Natural Language Analysis Of PayPal Enabling Bitcoin ...

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

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

Cryptocurrencies and the circle of competence

A quick note to investors that believe the intrinsic value of bitcoin is 0 because they can't do a DCF on it: this isn't the place to argue with me about it. I suggest you read a bit more about what it actually is (hint: not a currency). I've defended its value in plenty of other posts on this sub. It's a $40+ billion market, so at least a few people agree with me. I welcome you to short the crypto of your choice if you think it's worth nothing. This is a post for folks that believe that cryptocurrencies have at least some discernible value and are considering investing in them.
If we have a strength, it is in recognizing when we are operating well within our circle of competence and when we are approaching the perimeter. – Warren Buffett
Given the tripling of the cryptocurrency market cap in the last few months and the 3- to 10-fold increases in virtually every major altcoin, cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and of course Bitcoin have been getting a stunning amount of attention in the press and on this subreddit recently.
If you follow the cryptocurrency world closely, you know that there have been a huge amount of dubious ICOs (initial coin offerings) on the market recently. It's an explosive time in crypto.
It's also a frustrating time for many long term bitcoiners and crypto fans, because we're faced with a barrage of questions from outsiders who see the returns and want to buy in to the "next big thing" and make a quick buck. This is a warning to those people.
Everyone is a genius is a rising market. It's hard to go wrong these days in crypto. Even coins of dubious merit like Ripple, Dogecoin, Stellar, NEM were pumped 5 times without any fundamental change. Speculators/investors have thrown money at crypto indiscriminately and efficient markets have 100% broken down. The altcoin pump right now is roughly comparable to the Dot Com crisis of the early 2000s.
  1. New tech promises to change the world
  2. Investors jump in on hype and promises
  3. A surge of IPOs (ICOs) occurs to capitalize on this
  4. "Greater fool" traders pile in, thinking they can make money even if the underlying is unsound
  5. Analysts claim "this time is different" while seasoned old hands refuse to participate
  6. Tech is proven not to be as developed as everyone thinks, market tanks
  7. Select few decent companies survive, all the trash is destroyed
  8. Tech eventually fulfills expectations, 10 years later, but none of the investors from the early days make money on it
However, canny (and skeptical) investors can still make money on crypto, as cryptocurrencies are inevitable, and will continue to expand and proliferate, even when the altcoin crash comes.
Something to realize first of all is that the crypto market is heterogeneous. It has straightforward cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, litecoin, dash, monero), smart-contract cryptos (ethereum, ethereum classic) and a whole bunch of crypto tokens that follow dedicated platforms (golem, augur, steem). Not mentioned are ripple and stellar because they aren't really cryptocurrencies at all.
The investing theses for all of these categories is radically different. The measure of success for a currency or store of value is adoption, merchant use, low volatility, a large network, and real world acceptance as something worth owning. Bitcoin has this right now, which is why it's more than 50% of the ecosystem, and none of its competitors are even close. Monero, Zcash, and Dash are a special case in that they try and make transactions anonymous and privacy, allowing for use cases on the darknet markets, for instance.
The tech underlying bitcoin is essentially sound, although it is having a scalability crisis, which you should read about. It can't right now serve as a currency which will buy you a cup of coffee - the transaction fees are too high. However if you want to send $200,000 from Mexico to Indonesia or China to the Philippines, you can do it within 20 minutes, and with fees of a few dollars. And if you want to store your wealth in a vault that is totally secure, and cannot be debased by a central bank, bitcoin is a good bet. This is highly relevant to folks in India that just had cash abolished, to Venezuelans, to Argentines, to Cypriots, to Nigerians, anywhere local currencies are weak and volatile. The potential value of a competing cryptocurrency lies in whether it can improve materially on bitcoin, whether it means incorporating off-chain scaling (segwit with litecoin), making it more private and fungible (monero), automating governance (decred), and so on.
Then there are cryptoassets that incorporate smart contracts. These – ethereum and its derivatives – exploded when the SEC denied the Bitcoin ETF back in march and bitcoiners got worried and started diversifying. This is the market segment that is highly risky, even by crypto standards, in my opinion. Ethereum is a protocol that allows contracts to self-enforce. Programming power to run the contracts is paid for with ethereum. Two parties agree to a contract, and it then self-executes. It's secured by a decentralized computing network of ethereum miners, so the contracts cannot be shut down by a government or corporation. It's pretty clever. Last year, a $150+ million contract was drawn up with ethereum, which would act like a venture capital fund, picking good investments just based on the votes of the token holders. This was called a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it was hacked before it could do anything. Well, it was exploited based on the code and so the exploit was totally "fair" given that the contract was meant to be inevitable, once agreed to. However, the creators of Ethereum didn't like the idea of losing $50 million, so they decided to collectively agree to amend the rules of the protocol itself (violating "Code is Law"), and jump onto a new one, which they would also call Ethereum, although it was really Ethereum 2.0. Some people got upset by this, because they thought that immutability and not arbitrarily rolling back the code was more important than some investors losing money because of poorly written code. They created Ethereum Classic, which is the original Ethereum chain. This wasn't what the Ethereum 2.0 folks thought would happen, but it did happen, so there are two competing Ethereum chains now.
Eventually, lots of decentralized apps were funded, via tokensales. A development team would say: "we're going to use ethereum to create a decentralized cloud computing/AI/prediction/gambling/timestamping/social media network." And then investors would buy the tokens, expecting that eventually the dev team would deliver, and the tokens would be in demand, since they would be required to use the network. It's a bit like buying in-game-currency when the game is announced, anticipating that the game would be wildly popular and you'd be able to sell it on later at a profit or acquire it cheaply to buy in-game items later on. However, many of us think that the promises are a bit extravagant, and that investors in these ICOs are probably going to lose money. The incentives aren't well aligned. Founders can just not deliver and run off with the money, and there's no regulatory body to enforce that. And for Ethereum more broadly, many people are worried that the turing-completeness of the language will mean it will face serious threats and unforeseeable hacks, like with the DAO. Finally, Ethereum has increased from around $20 to $90 in a matter of months, which raises the question of whether a) the market realized its true value or b) it was pumped on speculation. There's a huge set of unknowns with a smart contract currency, and virtually none of the promised dapps are up and running right now, and the ones that are haven't really attracted large userbases or delivered. This is because the tech is in its infancy, and the developers are still learning how to use it properly. So we won't know if these sorts of decentralized networks are even possible to create on the timelines that investors are expecting. Therefore, ethereum investors buying it on the promise of the realization of this tech in the near future are almost guaranteed to be disappointed. Additionally, ethereum is making the switch to the largely untested Proof of Stake algorithm, which will change incentives that secure the network. This brings me to my key point:
Stay within your circle of competence. You can grow your circle – slowly. Cryptoassets are almost impossibly complex to grasp with just a cursory look. Investing in them requires weeks of reading and a very skeptical view.
The above was an introduction to cryptocurrencies, the different ones on offer, and why investing in ethereum is not the slam dunk everyone thinks it is. This portion of the post will tell you about the kind of due diligence you need to do if you want to invest, rather than speculate, in crypto.
The first thing to mention is that passive investing in crypto has historically been a terrible strategy. Just buying bitcoin almost always outperformed. This was due to the poor set of altcoins, and the size of bitcoin's almost insurmountable network effect. This sort of changed in March and April when bitcoin's dominance went from 80% to ~50%, and it remains to be seen if this will persist or not. But the point is, buying the index is usually an awful strategy in crypto, particularly because there are so many truly awful projects out there.
So what does it take to invest responsibly in cryptocurrencies? It requires at least a basic understanding of three disciplines: public-private key cryptography; programming, and how open-source projects function; and economics, particularly game theory and the quantity theory of money. This is why is is so difficult to apprehend easily: because very few people actually boast a sincere understanding of these three topics. I certainly don't.
You need to be able to determine whether the tech is actually going anywhere, and whether the task the developers have set themselves is possible or realistic. You need to know how open source networks are governed, and which models strike the best balance between efficiency of decision-making and fair consensus. You need to be able to measure the inflation schedule of the cryptocurrency, and see whether your coins are going to inflated away. You need to be able to make plausible guesses about the potential market for the crypto and estimate future values. Note that the payoff structure is not equity-like. It's more like early stage venture capital, or buying loss-making biotech companies. Here's my checklist of questions to answer, ordered by importance:
  • Does the project offer a significant improvement over its nearest competitor, or a reasonable chance of success in its stated aim? Is there a demand for this project? Does it have a concise and reasonable goal? (Narrower goal: higher likelihood of success).
  • Is the development team competent? Are they committed to the coin? What's their track record? Is is an active dev team? Do they have a roadmap for the future? Are they transparent about goals?
  • How is the development team funded? Is the currency corporate-backed? Is the funding transparent? Was the coin significantly premined? (Usually bad) Are developers paid via iterative community project crowdfunding? (Usually good).
  • What is the governance structure of the currency? Who holds ultimate control over decisionmaking? How are decisions made? Are they transparent? Are mining/developer incentives aligned?
  • Does the asset have acceptance and use today? Does it have a functioning use case? If it doesn't, does it have a decent chance of being accepted?
  • Has the asset's "market cap" tripled or quintupled in the last few months? Was this based on any fundamental changes (new software releases, etc) or just speculation?
  • What are the transaction volumes like? (Hint: divide market cap by monthly averaged daily on-chain tx volume to find a consistent ratio) What's the ratio of on-chain transaction versus exchange speculation? Has price gone up independent of transaction volumes?
  • How long has the asset been around? Think of the Lindy effect. Older is usually better.
  • What's the community like? Is there censorship? Does it have an active subreddit? Do the developers answer questions? Are they accessible? How big is the github community? (Hint: you can divide market cap by github commits to find a comparable ratio).
  • Are you psychologically able to hold this coin in a 90% downturn? Is this a high conviction thesis or are you betting on being able to sell it to a greater fool?
How long did it take you to learn about investing in equities? Reading balance sheets, running DCF and DRI models, figuring out how to value a stock based on comparables? Years? How many mistakes did you make before you figured out how to be responsible?
Cryptos are an asset class that is both radically different from anything that has existed before. They are also incredibly heterogeneous, as I argued above. It also leads to cultism – so bitcoiners generally take a dim view of ethereum, and vice versa. Monero fans generally don't like dash, and so on. You have to keep your mind open to understand new opportunities as they arise, and to stop yourself becoming too mentally invested in your project of choice. The vast majority of projects will fail within 5 years, so becoming overly certain of the success of one will probably devastate you. If you can stay balanced, stay honest about your crypto's chances of success and adoption, not get tunnel vision, and not take overly risky positions, you have a good chance of not losing everything. Remember the payoff structure. Heavily rightward skewed. A ton of cryptos earn no return and a select few earn an absurd (1,000-10,000x) return.
None of this is necessary if you just want to invest randomly in one of the top ten cryptos. That's the strategy of 95% of investors today. Pick a coin and go. If it's not bitcoin, I can pretty much guarantee you'll lose money. The newer, the worse.
I've not made an effort to convince you that cryptos have intrinsic value. If you've made it this far, you probably think they're worth something at least. However, they're probably not worth as much as the market is pricing them at right now. Especially not those in the ethereum family. I'm not going to tell you what to invest in, because that would defeat the purpose of this post. I'm telling you to do your due diligence before blindly buying a crypto. And that due diligence on ethereum is as complex and difficult as Tesla or Amazon DD. And that your skills in equity valuation are pretty much useless in this asset class. My circle of competence doesn't extend to options or lean pork futures, so I don't touch those. I suggest that until you really feel comfortable in crypto, you don't buy randomly.
Summative thoughts:
  1. Investing in crypto is hard
  2. 90% of people that invest at market peaks will lose money
  3. You have to extremely skeptical and invest in high-conviction positions
  4. Cryptos are exhibiting bubbly behavior right now, it's a pretty bad time to pick one out
  5. Cryptos are nothing like equities but they do have real value
  6. Cryptos are the future, but almost none of these coins will survive 10 years
  7. The older the better
  8. Governance is key
  9. These are speculative positions, only invest what you can tolerate losing
  10. You can make money investing in cryptos
  11. Passively investing in cryptos doesn't work
  12. It's a winner takes most market, there won't be 1 crypto that wins. There will be different cryptos for different use cases.
edit: deleted chart with probabilities of success because of subjectivity and oversimplification.
edit2: I've been overwhelmed with PMs so bear with me. also, please forgive any spelling errors on this post. I wrote it in one frenzied sitting.
edit3: I knew I would get a fair amount of resistance from ethereum investors (even though I attempted to keep my post as balanced as possible) but I was unprepared from the breathtaking volume of spam and diversity of attacks. One particular user has made 30 comments in this thread. I don't have a stake in ETC, period. The post is 3000 words long and most of it is about how to properly do your due diligence in a crypto. if ethereum fares poorly by standard due diligence metrics, then perhaps your issue is deeper than one post on /investing.
final edit: there have been some broken-hearted ethereum fans very busy organizing brigades against this post, and attacking me personally, and so on. It's all very incovenient. I can tell that I struck a nerve. This post isn't really about ethereum - it's about how to do research in crypto, and why you can't expect to profit handsomely without that due diligence. I mentioned ethereum because there are 3 or 4 breathless posts on here a day about its stunning gains and whether it's worth investing in. My answer: read about it first, from a diverse set of sources. A final note: I do not own any ethereum classic, I have never owned ethereum classic. I brought it up because it is part of the ethereum story, and an example of what happens when you have a contested hard fork. I do hope that ethereum succeeds, I am just cautioning against over exuberance.
submitted by isrly_eder to investing [link] [comments]

Stellar Lumens HODL alert: 2017 Round up, Partnerships, Lumens vs. Other Cryptos

Welcome everyone! The future of Stellar Lumens is bright! Today we will look at the accomplishments of Stellar.org in 2017.
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2017 Round Up
IBM / Stellar Partnership
• Kik Messenger’s KIN coin to move from Ethereum to Stellar in 2018
• Stellar ATM introduced in Singapore
• Jed McCaleb confirms IBM/Stellar has 30 banks on board (Youtube Video)
Lightyear.io enables forward thinking financial entities to easily join the Stellar ecosystem.
• IBM adds 8 new validators from 8 different countries onto the Stellar network (article)
Forbes calls Stellar “venmo, but on a global scale - and for larger bodies like banks and corporations.”
• Stellar Lumens Is Up 6,300% Since March and Is Aiming for Big Blockchain Partners (article)
• Many new partnerships (listed below) that will be using the Stellar network in 2018.
Binance and GoPax Exchanges Adds Stellar
Ledger Nano S support is now available for Lumens (XLM)
• The next coin to break into the top 10 cryptos (article)
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2017 Partnerships & Financial Institutions
IBM - is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States, with operations in over 170 countries. IBM partnered with Stellar to help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.
SatoshiPay - a web payment system that helps online publishers monetize digital assets like news articles, videos, or PDFs in tiny increments without friction.
EXCH.ONE - is a FinTech software company based in Switzerland currently working to integrate its platform and its first technology adopter Euro Exchange Securities UK Ltd. into the Stellar network. This addition to the Stellar network will bring access to currency markets of South and Central America,UK and a number of EU countries.
Novati (ASX:NOV) - is an Australian-based software technology and payment services provider. Novatti is currently working to integrate it’s platform into the Stellar network with the ultimate aim to build a global money transfer solution to provide cross border, cross currency and cross asset payments.
Pundi X - is an Indonesia based fintech company that provides POS device, debit card, multi-currency wallet that empowers individuals to buy and sell cryptocurrency at any physical store in the world. They say "buying cryptocurrency should be as easy as buying a bottled water."
MoneyMatch - is a Malaysia based fintech startup that provides a fully-digital peer-to-peer currency exchange platform for customers to transfer and exchange foreign currencies with complete ease and at great value. The company plans to integrate with the Stellar network and enable pay in and pay out from Malaysia.
Streami - is a Korea based fintech company that offers blockchain enabled cross-border remittance service and recently launched a cryptocurrency exchange. The partnership extends both on the exchange side and remittance operations.
Neoframe - is developing and marketing trading solutions for big brokerage firms in Korea and extends its business to blockchain based applications. Neoframe developed high performance centralized cryptocurrency exchange as well as secure wallet solutions and is working with big financial players. The company is planning to launch a remittance business for ASEAN countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Brunei) using Stellar.
SureRemit($RMT) - is a Nigeria based global non-cash remittances company. SureRemit leverages the Stellar blockchain platform to connect immigrants abroad directly with merchants that provide the services needed by their loved ones back home. With Remit tokens, immigrants all over the world can access digital shopping vouchers that can be spent on goods and services at accepting merchants wherever they are.
Cowrie Integrated Systems - is a Nigerian based Value Added Service Provider. Cowrie provides services at the intersection between telecoms and finance. Cowrie recently joined the Stellar network to bring novel fintech services to the African market.
Smartlands - is a Stellar-based platform designed to create a new class of low-risk tokens, secured by real, profitable assets in the real-world economy. Smartlands is designed to promote investments in the agricultural sector by allowing investment in individual projects, agricultural companies or indexes of groups of projects. These investments will be fully collateralized by agricultural real estate, other productive assets such as fruit or nut trees or, in some cases, the actual crop.
Klick-Ex - is an award winning regional cross-border payments system delivering financial infrastructure for emerging markets. It has been responsible for dramatic uptake in digital financial services in unbanked regions of the world, and lowering costs for banks, central banks and consumers in low liquidity currencies. Its key presence is in the Pacific and Europe, and it is a founding member of www.APFII.org processing more than 775,000 transactions per second, per billion of population (source).
Mobius - Mobius connects any app, device, and data stream to the blockchain ecosystem. Our simple and easy to use bidirectional API allows non-blockchain developers to easily connect resources to smart contracts and more. The Mobius MVP acts like Stripe for Blockchain by introducing innovative standards for cross-blockchain login, payment, smart contract management, and oracles. The Mobius Team includes David Gobaud, Jed McCaleb (Stellar.org founder), Jackson Palmer (creator of Dogecoin), and Chandler Guo (notorious Bitcoin & blockchain investor).
Chaineum - Chaineum, the first French ICO Boutique, will use the Stellar network for upcoming ICOs. “Chaineum is positioned as the first “ICO Boutique” in France, providing a range of end-to-end services to companies and international start-ups wishing to develop with this new funding mechanism. Chaineum is preparing 8 ICOs by the end of 2017, for European, North American and Asian companies, of which cumulative amount could reach € 200 million." (source)
Poseidon Foundation - Poseidon will simplify the carbon credit market with the creation of an ecosystem built on Stellar.org’s blockchain technology. This technology will prevent double counting of carbon and will be consistent across jurisdictions, making it easier for companies to deliver and measure progress towards their climate targets or other goals such as deforestation-free commitments.
Remitr - Remitr is a global platform for cross border payments, licensed in Canada. Remitr uses the Stellar network for international settlements for businesses as well as other payment partners. Remitr’s own payout network of 63 countries, comprising several currencies, is extended onto the Stellar network.
MSewa Software Solution (MSS) - MSewa Software Solution (MSS) Payments provides a one-stop digital payment service available across the Globe. MSS Payments aims at serving the consumers (Banked, Unbanked and Underbanked) with mobile banking facilities on the move from anywhere by transferring funds in their mobile phone.
PesaChoice - PesaChoice is a leader in international bill payment services for the African diaspora. PesaChoice aims at making international bill payment process easy, seamless, secure, with reasonable and competitive service fees, and up to date technological advances.
SendX - Singapore based SendX, in partnership with Stellar, is the better way to move money worldwide. The SendX team believes that the future of transactions is decentralized and distributed, bringing true equity to everyone across the value chain.
VoguePay - VoguePay, with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, is partnering with Stellar to become the cheapest and most efficient way to send money between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. In the coming months, they expect to expand this service to other selected African countries.
HashCash - Hashcash consultants build financial solutions for banks and financial institutions over blockchain. We leverage the Stellar platform to build products that vastly improve the remittance and payments experience for banks and their customers. Transfers happen lightning fast at a fraction of current rates and operational cost is significantly reduced. HashCash is headquartered in India, with operations across South Asia and the Gulf.
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Stellar Lumens vs Other Cryptocurrencies
Lumens vs. Bitcoin: Jed McCaleb spoke at Distributed Markets in 2017 about the advantages, but more importantly, the disadvantages of Bitcoin. Listen to the talk here. Jed said, “Bitcoin is this awesome innovation. The first thing it does is converts a real world resource, electricity, into a digital asset. So it takes something from the real world and puts it into the digital realm. The second thing it does is provides immutable public record. It’s basically a database that everyone can see but no one change arbitrarily… That’s great, Bitcoin solves the double spin problem [ of proving possession and transmitting volume]… [However, to fix the problems of bitcoin] you might think well maybe we’ll just kind of keep adding [software] to Bitcoin until we get there, but that’s not really the way software works. You want to have the design from the beginning and solve these simple issues. Bitcoin was designed to be a new currency, it wasn’t really designed to be this unifying universal payment network. So that’s what Stellar does. It solves these three remaining issues.”
Lumens vs. Bitcoin #2: According to wired.com, "Bitcoin mining guzzles energy - and it's carbon footprint just keeps growing." Wired says "Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the US for one day... The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge—an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year." Because Stellar is based on a consensus algorithm rather than mining, it takes much less energy to run the Stellar network. The Poseidon Foundation decided to build their platform on Stellar rather than Ethereum or Bitcoin because of this (twitter source).
Lumens ICO tokens vs. Ethereum ICO tokens: According to Stellar.org, "traditionally, ICO tokens have been issued on the Ethereum network in the form of ERC20 tokens. ERC20 tokens are easy to issue and are infinitely customizable using Ethereum’s smart contracting language. However, recent events have highlighted and exacerbated some weaknesses of the network, including slow transaction processing times for the network during ICOs and increasingly expensive gas prices (by fiat standards) for transactions and smart contract execution. Moreover, many organizations require only basic tokens; they adopt the risk of Ethereum’s Turing complete programming language without taking advantage of many of its benefits."
"While Ethereum has the most expressive programming capabilities, we believe Stellar is the best choice for ICOs that do not require complex smart contracts. Stellar’s primary goal is to facilitate issuing and trading tokens, especially those tied to legal commitments by known organizations, such as claims on real-world assets or fiat currency."
Stellar vs. Ethereum #2: The median transaction time on Stellar is 5 seconds, compared to approximately 3.5 minutes on Ethereum (source). Stellar has a negligible transaction fee (.00001 XLM ~= $0.0000002) with no gas fee for computation, while depending on the complexity of the computation, the median cost for a transfer on the Ethereum network is $0.094. Security: While both Stellar and Ethereum run on a decentralized network, the Stellar network has fewer security pitfalls. Stellar uses atomic transactions comprised of simple, declarative operations while Ethereum uses turing complete programming capabilities which produces less auditable code and greater risk of exploitable vulnerabilities (source). Recently, a security flaw in the Ethereum network froze millions of dollars. According to Mobius ariticle written by David Gobaud, "On November 6, 2017, Github user deveps199 'accidentally' triggered a bug in Parity, a popular Ethereum mult-sig wallet, that froze more than $152 million in Ether across 151 addresses. The bug impacted several token sales including Polkadot, which has had ~$98 million out of its recent $145 million sale frozen."
"Mobius had none of its ongoing pre-sale Ether frozen because we do not trust Ethereum’s Smart Contract based multi-sig wallets given the vast Turing complete attack surface and did not use one. Security broadly is one of the main reasons the MOBI token that powers the DApp Store is a Stellar Protocol token and not an Ethereum token."
Lumens vs. Ripple: According to Wall Street Bitcoin Exchange, "Many investors like to compare the company [Stellar] to Ripple, and there are a lot of similarities, being that some of the founders worked on the Ripple team. In what can now be looked at as another blockchain development drama that plays out on chat boards and in interviews all across the globe. Stellar declared they fixed Ripple’s problems with their hard fork, however, Ripple has failed to admit to any of the flaws in its design that the Stellar team has pointed out." The article concludes by saying, "We Choose XLM Over XRP For 2018. That is why we are going with Stellar Lumens over Ripple in our portfolio for the rest of 2017 and 2018. After holding Ripple for a long time this year, it just never seems to make the big break like other names with bigger market caps like Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin have. While we are holding on most all our larger market caps, we feel that Stellar Lumens will be one of the break out coins for 2018."
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Conclusion
The stellar.org team is doing an amazing job making partnerships and pioneering the use of blockchain technology for various types of transactions. What we are seeing is a new technology that can actually be used to solve real-world problems. As a community, we need to continue supporting Stellar and we will quickly see it power transactions across the world. What are your thoughts about Stellar? What do you see in the future of Stellar? Any important news you want to share? Comment below.
submitted by chargingerman to Stellar [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrency Weekly Recap

submitted by QuantalyticsResearch to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Bitcoin 2017 a Comprehensive Timeline

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Stellar Lumens HODL alert: 2017 Round up, Partnerships, 2018 Road Map

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Stellar Lumens HODL alert: 2017 Round up, Partnerships, Lumens vs. Other Cryptos
Welcome everyone! The future of Stellar Lumens is bright! Today we will look at the accomplishments of Stellar.org in 2017.
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2017 Round Up
IBM / Stellar Partnership
• Kik Messenger’s KIN coin to move from Ethereum to Stellar in 2018
• Stellar ATM introduced in Singapore
• Jed McCaleb confirms IBM/Stellar has 30 banks on board (Youtube Video)
Lightyear.io enables forward thinking financial entities to easily join the Stellar ecosystem.
• IBM adds 8 new validators from 8 different countries onto the Stellar network (article)
Forbes calls Stellar “venmo, but on a global scale - and for larger bodies like banks and corporations.”
• Stellar Lumens Is Up 6,300% Since March and Is Aiming for Big Blockchain Partners (article)
• Many new partnerships (listed below) that will be using the Stellar network in 2018.
Binance and GoPax Exchanges Adds Stellar
Ledger Nano S support is now available for Lumens (XLM)
• The next coin to break into the top 10 cryptos (article)
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2017 Partnerships & Financial Institutions
IBM - is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States, with operations in over 170 countries. IBM partnered with Stellar to help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.
SatoshiPay - a web payment system that helps online publishers monetize digital assets like news articles, videos, or PDFs in tiny increments without friction.
EXCH.ONE - is a FinTech software company based in Switzerland currently working to integrate its platform and its first technology adopter Euro Exchange Securities UK Ltd. into the Stellar network. This addition to the Stellar network will bring access to currency markets of South and Central America,UK and a number of EU countries.
Novati (ASX:NOV) - is an Australian-based software technology and payment services provider. Novatti is currently working to integrate it’s platform into the Stellar network with the ultimate aim to build a global money transfer solution to provide cross border, cross currency and cross asset payments.
Pundi X - is an Indonesia based fintech company that provides POS device, debit card, multi-currency wallet that empowers individuals to buy and sell cryptocurrency at any physical store in the world. They say "buying cryptocurrency should be as easy as buying a bottled water."
MoneyMatch - is a Malaysia based fintech startup that provides a fully-digital peer-to-peer currency exchange platform for customers to transfer and exchange foreign currencies with complete ease and at great value. The company plans to integrate with the Stellar network and enable pay in and pay out from Malaysia.
Streami - is a Korea based fintech company that offers blockchain enabled cross-border remittance service and recently launched a cryptocurrency exchange. The partnership extends both on the exchange side and remittance operations.
Neoframe - is developing and marketing trading solutions for big brokerage firms in Korea and extends its business to blockchain based applications. Neoframe developed high performance centralized cryptocurrency exchange as well as secure wallet solutions and is working with big financial players. The company is planning to launch a remittance business for ASEAN countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Brunei) using Stellar.
SureRemit($RMT) - is a Nigeria based global non-cash remittances company. SureRemit leverages the Stellar blockchain platform to connect immigrants abroad directly with merchants that provide the services needed by their loved ones back home. With Remit tokens, immigrants all over the world can access digital shopping vouchers that can be spent on goods and services at accepting merchants wherever they are.
Cowrie Integrated Systems - is a Nigerian based Value Added Service Provider. Cowrie provides services at the intersection between telecoms and finance. Cowrie recently joined the Stellar network to bring novel fintech services to the African market.
Smartlands - is a Stellar-based platform designed to create a new class of low-risk tokens, secured by real, profitable assets in the real-world economy. Smartlands is designed to promote investments in the agricultural sector by allowing investment in individual projects, agricultural companies or indexes of groups of projects. These investments will be fully collateralized by agricultural real estate, other productive assets such as fruit or nut trees or, in some cases, the actual crop.
Klick-Ex - is an award winning regional cross-border payments system delivering financial infrastructure for emerging markets. It has been responsible for dramatic uptake in digital financial services in unbanked regions of the world, and lowering costs for banks, central banks and consumers in low liquidity currencies. Its key presence is in the Pacific and Europe, and it is a founding member of www.APFII.org processing more than 775,000 transactions per second, per billion of population (source).
Mobius - Mobius connects any app, device, and data stream to the blockchain ecosystem. Our simple and easy to use bidirectional API allows non-blockchain developers to easily connect resources to smart contracts and more. The Mobius MVP acts like Stripe for Blockchain by introducing innovative standards for cross-blockchain login, payment, smart contract management, and oracles. The Mobius Team includes David Gobaud, Jed McCaleb (Stellar.org founder), Jackson Palmer (creator of Dogecoin), and Chandler Guo (notorious Bitcoin & blockchain investor).
Chaineum - Chaineum, the first French ICO Boutique, will use the Stellar network for upcoming ICOs. “Chaineum is positioned as the first “ICO Boutique” in France, providing a range of end-to-end services to companies and international start-ups wishing to develop with this new funding mechanism. Chaineum is preparing 8 ICOs by the end of 2017, for European, North American and Asian companies, of which cumulative amount could reach € 200 million." (source)
Poseidon Foundation - Poseidon will simplify the carbon credit market with the creation of an ecosystem built on Stellar.org’s blockchain technology. This technology will prevent double counting of carbon and will be consistent across jurisdictions, making it easier for companies to deliver and measure progress towards their climate targets or other goals such as deforestation-free commitments.
Remitr - Remitr is a global platform for cross border payments, licensed in Canada. Remitr uses the Stellar network for international settlements for businesses as well as other payment partners. Remitr’s own payout network of 63 countries, comprising several currencies, is extended onto the Stellar network.
MSewa Software Solution (MSS) - MSewa Software Solution (MSS) Payments provides a one-stop digital payment service available across the Globe. MSS Payments aims at serving the consumers (Banked, Unbanked and Underbanked) with mobile banking facilities on the move from anywhere by transferring funds in their mobile phone.
PesaChoice - PesaChoice is a leader in international bill payment services for the African diaspora. PesaChoice aims at making international bill payment process easy, seamless, secure, with reasonable and competitive service fees, and up to date technological advances.
SendX - Singapore based SendX, in partnership with Stellar, is the better way to move money worldwide. The SendX team believes that the future of transactions is decentralized and distributed, bringing true equity to everyone across the value chain.
VoguePay - VoguePay, with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, is partnering with Stellar to become the cheapest and most efficient way to send money between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. In the coming months, they expect to expand this service to other selected African countries.
HashCash - Hashcash consultants build financial solutions for banks and financial institutions over blockchain. We leverage the Stellar platform to build products that vastly improve the remittance and payments experience for banks and their customers. Transfers happen lightning fast at a fraction of current rates and operational cost is significantly reduced. HashCash is headquartered in India, with operations across South Asia and the Gulf.
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Stellar Lumens vs Other Cryptocurrencies
Lumens vs. Bitcoin: Jed McCaleb spoke at Distributed Markets in 2017 about the advantages, but more importantly, the disadvantages of Bitcoin. Listen to the talk here. Jed said, “Bitcoin is this awesome innovation. The first thing it does is converts a real world resource, electricity, into a digital asset. So it takes something from the real world and puts it into the digital realm. The second thing it does is provides immutable public record. It’s basically a database that everyone can see but no one change arbitrarily… That’s great, Bitcoin solves the double spin problem [ of proving possession and transmitting volume]… [However, to fix the problems of bitcoin] you might think well maybe we’ll just kind of keep adding [software] to Bitcoin until we get there, but that’s not really the way software works. You want to have the design from the beginning and solve these simple issues. Bitcoin was designed to be a new currency, it wasn’t really designed to be this unifying universal payment network. So that’s what Stellar does. It solves these three remaining issues.”
Lumens vs. Bitcoin #2: According to wired.com, "Bitcoin mining guzzles energy - and it's carbon footprint just keeps growing." Wired says "Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the US for one day... The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge—an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year." Because Stellar is based on a consensus algorithm rather than mining, it takes much less energy to run the Stellar network. The Poseidon Foundation decided to build their platform on Stellar rather than Ethereum or Bitcoin because of this (twitter source).
Lumens ICO tokens vs. Ethereum ICO tokens: According to Stellar.org, "traditionally, ICO tokens have been issued on the Ethereum network in the form of ERC20 tokens. ERC20 tokens are easy to issue and are infinitely customizable using Ethereum’s smart contracting language. However, recent events have highlighted and exacerbated some weaknesses of the network, including slow transaction processing times for the network during ICOs and increasingly expensive gas prices (by fiat standards) for transactions and smart contract execution. Moreover, many organizations require only basic tokens; they adopt the risk of Ethereum’s Turing complete programming language without taking advantage of many of its benefits."
"While Ethereum has the most expressive programming capabilities, we believe Stellar is the best choice for ICOs that do not require complex smart contracts. Stellar’s primary goal is to facilitate issuing and trading tokens, especially those tied to legal commitments by known organizations, such as claims on real-world assets or fiat currency."
Stellar vs. Ethereum #2: The median transaction time on Stellar is 5 seconds, compared to approximately 3.5 minutes on Ethereum (source). Stellar has a negligible transaction fee (.00001 XLM ~= $0.0000002) with no gas fee for computation, while depending on the complexity of the computation, the median cost for a transfer on the Ethereum network is $0.094. Security: While both Stellar and Ethereum run on a decentralized network, the Stellar network has fewer security pitfalls. Stellar uses atomic transactions comprised of simple, declarative operations while Ethereum uses turing complete programming capabilities which produces less auditable code and greater risk of exploitable vulnerabilities (source). Recently, a security flaw in the Ethereum network froze millions of dollars. According to Mobius ariticle written by David Gobaud, "On November 6, 2017, Github user deveps199 'accidentally' triggered a bug in Parity, a popular Ethereum mult-sig wallet, that froze more than $152 million in Ether across 151 addresses. The bug impacted several token sales including Polkadot, which has had ~$98 million out of its recent $145 million sale frozen."
"Mobius had none of its ongoing pre-sale Ether frozen because we do not trust Ethereum’s Smart Contract based multi-sig wallets given the vast Turing complete attack surface and did not use one. Security broadly is one of the main reasons the MOBI token that powers the DApp Store is a Stellar Protocol token and not an Ethereum token."
Lumens vs. Ripple: According to Wall Street Bitcoin Exchange, "Many investors like to compare the company [Stellar] to Ripple, and there are a lot of similarities, being that some of the founders worked on the Ripple team. In what can now be looked at as another blockchain development drama that plays out on chat boards and in interviews all across the globe. Stellar declared they fixed Ripple’s problems with their hard fork, however, Ripple has failed to admit to any of the flaws in its design that the Stellar team has pointed out." The article concludes by saying, "We Choose XLM Over XRP For 2018. That is why we are going with Stellar Lumens over Ripple in our portfolio for the rest of 2017 and 2018. After holding Ripple for a long time this year, it just never seems to make the big break like other names with bigger market caps like Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin have. While we are holding on most all our larger market caps, we feel that Stellar Lumens will be one of the break out coins for 2018."
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Conclusion
The stellar.org team is doing an amazing job making partnerships and pioneering the use of blockchain technology for various types of transactions. What we are seeing is a new technology that can actually be used to solve real-world problems. As a community, we need to continue supporting Stellar and we will quickly see it power transactions across the world. What are your thoughts about Stellar? What do you see in the future of Stellar? Any important news you want to share? Comment below.
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