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[CA] Years ago I agreed to buy a car stereo from an acquaintance for a combination of cash and bitcoins, I paid the cash part but then lost contact with him. Now he is chasing me and demanding I give him the exact number of bitcoins we agreed on years ago.
Years ago I was introduced to a guy who was happy to sell me a car stereo for a combination of cash and bitcoins which I used to be into back then. Sadly I lost interest and sold them all but at the time I struck a deal to pay the guy mostly in cash and a small (back then) number of bitcoins - about 15 of them. To be honest, he was only interested in the cash and I threw in the bitcoins as a gimmick so while I got the stereo and paid him the cash for it we never got around to sending him the bitcoins before we lost contact. Fast-forward to last week and I happen to run into the guy again and we have a brief conversation. Seemed friendly enough except a couple of days later I get a phone call from him (he had somehow gotten my number) and in a much darker tone reminded me I still owed him the bitcoins and he wanted them - all 15 of them - ASAP. Of course I don't have any since I lost interest way before the price of them skyrocketed. I tried to explain that to him but he wasn't having it and continued to insist that "a deal's a deal" and how I got them wasn't his problem. I tried offering him $50 and then $100 which was way more than their cash value at the time but he was absolutely insistent that I needed to pay him the exact amount of bitcoin we agreed on at the time. He claimed that the law was on his side and that if I refused to pay he would talk to some of his "friends" who would make sure I did. I don't believe that was intended as a physical threat as he had mentioned earlier in the conversation that one of his friends was a lawyer. So I need advice. Does he have a case and could he force me to pay him 15 bitcoins which I don't currently have? I definitely don't have the money to buy them for him at current prices but at the same time I don't have the money to afford a legal defense or lawyer.
Bored? Looking for something to do? Start with this list of things to do in the Sacramento area.
(Credit for the below list has to be given to u/BurritoFueled, who created the original list in 2014 and updated it a year later. Almost two-thirds of the items below are still from that original list. All I’ve done with the list is revive it a little bit by updating dead links and making little tweaks when necessary. Also, thanks to those that submitted new additions to the list last week. Over a third of the below items are new and a lot of the original items have had newer information added onto them.) People are always looking for something to do around here. Maybe you’re a transplant, unaware of what this area has to offer, or maybe you’re a lifelong resident, tired of the same old thing. Well friend, if you fall into the latter category, do not despair. There’s actually plenty of things to do in the Sacramento area – things of interest to almost any lifestyle, personality, or budget. So, whether you’re an athlete, geek, eccentric, hipster, weirdo, sexual deviant or just a normal person looking for a new activity, below is a list of activities for you to try. Please note that it includes only activities that take place at least a few times a year – no one-off events or festivals here. Enjoy this list. If you have any suggestions of your own to add, comment below in this thread. I'll try to keep this as up to date as possible. Away we go. UPDATED 10-6-20 (Note: Due to the current pandemic, some of these activities may be curtailed or not offered at all.)
Become the next Tiger Woods (the golf part, not the cheating, getting your windshield smashed by your wife with one of your golf clubs part). Start by hitting up a driving range at Top Golf or Haggin Oaks.
Purchase the sweetest sweet corn in all the land at the Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse.
When you're done in Sloughhouse, head a little further up the Jackson Highway (just past Rancho Murieta), hang a left on Michigan Bar Road, and cross the bridge (it's safe, trust me!) for one of the most historic, beautiful, and adventurous road trips in the entire area. Make sure you bring a hearty vehicle and avoid during winter and spring.
Check out – or offer your services – at the Oak Park Fix-it Café, a community-powered gathering for repairing and maintaining bicycles, clothing, household items, and the ties that bind a healthy community.
Buy some tricks, attend magic workshops, and become the next David Blaine at Grand Illusions.
Go watch some horseracing at Cal Expo. It’s harness racing from November through April and then traditional horseracing during the state fair. Want to end up with small fortune at the end of your day at the track? It’s easy. Just start your day there with a large fortune.
Watch some high school football! The Sacramento region boasts some of the best high school programs in the state. Check out top notch teams like Grant, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Del Oro to see potential NCAA Division 1 and NFL players of the future.
Watch some college football! Sac State had a huge resurgence in 2019 and UC Davis has always had a solid program. You can also check out the JC teams such as ARC and Sac City.
If Live-Action Role Play (LARP) floats your boat, Sacramento Valley Amtgard has the battles, weapons workshops, and skills classes you've been looking for.
Take a ride on the Sacramento River Train. You can ride the train or power along the tracks yourself with railbikes. They have different train excursions, including beer tasting and wine tasting trips. If you want to book a trip on a weekend, book early.
Want to learn how to fish? Try Fishing in the City from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After you’ve learned, check out the blog from FishingBooker on where and when to go fishing and what to expect. For some recent local recommendations, check here, here, here or here.
If fishing tours are more your style, catch your lunch on a guided fishing tour of local waterways.
Take in a play at one of Sacramento's smaller, edgier, more contemporary community theatre companies, like the Big Idea Theatre.
Do you like beer and visiting breweries, but don’t like driving between them? Midtown Sacramento has got you covered! Make a day of it by visiting these breweries, all within easy walking distance of each other: At Ease, Sacrament, Big Stump, Golden Road, Fieldwork, and Alaro. If you don’t mind walking a few extra blocks, you can add Device and Urban Roots to the list.
Ever wanted to learn to sail, kayak or row? You’re in luck! The Sac State Aquatic Center offers lessons for those activities and more.
Antiquing never gets old, right? Visit Midway Antique Mall in Citrus Heights (focusing almost solely on midcentury wares), Antique Trove in Roseville, or the Antique Fair that happens every second Sunday on X Street, under the freeway.
Want to become the next Picasso? You gotta start somewhere, so take a paint and sip class at The Painted Cork in Midtown Sacramento or Historic Folsom.
It’s well known that you can play miniature golf at Scandia, but did you know that there are indoor mini golf courses in the area as well? Try SacMiniGolf in Old Sacramento, Flatstick Pub in DoCo downtown, or even glow-in-the-dark indoor mini golf at Monster Mini Golf in Rancho Cordova or at CaliGlo in Elk Grove.
The Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society meets, and hosts a talk, at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park monthly and welcomes guests. They also do field trips and their Annual Show and Sale is a must-see event for plant lovers.
Not to diminish the concert series at Fair Oaks Village Park, but when you hear "concerts in the park", everyone knows that is the Concerts in the Park series in downtown Sacramento. Live local and national acts perform on Friday evenings in the summer, and it’s totally free. If you’re not good with crowds you may want to give this a miss because it is packed!
Vacation or day trip so close, yet feel so far away, along the Delta. Rent a boat, jet skis, a cabin or camping spot, buy some bait and tackle, and/or eat out at various locations on the river.
Take a drive around the world’s smallest mountain range: the Sutter Buttes. You can actually drive around and hike the Sutter Buttes in the same day, however hiking is not free, you must do it as part of a guided group and you have to reserve a spot in advance.
Dear Escapers! We are glad to present you the preliminary patch notes for the 0.12.7 patch! --- Added: --- • Customs expansion (expansion of industrial area, construction site, added many new explorable buildings, stationary weapons, new location for Reshala spawn etc.) • Added new scav boss - Sanitar. A former doctor, he worked in the health resort "Lazurny bereg", and before that in the TerraGroup laboratory. After the events that happened in Tarkov, he gathered a gang with former colleagues and operates on the "Shoreline". Actively uses professional skills in combat, quickly healing himself and the gang members. He uses various stimulants and medications, including those of his own production. He can quickly perform surgery by pulling out a bullet or applying a tourniquet on the field. Sometimes he is loyal to the Scavs and can leave a couple of first-aid kits or other medical supplies for his own group members on location • New quests on Shoreline • System for reporting suspicious players, unacceptable nicknames and game bugs abusers (on the post-match screen) Improved AI behavior: • Bots can pick up items now • Improved AI behavior when they see bodies • Bots now can pick up a second firearm from bodies • AI now can greet each other or player scavs, showing their peaceful intentions • Bots will eat\drink while in peaceful mode • AI will perform a mag check when in peaceful mode • Bots can check someone for friend or foe by aiming at him for some time, if they’re not sure of one’s intentions • Bots will sprint while patrolling if they consider the spot being dangerous • AI will be able to storm the player as a group, if he’s holding position and attacking them • AI will try to avoid dangerous places --- New weapons: --- • FN GL40 Grenade launcher • Mossberg 590A1 Shotgun --- New ammo: --- • .366 AP-M • .45 ACP Hydr-Shock • 9x19 mm QuakeMaker • 9x19 mm 7N31 • .45 ACP Lasermatch FMJ • .45 ACP AP • 7.62x51 mm M993 • 40x46 мм M381 HE • 40x46 мм M386 HE • 40x46 мм M406 HE • 40x46 мм M433 HEDP • 40x46 мм M441 HE • 40x46 мм M576 buckshot --- Added new stimulants: --- • 3-(b-TG) • L1 (Noradrenaline) • P22 (Specimen 22) • AHF1-M • Meldonin • "Obdolbos" cocktail • M.U.L.E • Added an additional icon for the network connection status in case of high packet loss • In the container slots window, the container tag is now displayed in the header --- Iteration of improving and reworking the skill system: --- New skill "Surgery" • Reduces HP penalty for surgery • Improved surgery speed • (Elite) No HP penalty for the restored body part • (Elite) Maximum increase in the speed of surgery New skill "Aim drills" • Increase of the aiming speed • Decrease the volume of aiming • (Elite) No hand shaking at any stamina value, first 2 seconds after aiming • (Elite) Reduced hands shaking during tremor and fracture, the first 2 seconds after aiming Rework of the “Strength” skill • Increase all weight limits • Increase the speed of the sprint • Increase the jump height • Increase the strength of the grenade throw • Increase the strength of a melee attack • (Elite) The weight does not take into account the weapons on the sling and on the back • (Elite) Melee attack can be stronger than usual Rework of the "Endurance" skill • Increased feet stamina • Reduced stamina consumption for jumping • Increased holding breath time when ads • Increased the speed of breath recovery • (Elite) Maximum increase in breathing recovery rate • (Elite) Breathing is no longer dependent on energy • (Elite) Increased stamina reserve Various fixes in old skills • Added 5 HP to the health of “Chest” zone (from 80 to 85) --- Optimization: --- • Optimized the rendering of decals • Fixed freezes that happened when the sound of thunder or the sound of grenades exploding was played • Optimized the performance of the game server • Fixed an issue with killing the boss of a group of raiders who appeared on the scene after interacting with the trigger was leading to errors on the server • Minor optimizations on the first shot or hit • Optimization of hideout sounds • Fixes of errors that could potentially lead to different freezes --- Fixed: --- • Iteration of fixes and corrections in UI • Bug with the PostFX menu that remains on the screen after closing the settings • Bug playing the sound of contusion if the sound is turned off in the settings • Bug of jerky animation of shooting weapons in the Hideout shooting range • The passage of raiders on the laboratory through the doors • A bug that allowed you to quickly move when constantly tapping the "Run" button when overweight • AS VAL with the handle adapter "Rotor 43" is now impossible to fold • Inability to exit the location via the paid exit “Car”, if you reconnect at the start of the exfil timer • Bug with throwing away the magazine when reloading the weapon via the context menu • Error 228 when receiving items from an expired email • Formulas for calculating prices for items with its resource and its commissions • After the reconnect, the equipment that was not searched become searched • The sound of the visor on/off remained at one point, and does not follow the character • Bug that wouldn't block buttons on the bottom panel after reconnecting as a Scav • Interface block if you go to the “Map” screen without a map • Bug when the "Receive all" button opened only the first and last message with items • Various bugs with switching the sound from “outdoor " to "indoor", and back, when reconnecting • Bug of not blocking an item after it was added to the merchant's sales table • Cartridges from packs of cartridges found in raid now have the status " found in the raid” • Error when studying items from the scav box • Fixes in the flea Market • The search will be updated if you delete and add an item to the wish list • Loss of a player's nickname and rating from the offer line after applying filters • The “search by item" option now resets the selected filters • Bug displaying the loading spinner on top of the list of offers • The mount without the “Found in raid" label ceased to be semitransparent (blocked) in the selection of the item for the offer, if you put and remove the mod on it • Bug when the merchant's avatar was flattened • Incorrect tag behavior on marked items for a flea market offer if you select multiple items from the container, closing and opening the container • Horizontal scrollbar on the product sales screen • Bug when the player couldn't put 2 identical weapons on the flea market if one of them was included in the starter kit for pre-order • Error 1508 - You send bad items- when putting an empty pack of cartridges on a flea Market • Bug, when for buying through a flea market goods from npc merchants needed items found in raid Fixed in weapon presets • Displaying the indicator “you have mods to build” when there are no mods for the build in the stash • Bug when the build could have been built with the wrong mod that was not in the preset • Weapon disassembly bug if you build the same preset twice with the same weapon • Ability to select items that are blocked for purchase, via the presets by clicking the button “Select all” • Packs of items are no longer displayed in the purchase lists of preset mods • The purchase lists of presets no longer display items the player's own offers • Added an error about lack of space when purchasing preset mods • Bug when opening presets through the lower panel that caused the game client to freeze Fixed in the hideout • Various fixes in the bitcoin farm • White authorization screen if you improve the pre-order version while in the hideout • Bug when it was possible to install a filter with zero resource in the “Water collector” and it could not be uninstalled • Calculation of fuel consumption time in the “Generator " zone • Bug duplicating the canister icon, when selecting a canister, in the “Generator" zone • Various bugs in group chat • Bugs with the discharge of weapons in the stash • Incorrect position of the fire mod pin and the turn of the barrel of the PPSH • Visual bug for displaying a zero bonus in the base level zones in the Hideout • Visual bug with the availability of time selection before the raid on the Laboratory screen • A bug where the player could spawn outside the location • Spamming error NullReferenceException: MuzzleManager • An error that occurs every time after treatment or getting a fracture • "Failed to create device file" error that occurs during client downtime • Errors when assigning voice commands • Spamming error when a large number of bots are active in the offline mode • Various errors while loading in raid • Various bugs and issues with Customs location • Various bugs and improvements related to AI • Fixed a bug when bots didn't follow a grenade throw with a voiceline • Fixed a handful of bugs related to bots getting stuck • Fixed a bug where a Gluhar would not react to a killed in the head ally • Fixed a bug when bots tried to heal a blacked out body part • Bots are now able to treat debuffs on blacked out body parts again • Fixed a handful of bugs with bots knocking out doors • Other AI related bug fixes and improvements • Various localization fixes and improvements • Other minor bugs and issues --- Changed: --- • Now it is possible to examine items from the construction requirements screen in the Hideout • Added displaying the time before the bleeding effect disappears in the stash • Now if you are not matched to the raid within 45 minutes, the search will be canceled • Updated SV-98 animation, hold, new animations when entering and exiting a sprint, new hold in the menu and on the loading screen • Updated PPSH animation, hold, and new animations when entering and exiting a sprint
Tomorrow [The 27th], at 14.00 Moscow time we plan to start installation of the update 0.12.7. The game will be stopped. Installation of the update will take approximately 4 hours, but can be extended if necessary.
Customs expansion (expansion of industrial area, construction site, added many new explorable buildings, stationary weapons, new location for Reshala spawn etc.)
Added new scav boss - Sanitar.
A former doctor, he worked in the health resort "Lazurny bereg", and before that in the TerraGroup laboratory. After the events that happened in Tarkov, he gathered a gang with former colleagues and operates on the "Shoreline". Actively uses professional skills in combat, quickly healing himself and the gang members. He uses various stimulants and medications, including those of his own production. He can quickly perform surgery by pulling out a bullet or applying a tourniquet on the field. Sometimes he is loyal to the Scavs and can leave a couple of first-aid kits or other medical supplies for his own group members on location
New quests on Shoreline
System for reporting suspicious players, unacceptable nicknames and game bugs abusers (on the post-match screen)
Improved AI behavior:
Bots can pick up items now
Improved AI behavior when they see bodies
Bots now can pick up a second firearm from bodies
AI now can greet each other or player scavs, showing their peaceful intentions
Bots will eat\drink while in peaceful mode
AI will perform a mag check when in peaceful mode
Bots can check someone for friend or foe by aiming at him for some time, if they’re not sure of one’s intentions
Bots will sprint while patrolling if they consider the spot being dangerous
AI will be able to storm the player as a group, if he’s holding position and attacking them
AI will try to avoid dangerous places
FN GL40 Grenade launcher
Mossberg 590A1 Shotgun
.45 ACP Hydr-Shock
9x19 mm QuakeMaker
9x19 mm 7N31
.45 ACP Lasermatch FMJ
.45 ACP AP
7.62x51 mm M993
40x46 мм M381 HE
40x46 мм M386 HE
40x46 мм M406 HE
40x46 мм M433 HEDP
40x46 мм M441 HE
40x46 мм M576 buckshot
Added new stimulants:
P22 (Specimen 22)
Added an additional icon for the network connection status in case of high packet loss
In the container slots window, the container tag is now displayed in the header
Iteration of improving and reworking the skill system:
New skill "Surgery"
Reduces HP penalty for surgery
Improved surgery speed
(Elite) No HP penalty for the restored body part
(Elite) Maximum increase in the speed of surgery
New skill "Aim drills"
Increase of the aiming speed
Decrease the volume of aiming
(Elite) No hand shaking at any stamina value, first 2 seconds after aiming
(Elite) Reduced hands shaking during tremor and fracture, the first 2 seconds after aiming
Rework of the “Strength” skill
Increase all weight limits
Increase the speed of the sprint
Increase the jump height
Increase the strength of the grenade throw
Increase the strength of a melee attack
(Elite) The weight does not take into account the weapons on the sling and on the back
(Elite) Melee attack can be stronger than usual
Rework of the "Endurance" skill
Increased feet stamina
Reduced stamina consumption for jumping
Increased holding breath time when ads
Increased the speed of breath recovery
(Elite) Maximum increase in breathing recovery rate
(Elite) Breathing is no longer dependent on energy
(Elite) Increased stamina reserve
Various fixes in old skills
Added 5 HP to the health of “Chest” zone (from 80 to 85)
Optimized the rendering of decals
Fixed freezes that happened when the sound of thunder or the sound of grenades exploding was played
Optimized the performance of the game server
Fixed an issue with killing the boss of a group of raiders who appeared on the scene after interacting with the trigger was leading to errors on the server
Minor optimizations on the first shot or hit
Optimization of hideout sounds
Fixes of errors that could potentially lead to different freezes
Iteration of fixes and corrections in UI
Bug with the PostFX menu that remains on the screen after closing the settings
Bug playing the sound of contusion if the sound is turned off in the settings
Bug of jerky animation of shooting weapons in the Hideout shooting range
The passage of raiders on the laboratory through the doors
A bug that allowed you to quickly move when constantly tapping the "Run" button when overweight
AS VAL with the handle adapter "Rotor 43" is now impossible to fold
Inability to exit the location via the paid exit “Car”, if you reconnect at the start of the exfil timer
Bug with throwing away the magazine when reloading the weapon via the context menu
Error 228 when receiving items from an expired email
Formulas for calculating prices for items with its resource and its commissions
After the reconnect, the equipment that was not searched become searched
The sound of the visor on/off remained at one point, and does not follow the character
Bug that wouldn't block buttons on the bottom panel after reconnecting as a Scav
Interface block if you go to the “Map” screen without a map
Bug when the "Receive all" button opened only the first and last message with items
Various bugs with switching the sound from “outdoor " to "indoor", and back, when reconnecting
Bug of not blocking an item after it was added to the merchant's sales table
Cartridges from packs of cartridges found in raid now have the status " found in the raid”
Error when studying items from the scav box
Fixes in the flea Market
The search will be updated if you delete and add an item to the wish list
Loss of a player's nickname and rating from the offer line after applying filters
The “search by item" option now resets the selected filters
Bug displaying the loading spinner on top of the list of offers
The mount without the “Found in raid" label ceased to be semitransparent (blocked) in the selection of the item for the offer, if you put and remove the mod on it
Bug when the merchant's avatar was flattened
Incorrect tag behavior on marked items for a flea market offer if you select multiple items from the container, closing and opening the container
Horizontal scrollbar on the product sales screen
Bug when the player couldn't put 2 identical weapons on the flea market if one of them was included in the starter kit for pre-order
Error 1508 - You send bad items- when putting an empty pack of cartridges on a flea Market
Bug, when for buying through a flea market goods from npc merchants needed items found in raid
Fixed in weapon presets
Displaying the indicator “you have mods to build” when there are no mods for the build in the stash
Bug when the build could have been built with the wrong mod that was not in the preset
Weapon disassembly bug if you build the same preset twice with the same weapon
Ability to select items that are blocked for purchase, via the presets by clicking the button “Select all”
Packs of items are no longer displayed in the purchase lists of preset mods
The purchase lists of presets no longer display items the player's own offers
Added an error about lack of space when purchasing preset mods
Bug when opening presets through the lower panel that caused the game client to freeze
Fixed in the hideout
Various fixes in the bitcoin farm
White authorization screen if you improve the pre-order version while in the hideout
Bug when it was possible to install a filter with zero resource in the “Water collector” and it could not be uninstalled
Calculation of fuel consumption time in the “Generator " zone
Bug duplicating the canister icon, when selecting a canister, in the “Generator" zone
Various bugs in group chat
Bugs with the discharge of weapons in the stash
Incorrect position of the fire mod pin and the turn of the barrel of the PPSH
Visual bug for displaying a zero bonus in the base level zones in the Hideout
Visual bug with the availability of time selection before the raid on the Laboratory screen
A bug where the player could spawn outside the location
I'm trying to be positive but GL's actions are the opposite of intelligence. This is the worst update in A9 history. I'll explain why...
It's a pretty long rant. You have been warned...
Worsened graphics. Same device, much worse graphics for no reason. They literally made the game engine worse.
Frame skipping and lagging everywhere. Also game crashes. They said they optimized the game. I bet they forgot to mention that you need a quantum computer to play their casino racing masterpiece.
The older bug with the mini map (tap do steer players can't tap in that area) is back.
The infamous lagging screen after every freaking race (what the hell are they doing in background that the phones become so hot? bitcoin mining?). They still didn't fix it after the recent hotfix! Who pays these clowns who can't even revert some dumb changes?
The unfair SE. There are hardly tokens offered. They keep reducing the rewards until there will be nothing left except uncommon parts and a few credits. They expect us to play hundreds of races for peanuts. The finest greediness. Also how come SE still shares the same tickets pool with daily events? They are different things!
Same old stinky GP. Everyone knows what is wrong with this thing that has nothing in common with real grand prixes except the name. Most regular players don't win keys. Why should we even bother anymore?
The hard Unleashed event. They put the same required time 0:51 despite the cars having different rankings. They don't have the expression "fair play" in their dictionary.
Credits heist is good in theory. In practice they added the awful police besides the aggressive AI to make sure you can't get those credits. They also added stars requirements for good measure. Also they made it that way you need to play too many races if you want all rewards. Efficiency is again not in their dictionary.
The new MP format which encourages dumb grinding to get some decent milestones.
The club rewards remain a joke.
You need to complete 250 conditions in SE just to have the chance to buy packs! Whatever GL idiot who thought of that should have his head smashed on his monitor.
They still didn't fix that stupid error with no internet connection! My internet is working, it's not my fault you can't code a decent internet connection algorithm.
The cheaters are still dominating MP. The Android version has such a poor security that every schmuck can abuse the game. I wonder if anyone even reads those in game reports or are there as placebo effect.
Did you check how much internet traffic this game consumes? What the fxx-k they transfer that A9 needs gigabytes of data every month just to play it?
Should I mention the bunch of useless employees called Customer Care? An appendix is more useful than them.
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/ Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners? And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess. First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
You the HODLer should be the one who controls where your money goes. Your keys, your coins.
You the HODLer should be able to coordinate and make contracts with other people regarding your funds.
You the HODLer should be able to do the above without anyone watching over your shoulder and judging you.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so). So, how does Taproot affect those principles?
Taproot and Your /Coins
Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash). (technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input). However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits! Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh? With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save! And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well! (P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1) Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service! So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win! (even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot) And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!
Taproot and Your Contracts
No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade. So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust. Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade. However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade. In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address. Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants). But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer). Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos). (technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).
Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo
Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code. This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded. And you can do that, with HTLCs, today. Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Privacy. Everyone scraping the Bitcoin blockchain can see any HTLCs, and preimages used to claim them.
This can be mitigated by using offchain techniques so HTLCs are never published onchain in the happy case. Lightning would probably in practice be the easiest way to do this offchain. Of course, there are practical limits to what you can pay on Lightning. If you are buying something expensive, then Lightning might not be practical. For example, the "software" you are activating is really the firmware of a car, and what you are buying is not the software really but the car itself (with the activation of the car firmware being equivalent to getting the car keys).
Even offchain techniques need an onchain escape hatch in case of unresponsiveness! This means that, if something bad happens during payment, the HTLC might end up being published onchain anyway, revealing the fact that some special contract occurred.
And an HTLC that is claimed with a preimage onchain will also publicly reveal the preimage onchain. If that preimage is really the activation key of a software than it can now be pirated. If that preimage is really the activation key for your newly-bought cryptographic car --- well, not your keys, not your car!
Trust requirement. You are trusting the developer that it gives you the hash of an actual valid activation key, without any way to validate that the activation key hidden by the hash is actually valid.
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar". Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you. Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige). (Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key). So:
Privacy: PTLCs are private even if done onchain. Nobody else can learn what the private key behind the public key is, except you who knows the adaptor signature that when combined with the complete onchain signature lets you know what the private key of the activation key is. Somebody scraping the blockchain will not learn the same information even if all PTLCs are done onchain!
Lightning is still useful for reducing onchain use, and will also get PTLCs soon after Taproot is activated, but even if something bad happens and a PTLC has to go onchain, it doesn't reveal anything!
Trust issues can be proven more easily with a public-private keypair than with a hash-preimage pair.
For example, the developer of the software you are buying could provide a signature signing a message saying "unlock access to the full version for 1 day". You can check if feeding this message and signature to the program will indeed unlock full-version access for 1 day. Then you can check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose private key you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that getting the private key (by paying for it in a PTLC) would let you generate any number of "unlock access to the full version for 1 day" message+signatures, which is equivalent to getting full access to the software indefinitely.
For the car, the manufacturer can show that signing a message "start the engine" and feeding the signature to the car's fimrware will indeed start the engine, and maybe even let you have a small test drive. You can then check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose privkey you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that gaining knowledge of the privkey will let you start the car engine at any time you want.
(pedantry: the signatures need to be unique else they could be replayed, this can be done with a challenge-response sequence for the car, where the car gathers entropy somehow (it's a car, it probably has a bunch of sensors nowadays so it can get entropy for free) and uses the gathered entropy to challenge you to sign a random number and only start if you are able to sign the random number; for the software, it could record previous signatures somewhere in the developer's cloud server and refuse to run if you try to replay a previously-seen signature.)
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script. (technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)
Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable?? Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not. It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash. When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key. So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key. (public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL) And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions. So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort. Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers. For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
Current quantum computers can barely crack prime factorization problem for primes of 5 bits.
The 256-bit elliptic curve use by Bitcoin is, by my (possibly wrong) understanding, equivalent to 4096-bit primes, so you can see a pretty big gap between now (5 bit primes) and what is needed (4096 bit primes).
A lot of financial non-Bitcoin systems use the equivalent of 3072-bit primes or less, and are probably easier targets to crack than the equivalent-to-4096-bit-primes Bitcoin.
Quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin are still far off.
Pay-to-public-key-hash is not as protective as you might think.
We will probably see banks get cracked before Bitcoin, so the banking system is a useful canary-in-a-coal-mine to see whether we should panic about being quantum vulnerable.
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).
If you are a singlesig HODL-only Bitcoin user, Taproot will not affect you positively or negatively. Importantly: Taproot does no harm!
If you use or intend to use multisig, Taproot will be a positive for you.
If you transact onchain regularly using typical P2PKH/P2WPKH addresses, you get a minor reduction in feerates since multisig users will likely switch to Taproot to get smaller tx sizes, freeing up blockspace for yours.
If you are using multiparticipant setups for special systems of trade, Taproot will be a positive for you.
Remember: Lightning channels are multipartiicpiant setups for special systems of lightning-fast offchain trades!
I Wanna Be The Taprooter!
So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!
If you have developer experience especially in C, C++, or related languages
Review the Taproot code! There is one pull request in Bitcoin Core, and one in libsecp256k1. I deliberately am not putting links here, to avoid brigades of nontechnical but enthusiastic people leaving pointless reviews, but if you are qualified you know how to find them!
But I am not a cryptographeBitcoin Core contributomathematician/someone as awesome as Pieter Wuille
That's perfectly fine! The cryptographers have been over the code already and agree the math is right and the implementation is right. What is wanted is the dreary dreary dreary software engineering: are the comments comprehensive and understandable? no misspellings in the comments? variable names understandable? reasonable function naming convention? misleading coding style? off-by-one errors in loops? conditions not covered by tests? accidental mixups of variables with the same types? missing frees? read-before-init? better test coverage of suspicious-looking code? missing or mismatching header guards? portability issues? consistent coding style? you know, stuff any coder with a few years of experience in coding anything might be able to catch. With enough eyes all bugs are shallow!
If you are running a mining pool/mining operation/exchange/custodial service/SPV server
Be prepared to upgrade!
One of the typical issues with upgrading software is that subtle incompatibilities with your current custom programs tend to arise, disrupting operations and potentially losing income due to downtime. If so, consider moving to the two-node setup suggested by gmax, which is in the last section of my previous post. With this, you have an up-to-date "public" node and a fixed-version "private" node, with the public node protecting the private node from any invalid chainsplits or invalid transactions. Moving to this setup from a typical one-node setup should be smooth and should not disrupt operations (too much).
If you are running your own fullnode for fun or for your own wallet
Be prepared to upgrade! The more nodes validating the new rules (even if you are a non-mining node!), the safer every softfork will be!
If you are using an SPV wallet or custodial wallet/service (including hardware wallets using the software of the wallet provider)
Contact your wallet provider / SPV server and ask for a statement on whether they support Taproot, and whether they are prepared to upgrade for Taproot! Make it known to them that Taproot is something you want!
But I Hate Taproot!!
Raise your objections to Taproot now, or forever hold your peace! Maybe you can raise them here and some of the devs (probably nullc, he goes everywhere, even in rbtc!) might be able to see your objections! Or if your objections are very technical, head over to the appropriate pull request and object away!
Maybe you simply misunderstand something, and we can clarify it here!
Or maybe you do have a good objection, and we can make Taproot better by finding a solution for it!
Me [31 M] with my Girlfriend [24 F] 9 months, had a major fight about me hiding my financial wealth.
This is an alt account, so I will try to respond right away. This seems like the best sub to work this out, and thank you all for reading, and for any input you can give regarding this. Sorry if it's long. Ok, I was into Bitcoin, I cashed out right before the market crashed, so I ended up with quite a bit of cash. I looked into common issues regarding this, and decided to invest into myself. I did not quit my job, I purchased a modest cheap house in a decent area, I picked up a nice used car. I setup several different savings options and investment properties. I did not tell my family, as I am on very bad terms with most of them. I have posted a few stories about them on other subs, but they are all basically white trash, beggars, entitled, and just general bad people. If I gave them anything, they would waste it on drugs or something else, then demand more. The only one I get along with is my older half sister who basically raised me. A few months ago her phone broke so I purchased a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8, and I was harassed for days by several other family members about getting them new phones as well. I love her to bits, but keeping a secret is just not something she can do. Ok, I meet my current girlfriend about 18-19 months ago from work. We work for 2 separate companies, but share the same building, same food area, and sometimes we work on the same project. I am in middle management and have been with my current company for almost 7 years, and she has worked with her current company for less than 2 years. We meet on a joint project, and sorta clicked. At the time though she was in another relationship so it did not go anywhere. Well she broke up with her ex, and we sorta did a few semi dates between then. But in October we started to go out seriously. She currently lives with her parents in town, but since my house is out of town, and has a shorter commute to work, I setup a room for when she sleeps over. I am a very light sleeper and can not sleep with the TV on, so I made a completely separate room for her to watch TV in before going to sleep. She has been sorta living with me full time for the last 4 months in part to protect her parents from COVID. We are both low risk, and do not have jobs with the general public, but take the virus seriously. I work from home 3-4 days a week, and setup one of the rooms into a full home office, but she can not. Well, she went though some of my mail, and found out the amounts I have in some of my accounts. I am very angry about this, and we got into a fight. She went on and on about me hiding money from her, and I was about her going into my personal mail. I will not go into everything that was said, but mainly. -She wants to quit her job and live with me full time, also house shopping, since our current home is not big enough for kids. When we started to date I pointed out I had no desire for kids, and got a vasectomy when I was 26. She wants me to get it reversed. -She wants to get married right away. I am against this since we have only really known each other for a less than a year. Marriage is a huge deal for me, and something I only want to do once in my life. I have had a few failed relationships in the past, and no not want to make a mistake, well saying that out loud to her was a big mistake. So that was another big fight. -She does not like the car I picked out for her. Her current car is way past its end of life, and needs replacement. I found a few somewhat local used car sales. They are all much better than her current car, and if maintained will last years. She states I have the money, why not use it? When I offered to help her out buying a car, I stated that I would only cover half the cost of the car, and not a whole new car. These are all major things, and we diffidently need to bring them up before our relationship can move forward. edit: My home situation was not great I have 8 that I know of siblings, step, half or otherwise, and gas-lighting was the normal. CPS was involved in my house hold multiple times, so gauging what is part of a normal situation was a bit hard for me. Some stuff just sticks with you for your entire life. edit 2: She texted me that she is staying with her parents until "I can figure out what is important in life", so I am now packing up her stuff to drop off tomorrow morning, after she goes to work. I have a locksmith coming by to change the locks, and I have canceled all my credit cards and changed my passwords to Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. This relationship is pretty much over. She texted me quite a lot of things that were just plain not nice, digging into a lot of my old traumas. tl;dr: I have a lot of money, girlfriend of 9 months wants to quit her job, get married and buy new cars.
The year was 2012, and we were all supposed to die in December. It was my freshman year of college. I was settling in quite well. I made friends with a bunch of people in our residence hall, we hit it off immediately. We started going out on the weekends, starting with thirsty Thursday, which turns out is actually a thing. I had more than one room mate. We lived in a four person suite with two bedrooms. I had a full ride to my University, so I had a lot of extra money to spend on my living arrangements and meal plan. Oh yeah, I was also a huge pothead. I made friends with the dealer on my floor and started buying him extra meals in exchange for weed. That's when one of my room mates came to me with a proposition. He asked me if I knew what bitcoins were. I did not. He explained the virtual currency and how it worked. Then he really laid it all out. He told me that he had quite a lot of bitcoins and that he wants to get into selling weed. It all sounded great, but I wasn't sure what he needed me for. He then told me that he doesn't really talk to anyone and that he always sees me with people and going to parties every weekend. Okay, this makes sense. He told me how the operation would work, and it sounded swell. For the record, I was eighteen and very stupid. Anyway, he would purchase the drugs from the Silk Road, a dark website where you can buy literally fucking anything. Our friend Noah would then get the goods delivered to his apartment, which had a mailroom with hundreds of mailboxes. This was good because it would be just a little bit less suspicious, also his apartment was not on our campus. Then we'd package everything there and move it to our dorm, which had it's own security. We lived in North Philadelphia, so the security and police were always looking out for the students. After we safely had the products, I would find the buyers. Our first shipment went well. We ordered a half pound of weed, a gram of hash, ten hits of LSD, a small bag of opium (for us), and 1000mg of Alprazolam extract for my room mate's personal anxiety treatment. We got into this business to become weed salesmen. That weed took forever to sell. Everyone who sold weed already had good connections from their hometowns. The LSD though, that sold in five fucking minutes to one buyer who was interested in buying much more than ten hits. He asked us if we could sell him a couple hundred tabs. He said he'd pay $350 for each sheet of 100. We looked at the price per sheet on the Silk Road. It would cost us only $80 each. Yes sir, we can absolutely sell you a couple sheets. We told him we'd call him when it arrived. Later that night we brewed some opium tea and celebrated entering the LSD business. We bought the sheets for him, and we also bought two extras in case anyone else wanted some. The next shipment came with no problems. Our friend came over and bought the sheets we had promised him. We made nearly $800 on that deal. We thought that was a lot, so we celebrated. Later that same day, while smoking a blunt in our courtyard, I made friends with some art students. They invited me to their dorm on the third floor. I agreed, went with them, and we listened to music and painted the walls of the dorm room which was super against the rules. They started talking about how they had taken magic mushrooms two weeks before and how it was life changing. I told them I had two-hundred hits of acid in my room. I've never seen people get so excited in my entire life. They bought all of it. They paid $400 for each sheet. Seemingly out of nowhere we made $600. Again, we thought this was a lot. My room mate was really happy with my networking abilities. Dude, I was just getting high with some hipster art students. I didn't really possess the "networking skills" that everyone thought I had. We went online and purchased another five sheets. We started getting a bit more confident in our ability to sell this magic money making paper. That week I was in one of my classes and had to do a group project with a kid named Eddy. We went to his apartment to work on the project after class. Eddy had an apartment off campus because he was an upperclassman. On the way he asked if I smoked weed. Of course. He said he had something to show me. When we got there he showed me a small weed plant he was growing. It was an adorable little plant in a flower pot by the window. I asked if he needed any weed and he said that he did not. We smoked a bit and then her offered me a Xanax. I had never taken Xanax, so I googled the pill he offered me. Alprazolam. Huh, that's funny. I told him I had 1000mg of alprazolam in my room. This excited him. I asked my room mate if he was willing to sell some of his private stash. Eddy only wanted to buy around 100 milligrams. He agreed and I brought Eddy to my dorm. We gave it to him for the cool price of $150, a slick markdown from what he was paying. After all we hadn't even planned on selling that stuff. He asked how we got it so cheap and if we could get anything else. We told him that we sell LSD. He said he loves hallucinogens and would love to purchase a sheet, so he did. Four sheets left. If we sell them, we can get a new and faster computer. The weekend came and I was hanging out with two of my friends from our residence hall. Joe, who was really chill and loved smoking weed as much as I did. And Bianca, who was so cool that it frightened me. She was really intimidating. I had a huge crush on her, but she was "talking" to a kid that lived in Johnson and Hardwick hall. Bianca was the type of person you see in movies about cool kids doing cool things. A character who has a lot of depth, but it takes nearly the whole movie to slowly peel back the layers, and by that time you're in love. I told her if we sold the rest of our acid I'd buy her a new tattoo. She was covered in them. That night Joe was going to take us to his friend Jamie's house. We were going to try cocaine for the first time. I was terrified. Not only was I terrified about trying cocaine, but I was scared of doing it with Bianca. I just didn't know how I would act, and I didn't want to do something stupid. We arrived at Jamie's house. Jamie was also intimidating. His house was what your typical trap house looked like at the time, with a bunch of really expensive music equipment. Everybody wanted to be a rapper or a D.J. that year. He introduced all his friends and offered us lines of coke. Here we go. Joe went first, he'd already done some before. Bianca went next without hesitation. Now it was my turn. I remember my hand shaking with the rolled up bill between my fingers. I chose the smallest line and sniffed. It did not taste anything like I expected. Five minutes went by. Oh, this is what cocaine is like. It was so underwhelming. It was also some thoroughly stepped on shit. I know that now because since then I've done some foreign blow that literally almost made my heart stop. Anyway, Jamie and I got to talking, mostly about his "music career". Jamie told me if I ever wanted to buy cocaine in bulk to hit him up. I laughed and told him if he ever wanted to buy LSD in bulk to hit me up. I was half joking. He looked at me with the straightest face and asked if I was serious. Honestly, this Jamie guy really scared the shit out of me. He was a good ten inches taller than me and the whole scene was really starting to freak me out. I told him I was serious though. He told me to come with him. He brought me into his room and closed the door. In the room it was quiet. The walls were sound proofed. I looked around and the room was full of money, cocaine, and guns. Okay, he's probably not going to kill me. I hope. He then asked about my LSD connection. I told him I could get sheets for $350. He said he wanted books. Books? This guy wants books? I didn't know this at the time, but a book is a thousand hits of LSD. I told him I had to talk to some people and I would let him know the price, but that I could definitely make it happen. We went back into the party and he gave me line after line of cocaine. Joe offered him money for the lines, but Jamie told him not to pay. He said your friend here bought you guys as much coke as you want for the night. Honestly, that made me feel really cool. After the party I talked to my room mate and told him what happened. We looked up the price of a book on the Silk Road. $300. Not only could we have saved a lot of money if we had just bought a book from the start, but we were going to make a lot more money selling by the book. The days of getting excited over $800 were about to come to an abrupt end. I talked to Jamie and asked how much he would be willing to pay for each book. He said he would pay no more than $3000 for each book. We decided we would sell him the books for $2,800 each. He agreed and asked how many we had. I said we can start with five books. He agreed. This was perfect. Not only were we about to make more money than we had ever expected, but acid was incredibly easy to ship. They were basically sheets of paper. Our supplier used to send it to us in between the pages of large children's coloring books. The books, or prints, as our supplier called them, blended with the kid's books very well. Our prints consisted of a large picture of Bart Simpson, The Grateful Dead bears, and a double rainbow portrait. If you didn't know what acid was, you wouldn't know these were drugs. We made nearly $14,000 from that first deal. Over the course of a few months we would sell close to thirty-thousand hits of LSD. We had $75,000 in cash sitting in an empty bedroom at Noah's apartment. I stopped going to class. My room mate had filled his entire room with computer parts and instruments. Noah, well we didn't really see him much, but he was always present when we needed a shipment. We broke our cardinal rule of not getting high on our own supply. We took a lot of acid that semester. It was an extremely enlightening period for us. Things in my world began to take on entirely new meaning. I had a newfound appreciation for things I had never noticed. The connections with my friends became very strong and we talked about a lot of stuff that was just too deep for my other peers to even scratch the surface of. It was nice. By my birthday in February we had over $200,000 in cash. We didn't die in December, not that I thought we would, but some people were legitimately surprised. They were mostly art students. Things started getting a little crazy. My room mate and I were taking a lot of Xanax by this time and a lot of nights celebrating were never logged as memories. We always told ourselves we would only sell LSD. We had sparked a huge psychedelic scene in and around Philadelphia. There were literally parties where everyone was tripping acid. Many groups of people began taking acid and doing really creative stuff that I admired so much. So much good music and art was around during that period. I felt like I was living in San Fransisco in the middle 60's. It felt like we were part of this incredible scene that nobody outside of the city knew about. Of course every wave has to break and roll back. It was getting close to the summer. I hadn't been to class in months. We hadn't seen Noah since the previous shipment about a month prior. It was a regular weekday, but I wasn't going to class, so I took two hits of acid. I spent most of that evening and night writing and yapping into my tape recorder. I was on the subject of togetherness and how there are so many things that are so incredible that we never notice even though they're right in front of us. Acid talk. I was looking at a glass of water, thinking about its importance, and how so many of us take it for granted. That's when my room mate came home. This was my room mate though. Remember, we had a two bedroom, four person suite. My room mate, who was never involved in our operation. He was obliterated, and not from alcohol. This was something else. He limped into the room and collapsed on the bed. I immediately got the rest of my room mates together. That's when Christian told me what transpired earlier while I was locked in the bedroom tripping acid. He told me that my room mate had broken up with his girlfriend, took an entire bottle of lorazepam, and tried to cut his leg open with my biology scalpel. What the fuck. I examined his leg and he did not try to cut it open, he succeeded. He had a gigantic cut all the way down his lower leg that was fixed up by his father who is a surgeon. His father then brought him back to the dorm. The condition he was in was terrifying. He was breathing, but not well. His heart rate was also very low and we had to monitor him for the remainder of the night, taking shifts to make sure he didn't stop breathing. I couldn't believe his father had brought him back in the condition he was in. The next morning I was exhausted. My room mate and I, the one with the bitcoins, left and went to Noah's apartment to relax for an hour. While we were gone Bianca was to watch over him with her room mate. When we got to Noah's we had a new problem. Noah hadn't gotten out of bed for what looked like weeks. He had ran out of his antidepressants and was in bad shape. At this point I checked out. I walked into the living room and opened a bottle of champagne. I poured a glass, popped a Xanax, and sat on the sofa. I was still a little foggy from my acid trip and I hadn't slept all night. That's when my phone rang. It was Bianca. I answered the phone and her first words were: "Your room is full of police.". Well, it's been a good run. On my desk were a couple thousand hits of LSD and a handgun. In the other bedroom were numerous unopened box's of expensive computer parts, scales and drug paraphernalia galore, and a large pile of white powdered alprazolam. That room also smelled heavily of weed because there was a half pound out in the open. We had gotten very sloppy. I asked her if my room mate was okay. She said that's why the police are there. She said his mom was trying to reach him and he wasn't answering her, so she called the police for a wellness check. Bianca then started talking to someone and hung up the phone. We pondered whether or not to flee the country and become outlaws. We did after all have all the cash here at Noah's. Close to a million dollars. Maybe more. Because we were getting sloppy, we had also started selling hash, Xanax, LSD, 25i-NBOMe, 2c-b, 2c-i, 2c-E, Mescaline, cocaine, MDMA, MDA, LSA, clonazepam, ativan, and other various designer drugs. We were going down for a long time. I started thinking about my life. It literally was flashing before my eyes. I thought about my high school crush, and how I should have been more upfront with her about how much I liked her. I loved her. I thought about the time we slept in the same bed and I couldn't fall asleep because I couldn't believe she was really laying next to me. I remembered how I never wanted to wake up next to anyone else. I thought about my trivial crush on Bianca and how shallow it really was. I thought about my parents and how they'd raised me better. How they did so much for me so that I could go away to college and have a better life than they had. I thought about sitting on the beach last summer without a care in the world. The "problems" in my life that seemed hilarious now. Will I go to prom? Is my car cool enough? My k/d ratio in Call of Duty. How could so much happen in less than a year? That's when Bianca called me again. I was terrified to pick up that phone. We looked outside to see if police were surrounding the apartment complex. They were not. I answered the phone. She said the police were gone. She had put my gun and LSD in my desk drawer. The police never entered the other bedroom. It was just a wellness check. An ambulance came and took my room mate. He was going to be okay. I hugged my partner in crime and we cried. I wish I could tell you we cleaned up our lives after that. My room mate with the bitcoins developed a really dangerous drug habit after that. He spent most of his money on drugs over the next few years. I went back to class after that summer, but stopped going again because I wanted to party instead and start a career as a writer. I failed out of college. Throughout the years I went on numerous adventures all around the world. I have hundreds of stories, I just have to write them. Oh and I have to learn how to write properly. I don't use a lot of drugs today, and I don't encourage people to use drugs. I have unfortunately lost many friends during the opiate epidemic. Weed is cool though, I like weed. I wouldn't tell people to smoke it, but I'll never shame someone for enjoying some cannabis. Actually, I don't really shame people for anything, it's just not my place to judge anyone. Feel free to judge me though, about how my dorm became a drug superhighway. \*Thanks for reading, more stories available on my blog. There's a link on my profile.* Edit: This story is based around actual events that I have experienced.
I did it today. On my 47th birthday, I reached $3 million in cash & investments, a paid off house & 2 cars. I have reached my FI target of $100k @ 3.3% SWR. I knew it was going to be close with the markets, payday, and my company's equity coming in today. Plan is to FIRE in 3 months. $3 million was a symbolic number, I could have FIREd 2 months ago at $2.95 million and lived pretty much the same life. However, I am getting another ~$70k in equity in 3 months and would like a bit of a buffer especially with the volatile markets. Also, the plan was to take a nice trip to Europe in August - I don't see that happening. It is crazy, I know of many people who are laid off, working reduced hours, worried about their job or tapping into debt. And I am making plans to quit working. Mega edit: Asset allocation Cash & short term investments: 25% (increased 10% from equities due to C19) Employer's Equity: 10% Equity ETFs: 45% (down 10% - sold in early march, will buy back in later) Bond ETFs: 10% Crypto: 10% Please bring on the flames for timing the market, but I sold early-ish, it helps me sleep at night, and right now I am trying to be more conservative vs. aggressive. The crypto is a flyer. I bought casino level bitcoin in 2012 at $18, then sold a bunch when it went up to $150. Then bought a bunch more at $1000, and have been selling little bits for a few years. Total investment: $45k, total value sold and still held: $500k. I would like to sell more, but it has a capital gains tax liability, so FIRE with no income next year would help reduce taxes. About my journey Grew up middle class. Money was tight from time to time, but I never really saw that. Part time job when I was 16 for spending cash. Never went into debt. Saved a little. Went into a good college for STEM, received $8000 total for tuition from family and received a student loan for $1000. Did a few paid internships while in college. Paid off the loan with my first post-school paycheck. Graduated in the tech industry in 97. Started full time at the last internship. $40k base. Stayed there for 2 more years, increased base by 20%. $48k base. Left (co-worker left and pulled me), for a ~100% increase. $90k base. Stayed there 6 months (dying ship), left for ~10% increase. $100k base. Stayed there for 2 years (all of my managers up to CEO left in 2 weeks), left for a 0% change. $100k base. Stayed there for 1.5 years, was let go, started consulting at +50% (but no benefits). $150k consulting. Consulted for 8 months, left when project was wrapping up for -40% (+10% from previous full time) $110k base. Stayed there for 11 years (company was acquired 3 after years), increased pay by ~20% in 11 years. $133k base. Left for 5% increase. $141k base. Worked there for 6 months (bad fit), left for 5% increase. $150k base. Here now. Making about 4x after 20 years. Did not include any bonus (or not), benefits (health/retirement/etc...) stock options, quality of life, etc.. Current investments Canadian ETF / funds I invest in in decreasing amounts. XGRO VCN VXC VAB VT TDB900 TDB902 TDB909 TDB911 Tangerine Balanced (part of emergency fund) TDB661 CDZ
[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)
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.
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.
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?
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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.
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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