Earnings season is repeating a tech-bubble trend filled ...

Bitcoin's illiquidity is going to be a huge problem when the bubble bursts – Business Insider

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In 2012 I Met a Possessed Couch

I’ve been losing sleep. I don’t think I’m particularly special in that regard, I think everyone has been losing sleep these days. A global pandemic tends to do that to people. Yet the thing that has been keeping me awake isn’t the virus. I’ve been losing sleep over an old couch I once crossed paths with.
It’s been eight years, I want to believe that I’ve put the past behind me, but being locked in a house for a couple of weeks has made it impossible to not dwell on the past. The memory of the couch started off as a fleeting thought over my morning coffee, but as days have turned into weeks that memory has grown into a distinct vision of madness. What I saw during those three drunken nights in December of 2012 has become an unavoidable part of reality. I can’t rest until I process it.
So since we have a nice little Internet campfire going here I figured I would tell you guys a story. Hopefully it will let me put this whole part of my past to rest and maybe it will take your mind off of what is happening outside. So kick back and let me tell you a tale of love and loss, of broken teenage hearts, of surviving in a crumbling world. Let me tell you a story about the couch that tried to seduce me.

I was nineteen, hung-over and heartbroken. I was also stuck in a foreign country. Well, to call Estonia a foreign country would be a bit of a long shot, I had lived there for a good five years of my life. It was in Estonia that I lived out most of my teenage years. This was where I had smoked my first cigarette, had my first drink, fell in love for the first time. I was dragged in when I was thirteen by my parents; they had business in Tallinn and wherever they went I went. At eighteen, when my parent’s contracts ran out, I was forced back home. Their business with Estonia was done. Mine was not. By nineteen I was back.
As soon as I got off the plane I turned my phone on and checked my messages. She didn’t write to me. My soul, positioned somewhere slightly above my abdomen, twitched in discomfort. It was a familiar twitch, I had felt it in the bus to the airport, I had felt it in the security check, I had felt it when I boarded the flight to Tallinn and as soon as I got off the plane the twitch was back with a vengeance. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was a realization. It was the realization that I had emptied out most of my already slim bank account on a one-way ticket halfway across the continent to see my old high-school sweetheart who wasn’t interested in seeing me. It was the realization that as much as I consciously knew the trip was a bad idea, I couldn’t resist going. I dragged my feet towards the arrivals hall.
When it became obvious that Saale was dodging my messages I panicked. There was no place for me to crash, I had no money for a flight, hell, I had no money for food. As I boarded the plane to Estonia I sent off a panicked text message to my old band-mate: ‘Made horrible mistake. Landing in Tallinn in three hours. Can I crash at yours?’ Within two minutes there was a reply: ‘OK. Will come with Maarja. See you soon.’ Karl wasn’t very chatty, but he was always there when needed.
The two of them were waiting for me as soon as I walked out into the arrival hall. They barely changed. Karl was still a giant of man. His long hair had gotten longer and the beard he had rocked since seventeen had gotten thicker, the guy looked like Jesus on steroids if Jesus was really into heavy metal and wore glasses. Next to Karl stood Maarja, she wore a garish yellow coat. The pink streak in her hair she’d been so proud of back in middle school was pinker than ever.
“JAAMEEES! YOU’RE BACK!” Maarja yelled in her high-pitched faux-English accent before nearly tackling me to the ground. “It’s been too long honey! Too long!” She hadn’t changed a bit since I left the country. Maarja was still a pint-sized bolt of energy. The two of them made for an odd couple.
“Welcome back, Friend,” Karl said after Maarja was done squeezing me. He wasn’t one for physical contact, Karl settled on a simple pat on the shoulder that challenged my entire skeletal structure. The three of us made our way outside to catch a bus to the center. Even after living in Estonia for five years I still wasn’t used to the winters. As soon as we walked out into the sub-zero temperature I felt decidedly like a foreigner.
We caught up on the small things while we waited for the bus. Karl and Maarja had officially moved in together, the band that Karl and me started up in high-school had broken up, Maarja was in the process of getting a bachelors degree of psychology and Karl was really into some crypto-currency stuff that went completely over my head. I couldn’t get much out of me; the cold was taking a real toll on my system. Whenever I opened my mouth to talk about my miserable little life I simply ended up chattering my teeth. As soon as we got on the bus I threw myself at the nearest heating vent.
“So, James,” Maarja said as soon as we got on the bus, “You still talk to Saale?” When I turned away from the heater to face her she froze, “I mean, we don’t have to talk about, forget I asked.”
“Do I look that bad?”
While Maarja searched for a diplomatic answer Karl stepped in with his special brand of honesty, “You look very tired and unhappy.”
“Well, I am happy to see you guys and I am excited to be here, but, yeah,” I decided to get the conversation out of the way, “We tried two months of long-distance, but Skype only gets you so far. Broke up in late July. After we split we agreed to not talk for a couple of months, to give each other some time to clear the system and all that. Keeping radio silence was hard at first but after a couple of weeks I started to get used to it. I was learning to live without her. Things were starting to straighten up, I even took a stab at dating but when the holidays rolled around the loneliness came back. On Christmas I figured I’d throw Saale a holiday message. She wrote back. We started chatting on a daily basis.”
The bus bounced through my old neighborhood. Memories of my drunken youth jumped at me from every corner, most of those memories involved Saale. “Last night we got pretty drunk,” I continued, “Things got flirty. We started talking about what we would do if we weren’t half a continent away from each other. She mentioned her parents were out of town until the end of January on some sort of an anniversary trip. I offered to fly in. She told me I should. Now I’m here.”
“She changed her mind?” Karl asked.
“She didn’t think I was serious about flying over. Didn’t exactly check with her before I bought the ticket. She flipped out when I got it, told me to get a refund and then hung up on me when I insisted on meeting up. She hasn’t answered any of my messages since.” A part of me felt good to get the story out of my system but saying it out loud just added to the absurdity. I could have not bought the ticket, I could have gotten a refund, I could have not gotten on that plane. Everything could have been avoided, but nineteen year old me leaped at the opportunity for a grand romantic gesture like a hungry animal.
“Very strange,” Karl finally said after considering my story. He shot a look over to Maarja, as if she was the ambassador to all women-kind, “Very strange, right?”
Maarja shrugged.
Maarja’s house was the crown jewel of my high-school social life. It was a three-apartment unit that was built at some point before the world wars. This place was old, as you would walk around the little apartment it would creak, but it made for a perfect party place. Maarja had inherited the apartment from her grandma at sixteen; the Estonians saw child rearing as a fairly independent process. If she couldn’t survive on her own at sixteen she probably couldn’t make it at thirty, a bit of responsibility would prepare her for the frigid world outside. Maarja used her newly found independence to throw the biggest house parties that the neighborhood had ever seen.
Maarja’s place was perfect for booze filled gatherings. It was spacious enough to hold any drinking game we could dream up, there was a nice terrace for smoking and the neighbors were either deaf, completely apathetic about teenage drinking or both. As soon as the front door opened I was assaulted by memories.
Visions of drunken nights on the floor of the living room, of hung-over mornings of the kitchen; the old apartment breathed with the past. For a split second a wave of gratitude for a youth well spent washed over me, but then I remembered that each of those fond memories had an element I wanted to block out. Most of the fun I had in the apartment had been with Saale by my side.
Maarja and Karl still slept on an old mattress on the floor, the walls were still covered with cut outs of boy-bands that Maarja had stuck to the wall in her tweens. The only thing that changed about their bedroom was the addition of a massive computer rig on the table. There were strange ventilators and cooling tubes and blinking lights, the machine looked like something straight out of a sci-fi flick.
“That’s my mining rig,” Karl said proudly. I nodded as if I understood what he was talking about.
“Where are the rats?” I asked, noticing the empty cage on Maarja’s wardrobe. Back in the day Maarja had two rats, Fritz and The Duchess. She would keep them in the cage most of the time, but whenever the night reached a certain point of drunkenness Maarja would sneak over to her bedroom and come out with the two animals. If you saw Maarja with two rats running up and down her body you knew the night was really going to become a rager.
“The Duchess died last week,” Maarja said with a glint of sorrow, “Fritz wasn’t taking it well. Think the little guy was depressed being in the cage all alone, so I’m letting him roam around the house for the time being. Hopefully a bit of freedom will cheer him up.” As if he had heard his name, Fritz peeked out from behind the wardrobe. The albino rat raised his snout in the air, sniffed for a bit and then lumbered off to the living room. The years had taken their toll on Fritz, he no longer moved with the youthful energy I was used to, but the one part of him that I remembered had not changed. Fritz still had balls that were disproportionately giant to his body. As he moved away from us he dragged them behind him with Sisyphean effort.
“So, which hostel are you crashing at?” Maarja asked. A lump manifested in my throat. I looked around the cramped apartment. Outside of the mattress there was nowhere for me to sleep. I didn’t have any money for a hostel. “Ah, I’m just kidding. You’re crashing here. We owe you anyway,” Maarja said with good cheer.
“For what?” I asked, relieved that I wasn’t homeless.
“Financing the booze and cigarettes back in the day, might have ended up a nun if it weren’t for you,” she said with a grin. It was true, throughout high school I had been the main financier of our misadventures, my parents had foreign money and that money went pretty far by Estonian standards. More importantly though; when everyone was sixteen I looked twelve. According to the law of teen streets, the late bloomer provides the dough for those who can buy stuff without ID.
“You’ll sleep on the couch, we just haven’t had the time to get it out of the garage. How about you and Karl drag it in while I make some tea?”
Even though it was a bright winter day outside the garage was in near darkness. The only thing that illuminated the cramped musty room was a single ray of light shining in through a cracked skylight. The garage was covered in flimsy shelves that buckled beneath the weight of greasy machine parts. In the center of the garage lay a couch shaped object covered with a large, stained cloth. Karl grabbed ahold the cloth and was about to pull it away, but a thought struck him.
“James, if I tell you something will you not tell Maarja?” He asked, letting the cloth drop back down to the floor. He looked straight at me; his small eyes were probing me for trustworthiness.
“Well, depends on what it is,” I said, “Don’t need help burying a body, right?”
“No,” Karl’s intensity broke into a smile, “It is nothing illegal. Just a secret.” He strode towards one of the rickety shelves and plunged his hand deep into its depths. After a moment of rustling he pulled out a small box. He opened it. Even though the garage was dark, and even though the diamond was tiny, you could see a little glimmer. Karl’s eyes shone twice as bright.
“Wow man,” I said, realizing how quickly the world was moving on, “Congratulations!” Maarja and Karl would get married and I would be at their wedding alone. As I stood in that garage the thought that I would always be alone gushed dread through my veins. We used to joke about how Saale and me would get hitched before the two of them did. Those jokes felt cruel now. Maarja and Karl would get married and one day Saale would get married too. She would get married to someone who wasn’t me. “I’m really happy for you.”
“I want to ask her father soon. He does not like me much, but I think I can show him that I can provide for his daughter. This Bitcoin thing will be big soon James, in a couple of years me and Maarja will be rich.” Karl put the box back into its hiding place. “Promise not to tell her, yes?”
“Promise,” I said with as much candor as I could muster, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was floating disembodied in a bright church, watching my would-be-wife get married to someone else.
“James,” Karl’s paw on my shoulder brought me back into reality, “You will be okay. I know you are worried about Saale, but you still have us. We will drink this away.” He smiled. I tried to smile back. “Let’s get this couch, shall we?”
He pulled away at the cloth that covered the couch. Enough dust flew off into the air to send us both into a coughing fit. The room danced with dirty particles. Yet from behind the veil of powder I could see it. I could see the couch.
The thing was ancient, a couch straight out of the early days of the Soviet Union. Its flowery upholstery was covered in stains that just screamed history. It was as if the piece of furniture had been used for barricades in the defense of Stalingrad and lived to talk about it. Filth filled its rumpled cloth, it stood on firm wooden legs that seemed to have survived multiple generations of being clawed at, it was as if the thing was simply biding its time until its true masters came back to retrieve it. The couch was old, but somehow in that dark garage, in that gust of earthly smoke, there was something alluring about it. It looked ratty but comfortable, even inviting. For a split second I was sure that the couch had winked at me with its cushioning. Then the dust settled and it was just a piece of furniture.
Karl grabbed one side of the couch, I grabbed the other and we started to haul the thing towards the living room. We had left the garage, but there was still tension in the air. I was still thinking about Saale getting married to someone who wasn’t me. It was still as if Karl and me were meant to have a serious discussion. Neither of us were comfortable.
“I lost my virginity on this couch,” I shared, hoping to relax the situation.
Karl grinned, accepting the levity, “Gross.”
We dragged the couch to the living room and then joined Maarja in the kitchen. Back in the day her kitchen table was the go-to place to gather before drinking and after drinking. We would sit around and shoot the shit and wait for someone to drop off the booze for the evening or the hung-over pizza for the morning. Yet as we sat there, trying to make small talk, one of the chairs was empty and it made all the difference. I couldn’t focus on anything that was being said around me, all I could think about was how Saale used to sit next to me. All I could think about were her long legs on my lap, her long fiery hair, her laughter.
“How about we sweeten the evening with a bit of moonshine?” Maarja asked, as she fished a clear bottle out of the kitchen counter, “Karl and me are going to lunch with my parents tomorrow though, so no hangovers.”
Karl cheered on the promise of alcohol, but not even drink could lift my spirits. My eyes shifted from Saale’s empty seat to the couch. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep for a thousand years. “Guys, I appreciate the hospitality but I’m really tired. How about we drink tomorrow?” I said. Karl and Maarja looked concerned, this was the first time they had ever seen me refuse booze.
“Are you sure you’re okay honey? We can talk about it if you want to,” Maarja suggested. I insisted I was fine; I just needed to get some rest. That didn’t convince her, but she yielded, “Well, we’ll be in my room if you need us.” Her and Karl shuffled off to her bedroom. I laid down on the couch.
From the other room I could hear them talk. Maarja talked in concerned whispers whilst Karl spoke at full volume, it didn’t make much of a difference, even after five years of being in the country I still couldn’t understand Estonian. I could hear my name being mentioned though. They were concerned about the emotional wreck that was crashing on their couch. I dragged my friends into my mess. It was all so humiliating; I was far from home, broke and broken. I wanted to die.
‘Easy there Tiger, don’t think like that,’ a faint voice emerged from the back of my head, ‘Things might not seem great right now, but look on the bright side, at least you’re on a comfortable couch.’ The voice was right; the couch was indeed comfortable. ‘All you need is a bit of a distraction to forget about your broken heart. Some booze, some dope, maybe a bit of love and you’ll be good as new.’ It was as if the suave voice turned a switch in my mind. Suddenly the tightness in my chest eased, a burst of joy started to bubble in my abdomen. My fingers started to trace the sides of the upholstery. The voice giggled, ‘That’s the spirit Tiger, just relax, you’re fine as long as you’re here with me.’ The universe felt lighter, my feelings of dread faded away and were replaced with an electric anticipation. I needed a drink to celebrate.
I opened the door to Maarja’s bedroom. She was lounging on the mattress reading a psych textbook. Karl was watching bar graphs on the computer. “Hey guys,” I peeked in, “I feel a bit better now, how about those drinks?” They both grinned. We drank.
In the moment I didn’t give much thought to the voice in my head, my internal monologue was turned up a notch since the break-up anyway. I was used to hearing thoughts that I consciously didn’t want to consider; the silky voice that was telling me that things would be okay was a welcome distraction. I sunk into the couch and I let the night carry me away. ‘See Tiger? Isn’t it nice to be here? Isn’t life just swell on this little old couch?’ it would say. I nodded along. We drank more.
All thoughts of avoiding hangovers were let go; the liquor poured freely. At some point Maarja emerged out of her room with Fritz on her shoulder. We celebrated the tradition of our youth but the rat was sluggish, far too old to crawl around on her body. After a couple of minutes Maarja gave up on playing with the rat. She put him on the ground. Fritz simply walked around the room dragging his testacles behind him like a ball and chain. We drank more.
Karl lumbered up to his feet and went to fetch his guitar. Maarja was out having a cigarette. I was far too comfortable on the couch. Having a moment to myself I watched the rat. Fritz had spent the past couple of minutes roaming the living room and sniffing at my backpack. Yet suddenly something caught his attention, he sniffed at the air, his whiskers bouncing in curiosity. Then he looked towards the couch. The old rat sprung to his hind legs and turned towards me. It was as if his beady eyes were locked to the piece of furniture. ‘Oh Tiger, don’t think about the stupid rat. Look, here comes Karl, let’s stop thinking about stupid things and listen to him play.’
Oh and how he could play. To say that Karl lacked warmth would be an understatement, communicating with the guy often felt like having a conversation with a pile of awkwardly stacked encyclopedias, but as soon as he would bring out the guitar he would ooze personality. Somehow, with those hulking fingers of his, Karl had managed to make the strings sing the gentlest of tones. Maarja and me sang along out of key as the night went on. ‘Just like the good old days, Tiger, you’re here and you’re happy. Focus on the positives, focus on the present,’ the voice told me. I followed the advice, until I couldn’t.
It was as if a spell had been broken. As soon as I heard those opening chords, as soon as I realized what Karl was playing my stomach sank. It was that Rolling Stones song. Saale and me had danced to it once upon a time. Memories of our first night together came rushing into my mind. The Saale shaped hole in my heart throbbed with pain. I got up to splash some water on my face. Karl shifted his performance into a serenade for Maarja.
The tiles in the bathroom were freezing but I was willing to withstand the pain if it meant I could get further away from the song. I stood there, willing to wait it out, but the memories just kept on floating back. I was standing in the same bathroom I stood in the night that I met Saale. I could see traces of a sixteen-year old in my face. The music kept on building. Saale’s lily perfume filled my nostrils. I could remember the fullness of her lips before our first kiss. The images were cascading on top of each other, ripping away at my sanity, ready to plunge me into a panic attack. But then they stopped. The music stopped.
I peeked out of the door. Karl had chucked his guitar over to the side. His serenade had given way to a heavy make out session. Him and Maarja were all over each other. “Guys, I’m going to go out for a cigarette,” I announced.
The two of them looked up at me dazed and drunk. “Take the keys honey, I think we’re going to bed.”
I hoped that the dial tone would block out Maarja’s moans but it didn’t. Not only did I have to listen to a loving couple have sex, I also had to listen to world’s quietest dial tone as I was reminded that Saale did not want to talk to me. I stood out there in the freezing cold smoking one cigarette after another. It was just me, the starless sky and Maarja’s moans. Karl lasted for a quarter a pack before their bedroom quieted down. I tried calling Saale one more time and then went back inside.
By the time I stumbled to the couch I could already hear snoring coming from the bedroom. But there was another sound in the apartment, something much quieter, something I almost didn’t notice. Scratching.
Luckily I managed to prop myself up against the couch before I sat on him. As I tried to regain my balance I realized just how drunk I was. Fritz was on the couch, furiously scratching into its upholstery. He looked up at the drunken figure hovering over him for a split second and then went back to work. Those little claws scratched with the ferocity of a pup. It was as if Fritz was two years younger.
I picked him up by his scruff and tried taking him off the couch. When I lifted him off the ground the rat seemed confused for just a split second before-
‘Aiiieee’ Fritz screamed the world’s tiniest scream and then bit me in the finger. He dropped to the ground and ran beneath a nearby wardrobe. He hid beneath it and watched me.
I was too drunk and tired to care. I laid down on the couch and exhaled. ‘Welcome back Tiger, you look tired. Let me keep you company. Yes, life is hard, but if you really appreciate the moment it can be pretty enjoyable. Lie down here, let me keep you hold you. Let’s get to know each other better.’
I could smell floral perfume. I closed my eyes and drifted off to a deep sleep.
(Next part)
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Hide and Seek

An old friend of mine emailed this to me a while back with the subject line “Hide and Seek” and I’ve been hesitant to post it for reasons that should become obvious as you read it. That said, I feel that enough time has gone by for this to be safe so I’m going to post it here. The only edits I’ve made were swapping out names and formatting, otherwise it’s all exactly as he sent it.
T, if you’re reading this then message me. I want to know if you’re alright, and if you are I know you’ll be looking for this story to show up.
This is what the email said:
Rijento,
I’m writing this story because I feel like I need an outlet. I swear to god that you better actually check your email for once in your damn life!
Please…
As for if you actually are reading this, I want you to wait as long as your (admittedly) better judgment tells you to wait and then post this story online. I know it’s a bit vain, but I want people to know my story. Hell, it might be the last one I ever tell. Double hell, it might actually even help some poor soul out.
I’m going to disappear after sending this, hopefully the good kind of disappear and not the death kind. I know nobody but you is going to believe this story but damn if typing this out didn’t make my sorry ass feel better. You were right about that man, I’m sorry for giving you shit for writing so much…
This is the attached file. “Hide and Seek”:
Before I get in to the ‘hiding’ and ‘seeking’ I have a bit of a confession that needs to be made. I work as a transporter for a deep web black market site… I hope it doesn’t change your opinion of me too much, sorry for not telling you sooner.
I’m the guy they call when they get an order for something they can’t send through the mail. Guns and live animals are two good examples. You’d be pretty hyped to know how many rich assholes just order lions and tigers from the dark web.
For obvious reasons, I can’t go in to too much detail, I don’t want to make any dangerous enemies and even after this I still don’t want to lose my job. It’s a pretty sweet gig all things considered, all I have to do is pick up from the seller and deliver to the buyer. I can even choose what jobs I want to take, lets me cling to what little principles I still have. And I DO have principles. After a few years working for the site, my two rules were: no people and no crossing borders.
Anyways, I got into a bit of a bind with the cryptocurrency crash that happened early this year. The site mostly pays in Bitcoin and, well, I decided to let my wallet sit and grow. By the time I realized what happened, my savings were destroyed. Nobody expected it to crash that hard… And it probably wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if I hadn’t also gotten used to living a life full of the finer things. I didn’t really ‘save’ all that much to begin with either. So when my savings finally ran dry and the market was still down, I decided to… Lower my standards a bit and take a riskier, higher paying job.
Organ transport.
I haven’t done it before… I hadn’t been that broke in a long time. Organ jobs pay well too, and I figured I still wasn’t strictly breaking my ‘no people’ rule if it was just their organs. So, I hopped on the site and browsed through the pitiful number of requests in my area till I found what I was looking for. A rich buyer who: had shady connections, was in need of some organs, and lacked either the time or patience to wait for them to come legally. As far as these sort of requests went, this was pretty much the norm from what I’d heard. So I accepted the job and got an email with some additional details about the order: the customer needed two kidneys (which was what I was to transport) and a liver (which they had made a separate request for).
From what other people on the site have told me, what should have happened was the job would move to the ‘seeking seller’ section and I’d be on hold till someone… ‘_acquired_’ the kidneys.
What actually happened probably should have tipped me off to use my monthly free withdraw… I got a notification two hours later that there was a seller.
Rijento, I don’t know how much you know about medicine, but if you do know anything then you’re probably squirming in your own skin about right now. For those who may or may not be reading this that are not in the know, not only do the donor and receiver have to have compatible blood types but kidneys only last about a day outside of a warm body.
Not exactly a product you can stockpile.
I got another email, about the pickup this time, and began the internal debate between the bad feeling in my gut and my empty wallet… You can probably guess which one of them won out… Anyways, I planned my route; one hour to get to the seller and four hours to get from there to the buyer. I sent the site my plan and within minutes they approve of it and set up an actual meeting point. I sighed and grabbed my things, trying to swallow my nerves the entire hour it took me to reach the meeting point.
I sat down on a bench in a city park and waited for what seemed like ages before I felt someone staring at me. It took me a solid minute to pick out who it was even though there were only a few people around. He was sitting with his back to me at a picnic table about ten yards away from me and whenever I looked away I could feel his eyes on me. When we eventually did make eye-contact he bounced excitedly in his seat and waved me over; my heart sank as he also slid a small case into my line of sight.
I forced myself to smile, walked over, sat down, and hid my annoyance. Most of the buyers on the site were practically carbon copies of each other. Probably because you could only become a buyer if another buyer knew and endorsed you. The sellers, on the other hand, were all certifiably insane.
None of the other transporters I’d chatted with had ever met with a ‘normal’ seller. Because of this, all of them quickly learned to keep conversation to a minimum and to not under any circumstances piss any of them off. I decided to follow in their example.
The man sitting in front of me looked friendly enough, overly so if anything. He was scrawny, didn’t look like he would be strong enough to… well… kill someone and harvest their insides. He had a strange smile on his face, and even now I can’t get it out of my head. The kind of overly friendly, wide toothed smile that mothers warned their children to stay away from. It somehow managed to be both inviting and creepy at the same time.
I smiled back and spoke up, “So you’re the seller then?” I asked, and the man nodded.
He nodded and responded in a sickeningly sweet voice… He sounded like a child in a toy store, his voice strained with excitement and wonder as he droned on to his parents about what toys he wanted.
“Oh I’m so glad you found me. For a minute there I thought I’d have to call ‘olly olly oxen free.’” He said with a pleased sigh, pushing the case to my side of the table. “You know… Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at playing hide and seek. So good, in fact, that I’ve never been found. Not. Even. Once. Do you want to know my secret?” the man asked, his voice still just as unsettlingly sweet as his smile.
“Sure, what’s your secret?” I asked. I really, really didn’t want to know what the hell he was talking about; but if it kept him happy then…
He clapped rapidly and bounced in place, “Oh I’m so glad that you’re a curious one. My secret is that the seekers never know that they’re playing.”
“Makes sense…” I said, opening the case momentarily to verify. Two kidneys in pristine condition, doused with preserving fluid, wrapped in plastic. and packed in ice. “If the seeker doesn’t know they’re playing then how would they know to start looking?” I said, leaving out the fact that it would just be stalking at that point before swallowing hard when I thought about where these kidneys came from.
“You’re a smart one…” he said with a smile as I sent a message confirming the pickup. All that was left was to wait for the transaction to process. “I was worried about this last one though… she came right up to me. This. Close.” he said, leaning in till our faces almost touched.
I struggled to keep my composure, and managed to keep from jumping or pushing him away. “So what did you do?” I asked as he leaned back, my suspicions about these kidneys being all but confirmed.
“Why, nothing of course…” He said, a slightly bewildered expression on his face. He looked as though I just asked him how to breathe. I glanced down at my phone to see if the transaction had been verified yet and he snapped his fingers like he remembered something. “Oh I must apologize!” he said, making me look up, “I forgot that you don’t play much… I simply held my breath, closed my eyes, and wished that she would just… go away.”
“You’re right… You are good at hide and seek...” I said, wishing to myself that he would just go away and hearing the familiar ding of a successful transaction sound on both of our phones as if to answer my prayers. I reached out my hand as a formality and he grabbed it and shook it vigorously. I forced a smile and stood, although what he said next made my blood nearly freeze.
“You’re the first person to find me in oh so long…” He trailed off as he said it, his voice slowly shifting from that of an exited child to the cold blooded maniac that he was. “Maybe my games won’t be so one sided from now on,” He said, his voice disturbingly normal. Although, even without looking back I could tell that the same sickeningly sweet smile was glued to his face. I kept walking but waved my arm as though saying goodbye.
The worst part was that I could feel him watching me as I walked back to my car… Not just at first, like if he was watching me leave, but the entire way back, and even as I got in my car. I took a moment to look around and sighed as I saw nothing. It might not sound like much to you. I don’t know, I can still hardly describe it myself, but he had this… creepy way of getting under your skin just by talking to you.
I wrote it off as me just being paranoid, the guy harvests organs from people for a living so of course everything he says is creepy. I groaned and started my car, but it wasn’t until I hit the freeway that I was finally able to shake the feeling of his gaze. It’s not like he could’ve been following me, by then I was already paranoid enough to be checking for that, making a few detours just to be sure of it.
And because of my detours, I ended up being about an hour past the scheduled drop off with the buyer… Lost my chance at a tip for sure, guy was furious and there was nothing I could tell him to calm him down. I’m pretty sure, ‘sorry I’m late, but the seller was a total psycho and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t following me,’ wouldn’t have been a very good excuse.
Whatever, I had my money and the buyer had his organs and plenty of time for whatever operation that used them. Not much to complain about on either side, well except for the fact that I already knew I wouldn’t be sleeping that night. Especially because the feeling of being watched had returned as soon as I set foot out of my car which was, again, impossible. The site never tells the sellers anything about the buyers or transporters, so there’s no way he could have known where I was headed to and no way that he could have followed me.
I hopped back in my car and started to head for home, hoping that a few tabs of melatonin would be enough for at least a few hours of sleep. And again, I could feel eyes on me as I drove and I saw his eerie smile everywhere until I hit the highway. I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders then, although I made sure to take the most winding path home that I could afford gas for (which was quite a bit after a job like that). By the time I did get home it was starting to get dark, and I had made a few loops around my apartment just to be sure I didn’t still feel his eyes on me.
Luckily, my apartment building has a public parking garage attached to it so even if I was being followed I felt safe enough that nobody would be able to find my room. But Just to be sure, I took the stairs for the first time in months.
Have any of you ever climbed seven flights of stairs out of paranoia before Rijento? Well in case you haven’t let me tell you what it’s like. Do you remember running up the stairs from the basement after turning off the lights as a kid? That feeling of unease and terror? Well it’s like that, but you aren’t a kid anymore. It’s not the dark or what imaginary monsters could be lurking in it that frightens you anymore. Instead, you’re worried about who could be hiding in the darkness, what real monster could be following you up those stairs… I’m no slouch when it comes to exercise but it still drained everything out of me hauling my body up those stairs on my hands and feet like an animal as fast as I could.
I got inside and locked the door securely behind me, panting, covered in sweat, but I sighed in relief with the fact that I hadn’t felt anyone watching me at all during my climb. I took a moment to catch my breath, slumping down by the door and chuckling to myself while shaking my head. I couldn’t believe that I’d let that freak get so deep under my skin.
Once I had caught my breath, I stood up and made my way to my couch before flopping onto it. I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep then and there, but I had to be smart with my money this time. I immediately cashed the Bitcoin out. Better to pay myself out in small increments, but I had bills to pay and I’d already learned my lesson about leaving things in Bitcoin.
Once business was taken care of, I grabbed the remote control and flicked on the TV. The familiar faces of the local news anchors greeted me and I began drifting off to sleep while listening to the happenings of our city.
It was around seven a.m. when I was woken up by the sound of the ‘breaking news’ alert coming on.
“We are just receiving reports of a ghastly murder of one [yeah, I’m not gonna put her name or age here] year old college student living on her own. Police investigators say that several of her organs were found to be missing and that they found evidence of someone living in her home without her knowledge for quite some time before the murder…”
The reporters kept talking about how much of a tragedy the situation was… But I wasn’t listening. How could I listen…
I’ve never been less happy to be right then I was at that moment. I shuddered thinking about it. My thoughts and paranoia regarding the man I’d met the other day bubbling back up to the surface. It was then that the reality of what I’d done hit me like a freight train. By accepting that contract I doomed that girl to die… All because I needed some quick cash.
I stood up and went to the kitchen and opened my liquor cabinet. Without looking, I grabbed a bottle of something with shaking hands and fumbled with the top while trying to keep my mind clear of thoughts. Once I had the cap off I took several deep swigs from the bottle, spilling quite a bit down my chin before I set it down and gasped for air.
The burn of the alcohol in my throat gave me something to focus on while it worked its magic on the rest of my body. As my mind slowly clouded I found my way to a chair and found it easier to think about what happened without panicking.
My first thought was that I needed to do something. I knew the guy’s face, I should go to the cops! It was at this moment that the… Less impulsive side of my brain kicked in. I go to the cops and all I do is give myself a one way ticket to an early grave. My employers don’t take kindly to police interactions.
I slowly resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to live with the consequences of this job for the rest of my life… I’m a coward, I know.
Anyways, the next few days passed by slowly. I was… Not in a good place mentally and I’m sure you remember how much alcohol my cabinets were stocked with. I blacked out more than once only to wake up gasping for breath from drinking too much. It was honestly a miracle that I didn’t kill myself through alcohol poisoning.
But I… Managed to come to terms with everything. Don’t get me wrong, I still had nightmares where I was the guy hiding in that girls closet… But I wasn’t drinking my problems away anymore, although I think that was more because of the fact that I’d run out of liquor than any meaningful character development.
It was about a week later that I was able to get my first night of actual sleep. I didn’t dream about anything either so that was a plus. I know it probably sounds bad, but I was starting to feel normal again… Like I could maybe find a way to just be myself…
Either way, even after all that I still wanted to keep my job. I just added a new rule: no organs.
From there I fell back into more or less my old routine. I went to eat out almost every day though, I thought any excuse that got me cleaned up and out of my place was worth taking…
And then, I began to feel it again. That skin-crawling sensation of eyes on me from somewhere that I felt the day I met Mr. Hide&Seek. I didn’t think much of it at first, I only felt the eyes when I was surrounded by other people so of course one or two would be looking my way right? I thought I was just guilty and paranoid.
But no matter what I did, I would always feel like I was being watched whenever other people were around. So I started driving more and more and eating out less and less. Not driving anywhere in particular, just driving… I felt safe on the open road, I couldn’t feel any eyes on me… For about a week.
It started small. A shiver down my spine here and there. A sharp sensation that made my eyes snap to one car or another. Then it came more frequently, and I began to get more and more paranoid as the feeling became stronger and stronger.
I started driving less and less, and whenever I did, I kept my eyes on the cars around me. Trying desperately to find where that feeling was coming from. To find who was watching me… Trying to catch a glimpse of his face in a passing car.
I even thought I did see him a few times… Except that was just paranoia… I hope.
Eventually, I stopped driving unless I had to. I shut myself in my apartment, only going out to get groceries and always, always making sure that I didn’t feel anyone watching me before I parked. But that feeling would always find me whenever I went out.
This went on for about a month. I started to drink again, I didn’t go out to eat or drive anymore. I paid someone to deliver my groceries to the garage of my building. All I did was eat, sleep, drink, and watch movies or play games… I’d be living the dream, if I didn’t think a serial killer was stalking me.
Part of me believed that I was just being paranoid and to be honest I desperately wanted to believe that part of me… But not enough to stake my life on it. And after another week of living like a shut-in the feeling of being watched started to re-surface.
Like before it started off small. I felt a ping of eyes on me and from then on I kept the blinds securely closed. Even then, the feeling persisted for days, gradually gathering in strength. So I emptied out all of my closets and cabinets daily… Eventually I just left all of the doors open and everything on the floor so that I could look in to any hiding spot in an instant…
But that feeling still persisted.
I stopped drinking because I was terrified of being attacked. I started sleeping less and less and when I had to sleep, I slept inside of my closet and barred the doors shut from the inside. I ate and drank only when I felt hungry and always with my back to a corner of the room or locked in my closet… But I could still feel eyes on me, feel His eyes on me the same way I had back at the park.
It was about a month later when I finally discovered my haven. The one place left that I didn’t feel watched. The stairwell of my building. I found that whenever I went down and back up the stars to get my groceries – as I’d long since stopped using the elevator – that I would have a brief respite from the feeling of being watched.
I started to spend all of my waking hours there, sat on one of the stairs without a care in the world. I only left them to eat and sleep and whenever I entered the building proper I would feel eyes on me almost immediately. But having those stairs to return to made my life almost bearable. It had been a long time since I had anywhere I felt safe, and like every place before it I kept waiting form the feeling of being watched to follow me into the stairwell…
But it never did.
For another month, I fell into a somewhat bearable rhythm. I’d wake up in my closet feeling watched, I’d eat in the corner of my kitchen feeling watched, and then I’d scurry off to the stairwell where I could blessedly feel alone – Especially near the top floors where the stairs were seldom used.
But all good things must come to an end and all that, and while I never did feel watched in the stairs, I did run out of money. Apartments and cars don’t pay for themselves after all, and while I managed a few months on the blood money from my last job it was finally time to get back to work.
In the months since I last logged on to the site, things had calmed down significantly and there were now plenty of jobs that didn’t break any of my rules… So I decided to go with a route that I’d done before a couple of times. A gun run. The seller always treated me to a drink or two at his bar and was also always well armed so I felt that it would be a nice and easy job that I could feel safe doing.
After confirming the job I closed my laptop, pulled on a fresh set of clothing, and headed out the door. I wanted to get this over and done with, and thankfully the feeling of being watched was rather light that day. I do admit, however, that I lingered in the stairwell for a bit before heading out. I wanted a bit of time alone before being out in the open for the first time in months.
Anyways, I hopped in my car after about thirty minutes of blessed stairwell time and headed to the bar. After about two hours of paranoid and twisting driving I managed to make it just on time and pulled my car into the alleyway behind the bar.
The owner greeted me with a smile as I got out of my car, “T, long time no see!” he said, his smile fading as I walked up and he got a better look at me. “Holy shit man, are you feeling okay?” he asked, genuine worry in the eyes of the large man.
“No… I’m pretty far from okay…” I said with an exhausted sigh. I could still feel the faintest hint of eyes on me even now, though I know that the owner wouldn’t let me be jumped at his bar. “It’s a long story,” I offered, realizing for the first time that it might be nice to actually tell someone what happened.
“Is that so.” he said with a hint of a smile and a shake of his head. “Well, hows about we get you a drink while the boys get ready to load up your car.” He offered in return, making me smile. “There’s always plenty of time for stories at my bar.” He said proudly.
“I’d like that…” I said with another exhausted sigh, managing to keep the smile up as he put an arm around me and lead me in the back door of the bar.
“Oh, by the way, how did you hold up during the bitcoin crash? I heard it hit a couple of transporters pretty hard.” he said, making me chuckle as we made our way through the kitchen.
“Funny you should mention that,” I said, making him raise an eyebrow, “because that’s how my long story star—” I began, only to stop short when I looked at the bar.
HE was siting there, sipping on a beer without a care in the world. He noticed me out of the corner of his eye and that same sickeningly sweet smile crept onto his face as his eyes met mine.
I froze. There was no way that this was a coincidence. There was no way that he just happened to be at this bar at this time.
I was broken from my trance by the bar owner waving his hand in front of my face and saying my name, “Hello? T, you alright?”
I quickly ducked back into the kitchen and started to hyperventilate. How did he know? How could he possibly have known that I would be here? Did he follow me?
“Did who follow you?” The owner’s voice brought me back to reality once again as I realized I’d been thinking out loud. His face was concerned, bordering on scared.
“How long has that guy been at the bar?” I asked, hoping that the owner knew who I was talking about.
“If you mean tall, thin, and creepy then about an hour… What is going on T?” He asked, as I slumped against the wall.
I started crying. I broke down and burst back into the bar only to see that Mr. Hide&Seek he was already gone. “I… I need to go. I need to get home!” I said, pushing past the owner and running to my car. He called after me, trying to get me to stay and explain what the hell was happening but I wasn’t listening. For all I know, Mr. Hide&Seek could be breaking in to my apartment already.
I drove straight home and threw open the door to my apartment. It had still been locked, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and checked everywhere. But he wasn’t there.
Then, my phone rang and scared the living hell out of me. I checked the number and gulped when I saw that it was blocked. I considered not answering but in the end I picked up the call.
“H-Hello?” I asked tentatively.
“T… What the hell happened at the bar?” a modulated voice rang through the speaker in my ear, making me wince. It was one of the site admins for sure.
I was silent for a moment before telling the admin everything. I couldn’t see the man, but I could feel a sudden change when I mentioned seeing Mr. Hide&Seek at the bar.
“T,” the admin began, a serious edge to his voice. “I need you to log in to the site… _Now_” he said, and something in me told me to listen. I booted up my laptop and hopped on to the site. As soon as I logged in a dialog appeared that I’d never seen before.
ADMIN would like to take control of this computer. Do you consent to this?’ With two buttons. One for yes. One for no.
I clicked yes and watched as my cursor began to move on it’s own. “Thank you T. This will only take a moment…” the admin said, a practiced calm in his voice as he downloaded several files and began to do… Something on my laptop.
A minute later a dialog box popped up that said, ‘Threat detected!’ and the admin sighed and his voice sharpened as he spoke. “T… You’ve been compromised. You’ve had a nasty piece of spyware installed on your machine, for about a month by the looks of things. It’s been recording your keystrokes and giving someone remote access to your camera…” the admin explained, making me gulp as I realized that all of my information was insecure.
“B-but, there’s no way! I haven’t download anything!” I said, making the admin mutter something as a bout of typing could be heard coming through the phone.
The admin’s voice was cold and calculated when he spoke next. “No… No you didn’t…” he said, making me gulp. “This software was installed via _USB_…” the admin said, making my heart nearly stop.
Hide&Seek had been in my home! He had been here without me noticing and put that program on my laptop. Even after all of my paranoia, he still found his way into my room without me knowing.
“I’m going to delete the program,” the admin said, and a few keystrokes later, “done… What the—”
As the admin deleted the program, thousands of windows began popping up on the screen of my laptop. All of them saying the same thing…
‘olly olly oxen free’
After that, I threw my laptop in the trash and got a new one as well as a new phone, sim card and all. I was taking no chances. I got all new accounts for everything and the admin told me he revoked Mr. Hide&Seek’s membership personally.
But I’m going to disappear all the same, I have a plane ticket to somewhere and my bags are already packed.
Don’t look for me, and if you ever start to feel like you’re being watched… It’s because you are.
submitted by rijento to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

[scam] Good journalism from Business Insider...

According to Business Insider France, Bitcoin is a bubble and a threat to exchanges, guess which poor little exchange had to announced its closure due to the recent dip:
 
Bitconnect...
 
No mention of any controversial activity from bitconnect is done, quite the opposite they are used to make a point about 'when the bubble will burst, every companies on the crypto market is gonna go bankrupt'
 
Please dear crypto-community do not read any kind of journalism about crypto, they don't fucking know what they are writing about.
 
Quoted extract and traduction:
Cette volatilité du bitcoin a des incidences tout d'abord sur les détenteurs de portefeuille — dont la valeur baisse d'autant — mais aussi sur les plateformes. La plateforme d'échange et de prêt de crypto-monnaies Bitconnect a ainsi annoncé sa fermeture, selon Business Insider Australia.
Of course Bitcoin's volatility has an impact on portfolio holders - whose value falls by the same amount - but also on platforms. The Bitconnect crypto-currency exchange and loan platform has announced its closure, according to Business Insider Australia.
 
article (fr)
 
__edit: ELI5: What is bitconnect and how have people lost all their money on it?
submitted by bxnxne to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

SWISSBORG´S DAILY INSIDER - WEEK 23

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE NEWS!

https://preview.redd.it/lxjzqc7lxx111.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=6add4c8a95d1b8973aecb44b67efc3d829f1c5df

Want to stay updated on the most current news, market trends, and analysis? Subscribe to our daily SwissBorg Insider!

Friday, 8 June 2018

New Physically-Backed Bitcoin ETF Proposal Filed with SEC | NewsBTC A Bitcoin ETF has long been talked about but never got past the U.S. SEC. However, two firms might have come up with a solution.
'Just Beware' Is All Jamie Dimon Will Say About Bitcoin - CoinDesk Jamie Dimon once called bitcoin a fraud – now he's saying "just beware."
Japan Blasts Crypto Exchange Execs in First-Ever License Rejection - CoinDesk Japan's financial regulator has formally issued its first denial to a business registration application filed by cryptocurrency exchange FSHO. → Mining Giant Bitmain’s CEO Wu ‘Open’ to Hong Kong IPO, Report Says The CEO of Bitcoin mining tech giant Bitmain has appeared to confirm he would be interested in conducting an IPO for the company in future.
Daily Performances
General Comment: Calm before the storm? The broad market continues to drift sideways in thin volumes, and with trading ranges narrowing by the day. Volatility has all but disappeared, but most likely only for the short term. Technicals indicate that a breakout is likely within the next several weeks, probably triggered by external factors ensued by a big gap move as participants try to capture the movement in a vacuum.
https://preview.redd.it/iw1qmpnzqx211.png?width=909&format=png&auto=webp&s=f8b2d5e9bd1d258e899c1e48e6dde1c6d63e5836
Technical Analysis - BTC
Bitcoin price moved higher and broke a major resistance near $7,650 against the US Dollar. The pair may correct a few points in the short term, but dips remain supported around $7,600. BTC/USD remains buy on dips near the $7,600 and $7,500 support levels.
https://preview.redd.it/m730hni2rx211.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=637c208b5d6d11c39e72cde01d63171a53dd2a7d
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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: German Banks Trade Cryptos, US Universities Invest in Crypto Hedge FundsAt least six German financial institutions are involved in cryptocurrency trading.
Coinbase Acquires Financial Services Firm to Become SEC-Regulated Broker DealerThe acquisition of securities dealer Keystone Capital Corp will allow Coinbase to become a fully regulated broker dealer by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Susquehanna Is Opening Crypto Trading, Starting with BTC FuturesSusquehanna International Group is opening cryptocurrency trading to its clients, initially in the form of Bitcoin (BTC) futures, the New York Times reported June 5.→ Why Does Blockchain Makes More Sense After GDPRWhile there could be some initial hiccups about complete compliance with GDPR, technology like blockchain offers a bright spot on the horizon.
Daily Performances
General Comment: The market continues to trade sideways in thin volumes, with BTC trading right around the 20DMA level. Technicals show a narrowing uppelower band (BTC USD7'000/9'000) that indicates a breakout in the near future, and when it does the the low volume/low volatility environment could change drastically at least for a short while.
https://preview.redd.it/iu8spgnwgk211.png?width=907&format=png&auto=webp&s=8706108c4dd87265a517ec9039cb5eef329d2bf7
Technical Analysis - BTC
BTCUSD is locked in the 7'700-7'000 range, if it manages to break above 7'700 we would expect to test 8600, if it breaks 7'000 we expect an important fall to below 6'000
https://preview.redd.it/btss3i91hk211.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=859ffb619003919d6cf45194870dd442f3ca7154
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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Money20/20: Central Bank Execs Conclude Crypto Is No Threat to Fiat, YetWhy fiat is not particularly threatened by crypto..
Binance Official: ‘If the ICO Bubble Bursts, It’s a Good Thing for the Industry’The ICO bubble needs to burst in order for truly valuable projects to come about.
Magic Number? Chart Data Hints at June 6 Bitcoin BoostA major reprieve just may be in the offing for the battered bitcoin bulls in the next 36 hours – if, that is, historical patterns repeat themselves.
Daily Performances
General Comment: We continue to see sideways movement with no strong directional conviction. However, a prolonged period of very low volumes and dangerously low volatility juxtaposed with the narrowing of critical technical levels - BTC USD7'000 psychological support that must not be broken, and USD8'000 level broken above that may pull in buyers to test the upside band of USD9'000 - indicates a potential violent break out of recent range over the next several weeks. The BTC market has been flirting with both sides. Keeping a very close check on potential news triggers (Crypto and non-Crypto) would be highly advisable.
https://preview.redd.it/chgs44f9bc211.png?width=912&format=png&auto=webp&s=65ad2714afb3041d07cf357d5cf7f2c2178a0c18
Technical Analysis - BTC
BTCUSD is locked in the 7800-7000 range, if it manages to break above 7800 we would expect to test 8600, if it breaks 7000 we expect an important fall to below 6000.**05.05.2018
https://preview.redd.it/090l1uyfbc211.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd73a94c497be4c25bd8ec37a425398c313b0a4f
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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

LinkedIn Co-Founder Is Raising $20 Million for Token Project - CoinDeskOne of the co-founders of LinkedIn is raising as much as $20 million in a SAFT sale.
OKEx Latest Industry Giant to Launch Cryptocurrency Index FundOKEx has become the latest industry giant to launch a cryptocurrency index fund.
Crypto Exchange Coinbase Plans Expansion With Japanese OfficeCoinbase Inc., one of the largest U.S. digital-currency exchanges, is expanding into one of the world’s hottest crypto markets.
Daily Performances
General Comment: The broad crypto market drifted sideways to slightly softer overnight. Market cap is at USD330 billion. We continue to see more of the same - low volumes, extremely low volatility and high correlation across currencies. Yesterday we failed to reach short term upside targets for confirmation of longer term consolidation (BTC USD 8000, ETH 650). On the news front, lots of news coming out from the crypto exchange business in Japan with regards to both new entrants (HitBTC, Coinbase) The move reflects the overall trend to be compliant with local regulation, which is healthy for the long term.
https://preview.redd.it/nd2kkmmbac211.png?width=920&format=png&auto=webp&s=e5e95fdb01d33841116e3b59a66d3df62ad9cf4d
Technical Analysis - BTC
BTCUSD is locked in the 7800-7000 range, if it manages to break above 7800 we would expect to test 8600, if it breaks 7000 we expect an important fall to below 6000.
https://preview.redd.it/lgpzm2ckac211.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=83b4eb9d9d78a43ef68ea59b956322c4be7001d7
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Monday, 4 June 2018

Initial Coin Offerings Have Already Topped 2017's Record PaceSales of digital tokens by technology companies this year have already surpassed the record amount raised in all of 2017.
The EOS Blockchain Launch: What Should Happen (And What Could Go WrongThe world's fifth most valuable cryptocurrency is set to formally release its software this weekend.
Cryptocurrency Exchange Hitbtc Suspends Services in JapanHitbtc has suspended its services for Japanese residents to avoid any trouble with the country’s financial regulator since it is not authorized to operate in Japan. → Binance Reveals Plan for $1 Billion Blockchain Startup FundBinance has announced it is launching a $1 billion "Social Impact Fund" to foster the growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups.
Daily Performances
General Comment: Over the weekend the broad market recovered steadily but in quiet trading. What appears to have been an ETH led sell off last week has reversed nicely (as can clearly be seen in ETH/BTC back to 0.08), with BTC holding the critical USD7000 level and now testing the “all clear” point of USD 8'000. The equivalent ETH level to the upside is around USD 650, both of which broken above indicate a possible test of higher ranges. XRP appears to have fully recovered this level.Developments in “off-chain” markets and mounting concerns of European sovereign debt continue to be the next possible catalyst for crypto markets.
https://preview.redd.it/7s6p0le0yx111.png?width=873&format=png&auto=webp&s=5822c471a38c39452c016c79bfa58bed017e17e5
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Many thanks to Mariem @SwissBorg for providing us with THE latest news.
Disclaimer: Insider aims to provide our community with updates and information regarding financial markets and the blockchain world.This is our way of communicating with our community. It is meant to be used for informational purposes not to be mistaken for financial advice.Our opinion, when shared, is just that, it may not apply directly to your individual situation. Any information gleaned here is to be used at the readers' own risk, SwissBorg does not accept any responsibility for individual decisions made based on reading our daily blog. Any information we provide on our daily blog is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.
Copyright © 2018 SwissBorg, All rights reserved
submitted by lioness444 to swissborg [link] [comments]

How I learned to short, the legend of LiveFreeOrDie

Early in 2000 I discovered Yahoo stock message boards. It was as fun then as this sub is now, even better in some ways. There was this one very prolific poster who's id was LiveFreeOrDie. This guy was super articulate, and kind of anti-authoritarian, plus he was an obvious wall street professional of some kind.
Mixed in with his humor and political ramblings , was an insane amount of basic insider knowledge. A lot of it was very technical, I'm sure many followed him just for the humor and political insight, but a lot of people would ask follow up on technical stuff, he'd answer some times.
LiveFreeOrDie was a defender of the practice of shorting stocks, I don't think he shorted, but he defended it, and explained it in detail.
Then one day, I lived the dream, I cashed out ALL my Internet startup ESOP shares at ATH, it was life changing wealth. I quit the job at the same time, I just put the cash in a Schwab sweep account, and sat stunned for a few days. Then I figured, what the hell, let's try day trading.
At this point in time, nobody else really knew the big crash was coming, the Internet BtoC's (pets.com etc.) were starting to falter, but money was quickly rushing from BtoC to BtoB, (business to business, back end, java app servers, etc.). Initially I was simply trying to buy low, sell high. Then one day I f'd up, I hit a sell order button twice.
The next day I get an email from Schwab, it was boilerplate and kind of scolding, it said something like "You are supposed to get approval before short selling, next time get approved first". They let the transaction stand, I was short 1,000 shares at about $54/share. I was uncomfortable being accidentally short, so my intention was to cover my short immediately.
I guess the magic Internet money fairy wasn't done with me, because that stock crashed hard the next day, to $46, I made $8,000 by accident. So I've lost any fear of shorting, I'm not working, and the Internet bubble starts bursting, my Internet hero promotes shorting stocks, and I've got all my internet magic money sitting in a Schwab sweep account. Need I explain what happens next?
I start really paying attention to LiveFreeOrDie, going back through his post history looking for info on shorting. It was incredibly valuable in learning the short game.
Unfortunately I only lasted 6 total days of day trading/shorting. I made money, never made a bad trade (which was easy so I'm not tooting my own horn), but ultimately made myself sick, too nerve racking, just too strange being tied to a terminal 8 hours a day, starting at 6:00 AM.
LiveFreeOrDie continued his amazing stream of consciousness posting well into 2001, his last post at 8:34 AM, Sept 11, he was never to be heard from again.
RIP LiveFreeOrDie, love you man!
P.S. He would of loved bitcoin!
submitted by theFoot58 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

The Coming Speculative Attack

I was reading Pierre Rochard's article over at SNI and i noticed something very interesting. (Bold at bottom-mine)
Slow bleed leads to currency crisis as the expected value of bitcoins solidifies in people's minds. At first they are conservative, they invest "what they can afford to lose". After 12-18 months, their small stash of bitcoins has dramatically increased in value. They see no reason why this long term trend should reverse: the fundamentals have improved and yet adoption remains low. Their confidence increases. They buy more bitcoins. They rationalize: "well, it's only [1 -5%] of my investments". They see the price crash a few times, due to bubbles bursting or just garden-variety panic sales – it entices them to buy more, "a bargain". Bitcoin grows on the asset side of their balance sheet.
On the liability side of the Bitcoiner's balance sheet there are mortgages, student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. Everyone admonishes people to not borrow in order to buy bitcoins. The reality is that money is fungible: if you buy bitcoins instead of paying down your mortgage's principal, you are a leveraged bitcoin investor. Almost everyone is a leveraged bitcoin investor, because it makes economic sense (within reason). The cost of borrowing (annualized interest rates ranging from 0% to 25%) is lower than the expected return of owning bitcoins.
How leveraged someone's balance sheet is depends on the ratio between assets and liabilities. The appeal of leveraging up increases if people believe that fiat-denominated liabilities are going to decrease in real terms, i.e. if they expect inflation to be greater than the interest rate they pay. At that point it becomes a no-brainer to borrow the weak local currency using whatever collateral a bank will accept, invest in a strong foreign currency, and pay back the loan later with realized gains. In this process, banks create more weak currency, amplifying the problem.
The effect of people, businesses, or financial institutions borrowing their local currency to buy bitcoins is that the bitcoin price in that currency would go up relative to other currencies. To illustrate, let's say that middle-class Indians trickle into bitcoin. Thousands of buyers turns into hundreds of thousands of buyers. They borrow Indian Rupees using whatever unencumbered collateral they have – homes, businesses, gold jewelry, etc. They use these Rupees to buy bitcoins. The price of bitcoins in Indian Rupees goes up, a premium develops relative to other currency pairs. A bitcoin in India might be worth $600, while in the U.S. it trades at $500. Traders would buy bitcoins in the U.S. and sell them in India to net a $100 gain. They would then sell their Indian Rupees for dollars. This would weaken the Indian Rupee, causing import inflation and losses for foreign investors. The Indian central bank would have to either increase interest rates to break the cycle, impose capital controls, or spend their foreign currency reserves trying to prop up the Rupee's exchange rate. Only raising interest rates would be a sustainable solution, though it would throw the country into a recession.
There's a huge problem with the Indian central bank raising interest rates: bitcoin's historical return is ~500% per year. Even if investors expected future return is 1/10th of that, the central bank would have to increase interest rates to unconscionable levels to break the attack. The result is evident: everyone would flee the Rupee and adopt bitcoins, due to economic duress rather than technological enlightenment. This example is purely illustrative, it could happen in a small country at first, or it could happen simultaneously around the world. Who leverages their balance sheet and how is impossible to predict, and it will be impossible to stop when the dam cracks.
Which countries are most vulnerable to a currency crisis? Business Insider provides a helpful list here. Bitcoins will have to reach certain threshold of liquidity, indicated by a solid exchange in every financial center and a real money supply – i.e. market cap – of at least $50 billion, before they can be used as an instrument in a speculative attack. This will either coincide with or cause a currency crisis.
End of Article
I think things are going to get very interesting when the next self-imposed government currency crisis hits a country. As this article predicted, Bitcoin has grown and is now big enough to start eating small governments.
http://nakamotoinstitute.org/mempool/speculative-attack/
submitted by ztsmart to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[CryptoNovel] Smells like Satoshi spirit (Part One)

Hi, all. I'm CryptoWukong([email protected]).
As an enthusiast of blockchain and cryptocurrency, I wrote a novel in that area.
Because this novel is my first work, it may be a bit sloppy or boring.
But if you could cheer me up with a little interest, it would be very helpful for me to write my next novel.
I will share this novel in a two or thtee part series, and this is part one. Enjoy your reading.
*Legal Notice: This post is for the purpose of providing personal works, so please be careful in your utilizing them. You cannot copy, distribute, edit the contents without my permission and you may be subject to legal disadvantages if you break this notice,.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Uhmmm,,,"
Joseph woke up from his sleep, groaning in agony. Was it just a hangover or did he have a dream of his palmy days? Anyway, now he just hate himself for drinking like a dog last night. His former scoop lay on the floor to welcome him, as if it is proving that he was not suffering from a hangover after getting his heavy body out of bed.
「Satoshi Nakamoto, the serial killer of Satoshis」
​
After gulping down cold water, he feels as if he can remember last night like a film that is scattered everywhere.
"Satoshi..."
It happened a few years ago and it was quite forgotten by the public, but when he looked back on it, Joseph even thought he'd rather have not had the scandal.
Satoshi, who launched Bitcoin in early 2009, paved the way of new monetary and financial systems in the world and disappeared along the way. However, developers who saw its potential continued to develop and apply, and as time went on, more and more people participated and added value into it. Thanks to the effort, Bitcoin showed off its influence from some point on, even the existing financial institutions could not ignored anymore.
But in the process, those who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto began to appear, and at one point such persons began to be murdered without any trace. Joseph, who was a big fan of blockchain and cryptocurrency, was personally and professionally interested, and he sensed that he could do something big as a reporter. It was a really good touch, and became a reality in the end.
(Doorbell ringing)
"Joseph, are you home?"
Yesterday, Henry, who is Joseph's younger friends from school, rang the doorbell and yelled.
"Jo, are you in there? Did something happen to you?
(Knocking on the door strongly)
Henry began knocking at the door with frustration.
"Stop it. I'm coming!"
Joseph opened the door calmly, as if it wasn't the first time this had happened.
"Hey, what are you doing without answering your phone?"
"What do you think I did?"
"Have you been sleeping? Oh my,,, I thought something was wrong."
Henry was concerned about Joseph and often visits him because Joseph became depressed seriously. But Henry is not always welcomed when visiting and taking care of him .
As going inside the house, Henry saw the article about the scandal on the floor.
"I think we should go out for some fresh air and to eat. I don't want to see you depressed so pitifully at home"
"..."
"Come on, Jo"
When Henry tried to pull him out of the house, Joseph took his hat pretending to not to be able to resist.
It was a normal day as usual, but the world was changing day after day. Especially in the economic field, the whole world is experiencing an era of transformation into a new economic and financial system.
The advent of Bitcoin in early 2009 had a significant impact on the existing status of the US dollar, yen and other currencies, and governments, central banks, and even major companies in developed countries began to seek strategies to take the lead in the new financial era by benchmarking it while keeping an eye on the growth of Bitcoin. When they were ready enough, they calmly waited for the biggest bubble in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, even intervened to make it happened.
However, the moment big bubble broke, major countries have revealed their hidden claws, and the maximum bubble began to burst, Bitcoin slowly descends into glory for several reasons. Meanwhile, China was the first country to seized the opportunity to get token hegemony.
Joseph and Henry, who decided to have brunch, settled down in the corner of their favorite restaurant.
"I think China was very clever"
Henry spat out as waiting for the menu he had ordered.
"What are you talking about?"
Joseph replied, looking out the window as if he was not interested.
"Look. China, which was cracking down on cryptocurrencies at the national level, issued national token based on Proof of Work. It was a big surprising. In some way, they would have preferred the most intuitive and straightforward method of proof as a one-party state, and they were probably confident that they wouldn't lose the computing power initiative based on the abundance of energy resources. What's interesting is that the token name is ONE. I think it was derived from the national slogan 'One China', but it's ironic that network on Proof of Work could bifurcate at any time"
"That's reasonable explanation"
Joseph said bluntly as getting the ordered meal as if he were slightly interested in talking.
"Another interesting thing is that China issued 1.5 billion tokens. They seem to have set the volume to fit its population, meaning one token for one person, and it revealed China's socialist characteristics in that way"
"Maybe it's true. China's socialism, highlighted by Deng Xiaoping in the past, highlighted everyone becoming wealthy under the Communist Party's leadership. And based one the socialism, it outwardly appealed to the people that each person can have one token, while inwardly controlling hash power to roll in money just like the way the vested interests did in the past. This is it. They pretended not to be interested in blockchain and cryptocurrencies but spent a lot of money in researching behind the scene"
Joseph finally gave his opinion as showing off his knowledge.
"Wow, you are awesome, Jo. Anyway, I think it's a bit scary how China has been through because they are still trying to emerge as a global hegemonic power over the U.S., even after they experienced trade dispute were with the U.S. and then wept away by civil war"
"In that sense, the U.S. accepted the token economy in their way and turned it into a token economy democracy."
"I know what and why they did. As we know, there are 50 states in the U.S., and they have the same numer of validators. In particular, I think it was Hail Mary that they issued national token based on Delegated Proof of Stake(DPoS). That way, they can measure how much the value of local brand is through competition in good faith while maintaining communities' uniqueness. More surprisingly, they could keep U.S.' unique electoral voting system based on DPoS in every election including the presidential election"
"Maybe it was good to get election campaign fund at first. Actually, it was easier to pay cryptocurrency than fiat money, and at that time, it was a lot better to get cryptocurrencies because their price showed a constant boost. The politicians who knew much about cryptocurrencies won their elections, and even the president who was friendly toward cryptocurrencies, sympathized with pro-cryptocurrency Congress, and they altogether made the new thing called 'the tokenized economic system'. Even the Federal Reserve colluded with the administration and Congress on the condition that it maintained its existing mandate and power. Only ordinary people worshipped the innovation and then had nothing left in the end"
"Well, this is another story but ordinary people like the basic income system though. As artificial intelligence became common, our jobs were threatened first. In the old industrial revolution, we expected that new technology would create new jobs. But this time it's totally off the mark. In that mood, there was a consensus on the introduction of the basic income system. We've solved the problems of the basic income system in the past: lack of tax revenue and distribution of the revenue. But the problems were solved by issuing token. It also reduced the cash in the underground economy. I feel like a new world has influenced in many ways"
"That's because we've now got a mature society where people could be satisfied with their basic income and happily do what they really wanted to do. Fortunately, we've established a lot of places to use the token income rapidly. The bottom line is that both basic income and token focus on utilization, not possession. So far, it's been successful"
"There you go, Jo! As you said, the token system was a timely technology and policy."
Joseph finished the meal with a slight frown shrugging off compliments.
"Satoshi Scandal..."
Joseph exhaled as small as a sigh.
The scandal began with a well-known Australian developer who was one of victims in a series of murders where those who claimed they were real Satoshi were killed one by one. The way of killing was cruel and the scenes of the killing were as dispersed: the US, China, Europe, Asia and so on. While cryptocurrency supporters got widly excited about that, the national investigative agencies just looked incompetenct in the serial killings for slow investigations. Soon after, they began tracking it in a worldwide collaboration. At the same time, Joseph was inspired by his animal instinct and persistent research finally pointed Satoshi out as the serial killer, and this scandal was his biggest scoop.
https://i.redd.it/o6kj8wy3vbg31.jpg
As a result, Joseph became a star journalist, and registered his personal token, then his personal token exchange rate skyrocketed. He even established a one-man media company with his name, making himself a famous journalist.
However, when the world's most collaborative investigative agencies fell into the sidekick of the scandal, the governments and authorities of those countries involved in the investigation have rather sacked Joseph through media brainwashing and have accused him of being a serial killer. When Joseph was in the midst of popularity and persecution, the joint investigation authorities were closing in on a suspect of serial killing.
Eventually, the suspect committed suicide, leaving behind a suicide note with a private key in Satoshi wallet containing one million bitcoin. So the scandal of the century came to an end, and Joseph remained an issuemaker for a while at the same time as the charges were cleared. Meanwhile, Bitcoin marked the last rally for the highest market ever since the scandal.
"Since then, Bitcoin used its last strength..."
"What? What did you just say, Jo?"
"No, it's not a big deal. Let's get out of here"
Joseph went outside with Henry in a hurry.
Some days later, Joseph stopped by his favorite bar and sat on the place where he always sit. He just sat staring for some minutes, listening to bar songs. But soon, all kinds of thoughts came across his mind. He didn't want to admit it, but he'd rather die than being treated like a has-been because of his damn pride. What's more annoying is the reality of Joseph's personal token exchange rate, which has been on the decline.
It has not been long since there has been the individual token system, but it has become a global trend with demand exploding, mainly for influential people. With the introduction of the token economy system in full swing by country, financial authorities were able to make personal tokens that is linked to the national token through screening by the financial authorities, and these individual tokens were valued according to the national token in real time. The national token is based on the median wage of employees in the country, so higher than 1 means more than the middle class, and lower than 1 means there is no economic leeway. If you comply with the regulations of the authorities, you'll be able to build many business models based on individual tokens such as staking, loans, dividends and so on. Indeed, new era has come when individuals have become small economic players, and big individuals and corporations with influence are second only to a single bank or financial system.
'0.65382139'
Joseph's personal token exchange rate blinked on his smartwatch screen. Since he made him famous with the scandal then, his token rate was ten times more than the current rate but the reality is harsh now. Nevertheless, the reason for living his life is that there are people who support me like Henry with the faint hope that one day he will be able to hit another jackpot.
Henry, his younger alumni, has been working as an influencer in a decentralized autonomous organization(DAO) created by a well-known businessman. While one had a single identity as a nation's citizen, they now has another strong identity in the token community where each belongs. Feeling the same sense of homogeneity in the same community, participants are engaged in social activities aside from one's nationality and religion, and are also engaged in token-based consumption activities.
Joseph suddenly wanted to see Henry, but decided to have his own time this time.
He took a laptop out of his bag to write a column, trying to ignore his crumbling pride. Maybe it was because of the slight drunkenness, he wanted to write an article about a serious topic.
​
「Return to Sash caused by aliases and anonymity, coincident or inevitable?」
Bitcoin, which was released in early 2009, paved the way for cryptocurrency transactions that can be traced through distributed ledger technology thanks to 'aliases', although it can't certain who the transaction participants are. However, 'aliases' evolved to 'anonymity' as it met the desire to protect personal information that was close to human instincts over time, and eventually combined with advanced electronic cryptology and a huge token economy. Indeed, swiss bank accounts that anyone wanted to have went into their digital asset wallets. But no matter how anonymous it is, the moment a technical defect occurs or is transferred to a non-anonymous coin, its anonymity disappears and the transaction details may be exposed. Meanwhile, the government believed that they had secured a master key to open the token world by establishing a perfect token tracking system that would be possible to trace any transactions. But unlike that judgment, when the token economy permeates the daily lives of the whole generation, the token system with anonymity technology spread to the world without any problem. And then developed countries that have studied and monitored token system for a long time finally concluded that leaving uncontrollable anonymity and token economy would be such a handicap to gain vested interests in the future. This life-and-death check created unexpected repercussions: conflicts between the old and new generation.
https://i.redd.it/qzr8h698vbg31.jpg
The old generation, who was still accustomed to cash, began to return to cash in protest against the government and the young generation, who recognized tokens as daily currency from their birth, ridiculed the old generation and used them even more as the government kept them in check. By then, however, a fatal flaw in the anonymity protocol occurred and there was a great confusion when the biggest bubble in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin fell at a similar time. In conclusion, there was a rift in trust and support for decentralized tokens due to their aliases and anonymity which were considered safe, transparent and able to protect personal information. Also, major crypocurrencies, which had high brand value, just survived and became a means of preserving anarchists' assets. At the same time, some developed countries have been eager to promote national tokens, claiming that the only reliable assets including even anonymous tokens can be developed well only by nation. Is it just a coincidence or is it inevitable that all the suspicious events took place in this process?
​
Joseph suddenly lost his concentration wondering whether it was hard to write or it was because of a drunkenness. And he decided to edit it later and got out of the bar. There were many people on the streets friday night, and he strode home past the crowd. No one in the crowd recognized him unlike the past, but he still remembered himself and people back then. After the Satoshi scandal, many expected more provocative and conspiratorial articles from Joseph but he hated it. However, he instinctively began to pour out attention-grabbing articles to keep his fans from being forgotten. Was that a wrong judgment? He had had his day after the cryptocurrency bubble burst. Like so many tokens, he also lost his own value because he failed to show sustainable talent. But tonight he wrote for a long time and felt like he's back in the old days. As if he wants someone to know his feeling of pride, he is lost in his thoughts again sitting on a roadside bench and watch people passing by.
Although current Bitcoin's symbolism and impact has been considerably ruined compared to that of its former, he thought it was 'falling of glory' that would one day happen anyway. Because Bitcoin has shown enough value and possibility, other token projects have experienced less trial and error and are able to settle at a faster rate, and Mass adoption of the token has built up a big industry and brought forth a new paradigm for real economy.
The point here is why it fell from glory. It is widely believed that the reason was not one, but exploded at a certain time with a variety of reasons.
First of all, the scandal turned Satoshi out to be a brutal figure, who had had apparently existed but not at the same time. Some even raised the conspiracy that Satoshi's suicide note with the private key on his wallet was fabricated by the government or authorities, and that the real killer was definitely a puppet of the authority. Whether it's true or not, what's clear is that Satoshi is recognized as a cruel being in most people's brains.
Another reason is the ambivalence of the token. Although the Internet, for example, has shown immediate news and innovation that has given birth to big data in the past, many events and accidents that might have been ignored quietly, have spread rapidly throughout the world through the Internet. Eventually, the Internet platform turned into a political propaganda tool that the world is violent and so must be able to calm the turmoil only with force. The blockchain, which is more than Internet-wide and highly leveraged, has also had a special economic mechanism called 'token', although it has built a huge distributed network and instant digital community like Internet. But when this trait combined with human greed and crowd psychology, a 'New Totalitarianism' has been triggered. This was possible because the extreme supporters of Bitcoin and the anarchists built up spiritual solidarity, feeling homogeneity with each other, and tokens including Bitcoin became their economic basis. New totalitarian community that transcended nationality was inspired by the cunning incitement of shadow governance, causing bloodshed and terrorism in many parts of the world. And in doing so, such events drew the limits of Satoshi's spirit on its own. Then, Satoshi became a negative perception among people asid from the image that he was just a murderer.
However, there is a certain reason for its fall of glory: its bubble is over. As Satoshi was finally found to be a serial killer who committed suicide, Bitcoin recorded the highest-ever rally, and presented the biggest bubble ever in history. But soon the marketcap of cryptocurrency shrank due to the lack of network security affected by the endless political squabbling of ASIC mining groups or other big groups and the intervention of the market by powerful institutions that looked at Bitcoin as an eyesore.
Joseph suddenly became confused as thinking about the rise and fall of bitcoin he had covered in the past. He just wanted to go home for a rest. Looking back on bitcoin's history, which once raised expectations that it would replace u.s. dollar as well as gold, he felt some similarity with it because it was over-rapped with his history.
When he arrived at the front of the house and opened the front door, he saw something through a gap under the door. He found a briefcase stuck in a gap under the door and began to figure out what it was. He reached out and carefully pulled the corner of the envelope, wondering who stabbed a newspaper or something that he didn't subscribe to. And he found four letters written just below it, along with the words 'supreme confidentiality'.
'LUCY'
Source : www.satoshicode.com[SatoshiCode](www.satoshicode.com)
submitted by satoshicode_com to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

North Korea invasion February/March 2018

US secretly provokes NK, spreads info of imminent attack on underground sources: Kim believes US will strike shortly after Winter Olympics, decides to attack first to gain advantage and make war more expensive for the US.
US uses the action to gain moral high ground, world athletes may get killed, even EU ones. US calls in before unwilling EU to join money draining operation.
[If NK surprisingly doesn't strike during the Olympics it is harder to get the people to rally behind the conflict in a 9/11y fashion, still the war is less expensive to start than in the first scenario, that's good. As soon as the ice starts to melt mid-March the US "preemptively" strikes NK.]
Terrain gives advantage to NK, conventional warfare gets bloody, a "brief intervention" like they said on the Media gets long and strenuous.
Asia is the most affected economically but the bubble bursts in the US, stocks fall. What seems to be a misfortune, negligence by the US government is actually a calculated action. A controlled financial crisis takes place, big business with big cash reserves buys out the little guys, Trump's friends with insider information short Wall Street and get rich, rich, rich; and you can't do anything about it. (Financial crisis: Tesla Motors and many other don't survive, a lot of people lose money with bitcoin). The military industrial complex is happier than ever. Everyone else in the 0.001% is happy also, China's potential is the one hurt the most, from now on all that will happen will be to retain world power: Asia will become a mess. Trade routes disruption.
China's, Korea's suffering is followed in magnitude by that of United States' people. Soldier causalities are comparable to WWII, the financial crisis is a part of a much larger scheme, a country wide "asset stripping" which began in the fine prints of the Tax Bill.
The big winners are the rich, "we have to worry less now, we're richer than ever, automation will take care of many jobs, our country will benefit from a post-war economic recovery..." are ideas that are part of their thought process; "war was inevitable with NK anyway, the earlier we did it the less potential future growth we'd lose" is another. Russia benefits compared to other countries.
one thing can distract the US from their goals, very very heavily armed Houthis in Yemen are key
submitted by NKthrowaway00 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrencies in analogy with the real world

This is my first contribution to the CryptoCurrency, and as already been commented it's too long, you can scroll down to the MAIN PART, so, please comment about changes you would make to it or just your opinion in general. Thanks
Remember Nash equilibrium, Gresham's law, the rules of the Stasi? So the banking system is similar to the Stasi. But that's not the topic. Why did crypto currency become currency in general? The Nobel laureate in economics would have answered something like this: "At some point in time, the market fell into Nash's equilibrium, where everyone suddenly agreed that counting bitcoin as a currency is normal." Why do men wear trousers, and women wear skirts? Historically, in Scotland it wasn't done that way. It's just that at some point everyone agreed that this should be so. Nash equilibrium.
Generally ... What is the currency? A currency is a means of indirect exchange. Once the means of exchange were the feathers of a pheasant, which before that did not cost anything. But then the demand arose and people said: "The feather will be a currency, a means of indirect exchange." Gradually, the general requirements for currency were formed: it should be simply divided into parts, and its value does not change; It is easy to carry around; And it should have a long shelf life.
Well and the main thing - people should be ready to use currency as a means of exchange. With the crypto currency the same thing happened: people were READY to use it. Now I'm ready to exchange my phone for bitcoin. It is clear that all other criteria for crypto currency is, perhaps, even better than any other currency (it is much easier to store, transfer, divide, and it is eternal).
And why there was a crypto currency? One of the main reasons, in my opinion - is the huge embitterment of people on the banking system with all of its rules, which are being promoted under the auspices of a mythical struggle against scammers and other scoundrels. So, the current banking system is similar to the Stasi, to which I must explain why I have such a gait, and not another, and why I go to work such a route, and not another. And then, unless two-meter fences stop real criminals? When criminals need to break into the banking system, they just buy a bank.
All these safety rules are, in fact, useless. Therefore, there is a global irritation of people by the banking system. This can be seen everywhere - and in business of any size, too, from small to large.
The annoyance created a request for some kind of analogue to the current system. There was a crypto currency. And the process can not be stopped - the crypto currency will take its place in the world economy. What a question for now.
The problem is that in fact, the crypto currency is not used today precisely as a means of exchange. The phenomenon is called the Gresham's law: no one wants to pay with the currency, which constantly and strongly becomes more expensive. Everyone has heard a story with two pizzas that were bought for 10 thousand BTC in 2010 (just curious if pizza shop kept those bitcoins until today).
Who wants a pizza for $ 15 million? Or do you want to drive in a Toyota car, bought today for 30 BTC, after learning in a year that they paid $3 million for it? Therefore, the crypto currency is used as a means of accumulation and speculation.
At the same time, the process of continuous growth leads to the fact that basic crypto-currencies lose their properties as a means of settlement - stability. They turn into the semblance of shares of a rapidly growing company. And who wants to sell or change the goods and services of treasuring shares today, if tomorrow they will cost more. This is problem.
Stablecoin The volatility of the crypto currency is the subject of long-standing discussions, in which the words "bubble" and "speculative instrument" can often be heard. The problem is solved including the launch of special settlement crypto-currencies, the so-called "stablecoins". This is a crypto currency, the value of which is determined not only by the demand for it, but also by more established methods.
In the world there were several attempts to create such stablecoins. As a rule, they were tied to either the value of the fiat currencies - the dollar, the euro - or raw materials (commododis) - oil, gold, and so on. But due to various reasons, they were not widely used.
First of all, because the creators of such currencies violated the principle of blockchain - distribution and independence. They issued crypto currency, they sold it, and they bought security on the proceeds. And the fact that the security was stored and controlled by the release organizers did not inspire confidence in the community.
Now there are more advanced projects. In general, there is a hypothesis that the future is behind the "stable", tied to commododes.
It is based on the fact that in the society in general and in the economy in particular, the so-called fatigue of the material of the classical unsecured money. At the same time, we see that the same dollar, euro, yuan, Brazilian real and all other classical currencies are also subject to volatility. And all this against the backdrop of a global rise in the cost of money.
The economy is looking for alternatives. But will the social request for a block of commodities be critically higher than for classical money? I am not sure. But the fact that it will be more than now - most likely.
Right now, there are several interesting stablecoin projects in the world:
There is a project Tether, which stably enters the TOP-50 on capitalization (just over $300 million). Tether is the dollar's coin, 1 to 1.
In Israel, they launched a start-up, which tries to make a crypto currency, tied to oil. In fact, they are not yet very successful, because they can not solve the problem of oil storage - it is difficult to store.
There are projects that try to link the crypto currency to computing power, to electricity, such as SONM.
You can easily explain to your mother about the crypto currency, tied to gold.
I have not talked about the main (yet) and most obvious commodity - gold. Gold is a commodity that everyone understands. Gold accounts for about 5-10% of the global investment market. Gold is a natural limited natural resource. According to open data, the gold reserves of governments are about 30 thousand tons, and about the same in the hands of citizens. Total about 60 thousand tons. About 3 thousand tons of gold is extracted every year.
This is a stable figure that can not change dramatically in any direction due to distributed production in different countries and established technologies. Therefore, the value of gold, expressed in goods and services, practically does not change.
All this makes gold the ideal equivalent of calculation. Actually, it was so throughout the history of human development. Even the first money was tied to gold until governments decided to replace the gold mining process with a simpler process of printing paper money.
Well, the main thing: you easily explain to your mother about the crypto-currency, tied to gold. And she will understand you.
Now there are several "golden" crypto projects. There are not so many, but everyone has a different concept:
Impressive is the OneGram project from Dubai, which plans to raise $ 500 million for the ICO, which began on May 27 and which should end on September 24. For today, 22% of 12,400,786 tokens sold at $ 43.18 apiece are sold. "Dubai" and "gold" sounds somehow impressive, you must agree. OneGram is tied to the stored physical gold. They have a content, strange, in my opinion, a counter: they position themselves as a project for Muslims. In the world of blockade, any artificial limitation causes questions, because it contradicts the very concept of technology. True, according to the founders themselves, now most of the investors of the project are not Muslims.
Still there is a project of the British Royal Mint - Royal Mint Gold, in which one token is tied to one gram of gold. The project raises questions from the point of view of decentralization.
Another ambitious project is the American-Australian OZCoin. It is provided with 100 thousand ounces (slightly more than 2.8 tons) of gold at 24 carats.
Also, there is a "Russian" Goldmint. I took the "Russian" in quotes, because it has international team. The project plans to hold ICO in September, and in May held pre ICO and collected for a couple of days $600 thousand. Imagine that there is an ingot of gold that is able to be transported quickly and cost-free to anywhere in the world without a chance of being stolen.
Usually verification of the team removes 9/10 of the risk - the probability of "scam" or some illegal actions is equated to zero. I always say that Whitepaper, the business plan in the ICO world is secondary to the team. It does not matter what you do, but who you are. If tomorrow Elon Musk will grow cows, then investors will believe in his project.
Overview of TOP-15 crypto-currency Now about the crypto currency in general. On the Internet, you can easily find sites where you can see the capitalization of each crypto currency, which is drawn at the crypto-exchange, its current price in dollars, the schedule of price changes, the amount of currency that is traded on the market. Such statistics will help a little to understand the beginning investors, but give at least a general idea of ​​what is happening.
I will briefly talk about several crypto-currencies in the TOP-50 on capitalization: what are their essence, advantages and disadvantages. And despite the fact that in many of them I invested money, I will not give any specific advice on investment here.
MAIN PART
The analogy from the real world is gold. This currency appeared first on the market, and therefore occupies (so far) the first place in terms of popularity, capitalization and exchange rate relative to the dollar. All other currencies, which appeared later, began to be called altcoins, and bitcoin is still a benchmark, from which all are repelled. Bitcoin is a crypto currency that can only be sent, received and stored. In doing so, it has many disadvantages inherent in the architecture itself: it is slow, difficult to scale, requires a lot of power for mining, a lot of storage space, transactions are expensive, and cryptography can be hacked if desired.
Here are the cons: Bitcoin is slow, means that transactions in bitcoin occur every 10 minutes. To confirm the transaction, you need to mine, and this is a very energy-intensive process. To increase the number of users (scalability), you need to increase the computing power of computers. Bitcoin was not such a decentralized system, as it was announced at the very beginning. Theoretically, the miners can unite into huge pools and manage the network. The maximum number of bitcoins that can be released is 21 million. To date, they have already produced 16.75 million. What will happen when the total volume reaches the limit? Obviously, there will be a so-called hardfork, when it will be decided to create a new version of the bitcoin-network. This means a big vote, if you want - holding a referendum among the holders of the bitcoins. The Chinese holders of the Crypto-currency were in favor of holding such a referendum already in September. After him, perhaps, the "constitution" of bitcoin will change. And we know how constitutions change easily and quickly in different countries ...
An analogy from the real world is the new Microsoft. "Ether" begins to press bitcoin in terms of popularity. Probably, this currency has more prospects. If bitcoin can act only as a means of exchange and storage, then Ethereum has a number of advantages. The main thing is the ability to create smart contracts. Now, this platform is the most popular in the world in the construction of the block economy, and is used with numerous ICO. Ethereum inherited almost all the diseases of bitcoin. Yes, it's faster - it updates every 10 seconds (that is 60 times faster), but it has the same scaling problems (the recent case with SONM is an example), power consumption and storage. It may well challenge the leadership of bitcoin in the near future.
An analogy from the real world is the new VISA. The project team is trying to make a new payment system so that it can make payments in all currencies. The advantage of this currency is that it is used by banks. However, it is not decentralized. Coins can not be mined, therefore, their number does not increase. Ripple has a huge speed advantage over BTC and ETH, but the operations are not so transparent. For the classical banking system, this is normal - there anonymity has never been welcomed.
An analogy from the real world is platinum, which is cheaper than gold. Absolute analog of the bitcoin. Faster, better in all respects - but just turned out to be the second. But it is worth it in terms of diversifying investment in the same bitcoin. However, there is nothing from the point of view of innovation.
The analogy from the real world is Alibaba (not Amazon). Alibaba - the largest online store with a multi-billion dollar turnover. But still understand that it is still not as steep as Amazon. Classic may even be more expensive than regular Ethereum, but there are some nuances. ETC appeared after the Ethereum hardfork, which occurred last fall, and still does not cause trust in the crypto community. The main attention is still paid to ETH, and all the iconic projects are being conducted on this platform.
The analogy from the real world is "not clear who." Honestly, I do not often see these currencies. NEM is mainly drawn in Japan, where it is officially allowed to buy and sell goods for crypto currency. The number of coins is always one less than 9 billion, additional emission is not provided, so there is no mining, but there is a so-called harvesting. A major jump in the NEM course occurred in May, when a closed Mijin platform was created on the basis of NEM, through which Japanese banks can conduct secure transactions. NEM is built on the example of bitcoin, but there are no fundamental differences in architecture.
Dash - crypto currency, whose transactions are completely anonymous. Many people talk about this as an advantage, but think: why does an ordinary person have complete anonymity in transactions? Still, all decisions about changes in the "constitution" take place with the help of a general vote, that is, the Dash-network is completely decentralized. Naturally, both currencies work faster than a bitcoin and have a number of software advantages.
An analogy from the real world is the new Google. A real innovation in the world of crypto currency. It offers a fundamentally new paradigm that can change everything at all. IOTA is also called the "crypto currency of things". It appeared five years ago, but it has become popular just now. As soon as it entered the stock exchange, it immediately burst into the Top 10 crypto-currency. How does bitcoin work? In order to perform a bitcoin transaction, the miner must do some work to confirm the transaction. Spend time, huge amounts of energy and allocate space for storage. In the case of IOTA, you can independently confirm the transaction with your device - for example, a regular phone. Your smartphone confirms two other transactions. Those transactions are confirmed by other two. And so on. The more users, the faster and better the network. Now IOTA users have accumulated a critical mass and the currency has become very popular. There is no limit to scalability, no miners are needed, so transactions are free. You do not need to pay a commission to the miners, you do not spend computing power. In general, this is a real bomb that threatens to make a revolution. IOTA solves all problems inherent in bitcoin (limited, high demands on computing power, pseudo-decentralization, data growth and storage problem, slow speed).
The analogy from the real world is JFC Sistema. Briefly, unlike bitcoin, Monero emission is not limited, but transactions take up several times more space than bitcoin. But this is not the most interesting. In general, low-cost transactions, good translation speed, good mining.
An analogy from the real world is the Empire State Building. EOS - the evolution of the currency BitShares and Steemit (which, by the way, seriously criticized that does not prevent BitShares from getting close to the top 10 on capitalization). It is based on a breakthrough technology, which can be compared with the appearance of a blockade. In theory, they can replace Ethereum or enter into synergy with it. In terms of technology, the project is better than Ethereum. Developers have created a new language, and now the EOS platform creates an operating system on which it will be possible to build separate applications. The logic is this: all databases, all web programming will be transferred to the block system. New technologies will allow asynchronous launch of different applications, which will seriously increase the speed of the OS based on EOS. The team expects that the whole world will work on EOS. In general, to be honest, this is the world of "Crypt 3.0".
An analogy from the real world - ? A useful tool not to lose on converting, not to depend on the legislation of different countries, taxes and so on. There is also a similar currency Tether, which is tied to the dollar 1 to 1.
If you want to sell or buy dollars on the blockchain, you should come here. These are not speculative instruments. (Here you need to understand that BitShares itself as a unit of account is also "floating").
It is used as a currency for collecting commissions for a transaction of a fiat currency. It can be speculated. But if we want to operate with fiat money in the blockchain, we can do it inside the BitShares system).
And 5 more crypto-currencies from the top 50 If you look further, in the top 50 crypto-currencies there are a few notable projects. I will list a few.
An analogy from the real world is the stock exchange. It is essentially a stock exchange: an Ethereum platform on which you can exchange different cryptocurrencies (but they all have to be the ERC20 standard - this is the most common Ethereum standard on which most projects are developed). Everything is regulated by smart contracts. This is a new economic tool in the world of blockchain. In fact, they brought the derivatives into the blockchain, which no one had done before. It seems to me that this is a niche product, which, however, can grow 5-10 times.
An analogy from the real world is McDonalds. A good, fashionable currency, I see future in them. Fast, cheap in a transaction, profitable in the mining. It is loved by miners - in other words, market providers like it. And it is like McDonald's - does not belong to anyone. 99.9% of McDonald's shares are traded on the stock exchange, but the largest shareholder owns only 2% of the shares. Decreded as McDonalds.
An analogy from the real world is Netflix. Fantastic project. And by "fantastic" I do not mean "cool", but the original meaning of the word. The business model is incomprehensible, but the team is good. They try to work in the market of events predictions.
While the project is in the alpha stage and no real money goes in there, the team really knows how to correctly analyze the data. Aragon can become crypto-Netflix. How they do it - I have no idea. But just to remind you, 7 years ago Netflix was unprofitable.
submitted by kelvinboog to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Mining & The Beauty Of Capitalism

Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times,
While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish.
The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it?
Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback.
Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again.
As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap.
This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.

Time to Catch Up

What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure.
Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people.
The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers.
A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market.
And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress.
And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.

The Case For Mining

Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist.
For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year.
All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate.
So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified.
Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides?
This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human.

_Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply.
So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations.
If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too.
However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.

Different Money, Different Costs

How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks?
What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here.
Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions.
The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound.
In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money.
Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules.
Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble.
The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin.
And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation.

_The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network.
According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate.
According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year.
“Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing.
“I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times.
Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market.
The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential.
There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals.
In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time.
In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.

The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining

But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity.
In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity
Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution.
Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy.
This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground.
All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them.
“The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.

Centralized Mining

But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory.
Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour.
This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity.
This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018.

Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“
They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative.
So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort.
This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017.
But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.

Northern Bitcoin Case Study

Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China.
But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered.
The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one.
Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow.
And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower.

A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas.
As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany.
The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.

Excess Power

In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity.
Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north.
“The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play.

A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground.
Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine.
Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine.
“We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.

Efficiency, Efficiency

Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient.
Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is.
Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice.
This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert.
But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes.
The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes.
The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord.
The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment.
To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.

_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics

Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed.
At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent.
Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc.
Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day.
But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this.
As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices.

Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers.
Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step.
The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway.
Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited.
The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.

Norway Powerhouse?

Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power.
But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out.
“Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.

A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade.
To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit.
The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space.
However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption.
Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively.
The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.”
Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions.
But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally.
However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM.
“It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.
Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world.
Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.”
Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.

Cheap Producer Advantage

At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall.
But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network.
Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk.
As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first.
As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example.
When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer.
However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them.
“The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December.
This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last.
And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system.
The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system. It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
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