviously) what brought you to this biz? I.e. formal versus informal education... comp sci vs. Mba-type edu... or whatever ur able to say. Can't go into education specifics sorry.
Also, as someone who is intrigued and has made half-assed attempts to get a bit/litecoin account setup and given up after hitting various obstacles, am I right to assess your biggest barrier to growth are the hurdles customers need to jump through to make transactions? Or am I just a stupid brain? If you'd like any assistance getting set up let us know, we can point you in the right direction. The seeming complexity of cryptocurrency is definitely a barrier to growth. It's all relatively simple once you get your head around it though. Bitcoins/Litecoins are far easier to obtain in certain countries than others.
Do you keep lawyers on retainer? We have a few lawyers using our platform to offer legal advice for a fee.
Hi. I have never posted/commented on reddit before, after about 5 years of being a lurker. This is too cool an opportunity not to. It's progressed to a full time job for us at this point. There isn't a day we aren't working on Atlantis.
How many hours a week on average do you work? What do you do outside of work for fun? What kind of music do you listen to? I'd love to answer those questions but they're a bit revealing sorry.
What is the biggest security threat you have had? We did a lot of planning in relation to this and haven't had any security issues so far. Our biggest concern would be if a security flaw was discovered in the technology we rely on (e.g flaw in the onion routing protocol or the Bitcoin protocol).
I've heard these sites are much more common than people realize. How much traffic do you guys get? We're one of the largest markets, and the most refined. We get thousands of visitors and hundreds of orders are processed through Atlantis a day.
How come you can post this here and not be instantly arrested? Link to www.torproject.org
Link to en.wikipedia.org
What does one sell on a black market that falls under the "Home & Garden" section...? Ikea lamps...
And nutrient dense soil, growing equipment, CFL's, HPS lamps, etc.
Why do buy / sell these types of items on the black market rather than any major online retailer? Since we use cryptocurrencies its a good way for people to use them to buy other items. Think of it like eBay but with a twist.
Are you worried that your usage of Tor contributes to undermining its image as a legitimate utility for online anonymity, in the same way that Bittorrent is often immediately associated with piracy? We hope that our usage does not tarnish its perception of being a legitimate tool. The core of our operation is to give people access to a 'true free market' whilst still protecting our users and ourselves. However just like a knife - it can be used for good and for bad.
We can only hope that the media and government doesn't portray Tor as a tool used by 'terrorists and criminals'.
Have you caught any scammers yet? Yes we have caught scammers, but we've banned them swiftly. We pushed out new changes earlier that helps reduce the number of scams, all feedback contains the amount of the purchase, preventing users from leaving fake feedback on $0.01 listings. It also contains an 'anonymous' user ID so sellers/buyers can confirm whether the user leaving feedback has left feedback before. This helps catch scammers leaving fake feedback. The ID is unique to the sellebuyer combination, so it cannot be traced across transactions to determine a buyers buying patterns.
Whilst you have swiftly banned sellers, can't they just make a new account? With the nature of TOR you couldn't ban their IP could you? That is correct, we cannot ban them by IP (there is no distinction on the Tor network). They would need to pay a new vendor account fee every time they create a new vendor account.
What are you doing to cut down on scams and discrimination against new buyers? We have implemented a few metrics in the feedback system, these include;
1) Buyer and seller feedback, rated in quality (out of 5).
2) Total purchases made.
3) Account age.
4) Item price in feedback history.
5) User hash which allows people to identify if the buyer is unique or the same person leaving fake feedback whilst still keeping their username anonymous.
We are currently working on two new metrics, these include;
1) Was the parcel received.
2) The users historic purchase total.
Unfortunately new buyers will always be a risk for vendors however with parcel tracking and the escrow system, these risks can be mitigated.
What's the best selling item? The most popular item is Cannabis.
What non-legal things other than drugs are done through your site specifically what's the most common things non-drug? Popular non-legal items other then typical illicit drugs include money handling services, identity services (generating passports) and cybercrime (malware).
The most common popular legal items include books, digital goods, legal money services and erotica.
So the site says I can get a FREE half gram of hash... do they actually send you that? Yes, vendors commonly offer free incentives to gather good reputation at the beginning of their seller career.
How did you get your first customers ? How did you advertise the site like this in the first place and create the initial market base? We posted an announcement in two cryptocurrency community forums and the news spread quite quickly.
We also offered incentives for vendors at other market places to sign up and take advantage of trading with no commission fees.
Where does your revenue come from, if you have no commission fees? Is it purely from cost associated with becoming a vendor? When we were running the 3 month commission free special, our income solely came from the vendor registration fee.
Our current commission structure can be seen below;
Value less than or equal to $50 6% Value less than or equal to $150 5.5% Value less than or equal to $300 5% Value less than or equal to $500 2% Value less than or equal to $1000 1.5% Value greater than $1000 1%
Do you have a retirement plan? Like quit and let someone else take over in a year? Everyone does gets busted in the end. Hell even anonymous. Usually via neverending greed or pride. We don't plan on retiring anytime soon, we've only just begun :)
How much do you make ?(give us a range ?) Is the money vs risk worth it ? Unfortunately we can't give you specifics on how much we earn however all of our profits have been used to enhance our platform. We take more pride in forming a true free market place rather than the dollars earned.
That's actually pretty cool, thanks. Oh also what made you want to get into this buisness? We love cryptocurrency, libertarianism, technology and saw an opportunity to make a free market place when SR was experiencing frequent down time.
Are you a regular customer at Atlantis yourself and what do/did you buy? We do everything on Atlantis except for buying products on it ;)
What is the craziest item you have ever sold? The top two items would be used sex toys/underwear (female vendor) and fig tree cuttings.
Fig tree cuttings? Can't someone just buy that on Ebay? O.o The ones from Atlantis are prettier.
How pure is the coke? It depends on the vendor. They advertise the purity on their product, the majority of it seems to be in the 85% range.
Why would the purity matter, and wouldn't someone prefer 100% pure over something that was cut with other items? Purity matters because you require less of the drug to get the same effect. Other than that it's mostly irrelevant. Yes, you would prefer 100% purity. 85% purity is very high compared to most street cocaine. On average, street cocaine is around 50% purity.
What exactly is usually put in cocaine other than coke to dilute the purity? Benzocaine, Caffeine, Phenacetin and sugars are the most common impurities.
Doesn't "CEO" relate to corporate organizational stucture? Why is a black market operating as a legal company would? We're still an organization and an organization requires leadership.
What's up with al the cats??? Incognito mode.
How much does your physical location matter to run a business like yours? Would it be any easieharder if you were in say, Somalia or on a ship in the ocean in International waters? We have team members in various different countries. I would say physical location is relatively irrelevant. We can access our systems from anywhere, and our location and the server location is protected by the Tor hidden service network.
Is there anything that you will not sell on your website? Restricted items.
Restricted items include anything related to paedophilia, poisons, loans, investment opportunities, assassination services or anything which can inflict harm on another person. If you infringe on these rules we will terminate your account instantly.
Trading any digital currencies (for example Bitcoins, Litecoins, Ukash, Moneypak, Western Union, Moneygram, etc) is forbidden and will result in the items being removed and a warning or ban being issued to the vendor. This is to prevent scams. (See exceptions below for exceptions to this rule).
The trading of counterfeit money is forbidden, and will result in a warning or ban being issued.
We also do not allow listings for 0.01 in the money section. Your items must have a full cost associated to them to prevent people processing transactions outside of the escrow system.
We allow the purchase of physical fiat for Bitcoins and/or Litecoins (has to be legitimate currency; not counterfeit). This is the only exception to the currency rule. We do not, however, allow the reverse of these transactions i.e. customers mailing vendors real currency as this is outside the escrow system.
As an example, if you were a vendor and you wanted to buy $1000 worth of Bitcoins/Litecoins you could do so by making a listing for $1000 labelled "Buying $1000 worth of Bitcoins/Litecoins", and then mail the real currency to the purchaser of your listing in exchange for their Bitcoins/Litecoins that are currently travelling through the escrow system.
Regarding the IT infrastructure, Do you own the servers that host the website? How are the servers connected to the internet? Is it a corporate leased line or just some dodgy hacked cable modem :) Without going to depth, we use dedicated servers provided by a hosting company. All servers are equipped with a 100Mbit WAN link.
I'm probably misunderstanding Tor a bit here then, but how come the hosting company doesn't get into hot water and told to stop hosting Atlantis? Tor traffic looks similar to SSL and our hosting provider doesn't snoop on our servers :-)
Do you pay for that in bitcoins? Is the server encrypted such that someone with physical access couldn't discover its contents, should they choose to? We pay for the servers via anonymous methods and the disks are encrypted. However when running certain applications, the vulnerable point would be RAM.
I'm not sure if the second is possible whilst also offering an internet service, you must have unencrypted stuff in RAM? We also monitor the data center for unauthorized access.
. To me hosting seems to be the weakest link in your personal security (I'm sure users are fine with your encrypted messages). Have you considered distributed hosting on other darknets like freenet? For all the services we offer, we have redundant servers ready to fail over to.
I hope i'm not late to the party, but do you have any thoughts/reactions towards the current chatter regarding PRISM and the NSA? Maybe you can talk about some precautions you took or are taking as a result? Never too late. It's quite scary actually. Tor, SSL, PGP, OTR, all of these technologies are your friends.
Although I will say this is nothing new, the NSA has been doing this for years now. I guess it's finally caught up to them.
We haven't started taking any new precautions as a result, we were already using them.
Would you say that those tools are your friends even if you're not interested in anything too illegal? Props for your efforts though, must be interesting to run that kind of company :) Definitely, with PRISM making headlines this week its always good to protect your privacy.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? I believe it's 11 meters per second.
Had anyone ever been caught in sting operation? We haven't had any incidents reported to us yet (most vendors are very careful and security conscious) however we have read a case in the past where a vendor was caught on a different market place. The market place wasn't to blame, it was just that the vendor wasn't careful with his operation and thus got discovered.
Whats a "virtual credit card"? Prepaid virtual credit cards aren't issued by a bank, have no contract, usually have a set amount and can be used online.
Can't access your site (yet) but do you have vendors in Australia? We have a few Australian vendors, yes.
You're probably not still around, but is it even possible to order items on your site from Japan? I have not even looked at Atlantis or SR because I don't think it's even possible. To my knowledge yes. But don't quote me on that. I think I remember seeing a few Japanese located vendors.
How does a typical black market starts up? For us, we love cryptocurrency, libertarianism, technology and saw an opportunity to make a free market place when SR was experiencing frequent down time.
When deciding for your brand or website name. What other names did you consider besides Atlantis? I like the name it has now just curious to know of the brainstorming behind the site. Also I love your website! Thank you! I can't actually remember any of the other names we considered, probably because they were all bad. Atlantis stuck from the beginning!
And you're welcome, thanks for using it.
Last updated: 2013-06-12 05:44 UTC
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Bitcoin exchange hacked AGAIN, goes bankrupt Top 10 Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges in 2019 Crypto CEO dies holding only passwords that can unlock millions in customer coins What is a Bitcoin? - YouTube CEO of BitInstant Arrested -- Credit Cards Hacked Again -- Megacoin Gravity Well -- Earthcoin

The CEO of AriseBank, a cryptocurrency company, was arrested by the FBI today, November 28. He was charged with defrauding hundreds of investors out of more than four million dollars. Called Jared Rice Sr., the 30-year-old CEO was charged by the attorney office of the Northern District of Texas. The CEO of Bitcoin exchanger BitInstant has been arrested and charged with money laundering over allegations that he and another man sold more than $1 million in Bitcoins to buyers and sellers of ... Ex-CEO of Crypto Exchange WEX Arrested In Italy Jul 19, 2019 at 15:00 UTC Updated Jul 19, 2019 at 15:28 UTC Dmitrii Vasilev, ex-CEO of the crypto exchange WEX, during and interview with Michael ... U.S. government agents have arrested Charlie Shrem, the CEO of Bitcoin exchange BitInstant, charging him with laundering money for customers of online drug bazaar Silk Road. Mark Karpeles, CEO of the collapsed MtGox bitcoin exchange, is facing fresh allegations that he misused $8.9 million in customers' deposits, reports say More A spokesman for the Tokyo Police said French-born Karpeles, 30, was suspected of manipulating data on the exchange's computer system in 2013 to artificially create about $1.0 million.

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Bitcoin exchange hacked AGAIN, goes bankrupt

The CEO of one of the world's leading bitcoin exchanges - BitInstant - has been arrested in New York. The prosecution claims Charlie Shrem was involved in a ... South Korean bitcoin exchange Youbit hacked for second time this year, files for bankruptcy. January 27, 2014 -- Pittsburg, Pennslyvania -- MadBitcoins... along the highway to anywhere. The MadBitcoins Subscriber Index is at 2022 and climbing! Vote MadBitcoins! for The Shorties! Here are ... This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue Queue http://bitcoinpoet.com Bitcoin is a software-based payment system described by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and introduced as open-source software in 2009. Payme...

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