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A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on Ethereum

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself on the DeFi Pulse website.

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie tokenized his own NBA contract.)

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (Jitsi for the zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethtrader [link] [comments]

A detailed summary of every reason why I am bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethfinance [link] [comments]

If you need help or you're New to roms and emulation these are some tips

First thing first You need an Emulator i suggest RetroArch is a Newbie Friendly good all in one emulator this is a video to how to setup and use ReTrOaRcH
OpenEmu FOR MAC USERS THAT WILL NOT USE RETRO ARCH BECAUSE IT'S NOT ENOUGH LOOKING LIKE MAC UI OR THEY HAVE AN OCD OR something like that it's good anyways ( i didn't use it bc i'm not a mac user )
🕿︎♋︎◻︎◻︎●︎♏︎ ◻︎❒︎□︎♎︎◆︎♍︎⧫︎⬧︎ ♋︎❒︎♏︎ □︎❖︎♏︎❒︎◻︎❒︎♓︎♍︎♏︎♎︎✆︎
and a download Manger
Jdownloader ( download the jar version ) A photo to explain what to download (don't download the .exe version it has an adware in it )
or idm u can trial reset with this
a torrent clients (credits to Piracy wiki)
for mobile ( torrent clients ) [credits to Piracy wiki]
stay away from [credits to Piracy wiki]
second you need sources to download roms these are the best sites + some tips
sites :
ziperto
No intro romset ( you can download it directly without a torrent you CAN FROM HERE ) (If you don't want to download the whole romset for the system press view content )
AlvRo's Collection
Vimm's Lair
The Eye
GamesTorrents ( of course if u can torrent )
MEGA-ROM
N(itro)blog
THE MEGATHREAD
RomsUniverse
MOBAsuite
IDK?? A WIKI FOR ROMpacks?????
The Old Megathread idk why u need it
A guy who uploaded some roms but he didn't get attention
ROMstorge ( idk how to use this site )
Roms WIKI
Another ROMs site
Edgeemu
EmulatorGames ( the name is baaaaaaaad )
ROMsDownload
WoW Roms
cdROMance
Startgame ( wtf is this name )
Retrostic
ROMulation
If u Want to Check if the site is safe go to here and comment ur site url
Tips :
Tip #1 : If you're in a country that hate piracy like USA or Germany ( i think Germany have dmca or something ?? idk ) etc. stay away from torrent and stay away from http sites
( download Https Everywhere extension and enable encrypt all sites eligible option by pressing on the icon of https everywhere ) even if your browser included with it . because it will warn you if the site is http...
Tip #2 : FBI will not raid your house ( because fbi will not waste there time on you )
Tip #3 : https is your best friend because it's encrypted that means if you go to a https roms site
your isp will see (random numbers and letters) .com/.net/.org/.to/.site etc.
Tip #4 : install an adblock i suggest Ublock Origin
Tip #5 : install a pop-up blocker if you have a chromium based browser like Brave, Chrome, New Edge etc. i suggest this ( if you know a better one please give me the link ) poperblocker
Tip #6 The MegaThread is your OTHER BEST FRIEND if you want an rom head to the megathread and press ctrl + F and search ;)
Tip #7 DON'T DO NOT OPEN ANY ANY ANY .MSI .EXE/.DMG/.DEB or ANY OTHER FILE THAT you CAN OPEN WITHOUT AN EMULATOR THE FILE IT'S 2000% A VIRUS ( EXCEPT WHEN you DOWNLOAD RETRO ARCH [ or any other emulator OF COURSE ] ) AND DON'T OPEN .BAT FILES IT CAN DELETE SYSTEM32 FILE AND IT'S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FILES IN WINDOWS
Tip #8 Emulating is Legal but Downloading ROMs is ILEGAL ( OF COURSE IF you're LIVING IN A COUNTRY THAT DMCA IS A HOLY THING ) ;-)
Tip #9 If you're suspicious of a file u can scan it on VirusTotal or Hybird Analysis ( you need to upload the file because it will open it on a vm in there sever ).
Tip #10 I recommend using a controller if you have a xbox controller just connect it to your pc and you're good to go BUT if you have a dualshock controller (ps controller )
use DS4 Windows ( if you have a windows pc ) ( I Know it's the fork bc the og creator stopped working on it in 2016 or somthing like that )
or any other controller .
Tip #11 If you download a rom and it came in .rar .zip .7z .r001( if the rom came with multiple files like .r001 .r002 .r003... you need to extract just a one file) etc. you can use 7-ZIP or Winrar ( don't worry 40 days trial doesn't end ).

Tip #12 if the rom came in this order rom.rar.exe don't think to open it and if you hide the extension file from showing from the file name it will show like rom.rar but it's actually a .exe or .dmg etc.

Tip #13 if you have a linux pc or a mac that doesn't mean you will not get infected even Temple OS have malwares ( if you don't what's a malware is just search )​.
Tip #14 if u tired of link shorters and etc. use universal Bypass
Tip #15 Some good emulators :
Dolphin a wii and gamecube emulator ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
Citra 3DS emulator ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
BSNES HD beta if u want to play snes games on HD
PCSX2 the best ps2 emulator
EPSXE a little bit old but it's good (ps1)
DON'T use zsnes ( i guy on the comments said that )
RPCS3 PS3 ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
Xenia Xbox 360 ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
Cemu WiiU Emulator ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
a Decryptor for 3ds games if citra won't open the rom HERE
DS DeSmuME (OLD) ( if u have a good ds emulator give me the link pls )
Project64 N64
DOSBox DOS emulator ( check the compatibility list to check if the game work )
IF U HAVE any other emulator pls link it in the comments <3
Tip #16
Romsmania
CoolRoms
etc. are NOT SAFE
if you have any other tips share it =)
submitted by real_nyha454 to Roms [link] [comments]

Proposal: The Sia Foundation

Vision Statement

A common sentiment is brewing online; a shared desire for the internet that might have been. After decades of corporate encroachment, you don't need to be a power user to realize that something has gone very wrong.
In the early days of the internet, the future was bright. In that future, when you sent an instant message, it traveled directly to the recipient. When you needed to pay a friend, you announced a transfer of value to their public key. When an app was missing a feature you wanted, you opened up the source code and implemented it. When you took a picture on your phone, it was immediately encrypted and backed up to storage that you controlled. In that future, people would laugh at the idea of having to authenticate themselves to some corporation before doing these things.
What did we get instead? Rather than a network of human-sized communities, we have a handful of enormous commons, each controlled by a faceless corporate entity. Hey user, want to send a message? You can, but we'll store a copy of it indefinitely, unencrypted, for our preference-learning algorithms to pore over; how else could we slap targeted ads on every piece of content you see? Want to pay a friend? You can—in our Monopoly money. Want a new feature? Submit a request to our Support Center and we'll totally maybe think about it. Want to backup a photo? You can—inside our walled garden, which only we (and the NSA, of course) can access. Just be careful what you share, because merely locking you out of your account and deleting all your data is far from the worst thing we could do.
You rationalize this: "MEGACORP would never do such a thing; it would be bad for business." But we all know, at some level, that this state of affairs, this inversion of power, is not merely "unfortunate" or "suboptimal" – No. It is degrading. Even if MEGACORP were purely benevolent, it is degrading that we must ask its permission to talk to our friends; that we must rely on it to safeguard our treasured memories; that our digital lives are completely beholden to those who seek only to extract value from us.
At the root of this issue is the centralization of data. MEGACORP can surveil you—because your emails and video chats flow through their servers. And MEGACORP can control you—because they hold your data hostage. But centralization is a solution to a technical problem: How can we make the user's data accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device? For a long time, no alternative solution to this problem was forthcoming.
Today, thanks to a confluence of established techniques and recent innovations, we have solved the accessibility problem without resorting to centralization. Hashing, encryption, and erasure encoding got us most of the way, but one barrier remained: incentives. How do you incentivize an anonymous stranger to store your data? Earlier protocols like BitTorrent worked around this limitation by relying on altruism, tit-for-tat requirements, or "points" – in other words, nothing you could pay your electric bill with. Finally, in 2009, a solution appeared: Bitcoin. Not long after, Sia was born.
Cryptography has unleashed the latent power of the internet by enabling interactions between mutually-distrustful parties. Sia harnesses this power to turn the cloud storage market into a proper marketplace, where buyers and sellers can transact directly, with no intermediaries, anywhere in the world. No more silos or walled gardens: your data is encrypted, so it can't be spied on, and it's stored on many servers, so no single entity can hold it hostage. Thanks to projects like Sia, the internet is being re-decentralized.
Sia began its life as a startup, which means it has always been subjected to two competing forces: the ideals of its founders, and the profit motive inherent to all businesses. Its founders have taken great pains to never compromise on the former, but this often threatened the company's financial viability. With the establishment of the Sia Foundation, this tension is resolved. The Foundation, freed of the obligation to generate profit, is a pure embodiment of the ideals from which Sia originally sprung.
The goals and responsibilities of the Foundation are numerous: to maintain core Sia protocols and consensus code; to support developers building on top of Sia and its protocols; to promote Sia and facilitate partnerships in other spheres and communities; to ensure that users can easily acquire and safely store siacoins; to develop network scalability solutions; to implement hardforks and lead the community through them; and much more. In a broader sense, its mission is to commoditize data storage, making it cheap, ubiquitous, and accessible to all, without compromising privacy or performance.
Sia is a perfect example of how we can achieve better living through cryptography. We now begin a new chapter in Sia's history. May our stewardship lead it into a bright future.
 

Overview

Today, we are proposing the creation of the Sia Foundation: a new non-profit entity that builds and supports distributed cloud storage infrastructure, with a specific focus on the Sia storage platform. What follows is an informal overview of the Sia Foundation, covering two major topics: how the Foundation will be funded, and what its funds will be used for.

Organizational Structure

The Sia Foundation will be structured as a non-profit entity incorporated in the United States, likely a 501(c)(3) organization or similar. The actions of the Foundation will be constrained by its charter, which formalizes the specific obligations and overall mission outlined in this document. The charter will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the current goals of the Sia community.
The organization will be operated by a board of directors, initially comprising Luke Champine as President and Eddie Wang as Chairman. Luke Champine will be leaving his position at Nebulous to work at the Foundation full-time, and will seek to divest his shares of Nebulous stock along with other potential conflicts of interest. Neither Luke nor Eddie personally own any siafunds or significant quantities of siacoin.

Funding

The primary source of funding for the Foundation will come from a new block subsidy. Following a hardfork, 30 KS per block will be allocated to the "Foundation Fund," continuing in perpetuity. The existing 30 KS per block miner reward is not affected. Additionally, one year's worth of block subsidies (approximately 1.57 GS) will be allocated to the Fund immediately upon activation of the hardfork.
As detailed below, the Foundation will provably burn any coins that it cannot meaningfully spend. As such, the 30 KS subsidy should be viewed as a maximum. This allows the Foundation to grow alongside Sia without requiring additional hardforks.
The Foundation will not be funded to any degree by the possession or sale of siafunds. Siafunds were originally introduced as a means of incentivizing growth, and we still believe in their effectiveness: a siafund holder wants to increase the amount of storage on Sia as much as possible. While the Foundation obviously wants Sia to succeed, its driving force should be its charter. Deriving significant revenue from siafunds would jeopardize the Foundation's impartiality and focus. Ultimately, we want the Foundation to act in the best interests of Sia, not in growing its own budget.

Responsibilities

The Foundation inherits a great number of responsibilities from Nebulous. Each quarter, the Foundation will publish the progress it has made over the past quarter, and list the responsibilities it intends to prioritize over the coming quarter. This will be accompanied by a financial report, detailing each area of expenditure over the past quarter, and forecasting expenditures for the coming quarter. Below, we summarize some of the myriad responsibilities towards which the Foundation is expected to allocate its resources.

Maintain and enhance core Sia software

Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation. At the heart of Sia is its consensus algorithm: regardless of other differences, all Sia software must agree upon the content and rules of the blockchain. It is therefore crucial that the algorithm be stewarded by an entity that is accountable to the community, transparent in its decision-making, and has no profit motive or other conflicts of interest.
Accordingly, Sia’s consensus functionality will no longer be directly maintained by Nebulous. Instead, the Foundation will release and maintain an implementation of a "minimal Sia full node," comprising the Sia consensus algorithm and P2P networking code. The source code will be available in a public repository, and signed binaries will be published for each release.
Other parties may use this code to provide alternative full node software. For example, Nebulous may extend the minimal full node with wallet, renter, and host functionality. The source code of any such implementation may be submitted to the Foundation for review. If the code passes review, the Foundation will provide "endorsement signatures" for the commit hash used and for binaries compiled internally by the Foundation. Specifically, these signatures assert that the Foundation believes the software contains no consensus-breaking changes or other modifications to imported Foundation code. Endorsement signatures and Foundation-compiled binaries may be displayed and distributed by the receiving party, along with an appropriate disclaimer.
A minimal full node is not terribly useful on its own; the wallet, renter, host, and other extensions are what make Sia a proper developer platform. Currently, the only implementations of these extensions are maintained by Nebulous. The Foundation will contract Nebulous to ensure that these extensions continue to receive updates and enhancements. Later on, the Foundation intends to develop its own implementations of these extensions and others. As with the minimal node software, these extensions will be open source and available in public repositories for use by any Sia node software.
With the consensus code now managed by the Foundation, the task of implementing and orchestrating hardforks becomes its responsibility as well. When the Foundation determines that a hardfork is necessary (whether through internal discussion or via community petition), a formal proposal will be drafted and submitted for public review, during which arguments for and against the proposal may be submitted to a public repository. During this time, the hardfork code will be implemented, either by Foundation employees or by external contributors working closely with the Foundation. Once the implementation is finished, final arguments will be heard. The Foundation board will then vote whether to accept or reject the proposal, and announce their decision along with appropriate justification. Assuming the proposal was accepted, the Foundation will announce the block height at which the hardfork will activate, and will subsequently release source code and signed binaries that incorporate the hardfork code.
Regardless of the Foundation's decision, it is the community that ultimately determines whether a fork is accepted or rejected – nothing can change that. Foundation node software will never automatically update, so all forks must be explicitly adopted by users. Furthermore, the Foundation will provide replay and wipeout protection for its hard forks, protecting other chains from unintended or malicious reorgs. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure that any file contracts formed prior to a fork activation will continue to be honored on both chains until they expire.
Finally, the Foundation also intends to pursue scalability solutions for the Sia blockchain. In particular, work has already begun on an implementation of Utreexo, which will greatly reduce the space requirements of fully-validating nodes (allowing a full node to be run on a smartphone) while increasing throughput and decreasing initial sync time. A hardfork implementing Utreexo will be submitted to the community as per the process detailed above.
As this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation, it will receive a significant portion of the Foundation’s budget, primarily in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.

Support community services

We intend to allocate 25% of the Foundation Fund towards the community. This allocation will be held and disbursed in the form of siacoins, and will pay for grants, bounties, hackathons, and other community-driven endeavours.
Any community-run service, such as a Skynet portal, explorer or web wallet, may apply to have its costs covered by the Foundation. Upon approval, the Foundation will reimburse expenses incurred by the service, subject to the exact terms agreed to. The intent of these grants is not to provide a source of income, but rather to make such services "break even" for their operators, so that members of the community can enrich the Sia ecosystem without worrying about the impact on their own finances.

Ensure easy acquisition and storage of siacoins

Most users will acquire their siacoins via an exchange. The Foundation will provide support to Sia-compatible exchanges, and pursue relevant integrations at its discretion, such as Coinbase's new Rosetta standard. The Foundation may also release DEX software that enables trading cryptocurrencies without the need for a third party. (The Foundation itself will never operate as a money transmitter.)
Increasingly, users are storing their cryptocurrency on hardware wallets. The Foundation will maintain the existing Ledger Nano S integration, and pursue further integrations at its discretion.
Of course, all hardware wallets must be paired with software running on a computer or smartphone, so the Foundation will also develop and/or maintain client-side wallet software, including both full-node wallets and "lite" wallets. Community-operated wallet services, i.e. web wallets, may be funded via grants.
Like core software maintenance, this responsibility will be funded in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.

Protect the ecosystem

When it comes to cryptocurrency security, patching software vulnerabilities is table stakes; there are significant legal and social threats that we must be mindful of as well. As such, the Foundation will earmark a portion of its fund to defend the community from legal action. The Foundation will also safeguard the network from 51% attacks and other threats to network security by implementing softforks and/or hardforks where necessary.
The Foundation also intends to assist in the development of a new FOSS software license, and to solicit legal memos on various Sia-related matters, such as hosting in the United States and the EU.
In a broader sense, the establishment of the Foundation makes the ecosystem more robust by transferring core development to a more neutral entity. Thanks to its funding structure, the Foundation will be immune to various forms of pressure that for-profit companies are susceptible to.

Drive adoption of Sia

Although the overriding goal of the Foundation is to make Sia the best platform it can be, all that work will be in vain if no one uses the platform. There are a number of ways the Foundation can promote Sia and get it into the hands of potential users and developers.
In-person conferences are understandably far less popular now, but the Foundation can sponsor and/or participate in virtual conferences. (In-person conferences may be held in the future, permitting circumstances.) Similarly, the Foundation will provide prizes for hackathons, which may be organized by community members, Nebulous, or the Foundation itself. Lastly, partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency space—or the cloud storage space—are a great way to increase awareness of Sia. To handle these responsibilities, one of the early priorities of the Foundation will be to hire a marketing director.

Fund Management

The Foundation Fund will be controlled by a multisig address. Each member of the Foundation's board will control one of the signing keys, with the signature threshold to be determined once the final composition of the board is known. (This threshold may also be increased or decreased if the number of board members changes.) Additionally, one timelocked signing key will be controlled by David Vorick. This key will act as a “dead man’s switch,” to be used in the event of an emergency that prevents Foundation board members from reaching the signature threshold. The timelock ensures that this key cannot be used unless the Foundation fails to sign a transaction for several months.
On the 1st of each month, the Foundation will use its keys to transfer all siacoins in the Fund to two new addresses. The first address will be controlled by a high-security hot wallet, and will receive approximately one month's worth of Foundation expenditures. The second address, receiving the remaining siacoins, will be a modified version of the source address: specifically, it will increase the timelock on David Vorick's signing key by one month. Any other changes to the set of signing keys, such as the arrival or departure of board members, will be incorporated into this address as well.
The Foundation Fund is allocated in SC, but many of the Foundation's expenditures must be paid in USD or other fiat currency. Accordingly, the Foundation will convert, at its discretion, a portion of its monthly withdrawals to fiat currency. We expect this conversion to be primarily facilitated by private "OTC" sales to accredited investors. The Foundation currently has no plans to speculate in cryptocurrency or other assets.
Finally, it is important that the Foundation adds value to the Sia platform well in excess of the inflation introduced by the block subsidy. For this reason, the Foundation intends to provably burn, on a quarterly basis, any coins that it cannot allocate towards any justifiable expense. In other words, coins will be burned whenever doing so provides greater value to the platform than any other use. Furthermore, the Foundation will cap its SC treasury at 5% of the total supply, and will cap its USD treasury at 4 years’ worth of predicted expenses.
 
Addendum: Hardfork Timeline
We would like to see this proposal finalized and accepted by the community no later than September 30th. A new version of siad, implementing the hardfork, will be released no later than October 15th. The hardfork will activate at block 293220, which is expected to occur around 12pm EST on January 1st, 2021.
 
Addendum: Inflation specifics
The total supply of siacoins as of January 1st, 2021 will be approximately 45.243 GS. The initial subsidy of 1.57 GS thus increases the supply by 3.47%, and the total annual inflation in 2021 will be at most 10.4% (if zero coins are burned). In 2022, total annual inflation will be at most 6.28%, and will steadily decrease in subsequent years.
 

Conclusion

We see the establishment of the Foundation as an important step in the maturation of the Sia project. It provides the ecosystem with a sustainable source of funding that can be exclusively directed towards achieving Sia's ambitious goals. Compared to other projects with far deeper pockets, Sia has always punched above its weight; once we're on equal footing, there's no telling what we'll be able to achieve.
Nevertheless, we do not propose this change lightly, and have taken pains to ensure that the Foundation will act in accordance with the ideals that this community shares. It will operate transparently, keep inflation to a minimum, and respect the user's fundamental role in decentralized systems. We hope that everyone in the community will consider this proposal carefully, and look forward to a productive discussion.
submitted by lukechampine to siacoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Newcomers FAQ - Please read!

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Some other great resources include Lopp.net, the Princeton crypto series and James D'Angelo's Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series.
Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute.
Some Bitcoin statistics can be found here and here. Developer resources can be found here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here.
Potential upcoming protocol improvements and scaling resources here and here.
The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here (LOL!)

Key properties of Bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy OTP Auth
Android Android N/A
iOS iOS iOS

Watch out for scams

As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".

Where can I spend bitcoins?

Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Spendabit, Overstock and The Bitcoin Directory Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg and Dell For all your electronics needs
Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Coinsfer, and more Bill payment
Menufy, Takeaway and Thuisbezorgd NL Takeout delivered to your door
Expedia, Cheapair, Destinia, Abitsky, SkyTours, the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap, Porkbun Domain name registration
Stampnik Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Coinmap and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, Cryptogrind, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, BitforTip, Rein Project Freelancing
Lolli Earn bitcoin when you shop online!
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
/GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Adult services
A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.

Bitcoin-Related Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network Second layer scaling
Blockstream, Rootstock and Drivechain Sidechains
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
JoinMarket and Wasabi Wallet CoinJoin implementation
Coinffeine and Bisq Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase Identity & Reputation management
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
bitcoin BTC 1 bitcoin one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit.
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by BitcoinFan7 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Fullnode Install Guide for Dummies ;-)

Bitcoin Fullnode Install Guide for Dummies ;-)
Feel free to stop at Level 0 or Level 1, which is fine. More advanced configs are offered to those with more tech savvy. This guide, obviously assumes a Windows 10 install, but other OSes work fine, just find a different guide. BTW, the "For Dummies" is a callback to a set of "tech" books in the 90's intended to be as easy as possible. It is in jest and not intended to insult the reader. Finally, if you dislike the formatting, a well formatted copy can be found here
There is a fairly small subset of Bitcoin users that run a full node. I think the idea of running a full node has gotten a bad rap over the years since there is so much talk about running on a Raspberry Pi, or getting zippy SSDs. Although all of this can be fun, it is often not really required at all. Here are some ways to run a full node starting with the very simple. I'll get into more complex configs, but these are all optional.

Tech Skill Level: 0 (the basics)

  1. Download Bitcoin Core
  2. Launch the downloaded installer and install the app
  3. Launch the installed "Bitcoin Core" app and let it run overnight
In many cases, thats it. If your running a new machine with a fairly good internet connection, 8 or 9 hours will be enough to complete the "Initial Block Download" (IBD). This may fill up your drive a bit, but again, on most new machines, 300 GB of space isn't that hard to come by.

Tech Skill Level: 1 (encrypted wallet)

One thing we left out in the level-0 exercise is encrypting your wallet. It's easy enough to do well, but a bit more difficult to do right. The main challenge is that humans generate really poor passwords. If you want a good password, the best way is to use something called "diceware". Basically, you just grab 4 or 5 dice and each throw of the dice represents a certain word on a special list. The throw {1,4,5,3,1} for example would be the word camping on the EFF-diceware-wordlist. So you repeat this a few times until you have a list of 8 or so words which becomes the passphrase you use to encrypt your wallet. Write it down, it is always hard to remember at first. So at level-1 your list becomes:
  1. Download Bitcoin Core
  2. Launch the downloaded installer and install the app
  3. Launch the installed "Bitcoin Core" app and let it run overnight
  4. Choose Encrypt Wallet from the Settings menu
  5. Enter your 8 word (or so) passphrase generated using the Diceware method

Wallet Encryption Dialog

Tech Skill Level: 2 (enable pruning if needed)

Though I said "300 GB of space isn't hard to come by", some times it actually is. If space is an issue, a simple way to fix it is to tell bitcoin to simple take less space. This is called "pruning" and can take that number from 300 GB down to below 5 GB. If you can't find 5 GB, then you'll have to read ahead to level-4 to add USB storage. But the good news is, enabling pruning is pretty easy, we just add another step to our working list:
  1. Download Bitcoin Core
  2. Launch the downloaded installer and install the app
  3. Launch the installed "Bitcoin Core" app and let it run overnight
  4. Do the wallet encryption steps here if you wish
  5. Choose Options from the Settings menu
  6. Choose Prune block storage to: and select the max size for the blocks to use
  7. Exit and restart the bitcoin application for the changes to take effect

Pruning Dialog
Note, even setting this to 1 GB will still leave you with about a 4.5 GB install. The blocks take up a lot of space, but the chainstate and other folders eat up at least 3.5 GB and they can't be pruned. Also, be aware, to disable pruning requires you to perform the entire IBD again. While pruned some other functions my be disabled as well, so just know that pruning does limit some functionality.

Tech Skill Level: 3 (verify the installer)

Although this is arguably something that should be done at level-0, some find the intricacies of comparing hash (thumbprint) values to be tedious and beyond the scope of a beginner. You will find these types of hash compares suggested quite often as a way to prevent running tainted programs. Programs are often tainted by bad disk or network performance, but most often, taint is malicious code inserted by viruses or malware. This is a way to guard yourself against those types of attacks.
What I cover here is a very basic comparison on the certificate, but a more thorough verification advised by mosts uses a program called Gpg4Win, and is beyond the scope of this beginners guide. But regardless, most users should strive to do this minimum level of validation.
  1. Download Bitcoin Core
  2. Launch the downloaded installer
  3. When prompted "Do you want to allow..." click Show more details
  4. In the details section select Show information about the publisher's certificate
  5. In the certificate window select the Details tab
  6. In the Details tab Subject should start with "CN = Bitcoin Core Code Signing Association"
  7. Ensure Thumbprint in Details reads ea27d3cefb3eb715ed214176a5d027e01ba1ee86
  8. If the checks pass, click OK to exit the certificate window and Yes to allow the installer to run.
  9. Launch the installed "Bitcoin Core" app and let it run overnight
  10. Do the wallet encryption steps here if you wish
  11. Do the optional pruning steps here if you wish

Certification Validation Windows
Note: The certificate used to sign the current Bitcoin installer is only valid from March 2020 to March 2021. After that point the thumbprint on the certificate will change. This is by design and intentional. If your reading this post after March 2021, then it is understood that the thumbprint has changed.

Tech Skill Level: 4 (use secondary storage)

We glossed over the "new machine with fairly good internet" part. Truth be known many people do not have fairly new machines, and find the IBD to take longer than the "over night" best wishes. For most people the slowdown is the disk access when calculating what is called chainstate. This requires fast random reads and writes to the disk. If you have an SSD disk, this will be no problem, but if you have a non-SSD "spinning" disk, random writes are always slow. Though an SSD will speed things up, they are pricey, so a nice middle ground may be a simple high-end USB key drive. You can get some with 10 to 15 MB/s random writes for $20 on Amazon. This is usually a order of magnitude faster than a "spinning" disk. And with pruning (see level-2), a small USB drive should be fine.
Once you decide on a drive, the tricky part will be to enable external storage. It requires editing a configuration file and adding a line. First, we want to create a directory on the key drive. You will need to determine the drive letter of your USB key drive. For the sake of this example, we will assume it is D:, but you must determine this yourself and correct the example. Once you know the drive letter, create a blank folder on the drive called Bitcoin. So for this example, creating Bitcoin on drive D: will create the path D:\Bitcoin. Once done, assuming that D: is your drive, here are the new steps including the edit of the configuration file:
  1. Download Bitcoin Core
  2. Launch the installer, verify it, then run it
  3. Launch the installed "Bitcoin Core" app and let it run overnight
  4. Do the wallet encryption steps here if you wish
  5. Do the optional pruning steps here if you wish
  6. Launch "Notepad" by typing "Notepad.exe" in the windows search bar then click Open
  7. Type the line datadir=D:\Bitcoin (depending on your drive letter) in the blank file
  8. Choose Save from the File menu in notepad
  9. Type %APPDATA%\Bitcoin\bitcoin.conf (note the percent signs) in the File name box
  10. Select All Files from the Save as type dropdown
  11. Click the Save button and overwrite the file if prompted
  12. Exit and restart the bitcoin application for the changes to take effect

Save As Dialog
Now that you've reached this level of technical expertise, there are many new configuration options that you can begin to modify if you wish. Most configuration data is contained in the bitcoin.conf file and learning how to maintain it is a key step for a node operator.

Tech Skill Level: 5 (all other customizations)

Here's a short list of various things you can ADD to your bitcoin.conf file. You generally just add a new line for each configuration settings.
  • addresstype=bech32
  • changetype=bech32
The addresstype / changetype allows your wallet to use the native-segwit (bech32) format. This is the most efficient and inexpensive way to spend bitcoin, and is a recommended configuration. The default uses something called p2sh-segwit which is more compatible with older wallets, but more expensive to spend.
  • minrelaytxfee=0.00000011
Changing the minrelaytxfee setting allows you to help propagate lower fee transactions. It will require more memory but TXN memory is capped at 300 MB by default anyways, so if you have enough memory, it is a good setting to choose.
  • dbcache=2048
The dbcache setting controls how many MB of memory the program will use for the chainstate database. Since this is a key bottleneck in the IBD, setting this value high (2048 MB) will greatly speed up the IBD, assuming you have the memory to spare
  • blocksdir=C:\Bitcoin
  • datadir=D:\Bitcoin
In level-4 we discussed moving the datadir to a fast external storage, but the majority of the space used for bitcoin is the blocks directory (blocksdir). Although you should always use for fastest storage for datadir, you are free to use slow storage for blocksdir. So if you only want to consume a small amount of your SSD (assumed D:) then you can keep your blocks on your slow "spinning" drive.
  • upnp=1
One of the harder challenges you may face running a node, is to get incoming connections. If you are lucky, you may find that your firewall and network HW support the uPnP protocol. If they do, this setting will allow bitcoin to configure uPnP to allow incoming connections to your node. Other methods exist to make your node reachable, but they are well beyond the scope of this guide.
submitted by brianddk to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Everyday info sec, hardcore info sec, and DNMs

Edit: Currently writing a new version of this, dont know when it will be done.
Edit: Since first post I have updated a few sections with additional information.
I recommend reading it all even if it is very long, I might have placed some relevant info in different sections while thinking about what else needed to be added, plenty of steps remains mostly the same except when I comment directly on it. It is not necessary to do 100% security all the time, unless you absolutely need it, combining some high and some lower security ideas for a balance of security and convenience is useful.
I will base this mostly on Windows, Linux users probably know this, and I have no idea how apple machines work (tho many things in here are still relevant for other operating systems, as they are just general tips)
Disclaimer: There are certainly other steps that can make you more anonymous or safer, however I think for most people this will surfice. Any software I recommend should be independently verified for security, and examples of software are not to be taken as endorsements. I simply use examples and give recommendations when I believe it necessary, or helpful.
I will not really differentiate between anonymity and security, they are often the same thing. As such the word security can mean either more anonymous, less vulnerable, or both.
--------
Everyday Simple Info Sec:
-There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password
(Snapchat msgs, reddit dms, discord msgs, are just a few examples of msgs that are never encrypted)
-Any info even send in encrypted msgs (and obviously non encrypted) should still be kept with possible deniability, don't say "I'm gonna do MDMA", say "I'm going out with molly."
-DO NOT STORE ANY PASSWORDS ON GOOGLE, IF GOOGLE LOGIN IS AUTHENTICATED IT WILL AUTFILL ALL PASSWORDS IT HAS SAVED (same with other similar services) (This means if you are logged in to chrome and someone has access to your machine, they can auto fill passwords without entering a single password)
-use a rememberable passphrase, especially for your master key ring aka password manager A long sentence that is memorable makes an okay password (decent example,: "I met my wife at Little Ceasers for the first time on 07/09/20" better even if it's just something you know, if its impersonal, and if you can add special characters or numbers that you won't forget) (A better example for a passphrase is: "There is 0nly 0ne letter that d0esn’t appear in any U.S. state nameQ")
-Purge your internet activity frequently, there's a reason why I only have one post, and a few comments appearing in my account, but thousands of kama. Exposing information needlessly is not good.
-Never post private information publicly, and if you do, do it vaguely as possible. (Example: Not "I'm 15", say "I'm a teenager") Do not post any vital information ever, no birthdays, mother's maiden name, age, or anything you have ever seen in a security question. Never post your current activities while they are ongoing. You going on a vacation? Don't announce it to the world, taking picture there? Post them when you are home.
-Rethink how you do security questions. Many answers to security questions can be found in your internet history. One could use the first word of the security question as an answer, or a different sceme that will mean you always remember it. (Security question need to go, the amount of personal info an average person puts on the internet makes it easy to attack anything using security question)
-------_
High level crimimal information security:
The motto here is, "All the Security, All the Time" As one fuck up can end with you leaving a lick of traceability, and you could be fucked.
Pre Note: All of your software should always be up to date. Also even perfect info sec does not guarantee you are completely safe, a new zero day (exploit) can still fuck you, but good info security makes you significantly safer, by eliminating as many attacks as possible.
-Get a new device (or make a already owned device seem like you never owned it, do this only if you know how to, there's a lot of stuff that goes into that, like changing your mac adress etc) buy with cash, and your face covered, preferably far away from where you live. (Do I need to specify to not bring your phone or anything else that tracks your location to anywhere you want to go anonymously?) (Be aware that even hardware can have vulnerabilities, many cpus have known vulnerabilities, I can't list them all, do some research before buying)
-If you know how to use Tails (A linux distro designed for Info sec) use that, preferably on a USB. (Or learn how to use tails, its better, but complicated) Otherwise a clean copy of windows (make sure its not in any way associated with you) can do the job too, tho not as well. (Using a VM might give extra security, since VMs usually erase all data and RAM they were using on shutdown)
-Get a non tracking VPN, Enable the kill switch (a setting that disables all traffic that doesn't go through the VPN) (change your firewall settings to only allow the traffic from the VPN, windows guide (Change settings so only traffic from the tor application is send) Edit: (Due to complaints: do not use vpn over tor, use tor over vpn. tor over vpn has no notable downside, if the VPN logs it makes no difference, your ISP will always log anyways, and vpns remove other attack vectors and also provide backup security should tor fail. Again even if the VPN tracks you only change the people doing the tracking, but now you are further removed making it more anonymous and also with less vulnerabilities)
-rember privacy settings, cookie cleaner, and antivirus, password (There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password)
-Always use the device on a non admin account
-Ideally use this device only on networks that are not connected with you. Such as public networks (try to never use the same public networks twice, move around) (a home network should be fine now, as it should never be exposed, but more security is always better) (Its just a conveniences vs security trade)
-Never use accounts that have been exposed to lower security on higher security machines
-your browser is now TOR (or your preferred security focused browser, if you dont plan on using onion ) Make sure you get the standalone version of tor not the addon build (the standalone is safer, because there are less settings and options to tweak)
-Change your tor settings, to safest mode, enable a bridge (to my knowledge there's no difference in security between the build in bridges in tor), enable automatic updates, set duckduckgo onion as your primary browser. Set dark.fail onion page as your home page. (Or your preferred privacy search engine and onion directory)
-------_
How to use dark net markets (DNMs)
If you finished your High Security setup, we can dive right in. Otherwise go do that. This is where all that is essential.
Quick info on Tor, and onion sites. There is no search engine. It's all based of directories and addresses you are given by others. Tor will likely not be very quick, it has to pass through multiple networks to get to the destination. DNMs sometimes exit scam, an exit scam is when a market shuts down completely and takes all the money, this is a risk when using DNMs, it's not too common but happens maybe 0-4 times a year. The admins of thoese servers need to get out at some point, before they get jailed, so they exit the game, and scam everyone out of their money.
-A very useful onion directory is dark.fail it has a lot of links, for all kinds of stuff. News, email, DNMs, Psychonautwiki (harm reduction website), forums etc. (Other directories also exist)
-Pick a market, preferably one that handles secure connection server side instead of requiring you to establish the secure connection. Then create an account. Your account once created should include an entry box in your profile for a pgp key, post your PUBLIC key in there. (Verify the link is not a scam, most markets should provide a pgp signature)
-Next is currency setup. All major cryptocurrency exchangers can be used, I can recommend coin base but there could be better ones out there. Unless you find a small non U.S., exchange, they will always ask for your identity. So unless you can find a trustworthy exchange that doesn't ID, you will need to give it to them. (Side note, all major crypto exchangers report to the IRS, if the IRS asks you if you bought cryptocurrency and you bought while having IDed yourself SAY YES, DO NOT COMMIT TAX FRAUD WHEN THEY KNOW YOU DID)
-Transfer (monero you can send directly, btc you should scramble) to your wallet. There are two options a cold wallet (physical) or a software wallet. Software wallets usually dont cost anything so I recommend them, even if often less safe. Electrum is easy to use, and pretty safe. You can also do your own research and find a wallet that fits your needs.
-now you are ready to buy, only buy using escrow (it means the money is held by the market as a middle man until the product is delivered, they will also handle any issues like wrong quantity, cuts, etc), judge the reviews for a product, and if available look at the history of the vendor, until you find a product from a vendor you trust. (I recommend to buy within your country as much as possible, so it doesn't go through customs, it's very rare that something is found, but it can happen)
-now you get to buy, depending on market, you either have cryptocurrency stored in their wallets (not recommend, you will lose it in an exit scam) or you can send it every order. When you send your delivery adress (or the one you want it to go to) encrypt the adress using the sellers public key. Make sure the adress is correct.
-wait for the product, make sure to extend the escrow until the product arrives, if you can't extend it anymore dispute the order, and a moderator will step in
-test the product, use it, and leave a review. PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW, DNMs only work because of reviews.
Edit: Didn't imagine I would write over 15000 words. Oh well, it was fun. Hope it helps, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
No idea how long this will stay up, I might purge it in 7 days, or never.
submitted by seven_N_A7 to u/seven_N_A7 [link] [comments]

What I currently use for privacy (after almost 2 years of long investing into it)

First of all, my threat model: I'm just an average person that wants to AVOID the maximum I can to be monitored and tracked by the government and big corps, a lot of people out there REALLY hate me and I've gone through lots of harassment and other stuff, I also plan to take my activism and love for freedom more seriously and to do stuff that could potentially lead me to very high danger or even put my life on the line. That being said, my main focus is on something that is privacy-friendly but also something with decent security (no point having a lot of privacy if a script kiddie can just break into it an boom, everything is gone) anonymity is also desirable but I'm pretty aware that true 100% anonymity is simply not possible and to achieve the maximum you can of it currently you'd have to give up A LOT of stuff in which I don't think I really could. So basically, everything that I said + I don't want to give up some hobbies of mine (as playing games etc)
Here's what I use/have done so far, most of it is based on privacytools.io list and research I've done.
Mobile:
Google Pixel 3a XL running GrapheneOS
Apps: Stock apps (Vanadium, Gallery, Clock, Contacts etc) + F-DROID, NewPipe, OsmAnd+, Joplin, Tutanota, K-9 Mail, Aegis Authenticator, KeePassDX, Syncthing, Signal, Librera PRO, Vinyl, Open Camera and Wireguard.
I also use BlahDNS as my private DNS.
Other smartphone stuff/habits: I use a Supershieldz Anti Spy Tempered Glass Screen Protector on my phone and I also have a Faraday Sleeve from Silent Pocket which my phone is on most of the times (I don't have smartphone addiction and would likely advice you to break free from smartphone addiction if you have it). I NEVER use bluetooth (thank god Pixel 3a have a headphone jack so yeah, no bluetooth earphones here) and always keep my Wi-Fi off if I'm not using it.
Computer:
I have a desktop that I built (specs: Asus B450M Gaming, AMD Ryzen 3 3300X, Radeon RX 580 8GB, 16GB DDR4 2666Mhz, 3TB HDD, 480GB SSD) that is dualbooted with QubesOS and Arch Linux.
Qubes is my main OS that I use as daily driver and for my tasks, I use Arch for gaming.
I've installed linux-hardened and its headers packages on my Arch + further kernel hardening using systctl and boot parameters, AppArmor as my MAC system and bubblewrap for sandboxing programs. I also spoof my MAC address and have restricted root access, I've also protected my GRUB with password (and use encrypted boot) and have enabled Microcode updates and have NTP and IPV6 disabled.
Also on Arch, I use iptables as a firewall denying all incoming traffic, and since it's my gaming PC, I don't game on the OS, instead, I use a KVM/QEMU Windows VM for gaming (search "How I Built The "Poor-Shamed" Computer" video to see what I'm talking about) I also use full disk encryption.
Software/Providers:
E-Mails: I use ProtonMail (Plus Account paid with bitcoin) and Tutanota (free account as they don't accept crypto payment yet, come on Tutanota, I've been waiting for it for 2 years already) since I have plus account on ProtonMail it allows me to use ProtonMail Bridge and use it on Claws Mail (desktop) and K-9 Mail (mobile) as for Tutanota I use both desktop and mobile app.
Some other e-mails habits of mine: I use e-mail aliases (ProtonMail plus account provides you with 5) and each alias is used for different tasks (as one for shopping, one for banking, one for accounts etc) and none of my e-mails have my real name on it or something that could be used to identify me. I also highly avoid using stuff that require e-mail/e-mail verification for usage (e-mail is such a pain in the ass tbh) I also make use of Spamgourmet for stuff like temporary e-mail (best service I found for this doing my research, dunno if it's really the best tho, heard that AnonAddy does kinda the same stuff but dunno, recommendations are welcomed)
Browsers/Search Engine: As mentioned, I use Vanadium (Graphene's stock browser) on mobile as it is the recommended browser by Graphene and the one with the best security for Android, for desktop I use a Hardened Firefox (pretty aware of Firefox's security not being that good, but it's the best browser for PC for me as Ungoogled Chromium is still not there in A LOT of things + inherent problems of Chrome as not being able to disable WebRTC unless you use an extension etc) with ghacks-user.js and uBlock Origin (hard mode), uMatrix (globally blocking first party scripts), HTTPS Everywhere (EASE Mode), Decentraleyes (set the recommended rules for both uBlock Origin and uMatrix) and Temporary Containers as addons. I also use Tor Browser (Safest Mode) on a Whonix VM on Qubes sometimes. DuckDuckGo is my to-go search engine and I use DNS over HTTPS on Firefox (BlahDNS as my provider once again)
browsing habits: I avoid JavaScript the maximum I can, if it's really needed, I just allow the scripts temporarely on uBlock Origin/uMatrix and after I'm done I just disable it. I also generally go with old.reddit.com instead of reddit.com (as JavaScript is not required to browse the old client), nitter.net for checking twitter stuff (although I rarely have something peaking my interest on Twitter) and I use invidious.snopyta.org as youtube front-end (I do however use YouTube sometimes if a video I wanna see can't be played on invidious or if I wanna watch a livestream) and html.duckduckgo.com instead of duckduckgo.com other than avoiding JavaScript most of my browsing habits are just common sense at this point I'd say, I also use privatebin (snopyta's instance) instead of pastebin. I also have multiple firefox profiles for different tasks (personal usage, shopping, banking etc)
VPN: I use Mullvad (guess you can mention it here since it's PTIO's recommended) paid with bitcoin and honestly best service available tbh. I use Mullvad's multihop implementation on Wireguard which I manually set myself as I had the time and patience to learn how.
password manager: KeePassXC on desktop and KeePassDX on my smartphone, my password database for my desktop is stored on a USB flash driver I encrypted with VeraCrypt.
some other software on desktop: LibreOffice (as a Microsoft Office substitute), GIMP (Photshop substitute), Vim (I use it for multiple purposes, mainly coding IDE and as a text editor), VLC (media player), Bisq (bitcoin exchange), Wasabi (bitcoin wallet), OBS (screen recording), Syncthing (file sync), qBitTorrent (torrent client) and Element (federated real-time communication software). I sadly couldn't find a good open-source substitute to Sony Vegas (tested many, but none was in the same level of Vegas imo, KDENLive is okay tho) so I just use it on a VM if I need it (Windows VM solely for the purpose of video editing, not the same one I use for gaming)
Other:
router: I have an Asus RT-AC68U with OpenWRT as its firmware. I also set a VPN on it.
cryptocurrency hardware wallet: I store all of my cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and Monero) on a Ledger Nano S, about 97% of my money is on crypto so a hardware wallet is a must for me.
I have lots of USB flash drivers that I use for Live ISOs and for encrypted backups. I also have a USB Data Blocker from PortaPow that I generally use if I need to charge my cellphone in public or in a hotel while on a trip (rare occasion tbh).
I have a Logitech C920e as webcam and a Blue Yeti microphone in which I never let them plugged, I only plug them if it's necessary and after I'm done I just unplug them.
I also have a Nintendo Switch Lite as a gaming console that I most of the times just use offline, I just connect to the internet if needed for a software update and then just turn the Wi-Fi off from it.
Other Habits/Things I've done:
payments: I simply AVOID using credit card, I try to always pay on cash (I live in a third-world country so thank god most of people here still depend on cash only) physically and online I try my best to either by using cryptocurrency or using gift cards/cash by mail if crypto isn't available. I usually buy crypto on Bisq as I just don't trust any KYC exchange (and neither should you) and since there aren't many people here in my area to do face to face bitcoin trade (and I'm skeptical of face to face tbh), I use the Wasabi Wallet (desktop) to coinjoin bitcoin before buying anything as this allows a bit more of privacy, I also coinjoin on Wasabi before sending my bitcoins to my hardware wallet. I also don't have a high consumerism drive so I'm not constantly wanting to buy everything that I see (which helps a lot on this criteria)
social media/accounts: as noted, aside from Signal and Element (which I don't even use that often) I just don't REALLY use any social media (tried Mastodon for a while but I was honestly felt it kinda desert there and most of its userbase from what I've seen were some people I'd just... rather don't hang with tbh) and, althoug not something necessary is something that I really advise people to as social media is literally a poison to your mind.
I also don't own any streaming service like Netflix/Amazon Prime/Spotify etc, I basically pirate series/movies/songs and that's it.
I've also deleted ALL my old accounts from social media (like Twitter etc) and old e-mails. ALL of my important and main accounts have 2FA enabled and are protected by a strong password (I use KeePass to generate a 35 character lenght password with numbers, capital letters, special symbols etc, each account uses a unique password) I also NEVER use my real name on any account and NEVER post any pictures of myself (I rarely take pictures of stuff if anything)
iot/smart devices: aside from my smartphone, I don't have any IOT/smart device as I honestly see no need for them (and most of them are WAY too expensive on third-world countries)
files: I constatly backup all of my files (each two weeks) on encrypted flash drivers, I also use BleachBit for temporary data cleaning and data/file shredding. I also use Syncthing as a substitute to stuff like Google Drive.
Future plans:
learn to self-host and self-host an e-mail/NextCloud (and maybe even a VPN)
find something like BurneHushed but FOSS (if you know any please let me know)
So, how is it? anything that I should do that I'm probably not doing?
submitted by StunningDistrust to privacytoolsIO [link] [comments]

[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
the below is a reply to the above
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
the below is a reply to the above
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
the below is a reply to the above
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!
the below is a reply to the question
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
the below has been split into separate questions
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
the below is a reply to the question
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
the below is another reply to the answer
Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
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