WHAT IS BITCOIN (Explain Like I’m Five) – If Kent Can ...

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

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


READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
submitted by blackfridayswitch13 to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

Why contemplation is not suppression of thoughts

..........🦄🌈🍃OPINION🍃🌈🦄..........
After recent success with pig's head our Remedial School of Buddhism for Late Adults will continue with explaining contemplation, using also help of popular, old, and cynical Chan instructor abbot Huangbo!
People like explanations, great ideas, knowledge "how everything works"; The Universe for example is quite popular as whole; with increasing level of testosterone we like more and more "space" (where everything is going on at least in the sphere of perception). So the people trying to start with zen are asking: "What is it about?", "Where to start", "What should I know?". As we are accustomed to have at least something to grasp (it can be pure imagination like God; or Scientific Truth of Sacred Knowledge preferably based on math nobody understands except Einstein and two other guys; or authority personified in Teacher, Master or anybody who can tickle our glands), we look for SOMETHING also in zen. That's the big moment for every Zen Master, because that's the moment when they can employ their expertize. As the Buddhism is most economical teaching, at least in Chan presentation, they will offer exactly NOTHING, and even about nothing we are not supposed to think. (Thinking is not forbidden, because we are working on removing everything, so such ban would have paradoxical effect of creating new barrier) .
Whole zen thing can't go so smoothly in many cases, so people need some helping tools in form of practical exercises, various, often religious, imaginery and other EXPEDIENTS. Expedients can vary based on particular school or sect and needs of zen adepts.
Probably most general expedient is old gold prajna-dhyana, what is nothing else than staring without thought and obviously without speech into emptiness. They call it staring in our mind, because in this quiet state anything what moves (what is always mind) arouses our attention. What is difference between often by zen masters criticized quietism, suppression of thinking, and prajna - dhyana contemplation? In contemplation we are not suppressing anything, not thinking is natural, because (I know, it is surprise for non buddhists) we have nothing to think about!* Also this quiet state is not quietism, because we are contemplating our mind to be accustomed to it, to understand it, but this quiet state is not our goal. On the contrary zen goal is living full life, either lay or monastic.
This part full ascetics can skip:
(* again my favorite piece of text from Baizhang, to illustrate how that can happen that we have nothing to think about. For the record, I don't think going full ascetic is necessary, there are other ways how to calm mind, but Baizhang's manual is certainly traditional way:
Before the nine-part teaching had been expounded, living beings had no eyes; it was necessary to depend on someone to refine them. If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. You should not speak this way to a worldling beyond measure, someone like Vimalakirti or the great hero Fu. If one is speaking to an ascetic, the ascetic has already given his assent three times and his discipline is complete. This is the power of discipline, concentration, and wisdom. To still speak in this way to him is called speaking at the wrong time, because the speech is not appropriate to the situation; it is also called suggestive talk. To an ascetic one must explain the defilement in pure things - you should tell him to detach from all things, existence, non-existent, or whatever, to detach from all cultivation and experience, and even to detach from detachment. While in the course of asceticism, one strips away influences of habit. If an ascetic cannot get rid of the diseases of greed and aversion, he too is called a deaf worldling; still he must be taught to practice meditation and cultivate wisdom.
⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️
Contemplation will not simply work when stream of our thoughts, requests, reminders, memories and fears will poping up all the time on our display( or as they said in 8th century in China, in our mind)...
Well one time we are sitting in chair, or lying on back or walking outside, and our mind is calm and empty like space, we are quiet, we have not one thing we are looking to achieve and not one thing in the past we must think about(this is still contemplation, I am only trying to avoid mention directly sitting in meditation). We can take quick test if we are not cheating ourselves: sit five or ten minutes in calm, with nothing "important" poping out in our mind, not suppressing anything. If not a single thing exists,
Nothing is born, nothing is destroyed. Away with your dualism, your likes and dislikes. Every single thing is just the One Mind. When you have perceived this, you will have mounted the Chariot of the Buddhas.
Huangbo
This can look like let down for many people, especially comparing with sex, alcohol, LSD, marriage, children, bitcoin or anything else we need right now. I can assure anybody it's enough and even more (especially because somebody who doesn't want one thing can't miss something)! For example I am in emptiness like fish in water but emptiness didn't prevent me to invest all cash into gold in March, and now I have nice 20% profit, despite that
...from first to last not even the smallest grain of anything perceptible has ever existed or ever will exist.
like Huangbo said. And he is right!
..........🦄🌈🍃OPINION🍃🌈🦄..........
submitted by OnePoint11 to zen [link] [comments]

A theory of why Ethereum is perhaps better "sound money" than Bitcoin.

The idea of Bitcoin's supremacy as "sound money" is very frequently thrown around by the biggest talking heads in the crypto world. I know I will get a lot of hate for suggesting that this theory is not only flawed, but it is straight up wrong. As unintuitive as it may sound to Bitcoin maximalists (no offense intended) I believe Ethereum is on the path to becoming the global leading asset and model for sound money... give me a chance to explain why.

  1. The idea that nothing can change Bitcoin's issuance schedule is a myth. There is absolutely no divine power controlling the supply of Bitcoin. Contrary to what is commonly asserted, Bitcoin's issuance protocol is not primarily driven by what is currently implemented. The real driver is consensus: the majority of network participants must agree that what is currently defined cannot be changed. There is an underlying assumption that the consensus would never want to change Bitcoin's issuance. On the surface this makes for a nice "sound money" narrative, but it is false premise and sticking to it could be ultimately detrimental. It presents a long term sustainability issue (the hope that somehow Bitcoin's base layer will scale enough to maintain security entirely through fees). It also completely dismisses the possibility that an unforeseen event could create pressure to change the issuance. If Bitcoin managed to create a consensus mechanism that did not rely on mining, it is very likely there would be consensus to reduce issuance. On the other hand, if some potentially catastrophic event would create incentives to increase the issuance, it would only make sense for the network to do so.
  2. Issuance flexibility is not fundamentally bad. Etheruem's approach to adjust the issuance according to the contextual circumstances has resulted in a faster rate of issuance reduction than what was originally defined in the protocol. The rate of issuance will continue to decrease as new developments allow for it to happen without compromising the network security. There is a very high probability that Ethereum will achieve a lower issuance rate than Bitcoin in the next two years, and it could possibly achieve zero issuance in the next five years. This would be a result of a successful implementation of PoS, sharding and EIP-1559.
  3. The root of all evil is Proof of Work. PoW is by far the primary cost of operating the Bitcoin network. It is the primary determinant of how much issuance is needed as a financial incentive to keep miners doing their thing. The very mechanism that secures the network's decentralization is unfortunately quite wasteful. The degree of decentralization is a direct result of how much random mathematical operations are being done by miners.
  4. There is a better way. Some people will take offense by the use of the word wasteful, and they claim that it is not because those mindless calculations are what is actually securing the network. However, its wasteful aspect becomes clear if there is a different way to achieve equal or superior decentralization without the need to crunch difficult computational problems. This just so happens to be embodied in Ethereum's design of Proof of Stake. It will drastically reduce the cost of securing the network, while providing at least 2-3% annual returns for the ownership of Ether. When Ethereum's issuance becomes lower than its staking rewards, it will effectively have achieved the same effect as having zero (or possibly negative) issuance.
  5. The value proposition of Ethereum 2.0 is unmatched. There is just absolutely no asset in the world that has a 2-3% self-denominated annual returns and just so happens to be rapidly appreciating. When wall-street's greed sees this, it will create the mother of all bubbles.
  6. Don't dismiss the flippening. On February 01 2018 Ethereum reached 70% of Bitcoin's marked cap (it was even closer if you account for the amount of lost bitcoins). That happened before DEFI, before proof of staking was within reach, before multiple effective layer 2 solutions were a thing, before wrapped Bitcoins and before the first signs of mass adoption were on the horizon (like integration with Reddit , VISA and potential to compete with SWIFT). Utility is a huge factor in driving prices, lets not forget how Silk Road played a key role into propelling Bitcoin's value. Yes, Ethereum crashed hard after the peak in 2018, but perhaps it is simply manifesting a higher volatility pattern that is reminiscent of Bitcoin's early years. Bitcoin's first 5 years were characterized by aggressive price swings, why should it be different for Etheruem (considering it is about 5 years younger than Bitcoin)? If the volatility patterns stands on this bull market, we will see a flippening.
So... do I think Etheruem will flip? Yes I do, but I still hold Bitcoin. No one has a crystal ball, and nothing is certain. Perhaps Etheruem will crash and burn, perhaps Bitcoin will become the next Yahoo, and perhaps they will both thrive in this new exciting crypto world.
submitted by TheWierdGuy to ethereum [link] [comments]

READ ME: Part 3

READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
submitted by blackfridayswitch13 to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

Update and Few Thoughts, a (Well-Typed) transcript: Liza&Charles the marketeers, Voltaire kick-off, PrisM and Ebb-and-Flow to fuck ETH2.0 Gasper, the (back)log of a man and a falcon, lots of companies, September Goguen time, Basho, 2021 Titans, Basho, Hydra and much more thoughts and prayers

Hi everybody this is Charles Hoskinson broadcasting live from warm sunny Colorado. I'm trying a new streaming service and it allows me to annotate a few things and simulcast to both periscope and youtube. Let's see how this works. I also get to put a little caption. I think for the future, I'm just for a while going to put: "I will never give away ada". So, when people repost my videos for giveaway scams they at least have that. First off, a thank you, a community member named Daryl had decided to carve a log and give his artistic impression of my twitter profile picture of me and the falcon so that always means a lot when I get these gifts from fans and also I just wanted to, on the back of the Catalyst presentation, express my profound gratitude and excitement to the community.
You know it's really really cool to see how much progress has been made in such a short period of time. It was only yesterday when we were saying "when Shelley"? Now Shelley's out and it's evolving rapidly. Voltaire is now starting to evolve rapidly and we're real close to Goguen. At the end of this month we'll be able to talk around some of the realities of Goguen and some of the ideas we have and give some dates for certain things and give you a sense of where that project is at. The good news is that we have gained an enormous amount of progress and knowledge about what we need to do and how to get that done and basically people are just executing and it's a much smaller task than getting us to Shelley. With Byron to Shelley we literally had to build a completely new cryptocurrency from the ground up. We had to have new ledger rules, new update system, we had to invent a way of transitioning from one system to another system and there's hundreds of other little innovations along the way: new network stack and so forth. Byron cosmetically looks like Shelley but under the hood it's completely different and the Shelley design was built with a lot of the things that we needed for Goguen in mind. For example, we built Shelley with the idea of extended UTXO and we built Shelley understanding what the realities were for the smart contract model and that's one of the advantages you get when you do this type of bespoke engineering. There's two consequences to that, one, the integration is significantly easier, and two, the integration is significantly faster. We won't look at that same complexity there.
The product update at the end of the month... We'll really start discussing around some of these things as well as talk about partners and talk about how the development ecosystem is going to evolve. There are a lot of threads throughout all three organizations that are happening simultaneously. Emurgo, they're really thinking deeply about DeFi and they've invited us to collaborate with them on things like stablecoins for example but we're also looking at oracles (oracle pools), DEX and these other things and because there are already people in market who have made mistakes, learned lessons, it gives us the benefit of hindsight. It means we can be much faster to market and we can build much more competitive things in market and the Cardano community gets first access to these next generation DeFi applications without a lot of the problems of the prior generations and that's super beneficial to us.
You know, the other side of it, is that Voltaire is going to have a systemic influence not just on community funding but also the overall evolution and direction of the platform. The longer it exists the more pervasive it will become. Probably first applied towards the Cardano foundation roadmap but later on it will definitely have a lot of influence and say over every element aspect of the system including the launch dApps and these other things. Basically, long term, the types of problems that Cardano solves so that's incredibly appealing to me and very exciting to me because it's like I have this giant community brain with the best and brightest of all of you working with us to get us where we need to go.
You know, another thing that was super encouraging, it's a small thing, but it shows us that we're definitely in the right direction was that we recently got a demo from Pramod (Viswanath) and his team out of university of Illinois on a protocol they create called PrisM which is a super fast proof-of-work protocol and they wrote this beautiful paper and they wrote code along with it that showed that PrisM is a ten thousand times faster than Nakamoto consensus. If you take the bitcoin proof-of-work protocol, you strip it out, you put PrisM in, you can run the entire bitcoin system 10000 times faster. They have these beautiful benchmarks to show that. Even in bad network conditions. (I'm) promoting this team, they're, they're real researchers, and they're real engineers, they use a lot of cool HPC concepts like springboarding and other things like that to accommodate that. Then I asked him in the presentation, I said well, how much faster if you replay the Ethereum chain? He says, well, that it takes a big performance hit, could be only maybe a hundred times because that model is not as easy to optimize and shard with standard computer science concepts. In fact in some cases there are limitations there that really can't be overcome. It turns out that we're more on that UTXO side than we are on the account side. As a coincidence or intent of the design of extended UTXO we're gonna have a lot easier time getting much higher performance where and when it's necessary.
I also approved this week a scaling up of the Basho project. In particular, to build a hydra prototype team. The science has gotten to a point where we can make a really competitive push in that particular direction. What does that mean? It means that in just a few short months we can de-risk technological approaches that long-term will give us a lot of fruit where and when the community decides that they need infrastructure like hydra. Now, here's the beautiful thing about hydra. If you watch my whiteboard back in September of 2017 when Cardano first hit market with Byron I talked about this concept of looking at scalability with a very simple test which is as you get more people in the system it stays at the same performance or it gets faster. We all experience systems that do this, for example, bittorrent, more people downloading something you tend to be able to get it faster and we all experience the converse which is, the system gets slower when you get more people. What does this mean? It means that hydra is an actual approach towards true scalability in the system and it's a lot easier to do than sharding even though we have a beautiful approach to get the sharding on the ledger side if we truly desire to go down that way. There's beautiful ideas that we are definitely in deep discussions about. That's a very complex thing. There was recently a paper ("Ebb-and-Flow Protocols: A Resolution of the Availability-Finality Dilemma") out of Stanford that showed that the Gasper protocol as proposed for ETH2.0 does have some security concerns and it's going to be the burden on the shoulders of the Ethereum 2.0 developers and Vitalik to address those concerns from those Stanford professors. Whenever you have these very complex protocols they have so many different ways they can break and things can go wrong so it's much more appealing when you don't have to embrace complexity to achieve the same. The elegance of hydra is that stake pool operators are very natural parties to put hydra channels on and every time we add one we get much more performance out of that and the system as it gets more valuable. The k factor increases which means you get more stake pull operators, which means you get more hydra channels, so with growth we get appreciation, with appreciation we get more decentralization, with more decentralization we get more performance. In essence, this spiritually speaking, is really what we meant when we said scalability. That the system will always grow to meet its particular needs and we have a very elegant way of moving in that direction that doesn't require us to embrace very sophisticated techniques. It's not to say that these techniques don't have a place and purpose but it says that the urgency of implementing these is gone and we then have the luxury to pick the best science when it's ready instead of rushing it to market to resolve a crisis of high fees. We'll never have that crisis so there's a beauty to Cardano that is missing, I in my view, from many cryptocurrencies and blockchains in the marketplace and we're now seeing that beauty shine through. Not only through our community who are so passionate and amazing but in the science and the engineering itself and how easy it is for us to navigate the concepts. How easy it is for us to add more things, to take some things away, to clean some things up here and there and our ability to move through.
I never imagined when in 2015 I signed up to go in on this crazy ride and try to build a world financial operating system we would have made as much progress as we made today. We've written more than 75 research papers as an organization many of which are directly applicable to Cardano. We've got great partners who work with Nasa and Boeing and Pfizer, massive companies, that have 10 years of history and millions of users to come in and help us grow better. We've worked with incredible organizations, major universities like university of Wyoming, university of Edinburgh, Tokyo, tech professors all across the world. We've worked with incredible engineering firms like VacuumLabs and AtixLabs and Twig and Well-Typed, runtime verification, QuviQ and dozens of others along the years and despite the fact that at times there's been delays and friction throughout this entire journey we've mostly been aligned and we keep learning and growing. It gives me so much hope that our best days are ahead of us and an almost fanatical belief that success is inevitable in a certain respect. You see because we always find a way to be here tomorrow and we always find a way to make tomorrow a better day than today and as long as that's the trend you're monotonically increasing towards a better tomorrow, you're always going to have that outcome, you're always going to be in a position where Cardano shines bright. Towards the end of the month we'll have a lot more to say about the development side and that'll be a beginning just like Voltaire is the beginning and then suddenly you now notice the beautiful parallelism of the roadmap. Shelley continues to evolve, partial delegation is coming, in fact, I signed the contract with vacuumlabs to bring that to Ledger (and Trezor). The Daedalus team is hard at work to make that feature apparent for everyone as is the Yoroi team.
You see that, with now Voltaire, and soon was Goguen, and these are not endpoints, rather they're just beginnings and they're never over. We can always make staking better, more diverse, more merit-based and entertain different control models, have better delegation mechanics, have better user experience. The same for smart contracts, that's an endless river and along the way what we've discovered is it's easy for us to work with great minds and great people. For example with testing of smart contracts I would love to diversify that conversation above and beyond what we can come up with and bring in some firms who have done this for a long time to basically take that part with us shoulder to shoulder and build beautiful frameworks to assist us. For example, runtime verification is doing this with, the EVM with a beautiful project called Firefly to replace Truffle. I believe that we can achieve similar ends with Plutus smart contracts.
When you ask yourself what makes a system competitive in the cryptocurrency space? In my view there are four dimensions and you have to have a good story for all four of those dimensions. You need security and correctness. A lot of people don't prioritize that but when they get that wrong it hurts retail people, it hurts everyday people, billions of dollars have been lost due to the incompetence and ineptitude of junior developers making very bad mistakes and oftentimes those developers faced no consequences. The people who lost money were innocent people who believed in cryptocurrencies and wanted to be part of the movement but didn't protect themselves adequately. That's a really sad thing and it's unethical to continue pushing a model that that is the standard or the likely outcome rather than a rare edge case. You have to as a platform, a third generation platformn invest heavily in giving the developers proper tools to ensure security and correctness. We've seen a whole industry there's been great innovations out of Quantstamp and ConsenSys and dozens of other firms in the space including runtime verification who have really made major leaps in the last few years of trying to improve that story. What's unique to Cardano is that we based our foundations on languages that were designed right the first time and there's over 35 years of history for the approach that we're following in the Haskell side that allows us to build high assurance systems and our developers in the ecosystem to build high assurance systems. We didn't reinvent the wheel, we found the best wheel and we're giving it to you.
I think we're going to be dominant in that respect as we enter 2021. Second, you look at things like ease of maintenance, ease of deployment, the life cycle of the software upgrades to the software and as we've demonstrated with things like the hard fork combinator and the fact that Voltaire is not just a governance layer for ada and Cardano but will eventually be reusable for any dApp deployed on our system. You have very natural tooling that's going to allow people to upgrade their smart contracts, their dApps and enable governance for their users at an incredibly low cost and not have to reinvent the governance wheel each and every application. This is another unique property to our system and it can be reused for the dApps that you deploy on your system as I've mentioned before. Performance is a significant concern and this was often corrupted by marketers especially ICO marketers who really wanted to differentiate (and) say: "our protocol tested on a single server in someone's basement is 500000 transactions per second" and somehow that translates to real life performance and that's antithetical to anyone who's ever to study distributed systems and understands the reality of these systems and where they go and what they do and in terms of performance. I think we have the most logical approach. You know, we have 10 years of history with bitcoin, it's a massive system, we've learned a huge amount and there's a lot of papers written about, a lot of practical projects and bitcoin is about to step into the world of smart contracts. We congratulate them on getting Schnorr sigs in and the success of Taproot. That means entering 2021, 2022, we are going to start seeing legitimate dApps DeFi projects, real applications, instead of choosing Ethereum or Algorand, EOS, Cardano, choosing bitcoin and they're adding a lot to that conversation. I think that ultimately that model has a lot of promise which is why we built a better one. There are still significant limitations with what bitcoin can accomplish from settlement time to the verbosity of contracts that can be written.
The extended UTXO model was designed to be the fastest accounting and most charitable accounting model ever, on and off chain, and hydra was designed to allow you to flex between those two systems seamlessly. When you look at the foundations of where we're at and how we can extend this from domain specific languages, for domain experts, such as Marlowe to financial experts, and the DSLs that will come later, for others, like lawyers and supply chain experts in medical databases and so forth and how easy it is to write and deploy these. Plutus being beautiful glue code for both on and off chain communications. I think we have an incredibly competitive offering for performance and when hydra comes, simply put, there'll be no one faster. If we need to shard, we're going to do that and definitely better than anybody else because we know where our security model sits and there won't be surprise Stanford papers to blindside us that require immediate addressing.
In terms of operating costs, this is the last component, in my view, and that's basically how much does it cost you the developer to run your application? There are really two dimensions, one is predictability and the other is amount. It's not just good enough to say: it's a penny per transaction today. You need to know that after you spend millions of dollars and months or years of effort building something and deploying something that you're not going to wake up tomorrow and now it's five dollars to do what used to cost a penny. You need that cost to be as low as possible and as predictable as possible and again the way that we architectured our system and as we turn things on towards the end of this year and as we enter into the next year we believe we have a great approach to achieve low operating cost. One person asks why Cardano? Well because we have great security and correctness in the development experience and tools with 35 years of legacy that were built right the first time and don't put the burdens of mistakes on your customers. They ask why Cardano and we say: well the chain itself is going to give you great solutions with identity value transformation and governance itself and as a consequence when you talk about upgrading your applications having a relationship with your customers of your applications and you talk about the ease of maintenance of those applications. There's going to be a good story there and we have beautiful frameworks like Voltaire that allow that story to evolve and we keep adding partners and who have decades of experience to get us along. We won't stop until it's much better. They asked why Cardano? We said because at the moment we're 10 times faster today than Ethereum today and that's all we really need for this year and next year to be honest and in the future we can be as fast as we need to be because we're truly scalable. As the system gets more decentralized the system improves performance and where and when we need to shard we can do that. We'll have the luxury of time to do it right, the Cardano way, and when people ask why Cardano? Because the reality is, it's very cheap to do things on our platform and the way we're building things. That's going to continue being the case and we have the governance mechanisms to allow the community to readjust fees and parameters so that it can continue being affordable for users. Everything in the system will eventually be customizable and parameterizable: from block size, to transaction fees and the community will be in a good position to dynamically allocate these things where and when needed so that we can enjoy as an ecosystem predictability in our cost.
In the coming weeks and months, especially in my company, we're going to invest a lot of time and effort into comparison marketing and product marketing. When I see people say, oh well, you've launched proof of stake, a lot of other people have done. I don't think those people fully appreciate the magnitude of what we actually accomplished as an ecosystem and the quality of the protocols that are in distribution. That's not their fault, it's our fault, because we didn't take the time in simplistic terms, not scientific papers and deep code and formal specifications, but rather everyday language, to really show why we're different. I admit that that's a product failing and that needs to be corrected so we hired a great marketing director, named Liza (Horowitz?) and she is going to work full time with me and others in the ecosystem, a great team of people, every single day to get out there and explain what we have done is novel, unique, competitive and special to our industry. Everything from Ouroboros and contrast to major other protocols from the EOSes and Algorands and the Tezos of the world. Why we're different, trade-offs we chose over them, to our network stack, to the extended UTXO model, to Plutus, to Marlowe and we're going to keep hammering away at that until we get it right and everybody acknowledges and sees what has been accomplished.
I've spent five years of my life, good years of my life, and missed a lot to get this project where it needs to go. All of our employees have invested huge sums of their personal lives, their time, their brand, their careers, in trying to make this the really most magical and special cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure around. No one ever signed up in this company or the other companies working on Cardano to work on a mediocre protocol. That's just another blockchain, they signed up to change the world, they signed up to build a system that legitimately can look at you in the face and say: one day we have the potential to have a billion users! That's what they signed up for and they showed up to play. They built technology that evolves in that direction with some certainty and great foundations and we have an obligation to market in a way that can show the world why, succinctly, with clarity. Understandably, this has been a failing in the past but you know what? You can always be better tomorrow that monotonically increasing make it better and that's what we're going to do. We recognized it and we're going to invest in it and with Voltaire if we can't do it. You the community can do it and we'll work with you. If you can do a better job and the funding will be there to get that done. In addition to this, we think about 2021 and we ask where does the future take us? I've thought a lot about this you know I've thought a lot about how do we get the next five years as we close out 2020 and here's the reality: we're not going to leave as a company until we have smart contracts and multi-asset and Voltaire has evolved to a point where the community can comfortably make decisions about the future of the protocol and that the staking experience has solidified and it's stable.
I don't care if this costs me millions or tens of millions of dollars out of my own pocket to make happen. I'm going to do that because that's my commitment to you, the community and every product update will keep pushing our way there. We'll continue to get more transparent, we'll continue to get more aggressive and hire more and parallelize more. Aware when we can, to deliver that experience so that Cardano gets where it needs to go. Then when we ask about where do we go next? The reality is that the science as an industry, the engineering as an industry has given a menu of incredibly unique attractive and sexy things that we can pursue. What we're going to do is work with the community and the very same tools that are turning on today, the Voltaire tools, the cardano.ideascale.com tools and we're going to propose a consortium and we're going to bring the best and brightest together and give a vision of where we can take the system in another five years. With the benefit of hindsight, massively improved processes, better estimation capabilities and the fact that we're not starting with two people at IOG. We're starting with 250 people and the best scientific division in our industry and the legacy of almost, nearly by the end of this year, 100 scientific papers. That's us, you know what, there's dozens of companies throughout the history who have worked on Cardano. It's about time to scale them up too and get client diversity. So come next year when the protocol has evolved to the point where it's ready for it, we'll have that conversation with you the community and that's going to be a beautiful conversation. At the conclusion of it, there's going to be certainty of how we're going to evolve over the next five years to get ourselves beyond the cryptocurrency space. I'm very tired of these conversations we have about: are you going to go to (coindesk's) consensus or not? Or who's going to be the big winner? What about Libra or what about this particular regulation and this crypto unicorn and this thing?
You know I've been in the space a long time and I've noticed that people keep saying the same things year after year in the same venues. Yes, the crowd sizes get larger and the amount of value at risk gets larger but I haven't seen a lot of progress in the places where I feel it is absolutely necessary for this technology to be permanent in the developing world. We need to see economic identity. People often ask what is the mission for Cardano? For us IOG, you look at economic identity and you take a look at a roadmap. For it, you scale up and down, and each and every step along the way, from open data, to self-sovereign identity, to financial inclusion. You can keep going down: to decentralized lending, decentralized insurance, decentralized banking. Each and every step along the way to economic identity. When you admit a blockchain tells you that, there's a collection of applications and infrastructure that you need to build.
My life's work is to get to a point where we have the technology to do that. The infrastructure to do that, with principles, and so we'll keep evolving Cardano and we'll keep evolving the space as a whole and the science as a whole until I can wake up and say: each box and that road to economic identity, for all people not just one group, we have a solution for that. I'm going to put those applications on Cardano and success for me is not about us being king of the crypto hill and having a higher market cap than bitcoin or being entrepreneur of the year coindesk's most influential person. It's meaningless noise, success for me is reflecting back at the things that we have accomplished together and recognizing that millions if not billions now live in a system where they all matter, they all have a voice, they all have an equal footing. The Jeff Bezos of the world have the very same experience as the person born in Rwanda and we're not done until that's the case. It's a long road, it's a hard road, but you know what? We're making progress, we have great people in Africa, we have great people in eastern Europe, we have great people in southeast Asia and great partners all along the way. Great people, Latin America, great people in south America, great people here in the United States.
When we talk about economic identity there are millions, if not tens of millions of Americans who don't have it. Same for Canadians, hundreds of thousands, who don't have it. Developed western cultures, it's the greatest blind spot of policy and as we enter into a depression as a result of coronavirus, add millions if not tens of millions more onto that list. Generations are being disenfranchised by this legacy system and we as an ecosystem, we as an entire community are offering a different way forward. Not hyper centralizationn not social credit but a way forward where you own your own money, your own identity, your own data. You're not a victim of surveillance capitalism, you're not a victim of civil asset forfeiture. When you say the wrong things, you get shut out of society. Each and every human being matters and I'm optimistic to believe that when you remind people that they matter they're gonna rise to the occasion. That is the point of my company. In the things that we do each and every day, that's our mission to give the platforms to the world so that those who don't have economic identity can get it and they can keep it and no one can take it from them and they can enjoy an ever increasing growth of standard of living wealth and prosperity.
However you want to measure that this is my goal post, I couldn't care less about the cryptocurrency space. It was a great place to start but the space needs to be reminded why it exists. Bitcoin was given a mandate on the back of the 2008 financial crisis to do something different. It was not given a mandate to go be a new settlement layer for central banks or a new way for the old guard to make more money and banks get bigger and for those who are in control to preserve their power. The whole point of doing something so crazy as to buy a coin that doesn't even exist in real life, that's just a bunch of numbers in the cloud, the whole point of that was so that we as a society could do something different than the way that we'd been doing things before. So, each and every member of the cryptocurrency space needs to remind everyone else from time to time why we're here and where did we come from and where are we going to go.
The beauty of Cardano is we have already achieved for the most part a decentralized brain and that momentum is pushing harder than ever. More and more scientists are waking up, more and more institutions are waking up, getting us there. The code we have, the right approach and I think we have a great competitive offering for 2021 as we go and battle the titans and that's going to be a lot of fun but we know who we are and where we're going and we're in the right places. It's so incredibly encouraging to see the stake pool operators not just be from California or Texas or New York or Canada. To see a lot of stake pool operators from the place that need the most, help everybody does matter and it means a lot to me for the people who are there but it means a lot to everybody to say that we have created an equal platform. It makes the participation of all of us so much more meaningful. We're not just talking to each other, we're talking to the world and by working together on this platform we're lifting the world up and giving people hope. That's the point, there's a lot more to do, we didn't get everything done. You never do you aspire, you work hard, you set a moon, shot and sometimes you can just get to orbit with the first go but you know what? When you build the next rocket you can go to Mars.
Thank you all for being with me, thank you all for being part of this. Today was a damn good day with the announcement of Voltaire. Go to cardano.ideascale.com. You can participate in that, so end of September is going to be a good day too. There's a lot of good days to come, in between a lot of hard days, doing tasks sometimes entirely forgettable but always necessary to keep the revolution going and the movement going. I cannot wait for 2021, our best days are ahead of us, because of you. You all take care now .
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFa9zL_Dl_w
Other things mentioned:
https://cardano.ideascale.com/
https://www.atixlabs.com/blockchain
https://www.well-typed.com/
https://www.vacuumlabs.com/
https://medium.com/interdax/what-is-taproot-and-how-will-it-benefit-bitcoin-5c8944eed8da
https://medium.com/interdax/how-will-schnorr-signatures-benefit-bitcoin-b4482cf85d40
https://quantstamp.com/
https://bloxian.com/bloxian-platforms/ (TWIG)
https://runtimeverification.com/firefly/
https://www.trufflesuite.com/
https://experts.illinois.edu/en/publications/prism-deconstructing-the-blockchain-to-approach-physical-limits (PrisM and not our Prism https://atalaprism.io/)
Ebb-and-Flow Protocols: A Resolution of the Availability-Finality Dilemma (aka Gasper and ETH2.0 fucker) https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.04987
http://www.quviq.com/products/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnorr_signature
submitted by stake_pool to cardano [link] [comments]

Stablecoins Are Not as Safe as You Think. How Your USDT, PAX, BUSD Get Frozen in a Moment

Stablecoins Are Not as Safe as You Think. How Your USDT, PAX, BUSD Get Frozen in a Moment
Being created on the basis of blockchain, stablecoins were considered to be a safe haven for investors… until recently. Why is their immunity elusive and how does the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plan to control them?
Established in 1989 by the G7, the FATF inter-governmental organization develops policies to resist money laundering and financing of terrorism. It sets standards and implements legal and regulatory measures to combat illegal financial transactions.
They developed recommendations for the monitoring of money laundering and keep revising them regularly. In case of non-compliance, law enforcement is executed via regional financial organizations. As of 2019, there are 39 full members of FATF, including the USA, UK, Australia, most EU countries, Singapore, India and the Russian Federation.
Since 1st July, the FATF organization has been headed by Marcus Pleyer. During the last FATF meeting, the new president expressed his concerns about global stablecoins and organizations that issue them. Although the organization had already dealt with these cryptocurrencies, it highlighted that, “it is essential to continue closely monitoring the ML/TF risks of so-called stablecoins, including anonymous peer-to-peer transactions via unhosted wallets”.
Is it ever possible to control crypto wallets that are not hosted on online exchanges? – you’d ask. We’re used to the fact that cryptocurrencies are outside the reach of banks and governments. However, when it comes to stablecoins, things are different.

It’s in the code

What makes stablecoins special is that they are pegging to fiat currency, for example, 1 TUSD = $1 USD. This means that such assets should be backed up by real money stored in the bank accounts of the issuing organization. Consequently, stablecoin creators need to comply with the requirements of the SEC, FATF and other controlling agencies, if they are to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and be authorised to sell stablecoins. Transparent reports are not the only requirement, stablecoins must also provide the possibility of account blocking.
Surprisingly, this feature is implemented in each stablecoin. The experts from QDAO DeFi are covering several stablecoin protocols that enable this function.

OMNI-based USDT

Issued by Tether Limited, USDT is a stablecoin that was originally created to be worth $1 with each token backed by a $1 real fiat reserve. The currency was successfully promoted and added to major cryptocurrency exchanges but stayed a controversial asset. Despite the claims of Tether Limited, they failed to provide any contractual right or other legal claims to guarantee that USDT can be swapped for dollars or be redeemed.
In April 2019, Tether’s lawyers explained that each USDT was backed by only $0.74 in cash or equivalent assets. No audit of dollar collateral was done. A month before that, it changed the backing to include loans to affiliate companies. The scandal also involved the Bitfinex exchange that was accused of using USDT funds to cover $850 million in funds lost since 2018. They were also accused of manipulating USDT to push the BTC price.
Tether is available on five blockchains: Omni, Ehereum, EOS, Tron and Liquid. Only the latter does not have a freezing feature. Omni was the first protocol for USDT. Blocking of users’ accounts is possible, thanks to the following piece of code:

https://preview.redd.it/uqho45l33om51.png?width=690&format=png&auto=webp&s=c0feebdae086b0deeccde05278eaf3cc760f9e2b
Apparently, it’s used to blacklist addresses and contracts.

PAX

The concerns about PAX were centered around the notorious MMM BSC Ponzi scheme. Before the widespread adoption of DeFi services, it was the second-largest gas consumer after Ethereum. Out of 25,000 daily transactions, 5,000 were performed by MMM BSC. It was reported to be a scam but none of the accounts were frozen. Does it mean PAX lacked the resources to regulate illicit activities?
Evidently, not. The protocol code has a LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONALITY function that allows for the freezing/unfreezing of contracts or burning assets on blacklisted accounts. It turns out, anyone risks having their PAX coins destroyed during an investigation process while their accounts stay blocked.

History of frozen accounts

In 2019, the ZCash Foundation and Eric Wall conducted research on the privacy of stablecoins and revealed several frozen addresses. It’s not clear why exactly they were blocked. Most probably, it happened shortly after the exchange withdrawal – users took this action after witnessing platforms being hacked.

https://preview.redd.it/pkbruqm83om51.png?width=838&format=png&auto=webp&s=b068c5b8c5e5439892eaf5feefa3fbc93c694c8c
USDT was implicated at least twice in scandals to do with freezing. In April 2019, about $850 million in Tether dollars sent by Crypto Capital Corp. were frozen by a New York court. Tether and Btfinex were accused of participating in a cover-up to hide about $850 million worth in clients’ funds. By July 2020, Tether had frozen 40 Ethereum addresses with millions of USDT (some of them are shown in the screenshot above).
The Centre Consortium was the next to follow their lead; about a month ago, it blacklisted an address with USDC worth $100,000. That was done in response to law enforcement.
Yet, it’s not only Europe and the USA imposing control over cryptocurrencies. Since June 2020, the Chinese government managed to block several thousands of users’ bank accounts. It was done to resist illicit activities, especially money laundering. On some of those accounts, no activity had been detected for several months. Meanwhile, prior to April 2020, Chinese residents moved over $50 billion worth of crypto outside the country borders – more than is officially allowed (a maximum of $50,000 per person).
The authorities claim that USDT and other stablecoins are often used in illegal activities. Together with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), they are developing new ways of investigating digital crimes and money laundering operations involving exchanges and crypto wallets. Local financial bureaus and police are working tight-lipped about investigating startups and crypto exchanges. And they are succeeding at it.
In July 2020, Chinese authorities confiscated BTC, ETH and USDT worth $15 million from people who allegedly ran a fake cryptocurrency scheme.
By the way, not only corporate accounts are being closed. One investor claims his account had been frozen after using yuan to purchase crypto. Also, users who transfer illegally obtained money outside of the mainland in large amounts are under suspicion. Does it mean the Chinese government has started tightening the screws on cryptocurrency users?

DAI, USDT on Liquid and USDQ are the main options for stablecoin deposits

So, where can you store your crypto assets? USDT on Liquid and DAI are not the only solutions available. Consider making a deposit in USDQ, the stablecoin of the QDAO ecosystem. Like other stablecoins, it’s 1-to-1 pegged to USD. However, it cannot be frozen by a government, financial organization or anyone from the QDAO team. You can check it yourself by reading our Smart contract and USDQ Audit.
In QDAO, users’ accounts are never frozen by a single person – all account issues are solved by the entire QDAO community, with the help of a QDAO governance token.
In case of blocking (the chances of which are almost non-existent), you can address the QDAO community and get timely help.

Bottom Line

With FATF taking this new course of action, we might witness serious pressure on stablecoin providers. Some projects will resist it, but it’s still not safe to store your assets in popular stablecoins, especially USDT. Your account can be frozen by authorities for dozens of reasons without the possibility of retrieval.
Yet, there are a number of reliable alternatives and USDQ stablecoin is one of them. QDAO DeFi platform users feel free to manage their crypto reserves and make profitable deposits.
Want to be the first to hear QDAO DeFi news and updates? Visit our website and stay in touch with us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and LINE (for the Japanese-speaking community).
submitted by QDAODeFi to u/QDAODeFi [link] [comments]

A theory of why Ethereum is perhaps better "sound money" than Bitcoin.

The idea of Bitcoin's supremacy as "sound money" is very frequently thrown around by the biggest talking heads in the crypto world. I know I will get a lot of hate for suggesting that this theory is not only flawed, but it is straight up wrong. As unintuitive as it may sound to Bitcoin maximalists (no offense intended) I believe Ethereum is on the path to becoming the global leading asset and model for sound money... give me a chance to explain why.
  1. The idea that nothing can change Bitcoin's issuance schedule is a myth. There is absolutely no divine power controlling the supply of Bitcoin. Contrary to what is commonly asserted, Bitcoin's issuance protocol is not primarily driven by what is currently implemented. The real driver is consensus: the majority of network participants must agree that what is currently defined cannot be changed. There is an underlying assumption that the consensus would never want to change Bitcoin's issuance. On the surface this makes for a nice "sound money" narrative, but it is false premise and sticking to it could be ultimately detrimental. It presents a long term sustainability issue (the hope that somehow Bitcoin's base layer will scale enough to maintain security entirely through fees). It also completely dismisses the possibility that an unforeseen event could create pressure to change the issuance. If Bitcoin managed to create a consensus mechanism that did not rely on mining, it is very likely there would be consensus to reduce issuance. On the other hand, if some potentially catastrophic event would create incentives to increase the issuance, it would only make sense for the network to do so.
  2. Issuance flexibility is not fundamentally bad. Etheruem's approach to adjust the issuance according to the contextual circumstances has resulted in a faster rate of issuance reduction than what was originally defined in the protocol. The rate of issuance will continue to decrease as new developments allow for it to happen without compromising the network security. There is a very high probability that Ethereum will achieve a lower issuance rate than Bitcoin in the next two years, and it could possibly achieve zero issuance in the next five years. This would be a result of a successful implementation of PoS, sharding and EIP-1559.
  3. The root of all evil is Proof of Work. PoW is by far the primary cost of operating the Bitcoin network. It is the primary determinant of how much issuance is needed as a financial incentive to keep miners doing their thing. The very mechanism that secures the network's decentralization is unfortunately quite wasteful. The degree of decentralization is a direct result of how much random mathematical operations are being done by miners.
  4. There is a better way. Some people will take offense by the use of the word wasteful, and they claim that it is not because those mindless calculations are what is actually securing the network. However, its wasteful aspect becomes clear if there is a different way to achieve equal or superior decentralization without the need to crunch mathematical problems. This just so happens to be embodied in Ethereum's design of Proof of Stake. It will drastically reduce the cost of securing the network, while providing at least 2-3% annual returns for the ownership of Ether. When Ethereum's issuance becomes lower than its staking rewards, it will effectively have achieved the same effect as having zero (or possibly negative) issuance.
  5. The value proposition of Ethereum 2.0 is unmatched. There is just absolutely no asset in the world that has a 2-3% self-denominated annual returns and just so happens to be rapidly appreciating. When wall-street's greed sees this, it will create the mother of all bubbles.
  6. Don't dismiss the flippening. On February 01 2018 Ethereum reached 70% of Bitcoin's marked cap (it was even closer if you account for the amount of lost bitcoins). That happened before DEFI, before proof of staking was within reach, before multiple effective layer 2 solutions were a thing, before wrapped Bitcoins and before the first signs of mass adoption were on the horizon (like integration with Reddit , VISA and potential to compete with SWIFT). Utility is a huge factor in driving prices, lets not forget how Silk Road played a key role into propelling Bitcoin's value. Yes, Ethereum crashed hard after the peak in 2018, but perhaps it is simply manifesting a higher volatility pattern that is reminiscent of Bitcoin's early years. Bitcoin's first 5 years were characterized by aggressive price swings, why should it be different for Etheruem (considering it is about 5 years younger than Bitcoin)? If the volatility patterns stands on this bull market, we will see a flippening.
So... do I think Etheruem will flip? Yes I do, but I still hold Bitcoin. No one has a crystal ball, and nothing is certain. Perhaps Etheruem will crash and burn, perhaps Bitcoin will become the next Yahoo, and perhaps they will both thrive in this new exciting crypto world.
submitted by TheWierdGuy to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

BITCOIN TO $18,000 BY JULY 2020!!! Here's Why... BITCOIN IS GOING MAINSTREAM! Mass Crypto Exposure WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO THE BITCOIN PRICE??!!! $1,000 DUMP IN 5 MIN! MANIPULATION? Crypto Currency Explained like I’m 5 - Kung fu nerd - YouTube Five Experts Explain Why Bitcoin Won't Bounce Back

Nik Custodio tried to answer that question back in December 2013 in a blog post called, “Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five.” Today, we’re highlighting some of Custodio’s information from that piece while also explaining new information about bitcoin from the last five years. First, Custodio uses the example of an apple transfer to explain ... by Nik Custodio Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five If you still can’t figure out what the heck a bitcoin is… We’re sitting on a park bench. It’s a great day. I have one apple with me. I give it to you. You now have one apple and I have zero. That was simple, right? Let’s look closely at what happened: My apple was physically put into your hand. And just like on the park bench, the exchange involved two people only. You and me — we didn’t need Uncle Tommy there to make it valid. In other words, it behaves like a physical object. ELI5 Bitcoin – Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five. Let’s just say there’s you and me in a room, and I hand you a dollar. I gave the dollar to you, and now you have it and I don’t. We didn’t need anybody else to verify the transaction, and I can’t take it back unless you give me it back. That dollar is yours now to do whatever you like ... Cryptocurrency: Explain it to me like I’m 5. ... Bitcoin operates off a blockchain, which essentially is a digital ledger of all transactions that occur with the specified cryptocurrency. ... processing mobile payments Jeff Thorness omni-channel payment industry payment solutions eCommerce EMV mobile business payments news small business ACH ...

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BITCOIN TO $18,000 BY JULY 2020!!! Here's Why...

Explain Crypto Currencies like I’m 5 with Kung fu nerd. Let’s talk the basics of why crypto is useful and how it works to benefit individuals over giant cong... In today's episode, I am going to look at bitcoins explosion past $10k and explain why bitcoin is likely headed to $18k by July 2020. Join me... A short introduction to how Bitcoin Works. Want more? Check out my new in-depth course on the latest in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and a survey of the most excitin... Bitcoin prices nearly reached $20,000 in December 2017 as investors poured into cryptocurrencies. Here's what five experts had to tell CNBC about why they think bitcoin's hype and growth may be over. Famous Author JK Rowling Tweets "I don’t understand bitcoin. Please explain it to me." - Bitcoin hashrate futures go live on FTX exchange, for miners to hedge their risks - Institutional Crypto ...

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