Bitcoin 11 Years - Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far - Tooootally NOT a SCAM !!!!
That's right folks, it's that time again for the annual review of how Bitcoin is going: all of those claims, predictions, promises .... how many have turned out to be true, and how many are completely bogus ??? Please post / link this on Bitcoin (I am banned there for speaking the truth, so I cannot do it) ... because it'a way past time those poor clueless mushrooms were exposed to the truth. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Bitcoin's Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far ... . Bitcoin Achievements so far:
It has spawned a cesspool of scams (2000+ shit coin scams, plus 100's of other scams, frauds, cons).
Many 1,000's of hacks, thefts, losses.
Illegal Use Cases: illegal drugs, illegal weapons, tax fraud, money laundering, sex trafficking, child pornography, hit men / murder-for-hire, ransomware, blackmail, extortion, and various other kinds of fraud and illicit activity.
Legal Use Cases: Steam Games, Reddit, Expedia, Stripe, Starbucks, 1000's of merchants, cryptocurrency conferences, Ummm ????? The few merchants who "accept Bitcoin" immediately convert it into FIAT after the sale, or require you to sell your coins to BitPay or Coinbase for real money, and will then take that money. Some of the few who actually accept bitcoin haven't seen a customer who needed to pay with bitcoin for the last six months, and their cashiers no longer know how to handle that.
Contributing significantly to Global Warming.
Wastes vasts amounts of electricity on useless, do nothing work.
Exponentially raises electricity prices when big miners move into regions where electricity was cheap.
It’s the first "currency" that is not self-sustainable. It operates at a net loss, and requires continuous outside capital to replace the capital removed by miners to pay their costs. It’s literally a "black hole currency."
It created a new way for people living too far from Vegas to gamble all their life savings away.
Spawned "blockchain technology", a powerful technique that lets incompetent programmers who know almost nothing about databases, finance, programming, or blockchain scam millions out of gullible VC investors, banks, and governments.
Increased China's foreign trade balance by a couple billion dollars per year.
Helped the FBI and other law enforcement agents easily track down hundreds of drug traffickers and drug users.
Wasted thousands if not millions of man-hours of government employees and legislators, in mostly fruitless attempts to understand, legitimize, and regulate the "phenomenon", and to investigate and prosecute its scams.
Rekindled the hopes of anarcho-capitalists and libertarians for a global economic collapse, that would finally bring forth their Mad Max "utopia".
Added another character to Unicode (no, no, not the "poo" 💩 character ... that was my first guess as well 🤣)
Provides an easy way for malware and ransomware criminals to ply their trade and extort hospitals, schools, local councils, businesses, utilities, as well as the general population.
~~Bitcoin is "striking fear into the hearts of bankers, precisely because Bitcoin eliminates the need for banks. ~~, Mark Yusko, billionaire investor and Founder of Morgan Creek Capital, https://www.bitcoinprice.com/predictions/
"A bitcoin miner in every device and in every hand."
"All the indicators are pointing to a huge year and bigger than anything we have seen before."
"Bitcoin is communism and democracy working hand in hand."
"Bitcoin is freedom, and we will soon be free."
"Bitcoin isn't calculated risk, you're right. It's downright and painfully obvious that it will consume global finance."
"Bitcoin most disruptive technology of last 500 years"
"Bitcoin: So easy, your grandma can use it!"
"Creating a 4th Branch of Government - Bitcoin"
"Future generations will cry laughing reading all the negativity and insanity vomited by these permabears."
"Future us will thank us."
"Give Bitcoin two years"
"HODLING is more like being a dutiful guardian of the most powerful economic force this planet has ever seen and getting to have a say about how that force is unleashed."
"Cut out the middleman"
"full control of your own assets"
"reduction in wealth gap"
"cannot print money out of thin air"
"Why that matters? Because blockchain not only cheaper for them, it'll be cheaper for you and everyone as well."
"If you are in this to get rich in Fiat then no. But if you are in this to protect your wealth once the current monetary system collapse then you are protected and you'll be the new rich."
"Theres the 1% and then theres the 99%. You want to be with the rest thats fine. Being different and brave is far more rewarding. No matter your background or education."
"NO COINERS will believe anything they are fed by fake news and paid media."
"I know that feeling (like people looking at you as in seeing a celebrity and then asking things they don't believe until their impressed)."
"I literally walk round everyday looking at other people wondering why they even bother to live if they don't have Bitcoin in their lives."
"I think bitcoin may very well be the best form of money we’ve ever seen in the history of civilization."
"I think Bitcoin will do for mankind what the sun did for life on earth."
"I think the constant scams and illegal activities only show the viability of bitcoin."
"I think we're sitting on the verge of exponential interest in the currency."
"I'm not using hyperbole when I say Satoshi found the elusive key to World Peace."
"If Jesus ever comes back you know he's gonna be using Bitcoin"
"If this idea was implemented with The Blockchain™, it would be completely flawless! Flawless I tell you!"
"If you're the minimum wage guy type, now is a great time to skip food and go full ramadan in order to buy bitcoin instead."
"In a world slipping more and more into chaos and uncertainty, Bitcoin seems to me like the last solid rock defeating all the attacks."
"In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any filthy statist's blessing, but because I am enlightened by own intelligence."
"Is Bitcoin at this point, with all the potential that opens up, the most undervalued asset ever?"
"It won't be long until bitcoin is an everyday household term."
"It's the USD that is volatile. Bitcoin is the real neutral currency."
"Just like the early Internet!"
"Just like the Trojan Horse of old, Bitcoin will reveal its full power and nature"
"Ladies if your man doesnt have some bitcoin then he cant handle anything and has no danger sex appeal. He isnt edgy"
"let me be the first to say if you dont have bitcoin you are a pussy and cant really purchase anything worldwide. You have no global reach"
"My conclusion is that I see this a a very good thing for bitcoin and for users"
"No one would do such a thing; it'd be against their self interests."
"Ooh lala, good job on bashing Bitcoin. How to disrespect a great innovation."
"Realistically I think Bitcoin will replace the dollar in the next 10-15 years."
"Seperation of money and state -> states become obsolete -> world peace."
"Some striking similarities between Bitcoin and God"
"THANK YOU. Better for this child to be strangled in its crib as a true weapon for crypto-anarchists than for it to be wielded by toxic individuals who distort the technology and surrender it to government and corporate powers."
"The Blockchain is more encompassing than the internet and is the next phase in human evolution. To avoid its significance is complete ignorance."
"The bull run should begin any day now."
"The free market doesn't permit fraud and theft."
"The free market will clear away the bad actors."
"The only regulation we need is the blockchain."
"We are not your slaves! We are free bodies who will swallow you and puke you out in disgust. Welcome to liberty land or as that genius called it: Bitcoin."
"We do not need the bankers for Satoshi is our saviour!"
"We have never seen something so perfect"
"We must bring freedom and crypto to the masses, to the common man who does not know how to fight for himself."
"We verified that against the blockchain."
"we will see a Rennaisnce over the next few decades, all thanks to Bitcoin."
"Well, since 2006, there has been a infinite% increase in price, so..."
"What doesn't kill cryptocurrency makes it stronger."
"When Bitcoin awake in normally people (real people) ... you will have this result : No War. No Tax. No QE. No Bank."
"When I see news that the price of bitcoin has tanked (and thus the market, more or less) I actually, for-real, have the gut reaction "oh that’s cool, I’ll be buying cheap this week". I never knew I could be so rational."
"Where is your sense of adventure? Bitcoin is the future. Set aside your fears and leave easier at the doorstep."
"Yes Bitcoin will cause the greatest redistribution of wealth this planet has ever seen. FACT from the future."
"You are the true Bitcoin pioneers and with your help we have imprinted Bitcoin in the Canadian conscience."
"You ever try LSD? Perhaps it would help you break free from the box of state-formed thinking you have limited yourself..."
"Your phone or refrigerator might be on the blockchain one day."
The banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, so why can't crypto do the same ???
Central Banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, without any consequences or accounting, so why can't crypto do the same ???
It's impossible to hide illegal, unsavory material on the blockchain
It's impossible to hide child pornography on the blockchain
All Bitccoins are the same, 100% identical, one Bitcoin cannot be distinguished from any other Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin can only go up because of scarcity / 21 million coin limit. (Bitcoin is open source, anyone can create thir own copy, and there are more than 2,000+ Bitcoin copies / clones out there already).
immune to government regulation
"a world-changing technology"
"a long-term store of value, like gold or silver"
"To Complex to Be Audited."
"Old Auditing rules do not apply to Blockchain."
"Old Auditing rules do not apply to Cryptocurrency."
Bitcoin now at $16,600.00. Those of you in the old school who believe this is a bubble simply have not understood the new mathematics of the Blockchain, or you did not cared enough to try. Bubbles are mathematically impossible in this new paradigm. So are corrections and all else", John McAfee, 7 Dec 2017 @ 5:09 PM,https://mobile.twitter.com/officialmcafee/status/938938539282190337
2013-11-27: ""What is a Citadel?" you might wonder. Well, by the time Bitcoin became worth 1,000 dollar [27-Nov-2013], services began to emerge for the "Bitcoin rich" to protect themselves as well as their wealth. It started with expensive safes, then began to include bodyguards, and today, "earlies" (our term for early adapters), as well as those rich whose wealth survived the "transition" live in isolated gated cities called Citadels, where most work is automated. Most such Citadels are born out of the fortification used to protect places where Bitcoin mining machines are located. The company known as ASICminer to you is known to me as a city where Mr. Friedman rules as a king.", u/Luka_Magnotta, aka time traveler from the future, 31-Aug-2013, https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1lfobc/i_am_a_timetraveler_from_the_future_here_to_beg/
2018-12: Listen up you giggling cunts... who wants some?...you? you want some?...huh? Do ya? Here's the deal you fuckin Nerds - Butts are gonna be at30 grandor more by next Christmas  - If they aren't I will publicly administer an electronic dick sucking to every shill on this site and disappear forever - Until then, no more bans or shadow bans - Do we have a deal? If Butts are over 50 grand me and Lammy get to be mods. Deal? Your ole pal - "Skully"u/10GDeathBoner, 3-Feb-2018 https://www.reddit.com/Buttcoin/comments/7ut1ut/listen_up_you_giggling_cunts_who_wants_someyou/
2018-12: "Bitcoin could be at$40,000by the end of 2018, it really easily could", Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, ex-hedge fund manager of the Fortress Investment Group and a longstanding advocate of cryptocurrency, 21-Sep-2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lC1anDg2KU
2018-12: Bitcoin will end 2018 at the price point of$50,000, Ran Neuner, host of CNBC’s show Cryptotrader and the 28th most influential Blockchain insider according to Richtopia,https://www.bitcoinprice.com/predictions/
A few stories about Brian Krebs: The independent cybercrime journalist who exposes criminals on the internet
First, a bit of introduction before we get into the living drama that is Brian Krebs. Brian Krebs has been a journalist for decades, starting in the late 90s. He got his start at The Washington Post, but what he's most famous for are his exposes on criminal businesses and individuals who perpetuate cyber crime worldwide. In 2001, he got his interest in cybercrime piqued when a computer worm locked him out of his own computer. In 2005, he shifted from working as a staff writer at The Washington Post's tech newswire to writing for their security blog, "Security Wire". During his tenure there, he started by focusing on the victims of cybercrime, but later also started to focus on the perpetrators of it as well. His reporting helped lead to the shutdown of McColo, a hosting provider who provided service to some of the world's biggest spammers and hackers. Reports analyzing the shutdown of McColo estimated that global spam volume dropped by between 40 and 70 percent. Further analysis revealed it also played host to child pornography sites, and the Russian Business Network, a major Russian cybercrime ring. In 2009, Krebs left to start his own site, KrebsOnSecurity. Since then, he's been credited with being the first to report on major events such as Stuxnet and when Target was breached, resulting in the leakage of 40 million cards. He also regularly investigates and reveals criminals' identities on his site. The latter has made him the bane of the world of cybercrime, as well as basically a meme, where criminals will include references like Made by Brian Krebs in their code, or name their shops full of stolen credit cards after him. One of his first posts on his new site was a selection of his best work. While not particularly dramatic, they serve as an excellent example of dogged investigative work, and his series reveal the trail of takedowns his work has documented, or even contributed to. And now, a selection of drama involving Krebs. Note, all posts are sarcastically-tinged retellings of the source material which I will link throughout. I also didn't use the real names in my retellings, but they are in the source material. This took way too long to write, and it still does massively condense the events described in the series. Krebs has been involved with feuds with other figures, but I'd argue these tales are the "main" bits of drama that are most suited for here.
Fly on the Wall
By 2013, Krebs was no stranger to cybercriminals taking the fight to the real world. He was swatted previously to the point where the police actually know to give him a ring and see if there'd actually been a murder, or if it was just those wacky hackers at it again. In addition, his identity was basically common knowledge to cybercriminals, who would open lines of credit in his name, or find ways to send him money using stolen credit cards. However, one particular campaign against him caught his eye. A hacker known as "Fly" aka "Flycracker" aka "MUXACC1" posted on a Russian-language fraud forum he administered about a "Krebs fund". His plan was simple. Raise Bitcoin to buy Heroin off of a darknet marketplace, address it to Krebs, and alert his local police via a spoofed phone call. Now, because Krebs is an investigative journalist, he develops undercover presences on cybercrime forums, and it just so happened he'd built up a presence on this one already.
Guys, it became known recently that Brian Krebs is a heroin addict and he desperately needs the smack, so we have started the "Helping Brian Fund", and shortly we will create a bitcoin wallet called "Drugs for Krebs" which we will use to buy him the purest heroin on the Silk Road. My friends, his withdrawal is very bad, let’s join forces to help the guy! We will save Brian from the acute heroin withdrawal and the world will get slightly better!
Fly had first caught Krebs' attention by taunting him on Twitter, sending him Tweets including insults and abuse, and totally-legit looking links. Probably either laced with malware, or designed to get Krebs' IP. He also took to posting personal details such as Krebs' credit report, directions to his house, and pictures of his front door on LiveJournal, of all places. So, after spotting the scheme, he alerted his local police that he'd probably have someone sending him some China White. Sure enough, the ne'er-do-wells managed to raise 2 BTC, which at the time was a cool $200 or so. They created an account on the premiere darknet site at the time, The Silk Road under the foolproof name "briankrebs7". They found one seller who had consistently high reviews, but the deal fell through for unknown reasons. My personal theory is the seller decided to Google where it was going, and realized sending a gram of dope into the waiting arms of local law enforcement probably wasn't the best use of his time. Still, the forum members persevered, and found another seller who was running a buy 10 get 2 free promotion. $165 of Bitcoin later, the drugs were on their way to a new home. The seller apparently informed Fly that the shipment should arrive by Tuesday, a fact which he gleefully shared with the forum. While our intrepid hero had no doubt that the forum members were determined to help him grab the tail of the dragon, he's not one to assume without confirmation, and enlisted the help of a graduate student at UCSD who was researching Bitcoin and anonymity on The Silk Road, and confirmed the address shared by Fly was used to deposit 2 BTC into an account known to be used for money management on the site. By Monday, an envelope from Chicago had arrived, containing a copy of Chicago confidential. Taped inside were tiny baggies filled with the purported heroin. Either dedicated to satisfied customers, or mathematically challenged, the seller had included thirteen baggies instead of the twelve advertised. A police officer arrived to take a report and whisked the baggies away. Now, Fly was upset that Krebs wasn't in handcuffs for drug possession, and decided to follow up his stunt by sending Krebs a floral arrangement shaped like a cross, and an accompanying threatening message addressed to his wife, the dire tone slightly undercut by the fact that it was signed "Velvet Crabs". Krebs' curiosity was already piqued from the shenanigans with the heroin, but with the arrival of the flowers decided to dive deeper into the сука behind things. He began digging into databases from carding sites that had been hacked, but got his first major breakthrough to his identity from a Russian computer forensics firm. Fly had maintained an account on a now-defunct hacking forum, whose database was breached under "Flycracker". It turns out, the email Flycracker had used was also hacked at some point, and a source told Krebs that the email was full of reports from a keylogger Fly had installed on his wife's computer. Now, because presumably his wife wasn't part of, or perhaps even privy to her husband's illicit dealings, her email account happened to be her full legal name, which Krebs was able to trace to her husband. Now, around this time, the site Fly maintained disappeared from the web, and administrators on another major fraud forum started purging his account. This is a step they typically take when they suspect a member has been apprehended by authorities. Nobody knew for sure, but they didn't want to take any chances. More research by Krebs revealed that the criminals' intuition had been correct, and Fly was arrested in Italy, carrying documents under an assumed name. He was sitting in an Italian jail, awaiting potential extradition to the United States, as well as potentially facing charges in Italy. This was relayed to Krebs by a law enforcement official who simply said "The Fly has been swatted". (Presumably while slowly removing a pair of aviator sunglasses) While Fly may have been put away, the story between Krebs and Fly wasn't quite over. He did end up being extradited to the US for prosecution, but while imprisoned in Italy, Fly actually started sending Krebs letters. Understandably distrustful after the whole "heroin" thing, his contacts in federal law enforcement tested the letter, and found it to be clean. Inside, there was a heartfelt and personal letter, apologizing for fucking with Krebs in so many ways. He also forgave Krebs for posting his identity online, leading him to muse that perhaps Fly was working through a twelve-step program. In December, he received another letter, this time a simple postcard with a cheerful message wishing him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Krebs concluded his post thusly:
Cybercrooks have done some pretty crazy stuff to me in response to my reporting about them. But I don’t normally get this kind of closure. I look forward to meeting with Fly in person one day soon now that he will be just a short train ride away. And he may be here for some time: If convicted on all charges, Fly faces up to 30 years in U.S. federal prison.
Criminals are none too happy when they find their businesses and identities on the front page of KrebsOnSecurity. It usually means law enforcement isn't far behind. One such business was known as vDOS. A DDOS-for-hire (also known as a "booter" or a "stresser") site that found itself hacked, with all their customer records still in their databases leaked. Analysis of the records found that in a four-month time span, the service had been responsible for about 8.81 years worth of attack time, meaning on average at any given second, there were 26 simultaneous attacks running. Interestingly, the hack of vDOS came about from another DDOS-for-hire site, who as it turns out was simply reselling services provided by vDOS. They were far from the only one. vDOS appeared to provide firepower to a large number of different resellers. In addition to the attack logs, support messages were also among the data stolen. This contained some complaints from various clients who complained they were unable to launch attacks against Israeli IPs. This is a common tactic by hackers to try and avoid unwanted attention from authorities in their country of residence. This was confirmed when two men from Israel were arrested for their involvement in owning and running vDOS. However, this was just the beginning for this bit of drama. The two men arrested went by the handles "applej4ck" and "Raziel". They had recently published a paper on DDOS attack methods in an online Israeli security magazine. Interestingly, on the same day the men were arrested, questioned, and released on bail, vDOS went offline. Not because it had been taken down by Israeli authorities, not because they had shut it down themselves, but because a DDOS protection firm, BackConnect Security, had hijacked the IP addresses belonging to the company. To spare a lot of technical detail, it's called a BGP hijack, and it basically works by a company saying "Yeah, those are our addresses." It's kind of amazing how much of the internet is basically just secured by the digital equivalent of pinky swears. You can read some more technical detail on Wikipedia. Anyway, we'll get back to BackConnect. Following the publication of the story uncovering the inner workings of vDOS, KrebsOnSecurity was hit with a record breaking DDOS attack, that peaked at 620/Gbps, nearly double the most powerful DDOS attack previously on record. To put that in perspective, that's enough bandwidth to download 5 simultaneous copies of Interstellar in 4K resolution every single second, and still have room to spare. The attack was so devastating, Akamai, one of the largest providers of DDOS protection in the world had to drop Krebs as a pro bono client. Luckily, Google was willing to step in and place his site under the protection of Google's Project Shield, a free service designed to protect the news sites and journalists from being knocked offline by DDOS attacks. This attack was apparently in retaliation for the vDOS story, since some of the data sent in the attack included the string "freeapplej4ck". The attack was executed by a botnet of Internet of Things (or IoT) devices. These are those "smart" devices like camera systems, routers, DVRs. Basically things that connect to the cloud. An astounding amount of those are secured with default passwords that can be easily looked up from various sites or even the manufacturers' websites. This was the start of a discovery of a massive botnet that had been growing for years. Now time for a couple quick side stories: Dyn, a company who provides DNS to many major companies including Twitter, Reddit, and others came under attack, leaving many sites (including Twitter and Reddit) faltering in the wake of it. Potentially due to one of their engineers' collaboration with Krebs on another story. It turned out that the same botnet that attacked Krebs' site was at least part of the attack on Dyn And back to BackConnect, that DDOS protection firm that hijacked the IP addresses from vDOS. Well it turns out BGP Hijacks are old hat for the company. They had done it at least 17 times before. Including at least once (purportedly with permission) for the address 22.214.171.124. Aka, "leet". It turns out one of the co-founders of BackConnect actually posted screenshots of him visiting sites that tell you your public IP address in a DDOS mitigation industry chat, showing it as 126.96.36.199. They also used a BGP Hijack against a hosting company and tried to frame a rival DDOS mitigation provider. Finally, another provider, Datawagon was interestingly implicated in hosting DDOS-for-hire sites while offering DDOS protection. In a Skype conversation where the founder of Datawagon wanted to talk about that time he registered dominos.pizza and got sued for it, he brings up scanning the internet for vulnerable routers completely unprompted. Following the publication of the story about BackConnect, in which he was included in, he was incensed about his portrayal, and argued with Krebs over Skype before Krebs ultimately ended up blocking him. He was subsequently flooded with fake contact requests from bogus or hacked Skype accounts. Shortly thereafter, the record-breaking DDOS attack rained down upon his site. Back to the main tale! So, it turns out the botnet of IoT devices was puppeteered by a malware called Mirai. How did it get its name? Well, that's the name its creator gave it, after an anime called Mirai Nikki. How did this name come to light? The creator posted the source code online. (The name part, not the origin. The origin didn't come 'til later.) The post purported that they'd picked it up from somewhere in their travels as a DDOS industry professional. It turns out this is a semi-common tactic when miscreants fear that law enforcement might come looking for them, and having the only copy of the source code of a malware in existence is a pretty strong indicator that you have something to do with it. So, releasing the source to the world gives a veneer of plausible deniability should that eventuality come to pass. So who was this mysterious benefactor of malware source? They went by the name "Anna-senpai". As research on the Mirai botnet grew, and more malware authors incorporated parts of Mirai's source code into their own attacks, attention on the botnet increased, and on the people behind it. The attention was presumably the reason why Hackforums, the forum where the source code was posted, later disallowed ostensible "Server Stress Tester" services from being sold on it. By December, "Operation Tarpit" had wrought 34 arrests and over a hundred "knock and talk" interviews questioning people about their involvement. By January, things started to come crashing down. Krebs published an extensive exposé on Anna-senpai detailing all the evidence linking them to the creation of Mirai. The post was so big, he included a damn glossary. What sparked the largest botnet the internet had ever seen? Minecraft. Minecraft servers are big business. A popular one can earn tens of thousands of dollars per month from people buying powers, building space, or other things. It's also a fiercely competitive business, with hundreds of servers vying for players. It turns out that things may have started, as with another set of companies, two rival DDOS mitigation providers competing for customers. ProTraf was a provider of such mitigation technology, and a company whose owner later worked for ProTraf had on at least one occasion hijacked addresses belonging to another company, ProxyPipe. ProxyPipe had also been hit with DDOS attacks they suspected to be launched by ProTraf. While looking into the President of ProTraf, Krebs realized he'd seen the relatively uncommon combination of programming languages and skills posted by the President somewhere else. They were shared by Anna-senpai on Hackforums. As Krebs dug deeper and deeper into Anna-senpai's online presence, he uncovered other usernames, including one he traced to some Minecraft forums where a photoshopped picture of a still from Pulp Fiction contained the faces of BackConnect, which was a rival to ProTraf's DDOS mitigation business, and another face. A hacker by the name of Vyp0r, who another employee of ProTraf claimed betrayed his trust and blackmailed him into posting the source of another piece of malware called Bashlite. There was also a third character photoshopped into the image. An anime character named "Yamada" from a movie called B Gata H Hei. Interestingly, under the same username, Krebs found a "MyAnimeList" profile which, out of 9 titles it had marked as watched, were B Gata H Hei, as well as Mirai Nikki, the show from which Mirai derived its name. It continues on with other evidence, including DDOS attacks against Rutgers University, but in short, there was little doubt in the identity of "Anna-senpai", but the person behind the identity did contact Krebs to comment. He denied any involvement in Mirai or DDOS attacks.
"I don’t think there are enough facts to definitively point the finger at me," [Anna-senpai] said. "Besides this article, I was pretty much a nobody. No history of doing this kind of stuff, nothing that points to any kind of sociopathic behavior. Which is what the author is, a sociopath."
I don't have the time or energy to write another effortpost, and as is I'm over 20,000 characters, so here's a few other tidbits of Krebs' clashes with miscreants.
A source and security researcher he was talking to started blabbing about him working with Krebs, and also was selling data to hackers on the side. His example data in his sales post was fucking Brian Krebs'.
Final version 1.3.0 of the core software was released bringing all the enhancements reported last month to the rest of the community. The groundwork for SPV (simplified payment verification) is complete, another reduction of fees is being deployed, and performance stepped up once again with a 50% reduction in startup time, 20% increased sync speed and more than 3x faster peer delivery of block headers (a key update for SPV). Decrediton's integrations of SPV and Politeia are open for testing by experienced users. Read the full release notes and get the downloads on GitHub. As always, don't forget to verify signatures. dcrd: completed several steps towards multipeer downloads, improved introduction to the software in the main README, continued porting cleanups and refactoring from upstream btcd. Currently in review are initial release of smart fee estimator and a change to UTXO set semantics. The latter is a large and important change that provides simpler handling, and resolves various issues with the previous approach. A lot of testing and careful review is needed so help is welcome. Educational series for new Decred developers by @matheusd added two episodes: 02 Simnet Setup shows how to automate simnet management with tmux and 03 Miner Reward Invalidation explains block validity rules. Finally, a pull request template with a list of checks was added to help guide the contributors to dcrd. dcrwallet: bugfixes and RPC improvements to support desktop and mobile wallets. Developers are welcome to comment on this idea to derive stakepool keys from the HD wallet seed. This would eliminate the need to backup and restore redeem scripts, thus greatly improving wallet UX. (missed in July issue) Decrediton: bugfixes, refactoring to make the sync process more robust, new loading animations, design polishing. Politeia: multiple improvements to the CLI client (security conscious users with more funds at risk might prefer CLI) and security hardening. A feature to deprecate or timeout proposals was identified as necessary for initial release and the work started. A privacy enhancement to not leak metadata of ticket holders was merged. Android: update from @collins: "Second test release for dcrandroid is out. Major bugs have been fixed since last test. Latest code from SPV sync has been integrated. Once again, bug reports are welcome and issues can be opened on GitHub". Ask in #dev room for the APK to join testing. A new security page was added that allows one to validate addresses and to sign/verify messages, similar to Decrediton's Security Center. Work on translations is beginning. Overall the app is quite stable and accepting more testers. Next milestone is getting the test app on the app store. iOS: the app started accepting testers last week. @macsleven: "the test version of Decred Wallet for iOS is available, we have a link for installing the app but the builds currently require your UDID. Contact either @macsleven or @raedah with your UDID if you would like to help test.". Nearest goal is to make the app crash free. Both mobile apps received new design themes. dcrdata: v3.0 was released for mainnet! Highlights: charts, "merged debits" view, agendas page, Insight API support, side chain tracking, Go 1.11 support with module builds, numerous backend improvements. Full release notes here. This release featured 9 contributors and development lead @chappjc noted: "This collaboration with @raedahgroup on our own block explorer and web API for @decredproject has been super productive.". Up next is supporting dynamic page widths site wide and deploying new visual blocks home page. Trezor: proof of concept implementation for Trezor Model T firmware is in the works (previous work was for Model One). Ticket splitting: updated to use Go modules and added simnet support, several fixes. docs: beginner's guide overhaul, multiple fixes and cleanups. decred.org: added 3rd party wallets, removed inactive PoW pools and removed web wallet. @Richard-Red is building a curated list of Decred-related GitHub repositories. Welcome to new people contributing for the first time: @klebe, @s_ben, @victorguedes, and PrimeDominus! Dev activity stats for September: 219 active PRs, 197 commits, 28.7k added and 18.8k deleted lines spread across 6 repositories. Contributions came from 4-10 developers per repository. (chart)
Hashrate: started and ended the month around 75 PH/s, hitting a low of 60.5 and a new high of 110 PH/s. BeePool is again the leader with their share varying between 23-54%, followed by F2Pool 13-30%, Coinmine 4-6% and Luxor 3-5%. As in previous months, there were multiple spikes of unidentified hashrate. Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 98 DCR (+2.4). The price varied between 95.7 and 101.9 DCR. Locked DCR amount was 3.86-3.96 million DCR, or 45.7-46.5% of the supply. Nodes: there are 201 public listening nodes and 325 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 5% are v1.4.0(pre) dev builds (+3%), 30% on v1.3.0 (+25%), 42% on v1.2.0 (-20%), 15% on v1.1.2 (-7%), 6% on v1.1.0. More than 76% of nodes run v1.2.0 and higher and therefore support client filters. Data as of Oct 1.
Obelisk posted two updates on their mailing list. 70% of Batch 1 units are shipped, an extensive user guide is available, Obelisk Scanner application was released that allows one to automatically update firmware. First firmware update was released and bumped SC1 hashrate by 10-20%, added new pools and fixed multiple bugs. Next update will focus on DCR1. It is worth a special mention that the firmware source code is now open! Let us hope more manufacturers will follow this example. A few details about Whatsminer surfaced this month. The manufacturer is MicroBT, also known as Bitwei and commonly misspelled as Bitewei. Pangolinminer is a reseller, and the model name is Whatsminer D1. Bitmain has finally entered Decred ASIC space with their Antminer DR3. Hash rate is 7.8 TH/s while pulling 1410 W, at the price of $673. These specs mean it has the best GH/W and GH/USD of currently sold miners until the Whatsminer or others come out, although its GH/USD of 11.6 already competes with Whatsminer's 10.5. Discussed on Reddit and bitcointalk, unboxing video here.
@matheusd started tests on testnet several months ago. I contacted him so we could integrate with the pool in June this year. We set up the machine in July and bought the first split ticket on mainnet, using the decredbrasil pool, on July 19. It was voted on July 30. After this first vote on mainnet, we opened the tests to selected users (with more technical background) on the pool. In August we opened the tests to everyone, and would call people who want to join to the #ticket_splitting channel, or to our own Slack (in Portuguese, so mostly Brazilian users). We have 28 split tickets already voted, and 16 are live. So little more than 40 split tickets total were bought on decredbrasil pool. (@girino in #pos-voting)
KuCoin exchange listed DCBTC and DCETH pairs. To celebrate their anniversary they had a 99% trading fees discount on DCR pairs for 2 weeks. Three more wallets integrated Decred in September:
Atomic desktop wallet added Decred in version 0.1.31. The team answered many questions on Reddit.
AnyBit wallet added Decred. It features built-in price and news tracking. Notably, the source code is open for their Android and iOS wallets.
Coboadded Decred support into their Android and iOS wallets.
ChangeNow announced Decred addition to their Android app that allows accountless swaps between 150+ assets. Coinbase launched informational asset pages for top 50 coins by market cap, including Decred. First the pages started showing in the Coinbase app for a small group of testers, and later the web price dashboard went live.
The birth of a Brazilian girl was registered on the Decred blockchain using OriginalMy, a blockchain proof of authenticity services provider. Read the full story in Portuguese and in English.
Advertising report for September is ready. Next month the graphics for all the ads will be changing.
Marketing might seem quiet right now, but a ton is actually going on behind the scenes to put the right foundation in place for the future. Discovery data are being analyzed to generate a positioning strategy, as well as a messaging hierarchy that can guide how to talk about Decred. This will all be agreed upon via consensus of the community in the work channels, and materials will be distributed. Next, work is being done to identify the right PR partner to help with media relations, media training, and coordination at events. While all of this is coming up to speed, we believe the website needs a refresher reflecting the soon to be agreed upon messaging, plus a more intuitive architecture to make it easier to navigate. (@Dustorf)
Raedah Group went on the streets of Portland, USA with a pretty blue tent. (photos)
Meetup at Binzantin Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. @morphymore: "There were 20-ish attendees, and about half of them have joined the Chinese FB group. Most of them don't hear about Decred before, but have expressed the interest in learning more about it after the event. Overall, it's a good exposure for Decred in the Taiwan community.". A report with photos was posted on Facebook, more photos are here and here.
@joshuam made a Decred Jacket appearance at Singapore Grand Prix. (photos)
NewTech PDX meetup in Portland, USA. Raedah Group presented Decred and reported "lots of new converts". (photos)
North Shore Bitcoin & Blockchain in Glenview, USA. @dustorf gave a five minute overview of Decred and noted: "There were only about 25 people, but about 1/3 of them were aware of Decred prior. (...) Our simple presence and explanation of the project moved opinion from 'another shitcoin they sold after mining' to 'an interesting and viable project worthy of further investigation'.". (photos: 12)
Bitcoin Meetup CDMX in Mexico City on Oct 6. @elian will be talking about Decred at the oldest Bitcoin meetup in Mexico.
SF Blockchain Week in San Francisco, USA on Oct 9. @lukebp will discuss DPoS vs PoS on a panel 9:30a-10:15a at the Titans of Tech Stage, Hilton Union Square.
Decred Meetup in Casablanca, Morocco on Oct 27. @butterfly will host the event and talk about Decred in French.
Texas Bitcoin Conference Austin, USA on Oct 27-28. @BAB: "The great thing about this is that it will also be a Decred Summit. We will have half of the conference dedicated to Decred topics, updates, etc."
Websummit in Lisbon, Portugal on Nov 5-8. @moo31337 will be on a panel discussing "2018: A Rollercoaster Year for Cryptocurrencies"
We'll begin shortly reviewing conferences and events planned for the first half of 2019. Highlights are sure to include The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami (Jan 16-18) and Consensus in NYC (May 14-16). If you have suggestions of events or conferences Decred should attend, please share them in #event_planning. In 2019, we would like to expand our presence in Europe, Asia, and South America, and we're looking for community members to help identify and staff those events. (@Dustorf)
August issue of Decred Journal was translated to Russian. Many thanks to @DZ! Rency cryptocurrency ratings published a report on Decred and incorporated a lot of feedback from the community on Reddit. September issue of Chinese CCID ratings was published (snapshot), Decred is still at the bottom. Videos:
The underbelly of blockchain Governance - fiat licensing and our code with Marco Peerboom and Chris DeRose (youtube, tweet, decred, missed in August issue) Insightful dialogue about men's underwear, licenses, subtleties of GPL, BSD wars, tiling window managers and much more.
Introduction to Decred (Korean, youtube) @Killawhale collected a lot of feedback from the community and produced this video to spread the word in Korea.
Perspectives on Governance from Nathan Wilcox, Jonathan Zeppettini, Vitalik Buterin (z.cash)
Decred - an example of governance (Portuguese, youtube)
Decred, the crypto that wants to compete with Bitcoin (French, youtube)
Exodus.io Live with Marco from Decred! (youtube) Marco joins Exodus.io to discuss what makes DCR an asset that will stand the test of time.
Building Decred With Systems Development Lead Marco Peereboom - Governance, Politeia, Lightning (youtube) Topics: early days, Politeia, the structure of Decred, dcrtime, Lightning Network, attracting users and developers, future plans (DEX, Schnorr signatures, privacy, DAEs).
Decentralized autonomous funding of blockchain projects by @Richard-Red (medium, discussion on decred and dashpay)
The trouble with infrastructure, "thin" protocols in particular, is that someone has to build them at a cost. e.g. LN takes a ton of work, doesn't necessarily generate value itself, but it magnifies the value of BTC or whatever coin that uses it. I see the DEX in a similar light - whoever creates it is not going to make a bunch of money from it, but it will magnify the value of the underlying asset(s) that end up having a deep order book on the DEX. (@jy-p in #dex)
Twitter: why decentralized governance and funding are necessary for network survival and the power of controlling the narrative; learning about governance more broadly by watching its evolution in cryptocurrency space, importance of community consensus and communications infrastructure. Reddit: yet another strong pitch by @solar; question about buyer protections; dcrtime internals; a proposal to sponsor hoodies in the University of Cape Town; Lightning Network support for altcoins. Chats: skills to operate a stakepool; voting details: 2 of 3 votes can approve a block, what votes really approve are regular tx, etc; scriptless script atomic swaps using Schnorr adaptor signatures; dev dashboard, choosing work, people do best when working on what interests them most; opportunities for governments and enterprise for anchoring legal data to blockchain; terminology: DAO vs DAE; human-friendly payments, sharing xpub vs payment protocols; funding btcsuite development; Politeia vote types: approval vote, sentiment vote and a defund vote, also linking proposals and financial statements; algo trading and programming languages (yes, on #trading!); alternative implementation, C/C++/Go/Rust; HFTs, algo trading, fake volume and slippage; offline wallets, usb/write-only media/optical scanners vs auditing traffic between dcrd and dcrwallet; Proof of Activity did not inspire Decred but spurred Decred to get moving, Wikipedia page hurdles; how stakeholders could veto blocks; how many votes are needed to approve a proposal; why Decrediton uses Electron; CVE-2018-17144 and over-dependence on single Bitcoin implementation, btcsuite, fuzz testing; tracking proposal progress after voting and funding; why the wallet does not store the seed at all; power connectors, electricity, wiring and fire safety; reasonable spendings from project fund; ways to measure sync progress better than block height; using Politeia without email address; concurrency in Go, locks vs channels. #support is not often mentioned, but it must be noted that every day on this channel people get high quality support. (@bee: To my surprise, even those poor souls running Windows 10. My greatest respect to the support team!)
In September DCR was trading in the range of USD 34-45 / BTC 0.0054-0.0063. On Sep 6, DCR revisited the bottom of USD 34 / BTC 0.0054 when BTC quickly dropped from USD 7,300 to 6,400. On Sep 14, a small price rise coincided with both the start of KuCoin trading and hashrate spike to 104 PH/s. Looking at coinmarketcap charts, the trading volume is a bit lower than in July and August. As of Oct 4, Decred is #18 by the number of daily transactions with 3,200 tx, and #9 by the USD value of daily issuance with $230k. (source: onchainfx) Interesting observation by @ImacallyouJawdy: while we sit at 2018 price lows the amount locked in tickets is testing 2018 high.
ASIC for Lyra2REv2 was spotted on the web. Vertcoin team is preparing a new PoW algorithm. This would be the 3rd fork after two previous forks to change the algorithm in 2014 and 2015. A report titled The Positive Externalities of Bitcoin Mining discusses the benefits of PoW mining that are often overlooked by the critics of its energy use. A Brief Study of Cryptonetwork Forks by Alex Evans of Placeholder studies the behavior of users, developers and miners after the fork, and makes the cases that it is hard for child chains to attract users and developers from their parent chains. New research on private atomic swaps: the paper "Anonymous Atomic Swaps Using Homomorphic Hashing" attempts to break the public link between two transactions. (bitcointalk, decred) On Sep 18 Poloniex announced delisting of 8 more assets. That day they took a 12-80% dive showing their dependence on this one exchange. Circle introduced USDC markets on Poloniex: "USDC is a fully collateralized US dollar stablecoin using the ERC-20 standard that provides detailed financial and operational transparency, operates within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, and is reinforced by established banking partners and auditors.". Coinbase announced new asset listing process and is accepting submissions on their listing portal. (decred) The New York State Office of the Attorney General posted a study of 13 exchanges that contains many insights. A critical vulnerability was discovered and fixed in Bitcoin Core. Few days later a full disclosure was posted revealing the severity of the bug. In a bitcointalk thread btcd was called 'amateur' despite not being vulnerable, and some Core developers voiced their concerns about multiple implementations. The Bitcoin Unlimited developer who found the bug shared his perspective in a blog post. Decred's vision so far is that more full node implementations is a strength, just like for any Internet protocol.
About This Issue
This is the 6th issue of Decred Journal. It is mirrored on GitHub, Medium and Reddit. Past issues are available here. Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research. Feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room on Matrix or Slack. Contributions are also welcome: some areas are adding content, pre-release review or translations to other languages. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Dustorf, jz, Haon, oregonisaac, raedah and Richard-Red.
What does r/India think of Bitcoin? India must act now or miss out on this emerging technology.
Bitcoin currently has grown so much in size that its market cap is bigger than any of USA's top airlines. Yes, these are Airlines like Delta with hundred's and hundreds of Boeing airplanes in their fleet connecting every city of America yet a simple technology run on a computer has usurped all these airlines. No mean feat. Australia and Japan have completely legalized BTC and it is being used as tender for everything from grocery to cars, South Korea as well, even Malaysia's btc market is booming. Meanwhile Indian Gov is actively trying to play down BTC, some ministers are still calling it scam, play of the devil, likening it with "chit funds" etc. What the fuck is wrong with the finance brains and the IT brains of our country that we (as a country) are missing out on the biggest IT development since world wide web thanks to illiterates talking their talk. And Im not talking about middle men like "Zebpay" and "Unocoin" - Bitcoin was invented to cut these middlemen out of the chain, yet these are the ones who are profiting selling BTC to Indians at a 25% markup price and taking a hefty commission. We are also giving a big play to more middle men companies like PayTM who are trying to reinvent the currency wheel and are doing such a bad job at it, yet most Indians will tell you that PAYTM is the best and Bitcoin is a scam. Currency wallets (payment banks) are outdated by atleast 5 years, they were big in 2010 in the USA and today nobody uses them - yet PAYTM is such a big rage here - outdated technology, very poor profitablity, the PAYTM business exists only to support its CEO and turn him into a Billionaire while the rest of the PAYTM user base suffers from lack of basic communication access with Paytm. Make no mistake, India will follow the rest of the world eventually, as we always do, and end up accepting BTC in 2020, but by that time the world would have already moved on and derived the most out of bitcoin. Many businesses are already hedging their funds vs BTC or investing part of their profits into BTC and the growth of 2500% since 2015 will only make more companies turn to BTC. Im sure many smart Indians have already started to see the potential of BTC, lets use this thread to discuss the market in India.
Hello! My name is Dmitrii Skripkin, I am the head of traffic department at Platinum, the company that can attract crypto community to your project, provides best ICO and STO marketing services and can be really helpful in teaching about crypto-economics. Learn more: Platinum.fund As for the teaching… Welcome to the UBAI! Here we gathered all our knowledge to share it with people who just step on the road of crypto success. If you want to understand the overall influence hype can have on a team and anyone involved with an ICO project, take a look at the summary of our lesson What is Hype in Cryptocurrency The English Dictionary defines ‘hype’ as extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion. Therefore it is only right that we define cryptocurrency hype as extravagant or intense publicity and promotion for any kind of cryptocurrency. Recent research suggests there is a 60% chance that people around you have encountered the word ‘bitcoin’, or ‘cryptocurrency’ from one source or another. This widespread publicity was also catalyzed by the stunning and sudden rise of the price of bitcoin in 2017 (and other times as well), which led to a frenzy in FOMO, fear of missing out, which drove otherwise skeptical people to eventually believe in cryptocurrencies. From that point, many people started to believe in the idea and potential of cryptocurrencies. This led to even further growth in optimism among members of the cryptocurrency community, which, in turn, drove demand and hype to absolutely atmospheric levels. There is an ongoing argument among financial experts about the nature and destiny of cryptocurrencies. One school of thought is that crypto is, in fact, the next evolution of money. Other people think crypto is nothing but a bubble or fraud and will eventually fade into oblivion. Roles of Hype It is a fact there is hype in the cryptocurrency industry. It is also a fact that investors often trade and hold positions based on that hype. But before speaking about the role and purpose of cryptocurrency hype, let’s take a look at the major causes behind it. Ever increasing media coverage has brought the entire crypto sphere into the limelight. Just the media calling bitcoin “Digital Gold” has coaxed people into buying and hoarding bitcoins for themselves. Increasing groups of cryptocurrency believers have spread the idea that cryptocurrencies are a unique store of value, uncorrelated to other more traditional asset classes. There is also a significant number of individuals who purchased bitcoins before the sudden rise in value and are now hoarding their currency like gold, seemingly unwilling to sell at any price. The money to be made in crypto has attracted a great number of miners. We have previously discussed the key role and value of coin miners to the integrity of the blockchain. These miners help support not only the price and the maturity of bitcoin, but also the blockchain technology on which bitcoin depends. Common ICO Narratives in a nutshell An ICO is a funding mechanism that a company uses primarily to raise early stage capital. So far it has largely been blockchain-based technology solutions which employ “Tokens” (cryptocurrencies or digital assets) that are functionally used in the company’s solution, so as to give them a relative value. These days, there are a large number of companies constantly ‘pre’, ‘on’ or ‘post’ ICO. But the first ever recorded ICO was by Mastercoin in 2013. Their campaign lasted for almost a month, with Mastercoin raising up to 5,000 BTC, then valued at $500,000 USD. A year later, Ethereum was launched. And in 2015, the Frontier, an experimental release of Ethereum platform was released. A month later, Augur Token was launched. Since then, many other ICOs have followed. In 2016 alone, ICO sales raised up to $103 million with ICONOMI and SingularDTV leading the sale with $10 million and $7.5 million. In many ways, ICOs were made possible by the ease with which companies were able to create their ICO tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain technology. With the success of bitcoin and the explosive growth of ICOs for various purposes, the market has shifted solely from the topics of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency solutions, to more specific and practical applications of these solutions to actual real world problems. But at the same time, there has also been a large number of scams as a result of the lack of regulation and insufficient oversight. This is something to always keep in mind when you are considering ICO investments. The Power of Perception People’s perception of an ICO depends upon several key factors. Due to the incredibly large amount of paper wealth generated by investing in cryptocurrency, people are inclined to invest with less stringent diligence, even regarding their own money. That is, for better or worse, generally more true for crypto as opposed to traditional investors. Intelligent investors pay particular attention to the following details when evaluating an ICO: -The quality and marketable potential of the idea. -The necessity of a blockchain solution to solve this particular problem. -The quality and commitment of the team to the company. -The tokenmetrics and tokenomics. -The ability to actually bring the solution to market as a viable business. Signs of Market Hype & Anticipation A solid understanding of the signs of market hype and any resulting hyper-anticipation requires a multifaceted approach to evaluating an ICO. All the circumstances, situations, prevailing market conditions, and other factors contribute in various ways and to various degrees, to each ICO. It is important to also understand why different investors are investing. Some are committing capital because they truly believe in the idea as a viable business and are planning to hold on for a longer term. Some people are pure speculators hoping to multiply their money and take a profit as fast as they can. There is nothing inherently wrong with either one of those approaches or reasons to invest! The point is, you just need to know with whom you are investing so you can make the most advantageous decisions about your own funds. The following are signs of ICO market hype: The Social Media Factor When an ICO is looking to build momentum among potential investors, social media is at the top of the list of ways to do it. Social media allows projects to market their product directly to investors without relying upon middlemen, and in many cases, basically, for free. Professional marketers have also appeared recently to help projects focus on developing their project-specific technology, or business connections; while the regular marketing team is able to continue building the necessary awareness and hype. Many ICO projects seek to build large Telegram communities, and of course, schedule their ICO at the most opportune time. If you are wondering how a project is being perceived by the market and general community, reading their Telegram and social media posts will give you useful information. You will see how they think, and a get a good look at actual market opinion. Hype’s Affect Upon an ICO Over the years, too many crypto lovers invested in hyped and overrated digital assets that promised a 10x ROI (return on investment). This incredibly large rate of return attracted many eager (sometimes a little too gullible) investors. They eventually learned that while the price of ICO tokens may in fact increase 3x or 10x; they can also fall just as much, and just as easily. Many tokens offered as a part of the early ICOs either never went to market, or failed miserably when they did. Of course there are no guarantees in traditional investing either, but crypto is still at a particularly volatile and treacherous stage of growth. Basically, an ICO token price should primarily be driven by business fundamentals, such as cash flow and profitability. But the wild swings in value, and the low barriers to launch an ICO, have grossly amplified the influence hype has upon an ICO token price. Naturally, investors are focused on their own return on investment more than anything else. So, that is where we will focus our attention now too. This return ultimately rests with the token price, and the ability of the investors to buy low and sell high. There are four key attributes or characteristics of hype which directly lead to stronger demand for a token, and thus, a higher price. If the ICO is backed by influential and well-known crypto investors/Venture Capitalists, the team is very likely to have a large investor base to which they can pitch the coin. This is also true for successful entrepreneurs with a good reputation and track record. Hype’s Effect on the Team Behind ICO The team structure behind an ICO plays an important role in the hype process. If an ICO is successful, the developers are likely to draw more attention to themselves, thereby becoming key figures in that success. In that way, an ICO allows a project to both fund an early stage idea, as well as to create a reputation among investors for the individuals involved. After having achieved success on previous ventures, as we have mentioned before, investors will be keen to invest based on an established track record. These factors encourage entrepreneurs to try new ideas as a benefit of having a greater funding profile and a tangible resume to use in all aspects of their business, not just fundraising. A strong resume like that encourages confidence that would allow an individual associated with a successful project to partner with larger, traditional firms. Such an individual would also be more valuable on other projects by both providing insight and access to more investment capital. If you stay tuned, you must have learned a lot about the hype going around crypto, but what are its cons or even Dangers? Bitcoin alone has about a $284 billion USD market capitalization with about 16.4 million bitcoin in circulation. Hype brings out the latent greed in every investor. On any given day, media people may be discussing the endless potential of cryptocurrencies, or the unbelievable returns from crypto investments. While cryptocurrencies have a solid future ahead of them, with strong underlying technological principles, greed and fear will always induce people to create a world of hyperbole. Most investors do not really look as deeply as they should. They do insufficient research, or all too often, almost no research at all, before investing. This is human nature. Most people do not want to feel like they need to do homework again. People also become mesmerized by the success stories, and they just want to get a piece of the pie at whatever cost. It is always important to stay calm and rational. Stay diligent. Keep your mind focused on the long term too, not just the present moment. If you become too enamored with a project, or try to convince yourself nothing matters because “it will all just rise in value anyway” then you have lost your rational decision making ability. You should take a step back and ensure you aren’t being caught up in the hype. Dangers of Hype Part 2 Hype and speculation give value to a newly launched coin. At that point you will own an intangible functional token in a very early stage company. The value of what you actually have is only what an exchange or someone else is willing to give you for that token on the open market. The price might move in your favor and earn you a fantastic return. But it can just as easily fall to zero. And in fact, this is exactly what has often happened. When you purchase a token without an underlying cash flow positive business, your entire investment is at the mercy of market expectations and the level of hype in a project. Future cash flows and success will either make or break your investment. The dangers of hype in cryptocurrency can never be overemphasized, and never be overlooked. After all is said and done, it is the average individual investor who will suffer most. Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention Speculative Investments Most newly launched ICOs depend upon the frenzy created by the primary cryptocurrencies (particularly BTC and ETH) hype for success. Most consumers/investors these days buy or invest in an ICO based upon speculative ideas about extraordinary returns. The hype can grow so much it does not leave adequate room for actual facts. The most unfortunate result of all this can be seeing your entire investment wiped out by unscrupulous characters selling you fraudulent coin offerings (ICOs) and scams. Hype can dazzle investors into making investment decisions they later regret. But there is no reason for you to ever make such an avoidable mistake in your own crypto career. Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention §2 Speculative Investments Continued For example, in January 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) from a company called ‘AriseBank’. The SEC alleged that the ICO was an “outright scam” which falsely advertised and promised FDIC-insured bank accounts to investors through nonexistent banks. The value of the tokens fell to zero. The incredible hype and seemingly limitless potential of cryptocurrencies at the time, as well as this particular idea, led a large number of investors to commit capital to what was determined to be a scam. It is not only that they made grossly fraudulent claims, but there was simply no protection for investors at all. The investors were left with nothing. Some investors were surely all-in on this one project. Some investors had surely leveraged themselves to the max, borrowed too much, and had to stomach an extremely unpalatable loss. These are incredibly important things to keep in mind. Speculative investments will allow you to make a tremendous sum of money, but they can, and all too often will, take away those funds just as easily. Hype can create Problems Real World Examples Only a small fraction of the total ICOs being promoted have a working and viable prototype. Yet, every ICO is looking to sell investors on the likelihood of future success on that project. The Bancor ICO is a real-life example from June 2017. It raised up to $153 million in a matter of hours, but since the sale its value has plunged 38%. Some experts have since found big loopholes in their stated plans and intentions. The demise of many ICO projects is caused by such common issues as no viable product, not adhering to timeline, or a team that is distracted and/or not productive. Other coin scams have also successfully skimmed money from investors as a result of cryptocurrency frenzy. Projects like Benebit which scammed investors of up to $4.5 million by claiming to unify customer loyalty programs via blockchain technology. Benebit proved to be an exit scam, despite all of the major review sites rating the ICO positively. It was widely followed across social media, including 9000 people in its Telegram channel. Many people are still in the project’s Telegram attempting to understand what went wrong, and why. In our previous posts we’ve talked a lot about the cons of the Hype, but have you ever thought if you can take it into your own hands? Managing Hype for ICOs You understand what hype is and what it does. You also need to know, what to do about it, how to manage it, either as a seller or investor aiming to be on the right side of price movements. Crypto is a recognized part of our financial landscape already. ICOs and the Blockchain are here to stay. The point of concern is, the course it will chart from here. It is rapidly becoming the new normal for entrepreneurs to get funding from communities of people or investors sharing an important unifying characteristic or value system. This has, as we have discussed previously, completely revolutionized “business” and the approach to starting, funding and growing a company. In 2017 alone, more than $5.6 billion was invested via ICOs. That huge sum brings real opportunity for growth, and equally real possibility for despair. You can learn from examples, how to manage hype for your own benefit and protection. In the whitepaper, the purpose of the ICO should be clearly stated and sufficient information should be given to investors explaining what the project is and why it deserves to be funded. This helps remove or discourage unnecessary speculation. A good and informative whitepaper helps encourage investors to make decisions based on reasonable conclusions as opposed to dreams and desires. Always Have a Road Map Many ICOs we see on the internet for example, do not really have any long term plan for their product. ICO whitepapers should produce sufficient information on the timeline of the product and the sequence of necessary steps to get there. Questions such as: “When will a marketable product be available to be sold?” “What are the key risks to achieving any goal or aspect of the timeline?” These questions should be explained in the whitepaper, and supplemented with possible plans and alternate avenues to take if certain major issues arise. 6.3e)Managing Hype for ICOs §4 Many whitepapers might tend to overuse technical terms that sound like gibberish to ordinary intelligent people or investors. If you are trying to sell an idea to a broad spectrum of investors, it is important to explain key terms and themes so people are actually able to understand you. If a whitepaper is overly technical, yet seems to appeal to a broad base of investors anyway, it could be a red flag that the investors are confused, and that was perhaps the purpose of the whitepaper. Alternatively, maybe the team just isn’t particularly experienced at marketing their idea. That could also could present either an opportunity or a problem. One way or another, communication with the market will greatly influence the future price of the token. Scam Projects Real World Examples Multinational accounting firm Ernst and Young found that $400 million of the $3.7 billion USD raised from ICOs (as of January 22, 2018) had been stolen. That is, up to 10% of all ICO funding is virtually being stolen from investors. Though ICO scams are the most common method of theft in the crypto world, some projects will actually operate for a period of time before disappearing with the money. Like in a Ponzi scheme, an exit scam may be planned for later, sometime after a manipulated pump; or some other time the team believes is most opportune to take the money and run. Giza: Giza marketed itself as a platform within which different cryptocurrencies could be stored securely. But after raising $2.4 million in one month, the team deleted the website and stopped replying to emails. Investors were duped by a very convincing whitepaper, and actors had been hired to appear in photographs promoting the project. No investor funds have ever been recovered. Centra: The SEC put an end to fundraising for the Centra ICO and charged the founders Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma with orchestrating a fraudulent ICO after they raised $32 million USD. They were promoting the ability to develop financial products backed by VISA and Mastercard, though it was later found that neither partnership was real. One of the major red flags in the Centra project was the use of celebrity endorsements for publicity, reportedly paying champion boxer Floyd Mayweather a significant sum to promote their project. Who wants to leave their Blockchain investment decisions up to Floyd Mayweather, regardless of his unbelievable skill as a boxer and regardless of his own financial success? He should still not influence where you invest your money! Ponzi Schemes: Bitconnect: This is the most infamous Ponzi scheme in the history of cryptocurrency, and certainly the most damaging. Bitconnect was a Bitcoin-based project that rose to an all-time high of $463 per token on the back of a fictitious trading bot. The Bitconnect scam operated by paying dividends to users, proportional to the number of tokens they held and the number of referrals they made. The BCC tokens were exchanged for the users’ Bitcoin, and the highly sophisticated and wildly successful trading bot would trade BTC for them and distribute profits as dividends. The value of the dividends offered was approximately 1% of the initial investment per day. In other words, that is approximately 3,780% per year in cumulative gain! The referral system was capitalized upon most heavily by many of the biggest crypto YouTube channels, including CryptoNick and Trevon James, both of whom are now under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after the Bitconnect Token reached its all-time high, they received cease and desist orders from the security regulators of Texas and North Carolina, which caused the owners of the Bitconnect exchange to shut down operations, and the price to plummet. Davorcoin: Davorcoin was a lending platform very similar to Bitconnect. And Davorcoin was farcically promoted by the same Trevon James crypto Youtuber who promoted Bitconnect, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for promoting Ponzi schemes. The Texas State Securities Board, in likening Davor to Bitconnect, stated that “DavorCoin is telling investors they can earn lucrative profits by investing in a lending program based on a new cryptocurrency known as davorcoin. Investors allegedly purchase davorcoin and then lend it to DavorCoin”. Davorcoin promptly plunged from an all-time high of $180 to very close to zero after a cease and desist order was made against them on the 2nd of February 2018. Useless Ethereum Token: Despite brazenly stating in the name of the project that the token has no use, the UET managed to raise $340,000 in its crowdsale, and saw a significant pump of over 300% on the HitBTC exchange in February of 2018. The scam was an obvious case of pump and dump, with the total trading volume for UET crashing back down to as low as $3 per day, after reaching as high as $350,000 per day during the pump. Indications of Scam Projects It is currently an unfortunate consequence of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, but there is a distinct lack of recourse for scammed investors. It is wise to become as well-acquainted with the various indicators of good and bad ICOs as you possibly can. In weighing the factors that will allow you to avoid expensive mistakes, ask yourself in whose favor are the terms of the ICO slanted, yours or the teams? To what extent are you actually likely to profit from this investment? Cryptocurrency is inherently a grey area, whether you are investing in it or not. Investing is another inherently grey area, no matter what the area or object of investing might be. Laws and regulations are not always able to keep up. Trying to define and prove what was or was not a scam is not likely to be as simple as the scammed investor would want it to be. A project can be set up in certain ways to avoid being technically classified or provable as a scam, but the unprepared investor can still be burnt or scammed just as badly. Now we look at more individual indicators that can help you form a valid impression whether or not an ICO or even a fully-fledged exchange-listed coin is a scam or a bona fide investment opportunity. Common Signposts Contrasting Scam & Legitimate Projects Presale Bonus/Token Release If the ICO allots massive bonuses to team members, you may leave yourself open to getting dumped on by presale investors if you buy when the project tokens are listed on an exchange. Likewise, if the project has a short lock-up period for developers and founders, you run the risk of them selling as soon as the token is listed on a major exchange. The token release schedule for the founders of a worthwhile project should show long-term team commitment to that project. The Jibrel Network team tokens will be locked up for 5 years before release, and they had no early investor bonus in the main sale. Both of these factors instilled confidence in the JNT ICO investors, and the tokens were sold out weeks before the ICO was due to end. No Presale lock up If Presale investor tokens are not locked up at all for any period after listing, that could easily be a set up for an exit scam after the initial listing. No presale lockup for early investor tokens is a crystal clear warning, the project may be fatally rigged toward those in the inner circle, with little commitment to the long term health or success of that project. Unsolicited Offers or Unasked for Additions to Groups Characters running scam projects will often add you to Telegram groups out of the blue or send you unsolicited emails with information about their project. Telegram is the most widely used messaging app in the cryptocurrency community and you should familiarize yourself with it to keep yourself in the loop for specific projects in which you invest as well as all kinds of other relevant crypto info. You can adjust the settings on the Telegram app to disallow anonymous additions to cryptocurrency projects if you find yourself bombarded with offers by scammers. Reputable projects at the ICO stage will spread by word of mouth, or by eloquent and meaningful articles posted on their Medium page. A project with serious potential does not need to actively seek participants for their ICO like that. They will often be able to fill their ICO hard cap in a matter of hours, or even just minutes! Anonymous Team Alarm bells, again, immediately, if the project has minimal online presence. The individual team members could be mere fabrications. The entire project could be a farce by utterly inexperienced characters. What if the project leaders are simply unaware of the importance of a strong social media profile? That in itself would be too strange to ignore. Top-level projects will have team members with experience in crypto and the LinkedIn accounts for those members will be easily accessible right there on the project website. You should be able to easily see and evaluate each individual’s experience in their field and ascertain what they bring to the project team. Bitconnect’s anonymous team should have been the only deterrent prospective investors needed to discourage them from putting money into that doomed project. Ethhorse, a current project with anonymous founders and operators should be steered clear of at all costs for the same reasons. Community Atmosphere The subreddits or Telegram groups of scam projects will often feature moderators that do not allow any kind of criticism in the group chat. If, in the process of your due diligence, you encounter didactic admins that only wish to silence your questioning of certain aspects of the whitepaper or mechanism of the tokenomics, you should be concerned. Similarly if you see a coherent critical reply attacked by many different users who refuse to engage the substance of the point being made, that may be a subreddit infested with bots. Projects that have nothing to hide will allow free debate in the chat. Ideally, they hope to develop a positive community that is itself an asset to the long-term success and overall strength of the project. Good projects do not need to automatically brand all criticism as Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). Whitepaper One common tactic of scammers is to produce a whitepaper that uses too many buzzwords, and deliberately obfuscates and overcomplicates the explanation of the problem and/or its solution. A good whitepaper clearly and concisely lays out the problem and answer, as well as provides compelling arguments why a Blockchain solution is preferable to the current solution. Another point of concern is a whitepaper that gives unrealistic time frames and goals. Bitconnect’s almost comically optimistic profit projections are a prime example of this, as are the 1,354% yearly gains promised by Plexcoin. Respectable projects will set out development timescales in terms of quarters or years, rather than offering immediate profit projections, which are simply a red flag. Advisors/Connections in the Cryptoworld The most prestigious projects will already have partnerships made before the ICO stage, and the worst ones, i.e. the scams, will not mention any such partnerships. Icon (ICX) for example was spawned from a South Korean project named The Loop, a collaboration between 3 Korean universities and the DAYLI Financial Group. They boasted an advisory panel consisting of the legendary investor Don Tapscott, Jehan Chu and crowdfunding expert Jason Best. On top of a solid team of advisors, good projects will also be visible at major Blockchain events such as the Consensus, and the World Blockchain Forum, etc. Scam projects will be unable to inspire this same level in confidence. As an investor, you should sense a certain presence and expect a certain feeling of trust that should guide you in your investments. After all, it is actually a people-to-people thing you are doing. Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Post Whitepaper Release The period in the immediate aftermath of the release of the whitepaper can also be decisive in establishing the validity of a project. How a team copes with the roadmap that they have laid out for themselves is key. Valuable insight into the operational efficiency and commitment to the project can be gleaned from the quality of and amount of code committed to GitHub. If you have any experience in computer programming you can see how clean and orderly the code is, which gives insight into the skill of the developers, and in turn the quality of project leaders’ decision-making in hiring team members. Scam projects will have little or no code committed to GitHub, or at best it will be copied and pasted from other projects just to cover their tracks. Start of ICO Sometimes, a scam project, or other project in which you would be better off not investing, will change the terms of the ICO just before the ICO starts. The Key (TKY) ICO doubled the price of tokens on the day before the ICO was due to take place, because the price of NEO had risen so drastically. Currently, the TKY token price is still only half of its ICO price. Initial investors are faced with the prospect of a 50% loss on their investment. Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Exchange Listing Some particularly greedy scammers will create a scam project with the intent of selling tokens in the ICO for BTC and ETH, and then pumping and dumping their share of the tokens immediately after listing. The team of fraudsters behind Monero Gold used this method after the crowdfunding of their useless ERC-20 token. After listing on CoinExchange.io, the team dumped their tokens until the exchange finally ceased trading. Although it is not uncommon for ICO tokens to sold after listing (just like can happen with shares of stock after an IPO), if the price does not stabilize and massive sell walls are continually placed, a scam is likely taking place and the token is being dumped. Real World Example of Scam Customers Fake Ethereum Twitter giveaway You may have noticed Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin’s twitter handle has been changed to Vitalik “Not giving away Eth” Buterin in recent months. This is because a group of devious scammers had created fake accounts with almost exact replicas of his profile (deviating by only one character). The fake accounts promised to deposit 1 whole ETH for every 0.1 ETH the potential sucker deposited into the wallet address provided by the scammer. These fake account “Ether giveaway” scam tweets were set up to be sent in just a matter of seconds after the real person tweeted, and usually always appear immediately after the tweet of the real public figure. Fake bot profiles then came into play, thanking the fake Vitalik, or fake Elon Musk, for holding up their end of the bargain and depositing the ETH as promised. One scammer, or group of scammers, managed to fill a wallet up with almost $20 thousand worth of ETH, which they transferred out, never to be seen or heard from again. Effect of Scam Customers, Upon the Affected Parties Of course, this is no fun for the targeted public figure either. They need to take steps to avoid being targeted again. This will mean changing their handle, their username, or making their accounts private. However, the injured party with whom we are most concerned is the unfortunate scammed social media user, who has no chance whatsoever of getting his or her funds back, ever. It is a harsh lesson to learn. But it is a fact of crypto reality. Nearly every one that trades crypto will at least be exposed to frauds or scams in one way or another. In this case, we think it is better to learn about scams by studying them, rather than learn from your own unfortunate and expensive experience. In the case of Mr. Buterin, these incidents were awful public relations for the Ethereum project. It had only been a few years since cryptocurrency as a whole was primarily associated with criminality and seedy transactions on the Darkweb. Any connection with unscrupulous behavior is best avoided at all costs. Negative associations could have been particularly damaging for Ethereum’s brand because the vast majority of ICO fraud is committed using the ERC-20 token as the template for the scam tokens. Effect of Scam Customers on the Market Any and all the scamming or fraudulent behavior in the cryptocurrency ecosystem is bound to have a negative impact on the speed at which mainstream uptake finally takes place. Cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, will be painted in the worst possible light. Crypto is aiming to, and is in fact in the process of, causing great disruption in traditional centralized finance and business. Mainstream media organizations are also part of that traditional centralized economy. Press coverage will be damning. Something is happening here, but Mr. Jones doesn’t know what it is. Legal Recourse for Scams We clearly understand, there is a possibility of being scammed. We know the scams are happening. The SEC has made some arrests and actually charged people for operating fraudulent ICOs. But it is a struggle to deal with the flood of ICOs coming from anywhere at any time. The SEC filed charges against two founders of a purported financial services startup for orchestrating a fraudulent ICO that raised more than $32million from thousands of investors. As you know from the ICOs we have covered so far, the lack of regulation allows for direct contact and dealing between the entrepreneurs, business owners and potential investors. While we believe this is a blessing according to the founding principles of Bitcoin and other alternate Cryptocurrencies, because it frees us from traditional roadblocks, middle-men, and all kinds of time-consuming procedures; it also leaves investors in a place where there is often little to no hope of ever recovering funds lost in fraudulent schemes. Facebook
The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine
Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg. But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come. What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too. At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other. Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out. At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted. They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words. They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?" The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song. It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history. They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear. There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away. Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy." These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn. They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage. Along came bitcoin. At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West. These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable. In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data. Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008. The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm. Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century. To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules. Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night. Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab. The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot. For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland. Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt. During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000. A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis. The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows. If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold. Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world. Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away." They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up. They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million. But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange. So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it? They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves. The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you. There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond. The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures. Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness." This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal. Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo. A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate. When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged. "The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on." "Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in. "What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue." The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do. Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home. All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin. The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives. Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin. "The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency." Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone. A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge. You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing. Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself. "It's boundless," says Cameron. This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance? Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk? The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning." GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future. Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn. All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out. The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin. Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier. The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot. They ease into the run.
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