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Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking
thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020. The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more. In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000. DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO. Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity. You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well? Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly? Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.” We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not? Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn. You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN? I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad? I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses. Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there? My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information. [Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”] What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer?[Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.] I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak? I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein? I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean? “Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it. I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests? I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests. My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality. Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that? I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.] You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that. Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City? I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find? I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”] But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert? You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart? I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans. Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election? Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention. Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.” [Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.] So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is? We all are Satoshi Nakamoto. You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man? I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend. OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
Bit off more than I can chew but still seeing it thru!
Let me first preface this with the following: A: I am a musician/singehobbyist coder. B: I have never used a jigsaw before. C: I embarrassingly enough had to google how to properly read a ruler. D: Router to me means, internet. E: Home Depot can be scary for those who have no idea what they are doing. F. Home Depot is even scarier when you find out you know more than the employee that is helping you. G: MDF is heavier than you can ever imagine. Please please please bring a friend or two. I am not by any means weak. Each board is 96 lbs! H: MDF is messy as hell!!! I had to dust my whole living room after putting plastic over everything and just routing 12 inches of the arcade to test my t-molding. (More on that later). I: I am positive most of you out there will laugh at me thinking ,”What the hell was he thinking?” Well you know what? Fair enough.. I thought I was. And hey, I still built my dream arcade. Yes I took the long way but whatever.... So, let us begin on the journey..... If you are here to just scan thru and find info on how to build your arcade quickly, please email me at [email protected] and ask me there. I will do my best to reply quickly. (Not very busy at the moment). Otherwise, hang on...it’s goin to be a VERY bumpy ride. At least it was for my jigsaw and router. PART ONE: THE DREAM I was born July 16 1974. I will never forget my first arcade. The sounds of all the machines going off at once. My Dad giving me a five dollar bill out of his brown corduroy jacket to get quarters was like I hit the jackpot. All 20 quarters barely fitting into my little hands, I felt rich!! This was also about the time the TV show Silver Spoons came out. I remember Ricky Schroeder having a few upright cabinets in his house. At that age I thought, ehh I’ll never have that. I grew up in the Southside of Chicago. Bridgeport. The land of Mayor Daley, Catholics and hot dogs. Arcade cabinets were for the wealthy and arcades, not for me. From then on, my Dad would take me to every arcade we could find, until they stopped. (I am 46 and we still play PlayStation 3 games together now that arcades are closed down). I have even learned how to code, 3D build in Blender and create my own VR arcades. But it’s not the same. So one day I spilled the beans to my wife who had no idea of my inner wanting. PART TWO: HERE WE GO! It was around my 46th birthday when all of my family came together to help me purchase the gear to create my dream! My father in law helped me measure out the pieces but made me saw them with the jigsaw I borrowed. My real Dad is still in Chicago. I had the Home Depot guy cut the 8 x 4’ MDF into 5.5’ x 4’ MDF. Guess what? They still didn’t fit in the suv. So we roped them to the roof and rolled our windows down driving slow hoping they wouldn’t t fall off. Just like The Beverly Hillbillies! We cut them outside at his home in the yard because I heard about how much dust it created and would be either evicted or divorced if I did that here. Once we were done cutting:.... I piled all of the heavy pieces into my tiny Prius and lugged them up into our apartment. Before that, I must tell you where I got my plans. Geekpub.com was who I settled on as I had been googling like crazy trying to find the easiest and best plans etc.. Mike on Geekpub is fantastic. However, if you are a noob like myself, message me. I was confused over a few things and ended up returning a lot of items back to Amazon that I never needed. No worries. Mike at GeekPub is a total pro with a pro workshop. He even mines his own Bitcoin!!!! He is my new hero. Anyways, he leaves a few things out that most of you would probably already know. (Which is why I’m sure he didn’t mention it). Like, never use water based paint for MDF. Always prime MDF. You don’t need a piano hinge for a full upright. Etc.... Mike made his arcade with cream of the crop gear. I had to improvise with only a jigsaw, router, drill and sandpaper. I bought brad nails but never used them. mike has a fancy air compressor nail gun he uses. I do not possess that. But, I DID use wood glue and pax MDF screws that I found at Home Depot and bought only because they said MDF! They contain their own bit to use which is a star shaped but.
It’s crazy how strong wood glue is. I glued a brace in the wrong spot and had to chisel it off 2 hours later!! Be careful and triple check. Take it from me!!!
For your control panel Mike recommends Forstner bits for your control panel and I agree. Do yourself a favor and get these. When it comes to routing out for the T Molding, I did it with a portable hand router. I DID purchase my bit on Amazon. PART THREE: LEARN THY TOOLS Ok so if you are going to borrow a router, find out the size of the shank before you order your bit for the t-molding slot. I originally ordered the 1/2 “ shank only to find out it needed the 1/4”. Also, take note or the size you need when ordering your t-molding! Always rout from left to right. And again, if you are using MDF, mask your home with plenty of plastic. Make it look like in ET when they come to take home away. You’ll be glad you did!!! If you are screwing into MDF, go slow and try to limit the times you have to re screw or else the wood fibers will split on you and your screw will just keep turning. PART FOUR: PAINT I haven’t started this yet but have learned a lot from researching other’s builds. I learned to NEVER use water based anything on MDF as it will ruin it by swell. I will add more info once I purchase my items from you know where. I also made many mistakes by trying to saw a straight line with a jigsaw. No...I didn’t know about a straight edge guide.. Anyways, I just ordered a hand plane and I hope this will fix it. Will update soon! Final -ish thoughts: I’m positive I left out a bunch. I recommend you go to geekpub.com and buy the guild pass. I have zero affiliation with Mike. But am a big supporter as he does have quite a lot of knowledge. If you would like to just learn thru me, I can get you set and rolling with the knowledge that I have. [email protected] Cheers, Jesse
Decentralized finance DFC-leading the next round of financial transformation
https://preview.redd.it/roqxz2mqyf651.png?width=1269&format=png&auto=webp&s=3f6de725457c3eb419bc22bb85fecbea0525dafc The financial industry has been changing from decentralization to centralization and back to decentralization. In the early stages of the entire Internet, decentralized data was used to build a universal distributed read/write system. With the passage of time, the expandability of the Internet has become higher and higher, and the blockchain has gradually emerged, becoming an opportunity to plan and describe the blueprint of financial technology and build a next-generation Internet based on credit.
Opportunities in the era of DFC: Link the world and stand out
The global financial system has created tremendous wealth, but the centralized management of traditional financial institutions often leads to an unfair distribution of resources, and people with resource advantages are more likely to obtain funds. As global inequality becomes more severe, is there a way to break this shackle and give everyone the opportunity to achieve equal wealth growth? DeFi Decentralized Finance came into being. In the past two years, the DeFi ecosystem has made great progress. According to Consensys reports, there are more than 100 cutting-edge blockchain projects in the field of decentralized finance. DeFi is already an economic system with a value of up to 3 billion yuan. After many years of precipitation, the DFC project has become more and more perfect, and the company has chosen to announce it at this time, taking advantage of the DeFi industry heat wave. Create a decentralized and prosperous ecosystem https://preview.redd.it/7pg86vwtyf651.png?width=2481&format=png&auto=webp&s=846bf1f0d846588896e9b7228c4896a342815666 At present, the DFC project is conveniently connected with other DFC services through clearly defined APIs and standard smart contracts; focusing on its professional fields, integrating with other blockchain projects and building channels, opening the cross-chain exchange ecology to serve customers well, at the end of 2020, the lending and mining ecology will be officially launched, and mortgage lending will be started. The test network will be released in the first quarter of 2020, the stablecoin USDS ecological construction will be gradually completed, and the staking product based on DFC revenue will be launched simultaneously. It is expected that after a year of ecological testing, the main network will be officially released in the third quarter of 2021. In 2022, the construction of cross-chain ecology will be completed, and the community gradually expanded to 14 countries around the world. It will achieve the growth of millions of users worldwide, complete the leap of platform profits of tens of millions of dollars, and gradually develop and upgrade to DFC version 2.0, building more decentralized financial application ecology. What should be the future blueprint for DFC? No one knows. However, it is foreseeable that DFC will be an important supplement to traditional finance because of its non-access feature. If the emergence of Bitcoin makes low-cost cross-border payments possible, then the development of the DFC system is the second breakthrough in the blockchain system. It is fundamentally changing the settlement structure of the global financial system. With the development of technology and wide application, a new decentralized financial system came into being. DeFi Coin (hereinafter referred to as DFC) is a cross-chain decentralized financial (DeFi) platform created by the Singapore DIFI Blockchain Foundation. With the decentralized operation and management mechanism of DFC, DFC proves to the world that the promotion of decentralized business structure is a widely used business blueprint for human society. Every innovative product is launched with powerful support behind it. Adhering to the direction of decentralization and financializing encrypted assets, this is the evolution direction of encrypted assets. Blockchain is born to serve the economic system and financial system. DFC stands out and is expected to become the key to the bull market. DFC is currently building DeFi and cross-border financial solutions globally. Our scalable public blockchain supports an open financial infrastructure layer-a set of smart contracts. Developers can build products and applications accordingly, without having to start from scratch. In addition, we are also creating products that fully serve cross-border payments, allowing partners to use DFC's global settlement layer in various scenarios, such as import/export, international payroll, and international e-commerce payments. Of course, the world's largest well-known financial ecosystem created by DFC has reached a strategic partnership with the world's leading C2B blockchain data trading platform Datawallet, Indonesia's head financial technology company Ayo Uang and other large-scale traffic portal platforms. Relying on the advantages of extensive community resources and platform resources, DFC quickly formed a considerable influence on the global scale, with a total financing amount of tens of millions of dollars, and won the favor of more than 20 top blockchain investment institutions and individual investors. At the same time, CNBC, ABC, Yahoo, "The Wall Street Journal", "Forbes", Sinovision, Xinhua News Agency, Phoenix Satellite TV, Sina, SMG Vietnam VITV TV and other top media have been widely reported. In other words, unlike other functional DeFi projects, DFC is not satisfied with being an "upgraded version" or "alternative" of a traditional financial instrument, but hopes to work together with super volunteers with a high consensus spirit around the world. Using the underlying technology of the blockchain to build a decentralized financial ecosystem with complete bottom, rich applications, and prosperous communities.
There will be more and more financial products on both the B-end and C-end on DFC, and they will definitely be uneven. However, all products will enter the global unified community evaluation system, and evaluations based on product performance, safety, stability, underlying asset quality and other dimensions will also be chained to become a product traceable credit system. It is necessary for DFC's invention patents to use blockchain technology to solve existing problems on the Internet. DFC has completely independent intellectual property rights for "an implementation of a decentralized application development platform". The underlying technology platform of the DFC blockchain has the characteristics of high TPS, low latency, security, and 3D data upload, which can fully meet the needs of Internet applications data on-chain, and has applied for more than 300 invention patents, has become the strongest technology community after BAT independent research and development technology. It is not just technology that drives the decentralized financial system. The power of DFC’s huge community is based on the help of the global community.The global super-volunteer community allocates community traffic and capital resources at any time according to their respective behavior rights and functions. In response to the global community, the DFC project team concentrated on exploring the application of blockchain technology in the field of people's livelihood, contributing to the compliance and practicality of blockchain, and giving back to society with technology. In addition to the strength foundation laid by DFC North American technology development team, the community of South American community developers has also continuously added to the DFC system. Unlike the American community's strong interest in technology, the power of DFC's blockchain cultural ecology has been advancing the globalization process of the DFC community and market. DFC's African community has continuously contributed brand power to users around the world. There are volunteer communities in 100 countries around the world, and the fission of more than 100,000 communities will change the global world financial system, realize the basic ecology of DFC belonging to all mankind, and bring on-chain life services to users around the world. The decentralized ecological community has promoted the progress and development of the blockchain cultural ecosystem. In addition, it is worth mentioning that DFC includes all DeFi businesses in the current market-cross-chain asset exchange, decentralized exchanges and stable currency, financial services, loan services, and mining ecology. For DFC finance to develop, it needs to be built on the basis of other higher-frequency businesses, on the basis of the precipitation of a large number of existing assets, and on a reliable stable currency system. According to the existing ecological deduction, if decentralized transactions can slowly become popular, there will be more and more accumulated and precipitated funds. After more and more precipitated funds, the mortgage will generate decentralized stable coins. Basically, with the flow of decentralized transactions and reliable stablecoins, the development of DFC financial business is much easier, and DFC finance is where the advantages of decentralized transactions are truly reflected, and centralized exchanges cannot really do it. With DFC Finance, decentralized transactions may go hand-in-hand with centralized transactions, or even overtake. Since the entire community is a strong consensus ecology, the DeFi business can not only quickly land on DFC, but also realize model upgrade. In the future, the ecological scenario of DFC will continue to be concrete, detailed, and implement applications, get rid of the shackles of the platform, build a free economic world with the interconnection of everything using finance as a medium, and enable global fintech business in both directions.
Top teams work hard to build DFC services worldwide
The core of the future form of DFC is to realize a distributed autonomous borderless open financial system, and form a stable, self-evolving community autonomous financial system that supports the full integration of online and offline finance. Therefore, DFC will rely on cross-chain and decentralized exchanges and other technologies, expand the DeFi application ecosystem, establish a community autonomous financial system, implement modern financial transformation of existing digital token products according to certain rules, and improve the communication channels between existing physical finance and digital token finance. In the world of digital tokens, share the latest global economic achievements; in the future architecture, connect with the digital token system issued by global central banks and enterprises, such as DC/EP and Facebook’s Libra. Based on this, DFC can achieve ecological closed loop and sustainable development, serving billions of users worldwide. It is understood that the DFC team is an international team, which is composed of global financial professionals and blockchain technology talents. Its blockchain and DeFi technical teams are composed of the Musk rocket startup team, Google artificial intelligence research institution, Russian cryptography and other global diverse teams. At present, these teams have joined the DFC community in accordance with the organization principles of the open source community, and have conducted in-depth and extensive research and construction work. The participation of top international talents has prompted DFC to break through technical barriers and set off a wave of Genesis for the future. At present, some decentralized financial products have appeared in the cryptocurrency market, and DFC is one of the pioneers. Its founder and CEO Piyush Gupta is a leader in this regard. He has held various positions in Morgan Bank, DLT Association, DAO Decentralized Organization American Association, and now Piyush Gupta said that DFC has passed the 0x Project protocol test and is beginning to break the traditional use case of Bitcoin as a value store, which has become a leader in the development of decentralized financial technology.
DFC Leads Financial Change: The Best Times for Breakers
The first important development of the financial system in history is its own transformation to the direction of "finance". This sentence sounds a bit abstract，to put it in a nutshell, when people finally have enough resources for trading and cooperation, and not just for their immediate survival, abstract finance is formed. For example, extra wheat can be exchanged for pottery, animals, or even original portrait sculptures or toys. Throughout the history of finance, from coins to paper fiat currencies to digital finance, the latter is probably the most successful form of finance to date. It can realize the DFC vision, tokenize all assets, and open up the financial transformation of global free transactions. At present, the total monthly transaction volume of popular crypto exchanges can exceed billions of dollars. DFC leads the next round of financial change, from infrastructure to applications to network security, DFC embraces the future of financial technology and is a major opportunity for global finance. We are in the middle of a thousand-year opportunity, there are many changes in the process , and due to our inherent limitations of thinking, we cannot see clearly the trend of future outlets. The economic cycle of DFC's future layout faces huge global challenges, but it also contains rare opportunities. Under internal and external troubles, this is the worst era, but for those who break the game, this is the best era.
Which type of curren(t) do you want to see(cy)? A analysis of the intention behind bitcoin(s). [Part 2]
Part 1 It's been a bit of time since the first post during which I believe things have crystallised further as to the intentions of the three primary bitcoin variants. I was going to go on a long winded journey to try to weave together the various bits and pieces to let the reader discern from themselves but there's simply too much material that needs to be covered and the effort that it would require is not something that I can invest right now. Firstly we must define what bitcoin actually is. Many people think of bitcoin as a unit of a digital currency like a dollar in your bank but without a physical substrate. That's kind of correct as a way to explain its likeness to something many people are familiar with but instead it's a bit more nuanced than that. If we look at a wallet from 2011 that has never moved any coins, we can find that there are now multiple "bitcoins" on multiple different blockchains. This post will discuss the main three variants which are Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. In this respect many people are still hotly debating which is the REAL bitcoin variant and which bitcoins you want to be "investing" in. The genius of bitcoin was not in defining a class of non physical objects to send around. Why bitcoin was so revolutionary is that it combined cryptography, economics, law, computer science, networking, mathematics, etc. and created a protocol which was basically a rule set to be followed which creates a game of incentives that provides security to a p2p network to prevent double spends. The game theory is extremely important to understand. When a transaction is made on the bitcoin network your wallet essentially generates a string of characters which includes your public cryptographic key, a signature which is derived from the private key:pub key pair, the hash of the previous block and an address derived from a public key of the person you want to send the coins to. Because each transaction includes the hash of the previous block (a hash is something that will always generate the same 64 character string result from EXACTLY the same data inputs) the blocks are literally chained together. Bitcoin and the blockchain are thus defined in the technical white paper which accompanied the release client as a chain of digital signatures. The miners validate transactions on the network and compete with one another to detect double spends on the network. If a miner finds the correct solution to the current block (and in doing so is the one who writes all the transactions that have elapsed since the last block was found, in to the next block) says that a transaction is confirmed but then the rest of the network disagree that the transactions occurred in the order that this miner says (for double spends), then the network will reject the version of the blockchain that that miner is working on. In that respect the miners are incentivised to check each other's work and ensure the majority are working on the correct version of the chain. The miners are thus bound by the game theoretical design of NAKAMOTO CONSENSUS and the ENFORCES of the rule set. It is important to note the term ENFORCER rather than RULE CREATOR as this is defined in the white paper which is a document copyrighted by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Now if we look at the three primary variants of bitcoin understanding these important defining characteristics of what the bitcoin protocol actually is we can make an argument that the variants that changed some of these defining attributes as no longer being bitcoin rather than trying to argue based off market appraisal which is essentially defining bitcoin as a social media consensus rather than a set in stone rule set. BITCOIN CORE: On first examination Bitcoin Core appears to be the incumbent bitcoin that many are being lead to believe is the "true" bitcoin and the others are knock off scams. The outward stated rationale behind the bitcoin core variant is that computational resources, bandwidth, storage are scarce and that before increasing the size of each block to allow for more transactions we should be increasing the efficiency with which the data being fed in to a block is stored. In order to achieve this one of the first suggested implementations was a process known as SegWit (segregating the witness data). This means that when you construct a bitcoin transaction, in the header of the tx, instead of the inputs being public key and a signature + Hash + address(to), the signature data is moved outside of header as this can save space within the header and allow more transactions to fill the block. More of the history of the proposal can be read about here (bearing in mind that article is published by the bitcoinmagazine which is founded by ethereum devs Vitalik and Mihai and can't necessarily be trusted to give an unbiased record of events). The idea of a segwit like solution was proposed as early as 2012 by the likes of Greg Maxwell and Luke Dash Jnr and Peter Todd in an apparent effort to "FIX" transaction malleability and enable side chains. Those familiar with the motto "problem reaction solution" may understand here that the problem being presented may not always be an authentic problem and it may actually just be necessary preparation for implementing a desired solution. The real technical arguments as to whether moving signature data outside of the transaction in the header actually invalidates the definition of bitcoin as being a chain of digital signatures is outside my realm of expertise but instead we can examine the character of the individuals and groups involved in endorsing such a solution. Greg Maxwell is a hard to know individual that has been involved with bitcoin since its very early days but in some articles he portrays himself as portrays himself as one of bitcoins harshest earliest critics. Before that he worked with Mozilla and Wikipedia and a few mentions of him can be found on some old linux sites or such. He has no entry on wikipedia other than a non hyperlinked listing as the CTO of Blockstream. Blockstream was a company founded by Greg Maxwell and Adam Back, but in business registration documents only Adam Back is listed as the business contact but registered by James Murdock as the agent. They received funding from a number of VC firms but also Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman and there are suggestions that MIT media labs and the Digital Currency Initiative. For those paying attention Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman have links to Jeffrey Epstein and his offsider Ghislaine Maxwell. Ghislaine is the daughter of publishing tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell (Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, a yiddish orthodox czech). It is emerging that the Maxwells are implicated with Mossad and involved in many different psyops throughout the last decades. Greg Maxwell is verified as nullc but a few months ago was outed using sock puppets as another reddit user contrarian__ who also admits to being Jewish in one of his comments as the former. Greg has had a colourful history with his roll as a bitcoin core developer successfully ousting two of the developers put there by Satoshi (Gavin Andreson and Mike Hearn) and being referred to by Andreson as a toxic troll with counterpart Samon Mow. At this point rather than crafting the narrative around Greg, I will provide a few links for the reader to assess on their own time:
Now I could just go on dumping more and more articles but that doesn't really weave it all together. Essentially it is very well possible that the 'FIX' of bitcoin proposed with SegWit was done by those who are moral reprobates who have been rubbing shoulders money launderers and human traffickers. Gregory Maxwell was removed from wikipedia, worked with Mozilla who donated a quarter of a million to MIT media labs and had relationship with Joi Ito, the company he founded received funding from people associated with Epstein who have demonstrated their poor character and dishonesty and attempted to wage toxic wars against those early bitcoin developers who wished to scale bitcoin as per the white paper and without changing consensus rules or signature structures. The argument that BTC is bitcoin because the exchanges and the market have chosen is not necessarily a logical supposition when the vast majority of the money that has flown in to inflate the price of BTC comes from a cryptographic USD token that was created by Brock Pierce (Might Ducks child stahollywood pedo scandal Digital Entertainment Network) who attended Jeffrey Epstein's Island for conferences. The group Tether who issues the USDT has been getting nailed by the New York Attorney General office with claims of $1.4 trillion in damages from their dodgey practices. Brock Pierce has since distanced himself from Tether but Blockstream still works closely with them and they are now exploring issuing tether on the ethereum network. Tether lost it's US banking partner in early 2017 before the monstrous run up for bitcoin prices. Afterwards they alleged they had full reserves of USD however, they were never audited and were printing hundreds of millions of dollars of tether each week during peak mania which was used to buy bitcoin (which was then used as collateral to issue more tether against the bitcoin they bought at a value they inflated). Around $30m in USDT is crossing between China to Russia daily and when some of the groups also related to USDT/Tether were raided they found them in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit physical US bills. Because of all this it then becomes important to reassess the arguments that were made for the implementation of pegged sidechains, segregated witnesses and other second layer solutions. If preventing the bitcoin blockchain from bloating was the main argument for second layer solutions, what was the plan for scaling the data related to the records of transactions that occur on the second layer. You will then need to rely on less robust ways of securing the second layer than Proof Of Work but still have the same amount of data to contend with, unless there was plans all along for second layer solutions to enable records to be deleted /pruned to facilitate money laundering and violation of laws put in place to prevent banking secrecy etc. There's much more to it as well and I encourage anyone interested to go digging on their own in to this murky cesspit. Although I know very well what sort of stuff Epstein has been up to I have been out of the loop and haven't familiarised myself with everyone involved in his network that is coming to light. Stay tuned for part 3 which will be an analysis of the shit show that is the Bitcoin Cash variant...
WARNING: Andy Android emulator (AndyOS, Andyroid) drops a bitcoin miner on your system
lawrenceabrams has done a lot more digging and research and has published an article which you can read here. Update: Their Facebook support group has been changed to a closed group meaning you can't view their posts if you're not already a member. Luckily I have a fair few sleeper accounts in that group and I'll report back with anything worth noting. Clarification: In the video I fail to close Andy when checking my GPU stats but I can confirm that they are roughly the same as when Andy is open. The mining process runs even with Andy closed and it opens on startup. I use the term bitcoin in this thread and the video as it's almost become a generic trademark. People instantly know what bitcoin is. I used cryptocurrency when talking to people in the Andy support group and they got confused and thought I was talking out my arse. MAJOR UPDATE: I asked the Andy staff why they're still serving the infected file. After seeing that comment, and probably after seeing this reddit thread they've removed me from the group. A friend opened Andy in process explorer to see the files it drops upon installation. By the looks of things, the installer isn't at fault. Andy itself calls an IP which then transfers the bitcoin miner to your system. Andy clearly have no interest in fixing this issue and they're doing their best to censor it. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if this is completely down to their doing. The fact that they've completely blocked me from contacting them and the removal of all of my posts to them suggests that they don't care and don't want anyone to know. Please keep in mind that this may not directly be Andy's fault. I'm not trying to directly accuse Andy of being at fault here but until an official statement is made from the Andy team I'm going to tell it how it is, and how the majority of people will see this situation. The installer Andy uses drops a cryptocurrency miner on your system and it has been reported in the past but no effort has been taken to cut ties with the company that created the installer. This is still Andy's responsibility. Funnily enough, the owners of Andy and the admins in the Andy support Facebook group actually recommend turning off your antivirus whilst installing. All evidence provided on this post is true with version 'Andy_Nougat_260_1096_26' (latest release available from the official Andy website).
I was searching for an Android Emulator and came across an Android Authority list of the 15 best Android emulators for PC (now 14 after I contacted the writer of the article with evidence). I saw Andy was on this list and it was described as a big competitor to the likes of Bluestacks. I'd used Bluestacks previously but I was looking for a different emulator just to try something new. I downloaded Andy, installed it (I declined the offer relating to Yahoo), and began using it. I finished up what I was doing, closed Andy and opened some games. I noticed that in every single game I played I suffered major FPS drops at seemingly random times. I checked my GPU usage and temps and noticed they were working at roughly 80% load and 80+ degrees C whilst gaming. Very unusual for my setup. I opened task manager and sorted it via what was using the most GPU power and found a process named 'updater.exe'. After further inspection I noticed that this installed along with Andy.
I created a video showcasing the entire installation process, including GPU usage before and after Andy was installed. This was sent directly to the creators of Andy (which is who I'm referencing in the video), as they refused to believe that the bitcoin miner was anything to do with installing their software. Apparently giving them virustotal scans and screenshots are not enough evidence and some users in the Andy support Facebook group blindly tried accusing me and my friends of using a tampered installer. The video shows that I downloaded every single executable possible from their official website and I was served the same installer each time.
How to remove Andy
Removing Andy and the bitcoin miner is actually really easy. The miner doesn't even attempt to hide itself and doesn't have a specific payload so it's just always running.
Close every Andy-related process via task manager.
Uninstall Andy via Windows
Look for a process named 'Updater' (This is the miner and surprisingly enough won't be uninstalled when you uninstall Andy! Would you believe it!)
Right click that process and click 'Go to details'
Right click 'Updater.exe' in details and click 'End process tree'
Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)
Click once on the folder named 'Updater' and then press Shift+Delete
Click once on the folder named 'AndyOS' and then press Shift+Delete
Recheck task manager to confirm no more Andy services are running
Download Malwarebytes and perform a full system scan to check if anything was missed
Download CCleaner and do a registry fix. Multiple Andy registry entries will be found. Delete these and scan again to ensure that nothing was missed
Why didn't my antivirus detect it?
The likelihood is that your antivirus probably thought you wanted it. If every antivirus detects bitcoin miners as a threat then it's only going to get in the way of people who genuinely want to mine bitcoins on their system for personal use.
The Andy development team claim they are 'looking into this', but it has been reported to them in the past and nothing has changed at all. It has been removed off of the list of best Android emulators by Android Authority after I contacted the writer of the article with this evidence. He also installed Andy and confirmed that something fishy is going on. Even after being provided with evidence, the infected installer is still served today from their website.
Andy devs giving conflicting stories
Someone working for Andy by the name of Ghazi has been urging people to stop spreading the claims that Andy installs a bitcoin miner by saying that Andy doesn't mine for bitcoins and that we've been using an older version, which uses a similar method as Andy requires something to do with blockchain technology. This makes no sense. I don't understand why a modified ROM and basic application that hooks into a virtual machine would require anything to do with blockchain technology. Another reason this makes no sense is that the OWNERS of Andy said that it shouldn't be there, and that it's not their fault because they use a third party installer provided by another company. Two very conflicting stories.
The installer for Andy also drops a bitcoin miner on your system
The bitcoin miner process (updater.exe) is always running
One Andy staff member claims that Andy uses blockchain technology and doesn't mine bitcoins which is why it was detected
Another Andy staff member (one of the owners) claim that the miner isn't part of Andy and was installed due to their third party installation file.
In summary, when you install Andy from their official website, you 100% receive a bitcoin miner. I will update this post with any further advancements. Edit: The thing Ghazi was talking about is a deprecated ‘Andy Cloud Experiment’ which is no longer in use. They are still looking into the current issue but are still serving the infected file. Edit: After being banned from their support group I got in on another account. I made a post and when I told them who I was they instantly banned me again. Fantastic! Great guys! Professionals! Edit: Joined on a third account and was banned again! What a surprise! — In the news: Betanews: https://betanews.com/2018/06/18/andy-os-bitcoin-mine
Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
The Next Recession May be Brutal: That’s a Net Positive for Gold and Bitcoin
Prominent gold bull Peter Schiff predicts that the next recession will be brutal, and owning gold or Bitcoin will be a net positive. The US economy is more robust than it has ever been. With a roaring stock market and decent consumer spending, talk of recession is minimal. However, certain aspects of this growth are cause for investors like Schiff to raise the alarm: “Today’s revisions to Q3 GDP confirm the U.S. economy is a bubble. GDP ‘growth’ is driven completely by excess consumer and government spending, as the real economy contracts. But such spending is a function of debt, much of which can’t be repaid. The coming bust will be brutal!” With the S&P 500 pushing record high after record high, stock market traders are as bullish as ever. Such sentiment could make the next crash particularly devastating. In the 2008 financial crash, stocks in a hallmark Wall Street firm, Bear Stearns, went from over $100 to $2 within a week. Investing in stocks can be great, but when it rains, it pours. Accurately predicting the next recession is often a hit-and-miss game even for the top analysts. Even those who predicted the financial crisis of 2008 couldn’t pinpoint with precision when it would begin. Regardless, this does not discredit anyone who tells investors to be cautious. The issues Schiff raises are pertinent to the macro-economic stability of the American and global economies. Even those who make the right predictions about an upcoming recession have no respite if they do nothing about it. Building a defensive portfolio is one way to absorb such shocks. In recent decades, gold has distinguished itself as the premier safe-haven asset.
Gold Prices During a Recession
Gold has historically performed well during times of financial uncertainty. Naturally, recessions are the extreme end of such turmoil, meaning that gold prices should peak. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, gold prices rose dramatically and peaked in 2011 at the height of quantitative easing measures from major central banks. If a brutal crisis such as Schiff predicts could happen comes to pass, gold prices should ease past the $2,000 mark. Gold has millennia of reputation and scarcity that makes it the perfect safe-haven asset in such a crisis. Therefore, investors see it as a valuable asset to hedge against recessions. If you are already in one, it can provide cover against further negative slides. This stability is why investors like Schiff advise that traders have anywhere between 10–30% weighting in gold. Whether split between physical gold and mining equities, gold-backed ETFs, or any other arrangement, gold has a track record of weathering the storm.
Bitcoin as a Store of Value Asset
Using the phrase ‘store of value’ for Bitcoin may sound like an oxymoron. After all, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are notorious for volatility in their few years of existence. In the 2018 calendar year, Bitcoin went from about $18,000 down to about $3,400 only to rebound to over $10,000 by mid-2019. However, one trait gives Bitcoin a silver lining: decentralization. Bitcoin is a decentralized, pseudonymous network that is independent of central bank control. Accordingly, Bitcoin has the eye of many investors who seek to diversify their holdings. So far, there is little evidence as to whether Bitcoin will trade like a safe-haven asset during a full-blown crisis. The fact that Bitcoin does not have a direct correlation to the mainstream is what drives interest. Bitcoin prices are purely market-driven as no one controls supply like regular fiat. Therefore, some speculate that in the event of a financial crisis, investors will flock to Bitcoin just like gold. Recent history suggests that temporary Bitcoin investors hold the coin for speculative purposes rather than a store of value. Will this change soon? It could be that investors allocate money to risky assets when they feel comfortable about investing generally. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility that investors could shy away from Bitcoin during times of economic turbulence. What will transpire during an actual recession is difficult to predict. Bitcoin may have insulation from mainstream stocks, but bearish sentiment can affect investor sentiment either way. You can have a situation where investors hedge Bitcoin more or avoid high-risk assets in general. It will take time before Bitcoin has the stability and reputation of gold. The maturity of crypto markets between now and when an actual recession hits is also a factor. Bitcoin can be a viable alternative to gold, but a lot of stars have to align.
Based on current economic and policy trends, gold is in the perfect position to have a net positive from a recession. Incredibly, even with the S&P 500 and other stock market indices up by a lot, gold has had a strong bull run in 2019. The macro-economic factors that have fueled gold prices include geopolitical tensions and low interest rates. All through 2020, these factors will still loom large. Gold enjoys a stability that Bitcoin holders can only dream of. Even in the rare event that an institution or person dumps a significant amount of gold in the market, the net price effect will not be as drastic as with other assets. Demand for gold is only getting stronger with the resilience it is showing. Central banks in emerging and struggling economies are adding rapidly to their gold holdings to hedge against currency slides. Accordingly, the likes of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and Turkey have added significantly to their gold reserves in recent years. Part of this demand stems from an effort to reduce reliance on the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. Russia and China are dealing with sanctions and a trade war, respectively, while many developing countries have stuttering currencies. Gold provides a useful alternative to store value for such countries. Additionally, Islamic countries like Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, and Qatar are considering a gold barter system among themselves to hedge against future economic sanctions. Iran continues to bear the brunt of punitive sanctions while Qatar almost experienced an economic shutdown after a Saudi orchestrated blockade in 2018. The deliberations began after an economic summit led by Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamed from the 18th to the 21st of December 2019. Therefore, gold enjoys a universal credibility that Bitcoin and crypto can only dream about. When looking to store value or hedge against a stock crash, gold is still the premier asset to hold.
Gold to Surge in the Coming Decade
Many analysts see the tremendous upside of holding gold now. Paul Schatz, Heritage Capital president, recently touched on this sentiment in comments to Yahoo Finance: “I think gold’s going to $2,500, $3,000 an ounce in the 2020s because the climate — the landscape for gold is so hugely supportive.” Investors see the value of using bullion as a hedge. Even though gold cannot replace government bonds entirely in portfolio diversification, the case for reallocating a portion of normal bond exposure to gold is as strong as ever. Bullion has had a steady decade of growth through the 2010s. It has performed better than most assets, save for outliers like cryptocurrencies. Stocks have rallied in the past decade, but a combination of high debt levels and low interest rates places the value of fiat at a precarious place. These factors have allowed gold to maintain solid prices even through periods of relative economic prosperity. For those who distrust fiat and central bank management of fiat, hedging gold is a no-brainer. Having at least 10% gold in your portfolio is a decent approach to start the next decade. Investing in bullion, gold mining equity, or gold-backed ETFs provides useful diversification to your portfolio. With digital gold-backed tokens now available in the market, you don’t need to worry about the hassle of storing and transporting the gold. Either way, investing in gold now puts you in a great position entering the new decade.
The importance of being mindful of security at all times - nearly everyone is one breach away from total disaster
This is a long one - TL;DR at the end!
If you haven't heard yet: BlankMediaGames, makers of Town of Salem, have been breached which resulted in almost 8 million accounts being leaked. For most people, the first reaction is "lol so what it's just a game, why should I really care?" and that is the wrong way to look at it. I'd like to explain why everyone should always care whenever they are part of a breach. I'd also like to talk about some ways game developers - whether they work solo or on a team - can take easy steps to help protect themselves and their customers/players. First I'd like to state that there is no practical way to achieve 100% solid security to guarantee you'll never be breached or part of a breach. The goal here will be to get as close as possible, or comfortable, so that you can rest easy knowing you can deal with problems when they occur (not if, when).
Why You Should Care About Breaches
The sad reality is most people re-use the same password everywhere. Your email account, your bank account, your steam account, your reddit account, random forums and game websites - you get the idea. If you haven't pieced it together yet the implication is that if anyone gets your one password you use everywhere, it's game over for you - they now own all of your accounts (whether or not they know it yet). Keep in mind that your email account is basically the holy grail of passwords to have. Most websites handle password changes/resets through your email; thus anyone who can login to your email account can get access to pretty much any of your accounts anywhere. Game over, you lose.
But wait, why would anyone want to use my password? I'm nobody!
It doesn't matter, the bad guys sell this information to other bad guys. Bots are used to make as much use of these passwords as possible. If they can get into your bank they might try money transfers. If they get into your Amazon account they might spin up $80,000 worth of servers to mine Bitcoin (or whatever coin is popular at the time). They don't care who you are; it's all automated. By the way, according to this post (which looks believable enough to be real) this is pretty much how they got into the BMG servers initially. They checked for usernames/emails of admins on the BMG website(s) in previous breach dumps (of which there are many) and found at least one that used the same password on other sites - for their admin account! If you want to see how many of your accounts are already breached check out Have I Been Pwned - I recommend registering all of your email addresses as well so you get notified of future breaches. This is how I found out about the Town of Salem breach, myself.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Before I go into all the steps you can (and should) take to protect yourself I should note that security is in a constant tug of war with convenience. What this means is that the more security measures you apply the more inconvenienced you become for many tasks. It's up to you to decide how much is too much either way. First of all I strongly recommend registering your email(s) on https://haveibeenpwned.com/ - this is especially important if your email address is associated to important things like AWS, Steam developer account, bank accounts, social media, etc. You want to know ASAP when an account of yours is compromised so you can take steps to prevent or undo damage. Note that the bad guys have a head start on this!
You probably need to have better password hygiene. If you don't already, you need to make sure every account you have uses a different, unique, secure password. You should change these passwords at least once a year. Depending on how many accounts you have and how good your memory is, this is your first big security vs convenience trade-off battle. That's easily solved, though, by using a password manager. You can find a list of password managers on Wikipedia here or you can search around for some comparison articles. Some notable choices to consider:
1Password - recommend by Troy Hunt, creator of Have I Been Pwned
LastPass - I use this at work and it's generally good
BitWarden - free and open source! I use this at home and in some ways it's better than LastPass
KeePass (and forks) - free, open source, and totally offline; if you don't trust "the cloud" you can trade away some more convenience in exchange for taking full responsibility of your password security (and backups)
Regardless of which one you choose, any of them is 100x better than not using one at all.
The problem with all these passwords is that someone can still use them if they are found in a breach. Your passwords are only as strong as the website you use them on. In the case of the BMG breach mentioned above - all passwords were stored in an ancient format which has been insecure for years. It's likely that every single password in the breach can be reversed/cracked, or already have been. The next step you need to take is to make it harder for someone else to login with your password. This is done using Multi-Factor Authentication (or Two-Factor Authentication). Unfortunately not every website/service supports MFA/2FA, but you should still use it on every single one that does support it. You can check which sites support MFA/2FA here or dig around in account options on any particular site. You should setup MFA/2FA on your email account ASAP! If it's not supported, you need to switch to a provider that does support it. This is more important than your bank account! All of the big email providers support it: GMail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail, etc. The type of MFA/2FA you use depends on what is supported by each site/service, but there is a common approach that is compatible on many of them. Most of them involve phone apps because a phone is the most common and convenient "thing you have" that bad guys (or anyone, really) can't access easily. Time-based One-time Password or TOTP is probably the most commonly used method because it's easy to implement and can be used with many different apps. Google Authenticator was the first popular one, but it has some limitations which continue the security vs convenience battle - namely that getting a new phone is a super huge chore (no backup/restore option - you have to disable and setup each site all over again). Many alternatives support cloud backup which is really convenient, though obviously less secure by some measure. Notable choices to consider:
Authy - probably the first big/popular one after Google Authenticator came out (I think) - NOTE: They let you use it on your desktop/browser, too, but this is TOO much convenience! Don't fall for that trap.
LastPass Authenticator - conveniently links up with a LastPass account, some sites support extra features (like not needing to type a code, just answer a phone notification)
Yubikey - A real physical MFA device! Some models are compatible with phones, too.
Duo - this one is more geared towards enterprise, but they have a free option
Some sites/services use their own app, like Blizzard (battle.net) and Steam, and don't allow you to use other ones. You will probably have a few apps on your phone when all your accounts are setup, but it's worth it. You'll definitely want to enable it on your password manager as well if you chose a cloud-based one. Don't forget to save backup codes in an actual secure location! If you lose your backup codes and your auth app/physical key you will be locked out of accounts. It's really not fun recovering in that situation. Most recommendations are to print them and put in a fireproof safe, but using some other secure encrypted storage is fine. There is such a thing as bad MFA/2FA! However, anything is at least better than nothing. A lot of places still use SMS (text messaging) or e-mail for their MFA/2FA implementation. The e-mail one has the most obvious flaw: If someone gets into your email account they have defeated that security measure. The SMS flaws are less obvious and much less likely to affect you, but still a risk: SMS is trivial to intercept (capture data over the air (literally), clone your SIM card data, and some other methods). Still, if you're not a person of interest already, it's still better than nothing.
What Does This Have To Do With GameDev?
Yeah, I do know which subreddit I'm posting in! Here's the section that gets more into things specific to game development (or software development in general).
Secure Your Code
Securing your code actually has multiple meanings here: Securing access to your code, and ensuring your code itself is secure against exploitation. Let's start with access since that's the easier topic to cover! If you're not already using some form of Source Control Management (SCM) you really need to get on board! I'm not going to go in depth on that as it's a whole other topic to itself, but I'll assume you are using Git or Mercurial (hg) already and hosting it on one of these sites (or a similar one):
First, ensure that you have locked down who can access this code already. If you are using private repositories you need to make sure that the only people who have access are the people who need access (i.e. yourself and your team). Second, everyone should have strong passwords and MFA/2FA enabled on their accounts. If 1 person on the team does not follow good security practices it puts your whole project at risk! So make sure everyone on the team is following along. You can also look into tools to do some auditing and even automate it so that if anyone's account becomes less secure over time (say they turned off MFA one day) they would automatically lose their access. Additionally you should never commit secrets (passwords, API keys, tokens, social security numbers, etc) to your code repository. Probably 90% of cases where people have their AWS/Google Cloud/Azure accounts compromised and racking up huge bills for bitcoin mining is due to having their passwords/keys stored in their git repo. They either accidentally made it public or someone got access to the private repo through a compromised account. Never store sensitive information in your code repository! Next topic: Securing your code from vulnerabilities. This one is harder to talk about for game dev as most engines/frameworks are not as susceptible (for lack of a better word) to these situations as others. In a nutshell, you need to keep track of the following:
Is my code doing anything "dangerous"? (system-level stuff, memory access, saving passwords anywhere)
Could someone get the keys to the kingdom (API key, server password, etc) by just opening Cheat Engine and looking at memory values? Or doing a strings/hex edit/decompile/etc on my game executable?
Am I using outdated libraries/framework/engine? Do they have any known security bugs?
Secure Your Computer
I'm not going to go in depth on this one because at this point everyone should have a handle on this; if not there are limitless articles, blogs, and videos about the how/what/why. In summary: Keep everything updated, and don't open suspicious links.
Lock your computer when idle - use a password (or PIN or face unlock or whatever your OS uses) - no one should ever be able to walk up to your computer and use it if you're not looking, nor should they be able to get in if they grabbed your closed laptop off the table at starbucks (thanks u/3tt07kjt for reminding me of this one)
Use full disk encryption (especially on laptops)
Update your OS for security updates ASAP
Use anti-virus (yes, Windows Defender is fine) and keep it updated
Update your web browser ALWAYS (this is your 99% chance attack vector, so don't postpone it!)
Don't install browser extensions that you don't need - a LOT of extensions are either malware from the start or become malware later (my favorite emoji extension started mining bitcoins, FFS!) - check reviews regularly after extensions update
DO use adblock and privacy extensions - ads are a common attack vector - I recommend uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger at a minimum (note that some legit sites can break and so you'll have to fiddle with settings or whitelist)
Don't open suspicious or unknown links on e-mail, social media, discord, etc (be sure to hover over the links in this post before clicking them)
Don't open attachments, ever - unless you were expecting it from that person at that time
Don't fill out ANY forms (comments, login, registration, etc) on websites that don't have HTTPS (secure) connection - your browser will show this in the address bar, usually
In general, be suspicious of everything that comes from people you don't know - and even from people you do know if it was unexpected
E-Mail is (probably) the least secure form of communications ever invented - so try not to use it for sensitive things
Secure Your Website
I will have to add more to this later probably, but again there are tons of good articles, blogs, and videos on these topics. Hopefully the information in this section is enough to get you on the right track - if not feel free to ask for more info. Lots of guides can be found on Digital Ocean's site and they are relevant even if you don't use DO for your servers.
Use HTTPS (SSL/TLS) secure connections - it's FREE and EASY thanks to Let's Encrypt
KEEP EVERYTHING UPDATED - automate as much as you can
If you have control over the server, you MUST update the OS, the web server, and any backend application servers/languages/frameworks involved. Equifax breach was due to having out of date server software. BMG breach was worsened by having out of date server software. YOU MUST STAY UPDATED, ALWAYS
Don't store sensitive personal information - it's a huge pain to be PCI compliant, it's a huge fine if you mess it up - avoid storing any customer information that you don't actually need (see also: GDPR )
Do not allow access to SSH/Remote desktop/Database services from the whole world; the general public should only ever be able to reach ports 80 and 443 on your web server (and 80 should permanently redirect to HTTPS)
Use SSH keys instead of passwords on Linux servers
Don't run your own email server - it's just not worth it; use google apps for business, office 365, zoho, or something else for business email
Secure your domain registrar account! Don't lose your domain to a bad password or lack of MFA/2FA or an old email address! If your registrar doesn't support actual security then transfer to one that does. (namecheap, namesilo, google domains, amazon aws route53, even godaddy, the absolutely worst web company, has good security options)
A lot of this will apply to your game servers as well - really any kind of server you expect to setup.
That's it, for now
I ran out of steam while typing this all up after a couple hours, but I may revisit it later to add more info. Feel free to ask any questions about any of these topics and I'll do my best to answer them all.
TL;DR (y u words so much??)
Use a password manager so you can have different, random, secure passwords on every account on every website/service/game
Use MFA/2FA on every account, if possible
Lock your computer when idle/away
Use full disk encryption on laptops
Update your operating system (we all hate Windows Update, but it really is for our own good)
Use anti-virus (Windows Defender is fine)
Update your browser
Use good adblockeprivacy blocker browsers extensions
Don't use browser extensions that you don't really need (they could be a trojan horse of bitcoin mining later)
Don't trust anything sent by anyone, unless you were expecting it and know it's safe
E-mail is the least secure form of communications in use these days; don't trust it for sensitive things
Use source control for your game code (git, mercurial, etc)
Lock down access to your source code
Don't put secrets (passwords, API keys/tokens, social security numbers, credit card numbers) in your code repository
Don't do dumb things like store your AWS keys in your game for players to just find with simple tools
Check your code dependencies for security bugs, update them when needed
Use HTTPS on your website
Update your web server OS and software
Use secure password storage (don't reinvent this wheel, it's been solved by way smarter people)
Use SSH keys instead of passwords for Linux servers
Use a firewall to block the world from getting in with SSH/Remote desktop/database direct connections
Only allow your own IP address (which can change!) into the server for admin tasks
Don't run your own email server, let someone who knows what they are doing handle that for you
Secure your domain registrar account, keep email address up to date
... in general... in general... in general... I sure wrote those 2 words a lot.
Why Should I Trust This Post?
Hopefully I have provided enough information and good links in this post that you can trust the contents to be accurate (or mostly accurate). There is certainly enough information to do some searches on your own to find out how right or wrong I might be about these things. If you want my appeal to authority answer: I've been working at a major (network/computer) security company for almost 7 years as a software developer, and I've had to put up with pretty much every inconvenience brought on by security. I've also witnessed the aftermath of nearly every type of security failure covered in this post, via customers and the industry at large. None of the links I used are related to my employer or its products. Edit: Fixed some typos and added some more links More edit: added a few more points and links
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