Generate Cryptocurrency Private Keys And Public Addresses ...
GitHub - brichard19/BitCrack: A tool for cracking Bitcoin ...
GitHub - tintinweb/ecdsa-private-key-recovery: A simple ...
A Guide to Bitcoin Forks and How to Claim Them (2020 Updated)
Best General RenVM Questions of January 2020
Best General RenVM Questions of January 2020
*These questions are sourced directly from Telegram Q: When you say RenVM is Trustless, Permissionless, and Decentralized, what does that actually mean? A: Trustless = RenVM is a virtual machine (a network of nodes, that do computations), this means if you ask RenVM to trade an asset via smart contract logic, it will. No trusted intermediary that holds assets or that you need to rely on. Because RenVM is a decentralized network and computes verified information in a secure environment, no single party can prevent users from sending funds in, withdrawing deposited funds, or computing information needed for updating outside ledgers. RenVM is an agnostic and autonomous virtual broker that holds your digital assets as they move between blockchains. Permissionless = RenVM is an open protocol; meaning anyone can use RenVM and any project can build with RenVM. You don't need anyone's permission, just plug RenVM into your dApp and you have interoperability. Decentralized = The nodes that power RenVM ( Darknodes) are scattered throughout the world. RenVM has a peak capacity of up to 10,000 Darknodes (due to REN’s token economics). Realistically, there will probably be 100 - 500 Darknodes run in the initial Mainnet phases, ample decentralized nonetheless. Q: Okay, so how can you prove this? A: The publication of our audit results will help prove the trustlessness piece; permissionless and decentralized can be proven today. Permissionless = https://github.com/renproject/ren-js Decentralized = https://chaosnet.renproject.io/ Q: How does Ren sMPC work? Sharmir's secret sharing? TSS? A: There is some confusion here that keeps arising so I will do my best to clarify.TL;DR: *SSS is just data. It’s what you do with the data that matters. RenVM uses sMPC on SSS to create TSS for ECDSA keys.*SSS and TSS aren’t fundamental different things. It’s kind of like asking: do you use numbers, or equations? Equations often (but not always) use numbers or at some point involve numbers. SSS by itself is just a way of representing secret data (like numbers). sMPC is how to generate and work with that data (like equations). One of the things you can do with that work is produce a form of TSS (this is what RenVM does). However, TSS is slightly different because it can also be done *without* SSS and sMPC. For example, BLS signatures don’t use SSS or sMPC but they are still a form of TSS. So, we say that RenVM uses SSS+sMPC because this is more specific than just saying TSS (and you can also do more with SSS+sMPC than just TSS). Specifically, all viable forms of turning ECDSA (a scheme that isn’t naturally threshold based) into a TSS needs SSS+sMPC. People often get confused about RenVM and claim “SSS can’t be used to sign transactions without making the private key whole again”. That’s a strange statement and shows a fundamental misunderstanding about what SSS is. To come back to our analogy, it’s like saying “numbers can’t be used to write a book”. That’s kind of true in a direct sense, but there are plenty of ways to encode a book as numbers and then it’s up to how you interpret (how you *use*) those numbers. This is exactly how this text I’m writing is appearing on your screen right now. SSS is just secret data. It doesn’t make sense to say that SSS *functions*. RenVM is what does the functioning. RenVM *uses* the SSSs to represent private keys. But these are generated and used and destroyed as part of sMPC. The keys are never whole at any point. Q: Thanks for the explanation. Based on my understanding of SSS, a trusted dealer does need to briefly put the key together. Is this not the case? A: Remember, SSS is just the representation of a secret. How you get from the secret to its representation is something else. There are many ways to do it. The simplest way is to have a “dealer” that knows the secret and gives out the shares. But, there are other ways. For example: we all act as dealers, and all give each other shares of our individual secret. If there are N of us, we now each have N shares (one from every person). Then we all individually add up the shares that we have. We now each have a share of a “global” secret that no one actually knows. We know this global secret is the sum of everyone’s individual secrets, but unless you know every individual’s secret you cannot know the global secret (even though you have all just collectively generates shares for it). This is an example of an sMPC generation of a random number with collusion resistance against all-but-one adversaries. Q: If you borrow Ren, you can profit from the opposite Ren gain. That means you could profit from breaking the network and from falling Ren price (because breaking the network, would cause Ren price to drop) (lower amount to be repaid, when the bond gets slashed) A: Yes, this is why it’s important there has a large number of Darknodes before moving to full decentralisation (large borrowing becomes harder). We’re exploring a few other options too, that should help prevent these kinds of issues. Q: What are RenVM’s Security and Liveliness parameters? A: These are discussed in detail in our Wiki, please check it out here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Safety-and-Liveliness#analysis Q: What are the next blockchain under consideration for RenVM? A: These can be found here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Supported-Blockchains Q: I've just read that Aztec is going to be live this month and currently tests txs with third parties. Are you going to participate in early access or you just more focused on bringing Ren to Subzero stage? A: At this stage, our entire focus is on Mainnet SubZero. But, we will definitely be following up on integrating with AZTEC once everything is out and stable. Q: So how does RenVM compare to tBTC, Thorchain, WBTC, etc..? A: An easy way to think about it is..RenVM’s functionality is a combination of tBTC (+ WBTC by extension), and Thorchain’s (proposed) capabilities... All wrapped into one. Just depends on what the end-user application wants to do with it. Q1: What are the core technical/security differences between RenVM and tBTC?A1: The algorithm used by tBTC faults if even one node goes offline at the wrong moment (and the whole “keep” of nodes can be penalised for this). RenVM can survive 1/3rd going offline at any point at any time. Advantage for tBTC is that collusion is harder, disadvantage is obviously availability and permissionlessness is lower. tBTC an only mint/burn lots of 1 BTC and requires an on-Ethereum SPV relay for Bitcoin headers (and for any other chain it adds). No real advantage trade-off IMO. tBTC has a liquidation mechanism that means nodes can have their bond liquidated because of ETH/BTC price ratio. Advantage means users can get 1 BTC worth of ETH. Disadvantage is it means tBTC is kind of a synthetic: needs a price feed, needs liquid markets for liquidation, users must accept exposure to ETH even if they only hold tBTC, nodes must stay collateralized or lose lots of ETH. RenVM doesn’t have this, and instead uses fees to prevent becoming under-collateralized. This requires a mature market, and assumed Darknodes will value their REN bonds fairly (based on revenue, not necessarily what they can sell it for at current —potentially manipulated—market value). That can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you feel. tBTC focuses more on the idea of a tokenized version of BTC that feels like an ERC20 to the user (and is). RenVM focuses more on letting the user interact with DeFi and use real BTC and real Bitcoin transactions to do so (still an ERC20 under the hood, but the UX is more fluid and integrated). Advantage of tBTC is that it’s probably easier to understand and that might mean better overall experience, disadvantage really comes back to that 1 BTC limit and the need for a more clunky minting/burning experience that might mean worse overall experience. Too early to tell, different projects taking different bets. tBTC supports BTC (I think they have ZEC these days too). RenVM supports BTC, BCH, and ZEC (docs discuss Matic, XRP, and LTC). Q2: This are my assumed differences between tBTC and RenVM, are they correct? Some key comparisons: -Both are vulnerable to oracle attacks -REN federation failure results in loss or theft of all funds -tBTC failures tend to result in frothy markets, but holders of tBTC are made whole -REN quorum rotation is new crypto, and relies on honest deletion of old key shares -tBTC rotates micro-quorums regularly without relying on honest deletion -tBTC relies on an SPV relay -REN relies on federation honesty to fill the relay's purpose -Both are brittle to deep reorgs, so expanding to weaker chains like ZEC is not clearly a good idea -REN may see total system failure as the result of a deep reorg, as it changes federation incentives significantly -tBTC may accidentally punish some honest micro-federations as the result of a deep reorg -REN generally has much more interaction between incentive models, as everything is mixed into the same pot. -tBTC is a large collection of small incentive models, while REN is a single complex incentive model A2: To correct some points: The oracle situation is different with RenVM, because the fee model is what determines the value of REN with respect to the cross-chain asset. This is the asset is what is used to pay the fee, so no external pricing is needed for it (because you only care about the ratio between REN and the cross-chain asset). RenVM does rotate quorums regularly, in fact more regularly than in tBTC (although there are micro-quorums, each deposit doesn’t get rotated as far as I know and sticks around for up to 6 months). This rotation involves rotations of the keys too, so it does not rely on honest deletion of key shares. Federated views of blockchains are easier to expand to support deep re-orgs (just get the nodes to wait for more blocks for that chain). SPV requires longer proofs which begins to scale more poorly. Not sure what you mean by “one big pot”, but there are multiple quorums so the failure of one is isolated from the failures of others. For example, if there are 10 shards supporting BTC and one of them fails, then this is equivalent to a sudden 10% fee being applied. Harsh, yes, but not total failure of the whole system (and doesn’t affect other assets). Would be interesting what RenVM would look like with lots more shards that are smaller. Failure becomes much more isolated and affects the overall network less. Further, the amount of tBTC you can mint is dependent on people who are long ETH and prefer locking it up in Keep for earning a smallish fee instead of putting it in Compound or leveraging with dydx. tBTC is competing for liquidity while RenVM isn't. Q: I understand correctly RenVM (sMPC) can get up to a 50% security threshold, can you tell me more? A: The best you can theoretically do with sMPC is 50-67% of the total value of REN used to bond Darknodes (RenVM will eventually work up to 50% and won’t go for 67% because we care about liveliness just as much as safety). As an example, if there’s $1M of REN currently locked up in bonded Darknodes you could have up to $500K of tokens shifted through RenVM at any one specific moment. You could do more than that in daily volume, but at any one moment this is the limit.Beyond this limit, you can still remain secure but you cannot assume that players are going to be acting to maximize their profit. Under this limit, a colluding group of adversaries has no incentive to subvert safety/liveliness properties because the cost to attack roughly outweighs the gain. Beyond this limit, you need to assume that players are behaving out of commitment to the network (not necessarily a bad assumption, but definitely weaker than the maximizing profits assumption). Q: Why is using ETH as collateral for RenVM a bad idea? A: Using ETH as collateral in this kind of system (like having to deposit say 20 ETH for a bond) would not make any sense because the collateral value would then fluctuate independently of what kind of value RenVM is providing. The REN token on the other hand directly correlates with the usage of RenVM which makes bonding with REN much more appropriate. DAI as a bond would not work as well because then you can't limit attackers with enough funds to launch as many darknodes as they want until they can attack the network. REN is limited in supply and therefore makes it harder to get enough of it without the price shooting up (making it much more expensive to attack as they would lose their bonds as well). A major advantage of Ren's specific usage of sMPC is that security can be regulated economically. All value (that's being interopped at least) passing through RenVM has explicit value. The network can self-regulate to ensure an attack is never worth it. Q: Given the fee model proposal/ceiling, might be a liquidity issue with renBTC. More demand than possible supply?A: I don’t think so. As renBTC is minted, the fees being earned by Darknodes go up, and therefore the value of REN goes up. Imagine that the demand is so great that the amount of renBTC is pushing close to 100% of the limit. This is a very loud and clear message to the Darknodes that they’re going to be earning good fees and that demand is high. Almost by definition, this means REN is worth more. Profits of the Darknodes, and therefore security of the network, is based solely on the use of the network (this is what you want because your network does not make or break on things outside the systems control). In a system like tBTC there are liquidity issues because you need to convince ETH holders to bond ETH and this is an external problem. Maybe ETH is pumping irrespective of tBTC use and people begin leaving tBTC to sell their ETH. Or, that ETH is dumping, and so tBTC nodes are either liquidated or all their profits are eaten by the fact that they have to be long on ETH (and tBTC holders cannot get their BTC back in this case). Feels real bad man. Q: I’m still wondering which asset people will choose: tbtc or renBTC? I’m assuming the fact that all tbtc is backed by eth + btc might make some people more comfortable with it. A: Maybe :) personally I’d rather know that my renBTC can always be turned back into BTC, and that my transactions will always go through. I also think there are many BTC holders that would rather not have to “believe in ETH” as an externality just to maximize use of their BTC. Q: How does the liquidation mechanism work? Can any party, including non-nodes act as liquidators? There needs to be a price feed for liquidation and to determine the minting fee - where does this price feed come from? A: RenVM does not have a liquidation mechanism. Q: I don’t understand how the price feeds for minting fees make sense. You are saying that the inputs for the fee curve depend on the amount of fees derived by the system. This is circular in a sense? A: By evaluating the REN based on the income you can get from bonding it and working. The only thing that drives REN value is the fact that REN can be bonded to allow work to be done to earn revenue. So any price feed (however you define it) is eventually rooted in the fees earned. Q: Who’s doing RenVM’s Security Audit? A: ChainSecurity | https://chainsecurity.com/ Q: Can you explain RenVM’s proposed fee model? A: The proposed fee model can be found here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Safety-and-Liveliness#fees Q: Can you explain in more detail the difference between "execution" and "powering P2P Network". I think that these functions are somehow overlapping? Can you define in more detail what is "execution" and "powering P2P Network"? You also said that at later stages semi-core might still exist "as a secondary signature on everything (this can mathematically only increase security, because the fully decentralised signature is still needed)". What power will this secondary signature have? A: By execution we specifically mean signing things with the secret ECDSA keys. The P2P network is how every node communicates with every other node. The semi-core doesn’t have any “special powers”. If it stays, it would literally just be a second signature required (as opposed to the one signature required right now). This cannot affect safety, because the first signature is still required. Any attack you wanted to do would still have to succeed against the “normal” part of the network. This can affect liveliness, because the semi-core could decide not to sign. However, the semi-core follows the same rules as normal shards. The signature is tolerant to 1/3rd for both safety/liveliness. So, 1/3rd+ would have to decide to not sign. Members of the semi-core would be there under governance from the rest of our ecosystem. The idea is that members would be chosen for their external value. We’ve discussed in-depth the idea of L<3. But, if RenVM is used in MakerDAO, Compound, dYdX, Kyber, etc. it would be desirable to capture the value of these ecosystems too, not just the value of REN bonded. The semi-core as a second signature is a way to do this. Imagine if the members for those projects, because those projects want to help secure renBTC, because it’s used in their ecosystems. There is a very strong incentive for them to behave honestly. To attack RenVM you first have to attack the Darknodes “as per usual” (the current design), and then somehow convince 1/3rd of these projects to act dishonestly and collapse their own ecosystems and their own reputations. This is a very difficult thing to do. Worth reminding: the draft for this proposal isn’t finished. It would be great for everyone to give us their thoughts on GitHub when it is proposed, so we can keep a persistent record. Q: Which method or equation is used to calculate REN value based on fees? I'm interested in how REN value is calculated as well, to maintain the L < 3 ratio? A: We haven’t finalized this yet. But, at this stage, the plan is to have a smart contract that is controlled by the Darknodes. We want to wait to see how SubZero and Zero go before committing to a specific formulation, as this will give us a chance to bootstrap the network and field inputs from the Darknodes owners after the earnings they can make have become more apparent.
Vechain in the last 30 Days: Apotheosis, Blockchain X, BMW, University partnership, DApp ecosystem, BitOcean ICO, Carbon banking, Live use cases, Early adopter rewards and more
This post is for those who are new to Cryptocurrency or want to find out more about VeChain. The text "VeChain" has been banned in this subreddit for the last 30 days. For more details about the ban itself, please visit this cryptocurrencymeta post.Changes have been made and official channels of communications have been opened up to prevent this from happening in the future. All feedback is welcome, and all discussion is encouraged, but please no moon-posting, ridiculous price speculation or baseless FUD. Looking forward to answering any questions you guys have :) VeChain Foundation COO Kevin Feng is holding a Business AMA with Boxmining today, so new information is coming very soon.
VeChain is more than a supply chain solution
VeChainThor is a global enterprise level public blockchain platform
Focus on enterprise & government level adoption
Focus on safety and security
New DApps: VeVid, VeVOT and VeSCC - Foundation layer for new ecosystem
New ICO: BitOcean - Fiat/VET on-ramp
New partners: BMW, Yida Group, Australian 188 Business Alliance Association
New VeResearch partner: Awaiting formal announcement from University
New initiative: Carbon Bank alongside DNV GL, Tsinghua University, and government agencies
It has loads of useful information and a well produced introduction video. I would highly recommend reading through the website to get an idea of the scope of what VeChainThor is trying to accomplish.
"We are controlled by the few, the powerful and the greedy. We should be free. Free to choose, to trade, to create. It is time for a new world, a world founded on safety and security. A world where everything you do creates power, power for all. And you, you will decide the shape of this world. The power to change the future, is in your hands. VeChain." VeChain Introduction Video
What is Blockchain X?
Blockchain X is a global enterprise level public blockchain platform. VeChainThor is referring to their network/protocol as Blockchain X, to differentiate it from Bitcoin (Blockchain 1.0) and Ethereum (Blockchain 2.0 = Blockchain 1.0 + Smart Contracts).
Blockchain X = Blockchain 2.0 + IoT + AI + VET/VeThor = A living digital ecosystem
IoT = senses - touch, vision, taste, smell, sound (collect real world information from RFID/NFC/QR etc.)
VET/VeThor = bone marrow/blood - generate blood & circulate (value transfer on the network)
AI = brain - information synthesis (automation of network with deep learning)
VeChainThor: the top candidate for enterprise and government level adoption of Blockchain
VeChainThor has an extremely strong development plan geared towards enterprise and government level adoption. If successful in their execution, I see VeChain being the leading cryptoasset comparable to Ethereum in size. The reasons I believe they will succeed are due to their ecosystem development, innovative governance model, robust economic model and strong strategic partnerships. The evidence of their success is snowballing with each new enterprise level partner and client.
DApps & Ecosystem development
The infrastructure layer has adoption in mind at the very core. Governments and enterprises will prioritise safety and security before venturing into blockchain adoption. (Mentioned in the introduction video.) The core DApps, VeVID (Verified identity, KYC/AML), VeVOT (Voting, Governance tool) and VeSCC (Smart Contract Certification, Regulatory compliance) provide the safety and security that governments and enterprises will demand. Blockchain X will have built-in KYC/AML, Governance and Regulation compliance. This sets it apart from other protocols and ICO platforms.
The governance model is a balanced mix of decentralisation and centralisation. With problems such as Bitcoin's scaling debate, it appears that a purely decentralised governance structure may be inefficient. VeChain will use a new model of a decentralised system through centralised channels. The final decisions will be made in a decentralised democratic process through VeVOT by stakeholders with voting authority. I believe this model will be more widely adopted as it retains some of the efficient centralised channels that enterprise & government are familiar with, while still giving overall control to the network participants via a democratic voting system.
The two-token economic model splits the value in the network into VET and VeThor. VET's primary function is to generate VeThor. VeThor represents the underlying costs of using the VeChainThor blockchain. All smart contract execution and transactions will require payment with VeThor. Through the dynamic rate of VeThor generation, the fiat value of VeThor can be kept relatively stable. For example, if the VeThor price was too high due to an increase in enterprise demand, the VeThor generation rate can be increased, which increases supply, and brings the price back down. The opposite is also true if the VeThor price is too low. The way I see VET is a store of value, a representation of ownership of part of the network and the right to use the network. Whereas VeThor is the perfect medium of exchange and a pure utility token. By using a two-token system, VeThor can have a stable fiat value over a long period of time. A company will be able to calculate how much VeThor will be needed for a consistent fiat value year after year and will be able to budget for this. This is extremely useful for enterprise and government level adoption since it removes the inherent price volatility from a nascent market like crypto. VeChain also has a Node system, whereby holding VET generates additional rewards. Nodes of different levels will generate up to 200% additional VeThor compared to the base rate. This encourages long term staking in the network and decreases volatility. See the Apotheosis Part II article and X Series Node article for more information. A portion of VET supply will be locked up when nodes activate. Long term VET holders will not sell and downgrade their status. This decreased supply will lead to price increases. Early adopters (Deadline to stake: Before 20th March 2018) will be rewarded in the new X Series Node system. Features include exclusive participation in VeChain ecosystem project whitelists. (Something I'm excited about since I believe there will be a handful of reverse ICOs from traditional enterprise clients)
The three strategic partners each play a key role in VeChainThor's expansion. PWC has clients which make up 85% of the Fortune 500. DNV-GL is the preferred provider of those Fortune 500 companies for management systems certification services. PWC and DNV-GL will serve to introduce their enterprise clients to VeChain and increase adoption. BitOcean is positioning itself as a Fiat on-ramp for Crypto in Japan through physical ATMs and online exchanges, with approval by Japan's Financial Services Authority. BitOcean also plans to operate in China when regulations are finalised. BitOcean represents a Fiat/VET pairing that may serve to decouple VET/BTC and lead to independence of VET from the whims of BTC price.
Evidence of adoption to date: Existing clients & Investors
VeChain currently has 180 business opportunities in their pipeline for 2018 (compared to 4 use cases in 2016 and 22 in 2017). They have real uses cases and existing clients that range from medium to large enterprises. Revealed clients include Chinese Government Gui'an New Area project, BMW, Groupe Renault, DIG, Kuehne + Nagel, China Unicom, NRCC - State Tobacco, MLILY, Sunshine culture, Hubei Sanxin Cultural Media, Fanghuwang, YIDA future, Madeforgoods and iTaotaoke. Each of these partnerships deserve a detailed post on their own, they are all available on VeChain's Medium page. Taken together, it becomes clear what type of Ecosystem VeChainThor is trying to build. Jiangsu Printed Electronics and Xiamen Innov Information Technology are technology partners and I suspect will be mass producing the RFID/NFC chips. Breyer Capital and Fenbushi capital are the two featured investors on VeChain's website. Jim Breyer generally makes some pretty smart investment decisions. His only other crypto investments are Circle and Ethereum. Bonus news: This week they are presenting with DNV-GL a cold chain supply chain solution at the Global Food Safety Initiative conference 2018. Zoom in and you'll see VeChain Intelligent Control Display System. DNV-GL have also launched their new digital assurance solution, My Story™. Four top Italian wine producers are using My Story™ under supervision of the Italian wine authorities. Twitter and DNVGL link.
China is widely known to be anti-cryptocurrency but extremely pro-blockchain. China's "13th Five year plan 2016-2020" focuses on moving up in the value chain by abandoning old heavy industry and building up bases of modern information-intensive infrastructure, with blockchain and Smart Cities being a key technological focus. VeChain has achieved approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China with Gui'an New Area project, multiple mentions on state owned media (CCTV) and deals with state owned enterprises (China Tobacco). China will not fall behind in the international Blockchain race, they will finalise regulations and adopt Blockchain rapidly in the coming years. VeChain appears to be one of the leaders in the field, with their largest office in Shanghai and existing government connections.
Leader in the field
Last but not least, VeChain is leading the field in a number of areas.
Environmental responsibility: Carbon bank initiative with DNV-GL
In the interests of balanced discussion, I will update this section with skepticism I find in the comments below.
VeChain are working on a Whitepaper as part of their Q1 2018 goals. Information normally found in a Whitepaper has been made available through the development plan. I'm actually not too fussed about not having a whitepaper. For me evidence of enterprise adoption is a more useful indicator of how successful VeChainThor could be.
"No official wallet" "No Mainnet"
VeChainThor has been operating as a private blockchain since June 2016. Public VeChainThor Blockchain Launch, VeChain Wallet with VeThor Forge Function will be released in Q2 2018 according to the roadmap.
"VeChain are dumping their VET on the open market"
False FUD. Addressed by VeChain Foundation directly in the Official Telegram channel.
"Vote manipulation" "Shilling" "Brigading" "You're a paid shiller"
In the past VeChain Telegram Moderators wilfully participated in brigading, leading to the ban on the word "VeChain" for 30 days in cryptocurrency
It is difficult to differentiate manipulated behaviour and organic behaviour on Reddit, the moderators here do an amazing job getting rid of spam and detecting vote manipulation
The Official VeChain Foundation has stepped in to help Reddit moderators prevent VeChain vote manipulation
Official Telegram Rules: Brigading & Reddit links: We have a new policy regarding Reddit and 'brigading'. No brigading of any kind will be allowed. If you want to post a Reddit link, do so with the "np." prefix added to its URL, for example "np.reddit.com /CryptoCurrency". No spamming for upvotes, as it hurts both of our communities.
This is strictly enforced by Telegram moderators and results in a warning then an insta-ban for repeat offenders
Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
Part 5. I'm writing a series about blockchain tech and possible future security risks. This is the fifth part of the series talking about an advanced vulnerability of BTC.
The previous parts will give you usefull basic blockchain knowledge and insights on quantum resistance vs blockchain that are not explained in this part. Part 1, what makes blockchain reliable? Part 2, The mathematical concepts Hashing and Public key cryptography. Part 3, Quantum resistant blockchain vs Quantum computing. Part 4A, The advantages of quantum resistance from genesis block, A Part 4B, The advantages of quantum resistance from genesis block, A Why BTC is vulnerable for quantum attacks sooner than you would think. Content: The BTC misconception: “Original public keys are not visible until you make a transaction, so BTC is quantum resistant.” Already exposed public keys. Hijacking transactions. Hijacks during blocktime Hijacks pre-blocktime. MITM attacks - Why BTC is vulnerable for quantum attacks sooner than you would think. - Blockchain transactions are secured by public-private key cryptography. The keypairs used today will be at risk when quantum computers reach a certain critical level: Quantum computers can at a certain point of development, derive private keys from public keys. See for more sourced info on this subject in part 3. So if a public key can be obtained by an attacker, he can then use a quantum computer to find the private key. And as he has both the public key and the private key, he can control and send the funds to an address he owns. Just to make sure there will be no misconceptions: When public-private key cryptography such as ECDSA and RSA can be broken by a quantum computer, this will be an issue for all blockchains who don't use quantum resistant cryptography. The reason this article is about BTC is because I take this paper as a reference point: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.10377.pdf Here they calculate an estimate when BTC will be at risk while taking the BTC blocktime as the window of opportunity. The BTC misconception: “Original public keys are not visible until you make a transaction, so BTC is quantum resistant.” In pretty much every discussion I've read and had on the subject, I notice that people are under the impression that BTC is quantum resistant as long as you use your address only once. BTC uses a hashed version of the public key as a send-to address. So in theory, all funds are registered on the chain on hashed public keys instead of to the full, original public keys, which means that the original public key is (again in theory) not public. Even a quantum computer can't derive the original public key from a hashed public key, therefore there is no risk that a quantum computer can derive the private key from the public key. If you make a transaction, however, the public key of the address you sent your funds from will be registered in full form in the blockchain. So if you were to only send part of your funds, leaving the rest on the old address, your remaining funds would be on a published public key, and therefore vulnerable to quantum attacks. So the workaround would be to transfer the remaining funds, within the same transaction, to a new address. In that way, your funds would be once again registered on the blockchain on a hashed public key instead of a full, original public key. If you feel lost already because you are not very familiar with the tech behind blockchain, I will try to explain the above in a more familiar way: You control your funds through your public- private key pair. Your funds are registered on your public key. And you can create transactions, which you need to sign to be valid. You can only create a signature if you have your private key. See it as your e-mail address (public key) and your password (Private key). Many people got your email address, but only you have your password. So the analogy is, that if you got your address and your password, then you can access your mail and send emails (Transactions). If the right quantum computer would be available, people could use that to calculate your password (private key), if they have your email address (public key). Now, because BTC doesn’t show your full public key anywhere until you make a transaction. That sounds pretty safe. It means that your public key is private until you make a transaction. The only thing related to your public key that is public is the hash of your public key. Here is a short explanation of what a hash is: a hash is an outcome of an equation. Usually one-way hash functions are used, where you can not derive the original input from the output; but every time you use the same hash function on the same original input (For example IFUHE8392ISHF), you will always get the same output (For example G). That way you can have your coins on public key "IFUHE8392ISHF", while on the chain, they are registered on "G". So your funds are registered on the blockchain on the "Hash" of the public key. The Hash of the public key is also your "email address" in this case. So you give "G" as your address to send BTC to. As said before: since it is, even for a quantum computer, impossible to derive a public key from the Hash of a public key, your coins are safe for quantum computers as long as the public key is only registered in hashed form. The obvious safe method would be, never to reuse an address, and always make sure that when you make a payment, you send your remaining funds to a fresh new address. (There are wallets that can do this for you.) In theory, this would make BTC quantum resistant, if used correctly. This, however, is not as simple as it seems. Even though the above is correct, there is a way to get to your funds. Already exposed public keys. But before we get to that, there is another point that is often overlooked: Not only is the security of your personal BTC is important, but also the security of funds of other users. If others got hacked, the news of the hack itself and the reaction of the market to that news, would influence the marketprice. Or, if a big account like the Satoshi account were to be hacked and dumped, the dump itself, combined with the news of the hack, could be even worse. An individual does not have the control of other people’s actions. So even though one might make sure his public key is only registered in hashed form, others might not do so, or might no know their public key is exposed. There are several reasons why a substantial amount of addresses actually have exposed full public keys:
Only unused addresses are quantum secure, but in reality, there are a lot of people, who reuse addresses. (To clarify: with unused I mean an address that has only been used to deposit money on, and not used to make transactions from. Because if you make a deposit, your public key stays hidden, but if you make a transaction from that address to another address, your public key will be revealed.)
Bitcoin transactions with P2PK UTXOs, so these are the addresses from the period that public keys were not hashed, but published in full. (about 1.77 million BTC fall into this category) (https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/213.pdf p. 7) This includes the Satoshi funds.
Any other revealing of public keys, such as part of signed messages to ensure integrity, in forums, or in payment channels (e.g. Lightning Network ). (https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/213.pdf p. 7)
In total, about 36% of all BTC are on addresses with exposed public keysOf which about 20% is on lost addresses. and here Hijacking transactions. But even if you consider the above an acceptable risk, just because you yourself will make sure you never reuse an address, then still, the fact that only the hashed public key is published until you make a transaction is a false sense of security. It only works, if you never make a transaction. Why? Public keys are revealed while making a transaction, so transactions can be hijacked while being made. Here it is important to understand two things: 1.) How is a transaction sent? The owner has the private key and the public key and uses that to log into the secured environment, the wallet. This can be online or offline. Once he is in his wallet, he states how much he wants to send and to what address. When he sends the transaction, it will be broadcasted to the blockchain network. But before the actual transaction will be sent, it is formed into a package, created by the wallet. This happens out of sight of the sender. That package ends up carrying roughly the following info: the public key to point to the address where the funds will be coming from, the amount that will be transferred, the address the funds will be transferred to (depending on the blockchain this could be the hashed public key, or the original public key of the address the funds will be transferred to). This package also carries the most important thing: a signature, created by the wallet, derived from the private- public key combination. This signature proves to the miners that you are the rightful owner and you can send funds from that public key. Then this package is sent out of the secure wallet environment to multiple nodes. The nodes don’t need to trust the sender or establish the sender’s "identity”, because the sender proofs he is the rightful owner by adding the signature that corresponds with the public key. And because the transaction is signed and contains no confidential information, private keys, or credentials, it can be publicly broadcast using any underlying network transport that is convenient. As long as the transaction can reach a node that will propagate it into the network, it doesn’t matter how it is transported to the first node. 2.) How is a transaction confirmed/ fulfilled and registered on the blockchain? After the transaction is sent to the network, it is ready to be processed. The nodes have a bundle of transactions to verify and register on the next block. This is done during a period called the block time. In the case of BTC that is 10 minutes. If we process the information written above, we will see that there are two moments where you can actually see the public key, while the transaction is not fulfilled and registered on the blockchain yet. 1: during the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes 2: during the time the nodes verify the transaction. (The blocktime) Hijacks during blocktime This paper describes how you could hijack a transaction and make a new transaction of your own, using someone else’s address and send his coins to an address you own during moment 2: the time the nodes verify the transaction: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.10377.pdf "(Unprocessed transactions) After a transaction has been broadcast to the network, but before it is placed on the blockchain it is at risk from a quantum attack. If the secret key can be derived from the broadcast public key before the transaction is placed on the blockchain, then an attacker could use this secret key to broadcast a new transaction from the same address to his own address. If the attacker then ensures that this new transaction is placed on the blockchain first, then he can effectively steal all the bitcoin behind the original address." (Page 8, point 3.) So this means that BTC obviously is not a quantum secure blockchain. Because as soon as you will touch your funds and use them for payment, or send them to another address, you will have to make a transaction and you risk a quantum attack. Hijacks pre-blocktime. The story doesn't end here. The paper doesn't describe the posibility of a pre-blocktime hijack. So back to the paper: as explained, while making a transaction your public key is exposed for at least the transaction time. This transaction time is 10 minutes where your transaction is being confirmed during the 10 minute block time. That is the period where your public key is visible and where, as described in the paper, a transaction can be hijacked, and by using quantum computers, a forged transaction can be made. So the critical point is determined to be the moment where quantum computers can derive private keys from public keys within 10 minutes. Based on that 10 minute period, they calculate (estimate) how long it will take before QC's start forming a threat to BTC. (“ By our most optimistic estimates, as early as 2027 a quantum computer could exist that can break the elliptic curve signature scheme in less than 10 minutes, the block time used in Bitcoin.“ This is also shown in figure 4 on page 10 and later more in depth calculated in appendix C, where the pessimistic estimate is around 2037.) But you could extend that 10 minutes through network based attacks like DDoS, BGP routing attacks, NSA Quantum Insert, Eclipse attacks, MITM attacks or anything like that. (And I don’t mean you extend the block time by using a network based attack, but you extend the time you have access to the public key before the transaction is confirmed.) Bitcoin would be earlier at risk than calculated in this paper. Also other Blockchains with way shorter block times imagine themselves safe for a longer period than BTC, but with this extension of the timeframe within which you can derive the private key, they too will be vulnerable way sooner. Not so long ago an eclipse attack demonstrated it could have done the trick. and here Causing the blockchain to work over max capacity, means the transactions will be waiting to be added to a block for a longer time. This time needs to be added on the blocktime, expanding the period one would have time to derive the private key from the public key. That seems to be fixed now, but it shows there are always new attacks possible and when the incentive is right (Like a few billion $ kind of right) these could be specifically designed for certain blockchains. MITM attacks An MITM attack could find the public key in the first moment the public key is exposed. (During the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes) So these transactions that are sent to the network, contain public keys that you could intercept. So that means that if you intercept transactions (and with that the private keys) and simultaneously delay their arrival to the blockchain network, you create extra time to derive the private key from the public key using a quantum computer. When you done that, you send a transaction of your own before the original transaction has arrived and is confirmed and send funds from that stolen address to an address of your choosing. The result would be that you have an extra 10, 20, 30 minutes (or however long you can delay the original transactions), to derive the public key. This can be done without ever needing to mess with a blockchain network, because the attack happens outside the network. Therefore, slower quantum computers form a threat. Meaning that earlier models of quantum computers can form a threat than they assume now. When MITM attacks and hijacking transactions will form a threat to BTC, other blockchains will be vulnerable to the same attacks, especially MITM attacks. There are ways to prevent hijacking after arrival at the nodes. I will elaborate on that in the next article. At this point of time, the pub key would be useless to an attacker due to the fact there is no quantum computer available now. Once a quantum computer of the right size is available, it becomes a problem. For quantum resistant blockchains this is differetn. MITM attacks and hijacking is useless to quantum resistant blockchains like QRL and Mochimo because these projects use quantum resistant keys.
All of the AMA questions/comments from the darkoverlord re: 9/11 insurance leak extortion here
Q: This doesn't seem like something a group that uses the darkweb would do in public. A: This is something we do. We can't speak for the others. This is our modus operandi. We like to do everything we can to squeeze every last coin out of our victims. We're financially motivated. For everyone else asking why we're not dumping it all, we have. It's available to torrent. Our official Press Release with more info is available here: pastebin.com/4F5R8QyQ Q: 9.8 gigs seems a lot for just documents. Does it include videos or audio recordings? A: We're withholding anything that isn't text-readable for now. Q: who did 9/11 in your opinion based on the docs? A: We don't really give a fuck. We want internet money. We've already released a select few documents to serve as proof of our claims. We're about to change the fucking world. Edward Snowden's NSA leak will be pale in comparison. Q: (ID: QYsiPYKc) A: When we deal with clients who have PoF, we provide such presentations. We're quite wealthy, earning hundreds of BTC per year in profit from our systematic cyber-extortion. GCHQ coined that term for us. You can read their advisory about this organisation. Q: Hi, thedarkoverlord, Have you considered that information may well be used crash the monetary system you hope to be compensated in? A: Fantastic question, mate. We're not concerned about that as we receive our payments only in internet money like Bitcoin. The monetary crash will be your problem. We always advise our clients to diversify and acquire different convertible currencies. Q: Explain attack vector that lead to initial shell. Web based? Misconfigired service? Well known exploit? A: Nice try, Mandiant. Q: How? You stated that your intent was to sell it to the highest bidder. That just means that it will get buried. A: We're financially motivated. We're not motivated by saving the planet. Q: Waiting for overlords dead man switch A: We have several layers of 'dead man's switches' deployed. This is why the entire archive we'd plan to release is freely downloadable now. We're sitting on our high entropy master encryption keys that can be released through even a failure of the organisation. Q: The thing is, I (and few others) are willing to pay. Provided that OP understands at least basics how such trades are executed. A: We're highly reputable, having sold hundreds of BTC worth of intellectual property, R&D, databases, and more. Our official contact details are in our office Press Release. Please contact us using PGP. We'll happily conform to your requirements to substantiate our loot. Q: if you DO get paid then we can assume the world's not save because you'd not release them right? A: That's correct. We're not here to save the world. We're here to get paid internet money. We're not motivated by ego or charity, only money. Q: Hey thedarkoverlord, give us something for free you poofters. A: We already have. Pay attention, fag. For everyone speaking about the hack of a global insurer, you should understand how sophisticated litigation works. We're sitting on SSI and SCI from TSA, FBI, FAA, USDOJ, and others. Refer to our official PR for more information. Q: Thoughts on Cicada 3301 and WikiLeaks? particularly who is behind Cicada? A: We don't speculate on other organisations. We focus on ourselves. Q: Do you have a timeline you can disclose for releasing each layer? A: There is a timeline, but we can't share details about that. Q: Your group could have chosen to privately auction this info to the same exact bidders you will likely get through these public antics. That makes me question your timing. Why disrupt our system of things and way of life now ( assuming your I do is as world changing as you state)? Why now? A: Tis the season. Q: I don't give a shit what he wants I'll kick in 20 bucks for anything that peaks my interest one single doc to prove it's not a nothing burger with no strings attached I've been sitting on btc since 50 btc blocks. A: Ff you'd like to be the first person to purchase a single file or two from us, you're welcome to. We'd happily sell you something right now. Our Twitter has our e-mail on it. Get in contact, mate. Q: what would anyone who is selling world shattering documents for millions of dollars try selling them on 4chan? A: We're not selling anything on 4chan. We're working SEO right now. Google 'thedarkoverlord' and see for yourself. It's driving a tremendous amount of traffic to our content. This is all calculated and pre-arranged. Q: Fuck yeah based hackerman. I read the release, make those fuckers pay for breaking the deal. They should pay extra just for being so stupid to let you find anything in their network in the first place. Too easy probably, IT people are lazy as fuck. Get paid. A: We've probably hacked your company too. Q: I'd be willing to chip in with others to see it if I was sure it would be world shaking info. Not something the average person would change the TV when it came up on the news. On a scale of 1-10 how system breaking is the info? A: You're the smart one here, asking the right questions. We'd say it's a 7.5, all things considered. Snowden may have been a 5.5, maybe a 6. More people care about 911 than USA spying. Now, our next release about UFOs, yeah, that's a 10 mate, but it's going to wait until we're done here. If you'd like to buy 911 documents from us, read the answers above. Anyone can see ample proof on our official PR and our official Twitter @tdo_h4ck3rs. This is quiet real. We'd like to top Edward Snowden. Everyone saying they're coming for us: we know. GCHQ has published advisories about us and the Billings Gazette news publisher leaked the fact that the CIA and NSA event attempted to locate us last year in October after we closed down 50.000 students and 36 schools in an entire region of Montana for 7 days. This is readily available news. Q: Actually appears legit. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that your leak could cause a former-sitting president to get lynched? Also, hope your DMS shoots to a Blockchian. A: We'd rather not say, for fear of his safety. We'll be sharing a few new screencaps momentarily, to stir the pot a bit. Q: why are you doing ransom instead of exploiting this information for insider trading A: We're experts in systematic cyber-extortion, according to GCHQ. We do what we're best at. Q: Do you have anything really damaging on Hillary or Obama? A: We're unwilling to answer this question. Q: Holy kek, FreeBSD is one of the most insecure OS, no joke. A: We utilise Windows Embedded. Q: That's a bit of a lame answer. Why pick a risky strategy like cyber extortion, when you can stay under the radar, and do insider trading from a beach in Asia? A: We don't discuss out TTPs in public. Q: So given your financial motivation, is it safe to assume you’re “group” is more anarchy than order? That is to say, are you looking to shift power,take power, or destroy power? A: We're not interested in power, only internet money. Q: Their answer here will actually clue in their degree of technical competency. I'd add - justify why it will reach this price. A: We haven't shared a price, at all. Depending on what a buyer would like, we adjust our offer. Q: Iron Mountain is a military base. Why is a WTC Insurer shredding documents on it? A: Great question. We'll direct you to ur official PR which details it. We'll quote the issue for you below: "When major incidents like the WTC 911 incident happen, part of the litigation must involve SSI (Sensitive Security Information) and SCI (Special Compartment Information) from the likes of the FBI, CIA, TSA, FAA, DOD, and others being introduced into evidence, but of course this can't become public, for fear of compromising a nation's security, so they temporarily release these materials to the solicitor firms involved in the litigation with the strict demand they're destroyed after their use and that remain highly protected and confidential to only be used behind closed doors. However, humans aren't perfect and many of these documents don't become destroyed, and when thedarkoverlord comes along hacking all these solicitor firms, investment banks, and global insurers, we stumble upon the juiciest secrets a government has to offer." Q: Hey do you take hack requests? I have a couple of bitcoins... A: Visit our official Twitter @tdo_h4ck3rs where our contact details are readily available. We operate on a strict protocol and often times require bonding. Q: why leak on new years eve A: Because it forces about a dozen Fortune 500 companies in the UK and USA to build damage control and COA plans on their New Years holiday, robbing them of any pleasure and bringing in their new year at a new low. Q: if i purchase the doc's, whats stopping me uploading it everywhere? will you guys get annoyed? A: Once we're paid, they're yours. You do as we you wish. We couldn't care any less. Q: yeah has there been any strange shit happening that makes you think they're on to you or that you've being targetted already? A: Other than them telling victims to pay us because it's the best move to save their arses, we sleep like babies. Q: Likes,kind of a career ending big heist, don't you think? A: We already live like the ending of a great heist movie, on warm beaches with loads of internet money. We're quite happy. Q: Why do you care about their pleasure or them starting new year at all time low, thought this was all just business? A: It's all business. Psychologically, they're most vulnerable when this process is used and it resutls in higher success rates for us. Q: Apparently the guy they caught was in Serbia. A: A complete random stranger. Q: The question about crypto was good, do you have any predictions about BTC next year and do you think it's still the best currency to invest in? A: We predict we'll earn even more BTC. As our clients are paying us while we have them bent over a barrel, we always advise them to buy up for their personal portfolios. Q: Do you have a deadman set up A: We do.
I coded an app to solve the problem of FOMO when daytrading
Hey reddit coiner, I’m Chris. To solve FOMO problem, my app calculatedsocial trend data like: No. of new Twitter followers of a coin within 24h’, ‘% of new Twitter followers per day compared to the last 30 days average’, etc. For example, two week ago, Bitcoin surge a lot, but in the first day and even a full week before, there were no increase to the number of new Reddit subscribers a day, the number of new posts and online users didn't change compared to the month before. The amount of mentions about Bitcoin on Twitter even reduced compared to earlier months, so this price surge is probably just a bull trap. Therefore, I sold my BTC a week ago when i saw a pinbar combined with a double top pattern, so I got away from the dump to 3500. I saw similar pattern in other coin token pairs I trade. I do think the connection between crypto social and price is pretty close aside from news and TAs. That aside, I also included small features like notification when there’s a price surge in cryptocurrency within 60 minutes (or a pump and dump as you call it), or when a coin is listed or delisted. This is link for android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cointrendtracker And for dude who use iphone: https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1443987253?mt=8 Important thing to note: - If you don't want to login, just choose " Stay incognito" option at bottom - This crappy indie app won’t require any permission from your phone, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your private keys. I build it by myself with the help of some friends (i’m Major in Computer Programming). I know it just an unknown app, and you may find it so silly but i’d love to hear what you guys honestly think. I love coding useful tools for crypto trader so if you have any idea, but you aren’t able to make it, you can tell me about it via my email and I’ll try to make it a reality if I am able to. My email is: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Thanks for reading until here. Bless y’all P/s: Sorry if you guys see my post too often. It’s my first time coding and I wanna spread my app around and Reddit is all I got :’( Hope im not bothering anyone and thanks for your feedbacks! Really! And, I made this app trying to solve a painful issue, and the task itself is very fun for me. Though if you guys wanna buy me a coffee or something i’d gladly accept. If you guys like, I could credit your usernames or real names in a special place in the next versions of the app. You can find my wallet in comment.
I'm in the crypto game since end of May and I have invested in several cryptos, made a lot of newbie mistakes, made some money but mainly learned a LOT about investment strategies. Crypto currencies investment is very specific and trading techniques don't really apply here. If you don't prepare yourself and educate yourself before investing, you will probably lose money or end up bagholding for a while. It takes time to do your own research, understand the mechanics to be able to invest wisely and optimize your profit. Here is a compilation of the rules I learned and I'm forcing myself to follow to avoid the common pitfalls. Feel free to comment and add more rules if you have any. I will edit this post if I can recall some more later on and based on your feedbacks.
Rule #0:Invest only what you can afford to lose.
This is by far the only rule that you should have in mind anytime you invest money in something. And this especially applies to crypto which is more volatile than anything you could have invested in so far. Don't ever take a loan or lend money to buy crypto, don't invest all your life savings or money you need for your daily life.
Rule #1:Do your own research.
Before investing in any coin, take enough time to thoroughly read as much as you can from existing documentation, whitepapers, posts, blogs,... Understanding what you are investing your money in is absolutely key to success.
Rule #2:Don't fall for the shills or fud.
Don't trust anyone, be critical and don't take any news, rumors or investing advice at face value. Subreddits, blogs, YouTube,.. are full of people shilling, fuding, and lying about cryptos to manipulate the price for their profit. Cross-check reading, facts checking and asking questions are your best friends and will help you debunk fake information.
Rule #3:Don't get too attached to any coin.
It's good to believe in a project but if you get too emotional it may blind you to hodl when it's time to sell and cut your losses, or to buy at ATH. Right now, most of the crypto projects are over speculated and overvalued. Most of them will fail and their token price will probably fall down to 0. Some projects are more mature and are less risky than others. Usually their token is already priced in so they are good for long term investment, because the price will likely raise more steadily. But most people will want to invest in more risky coins to get more reward. "Fortune goes to the bold" they say. If you go that way, you will invest in projects with merely a working product, and most of the time only a single whitepaper. Whatever extraordinary and awesome the promises these projects hold, the rise of the price will only be driven by speculation at this point so don't get too fanatic about it. You definitely will want to get out if you feel that the fundamentals have changed so set your objectives and exit strategy before investing.
Rule #4:Avoid buying during a pump.
You will experience FOMO many times and will be tempted to buy during a pump and you will probably end up buying at ATH. Pumps are usually followed by a dump or correction. Sometimes the dip is temporary if you get lucky, but most of the times it's not. So you can end up bagholding until it pumps again.
Rule #5:Don't try to time the market
Buying at the right time is the most difficult thing to do in crypto and timing the market is almost impossible. You will see a lot of people providing trading technical analysis and trying to predict the next price movement. Sometimes these predictions will be realized but most of the times they won't. Crypto markets are overly manipulated and it's difficult to predict prices when whales and bots are acting behind the scenes. If you believe in the future of a coin on the rise, remember that "the best time to buy it was yesterday and the second best time is now". If the price goes x10 or more in a year or 2, it won't matter if you bought it at a price 20% higher back then. However, if you can, be sure to always have some funds available to buy the dip. It will help you accumulate more hence making more profit when price will rise.
Rule #6:Dollar-cost average buying.
It will most of the time be better to buy regularly a smaller but constant amount rather than one big chunk at once. This is a proven investment strategy that will pay off in the long term. Similarly, you can also average buy during a price dip to avoid missing the bottom that can be directly followed by a recovery.
Rule #7:Don't be too greedy.
Plan your strategy, set your selling price/ target profit % before buying anything and stick to it. You will often be tempted to keep holding your coin during a pump rally, beecause heck, why should you sell when your coin keeps going up? First, it won't last forever and every pump is always followed by a price correction. Second, if you don't take some profit at some point, you take the risk to get no profit at all if you miss the ATH and end up stuck in the dump with a price below your buy price. It's better to sell a chunk of your holdings to secure some profit and keep the other chunk to stay in the game for longer term
Rule #8:Cut your losses
Always set stop limit sell to avoid being caught in a dump and forced bagholding until price recovers. Recovery can take days, or months or it can never happen...
Depending on your strategy, and your aversion to risk, it is often wiser to not invest in only one single crypto unless you only want to hold btc. Choose coins that fill different niches and serve real purpose by solving a genuine problem. Follow rule #1 to make your choices.
Rule #10:To hodl or not to hodl?
Hodl = hold (you will learn about this meme soon enough when you have read enough sub posts) If you are not day trading, your strategy will consist of either buying and holding coins for long term, or buying undervalued coins to sell part or all of them after price has gained xx %. So the question is: is it a better strategy to just hodl coins and wait or being an active trader and leverage the fluctuations between altcoins and btc or ETH to optimize your profit? You will get different answers to this question from people depending of their own experience and belief. When I started investing, I had convictions and faith in some coins that I was planning to hold for very long term. For some of them, it still apply as of today and I'm still holding them because I have enough confidence about their future. But from a pure investment and profit perspective, having too much faith in a coin is not that good of a strategy. From my experience, in the end the only coin to really hold is BTC, at least for now. As you will experience yourself, altcoins and btc prices are correlated but fluctuations of both depend of many factors. Usually, when money flows to btc, and btc price rallies, altcoins prices are falling because people are selling their altcoins to buy BTC. This is especially true when a fork is planned few weeks ahead for instance because people wants to get free coins hence free money. It's basic human psychology Several times I've been caught by these btc rallies and ended up bagholding altcoins because of people switching to btc. That's why it's important to regularly take your profit and convert back to btc, so you don't end up missing out btc price rally. Numerous times I've been experiencing this, and regreted not having converted back my stake to btc earlier because in the end it was more profitable to hold btc rather than my altcoins. Of course, what I have described above is not always what is happening. You might see altcoins rally up while btc price is rallying as well. Staying well informed and up to date about the coins you are watching is important to be able to make good decisions and catch the pumps that can be more profitable than just holding btc. One thing to consider also is that although BTC can be seen as outdated or obsolete features-wise for some, currently you can't workaround it if you want to buy crypto and basically make money. There are not many cryptos besides BTC, LTC or ETH that you can use to buy other cryptos. On most exchanges these are the only ones paired to altcoins so you need to trade for them first or buy them with your fiat money before being able to buy altcoins. Also when you'll want to cash out you will need to convert your altcoins to btc first and then sell your BTC. This is not the case on all exchanges and more cryptos pairs are being added over time. But until more altcoins become as compulsory and compelling as BTC, you need to stay focus on one single objective when you trade or hold tokens: increase your BTC stake. The fiat price of altcoins are for most of them calculated from their price against BTC. To be clearer, If BTC price rallies up and your altcoin price stays the same, you are basically losing money, or to be more exact, your investment would be better if it was in BTC instead of your altcoin. You know, when I started investing I was very confident about the future of other blockchains and cryptocurrencies that would eventually take over BTC that I was considering obsolete at that time. But after some time, I understood that despite all its flaws, all the hard forks drama, BTC is still there, and is very resilient to all the FUD and attacks towards it. I'm still convinced that there are many cryptos that do things better than BTC, that PoW is not ideal, etc... But here's the catch: crypto space is large enough to have competing blockchains that fill a gap or a niche left by others. In this perspective, I can still see BTC relevant as a store of value. I don't think it will stay that way for ever, and maybe direct bitcoin competitors will take over in the future, but right now, tbh, BTC has never been stronger. Just look at the price...
Rule #11 (3-in-1):Don't leave too much of your crypto on exchanges / Enable 2FA on your exchange account / Store your tokens on your own wallets and backup the keys
Crypto exchanges are not secure despite all the security measures put in place. Hackers know there is something to be stolen so they will do everything they can to find exploits to get those precious tokens stored in those exchanges. Many hacks have been successfully made so far (Mt. Gox, Bitfinex, e-btc,..) and a lot of people have lost their tokens. I'm not even counting all the scams and fake websites that exploit users carelessness to stole their private keys and tokens. Nowadays, some exchanges security has been improved to avoid these massive hacks, and tokens staked are usually stored in cold storage not connected to the network. Only tokens traded are stored temporarily on hot wallets. Another thing to consider is that when you store your tokens on an exchange, you don't hold the private keys of your wallets. The only thing you have is an IOU from the exchange when you will want to trade or withdraw your tokens. In case of a hack and tokens theft, you have no guarantee that the exchange will compensate you. Some exchanges are more reputable than others but most of them at least have enforced users to enable 2FA authentication, which is a bare minimum. I STRONGLY advise to use only TOTP-based or similar application for 2FA and NEVER use 2FA with SMS. Especially if you live in the US. It is far too easy to get your personal information from social networks and impersonate you to make a phone operator migrate your number to the phone of a hacker. Many people will say to never leave anything on exchange. I think this mainly apply if you want to hold for long term and never trade. Unless you transfer large sums and don't care about transfer time and withdrawal fees, it can get quite painful to go back and forth from your wallets to the exchanges, especially if you hold many different cryptos. So if you plan to trade from time to time, you can leave enough on the exchanges to make these trades and keep your main holdings safely on your hardware, software or paper wallets. When you're done trading for a while, transfer back your tokens to your wallet. Also, it could be wiser to split your tokens and store them across different exchanges so you split the risk of losing everything in case of a hack. Note for newbies: when you start trading the first time and buy your first tokens for a modest sum, it's probably safer to let your tokens on the exchange until you get enough knowledge about wallets and know what you are doing. I witnessed numerous times people losing their private keys or password hence their tokens, because they forgot where they were stored or their hard-drive crashed, or they couldn't remember their password or lost their private key seeds. You need to be very careful with your wallet so you need to learn how it works, the address, the fees, how to do multiple backups of your keys, etc.... Until then, and if you don't mind losing the tokens and money in case of a hack, then it's probably safer to keep them in a reliable exchange. You can be your own enemy sometimes... When you will be experienced enough about wallets, the most reliable and secure option is to store your tokens in a hardware wallet such as Ledger or Trezor. Edit1: added another Rule about exchanges and wallet. Than you for your feedbacks!! Edit2: added a more detailed opinion about btc and why it is important to hold it, at least for now.
October, 2011 was when I first heard about Bitcoin. A friend excitedly told me about it, that the price had crashed, that it could be 'mined', and that it could be purchased on exchanges. He didn't own any, but he found it interesting, and so did I. I was instantly interested in acquiring some coins. That the price had 'crashed' meant a buying opportunity, and I further saw it as evidence that the system was somehow free, and had a life of its own. I did not purchase any right away, regretfully, since the coins were about $3 each. I did do some initial research, calculating mining profitability, and looking into the process for buying coins on MtGox. I also read about the thefts and hacks. I found it intuitive these incidents were matters of endpoint-security, and not reflective of a systemic weakness. Yet I would have much to learn if I was to avoid becoming a victim. I continued to casually follow Bitcoin developments, and occasionally checked the price. Eight months later I came across a Timothy B. Lee article in Forbes that detailed the Bitcoin Richlist. It was my catalyst. It was time for a technical deep dive, time to understand what gave people the confidence to entrust millions of dollars of value to the system. Of everything I read that day, it wasn't the proof-of-work that seemed revolutionary, but simply the fact that a lost private key meant the coins would be irrecoverable. That signified Bitcoin put true and total control of money into the hands of users, and for that it was different and worthwhile. I decided to invest. All that was left was working out the mechanics of the transaction. And security. I was determined to not fall victim to a hack. An offline, paper wallet seemed like the easy choice. The price was in the $6 - $7 range. My first purchase went though MoneyGram and Coinapult, with MtGox as my receiving wallet. I put in $150, and got out $130 worth of coins. The price had surged in the few days since I decided to buy, to slightly under $10 per coin. I transferred the coins off of MtGox and onto my paper wallet, and it all felt very real! I wanted to buy more, and settled on CoinFloor to avoid the hefty fees I paid the first time. CoinFloor also allowed for instant fiat funding via a deposit at a bank teller window. Depositing $900 directly into a bank account was not without risk, but CoinFloor came through and the money was credited within 5 minutes. It all went flawlessly, and soon with my 100 coins spread out over a few different paper wallets, I could rest easy, without fear of a hack. Edit - I meant BitFloor, not CoinFloor I occasionally checked the price, tested out Satoshi Dice, and read a little more on the technical underpinnings, but other than that, I mostly forgot about my Bitcoin investment for the next 6 months. Then, in early 2013, I read about a few seed rounds in Bitcoin startups, and I saw pictures of a Bitcoin booth at the CES is Las Vegas. Somehow that booth, with the Bitcoin logo, made it all seem even more legitimate. The price had climbed into the $14 - $15 range, and I wanted more coin. CoinFloor had been hacked and was out of commission. This time I would use the Dwolla to MtGox method of funding. I found myself seriously regretting not having done Gox's verification the previous summer, as the price quickly climbed while I waited. When my verification finally cleared, the price had shot up to $19, and I transferred in several thousand dollars and bought another ~150 coins. Over the next few months I kept buying until the price crossed $100 per coin. In total, I had put in about $10,000 for 340 coins. I worked part-time, with an annual income of about $25,000, so that $10,000 felt substantial. The rise to $266 was exhilarating, as was the following surge to $1242. I mostly held, but sometimes tried to time the market with a small position (always 10% of holdings or less). I sold some coins the first time Bitcoin passed the $400 mark to recoup my initial investment, and I arbitraged when it was profitable. I lost a then-painful amount of fiat on MtGox, but not any coins. I held tight during the long bear market, with absolute confidence that the price would find a non-zero bottom, and it would only be up from there. The ecosystem was growing, the technology was maturing, and investment money was pouring in, and yet the price continued to decline. I would have loved to buy more, but doing so would have been truly irresponsible from a diversification perspective. I have largely stayed away alt-coins, but I did mine-and-dump those I found annoying, and mined and held the one that I found interesting - Ethereum. I reluctantly pushed some BTC into Ethereum early this year, which turned out to be a good move. In total, over the past 5 years, I have returned about 200x on my initial investment, in the current form of about 250 BTC, about 700 ETH and approximately $300k of other liquid assets. The result is almost identical to a pure buy-and-hold from the beginning, but I felt the need to hedge as valuations changed over time. I feel no pressure to sell more coins, though I probably would convert a few in the $20k-$40k range, prices which I have long seen as likely, if not inevitable. I am in my early 30's. Ask Me Anything! Though I might only have time to answer a few…
It’s my bad, guys. I got too busy to sit down and format the post right after it went up. It’s been up for a few hours and people are blowing up over it. A few have private messaged me and asked for a link to the forum post. Let me clarify where this is being posted. This site is very, very privacy oriented. Links are automatically changed every few minutes, and they are updated across the site automatically. Even the domain name changes every couple of hours. In short, nothing on the site is static. You have to be invited and run software on your computer to keep the links updated. So, no, I can’t link anyone to the post. I can’t invite anyone to the site either, because every account gets ONE invite, and I’ve already given mine to a friend a while ago. Sorry. That’s also why, even though Michael/Neale provides links in this post, I can’t link them here. Without further comment, here’s the last post from Michael/Neale!
Jack's face told me that there would be no lying my way out. Not a chance in hell. He wasn't going to believe anything besides the truth. I eyed the gun on his bedside table briefly. If he didn't like the way I'd been living, he could shoot me. Or just plain attack me. Jack seemed to be a very upright and honest guy. I'd probably lose his help by the end of telling the truth. So, I did. I told him about leaving the military and being unable to find a job. I told him everything I've told you now. I told him that I did in fact talk with Neale's Employees, and that I didn't want the police involved because I was an identity thief. Jack sat on the bed across from me and just stared during my story. He barely even moved. No reaction. "I still don't know if these guys are after me as Michael, or me as Neale," I finished with a shrug. Then I sighed deeply and looked at the floor. "You're kidding me," Jack said after a few seconds of silence. "Nope, it's all true," I said. He stood up and grabbed one of the motel keys. "I'm taking a walk to think about this," he said. I didn't even look up. He left, and I stayed where I was, my eyes boring into the floor. "Fuck." I whispered after he slammed the door. My emotions were drained, but the adrenaline of being caught by Jack kept me alert. No way was I sleeping anytime soon. I pulled out my laptop and took a seat at the desk provided by the motel. It would be past midnight soon, so the DeathNote guys' latest wager would be wasted. They'd have to put in another if they wanted their money on their next attempt. If the DeathNote guys were going to try and make some money by killing me, I was going to use their greed against them. I wrote a quick bot that would poll the DeathNote site every few seconds. If a bounty was added under my name, I'd get a text from my email address. Hello crude alarm system. Writing that bot took about half an hour, and by the time I had finished, I was ready to sleep again. As I laid down, I turned up the ringer on my phone to its maximum. I hoped it would wake me up. Sleep hit me like a metric ton of bricks.
I didn't hear Jack come back in last night, but he was sleeping in his bed when I squinted in the morning light and rolled over. The curtains were parted just barely and let a single stream of sunlight right into my eyes. Grumbling, I got up to pull them closed. The alarm clock on my nightstand said it was 10am. I panicked, realizing that I was very late for work. I pushed that trivial panic down and laughed quietly at myself. I was so wrapped up in maintaining Chris's identity that I apparently didn't give a shit about Neale or Michael. Not getting fired took priority over staying alive, apparently. I called my store and told the employees I was sick and wouldn't be in after all. Giving instructions from memory. I glanced over at Jack, who was completely passed out. His Beretta, phone, and keys were lying on his bedside table. I watched him intently for a few minutes, thinking. He could very well wake up and call the cops on me. He was a liability now. But there was nothing I could do to get rid of him. Not now, at least. Time to get to work. I still had some fishing to do. Ha, get it?
I logged into the backend of the fake phishing site I'd made, and was pleased to find ten entries in the database. Ten people had used my "forgot password" scam, and eight of them were Neale's. The other two were from my Employees. Marco and Alejandro Chavez. Brothers? Or were they cover names? They had followed my instructions, providing the same email address for both of them, but separate phone numbers. Pulling out my phone, I entered both numbers and saved them. I had yet to decide what I was going to do with them. Now, onto Neale. All of these Neale's were at least a little smart. None of them gave addresses, only zip codes. But at least I had something. Two zip codes were far out of state, two were one state away, and three of them were from nearby counties. One Neale didn't even have the last name of Keaton. How many Neale Keaton's were there? I decided to investigate the three Neale's in nearby counties. Google provided Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and even a Twitter account. They were semi-active there, and even though they looked like grade-A citizens online, there was no way to know if any of them were not my Neale. For each one, I created a Facebook profile with some stock photos online. Their profiles were locked down, but their friends lists were viewable. I correlated the number of friends and guessed that the friends with the most of the same high school meant that was the school Neale had gone to. I used that high school to finish the profile, and sent off a friend request. I followed the same procedure for the other two zip codes in the neighboring states, but ignored the other two that were far away. If they accepted my friend request, I could do some more digging on their profile and hopefully narrow down my list. It took me a couple of hours to set everything up. Jack woke up just as I was wrapping things up. "Guess you're more into computers than you let on," he said as he sat up. I didn't say anything, but I turned around slowly to make eye contact. "You gonna call the cops on me?" I ventured. "Do you see the cops here?" "No..." "There's your answer." "Are you planning to help me get out of this?" "I don't want to help you." "Then why are you still here?" I coarsely asked. "After last night, whoever was shooting at us knows I'm helping you. So, before I knew what kind of an asshole you are, I locked myself into this." "You really think I'm that big of an asshole that I don't deserve to live?" I said angrily. "Identity theft is pretty fucking serious, Michael. Or should I say "Chris", because that's what your name tag says." I cringed and shut my eyes. "Jack," I started. "I'm not a bad person, or at least I try not to be. I boost people's credit scores and only take what they can afford to lose and not get suspicious about. I do that so I have a chance at retiring and not being a store manager beyond the age of 65." "So you go to school, you learn how to be valuable instead of stealing value from someone else!" Jack's voice rose. I gestured wildly at my laptop. "I didn't know shit about this or business before I started! But look at me now, I'm learning and getting better! Hell, if I get good enough, I might be able to repay everything I took! Plus interest!" Jack turned away and ran his hands through his hair. "So if you're stuck with me, like you said, then what's the endgame here?" I asked, giving him a minute to collect himself. "To get my name disassociated with yours, or Neale's or whoever the fuck these guys are after." "Good, then we have the same goal: to ditch Neale's identity. I have a part of a plan. Maybe sixty-five percent." "How comforting," Jack sneered. I spread my arms out and widened my eyes. "I've gotten this far on some pretty complicated crimes, Jack. We can get out of this." Jack sighed. "What's your sixty-five percent of a plan?" "Well, obviously we leave this area and never come back. Find a way to fire those Employees after I pay them what I owe." "You owe them money?!" Jack cried incredulously. "Not me! Neale!" Jack shook his head at me. I continued anyway. "I pay them what I owe so they don't come looking for me. We leave town, I burn everything to do with Neale. I find a new job somewhere else, you do the same, and we're free and clear." "How is that only sixty-five percent of a plan? Sounds more like common sense." "I haven't run through all the variables yet to make sure nothing is left undone," I said, folding my arms. "If you want my help, I have some conditions," Jack said. "Honestly, I could take it or leave it at this point, so I'm not to inclined to ask for your help," I snipped. "Then you can walk home from the motel." I shut my mouth. "First, you give me your real info. First name, last name, military unit, parent's info, the works." I waited for him to continue, even though I was shouting "No!" internally. "Second, you burn every identity you have currently. All except for Chris, since you need a job somewhere. But if you take out anymore credit cards, they sure as hell better be in your name." I clenched my jaw. Those were my backups. My emergency identities in case I needed to run. "Then I've decided. I don't want your help." "Then I'll call the cops." "Not if I get out of town first." "Then I'll find Chris directly and tell him all about what you've been using his info for. I'm sure your store keeps records on first and last names and social security numbers. I'll call as a bill collector and find the real Chris. Your best identity will be gone." He snapped his fingers. "I can't believe this. You're threatening me to accept your help. Are you listening to yourself?" "Actually, I'm protecting the public against you. If I find out you're swindling people out of identities again after this, I'll turn you in myself. The alternative is that I turn you in right now." Shit. He had me in a tight corner. I could squeeze out, but it'd take time to plan and some research to-- "Deal?" Jack interrupted my thoughts, thrusting out a hand. "If we have a deal, I help you get out of Neale's identity and get the target off your head. No deal, and you go to jail tonight." I sighed, then took his hand. "First thing's first," Jack said after we let go. "Burn those identities."
I shuffled around my office, peeling credit cards and IDs from underneath tables and underneath carpet flooring. Jack explored the room, looking for any that I might be intentionally leaving behind. "We might need these to get out of town," I complained while stacking the cards on my desk. "You mean you might need them. I don't have any fake identities to fall back on if things go south, so you don't get them either." "I'm telling you, these could be useful," I grumbled. "And I told you that was part of the deal. Every identity except Chris." I kept Neale's and Chris's documents off to one side. Neale's I would need in case I needed to prove myself to my Employees, and Jack was letting me keep Chris's identity. I tried to keep at least one identity hidden, but Jack swept the room and found him. Bert Drew, a tax accountant. "Whoops, missed one," I laughed nervously. Jack just dropped the credit card on the table and continued searching. Once Jack was satisfied by his search, we gathered all the documents and cards and went to Jack's house. We took out his barbeque, lit a fire, and toasted each one. Every name that was dumped into the fire evoked memories for me. "And you'll pay off every last one of these and close the account?" Jack demanded. "Most are already paid off," I sighed. "I'll finish the rest today." He nodded his satisfaction.
After burning all that plastic to a crisp, we had gone inside to do some research. I wanted to check my phishing site for more details and talk to my Employees to find out how much I actually owed them. Jack stood behind me as if he didn't trust what I was doing. Out of recent habit, I went to DeathNote first. I couldn't believe what I was staring at. Neither could Jack. His jaw hung slack before he took his fingers through his hair again. "Oh my god..." I whispered. And so, my little darkweb dweebs--hey, that's kinda catchy--this is where you started to come in. I'm sure you've seen the lovely "Wanted Poster" style post at the top of DeathNote. "WANTED -- NEALE KEATON. REWARD: $150,000. DEAD OR ALIVE." The rest of the post was some big long monologue about how shitty Neale Keaton was and how he double crossed on his business deals and shot up both friends and enemies. It included lines about how Neale stole identities too, which I thought was interesting. Did they get that from the real Neale, or from stalking me? The post wasn't signed, not even with a username. It was stuck to the top of the page. I read it in horror, a horror that was amplified after what we’d just done. "YOU DICK!" I screamed, jumping at Jack and shoving him into the wall. Even as he backpedaled, he grabbed his Beretta and stabbed it into my chest. I was so furious that I didn't care. "WE BURNED ALL OF MY IDENTITIES EXCEPT NEALE AND CHRIS. WELL, GUESS WHAT?! THEY KNOW ABOUT CHRIS NOW TOO! I'M WORTHLESS NOW, JACK!" He kept the gun painfully dug into my chest and glared at me. "There were kids at the store, when Neale's "employees" showed up. They were taking photos together in front of the store. Posing and stuff. They weren't even suspicious." He was thinking now. "Do you see how far up shit creek we are now?!" I yelled. Eventually, I calmed down and we got back onto DeathNote. It got worse. There was an honest-to-God campaign against Neale. You assholes were commenting everything you could dig up on Neale from across the darkweb. The stuff came from hidden sites that I didn't have an invite to and couldn't have searched. Our Neale had been a very busy man. Killed three drug runners in an ambush and stole their goods. Burned down a few competing meth labs. Harassed people who planned to testify against his friends and killed the ones who did. I'd call him a bad guy, but that doesn't do it justice. Not only was he enemies with good people, but he was enemies with practically every other bad guy out there! Not a single positive comment about him showed up. And everyone that commented thought that his name belonged to my face. I sat back in disbelief. “I can't outrun this,” I sighed. “This is all over the place, who knows where he has and hasn't been. No matter where I move, this bounty, plus the DeathNote gamble, is attached to my face. Doesn't matter who I really am. No one is going to believe me when I say I'm not him.” Jack was staring grimly at the screen. My phone suddenly rang, which scared the hell out of both of us. I exhaled sharply then took it off the table. Another $1,000 had been added to DeathNote. I refreshed to see that, sure enough, there was more. The bet was for today. “We should get moving,” Jack said after seeing the new bet. “I need to take care of a couple of things on my own first,” I said. “Can I borrow your car and a scarf?”
Jack let me leave without a fight. I don't think he cared if I lived or died at that point. “I'll call a couple of friends and see what I can set up while you're gone,” was his response. I wrapped the scarf around my face in a way that didn't arouse suspicion, and left in Jack’s car. My plans were twofold: collect my cash from my hiding places, and pay Neale’s Employees. There were three hiding places in town with cash that would total around $5,000. Enough, I hoped, to pay the two and get us out of town. I called Marco, who I hoped was the tall one. “Hello?” “It’s me,” I ventured. “Hey, boss.” “You hear the news?” I asked. “Which part?” “I’ve been ousted.” “Heard that,” he said. “Anything else?” “Shawn Lockhard is looking for you.” Marco sounded nervous. “I'm not concerned about him right now,” I said, unsure how else to respond. “He’s offering you help.” Well then. I guess Neale has some friends after all. “What kind of help?” “The usual. Money, guns, passports.” A way out. Neale was offering me a way out. “I'm coming by to pay what I owe you,” I stated. “Remind me how much.” “Nah, boss, it’s only a couple thousand. Keep it, you're going to need it. We planned for this.” Well what do you know. Loyal employees, and good friends. Even though the world hated Neale, I was starting to like him. Guess he wasn't such a bad manager after all. “We still should meet,” I said, against my better judgement. I glanced in my rearview mirror in paranoia. “We need to talk.”
I left the meeting with Marco and Alejandro feeling a little better. I had a meeting with Shawn Lockhard, whoever the hell that was. We had spoken on the phone. Two passports, ten grand, and a private plane trip to the northwest. From there, I could slip into Canada and hide away while I disassociated Neale from myself. Jack could do whatever he wanted after that. As I drove back to the motel, I thought about just taking off. I thought about staying with Marco and Alejandro until the meeting that night, grabbing the money, and running. Jack would demand half of it, if not more. But I wasn't Neale. Michael and Chris were more loyal than that. So, I parked around back, and made my way to the room. As I approached the motel room, my phone started buzzing. I opened it to see texts flooding in, one after the other. Gambles on DeathNote were being placed left and right. What the hell? There were five already and growing. When I stepped around the corner, I looked up from my phone, and my whole body tensed. There, huddled near the door to our motel, were the two DeathNote goons. Looked like I had just managed to turn the corner right as they were going to break the door down. The one facing me looked up in surprise and pointed. The other one swung his head around to look at me. They were both wearing something on their heads… flashlights on headbands? “You’ve got to be kidding”, I growled as they stood up and pursued me. I was already back around the corner by the time they’d stood. My phone’s buzzing picked up intensity as I stuck it back into my pocket. I bolted for the car, thankful that I was leading them away from Jack and keeping him safe. A silenced shot whizzed past my arm, and I moved to the side, my throat clenching up. I couldn’t even swear, I just moved back and forth, praying they were bad shots. I heard three more silenced shots, but didn’t see where they went. I was coming up on the corner of a building, so I threw myself around it to put something between us. The car was still far enough away that they could catch up and fire more shots. Suddenly, I heard gunshots from behind. I ducked behind a car and wondered what the hell I was going to do. My phone continued to buzz, and I got very, very irritated. Then, I realized that some of the gunshots weren’t silenced. There was an exchange of fire happening around the corner between muted, silenced shots and the raw power of a Beretta. Jack was here. I made for the car, pulling the keys out of my pocket while I ran. Gunfire was still filling the air when I jumped into the car. A few people were peering out of the gas station next door, wondering what was going on. I saw two of them on the phone, probably calling the police. Great. My phone was distracting me, so I pulled it out and tossed it onto the floor of the car. It kept buzzing, but at least now it wasn’t against my thigh. I slammed the car into reverse and sped out of the parking space. For half a second, I wondered what the hell I was doing. But before I could question it, I put the car in drive and stomped on the gas. I lowered my seat so I could just barely see over the steering wheel. I flew around the corner, yanking the wheel hard to the left. I saw my chance and took it. The DeathNote goons were no match for the Honda Civic. The first guy bounced off my front bumper, flying forward into the air. The other guy, alerted by his buddy being bounced off, managed to roll onto the hood. Momentum had other plans, and he tumbled up the windshield, over the roof, and slipped off the trunk. As he rolled over the windshield, I caught sight of what was on his head. A fucking camera. He was filming this! I glanced at my still buzzing phone on the floor of the car. It must’ve been a live feed, and people were submitting gambles, each trying to be the one who got the closest to my time of death. Fuck. I came to a stop just in time to see the first guy land on another parked car, setting off the car alarm. The brakes had brought me too far from Jack, so I switched into reverse and hit the gas. I heard the guy behind me scream, and the car jolted when it hit him. Jack threw open the passenger door and slammed it shut. “Go!” He yelled. I peeled out of the parking lot and into the street.
“Those fuckers!” I yelled, punching the steering wheel. I needed some release: a way to get the adrenaline out. Jack looked down at my still buzzing phone. “They had live feed cameras on their heads,” I explained. “They were showing video to DeathNote, and people were placing bets on the exact second that I would die.” “Jesus…” Jack said in a tone I couldn’t quite understand. “I arranged a deal,” I said. “I can get us out of here. Private plane, money, and a way out of the country.” Jack did a double take. “How?” “My Employees set it up for me. I guess being Neale Keaton still has some perks.” “How do you know it isn’t a trap? A way to kill you and collect the reward?” “Because, according to my Employees, Shawn makes enough money to make that reward money seem like pocket change to him. Apparently I told them at one point that I’d seen his golden private jet.” Jack still looked skeptical. “I told him I was coming alone,” I continued. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t come along for backup.” Jack nodded while I told him my plan.
I rolled up to the private airport and slowly pulled into hangar 3, as Shawn had instructed. Jack, who was hiding in the back seat, jumped out of the car on my command. I was moving slow enough for him to slip out and get behind some crates, gun at the ready. He was my backup if things went south. If things went badly here, we’d be out of options. I was met with a guy in a suit who held out a hand for me to stop the car. I obeyed. He came to my door and pulled it open for me. “Welcome, Mr. Keaton,” he greeted cordially. Not what I was expecting. I stepped out of the car, and he held out a hand for the keys. That made me nervous. I wanted a getaway vehicle. “That’s okay,” I said, putting the keys in my pocket. To my surprise, he didn’t protest. We were inside a massive hangar that housed not one, but two private planes. One was a small, single prop airplane. The other was a private jet. It was black, not gold, but was still sleek and beautiful. The floors of the hangar were polished concrete that actually shone under the large, dome lights overhead. The walls were made from polished steel and segmented into storage containers. The hangar looked nice, but there were large crates scattered everywhere, as if a cargo plane had just been unloaded. The mess took away from the appeal if you asked m-- “Neale!” Someone called from across the concrete. I looked over to see a much older man walking my way. He was a walking contradiction. He looked like he was almost 90, but his walk was young and full of spring. I hoped I’d be that upbeat when I was that old. If I ever made it to that age. Instead of replying with a name, like an amateur, I smiled widely. “Thanks for seeing me,” I said happily. “Happy to see you in the flesh!” He called back as we neared each other. We met right in between the two planes. The man reached out a hand, and we shook vigorously. The man in the suit was still beside me, and the old man turned to him. “Tell everyone that the hangar is closed for the night, please Harold. And go home yourself. Take the night off.” The man smiled and actually bowed. The old man bowed back, and the man excused himself. “I’m guessing you’re Shawn,” I ventured when the man had left. I hoped that Jack could find a way to stay hidden while they closed down the hangar. “Indeed,” he laughed, giving me a wry smile. “It’s so good to see you, Neale. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you for a long time.” “Long overdue, I guess,” I smiled back, playing my part. “I wish it was under better circumstances. You’re aware of my situation?” “Oh yes,” he murmured. “Your identity has been revealed. You’re a marked man, Neale.” Something about that last sentence made me uneasy. Shawn must’ve sensed it, because he laughed to put me at ease. “You and I are a lot alike,” he said in typical old man rhetoric. Life story, here we come. “Bold, but cautious. Visionaries. Makers of our own fortune. When you were down after leaving the Army, you didn’t just accept your fate. You got up and took control of your future.” I nodded, my heart skipping a beat. Stay calm, Neale might have been in the Army too, that’s not uncommon. “You and I both use people to get what we want. We both started out by mistreating them, but, over time, we learned that the best way to get what you want from people is to give them something in return. We learned to treat our human relationships as symbiotic.” “I used people face to face. But you, my friend, you used people without them even knowing about it. I’m in awe of your methods. What a world of technology we live in,” Shawn sighed. My smile was fading. “Hello, Michael,” he smirked. “I’m Neale Keaton.”
A small pistol had materialized in his wrinkled hand, and light glinted off the metal in my peripheral. It was aimed steadily at my chest. “Do you know how long it took to track down all of your history? I mean, once I had your real name and found your credit cards, it was a lot easier to backtrack you from identity to identity. You kept great historical data. I guess you just got sloppy after a while.” “I’m not alone,” I whispered. “You’re not?” He said in surprise. “Jack!” I called into the empty hangar, my voice echoing. The real Neale Keaton didn’t even flinch. There was no reply. “Sounds to me like you’re alone,” Keaton chuckled. “Actually,” Jack said from behind him. “He brought me.” Keaton didn’t even turn around. Jack’s gun was trained on Keaton’s back, but Keaton just smiled. “Glad you could make it,” he said. “Me too. Almost thought that Michael was going to come without me,” Jack smirked before lowering his gun. I stared at him in disbelief. “You… and… him?” I stuttered. Keaton waited while I put it together. I didn’t vocalize my understanding. “Why?” I asked. Keaton’s eyebrow raised. “Why take such a roundabout way to get money? Why didn’t you just have Jack shoot me in the back, take your money, and leave?” Keaton burst out laughing. Jack’s smile was condescending, as if I had asked why 2 plus 2 did not equal five. “It’s not about the money,” he laughed. “If you don’t get it yet, there’s no point in me explaining it to you.” He turned to Jack. “Is he armed?” “No,” Jack said, still clutching his Beretta but aiming it at the floor. Neale nodded. “You want me to take your place,” I said, the pieces suddenly clicking. Once one block fell, the rest of the puzzle clicked. And ho-ly shit, was it clever. “Oooooh my Gooood,” I laughed, unable to resist smiling. “You don’t want to be Neale Keaton anymore!” Keaton smiled reassuringly. “You’ve made too many enemies! But you were smart enough to do business without letting anyone ever see who you were. You hired other people to do your deals, even though it pissed off the people you made deals with. “Every time your hired guns double crossed someone, even if they were rogue and stealing from you, you were the one who got blamed. There’s only so many bad deals that can happen before no one will deal with you anymore.” “I guess he can think,” Keaton glanced at Jack. “But you couldn’t have just thought of this after I’d stolen your identity… you had to have…” I trailed off, thinking. “My identity was bait. You were the one unlucky fish who bit the hook. I let you be me before releasing the hounds,” Keaton prompted. “You hired the DeathNote guys? You put money on your own head and just hoped they wouldn’t shoot the real Neale Keaton?” “Of course they didn’t know who I was,” Keaton snapped. “You gave them my address,” I kept going. “And the other two guys you hired were, what, a scare tactic? Why tell them they were working for Neale?” “They were my employees long before you came along. I had to dump them just like I dumped my identity. Once you die, they’ll find a new employer.” “And once you had decided that I would be your strawman to take a bullet for you, you told them about Shawn Lockhard,” I finished. Keaton nodded, looking impressed. “I’ll make you a deal, Michael, since that’s why you’re here. I’ll let you live. Jack here won’t be the one to kill you. You’re smart. You get to keep Neale Keaton’s identity and I’ll let the world finish you off. You may last a while, but not that long.” “How very generous,” I said sarcastically. “Sarcasm won’t help me like you any more.” Keaton tutted. “But why Jack? What’s he got to do with this?” “I was your bodyguard, of sorts,” he spoke up. “My job was to keep you alive long enough for the word to spread that Neale Keaton had to die. Plus, I supplied all of your identities to Neale here.” That also explained how he knew about DeathNote. Keaton had told him about the plan. I remembered the gunfight we had just left with the DeathNote guys. Neither of them had been behind any cover, yet no one had been shot. The firefight had been staged. How many more details had I missed? “If you try to use any of the identities that you and Jack burned,” Keaton said, “I’ll add it to the Wanted poster. You are to use my identity and mine only. You will become me. I even emailed you some notes about the people you may meet.” “Once again, how generous.” “See, I can be nice,” Keaton said. “Unfortunately, I have a duty to a client who I promised a tip-off on the infamous Neale Keaton.” Keaton nodded to Jack, and Jack aimed the Beretta once more. I put my hands up instinctively. “We’re going to take a little trip, leave you tied up somewhere, and let my client know your whereabouts.” “Not much of a chance against the world,” I replied. Keaton shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll think of some way out. If you don’t, then you’re not worthy of my name after all.” Jack advanced toward me. “Turn around,” he said. I slowly complied. Suddenly, the sound of a small, metallic ting resounded throughout the hangar. Like a magnet to metal. A huge, fiery explosion suddenly went off at the head of the private jet. The heat raced across my skin, and it felt like I was next to a bonfire. Luckily, we were further back towards the tail, or else we might’ve been hit. “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!” Keaton shrieked. “There!” Someone yelled from the large hangar entrance, which had been left open. Gunfire filled the hangar. Jack dropped his attention from me and moved to stand in front of Keaton. He raised his Beretta and took several calculated shots and the men who were firing blindly inside. I dropped and rolled under the single prop plane, putting something between Jack and I before he decided to take a shot at me instead. The gunfire increased as more men showed up at the entrance. “NOWHERE TO HIDE, NEALE!” Someone screamed. “FUCK YOU, OLIVER!” Keaton yelled back, returning fire with his own small pistol. “Jack, move back. The crates have ammo.” Keaton said over the gunfire. I was barely able to hear him. Perfect, I thought. I moved quietly along the airplane, keeping its body between me and the multiple shooters. When I hit the back of the plane, I peered around. Jack and Keaton were still exchanging bullets with the intruders, slowly stepping towards the crates in the back. I moved just out of their peripheral vision, following my training. I stayed low and made sure the plane kept me out of sight. When I reached the scattered crates, I lifted one quickly to find it full of nothing but straw. Taking a chance, I dug my hand down and touched metal, thank God. I pulled out an actual AK with the a clip taped to the side with packaging tape. Biting off the tape, I felt around for ammo and managed to snag a handful of loose bullets. I ducked behind the crate and slid bullets one by one into the clip. Eight bullets. Eight shots. More than enough to kill Keaton and Jack, but not enough to get out of here. They’d kill everyone here just to make sure they got the real Keaton. I heard gunfire getting closer, so I knew that Jack and Keaton were getting closer. They had to be running out of bullets by now. I glanced up and saw that they were using the plane as cover like I had and were still making their way back. Raising the AK, I aimed for Jack’s back, lining the sights up perfectly. My finger slowly squeezed the trigger until I heard a click. It jammed. “SHIT,” I hissed involuntarily. That made Jack turn around. I hit the floor as three bullets zipped overhead, denting the steel wall behind me. Desperately, I tore at the bullet feed, trying to kick out the jammed bullet. I heard Jack’s gun click loudly, and took my chances. I jumped up, still fiddling with the AK, and ran towards Jack. He ran towards me too, ready to fist-fight it out. I lowered the AK to one hand and raised the other like I was going to punch. The distraction worked, and I shoved the AK forward, barrel first. It hit him hard in the gut, and he doubled over. With two hands, I used the AK to slam the butt down on the back of his head. He collapsed instantly. I’d hit the back of his neck perfectly. Gasping for air and trying to keep the adrenaline for just a little longer, I tried one more attempt to unjam my rifle. But it was hopeless, and I could get shot at any second. Keaton turned back, probably just realizing that Jack was gone, and saw me standing over Jack’s unconscious body. I dropped the gun, intending to run back to the crates and find another. But the jammed bullet jumped out when the gun hit the ground. Both Keaton and I saw the bullet bounce off the ground. As if in slow motion, I bent to pick up the gun while he spun his pistol on me. I wasn’t fast enough. A bullet caught him in the calf from behind, and he screamed. It forced him down onto one knee in a small spray of blood. His gun went off, but wasn’t aimed anywhere specific. He crawled further under the plane to shield himself, which gave me time to act. I pulled out my phone, which was pissing me off. IIt had been vibrating non-stop ever since I arrived at the hangar. Even though it pissed me off, it was good. It meant that Marco and Alejandro had done their jobs. I raised the AK in one hand, and my phone in the other. One button started the video recording. I let out all six remaining bullets, only two of which actually hit Keaton’s chest. He screamed again, dropped his gun, and fell down face-first. Satisfied, I hit “Stop” on my phone and slipped it into my pocket again. Both were down. I was the only one left. And the gunfire from the door wasn’t slowing down. The squeal of tires made me perk up my ears, and I smiled in disbelief as two SUV’s sped into the hangar, each manned by Marco and Alejandro. Alejandro used his to defend Marco’s car, which sped between the two planes and skid to a stop in front of Keaton. I raced forward with the AK and jumped into the backseat. I dropped to the floor while Marco hit the gas and turned around. Alejandro had already gone in front and his SUV was taking all the fire. The car rocked as we tore out of the hangar and bullets ravaged the back of the car. I tore the battery out of my phone to stop it from vibrating anymore. “Their cars are parked far away, we should be safe soon,” Marco said with his usual accent. “Thanks, Marco,” I rasped, sitting up. “You’re welcome, Mr. Keaton.”
I knew there was a 50/50 chance that this meeting was setup. In the worst case, I’d be riding a private jet out with guns blazing. In the best case… well, what happened was the best case. At my request, Alejandro and Marco had gone onto DeathNote and spread rumors that I was getting alerts from DeathNote whenever a new hit was added. I changed my code to paste my phone’s location on DeathNote every time it received a text about a new hit. You darkweb dweebs caught on immediately and started spamming the hit list to get my location and track me down. The more hits that were added, the more value Neale Keaton’s death had. And with that beautiful video, I was able to prove to the DeathNote owners that I had indeed killed Neale Keaton. How did they know that old guy was the real Neale? I’d been recording on my phone ever since I got to the hangar. The audio corroborated everything. With proof in hand, the runners of DeathNote paid out my grand total of $56,000 in Bitcoin. I didn’t get the $150,000 unfortunately since it was Keaton himself who had placed that reward. See, I knew something was fishy with Jack after I looked at his phone the morning after I told him I was an identity thief. He was asleep when I went through his phone to try and find a way to ditch him somehow. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. But his calls list showed a call to the same number multiple times over the last couple of days. All of the calls had been made while I wasn’t with him. Sure, it could have been anyone, but it made me suspicious. When I met with Marco and Alejandro, I kept up the ruse of being Neale. They only knew what I told them, and I asked them to bring two cars to my phone’s location when they heard shooting. My phone had brought you lovely darkweb fuckers right to where I was going to die. You inadvertantly saved my life. Like I said from the start, you were being manipulated. By both Neale and myself. Thanks ;) Someone made a post a few days ago out of video from the people who came to kill Keaton at the hangar. The video showed Jack and Keaton, who was a 90 year-old guy, but not my face. All the rest of you saw that Keaton’s reward had been claimed, and cried fraud. But it wasn’t fraud. I just beat you all to it. This post is here to salvage Chris’s reputation. Michael is a piece of shit. Neale is a piece of shit too. But Chris is the one identity I actually wanted. I wish I could have that identity and that life back. But it’s too late now. You have forced my hand, and until this site accepts that I got the bounty fair and square, I can’t be Chris the store manager. I’m an identity thief, my darkweb dwellers. I become who I need to be to get what I want. The sooner you accept that I am NOT Neale Keaton, the sooner Neale Keaton will die. Until then, Keaton’s email is really helping me assume his role. Once you all accept it, I’ll dump his shit, delete everything, and go back to being Chris the store manager. Until that changes, I am Neale Keaton.
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