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Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

submitted by almkglor to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[ Bitcoin ] Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

Topic originally posted in Bitcoin by almkglor [link]
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given private key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

almkglor your post has been copied because one or more comments in this topic have been removed. This copy will preserve unmoderated topic. If you would like to opt-out, please send a message using [this link].
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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)

Source | Guestbook
Previous thread
Questions Answers
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum? No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
the below is a reply to the above
That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims? That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft? Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up. Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness? Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird? there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More? It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends? Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms  The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
2.Hitman sites
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals  People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn  Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think? Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines? There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods. If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web? I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web? A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web? It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
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I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
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1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[deleted] It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help? I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome. I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

Your Pre Market Brief for 07/23/2020

Pre Market Brief for Thursday July 23rd 2020

You can subscribe to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief in this sub.
Morning Research and Trading Prep Tool Kit
The Ultimate Quick Resource For the Amateur Trader.
Updated as of 3:30 AM EST
-----------------------------------------------
Stock Futures:
Wednesday 07/22/2020 News and Markets Recap:
Thursday July 23rd 2020 Economic Calendar (All times are Eastern)
(JOBLESS NUMBERS TODAY)
News Heading into Thursday July 23rd 2020
NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT YOLO THE VARIOUS TICKERS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH. THE TIME STAMPS ON THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE LATER THAN OTHERS ON THE WEB. THE CREATOR OF THIS THREAD COMPILED THE FOLLOWING IN A QUICK MANNER AND DOES NOT ATTEST TO THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETTING YOUR OWN SOURCES AND DOING YOUR OWN DD.
Upcoming Earnings:
Commodities:
COVID-19 Stats and News:
Macro Considerations:
Most Recent SEC Filings
Other
-----------------------------------------------
Morning Research and Trading Prep Tool Kit
Other Useful Resources:
The Ultimate Quick Resource For the Amateur Trader.
Subscribe to This Brief and the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily brief in this sub
It is up to you to judge the accuracy and veracity of these headlines before trading.
submitted by Cicero1982 to pennystocks [link] [comments]

PSA: Don't fall for cloud mining scams!

The question posed to us today was about Bitcoin cloud mining and our short and sweet answer is: don't fall for the scam!
Cloud mining has proven to eventually be unsustainable over the years (simply Google the name of the site + scam to understand), and even startups that have tried to go for cheap power (like Hydrominer) have eventually found that the cost of mining far exceeds the cost of management and profit payments.
Most cloud mining sites offer a fixed periodic payment, which is impossible to realistically offer since Bitcoin is highly volatile over the contract period.
So these sites try and tempt you with a free trial (which will never give you enough earnings to withdraw, by the way) to hook you.
Don’t get hooked!
submitted by BitAmp-Official to bitamp [link] [comments]

Automatically setup personal Bitcoin Full Node on GCP Kubernetes Cluster with ~$20 a month

Bitcoin full node is fault tolerant, running it on Kubernetes with Google's preemptible VM can bring down the cost a lot. bitcoin-gcp-k8s is a set of terraform files that help you to setup and configure your personal Bitcoin full node on GCP with low cost.
Some of the benefits are:
More details: http://hongchao.me/bitcoin-full-node-gcp/
Be your own bank and enjoy! :)
submitted by hongchao to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[ANN] Hoo.com | One-stop Blokchain Assets Service Platform

[ANN] Hoo.com | One-stop Blokchain Assets Service Platform
Hoo.com is a world’s leading blockchain assets service platform, aiming to provide safe and reliable assets management and blockchain services to users worldwide.

History

Founded in 2017 as a cryptocurrency wallet, Hoo.com quickly grew into a well reputed wallet in the field in just two years.
In June 2019, the company announced its acquisition to Chaince and OAX, two start-up exchanges in China and fully upgraded to a blockchain assets service platform whose business expanded to crypto exchanges, wallets, custody and mining industry.In September 2019, Hoo officially launched its initiative “Hoo Power” after several trial fundraisings which were hugely welcomed by the users. Hoo Power is a program which digitalizes the assets rights of Hoo users, such as Gain Right, Refund Right and Buy Back Right, etc. The “Digitalization of Assets Rights” at Hoo Power is to digitalize the rights of your cryptocurrency assets and turn them into tradable tokens which can be circulated and transferred in the secondary market. Users who hold digitalized right tokens (ticker name starting with a T) will be able to exercise their rights in a certain period of time with “1 token + 1 digitalized right token”.

Products

1. Hoo Exchange
Being one of the key features at Hoo.com, Hoo Exchange aims to become the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform. As of writing, the exchange has listed 69 coins with 80 trading markets. Users are also able to swap their tokens for free with a “Quick Swap” feature on the website and in the APP.
2. Hoo Financing
Hoo supports the financing of various mainstream digital currencies such as BTC, ETH, EOS and USDT as well as other tokens, including current and regular financial management methods.
Collateral Loaning is a loan service for digital currency launched by Hoo, aiming to help users with their capital problems in time. The borrower gets the loan by staking the blockchain assets he holds, with a daily interests as low as 0.005%. Coins that can be used for staking include BTC, ETH, EOS, HC, USDT, BCH, LTC, etc.
3. HD Wallet
HD Wallet is the on-chain wallet of Hoo. Users control their private key and are able to manage multi chain wallet with one set of mnemonics. The HD Wallet now supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, Ho and BTC Lightening Network and the integration with Dapps and Lapps.
4. Hoo Custody
Hoo Custody includes commercial wallet services and large asset trusting services.
Hoo Custody provides mature and reliable wallet service solutions to help companies such as exchanges, OTC platforms, wallet service providers, game operators and other companies to deposit, transfer, query and redeem products, which improves development efficiency and reduce operational risk.

Hoo Team

Core team of Hoo Exchange are composed of early Bitcoin lovers, blockchain developers and technicians who have abundant experience in blockchain development and marketing.
Fouder & CEO - Ruixi Wang (Twitter)
Ruixi Wang is a Chinese crypto investor and entrepreneur, who is the founder and CEO of Hoo.com.Wang first came across Bitcoin in the first half of 2013 when the One Foundation announced that they received 81 BTC donation. Not long after which he started a blockchain explorer called BtcMini, aiming to help people to get to know more about Bitcoin.When the agency went bankrupt, he joined the BitFountain, a Bitcoin miner company, one of the top three miner companies at the time.Two years later in January 2015, the founder of BitFountain ran away with 17,597 BTC. Wang bought the machines left in the company and started his new career as a miner owner.In the end of 2016, Wang fully-purchased PoW8.com, a well-known Chinese digital currency cloud mining and trading platform, with 5 million RMB.In the middle of 2017, Wang started his own ICO platform icooo.com, which was forced to be closed when Chinese government banned ICOs in September that year.In May 2018, Wang founded Hoo Wallet that was registered in Hong Kong.In June 2018, Hoo announced its acquisition to Chaince and OAX, two start-up exchanges in China and fully upgraded to a blockchain assets service platform (hoo.com) whose business expanded to crypto exchanges, wallets, custody and mining industry.
COO - Chaohua Deng (Twitter)Deng has been active on Bitcointalk since 2013. At the end of that year, he joined the marketing team of AEX exchange.In 2017, he started an ICO platform ICO365 which was also closed due to policy reasons.In 2018, Deng joined OAX exchange and worked as COO.In June 2019, he worked as COO at hoo.com after the acquisition.CMO - Xiaohai Chen ( LinkedIn)Chen got her Master's degree in Finance in University of Denve after she worked five years in PricewaterhouseCoopers. She started her crypto journey in 2017 as a co-founder in OAX exchange.In June 2019, Chen worked for Hoo.com as CMO after its aquisition to OAX.

Partners

https://preview.redd.it/9l0qtsgbyns31.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=a0a2394570638f8a25e23148533025b857b9a360
Follow Hoo.com:
Twitter | Telegram | Facebook | Instagram | Medium
submitted by Hooexchange to HooExchange [link] [comments]

Internet Nostalgia and the Future of Cryptocurrency — my personal story!

In the early 1990’s, when I was just a kid, my family purchased our first personal computer. It was a top of the line system with an Intel 486[i] processor running at a whopping 33MHz, 4MB of memory and a 33MB hard drive running MS-DOS[ii]! Although my trusted “MS-DOS for Dummies” handbook taught me everything I needed to know, the computer seemed more like a novelty than anything useful.
Nonetheless, I remember playing games like Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat[iii] and Hard Drivin’[iv] and many others. I also remember visiting our local Radio Shack for new software and the latest releases from the Tandy Corporation[v]. In fact, every now and then, my grandmother would take me to Radio Shack and buy me a new computer game (thanks grandma!)
A few years later, I started hearing about something called the “Internet.” However, I had no idea what it could do or how to “access” it. Then, one day, while visiting my local library, I discovered that their public computer was connected to the internet — and the World Wide Web!
Not only that, the library also offered a free program to help people connect their home computers to the internet[vi]. Once my family signed up, the library supervisor gave us a floppy disk with the required software, settings and instructions.
Now, keep in mind, I was not even a teenager at this time, and, on top of that, my family didn’t have a clue about tech. In fact, I remember my mother and grandmother looking at our new home computer as if it was an alien ship that just landed. So, basically, except for the floppy disc and the library supervisor, I was on my own! Somehow, I had to figure out how to set the whole thing up, and since internet technology was new to the public, I couldn’t find any references to model. And, of course, there was no google! Looking back, I must have driven the library supervisor crazy with all my questions!
Nevertheless, after buying a new computer with an awesome 100MHz processor and a 28kbit/s modem, and, almost a month later, I finally heard the magical beeps and static sounds of the free internet, and since the internet connection was provided by my local library, I was greeted with the library’s web page — Thank you Merrick Library!
Even though the whole internet consisted of plain black text[vii], I thought, “Wow, this is amazing! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!!!!”
With a sense of keen curiosity, I browsed the Usenet[viii] where people connected with one another and I searched the internet with WebCrawler[ix], and I even downloaded some images. However, there really wasn’t too much to discover, and before long, I brushed the internet off as another novelty and went back to playing computer games.
Then, about a year later, my local grocery store started offering free floppy discs for AOL[x], and I convinced my family to sign up for AOL’s free trial. Shortly thereafter, I was greeted with the iconic, “You’ve Got Mail!” However, the internet I discovered this time was no longer just plain black text!
I’ll never forget the first moment I saw the internet in full color with images! It took my breath away and the feeling of excitement was beyond profound!
At that point for me, the internet had blossomed into something extraordinary! And, along with vibrantly colored photos everywhere, there was a new website called Yahoo![xi]
Although few recognized it at the time, this was the beginning of the Dot-Com bubble, and not only would it change the internet, it would change the world!
Fast forward more than two decades to 2009, and now as an adult with my own son.
Something very different was beginning to stir, and it was called “Bitcoin” — a currency for the internet.
Although it was considered nothing more than an obscure idea at the time, it sparked something inside me — it was that same curious feeling I had when I first discovered the "text based" internet!
Even though I didn’t know much about this new oddity, I knew that I could use my computing power to generate something called Bitcoins. I thought, “Why not?“
So, after joining one of the first Bitcoin mining pools, I had my computer mine for a few days. This meant leaving my computer on non-stop with my GPU fan at full speed. In return, I earned 0.63BTC which was worth about $1.00USD at the time — with such little financial gain, I didn’t see the point of mining nor the feasibility of Bitcoin — so I stopped mining and forgot about Bitcoin.
Sometime later, I started hearing about Bitcoin again, but, this time, in some very different contexts:
Shortly after all the negativity began, I decided to learn more about Bitcoin. As my research unfolded, I began to comprehend “blockchain technology” as well as the potentials for technological advancement.
Once I understood the foundational premise of Bitcoin technology, I jumped in for real! I purchased Bitcoins, I started mining Litecoins (and others), and I continued to learn and evolve as a crypto miner, investor, trader, and loyal supporter.
Now, just 9 short years after the genesis block, Bitcoin has some new contexts:
Even as amazing as Bitcoin is today, I believe that it’s just the beginning of something much greater! However, to see what I see, you must look past the ICO’s, the scams, and the fear and anger of those involved. Once you see beyond the surface, the truth becomes quite clear, and, only then, can you begin to comprehend how Bitcoin is transforming the world!
Thanks to Bitcoin, we are on the cusp of technological evolution!
Moreover, the new technologies that are coming from Bitcoin development pay homage to their revolutionary beginnings.
For instance:
For me, foreseeing the future of cryptocurrency is like seeing the internet for the first time in full color with images, and, even though I’m no longer thirteen, I still have that same excited feeling! Indeed, the future is bright!
Thank you for reading this post and allowing me to share my story! I encourage you to share your crypto-story with me and others (here or anywhere appropriate).
What does Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mean to you?
Due to technological promise, what future cryptocurrencies/Blockchains/etc are you most excited about?
Although I’ve personally deemed some new cryptocurrencies potential gems, I’ll keep that information to myself right now. After all, the intention of this post is not to promote anything other than cryptocurrency in general.
Please, keep the crypto world in a positive state by allowing everyone their own opinions.
As a growing crypto-community, let’s move into the future together!
References
[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80486 — I wish I could remember the exact model.
[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-DOS
[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Yeager%27s_Air_Combat
[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Drivin%27
[v] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tandy_Corporation
[vi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_access
[vii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Text-based_web_browser
[viii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet
[ix] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebCrawler
[x] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL
[xi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!
submitted by satoshibytes to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Breakdown of the Mining Pool Ecosystem as it currently stands, and why the smaller pools are better than you think.

Hi NIM nation!
The best Proof of Work (PoW) coins have distributed mining networks. Bitcoin has many pools with large amounts of users mining on the network, yet the highest pool hashrate in percentages is BTC.com with only 25% of the hashrate. Exchanges like coins with distributed mining networks like BTC, as it means the risk of a 51% attack on the network by a pool is minimal.
Nimiq, not dissimilar to many other young projects, has a very skewed mining distribution. At the time of writing, beeppool currently has over 51% of the network hashrate, and Skypool combines with Beeppool to claim over 80% of the total hashrate in the last 24 hours. Large exchanges generally frown upon centralised networks like this as they feel they aren't as secure as other networks.
This post will talk about the different pools available for Nimiq mining, and why the Big 2 aren't necessarily the best bang for your mining buck right now if you're a long term miner. Before that, let's start with the big 2
Beeppool
Beeppool is the largest Nimiq mining pool, owned and operated by Blub. They have the best performing mining clients available, and the clients are smart clients capable of verifying transactions so no chance of a 51% attack by Beeppool... but the pool is currently closed due to an effort by Blub to decentralise the network anyway, as he knows it's unhealthy for a coin to have a centralised mining network incase a pool goes down. The fee was raised from 0.7% to 1% on top of this. The pool also only offers manual payouts, which are done whenever Blub gets around to them (usually 1 - 2 times a day). The pool is reliable overall, but being shut off to new users means the hashrate it is at now will most likely stay that way until it is reopened - maybe even drop if users decide to leave to support smaller pools.
Skypool
Skypool offers a variety of mining clients through it's own closed source propriety mining client. It is not a smart client (capable of verifying transactions and receiving jobs on its own), however pool operator Azard claims that the pool operates on a P2P network so a 51% attack isn't possible. Due to the clients being closed sourced, it is impossible to verify this. They were the first Nimiq pool on the block, so they have a lot of first mover advantage. But in their short history they've been plagued by server issues, making the pool unreliable. They also had "hashrate spoofing attacks", which meant the spoofers received more NIM than they should have. This NIM was never distributed to other miners, which made members of the community question what they did with it. They also have a 1% fee, and payout only once a day.
So the two biggest mining pools only offer payouts one - two times a day at a certain time, which is unusual for many pools. They also have the highest fees out of the pools. This is a point that gets lost among miners new and old, so I want to emphasize this before I continue
Pools with higher hashrates DOES NOT mean that you will receive more NIM than pools with lower hashrates. All it means is that you will receive a more consistent payout.
Why is that important? For short term miners, the consistent payout means that they will be more assured to get the NIM they're mining. But for long term miners, it doesn't matter which pool you choose from - if the hashrate is the same, over time your NIM received will be the same regardless if you're on a small pool or large pool... until the fees kick in.
With that being said, it's time to look at some of the smaller mining pools that I have tested and trialed, and look at why they're more appealing options to a longer term miner.
Sushipool
Sushipool has one of the cleanest UIs out of any mining pool for Nimiq. They also have mining clients for any system based off the smart mining client, which means no 51% attacks for Sushipool - plus a webminer for those who don't want to set up a miner on their computer. The Sushipool webminer was also initially used to support the increasingly popular Tamigochi-like game Nimipets, which uses webmining to generate food for their pets. The pool currently has a 1% fee, and unlike the Big 2 pools, it offers automatic payouts for balances over 10 NIM every 3 hours! It also has servers based over the world as well, allowing low ping connections for most users. It has everything the bigger pools have, plus a nice UI on their website and automatic payouts with a 0% fee, and a variety of other small features that make it stand out as one of the better smaller pools.
More info at https://sushipool.com
Porkypool
Porkypool doesn't offer the breadth of clients like Sushipool does, but it's standout feature is that it offers a one line script for Linux users to instantly compile the Linux miner for their system to run on Porkypool servers. There's also the option of web mining if you don't want to install, although this is done on the official Nimiq miner at nimiq.com. They offer servers around the world like Sushipool, and while they don't have a 0% fee deal for the first month, they do offer a competitive 0.8% fee, which is lower than the Big 2. They also offer payouts over 10 NIM automatically every hour! The consistent payouts are attractive to those who needs to sell as they mine to cover costs.
More info at https://porkypool.com/
Nimbus
Nimbus is one of the newest pools, and as such it is only supporting Linux miners currently with Windows miners on the way. However, in spite of this, Nimbus offers some of the best performance on a Linux miner that can be found, and they offer a very competitive 0% fee for people who wish to mine with them now. They have a registration system similar to Beeppool, however there is automatic approval so no waiting for the admins to add you. They also have a personalised mining tutorial for those who wish to use Google Cloud Compute's free trial to mine up to potentially 10,000 NIM for effectively free once you register.
More info at https://nimbus.fun/
Nimiqchain
Nimiqchain recently underwent a relaunch, and is now supported by mining clients for every OS as well as a webminer, and the pool is currently operating on a 0% fee! The pool doesn't require registration, and payouts occur every time a block is found for accounts that are over 10 NIM. They have 4 global servers to connect to for low ping, and the new UI design on the website rivals Sushipool for looks. Well worth a look as they offer competitive fees and a wide range of features
More info here - https://pool.nimiqchain.info/
There are also a number of other smaller pools operating, such as Philpool with a competitive 0.5% fee and an easy to use linux script to install. The ones I have spoken about are the ones I have tested and feel comfortable talking about.
I mine with Beep or Skypool already - why should I switch?
Few reasons
  1. The lower fees mean that over time, if you're in for the long haul you will receive more NIM in pocket and less going to the pool runners. Remember, consistent payouts from larger pools only truly affects short term miners, long term miners will find the payouts average out over time... and besides, if your chosen pool ends up getting a higher hashrates, then the payouts will become more consistent as a result! Win win for everyone
  2. It makes the network more appealing for larger exchanges, and outsider looking in. More exchanges/more outsiders wanting in = more adoption, circulation and use of Nimiq. I'll let you figure out why that's important ;)
  3. The automatic payouts and reliability of the timing of the smaller pool payouts means that in the event that something happens to the pool admins for Beep or Sky, or the pool goes down, you will still be receiving most of your hard earned NIM as you can get your payouts more often. Just ask anyone who tried to withdraw NIM from TradeSatoshi over the last week how frustrating/nerve wrecking it is to have NIM in limbo.
To see the pool hashrates in real time, visit https://poolwatch.info/ for more info. Please note that it uses a logarithmic graph so even if they appear close, they might not be as close as they seem :)
submitted by Mr-Clarke to Nimiq [link] [comments]

Try reopen your dispute with Visa card under condition 13.5

The terms of sale were misrepresented for a transaction involving the following merchant types such as:

For your convenience, here's a template letter to your bank, feel free to modify and use.

Dear Madam or Sir,

I would like to provide documents to support the dispute against HashCoins LP(dba Hashflare, Merchant). I purchased a digital service(bitcoin mining) from the Merchant under the agreement of Terms of Service. Invoices are attached. You may find the Terms of Service at the merchant’s official website at https://hashflare.io/terms/.

  1. HashCoins significantly misrepresented the service on their website and in the Terms of Service on the following grounds.

1.1 “Fixed” Fees
On its official website www.hashflare.io (see Attached screenshot), above the "Purchase" section, HashCoins promises to charge “FIXED FEES” and “No hidden fees or commissions.” Maintenance fees are listed as “$0.005/ 1 MH/s / 24h” for SCRYPT cloud mining and “$0.0035 / 10 GH/s / 24h” for SHA-256 at the time of my purchase. All fees are shown in USD currency. HashCoins purposely points out that the fee is in “$” and says it’s fixed. In the Terms of Service, Section 11.1 on Page 9, they continue to show the fees are measured in USD (measure in USD / kWh, highlighted and quoted below):

F = A * q * S * 720 h, where:
A - actual hashrate, measured in H/s;
q - power consumption (powehashrate), measured in kW / H/s;
S - electricity cost (average for 2 previous months), measure in USD / kWh;
720 h - hours in 1 month (accounted as 30 days).

However, they never disclosed that they charge “fees” in BTC (Bitcoin currency) NOT in USD. And since the exchange rate of BTC/USD varies every day, the fees are in fact variable. Without given this information, HashCoins made customers believe that the contract will be profitable for the most of the time using their formula and the profitability will not be affected by the exchange rate. In retrospect, if the maintenance fees were in BTC, their contracts would be extremely unlikely to be profitable and their service is worthless.

By contrast, other merchants in the industry all fully disclose how they handle the maintenance fee in details. For instance, Genesis cloud mining, who provides a similar service, informs their customers in their ads that “Please note that the fee is fixed in USD but deducted from the daily mining rewards in BTC. Please refer to the Terms of Service for further details.” (See attachment, Genesis cloud mining’s ad. Can be found on their homepage https://www.genesis-mining.com/pricing). Genesis also explained how the conversion works in their Terms of Service.

1.2 Refuse to allow customers to withdraw available payout

On the website, HashCoins highlights that their service allows “INSTANT WITHDRAWAL”(see Attached screenshot), and customers can “Choose the amount to withdraw and receive it instantly”. Now HashCoins does not allow customers to withdraw until their profit (after subtracting maintenance fees) reaches a minimum amount, they also require customers to go through a very tedious verification process before they can withdraw, not to mention this minimum amount is impossible to reach for any ordinary customers.

1.3 Misleading Revenue Forecast
To make matters worse, HashCoins displayed a misleading “Revenue Forecast” on user’s dashboard (See attached screenshot, HashCoins Revenue Forecast), in which the revenue doesn’t take into account the maintenance fees, instead they indicated that the revenue is the payout. This makes existing customers continue to believe that their digital mining service is profitable.

  1. HashCoins misrepresented its cancellation policy

Specifically, in Section 5, the cancellation and termination policy specifies that after the mining become unprofitable for 21 consecutive days, HashCoins will and must permanently terminate the contract. As a result, they should return my funds, which was prepaid for 1-year service.
Boris, One of HashCoins’ support team members, has confirmed with me the cancellation policy in his email on (Correspondence 1).
On July 24, 2018, after 21 consecutive days of being non-profitable, HashCoins sent me an email about the cancellation (Correspondence 2).
On July 28, 2018, HashCoins claimed that they would resume the mining service (Correspondence 3) even though mining had not been profitable since then. I have never received payout. HashCoins only uses the “continuation” of service as a way to avoid refund. This is breach of contract.
At this moment, I simply demand the merchant HashCoins to follow the Terms of Service, and to cancel and refund my prepaid funds. I have been paying Maintenance fees (See the log HashCoins attached) while they offered the service even though the fees was misrepresented in the advertising and Terms of Service, as explained later. There is no reason for HashCoins to continue withholding my prepaid funds.

Quoted from the Terms of Service (a copy is screenshot is attached):
  1. CONTRACT TERM
5.1. These Terms of Service are valid indefinitely, even after Account termination.
5.2. The Contract Term for HashFlare.io Cloud Machines is set to 1 year by default, unless stated otherwise. The Contract is valid while profitable (refer to section 5.5.), until expired or until terminated (refer to section 13), whichever comes first.
5.3. Contracts with a stated expiry date will end on the date of expiry and the Cloud Machine is stopped.
5.4. Pre-order Contracts that are not activated immediately on purchase will activate on the stated date.
5.5. The Mining process continues until said mining is profitable. This means the Mining process will stop if the Maintenance and Electricity Fees will become larger than the Payout. If mining remains unprofitable for 21 consecutive days the Service is permanently terminated (Hashrate type specific). During the consecutive 21 day period, Payouts and Fees will also be temporarily stopped. If during the suspension period, the Contract-related mining factors (such as the exchange rate and mining difficulty) that are outside of HashFlare’s control will change favorably, making mining profitable again, the Service will be unsuspended and contracts reactivated.
5.6. HashFlare reserves the right to change the launch date, Contract Term of any Contract.

In sum, HashCoins misrepresented the service and income possibility to customers meanwhile they failed to act in accordance with their terms of service customers agreed on. I find this merchant lacks integrity. I am not surprised to see many people complaining and filing chargebacks against them. You may find testimonies on Twitter, Google, Reddit oand other social media. I hope the chargeback can be resolved in my favor. Thanks again for your support! 


submitted by Livinindacar to hashflare [link] [comments]

[Guide] No hardware to mine? How to net 6,000+Ð/day using Windows Azure

Inspired by lleti 's free guide for using Amazon Web Services. However, from what I understand due to rental costs, it is more efficient to buy doge directly than use AWS. This guide is based on utilizing the $200 credit that comes with the Windows Azure cloud computing free trial, so you will not pay anything.
This is targeted at shibes with poor hardware that can only mine 50-200 doge per day, but it will work for everyone.
Disclaimer: Doge rate is an estimate based on current difficulties and market. Windows Azure trial may be US only (?)
Overview / How it works
You will not be mining doge directly with this method. Mining doge effeciently requires a GPU, which aren't found in traditional servers. Instead, we will be using the powerful CPUs provided with Windows Azure servers to mine a CPU based crypto-currency, such as QuarkCoin or SecureCoin, and convert those to doge.
Steps
1) Install your QRK or SRC wallet
Ideally if you are reading this, you have installed a dogecoin-qt wallet for yourself before. We will need to do the same for either QuarkCoin or SecureCoin. This is the wallet where will will send the coins you mine with your Windows Azure servers.
These are not the only CPU coin options, but QRK and SRC are very similar (same hash function) and simple to mine.
Once you have installed the wallet, it should look very similar to your DogeCoin wallet. If you have trouble downloading the blockchain ('out of sync'), look at these threads respectively to see which nodes you need to add to your config file. Config files are located at C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\CoinName.conf on Windows.
2) Set up a mining pool account
If you have joined a mining pool for DogeCoin, it will be a very similar experience for other alt coins. See the following bitcointalk threads which have a list of mining pools:
If you would like a pool recommendation, I can recommend src.coinmine.pl and qrk.coinmine.pl; this is from personal experience, I am not affiliated with them.
Once you are logged in you should also create 3 workers, as we will be setting up 3 servers, one for each server. So you should have 3 worker names, and a password set up for each worker.
3) Sign up for Windows Azure free trial
Link: www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
You will have to provide a valid credit card and verify your account with a cell phone so they know you are a real person. This is a Microsoft product so they are reputable. Once you sign up, you will receive a $200 to use in 30 days. Remember to cancel when your credits are running out so they don't charge you.
4) Create Windows Server instances
I would recommend you watch this video which walks you through the UI of the Windows Azure management site to set up the virtual machines we need. Essentially we are going to do the following:
Thus we have a total of 20 CPU cores to mine QRK / SRC with. We want the the most CPU power we can get without excessively burning our $200 credit. That's why 2008 R2 is used, and only 3 instances of it.
5) Remotely connect to servers and download miner
This section is also covered in the video from section 4, watch it for a visual walkthrough.
Once the servers have been initialized on Microsoft's end, we should be able to access them under 'Virtual Machines' at www.manage.windowsazure.com. You should see each host name and a status, and when selected there should be an additional 'Connect' button - click it.
You should now be prompted to download a .rdp file. Download this for each of your 3 virtual machines to a folder you will remember. You will open this .rdp file and use the login credentials you previously specified to connect to each server.
Once you are remotely connected, you should see the desktop. Open up the first icon on the taskbar that looks like a server, this is your server manager. We need to open up the 'Configure IE ESC' setting that's visible on this pane. Make sure 'Off' is selected for both admins and users on the IE ESC configuration.
Now, open up the IE browser and navigate to https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9cvOfoOekSdVzZZcThLZHg4bjA/edit. Press Ctrl + S to download the entire zip to the desktop, and un-zip it.
6) Configure and start miner
Again, this is pretty much covered in the video from section 4, if you prefer watching.
You should now have a folder on your server's desktop named quark-v2_w64. This is the miner for both QRK and SRC. We are going to be using minerd64_sse4.exe. Create a shortcut to minerd64_sse4.exe within the same folder. We now need to add the parameters for your miner.
Right click on your minerd64_sse4.exe shortcut -> Properties. Look at the target field, it should look like this:
C:\Users\UserName\Desktop\quark-v2_w64\minerd64_sse4.exe
We are going append the following format to this target field
-a quark -t 8 -o stratum+tcp://src.coinmine.pl:6020 -u user.worker -p password
-a: algorithm, both SRC and QRK use 'quark'
-t: number of cores (so either 8 or 4 for our purposes)
-o: mining pool information (url and port).
-u: account you have for your mining pool, then a period, then a worker name
-p: password that you created for the worker in step 2
So here is an example of what the target field of your shortcut should look like when you are done:
C:\Users\Nexic\Desktop\quark-v2_w64\minerd64_sse4.exe -a quark -t 8 -o stratum+tcp://src.coinmine.pl:6020 -u Nexic.worker1 -p pass1
7) Profit!!
If you set up your miners correctly on each Windows Server VM (I prefer to assign a separate worker to each one), you should be able to run them and see an output like this: http://i.imgur.com/3lECqSz.png. You can close your remote sessions without interrupting it.
How do you get the doge, you ask? Well, using the above setup I have earned 10 SecureCoins in the past 2 days. These are worth 0.00094 bitcoins (BTC) on Cryptsy at present. A doge is worth 0.0000007 BTC at present, so if I go from SRC -> BTC -> DOGE, I can turn 5 SRC to 6,642 DOGE on Cryptsy. There are also other exchanges, I won't go into how to exchange coins on this post. Remember, this is every day for about a week, for free!
Also, you can CPU mine on your own personal computers as well, not just the servers.
TL;DR
Mine QuarkCoin / SecureCoin using Windows Azure free trial, use Cryptsy (or other exchange) to convert to DOGE. Much more efficient than CPU mining Doge.
submitted by Nexic to dogecoin [link] [comments]

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