The History of Silk Road: A Tale of Drugs, Extortion & Bitcoin

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

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

Source | Guestbook
Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Questions Answers
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself? I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you? They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible? I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught? they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing? I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks. It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative! I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks! I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort? There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies. FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious? We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts. I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point. I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you? By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible... The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually... I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity? A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics? I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive? I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all. DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ? So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins? His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road? Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question? They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done. lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online? I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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[deleted] You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe? It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru! re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you. I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back? i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios? Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits? Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt. Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there? It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you." No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"? It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite? After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him. Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author? I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it? By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web? There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76 1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop. Yes, I wrote about them in The Darkest Web
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit? There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
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How do you get the backwards 3?

ε> that's the lower case E in greek
source: I'm a Cypriot. Still don't believe me? Then why? Just google it? but really... Don’t believe me? While let me tell you a wee bit more about me since you know just about everything already but don’t let this information gain hands to anyone else or every single ”naughty” picture I have of you will go viral and there won’t be an way to stop it. It all started back in 2011, freshman year. I found a jailbreak repo that allowed me to get anything and everything from Amazon for free. Once I received my items, I went back to amazon and sold them as a third party vendor. This lasted for about 8 months until a patch was developed. At that time, I had about $25,000. I had to do more. This is when I learned about the deep web and Silk Road. I found an Amazon employee on the deep web with verified credentials whom allowed me access to his 50% off discount for a small fee. I used this to kick-start my earnings for a while later. Scamming amazon eventually got me into the market of selling hacked Paypal accounts via bitcoins as well as skimmed credit cards and very, very, small amounts of counterfeit currencies. By Q2, 2014, I met you. I stopped everything and devoted everything I could to you while staying under the radar besides selling a few fake IDs. I decided to change every aspect of my life to better myself and just sit on investments, cashing out small percentages at high points in the market and then reinvesting. I recently got back into the market and found a guy on the deep web who has doubled my earnings. By August 9, 2016, FDA regulations on vaping devices are going to and all manufacturers to sell their products on the deep web, which, in return, will triple my bitcoin exchange. You sending me this text has allowed me to clone your SIM. If you tell anyone, I will know. I have extracted your IP and MAC address from the friend request you have sent me on Facebook. I have also documented your MAC address and IP from a Skype conversation you had with a certain somebody not to long ago. Anything you say, I WILL know and I will hit back [email protected] I also have access to your bank account if need be. I will not do anything unless need be
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11-04 14:33 - 'DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KRATSCOIN AND BITCOIN' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/xia112 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 3-13min

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• The indivisible minimum KRATSCOIN unit is 0.00001 instead of 0.00000001 to denominate realistic currency rates in FOREX. Denomination cannot be determined or dictated by the value of a currency. If KRATSCOIN is valued at USD10,000.00 then the smallest unit of KRATSCOIN at 0.00001 = USD0.10 and nothing smaller than USD0.10 in KRATSCOIN.
Example: If USD1.00 = THB30.00 and the smallest denomination of USD is USD0.10, then a USD0.10 which is THB3.00, is unable to buy a piece of candy at THB1.00. Thus the USD must be converted into a smaller currency of THB in order to buy the THB1.00 candy.
• KRATSCOIN is in-line with standard International Foreign Currency Exchange Practice at indivisible minimum unit 0.00001.
• Each KRATSCOIN is equipped with a 13 digit “SERIAL CODES AND NUMBERS” and there will be a total of 2,100,000,000,000 SERIAL CODES in total.
Example1: 1st KRATSCOIN = AKDJFYRS.00000 Example2: 1st Fraction from 1st KRATSCOIN = AKDJFYRS.00001 Example3: 2nd Fraction from 2nd KRATSCOIN = AKDJFYRS.00002 Example4: Last KRATSCOIN = DLXVZKWR.00000 Example5: 1st Fraction from Last KRATSCOIN = DLXVZKWR.00001 Example6: 2nd Fraction from Last KRATSCOIN = DLXVZKWR.00002
• In Year 2015, Silk Road in DeepWeb utilization of Bitcoin in their transactions amounts to USD1.2billion spanning over 950,000 users. One may argue that Bitcoin is most utilized by the black market, which then maintains its value and worth among other factors. However, the USD1.2bil a year over 950,000 users are far fetch from the Legitimate Users in comparison. Bitcoin transactions runs into USD40.0bil in recent Legitimate Crypto Exchanges. In summary, legitimate transaction of crypto currencies is many times larger use in illegal transactions.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIAT AND CRYPTO:
• Fiat Currency is backed by Governments/Countries itself. What determines the value of a currency is the economic health, demand, growth, political stability to name a few, of the respective country. Before 1930, most fiat currencies were backed by gold and silver.
• Since 1971, U.S. citizens have been able to utilize Federal Reserve Notes as the only form of money that for the first time had no currency with any gold or silver backing. This is where you get the saying that U.S. dollars are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Government - quoted in google.com.
• What backs crypto value is purely supply and demand. The demand creation of a crypto is its sole objective. To create demand, the crypto has to have a purpose. And most purpose commonly promoted is utility. The number of ways you can utilize the said crypto. The more utilization factors the more demand there is for it.
• There are other ways to substantiate value of a crypto and that is to back the crypto with a 1 to 1 ratio in assets or in USD. Then the question is, how 3,000 crypto currencies in circulation be monetary eco sustainable? Can anyone imagine walking into McDonald and view a chart of 3,000 different pricing? Which also means the crypto is a payment gateway pegging against USD instead of bearing any true characteristic of a currency.
• A country’s currency is in its own legit form of legal tender, the only currency acceptable under financial sovereigns of a country. People in the world must be made to understand that. Retailers in Thailand cannot put up products price tags in EUROS/USD, it is illegal. It has to be in Thai Baht.
• It is hardly imaginable for everyone in the world to retail with a Crypto-Currencies at a rate of 7 transactions per second. When mining nodes are reduced due to non-performing mining ratio, mining blocks in the Blockchain will significantly be limited too, rendering delays in transactions while usage increases.
• In time to come, as trends of crypto picks up, Thailand can issue BAHT COIN or UK the STERLING COIN, exactly what China wishes to do. Digital RMB, but would such crypto currencies be fully decentralized? We all have our answers. Absurd to even think of producing Thai Baht, Pound Sterling or Chinese Yuan at the cost of electricity. It is currencies in digital forms.
KRATSCOIN is not meant for that purpose. In some opinion, apart from utilization, a crypto can be for safekeeping, an entity for keeping money while allowing easy liquidation, at a click of a mobile button, not to mention sending or transferring without the trouble of going to banks, which was the original purpose of Bitcoin to begin with. Therefore, KRATSCOIN would be better termed as Crypto Commodity, sharing similarities as Metal Commodities.
An individual cannot use gold to make a purchase, neither can one eat gold. It can only be kept or invest in for appreciative value over time. Gold is being exampled for its scarcity which reasons for its higher value over its cousin, silver or bronze. Who or what determines the value of gold? Just like any other crypto, demand by humanity. As in all other commodities, it must also be placed in checks by governments. To put in checks, serial numbers are introduced to protect a country’s commodities outflows or illegal exports.
Humanity made Bitcoin a reality. Acceptance by the majority members of the public made Bitcoin to what is it today with the trust they entrusted it with, or is the majority public hopping on the band wagon to make a few quick extra bucks? Whatever the reasons are, the characteristics of Crypto Currencies are only matched by the behavior of Commodities.
SERIALIZED COINS - WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PUBLIC: Every currency has its own remarkable name, design and colors. Dollars, Euros, Pound, Tugrik, Peso, Rupee, Rupiah, Dina, Ringgit, Baht and the list carries on. One thing every currency have in common - Serial Numbers.
In any crime, investigators will firstly establish motives and mode of operation, both of which are very likely related to money. So following the money trial is a natural thing to do for investigators/authorities and it has become a common practice. Crimes require funding ie robbers need money to buy guns to carry out its robbing activities. Cutting off financing will reduce criminal activities. That’s the approach governments of the WORLD have adopted for crime fighting.
Perhaps people do not realize this while most do not feel the pinch. Humanity tends to take life for granted until apocalypse happens. Take a minute to visualize the tallest tower in your homeland collapse into a pile of dust with thousands of casualties effecting everything else that comes to mind. Imagine a family member, just 1 is enough, is among those casualties.
• Imagine if monetary system is not in place and drug dealers, among many, roam the earth freely distributing what can be death threatening substance to your kids. What if you are mugged of your inheritance [items left to you by your father] that is beyond retrieval? As for crypto enthusiast, what if your wallet gets hacked as even the mighty Pentagon gets hacked. All the above can go away if the crypto system leaves a trail for hound dogs to sniff out. Money Trail or Serial Codes Trail to be exact.
• Citizens rely on governments and their countries to do what is best for them to lead their daily lives, flourish, advance, improve and strive but at the same time, citizens want to take away the single most important thing deemed crucial in the hierarchy of humanity from governments with additional boastful remarks such as “I transferred $400 million from one corner of the earth to another corner in a single transaction and no governments can do anything about it”.
• In-short, to boast unregulated financial movement is to arrogantly promote crime without realizing it while challenging the world’s monetary authority. Oldest advice in the book teaches us never to pick a fight we can’t win.
• Serial Coded Coins does not take away the financial movement freedom nor does it take away your privacy. It merely provides Authorities the necessary means needed for crime prevention and fighting. It only re-inforce security and safety. SERIALIZED COINS - WHAT IT MEANS FOR GOVERNMENTS: • Governments are relentlessly trying to find new ways to keep track of crypto transactions. Crypto Currency Exchanges, just like all other Financial Institutions and Banks, are required to practice the most stringent Know Your Customer (widely known as KYC) process. The KYC is designed to provide governing agencies and authorities with information pertaining to crypto ownerships.
• But no governments can have information on Peer-to-Peer (also known as P2P) transactions unless the government in question launch a full scale Federal Investigation on certain suspected individuals seeking Wallet Developers to unveil the ownership of certain wallet addresses. Do not forget, National and Global Security trumps Privacy Act. Refusal to co-operate under the pretext of Global or National Security will only result in an out-right ban, which is exactly what happened to Blackberry.
• Questions to Governments – What if Wallet Developers or Crypto Exchanges shuts down which can happen for various reasons be it foul-play, sinister or forcefully under threat? What if servers are damaged and ruined? An EMP strike or a simple magnet can make it happen. Information/identities of suspected customers of such addresses shall be lost forever and along with it the Money Trial.
• The most probable way of evading Authorities with crypto assets are developing an e-wallet for own illicit purpose. Since the cost of developing an e-wallet is relatively low in considerable cost to hiding, what can governments do to flush out these ants from the vast networks of tunnels?
• With Serialized Coded Crypto Assets, it doesn’t matter if servers of Exchanges or Wallets are destroyed. The Serial Codes of each token/coin enables governments of every participating country to track both origin and destination by identifying records of each token/coin in wallet address. It can disappear into a cold wallet but emerging some place later yet Authorities can still detail which particular token/coin has at one moment of time been into which wallet, on what day and date.
• If the battle of financial crimes can be resolved with a simple Serialize Coded Crypto Asset, the eradication of corruptions, money laundering, unlawful proceeds and terrorism financing will be made possible. Criminals can no longer exploit the genius creation of Sathoshi – Blockchain and Crypto-Currencies.
• Global Security, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Money Laundering could just be excuses granting government agencies the need to have access to financial information in the Monetary System. Nonetheless, it is in the interest of every nation that capital outflow is controlled. Capital Outflow is most frequent when the economy of a country is deteriorating. In the face of an economy meltdown, monetary flow is most needed and yet citizens tend to transfer monies further away illegally from their own country in an act of selfishness. This would not be tolerated by any country. Serial Coded Coin shall prove this attempt futile.
• In most part of Asian Countries, many crypto-currency mining operations are carried out illegally. The legality sits on thin fine line where Authorities can pin only stealing of electricity as a major concern to the respective country. Since most Power Companies belongs to the Country in one way or another, it is financially damaging to Power Producers and Utility Suppliers. Serial Codes can determine if the KRATSCOIN is mined legally or illegally making it difficult for miners or mining farms to mine crypto while avoiding making electricity payments. Will this deterrent disrupt the chain of KRATSCOIN supply? That’s not how Blockchain Tech works. TAXATIONS - WHAT IT MEANS FOR PUBLIC AND GOVERNMENTS: • Taxation cannot be imposed on “Illegal & Unlawful Proceeds” instead confiscation is enforced in many countries. Origins or proceeds of Serialized Coded Crypto Assets can be easily identified by the Serial Codes in-conjunction with the Blockchain. This exercise can evidently proof the legitimacy of the aforesaid token/coin. By “Illegal & Unlawful Proceeds” also refers to crypto coins obtained via illegal mining operations.
• Taxation on Crypto Assets are calculated on profits deriving from the sale/disposal of the crypto Assets. If we are small crypto believers, the amount of taxation rendered by Inland Revenue will be insignificant. Why risk Freedom of Life over Freedom of Small Monies. If we are big crypto believers, taxation on Serialized Coded Coins can be considered added security to your assets protection.
• By adopting Serialized Crypto Assets, declaration is made easily possible via proof of token/coin origin via the Blockchain. If the Authorities can know where our crypto assets come from, the Authorities will know where it will disappear to. It is taxation cum insurance in one tiny sum. This added security with freedom feature will encourage self-declarations of crypto assets to Authorities and Agencies. PRIVACY & ANONIMITY: • Many may be skeptical of their wealth being tracked and monitored. But in this era of technological advance society, everything we touches has our signature. Banks, iPhones, Samsung Mobiles, Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, WeChat, LINE, Viber, Facebook, Properties, Utilities. Almost everything. It is to this fact that there is a need for Privacy Protection Act.
• As explained before, Crypto Currency Exchange KYC procedures is designed to expose the identity of Crypto Assets ownership. The Blockchain is supposed to serve as a transparent information platform. The question of privacy over Serialized Coded Coins does not exist, it does not make Serialized Coded Coins ownership any less private.
• Ownership of wallet addresses shall always remain anonymous while the only way Authorities can get to it is through Wallet Developers by virtue of Global/National Security Threats or by a Court Order as per the Privacy Protection Act. SAFETY & SECURITY (CODED CRYPTO VS FIAT + COMMODITIES): • No human mind can memorize the millions of serial numbers printed on fiat currencies. The records of Serialized Coded Coins will forever be in the Blockchain embedded within each transaction from wallet to wallet.
• Serialized Commodities such as gold can be melted down. Diamonds recrafted. Fiat double printed. But not Serialized Coded Crypto Assets.
• Should an accessory system be added into the KRATSCOIN Blockchain, allowing reports on criminal activity be made within the Blockchain, notifying all ledgers of certain stolen Serial Coded Coins, enabling WARNINGS and forbidding next transaction of that particular Serial Coded Coin, wouldn’t this function enhance protection. A theft deterrent function which can never be achieved with physical gold, diamonds or fiat. KRATSCOIN SUMMARY: • Most crypto currencies have not reach a level of security alert for governments. This could be the only reason why a possible ban has not been discussed. China and India has begun efforts to control or ban crypto currencies in their quest to combat capital outflow, writer’s personal opinion. The EU has stopped Libra from implementation. “A company cannot be allowed Authoring Power for issuance of currencies” quoted the governments. KRATSCOIN is fully decentralized with no ownership nor control by any country, company or individual. Once again, the beauty of Bitcoin decentralization concept prevails.
• “There is no such thing as a world currency. However, since World War II, the dominant or reserve currency of the world has been the U.S. dollar” quoted in google.com.
• Most countries have “Foreign Reserves” as backing to a country’s fiat currency. It is a mean of “back up” attempt should all factors above mentioned leading to the value of their currencies collapse. Then what will happen if the Country of the Foreign Reserves collapse?
• Serial Coded KRATSCOIN belongs to no one, no country, no company and therefore theoretically shall not be effected by politics, war or global economy meltdown yet everyone, every country and every government is able to benefit from KRATSCOIN.
"Quoted by" [[link]6 [[link]7 [[link]8 [[link]9 [[link]10
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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KRATSCOIN AND BITCOIN
Go1dfish undelete link
unreddit undelete link
Author: xia112
1: lintangnews.c*m/ada*kr**s*o*n-*ni-be*a*ya-d*ngan-bi***in* 2: 0xzx**o***019101*124431*902.*tml 3: ne*s.*oko**y*to.com/*ag/**atsco*n-kt*/ 4: bbs.**anya.cn/p**t-l*ok*u*-836*0*-*.shtml 5: z*uanlan.z*i*u.*om*p/*4*44615 6: l*nta*g*ews.*o*/ada*kr*ts*o*n-*ni-***a*ya-d*ngan-bitcoin/]^^1 7: 0x*x*com/2019101**24*312*02*ht**]^^2 8: news*t**ocr*p*o***m/tag/kr*tscoin-ktc/]*^3 9: bbs.*i*n*a.cn/p**t-loo*ou*-8*61*5-1.sht*l*^^4 10: zhuanl*n.zh*hu.co*/**84**461*]^^5
Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
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"Satoshi Nakamoto" the mysterious creator of Bitcoin is no other than the CIA

Bitcoin has surged to all time highs, Who created Bitcoin, and why?
The creator of Bitcoin is officially a name, “Satoshi Nakamoto” – very few people believe that it was a single male from Japan. In the early days of Bitcoin development this name is associated with original key-creation and communications on message boards, and then the project was officially handed over to others at which point this Satoshi character never appeared again (Although from time to time someone will come forward saying they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto, and then have their posts deleted).
Bitcoin could very well be the ‘one world currency’ that conspiracy theorists have been talking about for some time. It’s a kill five birds with one stone solution – not only is Bitcoin an ideal one world currency, it allows law enforcement a perfect record of all transactions on the network. It states very clearly on bitcoin.org (the official site) in big letters “Bitcoin is not anonymous” :
Some effort is required to protect your privacy with Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address. However, the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances. This is one reason why Bitcoin addresses should only be used once.
Another advantage of Bitcoin is the problem of Quantitative Easing – the Fed (and thus, nearly all central banks in the world) have painted themselves in a corner, metaphorically speaking. QE ‘solved’ the credit crisis, but QE itself does not have a solution. Currently all currencies are in a race to zero – competing with who can print more money faster. Central Bankers who are in systemic analysis, their economic advisors, know this. They know that the Fiat money system is doomed, all what you can read online is true (just sensationalized) – it’s a debt based system based on nothing. That system was created, originally in the early 1900’s and refined during Breton Woods followed by the Nixon shock (This is all explained well in Splitting Pennies). In the early 1900’s – there was no internet! It is a very archaic system that needs to be replaced, by something modern, electronic, based on encryption. Bitcoin! It’s a currency based on ‘bits’ – but most importantly, Bitcoin is not the ‘one world currency’ per se, but laying the framework for larger cryptocurrency projects. In the case of central banks, who control the global monetary system, that would manifest in ‘Settlement Coin’ :
Two resources available almost exclusively to central banks could soon be opened up to additional users as a result of a new digital currency project designed by a little-known startup and Swiss bank UBS. One of those resources is the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system used by central banks (it’s typically reserved for high-value transactions that need to be settled instantly), and the other is central bank-issued cash. Using the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) unveiled today, the five-member consortium that has sprung up around the project aims to help central banks open-up access to these tools to more customers. If successful, USC has the potential to create entirely new business models built on instant settling and easy cash transfers. In interview, Robert Sams, founder of London-based Clearmatics, said his firm initially worked with UBS to build the network, and that BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, ICAP and Santander are only just the first of many future members.
the NSA/CIA often works for big corporate clients, just as it has become a cliche that the Iraq war was about big oil, the lesser known hand in global politics is the banking sector. In other words, Bitcoin may have very well been ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a banker, group of banks, or financial services firm. But the NSA (as we surmise) was the company that got the job done. And probably, if it was in fact ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a private bank, they would have been waiting in the wings to develop their own Bitcoin related systems or as in the above “Settlement Coin.” So the NSA made Bitcoin – so what?
The FX markets currently represent the exchange between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ currencies. In the future, why not too they will include ‘cryptocurrencies’ – we’re already seeing the BTC/EUR pair popup on obscure brokers. When BTC/USD and BTC/EUR are available at major FX banks and brokers, we can say – from a global FX perspective, that Bitcoin has ‘arrived.’ Many of us remember the days when the synthetic “Euro” currency was a new artificial creation that was being adopted, although the Euro project is thousands of degrees larger than the Bitcoin project. But unlike the Euro, Bitcoin is being adopted at a near exponential rate by demand (Many merchants resisted the switch to Euros claiming it was eating into their profit margins and they were right!).
And to answer the question as to why Elite E Services is not actively involved in Bitcoin the answer is that previously, you can’t trade Bitcoin. Now we’re starting to see obscure brokers offering BTC/EUR but the liquidity is sparse and spreads are wacky – that will all change. When we can trade BTC/USD just like EUUSD you can bet that EES and a host of other algorithmic FX traders will be all over it! It will be an interesting trade for sure, especially with all the volatility, the cross ‘pairs’ – and new cryptocurrencies. For the record, for brokers- there’s not much difference adding a new symbol (currency pair) in MT4 they just need liquidity, which has been difficult to find.
So there’s really nothing revolutionary about Bitcoin, it’s just a logical use of technology in finance considering a plethora of problems faced by any central bank who creates currency. And there are some interesting caveats to Bitcoin as compared to major currencies; Bitcoin is a closed system (there are finite Bitcoin) – this alone could make such currencies ‘anti-inflationary’ and at the least, hold their value (the value of the USD continues to deteriorate slowly over time as new M3 introduced into the system.) But we need to pay
Here’s some interesting theories about who or whom is Satoshi:
A corporate conglomerate
Some researchers proposed that the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ was derived from a combination of tech companies consisting of Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola. The notion that the name was a pseudonym is clearly true and it is doubtful they reside in Japan given the numerous forum posts with a distinctly English dialect.
Craig Steven Wright
This Australian entrepreneur claims to be the Bitcoin creator and provided proof. But soon after, his offices were raided by the tax authorities on ‘an unrelated matter’
Soon after these stories were published, authorities in Australia raided the home of Mr Wright. The Australian Taxation Office said the raid was linked to a long-running investigation into tax payments rather than Bitcoin. Questioned about this raid, Mr Wright said he was cooperating fully with the ATO. “We have lawyers negotiating with them over how much I have to pay,” he said.
Other potential creators
Nick Szabo, and many others, have been suggested as potential Satoshi – but all have denied it:
The New Yorker published a piece pointing at two possible Satoshis, one of whom seemed particularly plausible: a cryptography graduate student from Trinity College, Dublin, who had gone on to work in currency-trading software for a bank and published a paper on peer-to-peer technology. The other was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Vili Lehdonvirta. Both made denials. Fast Company highlighted an encryption patent application filed by three researchers – Charles Bry, Neal King and Vladimir Oks­man – and a circumstantial link involving textual analysis of it and the Satoshi paper which found the phrase “…computationally impractical to reverse” in both. Again, it was flatly denied.
THE WINNER: It was the NSA
The NSA has the capability, the motive, and the operational capacity – they have teams of cryptographers, the biggest fastest supercomputers in the world, and they see the need. Whether instructed by their friends at the Fed, in cooperation with their owners (i.e. Illuminati banking families), or as part of a DARPA project – is not clear and will never be known (unless a whistleblower comes forward). In fact, the NSA employs some of the best mathematicians and cryptographers in the world. Few know about their work because it’s a secret, and this isn’t the kind of job you leave to start your own cryptography company.
But the real smoking Gun, aside from the huge amount of circumstantial evidence and lack of a credible alternative, is the 1996 paper authored by NSA “HOW TO MAKE A MINT: THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF ANONYMOUS ELECTRONIC CASH”
The NSA was one of the first organizations to describe a Bitcoin-like system. About twelve years before Satoshi Nakamotopublished his legendary white paper to the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list, a group of NSA information security researchers published a paper entitled How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash in two prominent places, the first being an MIT mailing list and the second being much more prominent, The American Law Review
The paper outlines a system very much like Bitcoin in which secure financial transactions are possible through the use of a decentralized network the researchers refer informally to as a Bank. They list four things as indispensable in their proposed network: privacy, user identification (protection against impersonation), message integrity (protection against tampering/substitution of transaction information – that is, protection against double-spending), and nonrepudiation (protection against later denial of a transaction – a blockchain!).
It is evident that SHA-256, the algorithm Satoshi used to secure Bitcoin, was not available because it came about in 2001. However, SHA-1 would have been available to them, having been published in 1993.
Why would the NSA want to do this? One simple reason: Control.
As we explain in Splitting Pennies – Understanding Forex – the primary means the US dominates the world is through economic policy, although backed by bombs. And the critical support of the US Dollar is primarily, the military. The connection between the military and the US Dollar system is intertwined inextricably. There are thousands of great examples only one of them being how Iraq switched to the Euro right before the Army’s invasion.
In October 2000 Iraq insisted on dumping the US dollar – ‘the currency of the enemy’ – for the more multilateral euro. The changeover was announced on almost exactly the same day that the euro reached its lowest ebb, buying just $0.82, and the G7 Finance Ministers were forced to bail out the currency. On Friday the euro had reached $1.08, up 30 per cent from that time.
Almost all of Iraq’s oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme have been paid in euros since 2001. Around 26 billion euros (£17.4bn) has been paid for 3.3 billion barrels of oil into an escrow account in New York. The Iraqi account, held at BNP Paribas, has also been earning a higher rate of interest in euros than it would have in dollars.
The point here is there are a lot of different types of control. The NSA monitors and collects literally all electronic communications; internet, phone calls, everything. They listen in even to encrypted voice calls with high powered microphones, devices like cellphones equipped with recording devices (See original “Clipper” chip). It’s very difficult to communicate on planet Earth in private, without the NSA listening. So it is only logical that they would also want complete control of the financial system, including records of all electronic transactions, which Bitcoin provides.
Could there be an ‘additional’ security layer baked into the Blockchain that is undetectable, that allows the NSA to see more information about transactions, such as network location data? It wouldn’t be so far fetched, considering their past work, such as Xerox copy machines that kept a record of all copies made (this is going back to the 70’s, now it’s common). Of course security experts will point to the fact that this layer remains invisible, but if this does exist – of course it would be hidden.
More to the point about the success of Bitcoin – its design is very solid, robust, manageable – this is not the work of a student. Of course logically, the NSA employs individuals, and ultimately it is the work of mathematicians, programmers, and cryptographers – but if we deduce the most likely group capable, willing, and motivated to embark on such a project, the NSA is the most likely suspect. Universities, on the other hand, didn’t product white papers like this from 1996.
Another question is that if it was the NSA, why didn’t they go through more trouble concealing their identity? I mean, the internet is rife with theories that it was in fact the NSA/CIA and “Satoshi Nakamoto” means in Japanese “Central Intelligence” – well there are a few answers for this, but to be congruent with our argument, it fits their profile.
Where could this ‘hidden layer’ be? Many think it could be in the public SHA-256, developed by NSA (which ironically, was the encryption algorithm of choice for Bitcoin – they could have chosen hundreds of others, which arguably are more secure):
Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.
“If you assume that the NSA did something to SHA-256, which no outside researcher has detected, what you get is the ability, with credible and detectable action, they would be able to forge transactions. The really scary thing is somebody finds a way to find collisions in SHA-256 really fast without brute-forcing it or using lots of hardware and then they take control of the network,” cryptography researcher Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins University said in a previous interview.
Then there’s the question of “Satoshi Nakamoto” – if it was in fact the NSA, why not just claim ownership of it? Why all the cloak and dagger? And most importantly, if Satoshi Nakamoto is a real person, and not a group that wants to remain secret – WHY NOT come forward and claim your nearly $3 Billion worth of Bitcoin (based on current prices).
Did the NSA create Satoshi Nakamoto?
The CIA Project, a group dedicated to unearthing all of the government’s secret projects and making them public, hasreleased a video claiming Bitcoin is actually the brainchild of the US National Security Agency.
The video entitled CIA Project Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin a CIA or NSA project? claims that there is a lot of compelling evidences that proves that the NSA is behind Bitcoin. One of the main pieces of evidence has to do with the name of the mysterious man, woman or group behind the creation of Bitcoin, “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
According to the CIA Project, Satoshi Nakamoto means “Central Intelligence” in Japanese. Doing a quick web search, you’ll find out that Satoshi is usually a name given for baby boys which means “clear thinking, quick witted, wise,” while Nakamoto is a Japanese surname which means ‘central origin’ or ‘(one who lives) in the middle’ as people with this surname are found mostly in the Ryukyu islands which is strongly associated with the Ry?ky? Kingdom, a highly centralized kingdom that originated from the Okinawa Islands. So combining Nakamoto and Satoshi can be loosely interpreted as “Central Intelligence”.
Is it so really hard to believe? This is from an organization that until the Snowden leaks, secretly recorded nearly all internet traffic on the network level by splicing fiber optic cables. They even have a deep-sea splicing mission that will cut undersea cables and install intercept devices. Making Bitcoin wouldn’t even be a big priority at NSA.
Certainly, anonymity is one of the biggest myths about Bitcoin. In fact, there has never been a more easily traceable method of payment. Every single transaction is recorded and retained permanently in the public “blockchain”. The idea that the NSA would create an anarchic, peer-to-peer crypto-currency in the hope that it would be adopted for nefarious industries and become easy to track would have been a lot more difficult to believe before the recent leaks by Edward Snowden and the revelation that billions of phone calls had been intercepted by the US security services. We are now in a world where we now know that the NSA was tracking the pornography habits of Islamic “radicalisers” in order to discredit them and making deals with some of the world’s largest internet firms to insert backdoors into their systems.
And we’re not the only ones who believe this, in Russia they ‘know’ this to be true without sifting through all the evidence.
Nonetheless, Svintsov’s remarks count as some of the more extreme to emanate from the discussion. Svintsov told Russian broadcast news agency REGNUM:“All these cryptocurrencies [were] created by US intelligence agencies just to finance terrorism and revolutions.”Svintsov reportedly went on to explain how cryptocurrencies have started to become a payment method for consumer spending, and cited reports that terrorist organisations are seeking to use the technology for illicit means.
Let’s elaborate on what is ‘control’ as far as the NSA is concerned. Bitcoin is like the prime mover. All future cryptocurrencies, no matter how snazzy or functional – will never have the same original keys as Bitcoin. It created a self-sustained, self-feeding bubble – and all that followed. It enabled law enforcement to collect a host of criminals on a network called “Silk Road” and who knows what other operations that happened behind the scenes. Because of pesky ‘domestic’ laws, the NSA doesn’t control the internet in foreign countries. But by providing a ‘cool’ currency as a tool, they can collect information from around the globe and like Facebook, users provide this information voluntarily. It’s the same strategy they use like putting the listening device in the chips at the manufacturing level, which saves them the trouble of wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping, and other risky methods that can fail or be blocked. It’s impossible to stop a cellphone from listening to you, for example (well not 100%, but you have to physically rewire the device). Bitcoin is the same strategy on a financial level – by using Bitcoin you’re giving up your private transactional information. By itself, it would not identify you per se (as the blockchain is ‘anonymous’ but the transactions are there in the public register, so combined with other information, which the NSA has a LOT OF – they can triangulate their information more precisely.
That’s one problem solved with Bitcoin – another being the economic problem of QE (although with a Bitcoin market cap of $44 Billion, that’s just another day at the Fed buying MBS) – and finally, it squashes the idea of sovereignty although in a very, very, very subtle way. You see, a country IS a currency. Until now, currency has always been tied to national sovereignty (although the Fed is private, USA only has one currency, the US Dollar, which is exclusively American). Bitcoin is a super-national currency, or really – the world’s first one world currency.
Of course, this is all great praise for the DOD which seems to have a 50 year plan – but after tens of trillions spent we’d hope that they’d be able to do something better than catching terrorists (which mostly are artificial terrorists)
submitted by PeopleWhoDied to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Pirate Chain vs. Monero

We hear it asked all the time: which privacy coin is the best? Users are continually trying to find the most anonymous cryptocurrency that allows true financial freedom. Most have heard of Monero, the private digital currency. It isn’t the only option for users seeking anonymity, however, and now, a new privacy coin on the block called Pirate Chain is gaining exposure.

Let’s take a deep dive into both projects to see who comes up with the best privacy coin honors.

Private by Default: Pirate Chain

Pirate Chain is a cryptocurrency platform on a mission to preserve people’s financial freedom in a system dominated by transparent transactions. Pirate Chain utilizes zk-SNARKs as its essential anonymizing function.

Where did Pirate Chain come from? It’s an asset chain of the Komodo network and although Pirate Chain is now independent of Komodo, it’s capable of running Komodo’s features.

To take things back even further, Komodo is a fork of Zcash, and Zcash itself is a fork of Bitcoin. As is widely known, Bitcoin’s transactions are fully transparent through its distributed ledger. Zcash developers wanted to create a totally anonymous currency and thus created the zk-SNARKs protocol. So about those zk-SNARKs...

Zk-SNARKs and The Fungibility Issue

Zk-SNARKs is groundbreaking technology for privacy oriented cryptocurrencies. The technology behind it is based on zero-knowledge cryptography from the 1980s. Zcash developers have since taken it a step further and designed zk-SNARKs to allow for anonymous transactions while maintaining network consensus to validate transactions.

The idea behind anonymous transactions while simultaneously validating transactions has been a hot topic amongst leading developers. Monero’s core developer Riccardo “flufflypony” Spagni said, “Zcash’s zkSNARKs provide much stronger untraceability characteristics than Monero.”

It’s through zk-SNARKs that shielded transactions are a possibility. Shielded transactions are the function that allows senders and receivers to remain anonymous. Pirate Chain has taken zk-SNARKs further by only allowing shielded transactions within their platform.

By only allowing shielded transactions, Pirate Chain effectively blocks blockchain analytics firms from following digital trails left by public transaction data. Even though Zcash pioneered zk-SNARKs, they have fallen short by allowing non-shielded transactions to send to shielded addresses, and vice versa.

Monero’s Censorship Resistant Vision

Launched in April 2014, Monero is a fork of Bytecoin. Monero’s vision is to allow its users a simple and effective currency to transact anonymously.

Monero has been the go-to cryptocurrency for dark web users ever since the realization became clear that Bitcoin transactions were fully public. Before the infamous Silk Road was shut down, most users were transacting with Monero to hide their steps from authorities.

It wasn’t long until government and financial institutions recognized the threat that Monero posed, and has since been curbing Monero’s efforts by funding firms that specialize in tracking seemingly anonymous payments.

Monero’s Anonymizing Technology

Monero relies on obfuscation of a user’s public address rather than total encryption found in Pirate Chain. Monero’s Ring Signature scheme only mixes a users transaction within a pool of other public addresses to cloak its route to a destination address.

Monero also uses stealth addresses. The sender is required to create a one-time send address that is only known between the sender and receiver. This method further helps Monero’s privacy-oriented agenda but falls short as just a disassociation scheme.

Ring Signatures technology had high hopes in the past, but with the advent of blockchain analytics firms, this scheme has become more of a band-aid rather than a cure. Blockchain analytic firms are increasingly being contracted and funded by financial and government institutions to track untraceable digital money.

Although Monero’s Ring Signature scheme mixes a users transaction with many others, they are still in a sense semi-transparent, which over time, analytics firms can follow each trail and come to an eventual conclusion on who the user is.

Monero’s anonymizing tech comes under further scrutiny when sending to public exchanges. Since Monero’s stealth addresses are only semi-private, and each transaction is just mixed with others, its eventual destination on an open exchange can be traced. If a user decides to “cash out” on a regulated exchange such as Coinbase, personal details such as ID and banking information will need to be provided.

Pirate Chain: The Next Generation Privacy Platform

When it comes to keeping funds safe from prying eyes of blockchain analytics firms, Pirate Chain is the clear winner.

When compared side by side, Pirate’s zk-SNARKs out-encrypts Monero’s Ring CT Signatures by a longshot. As we’ve seen, Monero simply disassociates their user’s transactions, whereas Pirate Chain actually encrypts it.

Zk-SNARKs’s security layer is based on the trusted setup of parameters created by developers at Zcash during two ceremonies. These ceremonies created public parameters that are specific to each generated address. When a user on the Pirate Chain network submits a transaction, their encrypted information isn’t verified by a public digital signature like Monero. Instead, the transaction is proved by the public parameter which remains encrypted to the outside world.

Since Pirate Chain only allows private to private transactions, this keeps their ecosystem untainted by public addresses. As seen with Monero, all of their addresses are at some point public. The larger Pirate Chain grows, the larger the pool of anonymity.

Another benefit to using Pirate Chain is their compatibility with the TOR network. This is another option to further your anonymity to by obfuscating your IP address to steer clear of blockchain analysis.

Recently, Zcash unveiled its highly anticipated Sapling upgrade. Pirate Chain has fully integrated this update to increase the network’s overall efficiency. The upgrade lowered the total memory requirements by nearly 97% and increased the generation of private addresses by almost the same value. This recent event has also made Pirate Chain one of the fastest anonymous cryptocurrencies to use.

Currently, even after the Bulletproof upgrades from Monero, transaction times are still roughly 20 minutes. Pirate Chain, on the other hand, has 60 second block times.

When taking all aspects of privacy into consideration, we need to look at the technology surrounding a given project. Although Monero wins the popularity contest, it’s privacy features don’t stand up the Pirate Chain and its zk-SNARKs protocol. If true financial freedom is your goal, then look no further than Pirate Chain.


submitted by RadioARRR to u/RadioARRR [link] [comments]

Battle of The Privacy Coins: Pirate Chain vs. Monero

We hear it asked all the time: which privacy coin is the best? Users are continually trying to find the most anonymous cryptocurrency that allows true financial freedom. Most have heard of Monero, the private digital currency. It isn’t the only option for users seeking anonymity, however, and now, a new privacy coin on the block called Pirate Chain is gaining exposure.

Let’s take a deep dive into both projects to see who comes up with the best privacy coin honors.

Private by Default: Pirate Chain

Pirate Chain is a cryptocurrency platform on a mission to preserve people’s financial freedom in a system dominated by transparent transactions. Pirate Chain utilizes zk-SNARKs as its essential anonymizing function.

Where did Pirate Chain come from? It’s an asset chain of the Komodo network and although Pirate Chain is now independent of Komodo, it’s capable of running Komodo’s features.

To take things back even further, Komodo is a fork of Zcash, and Zcash itself is a fork of Bitcoin. As is widely known, Bitcoin’s transactions are fully transparent through its distributed ledger. Zcash developers wanted to create a totally anonymous currency and thus created the zk-SNARKs protocol. So about those zk-SNARKs...

Zk-SNARKs and The Fungibility Issue

Zk-SNARKs is groundbreaking technology for privacy oriented cryptocurrencies. The technology behind it is based on zero-knowledge cryptography from the 1980s. Zcash developers have since taken it a step further and designed zk-SNARKs to allow for anonymous transactions while maintaining network consensus to validate transactions.

The idea behind anonymous transactions while simultaneously validating transactions has been a hot topic amongst leading developers. Monero’s core developer Riccardo “flufflypony” Spagni said, “Zcash’s zkSNARKs provide much stronger untraceability characteristics than Monero.”

It’s through zk-SNARKs that shielded transactions are a possibility. Shielded transactions are the function that allows senders and receivers to remain anonymous. Pirate Chain has taken zk-SNARKs further by only allowing shielded transactions within their platform.

By only allowing shielded transactions, Pirate Chain effectively blocks blockchain analytics firms from following digital trails left by public transaction data. Even though Zcash pioneered zk-SNARKs, they have fallen short by allowing non-shielded transactions to send to shielded addresses, and vice versa.

Monero’s Censorship Resistant Vision

Launched in April 2014, Monero is a fork of Bytecoin. Monero’s vision is to allow its users a simple and effective currency to transact anonymously.

Monero has been the go-to cryptocurrency for dark web users ever since the realization became clear that Bitcoin transactions were fully public. Before the infamous Silk Road was shut down, most users were transacting with Monero to hide their steps from authorities.

It wasn’t long until government and financial institutions recognized the threat that Monero posed, and has since been curbing Monero’s efforts by funding firms that specialize in tracking seemingly anonymous payments.

Monero’s Anonymizing Technology

Monero relies on obfuscation of a user’s public address rather than total encryption found in Pirate Chain. Monero’s Ring Signature scheme only mixes a users transaction within a pool of other public addresses to cloak its route to a destination address.

Monero also uses stealth addresses. The sender is required to create a one-time send address that is only known between the sender and receiver. This method further helps Monero’s privacy-oriented agenda but falls short as just a disassociation scheme.

Ring Signatures technology had high hopes in the past, but with the advent of blockchain analytics firms, this scheme has become more of a band-aid rather than a cure. Blockchain analytic firms are increasingly being contracted and funded by financial and government institutions to track untraceable digital money.

Although Monero’s Ring Signature scheme mixes a users transaction with many others, they are still in a sense semi-transparent, which over time, analytics firms can follow each trail and come to an eventual conclusion on who the user is.

Monero’s anonymizing tech comes under further scrutiny when sending to public exchanges. Since Monero’s stealth addresses are only semi-private, and each transaction is just mixed with others, its eventual destination on an open exchange can be traced. If a user decides to “cash out” on a regulated exchange such as Coinbase, personal details such as ID and banking information will need to be provided.

Pirate Chain: The Next Generation Privacy Platform

When it comes to keeping funds safe from prying eyes of blockchain analytics firms, Pirate Chain is the clear winner.

When compared side by side, Pirate’s zk-SNARKs out-encrypts Monero’s Ring CT Signatures by a longshot. As we’ve seen, Monero simply disassociates their user’s transactions, whereas Pirate Chain actually encrypts it.

Zk-SNARKs’s security layer is based on the trusted setup of parameters created by developers at Zcash during two ceremonies. These ceremonies created public parameters that are specific to each generated address. When a user on the Pirate Chain network submits a transaction, their encrypted information isn’t verified by a public digital signature like Monero. Instead, the transaction is proved by the public parameter which remains encrypted to the outside world.

Since Pirate Chain only allows private to private transactions, this keeps their ecosystem untainted by public addresses. As seen with Monero, all of their addresses are at some point public. The larger Pirate Chain grows, the larger the pool of anonymity.

Another benefit to using Pirate Chain is their compatibility with the TOR network. This is another option to further your anonymity to by obfuscating your IP address to steer clear of blockchain analysis.

Recently, Zcash unveiled its highly anticipated Sapling upgrade. Pirate Chain has fully integrated this update to increase the network’s overall efficiency. The upgrade lowered the total memory requirements by nearly 97% and increased the generation of private addresses by almost the same value. This recent event has also made Pirate Chain one of the fastest anonymous cryptocurrencies to use.

Currently, even after the Bulletproof upgrades from Monero, transaction times are still roughly 20 minutes. Pirate Chain, on the other hand, has 60 second block times.

When taking all aspects of privacy into consideration, we need to look at the technology surrounding a given project. Although Monero wins the popularity contest, it’s privacy features don’t stand up the Pirate Chain and its zk-SNARKs protocol. If true financial freedom is your goal, then look no further than Pirate Chain.


submitted by Crypto_Core_Media to u/Crypto_Core_Media [link] [comments]

Peter R’s Theory on the Collapse of Mt. Gox

TL/DR: A young man had a secret. To keep it hidden, he kept digging until the hole was a billion dollars deep. This is a speculative tale of a great bitcoin theft from MtGox in 2011 and the efforts that this man undertook to fix it. The tale explains the bitcoin bear market of 2011, the explosive rally of 2013, delayed fiat withdrawals, malled transactions, and a bot named Willy.
By the time you realize that real life has begun, you are already three moves in.”—Author unknown
It was June 19, 2011. Mark, a 26 year-old young man—a boy really—was ecstatic. He had recently purchased MtGox—a small, online exchange for trading virtual tokens—and business was booming. These virtual tokens were called bitcoins and Mark loved them.
Bitcoins were an obscure curiosity: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that allowed users to store and exchange credits with any other user in the world, nearly instantly, and without the assistance of a third-party or the permission of an authority. All that was needed was a 78-digit secret number—a key if you will.
In order for his customers to withdraw their bitcoins over the internet, MtGox stored some of these keys on its online server. The remaining keys were stored on USB drives and backed up on paper to prevent theft should the server be compromised.
But theft was hardly a concern. In October of 2010, bitcoins were trading for $0.10 and the half a million bitcoins held by MtGox was worth only $50,000. But still Mark took precautions, diligently moving bitcoins to offline storage and leaving only what was necessary for customer withdrawals online. He truly wanted both his business and bitcoin to succeed.
By April, the bitcoin price had risen to $1 and by June it had exploded to $30. Between June 1 and June 15, an additional one million bitcoins were sent to MtGox and immediately sold, crashing the price back to $10. It was a hectic time, with hundreds of customers needing help, visits from the FBI related to the Silk Road black market, and stress related to the recent market crash. Young Mark was becoming a victim of his own success: there simply wasn’t enough time to get everything done. On this very day in June 2011, the keys to the recently-deposited 1,000,000 BTC were still sitting on his server.
Later this day, a group of hackers gained access to MtGox servers and executed fake trades that the world could see, driving the nominal price of bitcoin near $0. Mark was frantic. He quickly regained control of the servers and learned the dark truth: the million bitcoins that had recently flooded in earlier that month were gone. Mark admitted publically to the hack, rewound the false trades, but kept the truth of the missing coins a secret.
How could this 26-year old explain to his customers that he had lost their bitcoins? And if the world found out, would this kill the thing he loved so dearly? Would he go to jail? Or worse yet, would someone kill him? Mark decided that he would do what he thought was right: he would slowly earn back the lost bitcoin with MtGox trading fee profits and eventually make his customers whole again. He still had over 500,000 BTC left—he moved 424242.42424242 BTC between bitcoin addresses and convinced the community that MtGox was solvent. As long as withdrawals didn’t exceed deposits over a long period of time, no one would ever find out the truth. Or so he thought.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin thieves slowly mixed their coins with other coins, obfuscating the chain of ownership, and then re-selling these coins on MtGox using sock-puppet accounts. Mark tried to stop them, but there was no way he could know for sure which accounts were fraudulent—he even accused innocent people of bitcoin laundering. The constant selling of these stolen bitcoins drove the price down to $2 in November 2011. Mark faithfully used all of the MtGox profits to purchase coins back during this decline. But he would never use customer funds—that was a line he swore not to cross.
The selling of these stolen bitcoins continued at a diminished rate over 2012, and Mark continually purchased coins using the MtGox trading fees. The bitcoin economy was growing and new exchanges were opening up across the world. His bitcoin reserves weren’t building fast enough but the price of bitcoin kept rising (along with the dollar value of the missing bitcoins). He was worried that other exchanges would suck coins out of Gox and reveal his secret. He decided he needed to take decisive action: for the first time, he used customer funds to purchase real bitcoins. These large purchases by Mark further increased demand and ignited the great rally of spring 2013 when the bitcoin price shot from $20 to $266. Mark had reduced his liability in bitcoins, but in dollar terms the coins that were still missing were worth more than ever before.
On May 15, 2013 the US Department of Homeland Security seized millions of dollars from the MtGox Dwolla bank account. MtGox dollar reserves were already depleted at this point, and with the recent seizure, Mark could no longer make good on customer withdrawals in US dollars.
Under the guise of “banking problems,” MtGox slowed US dollar withdrawals to a trickle in the summer of 2013. Customers became increasingly worried and began to bid up the price of bitcoin on MtGox, as this was the only way to escape with their funds. MtGox had little fiat and very little bitcoins, but it learned one thing: as the price differential between Gox and BitStamp grew, the outwards flow of bitcoin slowed dramatically.
And so Willy was born. Willy was a bot, discovered by Wall Observers from bitcointalk.org and named by Opet on Bonavest's trading show, who would consistently purchased bitcoins at regular intervals between November 2013 and February 2014. Evidence that Willy belonged to Mark was revealed when both web and API trading at Gox was disabled for a brief period of time, exposing Willy as the only one left buying.
Willy served two purposes: he drove the price of bitcoin on the MtGox exchange high, thereby slowing and sometimes reversing the outward flow of real BTC, and he reduced the number of GoxBTC held by clients. Of course, this meant that Willy eventually became the owner of a huge number of GoxBTC (that were of course no longer backed by real BTC).
By December, the situation at MtGox was grim. In a desperate attempt to attract more funds, Mark offered reduced trading fees under the guise of celebrating their 1,000,000th customer. This partially worked, but Mark knew it was too late. If MtGox collapsed, it must appear that he didn’t know about the theft until now—for it was better to appear incompetent than criminal.
It was time to cover his tracks.
He purposely mixed immature coins into bitcoin withdrawals to delay the outward flow of coins, and later began malling his own transactions. He added the Gox malleability weakness not as a bug, but as a feature, so that it would seem plausible that outsiders had recently stolen the coins without his awareness. No coins were actually lost to malleability.
The MtGox coin supply dwindled to 2,000 BTC and on February 7, 2014. He had no choice but to disable bitcoin withdrawals. The end was near.
The problem Mark faced was that his customers had $150,000,000 credited to their accounts, yet the MtGox bank account only contained $38,000,000. He could blame the missing bitcoins on transaction malleability, but how could he explain where the fiat money went?
He shifted Willy into reverse and cranked the throttle. Willy relentlessly dumped bitcoins into the open bids. The price fell further and further, eventually dropping well below the BitStamp price. But still not enough people were buying! He needed his customers to buy the GoxBTC. Willy kept dumping coins until finally the price dropped below $100. MtGox even acquired new USD bank wires from customers looking to purchase the cheap coins. By this time, the majority of Gox customers had converted their dollars into bitcoins.
On February 28, 2014, Mt Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo, reporting 6.5 billion yen in liabilities, 3.8 billion yen in assets, and 750,000 of customer bitcoins missing. Willy had failed to completely close the fiat solvency gap and Mark finally admitted to having lost the coins.
Now we watch the rest of the story unfold. A story of how an oversight during a hectic period, an untimely theft, and an attempt to cover it up, lead to the greatest loss in the history of bitcoin.
Cross-posted from: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=497289.0
submitted by Peter__R to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Deep Web -- The Silk Road Servers  EPIX - YouTube Silk Road explained Bitcoin crime Gangster Report Al Profit 'Deep Web', un documental acerca de Silk Road y Bitcoin - Documentales en Español The Deep Web Matrix Alex Winter On The Deep Web, Silk Road and the Dread ...

As a result of the success and notoriety of websites such as Silk Road, a small but notorious section of the deep web has become widely referred to as the dark web. The dark web is the part of the deep web that exists on darknets (ie, overlay networks that can only be accessed with specific software or configurations, examples of which include ... The website launched in February 2011; development had begun six months prior. It is held to be part of the Deep Web. Silk Road was operated by "Dread Pirate Roberts" (named after the fictional character from The Princess Bride), who was known for espousing libertarian ideals and criticizing regulation. The Anonymous Silk Road Marketplace. How Does The Silk Road Work? How To Access The Silk Road Like A Pro; Silk Road 2.0 – The Hidden Site That Has Risen Again; What Crazy Items Are Traded On The Silk Road? Silk Road Shutdown – The Lowdown; Silk Road Alternatives Already Sprouting Up For Drug Users; Silk Road Drugs – The Backstory Silk Road was an online market running on the Deep Web that originally opened in February of 2011 that operated as a Tor hidden service. As of July of 2013, there were 960,000 registered users. The website was commonly used for the sale of drugs, weapons, and various forms of contraband and used bitcoins in lieu of traditional credit cards in ... About Silk Road 3.1: Silk Road is one of the most known markets on which you can buy drugs. This iconic marketplace has more than 50k listings of which 33k are drug related. The original Silk Road has been shut down but alternative markets started appearing right after. Silk Road 3.1 accepts Bitcoin, Monero and more… WARNING! – EXIT SCAM ...

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Deep Web -- The Silk Road Servers EPIX - YouTube

The Deep Web is a film about Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road, and Bitcoin. The film explores the rise of a new Internet; decentralized, encrypted, dangerous and beyond the law. Find more information ... Al Profit and Scott Burnstein talk about the Silk Road case- the website that facilitated drug deals and other crimes using Bitcoin. Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road and known as "Dread Pirate ... Recientemente fue estrenado ‘Deep Web’, un documental sobre el mundo digital que se ha construido en torno a la moneda virtual bitcoin y la Deep Web. Este do... Ross Ulbricht's mother, Lyn Ulbricht, discusses the investigation of the Silk Road servers in this first look at the EPIX Original Documentary, Deep Web, pre... On this channel I've covered a lot of strange things. One that I've just recently learned about while preparing for my speech on bitcoins for my communications class was the deep web.

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