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Help for a first timer
This is my first time attempting to buy from silk road and I need some help. Basically, I've been going through using forums and the like trying to work out how to do everything. It was all going fairly smoothly until now. I have bought bitcoins, I have mixed them on a website called 'Bitcoin Fog Company', but I tried to transfer them to my Silk Road account and they still have not come through. I attempted to deposit them to my Silk Road account at 2am on Wednesday night. Bitcoin Fog Company said that it would do the transaction over 6 hours, and I have seen that Silk Road sometimes takes up to 24 hours for the bitcoins to come through. However, it has now been 60 hours and I am starting to get worried that I have lost my money. Any helpful advice or possible solutions? Thanks Edit: My problem has been solved, thanks very much creeture124 for your help!
I started my career in November and investing February 5th, 2020 - my strategy as a once peasant Mexican
My history investing in college and my first month investing in February:
Learned about miners and blockchain validation with a chemical engineering friend before the rally.
Bought XRP at $.15 and $.25, sold at $3.28 (I valued at $4 or $5 dollars MAX in 10 years if blockchain found adoption)
Bought AMD after the rally at $11 because it was ridiculous how much cost efficiency they had introduced to the market to poor people like me unlike NVIDIA products which always seemed far removed and discouraged me.
I started with Panasonic because I had missed out on the window to invest in Tesla at 200-300 range. I believed Panasonic to be similar to AMD's relationship to bitcoin; while all eyes looked at the shiny object, I looked at the boring parts that built it.
The market crashed, so I DCA'd aggressively and controlled my emotions through out. I was more concerned with my performance to commitment rather than my returns at the time. I did well.
My investments in March 19 was SQ and Lyft
My Strategy now that I have income
I bought up to 5,000 dollars in stocks ranging from FANUC (industrial robotics) to DENNYS (logistics/real estate)
I trimmed down to $2,300 but will rapidly rebuild with a different approach:
I'm buying 1 stock in the company before making any further developments with. Following this, I will purchase ETFs in sectors that I want to see develop in the next 5-15 years. I will buy 1 stake into these ETFs and combine it with my 1 stock purchase to create the necessary offset.
For example, I bought 1 stock of Texas Instruments for $109 followed by a purchase in SOXX ETF for semiconductors, which has the largest ETF allocation to Texas Instruments. I will apply similar logic to companies like Facebook, Paypal, etc.
I do this "1 chip" start in multiple industries because I want to pick some arbitrary point in time but I have a lot of industries & ecosystems that I would like to reasonably participate in. This will still cost a lot of money to start off with and buys me time to study company numbers and outlooks.
My current market sentiment
I consider where you start on a graph as somewhat arbitrary and see the current market stability as somewhat of an exercise in game theory and rowing a boat throat a thick fog. I believe it's optimal to row cautiously forward and to not stay still. With cautious rowing, you'll be able to react appropriately if you are suddenly met by a waterfall or a path with clearer vision.
I value customer service a lot. Back in 2011 I would have said that investing in Blizzard was a good idea simply because they brought their servers down for 8 hours every Tuesday for almost a decade. They did this to ensure higher quality server maitenance in an era where online gaming was unknown territory. If I were to pick an airline, this would be my center of focus. This often means I need to participate in the market in order to invest in it. This is why Netflix beat Blockbuster in the early game and why Disney may win in the late.
I am `BEARISH` on Amazon in the long term. I believe that slowly, but surely, the market will consume Amazon's hold on its markets. I don't believe Amazon will maintain the status quo on cloud computing due to the quality of its competitors. I absolutely LOVE Google Cloud Platform and utilize Firebase real-time database very often. Microsoft has made some extremely important acquisitions recently in Github and NPM. I wonder often how rapid Amazon systems will become maintenance and legacy based systems of a previous era of cloud software utilization.
I'm currently building an edtech platform where the system records students effort in various ways and translates that effort into a donation pool. Teachers are provided a platform to share resources and utilize analytics. This is all done in real time with Google and Facebooks frameworks for frontend and Backend development.
I have suspicions about Amazon will struggle internationally. I don't know if Amazon will penetrate China the way China does, or if it will succeed in locations south of Mexico against things like Mercado Libre
I have suspicions that tech platforms will soon integrate in a meaningful way with financials. As in, the virtualization of stores and forwarded payments in places like the Facebook(Visa) Market Place, Twitter(Square) payment sending, Paypal(honey) & Amazon purchasing, Gaming credits, etc.
I am `bullish` on Facebook. Facebook is utterly invaluable and scales globally. The reason it's adopted in Mexico, for example, is because it's cheaper and faster than other services. They also service millions of developers with React and its growing development ecosystem. They provide a standardized marketting platform for small businesses on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and soon to be JIO. I would not be surprised if they soon enter the fintech sector.
I am `bullish` on Paypal. They are seemingly repeating their previous success by servicing large online commerce that are upgrading their systems. Honey/Paypal will scrape coupons for Amazon and force organizations like Visa to compete with real-time financial services.
I am `bullish` on cloud software and networking. I think CDNs and dedicated services for Cybersecurity will maintain. Sure Google provides these services but things like Cloudflare and Fastly have dedicated solutions to fast image processing, DDoS protection, and more that other platforms may not be able to allocate their resources to. Cloudflare has an enormous network, and Fastly provides a great system for you to enjoy content like Reddit. I think it's hard to miss the mark here - the highway of the internet is going to get faster and more assets will be maintained in the server's space - the ecosystem must grow with it.
I am EXTREMELY BEARISH on Beyond Meat. I've been vegetarian for 10 years. IT'S BAD. WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO BE EXCITED ABOUT AND WE'RE NOT USED TO HAVING ATTENTION. VEGETARIANS ARE LYING IF THEY SAY IT'S AMAZING. IT'S LITERALLY DOG FOOD
I am `BULLISH` on the long term development of Mexico. I think companies like Kansas City Southern that services Mexican-American relationships will grow well in the long run.
I am `BULLISH` on Apple and Adobe. Amazing products.
CURRENT HOLDINGS (ordered by priority & checkup time):
GOOG & AMZN exposure through tech ETFs ::: priority FB NVIDIA, AMD, Intel EXPOSURE through semiconductor ETFS ::: priority Texas Instruments PAYPAL, MERCADO LIBRE, SQUARE exposure through fintech ETF ::: priority PayPal Environmental Services exposure through Sanitation ETFS ::: priority Waste Management Adobe and AutoDesk exposure through cloud software ETFs :: priority Adobe Nintendo exposure through gaming ETFS :: priority Nintendo Cisco exposure through cloud networking and edge computing ETFS Cicsco, Fastly, Cloudflare, etc TELECOM networking ETFS :: priority TMobile Manufacturing technology, industrial sectors, and robotics exposure to Fanuc, ABB, Siemens, Sherwin-Williams, VW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, Panasonic, Healthcare services ETF :: priority Cigna FB -- LONG PAYPAL -- LONG TEXAS INSTRUMENTS - LONG MSFT -- LONG APPLE -- LONG ADOBE -- LONG DISNEY - LONG BITCOIN - LONG TMOBILE - 2 YEARS VISA -- 2 YEARS JPM -- 2 YEARS TWITTER -- 2 YEARS SQUARE -- 1 YEAR LYFT -- 1 YEAR FASTLY -- QUARTERLY CLOUDFLARE -- QUARTERLY 1LIFE MEDICAL -- QUARTERLY FIVERR -- QUARTERLY DRAFT KING -- QUARTERLY YEAR + CHICAGO POLITICS GROUPON -- SPARE CHANGE JAR
Part 1 “Huh, they’re really going at it, aren’t they?” Saale said, looking towards the bedroom. Karl and Maarja were rustling around in there, too drunk to contain the volume of their passion. The two of us sat around and tried to do anything but listen. Saale and me started off as strangers that night, but we ended up being the last people standing. It was the biggest party of the summer and we were the only lucid survivors. We were holding hands. “Heh, yeah,” I replied. She squeezed my hand. I squeezed back. We started off the night rambling about everything and anything under the sun, but now conversation had run out. All we had was nervous eye contact and hand squeezing; both of us were too scared to take the next step. “I am very drunk,” I said, giving myself plausible deniability. “Me too,” she said. Her hazel eyes held on to mine; C’mon, you’re the guy, make the first move. “Want to dance?” I suddenly blurted out. Saale cocked her head to the side, “Do you have music?” She squeezed my hand again, hard, a look of mischief spread across her face. Maarja howled in the other room. “Yeah, definitely,” I fished out my Sony Erickson and searched through the fourteen-song library for something that wasn’t ska music. I found that one Rolling Stones song. We got off the couch and wrapped our arms around each other. The music came out of the flip phone with the orchestral quality of a potato and the sounds from the bedroom were considerably louder, but we didn’t care. We just wanted an excuse to hold each other. It wasn’t really dancing. We were just hugging each other while stepping from side to side. The anticipation was electric. She whispered something in my ear. I pretended not to hear and moved closer to her. Our lips brushed against each other. We kissed. It wasn’t the booze, it wasn’t the dope, it wasn’t the hormones. There was something else in my blood in that moment. A surge of electricity so powerful that to taste it for just a single second made life worth living. The universe focused all of its attention, all of its beauty and washed it over our moment. We laid down on the couch. Scratching. Suddenly the soft sounds of her breath were overpowered by scratching. I pulled back. Saale looked at me with those heart-melting eyes, “What’s wrong?” The scratching grew louder, more furious. Claws, I could hear claws. She said something else, but I couldn’t hear her by then, the scratching had grown deafening. Saale looked up in horror. Fabric ripped. I woke up. Fritz was right by my head, his long tail resting inches from my face. I watched him in a daze. He was furiously digging at the upholstery. There was a sizable hole there; the rat must have worked at it for the whole night. His little body dug with desperate energy, trying to make the opening as big as possible, yet after a couple of seconds he stopped. Fritz shoved his head into the hole and his whole body went limp. His furry frame rose and fell with effort as Fritz breathed in as much of the couch as he could. I grabbed him by the nape and took him out of the couch. The creature was nothing like the animal I held the night before. Fritz’s head had lost most of its fur; all that was left was tufts of gray fur that splashed over his irritated skin. He snapped at me, or at least tried to. His jaw was heavy, his eyes barely stayed open. I placed him on the floor. As soon as he was on his own feet he fell over. After a couple lethargic seconds he stumbled to his paws and crawled beneath the wardrobe. Karl walked out of the bedroom. He stopped when he noticed I was awake. “James, which tie seems more formal?” Karl looked like a madman; he was wearing superman underwear and a fancy white dress shirt that barely fit around his paunch. In each hand he held a black tie. I was too disoriented to tell the difference. “I don’t know Karl, they both look pretty similar to me.” I said. Karl looked down on the ties. He raised each one of them to his face for a closer examination. Finally, after some thought he nodded, “I think you are right James. These ties do look identical.” He retreated back to the bedroom and emerged with only one tie that he started putting on. “Oh, also, good morning friend,” Karl added as an afterthought. “Good morning Karl,” I replied. “James! Don’t enable him! He’s just being nervous about meeting my parents,” Maarja yelled from the kitchen. “Nothing to be scared of Karl. You know my parents are cool.” “Your parents are most definitely not cool. Your father is a very scary man and your mother is a very angry woman.” Karl protested. He looked over at me, “Right James?” Maarja peeked out of the kitchen. I had only seen Maarja’s father once. It was during Maarja’s high-school graduation. She had managed to sneak me in so I could attend the after party. I remembered seeing him across the hall, watching his daughter get her diploma with that emotionless scowl that fathers raised behind the iron curtain have perfected. Her dad bore a striking resemblance to Karl, he was a big dude, but where Karl carried a lumberjack beard Maarja’s father had a simple moustache. Maarja’s father also had scars. Even at a distance you could see them, a face covered in splotches of red as if he had experienced some great horror at a young age. “Your mother is a pretty angry woman Maarja,” I said. Maarja scoffed. “If you piss her off she is. Point is: Karl shouldn’t be scared. My parents like him.” “No they don’t,” Karl protested. Maarja rolled her eyes. “You want coffee James?” she yelled from the kitchen. “Sure,” I said. I tried sitting up, hoping to lose a bit of my drowsiness but something was wrong. I fished my left hand from under the couch. Somehow, as I slept, I clawed my index finger into the stuffing of the couch. It took effort to take it out; it was as if the upholstery had wrapped itself around the finger. Maarja brought me my coffee and said something about how they were going to a nearby restaurant for the lunch but her words fell on deaf ears. I was completely focused on my pointer. The skin around it was an unhealthy red. It was cold to the touch. All the feeling in the finger was gone. I could move it, but the movements were sluggish, it was as if the finger was in a deep sleep. As Maarja and Karl got ready I tried to assess how damaged the finger was. I didn’t snap out of the mystery until I heard the front door slam shut. I wasn’t alone though. ‘Quit worrying about your finger Tiger, you just slept funny. Think about more pleasant things.’ The voice in my head slithered back, ‘Remember how soft Saale’s skin was? How sweet her perfume smelled as you two made love?’ I laid back down and ran my hand across the couch. For something so old it was so remarkably smooth. Fritz was suddenly back by my head. He ran towards the hole that he had worked on prior and started clawing at it again. He tore at the threading frantically. He wanted to be back inside of the couch, he needed to be back inside of the couch. I reached out to pick him up but reconsidered. ‘Leave him be Tiger, he’s just enjoying himself.’ My hand fell back to the firm cushioning of the couch. ‘That’s a good boy,’ the voice said, ‘Now where were we? Ah yes, Saale, what a girl, huh? Remember how good it felt to wake up next to her?’ I did. I remembered. It was, after all, on that very same couch that I woke up next to Saale for the first time. It was the day after the party, when I woke up I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a second to realize where I was, that there was a beautiful woman on my arm, that I had made love to a alluring the stranger the night before, yet when the thought set in a wave of bliss washed over me. A gentle morning light was coming in through the blinds, the birds outside chirped peacefully and Saale snored. ‘Her half open mouth, those tiny sounds, so vulnerable, so romantic.’ Then the door opened. ‘Oh Tiger, you don’t have to think about that part.’ Then the door opened and Maarja’s mother came in. The woman did not like me to begin with, the couple of times that we had met she regarded me with absolute disdain. Maarja even admitted it; her mother didn’t want her daughter hanging around with strange foreigners. As soon as Maarja’s mom saw us she started screaming. ‘Oh come on Tiger, you don’t have to think about arguments right now, think about the good times-‘ Her yelling woke everyone up. As me and Saale were frantically putting on our clothes the bedroom door flew open and Maarja started yelling at her mom. I didn’t understand a word to it, but Maarja’s mom seemed to have it really out for me. She kept on pointing. She kept on screaming and pointing at me… or was she pointing at the couch? ‘Oh come on Tiger, there’s other memories to go back to, remember the first time that you and Saale-‘ We ran out as soon as we had enough clothes to be decent. Salle and me left the argument behind. Maarja’s mom didn’t chase us, but we ran for a couple of blocks anyway. We moved through the morning streets, giggling. After Saale nearly got hit by a tram we finally stopped. For a second we stood there, slightly hung-over and out of breath. We kissed. “She seemed really angry, what was she saying?” I asked. “This is not a whorehouse, my daughter will be no madam!” Saale yelled, mimicking Maarja’s mother’s voice. We laughed, but then Saale frowned. She was beautiful even when she was confused. “To be honest though, she seemed a bit more angry about that couch being in the room. She kept on pointing at it asking where they had gotten it, saying that it was meant to be burnt years ago-“ ‘STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TIGER’ the voice thundered through my skull, ‘IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!’ The voice was no longer flirty. Darkness loomed within it. My mind cleared in fear. I looked to the side; Fritz had made progress with the hole. He was hallway inside and still digging. His tail and hind legs stuck out of the hole, his enflamed testacles pressed against the side of the couch. With a couple more frantic movements he squeezed himself inside. The rat was gone. ‘Wondering what he’s doing Tiger?’ The couch asked gingerly, ‘He’s floating in ecstasy, oh yes, he’s experiencing pleasure you couldn’t even begin to comprehend, unless…’ Fabric groaned as the hole that Fritz had dug expanded. I could see the stuffing, it heaved up and down as if the couch was breathing. The hole was big enough to fit my hand. ‘C’mon Tiger, you know you want to try.’ I extended my hand; there was something from the couch that called to me, something stronger than me. Beads of perspiration streamed down my forehead. My clothes were soaked with sweat. As my fingers approached the gaping hole I could feel a glint of electricity in the air. The universe turned its eyes on me and beckoned me towards the maw. VRRRR! VRRRR! I snapped out of it. My phone was ringing. It was Maarja. “James, goddamn it, why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling you for like five minutes,” she talked in an angry whisper, “Look, my parents decided that they wanted to come over to the apartment. My mom would flip if she knew you were staying with us. I need you out of the house right now.” I jumped to my feet. The last person I wanted to see right now was Maarja’s mom. “Okay, I’ll be out in five.” “Not good enough! James! We’re almost there. Just get out! Please James, the lunch went really well, please don’t let her turn today into an argument,” Maarja pleaded. I quickly put on my shoes and dashed towards the door. I didn’t realize I forgot my coat until I was outside. The cold wind blew through my sweaty t-shirt. “Are you outside?” Maarja whispered. “Yeah, right at the front door.” “Okay, get out. Right now. We’re almost there. I’ll call you when the coast is clear. Sorry. Love ya!” click. As I reached the end of the block I could see the four of them walking towards the apartment. Karl and Maarja’s dad were engaged in a passionate conversation. Maarja and her mom followed them, quietly smoking. I sped out of sight. I was freezing, a wet t-shirt in the Estonian winter felt like a death sentence. In my attempt to find a semblance of warmth I went over to the bus station and got onto the first bus that stopped. I nestled up next to the heaters and immediately felt better. The plan was to warm up, maybe dry off and then go find a mall to kill time in. That plan fell apart very quickly. The bus drove for a bit before I realized where it was going. For a second I considered getting off, but it was too cold for me to be roaming the streets, or at least that’s what I told myself. I took out my iPod and scrolled over to the Rolling Stones. The bus rode out to Saale’s neighborhood. I returned back to Maarja’s apartment way after sundown. The day was a blur. I remembered running out of Maarja’s apartment. I remembered getting on the bus and riding over to Saale’s place. I remembered what happened at Saale’s but everything else was covered in a thick mental fog. The vodka helped with that. I had spent my last remaining cash on a bottle of good old 79% memory wipe. It helped me cope. It also made the Estonian winter more bearable. “James! Honey! Where were you?” Maarja was outside having a cigarette when I stumbled to the house, “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Are you okay?” there was a hint of a drunken slur to her voice. “Phone’s out of battery,” I mumbled as I walked up. “Are you okay?” she repeated her question. I shrugged. “I think I need a hug.” “Ah darling, come here,” Maarja said as she wrapped her arms around me. She was wearing one of Karl’s huge jackets. It wasn’t until I was embraced in its warmth that I realized how cold I was. “Want to talk about it?” “No.” I didn’t. All I wanted was to just be blindly told everything was going to be okay. I wanted assurances that I wouldn’t feel like this forever. I needed to know that I would get over Saale. Yet Maarja just sighed. “I know it’s hard James. When you’re ready to talk about it I’m here for you.” she sighed again, I could smell the booze on her breath, “Thank you for leaving the house when you did. Things… didn’t go very well.” She let go. I was back in the cold. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Maarja took a long drag of her cigarette. Her voice grew heavy, “My dad was really interested in Karl’s Bitcoin stuff and he wanted to see his computer. Me and my mom were finishing off our cigarette outside and…” Maarja’s eyes drifted towards the night sky and fluttered. She was trying not to cry. “Maarja? What’s wrong?” I asked. She cleared her throat and composed herself. “My mom found out about the couch and she got really pissed. She thought I burnt it after that one house party. I just didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good couch but... Yeah. We have to burn it.” “Burn the couch!? Why?” I gasped. “There’s some ugly history behind it,” her voice grew faint, “I don’t really want to talk about it.” It felt like the final bit of stability in my life had crumbled away. I had to drunkenly hold myself up against a lawn chair, “When?” Maarja shrugged. “Now is a good time as any I guess, we can just drag it out into the backyard, grab some lighter fluid and torch it. Don’t think anyone is going to mind.” She was wrong. I would mind. My fists tightened. An inarticulate rage boiled in my blood. I wanted to hit her so bad, but instead I begged. “One more night,” I said, “Just one more night with the couch. We can burn it tomorrow; it’s New Years right? What a way to end off the year. We could have a little bonfire in the evening.” “James,” Maarja sighed, “Honey, you can stay here, at least for a couple of days. We’ll move some pillows around and you can sleep on the floor. We’ll hang out tomorrow and it’s going to be great but my mom was really insistent on the couch. I promised her I would-“ “Please, please, don’t get rid of the couch,” I begged, “Just one more night. Just one more night on the couch where I can think back to my memories of Saale. I’m desperate Maarja. While your parents were visiting I went over to Saale’s place. I got into her apartment block. I knocked on the door. I knew she was there Maarja, I could hear her walking up after I knocked. When she looked through the peephole she completely ignored me. She just stood there like I didn’t exist. I called her Maarja, I called her phone and I could hear it ringing in the other room, I called until my goddamn battery ran out, but she never picked up. I traveled half way across the continent on my last dime and she wants nothing to do with me Maarja. The love of my goddamn life won’t even answer her phone. All I have left is that couch. All I have left are those memories of that first night. Please, Maarja, one more night on the couch.” The words came out with chest-tightening force. Each sentence made me grow weaker until I was barely able to talk. My face was streaked in tears, my nose was running all over my face; I looked like a complete mess. Maarja wrapped her arms around me just as tight as she had in the airport. “Okay James, one more night,” Maarja said, “I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish we could help.” We stayed in the hug for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to let go, to pull back and be cool about everything. But I couldn’t. The warmth under that jacket, Maarja’s arms around me, it all just felt safer than the world outside. “We both need some sleep,” Maarja finally whispered. Karl barely noticed us when we walked into the apartment. He was sitting on the couch stuck in deep thought. When I saw him an unexplainable pang of jealousy ran through my body. Me and that couch had something special going on. I cleared my throat. Karl jumped up in surprise. “James! You’re back. Where were you? We were worried about you!” Karl said. “I went to Saale’s.” “Oh,” He dropped his eyes away from me, not knowing what to say. He looked over at Maarja, “You have told James about what happened with your dad?” “Something happened with your dad?” I asked. The question seemed stupid and irrelevant. Maarja stared daggers back at Karl. She spoke slowly, with a hidden force beneath her words, “I have told James that my mother was very angry about the couch. We have decided that he will sleep on the couch for one more night and then we will burn it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?” Karl furrowed his brow. “Yes,” he finally said. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, leaning forward, as if he was about to say something else but then Maarja cut him off. “We should all get some sleep.” “Yeah,” I said, sprawling out onto the couch. ‘Welcome back Tiger,’ it whispered to me ‘Did someone have a rough day?’ The voice soothed the pain in my chest, the world started to become more manageable. Karl and Maarja went off to bed without saying much. There was something up, something that they were in disagreement about but it was none of my business. The couch kept me company. ‘It’s all going to be okay, you’ll see’ The couch whispered to me in its silky voice, ‘You’ll get over her, you’ll find someone better than Saale and in a couple of months you won’t even remember her. You’ll forget all about the relationship all together. But you know who’ll remember? She’ll remember Tiger, oh yes, Saale will be thinking about what an idiot she was to let you go-‘ The light in the bedroom was off, but I could hear Maarja walking around calling out for Fritz. She peeked her head into the living room and asked me if I saw him. I told her I didn’t. She gave up and went to sleep. ‘Don’t think about the rat.’ The hole that Fritz made into the upholstery was gone; there wasn’t even any sign of scratches. The whole couch, in fact, looked to be in better shape. The stains had completely disappeared from the couch, loose threads were nowhere to be seen, the floral print had taken on a colorful shine. ‘STOP IT.’ The voice hit my mind like a blunt object. A fog covered my thoughts, everything felt so impossibly distant. But beneath that fog was a gentle tone of sweetness, ‘Come on Tiger, let’s just enjoy this night together, huh? Lay here with me and let’s just bathe in each other’s company.’ The couch gently shuddered like a tantric massage chair. I heard the groaning of fabric. The place where Fritz had been digging spread apart to reveal a hole; beyond the upholstery was stuffing, it pulsed with fleshy energy. The couch trembled with anticipation. ‘Touch me Tiger, you know you want to.’ I reached out as electricity flowed through my body. The universe turned all of its spotlights on me. The mind fog thickened into a blanket of ecstasy and wrapped me up. All other thoughts disappeared. My soul danced to the chaotic tune of life. I was trapped in a wave of orgasmic rapture. ‘Doesn’t that feel so good Tiger? Isn’t this just exhilarating? Well don’t you worry. We can do this every night. Don’t listen to anyone else. Nothing will get between us, it’s you and me Tiger, it’s you and me and no one is going to stop us. We’ll make sure of that.’ For a split second it felt as if my finger brushed against something rough. I pinched at the object. It felt like a tail. Yet then, as if the gentle stuffing of the couch were a throat, the tail got swallowed deeper into its innards. ‘I love you,’ the couch whispered. The room smelt like floral perfume. I could hear a dog barking outside. I was covered in sweat. “I love you too,” I whispered back. I drifted off to a deep sleep. -MJL (Next part)
I've reached the extent that I think I can tell this story. This is my experience with the cult
Introduction I am hesitant to begin writing about these memories, and for two reasons. The first is out of fear - fear of retaliation. You see, I was taken advantage of by a cult that I escaped a few years ago in the summer of 2018. I wasn’t involved for long - ten months - but that wasn’t the end of the cult’s influence on me, as they cleverly had a previously unaffiliated visitor contact me and try to bring me back during the period afterwards. I believe they are still keeping tabs on be covertly, but this may just be my paranoid nature. For nearly the entire first year afterwards, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. They definitely have an interest in roping me back into the fold, as you will see how sociopathic these people are. I’m still traumatized, and although I have healed a great deal from these trials, there is still lingering conditioning that causes me panic attacks and anxiety, which exemplifies my schizoaffective disorder. I attribute much of the reason I’m houseless now to the combination of my mental health and trauma caused by this group. The second reason I am hesitant to begin writing is also out of fear, but this is instead a fear of not being able to deliver on my promise to expose this cult. I know I have the ability to write about my account, but will it be good enough? Will I be throwing these words into the electronic ocean like so many others with little effect on the world? I feel that no matter how hard I try, I will be unable to capture the cult’s devious acts in such a way to convey what it was like for me, a vulnerable individual, to be slowly turned into an obedient slave. Inadequacy. This is an important piece of my psychology. After watching my mother decay and die for the first nine years of my life, followed by being raised by an abusive, narcissistic father, I have a profound feeling of inadequacy ruling me. I never feel like I am good enough; that I have to self-sacrifice - to the point where I believed I had to be as good as Jesus Christ - in order to achieve a passable level of human adequacy. The cult took advantage of these feelings in spades and left me a shell of who I was previously. Fortunately, the period of houselessness that has extended the last year or so of my life has been a radically transformative period where I feel able to step out from barriers that previously trapped me. I feel freer than I ever have been, and to be honest, I owe a lot to the cult for pushing me to my breaking point and learning where my boundaries are. In fact, I don’t believe I could have stepped away from the denial of having a feminine side if it weren’t for the ridiculousness of how far I was pushed. Now, I stand strong, ready to accomplish this mission life has presented me. It is my basic civic duty to tell my story and warn the public about this group and others who prey on vulnerable individuals in an unstable socioeconomic period. They deliberately attract people who are vulnerable for personal or financial reasons. For instance, there was a flat-earther from Belgium who was here illegally that got roped into our group by being attracted to the messages of sovereignty and their abundance of kooky new age beliefs. They even tried to get me to recruit more members using the same strategies they hooked me with - which is standard cult behavior. This leads right into how I got involved with the cult in the first place. Part of it is my fault, as I was young and naive. I still am, but now I have the wisdom to not throw myself out there for any group to start manipulating. There are many people who can be drawn into their preying behavior, and it is important that I elaborate on how easy it is to get duped, so others don’t follow in my footsteps. As you will see, the group was bizarre in many ways. I want to start off by saying that I did not join an organization of pee-drinkers who practiced blood-magick on the side of Main Street. Instead, I started working for a nonprofit that promised to change the world, and appeared to have the ability to do that. The weirdness grew exponentially over time, gradually as they conditioned us to accept their way of life. On my own end, I wanted to join an intentional community; one where everyone involved works towards a singular end as one unit. I longed for the camaraderie and an alternate way of life. I wanted something different than what - as the cult called the common culture - “The Matrix,” or “Babylon” offered. There are such communities, but because of devious groups like this, everyone needs to be cautious when attempting to find them. I still seek to find or create an alternative lifestyle for myself where I can live amongst my brothers and sisters away from the mass-produced consumer culture of the world. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I am happy where I am now. If anything, the group taught me that self-love is our first love; if the gardener does not take care of themselves, then who takes care of the garden? With my efforts to find such a community as I wanted, it was inevitable that some group would have sunk their teeth into me. I am grateful that I was able to recognize the far-flung insanity that I was trapped in and escape. Now I just need to focus on recovering and helping others who may be searching for the same things I am. Chapter 1 It all started early in 2017. I was working on reverse networking, like trying to place a letter on someone’s shoes to let them know I exist. I was hoping to find a project I could use my skills as a writer and juggler by broadcasting who I was on our small online community, The Shrug Life Syndicate, on Reddit. I was so desperate to find such a community that fit my ideals and goals that I didn’t even conceive that someone could be watching in order to learn about me. They first posted a link to their site on our community’s board, when they were still going by the Awakening Sovereignty Collective. To best understand how I perceived them initially, you have to understand that I was lost in what we at the Shrug Life Syndicate call the synchronicity slip stream. An aspect of my schizoaffective disorder, I often get lost in various series of synchronicities that form a coherent narrative that compels me to behave differently than I otherwise would. It is an amazing feature of my mental health for creativity and finding alternative solutions to problems, but it can be debilitating when trying to fit in to the normal world. When the ASC posted, I believed applying on their website was the obvious thing I should do in order to accomplish my cosmic mission. Well, nothing happened at first, and I forgot about them until several months later until I received an email stating I was hired. This came after a series of strange tasks from anonymous accounts that seemed to be tests to see if I was as capable of a writer as I portrayed myself as being. I remember one test was to see if I could write a sales pitch for “Unicorn Poop,” an edible snack with a humorous twist. I don’t have any proof that these two events are connected, but it definitely tripped my radar as odd that they happened one after another, and nothing ever came from the sales tasks. Having passed their tests, I began working with them online. It was a slow process, as there wasn’t a lot of work right out the gate, but there was a lot to learn. Their websites were many in number and often confusing. I had difficulty navigating them and almost quit trying within days of getting started. I remember crumbling back into my addictive nature one night as the wailing cries of depression came roaring back with my initial perceived failure. If I were not partially psychotic, believing the universe was guiding me to the salvation I sought, then that would have been the end of it. Many other people seemed to have given up while I was still new to working for them. If I were to guess, I would say that this was deliberate on their part in order to weed out only people like me, who were in some way desperate to be a part of the group. With only a small number of desperate people finding their way into the clutches of these people, it must be easier to control them as well. The ASC promised a new way of life for anyone seeking it. They claimed to be a planetary alliance that was helping ecovillages, nonprofits, conscious businesses, and individual change agents. They were working on a cryptocurrency and software suite that would help communities better serve the world. This was at the peak of the bitcoin bubble, where many people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies were trying to get in on the hype. They touted a number of figures and claims which ultimately turned out to be false or otherwise misrepresentative of the truth, but in the moment I believed everything they were shoveling. It was easy for them to sell the idea and project as they were all natural sales personalities. I attended a lot of meetings, particularly with the writer’s team, and started to get to know the people behind the project. In the moment, they appeared to be down-to-Earth and relatable, but highly conscious individuals who really cared about the world and were motivated to do the work necessary to make the changes needed for the planet. In hindsight, they really only cared about money, and were playing a part to catch people like me. The leader was named Dakota, if that was his real name (I believe most of the main group had adopted a second name to hide who they really were). He was a young man claiming to have graduated high school at ten, and he founded a company known as STADA which was facilitating much if not all of the software needs of the ASC. He was brilliant, but I believe most of his brilliance was self-generated through his ability to sell himself as more than he really was. He always acted like a millionaire who was going to change the world, which made it easy for him to sell the project to people like me. The co-leader was named Lila. She was a cheerful person who always had something positive to add to the conversation. While working with her, I found this to be a powerful part of her personality. It was hard to say no to her, as she had a motherly vibe and she strategically would ask you to do things that left you feeling compelled to help her, for the good of the project. She first won me over by claiming to run a retreat center for circus skills. I only heard of this in the beginning of my journey with the group, so I believe it may have been a bogus means to shift my opinion of them. The leader of the writer’s team was named Teahna, who was beautiful and knew how to use her womanly charm to influence others. She seemed to be new to the project as well, having recently written her first book, and my time working with her online seemed to be a learning experience for both of us. I believe this was also planned, so that I would have some support learning what I was supposed to be doing on the various websites that seemed to pile up more and more as time went on. The work was easy at first. There were no assignments or anything like that. It was all pile work - as in, just grab a shovel and get paid for what you move. As a writer, I naturally gravitated to the writers team’s tasks, but I also helped with the education team and the core tasks of the group. Mostly I wrote articles and website content for them, but I also wrote fake twitter bios, social media posts, and began working on their constitution/manifesto before arriving at their headquarters. I was making good money, both in real dollars and their own cryptocurrency, Equality Keys. They claimed we could trade their currency for real money at any time, which turned out to be a lie. They often only let us exchange it at certain times at a reduced value. But, I was naive enough to believe that the numbers on my screen were real and meant I was doing good. It wasn’t long before I earned upwards of thousands of dollars worth of their currency, which was promised to rise in value as the project continued to grow and evolve. After a few weeks working with them, they began toying with a name change to Earth Nation. I believe this is a key part of their method of staying under the radar. By changing names and projects frequently, they never gather enough clout to be exposed as the charlatans that they are. They would later create a new project known as Earth Cycle, and there was a tentacle organization we got hooked into after our stay with the main group called Lovecycle. In regards to the latter, I will never forget the name Lovecycle, as that is when the bulk of bizarre and traumatic events occured. This is around the same time that my girlfriend at the time began helping out as well. We worked together as a writer and artist combo, and they were initially excited to have another person joining to help. There was some friction though, such as bluntly being told they had no need for an artist at this time after they welcomed her onboard, and there were moments where it seemed like they did not want her to be a part of the project. As they turned her and I against each other much later in our odyssey with them, I think this must have been deliberate to sow the seeds of conflict between us. Again, this is classic cult behavior. I regret bringing her into the whole thing, as she is no doubt as traumatized as I am. What really allowed me to lose myself in the hope of the project was the possibility to do exactly as I dreamed: travel with a caravan, juggle at festivals, help sell whatever my girlfriend and others made, and write gonzo journalism about what Earth Nation was doing. One of the main draws of the group was that they advertised in the meetings about how they had a proposal system, where anyone could come with their plan and it could be voted on to be given resources. They were interested in my idea (how much of that was just gaslighting me to believe I’ve found the perfect gig, I don’t know), and wanted me to do some journalism about my experiences moving to their headquarters just outside Eugene, Oregon - on the other side of the country. My girlfriend and I were ecstatic at the idea of starting a new life on the west coast. It was the dream we both shared, to abandon the broken world we knew and join something better. We began preparing for the move, sold all of our stuff, and eventually took off from the airport with only three bags to our name. It was a leap of faith, and we were never happier to embrace our dreams and begin to live a much more interesting life. Chapter 2 We left on October 25th, about a couple months after I first began working for the ASC. It was an amazing trip that we thought would represent our rebirth. I remember arriving at the airport feeling as though I was leaving a part of my past behind. I felt a wave of solemn emptiness and fear over this, but I have since learned such feelings are common with change of this magnitude. Mostly, I felt joy that a new chapter of my life was unfolding before my eyes. It was a time where it seemed like we had infinite potential right at our fingertips. Who knew what would actually go down over the coming months? We were grateful for the opportunity and happy about the change. My girlfriend even changed her name to Awen to start over fresh as a new person. I still stuck with my birth name, Gregory, but eventually I would start going by the name Rory after having been pressured to by the group. I remember looking out the window while Awen took pictures of everything we flew over. It was a trip in itself to see the world from such an angle. I was amazed at the number of wind farms in the middle of the country. Likewise, the closer we got to our destination, the more mountainous the ground beneath us became. The change in scenery would pale in comparison with the change in the culture of the west coast - one of the main reasons I now consider Portland my new home. Landing in Eugene’s airport, we were regaled with Ducks memorabilia. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had forgotten that this was where an old hero from my track days, Steve Prefontaine, used to run. This made me feel hopeful while waiting for Teahna and Prism, the leader of the educational team. I remember pacing the entrance hall of the airport with a giddy smile stretching from ear to ear. This was it, I told myself: I had finally found my new home. After a long day of airline travel, we were eventually picked up in Prism’s van. We were met with hugs and smiles, which rejuvenated us after the natural stress of the trip. We chatted the entire way back to Triangle Lake, where their headquarters supposedly was. Both Awen and I were antsy while being shaken back and forth while sitting on Prism’s bed for the duration of the drive. I distinctly remember the beautiful colors of the autumn trees as we drove past. This last little bit of our trip took roughly forty-five minutes, but it felt like we were pulling up to the headquarters in an instant. I caught a glimpse of a sign as we pulled into the long driveway: Circle of Children. This would be where we stayed for the first two months. The area was gorgeous. Giant trees covered in green moss extended as far as the eye could see. With the abundance of fern-life, it reminded me of a Jurassic paradise. Out the cracked window of the van, I could hear tree frogs chirping in harmony. It was certainly something out of another world compared to the east coast. We stopped in front of the main office - the only building with wifi. If I were to graph the amount of access to the internet we had across the ten months we were involved, it would have a steady, negative slope. Of course, while being conditioned by the group, it was barely noticed, as we grew less dependent on the internet as time went on. We were never barred from the outside world - in fact we interacted with it regularly - but the idea of leaving was made so impossibly far outside the bounds of possible choices through a long series of scripted events. Which is why the entire beginning of our stay at the Triangle Lake Convention Center seemed like something out of a fantasy paradise. Everything, from the overarching narrative we were fed, to the day-to-day interactions, was designed to win us over, gaslight us, and manipulate us emotionally by using our traumas against us. In the aftermath of the whole escapade, I learned that this is the type of manipulation that cults use to prevent members from seeing reason while keeping them docile, obedient work horses for the greater project, whatever it may be. It is clear to me now that Earth Nation and all tentacle organizations are a purely criminal enterprise - a money-making machine for those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even though we were supposedly a DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - there were clearly people who were centralized leaders profiting from everything the group did. And everybody played their roles well upon our arrival. We were greeted with another barrage of hugs as we got out of the van. Everybody was excited to finally meet us in person, as were we to meet them. We chatted with Dakota and Lila for some time outside of the office. They were the exact same as their online personas. In the moment, this gave us a sense that these people were genuine, but in hindsight it serves as a reminder that anyone can create a convincing character and play them whenever they want - even if they choose to never take their deceptive masks off. We were then shown where we would be staying. Up the hill and to the left we drove until we were in front of Carmen Hall. It was a quaint dorm-style lodging with a large common area and a small kitchenette. Many nights were spent in the common room with the others who were staying in the building. Because we were a couple, we were given the largest room with its own bathroom. That’s another thing that changed in a downward slope: our living quarters. Over the course of the ten months we were with them, we were downgraded from having our own space, to sharing space, to living in a tent. And again, because of the conditioning, we were fine with the change. Sometime during the early evening, we went back down to the dining hall and kitchen which was across the way from the main office. Here, we met a variety of characters, including Tuva, a humble appearing guy with a large social network he brought with him to the project, and Daniella, who would turn out to be mommy dearest as she was the sole woman controlling us for the majority of our adventure on the west coast. A Brazillian native, she was as good of a manipulator as she was a cook, and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal on our first night in Oregon. Before the night was up, we went behind the kitchen to smoke with a man named Grizzly; a wild looking man who mostly kept quiet but had a mouth to use if he needed it. It was the first time we smoked in Oregon and it felt liberating to finally be in a legal state. But, as freeing and fun as being able to smoke whenever we wanted, I believe the abundance of weed we were constantly fed was a means to keep us docile. Daniella always made sure we had some weed, and would frequently smoke with us. I feel I would have been able to say something as things changed if I were not dependent on the constant stream of marijuana. Afterwards, we went back to Carmen Hall with a couple of members who also stayed there, and Daniella performed a pendulum reading for me and my girlfriend. Holding a crystal on a chain, she “read” the direction it spun as she brought it up in alignment with our chakras. She was spot on and I wanted to say that she had excellent observation skills, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs, especially my girlfriend who considered herself a mystic and bought into the act. That night we cuddled in our room, smiling as wide as our mouths could. We had done it - we successfully started our new lives and were going to be a part of something we still had yet to fully comprehend. Everything was new and exciting, and while we were overjoyed, we were glad we had each other because things were still scary. If only we had known then how scary things would become. Chapter 3 The next morning, we showered, dressed, and went down to the kitchen. There was a slight fog in the air, and we saw a family of deer in a clearing off the road. We would see this family of deer several times during out stay at Triangle Lake, which greatly enthused my girlfriend. She said they were a symbol of wisdom, and must be a good sign as we continued to be indoctrinated by the new age beliefs of the group. We were early, as our daily meetings were at ten and that is when most people started to show up at the office. But Grizzly was there, as he stayed at the nurses station that sat next to the main office. He offered us some dabs, which just further enforced our belief that this was a great group to be a part of. He also offered me a metal six-shooter pipe, which proved to be the main piece I would smoke out of for the entirety of our adventure. Breakfast consisted of whatever we could scrounge up. There was a huge walk-in freezer in the kitchen that hosted tons of food when we first got there. There were also a wide selection of dry foods such as figs and nuts. That whole selection would dwindle over time, as the group got everything as donations, usually by soliciting the local food pantries and the Eugene mission and much was close to their expiration dates. It was common to open the freezer and find something moldy. This was the first time I really interacted with Doran. Doran looked a lot like me - complete with similar beard and glasses - but had shorter, curlier, and darker hair. It was joked that “I was another you.” He appeared to be a really kind-hearted person, and we frequently went to him with problems. This is likely planned as well, to have someone to vent the frustrations we were experiencing as the project transitioned to something different than what we signed up for. I opened up to him before I did with other members, even asking for relationship advice as they tried turning Awen and I against each other between, and received what I now consider a long-standing act of being a good ear with standard advice from the group. Still, he was funny and I enjoyed making strange mixtures of food with him. As it neared ten, we shuffled to the office to have our meeting. The office had two rooms, and we were all huddled in a circle in one of them. This was nice during the coming months as it was also the only room with the heater. These meetings proved to be a main means to program us, as there were many exchanges that could have only been scripted. We would often talk about one thing, but there would be a subtopic that was teased that would change the meaning of the whole meeting in the context that I heard it. Often there would be some crosstalk in the kitchen beforehand, or something during the day that warped my understanding of what was said We were required to work thirty hours a week in order to receive our basic income of two hundred dollars a month, as per our agreements before moving to the headquarters. However, it wasn’t long before they duped us by saying the basic income would be used to cover our time staying at Triangle Lake. We weren’t able to fight it, because our tongues were tied by the desire to fit in and be accepted by the group. The ways that they changed things were gradual and deliberate, so that you would never really feel like you were getting taken advantage of. It was just a change, which was alright, because there was a world to save and we were the group who was going to get it done. That was one of the major ways they were able to get away with a lot of the back-pedaling of agreements - they would always have new, unexpected surprises waiting for us. It was gradual, but they introduced several new elements of communal living that required us to sacrifice more of our money and autonomy. They did this by having so-and-so nonchalantly bringing up these concerns in the meetings, then downplaying the resulting effects as something that should be expected, then agreeing with Dakota or Lila. Keeping track of my hours was a joke. For everything I did, I was told I should have taken less time in order to do. The criticism I received came tongue-in-cheek and constructive at first, but steadily devolved into a series of harsh critiques that would leave me distraught and unable to think clearly. I was still unmedicated back then, and my emotional state was as turbulent as a hurricane. They did similar things to my girlfriend, as Lila took her under her wing, treating her as her child in order to take advantage of her own trauma she had with her mother. If there was one thing these people really excelled at it is control. They figured us out quickly and efficiently and then used our traumas against us. Our second night there consisted of an informal group of the residents who stayed at Carmen Hall staring into each other’s eyes and then saying out loud what we felt at that moment. I remember staring at Daniella, who was a silhouette with the lamp directly behind her, and asking for healing. Something about the way she stared at me seemed to provoke a sense of trust and I felt that she would be able to help with a lot of the problems. That’s one way they won over us and got us to do whatever they wanted. They are experts at gaining people’s trust and then they take advantage of that fact. Through these scripted and planned events they were able to warp our realities to the point where we were already robotic slaves right off the bat. We certainly were eager to earn their approval and work our way to a position where we were seen as valuable members of the project. One of these planned events was Kukui’s birthday, which was just a few days after we got there. Kukui was a groundskeeper who had previously lived in Hawaii and was joked as being a ginger Jesus. He was an incredible person who really cared about the Earth. I have no idea if he was part of the manipulation or if he was there on similar beliefs that this was a group doing immense good in the world. Early on during the night’s preparation, Dakota and Lila walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go out to eat with them. This struck us as odd that they would abandon Kukui on his birthday, but we didn’t see it as too weird at the time. We struck up a conversation, where it was revealed that Dakota had two EBT cards from different states. One big hook they sunk into us was the idea that it was us versus the government. They managed to convince us that the institutions of the world were parasitic - which they usually are - but did it in such a way that made us feel like we were in a spiritual war against the bad boogie men of the world. And they managed this by gradually exposing us to more and more deliberate acts of defiance, in order to manifest our own sovereignty against the parasitic government. It’s what led to us accepting some of their more diabolic schemes. For instance, there was talk about building a village in Ava, Missouri, moving all their people in, and then taking over the mayorship. They chose Missouri for this plan due to the different building codes of the state. In the moment, this seemed like a brilliant plan for expanding the influence of Earth Nation, but in hindsight appears to be a dystopian means to increase their power and continue taking advantage of people. These were little seeds they planted that made us more comfortable with doing certain things that we otherwise wouldn’t. Awen was particularly uncomfortable with many of the things we did, but eventually they did get her to help out with their schemes. By keeping us under fear and gradually conditioning us, they were able to make us obedient as we were always looking out for our immediate survival. Fear. That is an emotion I am now excessively familiar with as a result of this cult. While I have battled paranoia all my life, they took those primal emotions and twisted them to the point that I had no idea which way was up. Each day gradually became a battle while being on high alert, as I constantly scrambled to overcome whatever artificial set-backs were planted in my way and keep up with the workload that was presented to me. My first exposure to this form of emotional manipulation came during Halloween. The night began jovially as Doran wore a plastic bag as a costume and invented a new dance that we all participated in. Daniella was preparing a large meal in the kitchen while we helped and played in rhythm to one another. The dinner we shared was only part of the night’s events that would change my life completely. After dinner, Awen and I went back to our room and talked about what we wanted to do that night. The rest of the group was still down at the dining hall and preparing for a fun night of festivities. Awen was not opposed to me going, but she was and still is a pagan and wanted to celebrate her ancestors as per the tradition of Samhain. I debated spending the night with her, but the opportunity to spend time with these new people in our life made me curious as to what they would be doing. I will also admit that I was much more controlled by my addictive nature and was excited to drink with them. So down I went. As I entered the dining hall, I saw that they were drinking tequila and generally having a great time. Naturally, I joined in and took a shot. Jovial times were had, and some time later I was offered another shot, but I did not see them pour this one. This turned out to be a crucial mistake on my part as I would find out that there was something else, something with psychedelic qualities, in the drink. It was not LSD, as I am familiar with the effects of that drug, so I am at a loss for what it could have been. As the night went on I began to feel funny. It wasn’t until we were in a smoke circle that I began to notice something was wrong. I had trouble forming words and when Grizzly asked me a question all I could muster was a “hi!” This tripped me up and I went inside to go sit down. This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I was mostly left alone as I sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor, but eventually there were three other people sitting around me, with a bottle placed in the center of us. I remember Prism and Josh, a carpenter who was doing some work on the buildings at Triangle Lake, were two of the people surrounding me, but I don’t remember any of the conversation they were having. I just remember getting really spooked at that time and tried to leave. I don’t know how long it took me to get back to Awen, but I do remember the headlights of a vehicle coming down the hill as I was going up. It was late by the time I made it back in into Carmen Hall, which suggests that I have no memory of what happened after the apparent spin-the-bottle episode. My memory starts to get better as I remember lying there with Awen trying to articulate what was going on, but my words just spiraled into incomprehensible nonsense. She was worried for me, just as I was worried for myself. The next morning continued on as if nothing ever happened, but I was emotionally jostled for the next few days. Nothing was ever said about what happened the night before, and a part of me was terrified that something happened Because my mother had AIDS, and that is a terror I still battle to this day, I obsessed over the idea that Prism, who was HIV positive, may have done something with me. I’ve since been tested and everything’s fine, but for a while I was terrified that I was raped. Was that a rational or irrational fear? I’ll never know. What I do know is that they took advantage of my perturbed state by subtly twisting the knife in the following days with their synchronous set-ups, making me feel guilty that I did not choose to spend time with Awen that night, and thus making me work harder than ever before. Chapter 4 in comments
Establishing a smart contract commercial scenario: Chainlink, Zk-Snarks and sharding technology work together to make the ultimate killer
This text was translated from Chinese, open following link in Chrome and translate to see all images: https://bihu.com/article/1242138347 EDIT: found an English text with pictures: https://medium.com/@rogerfeng/making-smart-contracts-work-for-business-how-chainlink-zk-snarks-sharding-finally-delivered-8f268af75ca2 Author: Feng Jie translation: Liu Sha “The highest state of technology is to integrate into the various scenes of everyday life, to fade away from high-tech outerwear and become a part of everyday life.” – Mark Weiser People in the future will not even think that smart contracts are "innovative." By that time, smart contracts would permeate every aspect of life, and people couldn't even imagine what the era of non-digital currency would look like. Later historians may divide human business history into two eras, the pre-smart contract era and the post-smart contract era. After all, digital money has brought unprecedented changes to the nature and patterns of business practices in the real world. An anonymous member of the Chainlink community once said: "Smart contracts can change the DNA of the business." Of course, like all the technological revolutions of the past, smart contracts also need to reach a "tipping point" to truly achieve large-scale applications. So we need to ask ourselves two questions:
What exactly is this so-called tipping point?
As of August 2019, have we reached this tipping point?
To reach the tipping point means unlocking the ultimate nirvana of business. Tipping point We can think about this issue from the perspective of mainstream companies. Imagine what a perfect smart contract platform should look like. What characteristics should this platform have? Or what features must be possessed? To reach the tipping point, you must establish a public chain with the following four characteristics:
In addition to the cryptocurrency, the transaction can also be settled in mainstream legal currency and comply with the regulatory requirements of financial markets such as ISO 20022.
Achieve scalability without sacrificing decentralization or security, that is, solving the "impossible triangle problem."
Connect the external data under the chain, that is, solve the "prophecy problem."
Now that we have Chainlink, zk-snarks and sharding technology, we have reached this tipping point. Next, let's explore how this ultimate nirvana is actually made. Our discussion will be mainly from the perspective of Ethereum, which is still the top smart contract platform for community size and mainstream applications. So what about the private chain? Before delving into it, I want to take the time to solve an unavoidable problem. The mainstream view has always believed that the private chain is a more suitable solution for the enterprise. Therefore, we first dialectically analyze the two advantages and two major drawbacks of the private chain. Disadvantages
Centralization leads to relatively lower security
It's not surprising that IBM and Maersk's blockchain freight alliances have a hard time finding customers who are willing to join. How can other freight companies be willing to let their biggest competitors (Maersk) verify their trading data? Only madmen dare to do this.
The staking of the horses occupy the hills:
This problem is even more serious than centralization. John Wolpert, co-founder of the IBM blockchain, wrote an excellent article called Breaking the Barriers to Realize Security: Why Companies Should Embrace the Ethereum Public Chain, which he covered in detail in the article. If every company builds its own private chain, it will lead to chaos in the mountains. Today's B2B ecosystem is very complex. Imagine the innumerable private chains of the world intertwined to form a huge "spider web." This is not only cost-effective, but also not scalable. The starting point of the blockchain is to break down barriers instead of building more barriers. "One day, one of your big buyers called you to ask if you want to join their private chain. You promised. The next day you received a call from the wholesaler to ask you the same question. Then came the supplier, freight. Business, insurance company or even bank, and each company may have several private chains! Finally you have to invest a lot of time and cost to operate dozens of blockchains every day . If there are partners to let you join them at this time The private chain, you might say "Forget it, or fax me the order!" ”—Paul Brody (Ernst & Young) “Every time you connect two private chains through a system integrator, you have to pay a lot of money .” Advantage
Scalability: With the Ethereum public chain implementing fragmentation technology, this advantage is rapidly shrinking.
Privacy protection: At this stage, the classification of public chain / private chain is actually not very accurate. The Aztec , Zether, and Nightfall protocols (both based on the zk-snarks protocol) effectively provide a "private chain model" for the Ethereum public chain, allowing it to switch between the public and private chains. Therefore, a more accurate classification should be the alliance chain and the public chain.
By 2020, the label of the public chain/private chain will gradually disappear. The public and private chains will no longer be two opposing concepts. Instead, the concept of publicly traded/private transactions and confidential contracts/open contracts is changed, and the scope of these transactions and contracts varies according to specific needs, either bilaterally or multilaterally or even publicly. All in all, the private chain has two major drawbacks compared to the public chain. Not only that, but the two major advantages of the private chain are also rapidly disappearing. “Technology will evolve over time, so there will be a variety of solutions to solve existing problems. Ultimately, the public-chain platform will have the same performance, scalability and data privacy as the private chain, while at the same time ensuring security and Decentralized." Feature 1: Privacy protection (predictive machine and public chain privacy) Enigma founder Guy Zyskind once joked in his MIT graduation thesis that smart contracts can only become commercially valuable if they become "confidential contracts." He later proposed that zk-snarks and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) are the most promising solutions. He said nothing wrong. What is zk-snarks ? Zk-snarks is a zero-knowledge proof mechanism (ZPK). So what is the zero-knowledge proof mechanism? In short: a zero-knowledge proof mechanism allows you to prove that you own certain information without revealing the content of the information. Vitalik Buterin explained this concept in detail from a technical point of view in an article published in 2017. Hackernoon also wrote an excellent article explaining the concept in an easy-to-understand way with the example of a five-year-old child and Halloween candy. What is the trusted execution environment? The trusted execution environment lets the code run on closed hardware, and 1 ) The guarantee result cannot be tampered with 2 ) Protecting absolute privacy, even hardware running code can't get confidential information. The most well-known trusted execution environment is Intel SGX. Chainlink has established a partnership with Intel SGX after acquiring Tom Crier. Ernst & Young released the Nightfall agreement on Github on May 31, 2019. A well-known accounting firm with a history of 100 years will choose to add privacy features to the public chain instead of developing a private chain. This is a problem. Since then, the community has been actively developing on this basis, not only to improve the code, but also to develop a plug-and-play Truffle Box for those who are not good at writing code. Blockchain communities and businesses generally rarely collaborate, so these collaborations fully demonstrate the popularity of Nightfall. Prior to this, two zk-snark-based Ethereum public chain privacy protocols were introduced, namely AZTEC (Consensys) and Zether (Stanford, JPMorgan Chase). An obvious trend is slowly taking shape. In the field of oracles, Chainlink uses both zero-knowledge proof and a trusted execution environment to complement each other. Trusted execution environments guarantee data privacy, even for nodes that cannot access data (this feature is critical for bank accounts and API keys). Chainlink is still trying to implement a trusted execution environment, and nodes can access data temporarily, so authentication services are also needed. Although the credible execution environment is almost 100% foolproof, in theory, a strong shield has a spear that can penetrate it. Therefore, the team is currently trying to run zk-snarks in a trusted execution environment (Thomas Hodges mentioned this in the 2019 Trufflecon Q&A session). The combination of the two can form a very robust and complete system. The attacker must find a way to strip all the layers of an onion at the same time to make any effective attack (and it is already difficult to peel off a layer of skin). “Chainlink combines a trusted execution environment with zero-knowledge proof to build what we call a defense-in-depth system, which means they provide all the tools needed for smart contract developers, including trusted execution environments, multiple nodes, and Data sources, fine margins, reputation systems, asymmetric encryption, zero-knowledge proofs, WASM, and OTP+RNG, these features allow smart contract developers to adjust the confidentiality and cost of contracts based on specific budget and security needs. Machine, Chainlink and its four major application scenarios》 In the future, zk-snarks may be upgraded to zk-starks (a fully transparent zero-knowledge proof mechanism) that protects the system from quantum computer attacks. And the best thing about zk-starks is that it's more scalable than zk-snarks. In other words, it can better protect privacy, and the cost of gas will not increase. If you want to learn more about zk-starks, you can read a popular science article written by Adam Luciano. Feature 2: Scalability (scalability of predictive machines and public chains) To understand this problem, we can make an analogy like this: A public chain is like a large enterprise, and every employee (ie, a node) must attend each meeting (ie, confirm each transaction). Imagine how inefficient this company is! Only customers who have a lot of money (ie gas fees) can get their requests to the forefront. And this is not the most serious problem. The most serious problem is that the more employees (ie nodes) who join the company, the harder it is for the company to function properly! In the end, the company not only failed to expand linearly, but also became smaller and smaller. Although this guarantees decentralization and security to the greatest extent, the price is completely abandoning scalability. There are various temporary fire fighting solutions, but no one solution can completely solve this "impossible triangle problem." For example, EOS uses the DPOS mechanism (share authorization certification mechanism), where only 21 super nodes (many of which are well-known nodes) are responsible for verifying all transactions. Sidechains (such as Bitcoin's Lightning Network and Ethereum's lightning network) guarantee scalability and decentralization at the expense of security. So how to use the fragmentation technology to solve this problem? Let's make another analogy: In reality, there is only one company that is not too much to ask everyone to attend all meetings, that is, small start-ups (that is, private chains that limit the number of nodes). In most cases, large companies divide employees into thousands of teams (ie, shards), and each team's principal (ie, the certifier) is responsible for reporting to the senior management (ie, the main chain). If people from different teams need to collaborate (and sometimes also), then they can collaborate by cross-shard receipts. If a new employee joins the company, the team can be re-segmented (ie re-sharding). This allows for linear expansion. In fact, the process of developing a start-up to a large enterprise is surprisingly similar to the process of Ethereum 1.0 developing into Ethereum 2.0. “The Ethereum 1.0 period is that several people who are alone are trying to build a world computer; and Ethereum 2.0 will really develop into a world computer.” Vitalik Buterin said in the first piece of the workshop. Since Ethereum was not originally built on the principle of fragmentation, it takes seven steps to achieve the goal (this is a bit like the word morphing solitaire game). The first step is planned for January 3, 2020. At the same time, developers can use many other blockchain platforms designed based on the fragmentation principle. Some platforms, including Zilliqa and Quarkchain, are already compatible with Chainlink. If you want to see more in-depth technical analysis of shards, check out an article by Ramy Zhang. In the field of oracles, Chainlink has the following two characteristics: 1 ) Use Schnorr threshold signatures to quickly reach consensus in a cost-effective manner. The next version of the chain only needs 16,000 gas. 2 ) We have previously discussed the need to use trusted execution environment hardware to ensure that nodes cannot access sensitive data. Since you have hardware in your hand, you can use it to do some actual computing work, so that you can properly reduce the amount of computation on the smart contract platform. "With the SGX system (Town Crier) and zero-knowledge proof technology, the oracle can be truly reliable and confidential, so the boundaries between the oracle and the smart contract are beginning to flow... Our long-term strategy... is to let The predictor becomes the key chain of computing resources used by most smart contracts. We believe that the way to achieve this goal is to perform chain operations in the oracle to meet various computing needs, and then send the results to the smart contract."Chainlink White Paper, Section 6.3 (26 pages) Of course, this “long-term strategy” has certain risks, unless Chainlink can implement a trusted execution environment and its service provider ecosystem can achieve a qualitative leap. However, the Chainlink team's vision is absolutely forward-looking: under-chain computing is a key factor in ensuring that blockchains are not dragged down by large amounts of IoT data. The Internet of Things has dramatically increased the current state of big data. At present, most of the data is still generated on the software side, and it is not real-time data, and most of the data in the future will be real-time data generated on the sensor side. One of the big drawbacks of real-time data is that it increases storage pressure. For example, Coughlin Associates expects an unmanned car to generate 1G of data per second. This means that the same car will produce 3.6T data per hour! The only viable solution is to do real-time analysis of the data, rather than storing the data first. In the Global Cloud Index: 2016-2021 Forecast and Methodology White Paper, Cisco predicts that more than 90% of data in 2021 will be analyzed in real time without storage. That is to say, the essence of data is that it can only exist in just one instant. The nature of the blockchain is not to be modified, so the two are as incompatible as water and oil. The solution is to analyze the raw data under the chain, extract the meaningful results and send them to the blockchain. The combination of fragmentation technology and trusted execution environment forms a new computing architecture, similar to the cloud computing-fog computing-edge computing architecture. It should be noted here that it is good to improve computing power, but this is not the main purpose of the blockchain. The fundamental purpose of the blockchain is not to reduce the original cost of computing and data storage. After all, technology giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Tencent, Alibaba, and Dropbox have built world-class cloud services. The centralized server wins high computational efficiency (but the blockchain will greatly improve the computational efficiency through fragmentation technology, and will catch up with it one day). The value of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of building trust. Nick Szabo calls it "social scalability" (this is a relative concept to the "operational" scalability we have been talking about). Vitalik Buterin also made it clear that the meaning of smart contracts is to accept small arithmetic delay penalties in exchange for a substantial reduction in "social costs." Alex Coventry of the Chainlink team once raised the question: "We have missed many opportunities for cooperation and reciprocity because we can't confirm whether the other party will fulfill the promise?" Is there any potential for data storage projects like Siacoin and IPFS? What about decentralized computing projects like SONM and Golem? Siacoin 's core value proposition is not that its computing efficiency is higher than traditional cloud services. The cost of computing is required to split, repeat, and reassemble data. And companies are more capable of buying the latest and greatest hardware than individuals. Siacoin's core value proposition is to process data in an Airbnb-like mode, so management fees will be lower than traditional models. It also generates additional social value, such as flood control, privacy and security, and anti-censorship. The same is true of Golem and SONM. Even with the most efficient protocol, it is inevitable that a small amount of delay will be imposed and fined to coordinate the hardware of different geographical locations. Therefore, under the condition that all other conditions are equal, the centralized hardware still has the advantage of faster computing speed. However, the core value proposition of the above project is to use the Airbnb-like model to reduce management costs. We must strictly distinguish between "social scalability" and "operational scalability", and the two cannot be confused. I will explain these two concepts in detail when I discuss "Magic Bus and Lightweight Library" later. Feature 3: Compatible with legal currency Most mainstream companies do not regard cryptocurrencies as "real currencies." In addition, even if someone wants to use cryptocurrency for trading, it is very difficult to actually operate because of its high price volatility. I discussed the “price volatility problem” in detail in Chapters 8 and 9 of the previous article. These problems do not completely erase the existence value of cryptocurrencies, because cryptocurrencies also have many advantages that legal currency does not have. I am just emphasizing what we need to know more about the comfort zone of mainstream companies. Chainlink acts as a universal API connector that triggers open banking payments. Chainlink is fully compliant with ISO 20022 and has established a long-term partnership with SWIFT (it is worth mentioning that SWIFT has not been updated for a long time and hopes to be updated after the SIBOS 2019 conference). PSD2 will take effect on September 14, 2019. All banks in the EU will all comply with this new regulation by then. In other words, the bank must put all account data in the "front end" and can be called through the API. The approved third party (ie, the Chainlink node) can trigger the payment directly without the payment service provider. Although the United States and Japan have not adopted similar laws, many banks still spontaneously promote the development of open banks. Banks open APIs to third-party developers to create new revenue streams and customer experiences that ultimately increase profitability. In addition, this will allow banks to better respond to competitors in the mobile payment and financial technology sectors in an APP-centric economic model. As this open banking revolution continues, Chainlink will connect smart contracts with the world's major currencies (US dollar, euro, yen, etc.). Only one external adapter is required to connect to the authenticated API. From a programming perspective, it is relatively simple to allow everyone in the community to contribute code to the code base (and thus achieve scalability). Chainlink has released adapters for PayPal and Mister Tango (European version of PayPal). Feature 4: Data connection with the chain Chainlink has been working on solving the "prophecy problem" and successfully succeeded on the main online line on May 30, 2019. Chainlink has made many achievements in just a few months. Provable (formerly Oraclize) was successfully used on the Chainlink node and finally settled the debate about whether the predictor should be centralized or decentralized. Synthetic Ether lost 37 million Ethercoins in a hack because it did not connect to Chainlink. Fortunately, the money was finally recovered and did not cause any loss. This lesson illustrates the importance of decentralized oracles. In addition, both Oracle and Google have partnered with Chainlink to monetize their API data and create a virtuous circle to capture the market opportunities that Facebook missed. There are new nodes coming online every week, and the network activity has been very high. The Chainlink team maintains a list of certified nodes in the documentation and Twitter releases. Twitter user CryptoSponge also set up a new development for the Tableau push update Chainlink team: Regarding the importance of the current stage in the history of blockchain development, Brad Huston summed it up very brilliantly: "The biggest problem with cryptocurrencies is to build bridges between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies and big data. Chainlink is very beautifully narrowing the distance between the three. Now it can even be said: 'The bridge has been built.'" Magic bus and lightweight library Let's summarize what we discussed earlier. The real purpose of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of building trust and achieve "social scalability." Therefore, according to this logic, the main application scenarios of platforms such as Ethereum 2.0 and Zilliqa should be in the B2B field. I quote a sentence I wrote in a previous article: “My conclusion is: If the smart contract is successful, it will also succeed in the B2B field first.” The private chain itself is self-contradictory and destined to fail. It has led to the phenomenon of occupying the hills, thus increasing the social cost, which is in opposition to B2B itself, and ultimately it is self-restraint. ” Before the emergence of fragmentation technology, even simple games (ie, etheric cats) could not be smoothly run on the public chain, let alone dealing with complex B2B contracts and even changing commercial DNA. With the sharding technology, everything is ready. Despite this, we can't use Ethereum 2.0 as an all-powerful platform. Just now we said that although it is a good thing to speed up the calculation, this is not the real purpose of Ethereum 2.0. And before we also said that due to the irreversible modification of the blockchain, it is not good to deal with a large number of fleeting real-time data of the Internet of Things. In other words, we must be soberly aware that Ethereum 2.0 will not replace traditional web 2.0. Instead, we should make better use of the real advantages of Ethereum 2.0: “There is a new concept now, that is to think of the Ethereum main network as a global bus... We use the Ethereum 2.0 main network to treat various business resources as a working group on Slack: it can be easily built and integrated. And restructuring. The SAP inventory management system in your company, the dealer's JD Edwards ERP system, and the financial technology partner's tall blockchain system can seamlessly interface, eliminating the need to develop an infrastructure specifically for each partner." - John Wolper describes his ideal "magic bus" Ethereum 2.0 should be an integration center, not a data center or computing center. It should be a library built specifically to store B2B contract terms (to be honest, even with fragmentation technology, the amount of data is large enough). We should not expect Ethereum 2.0 to be an all-powerful platform, but rather develop it into a "lightweight library." If we reorder the pyramid model just now, the architecture of the magic bus is obvious: Of course, the positional relationship in the above model is not static. With the development of 5G technology, edge computing and IoT sensors, they may bypass the cloud to directly interact (or even bypass the fog end). If the collaboration between Iotex and Chainlink is successful, then the edge can interact directly with the trusted execution environment. Time will tell if Airbnb's shared data storage and computing model can make management costs lower than the current mainstream Web 2.0 model. Time will also prove whether the market really needs anti-censorship, anti-tampering, security protection and privacy protection. Do users really care about these social values and are willing to pay for them? Do they think these are just the icing on the cake or the most fundamental value? in conclusion Whether it is the battle between web2.0 and web3.0 or the battle between cryptocurrency and legal currency, one thing is beyond doubt: We have reached the tipping point, and the era of smart contracts with commercial value has arrived. In fact, the only problem at the moment is the time issue, and the main roadblocks have been basically cleared.
When will Ethereum 2.0 finish these 7 stages and be officially released?
When will Chainlink use a trusted execution environment on a large scale? If the cooperation between Intel SGX and Town Crier fails, what alternative plans are there? Will Chainlink communicate with other blockchain teams that plan to use a trusted execution environment (such as Dawn Song's Oasis Labs)?
At present, the main technical problems in the ecosystem have been solved, and now it is only necessary to recruit a group of enthusiastic developers to do the work of “connecting the line”. Digital currency has changed commercial DNA, and the future is full of possibilities. The only thing that hinders us now is our own imagination. The future is infinitely imaginative, and the future will be the world of developers. Dapps is already overwhelming. There is no doubt that we have found the ultimate nirvana. This text was translated from Chinese, open following in Chrome and translate to see all images: https://bihu.com/article/1242138347
Companies using the IOTA data marketplace will all use the IOTA token - ;
IOTA founders interested to talk about IOTA to Carl Zeiss AG, German manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices (~€4.8B revenue 2015/2016) - ;
Microsoft/IOTA meeting in Paris on December(?) 14th - ;
No fixed number of TPS needed to shut down coordinator, but said coordinator set to be phased out in favor of a distributed one 'soon' - ;
Tangle algorithm optimization, security audits, live network pilots deployments and standardization of individual IOTA components are major improvements required before IOTA can be deemed production ready - ;
IOTA should be close to 'production ready' within 2018 - ;
IOTA is a part of the "democratization of data" and may be used in the remittances market - ;
IOTA partnerships will be announced during the month of December - ;
Founder confident IOTA will function as intended, does not think Ethereum solves same problems as IOTA - .
Data Marketplace will run for 2 months before thorough analytics is to be performed, use cases focus to be in: supply chain, mobility, energy, agriculture, insurance and health care - .
Questions and answers:
 - Question by Tom Limb:
With the IOTA Data Marketplace, will companies and organisations be able to use their own token/currency, or will they have to use the IOTA token?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
They will use the IOTA network both for data integrity as well as iota tokens for transactional payments. It would make very little sense to have a separate token for each company or each datum type, it would just be chaos.
 - Question by Mark Knoedler:
@David: Is it possible that we can invite you to our high tech Company talking about IOTA? I think it will be interesting for both sides.
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
I'll look into this for sure. Remind me on twitter as well, quite hectic AMA :)
 - Answer by Dominik Schiener:
Considering that this is Zeiss, I'm more than happy to do it.
 - Question by Dark Den:
Have you planned some conference in France? A really few person knows about it, and it's soooo sad.. Thanks !
 - Answer by Dominik Schiener:
There will be a meetup at Microsoft in Paris on the 14th. Don't tell anyone ;)
 - Question by NerveKek:
How many transactions per second are necessary to secure the tangle in order the shut down the COO?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
There is no fixed number, however, we are doing a lot of research together with several universities with supercomputers and professors from all across the globe to get a better idea. That being said we will phase out the current Coordinator model in favor of a distributed one soonish, then finally the Tangle will be 100% independent.
 - Question by Carpincho:
Right now, what are the major pendents for the "production ready" transition of IOTA?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
Definitely more tangle algo optimization, numerous security audits, more deployments in pilots on the live network and then finally standardization of the individual IOTA components.
 - Question by Tim van Helsdingen:
When do you expect IOTA to be go out of beta and be ready for mass adoption? And is there any news regarding the release of jinn? Since that is a big part of the puzzle, correct?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
This is IOTA focused, so I won't respond regarding Jinn here. As for when it is 'out of beta', that is an impossible question. All of the current distributed ledger projects (including Bitcoin which is 9 years old and Ethereum which is 4 years into it) are still in beta. Going from beta to production readiness will be an iterative process, it's kind of like asking where two overlapping inkblots begin/end, or where two clouds that are merging begin and end, it's a gradient. A gradual process. However, we believe that 2018 will put us quite close to what most would call 'production ready', at least the core layer.
 - Question by Ben:
Whats a use case for IOTA you are the most excited about/hope to see in the future?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
Personally, I am the most excited about the symbiosis of an open flow of secured data and fog/mist analytics done in real time. This democratization of data will pave the way for a whole new information highway, unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
 - Answer by Dominik Schiener:
To give you a non-IOT use case: Remittances. It's a huge market, and IOTA's ability to transact money (no matter how much) for free, is truly a game changer for remittances.
 - Question by Sébastien Bulte:
Will we learn more about the IOTA partnerships throughout December?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
Yes, however, we do not want the IOTA project to be focused around just large partnerships and announcements, at the end of the day open source projects live and day by how fertile its grassroots are. We will be focusing a lot of resources on making IOTA as developer friendly as possible
 - Question by Jeremy Amadé Edwards:
Are you completely confident that Iota will function as intended (free transactions, accelerating scalability, network security) without the coordinator? What is a rough timeframe until full and independent functionality? Do you think Ethereum will solve these same problems? Do you think their solutions will be as neat? How might a competitor improve on free, scalable, and secure? What applications are you most excited about? Are there any threats to Iota or the crypto market in general that worry you? Can this revolution be stopped? Can it be slowed? How? Modesty aside, do you believe the tangle will dominate blockchain, or is there indeed room for both technologies?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
Are we completely confident that IOTA will function as intended without the coordinator? As confident as one can be in a world full of unknown variables. We have formal proofs, simulations, tests and a lot of architectural work that makes us very confident that it will indeed. I do not believe Ethereum can solve the same problems, simply because in order to do so they would have to revamp their entire architecture to the point where it would no longer be Ethereum, and I don't think the miners or eventually stakers would ever vote "yes" on a proposal to kill their profits after their heavy investments. Ethereum is an interesting project, but they have a tendency to make very lavish claims and never deliver on deadlines. Hofstader's law need to be kept in mind of course, it's hard to deliver on time, but Ethereum isn't even PoS yet... So in summary: I highly doubt it, but more importantly: I don't think they should. Ethereum was never meant as a transactional settlement layer. I am the most excited about the synergy between secure data and analytics, but beyond that I am also very excited about web 3.0 applications and the Sharing Economy 3.0. I do not think that the revolution behind Distributed Ledger Technology and permissionless innovation through decentralized technologies can be stopped. The momentum and necessity for it is simply to great.
 - Question by Hunter Harms:
When can we expect case studies from the companies participating in the newly released data marketplace? Do you think a positive review of the data marketplace by these companies will bring mainstream attention?
 - Answer by David Sønstebø:
The Data Marketplace will run for 2 months before we do thorough analytics and a subsequent case study will be released together with the participants. I definitely believe that this will bring a lot real world attention towards IOTA, outside of the typical speculator bubble that regrettably most blockchain projects exist within.
 - Answer by Dominik Schiener:
Together with our partners we are currently working on these case studies and concrete Proof of Concepts how the data marketplace will help shape certain industries. Our focus right now is on use cases in: Supply Chain, Mobility, Energy, Agriculture, Insurance and Health Care. We will also get some experts on GDPR involved to help write a report on the technical and legal barriers facing a distributed data marketplace.
Do you hold Coins, Tokens, Virtual Currencies or all three?
What do Facebook and JP Morgan Chase have in common? It might strike you as a strange question, with one company concerned with providing a social media platform, and the other being one of the largest banking institutions in the world. Facebook’s venture into the world of cryptocurrencies with their Libra Coin introduced a whole new vocabulary and prised open the eyes of the most stubborn blockchain deniers. Feeds were suddenly flooded with posts about Libra, blockchain and the benefits it can bring and how Facebook can take the helm of the rudderless ship sailing towards the rocks of the murky uncharted waters of decentralisation. Meanwhile, a little further back, banking giant JP Morgan, who were once one of Bitcoin’s most vocal critics, created their own digital coin, imaginatively called the JPM Coin, aimed at removing the volatile price fluctuations associated with Bitcoin. So JPM Coin is a 'coin' and Libra is a 'cryptocurrency', both owned by their respective corporations who have in many an observers mind stripped away one of the core ideologies of blockchain technology. Pundits were quick to recategorise them as "virtual money" or "digital currencies" because by being run by corporations, users are required to trust them, thereby breaking the idea of decentralisation. While it may not be as clear cut as that, the idea that Facebook, a company plagued by privacy-related scandals, want you to give them access to your sensitive financial data is somewhat ironic. Cryptocurrencies are a digital or virtual currency built with strong cryptography, making them highly secure and immutable. Most rely on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger verified by a decentralised network of computers, a concept the world has the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto to thank for. In the crypto space, the terms coin and token are often used interchangeably but are they actually the same thing? Let's take a more in-depth look. Digital coins are native to their own blockchain. Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) are perfect examples of cryptocurrency coins as they both exist on their own independent ledgers. BTC operates on the original Bitcoin blockchain, and similarly, ETH is used on the Ethereum blockchain. As you might expect, these coins are used in the same manner as money as they are fungible, portable, can be divided into smaller dominations and are limited in supply. Cryptocurrency coins can be used to pay for physical goods although as Ether is used within the Ethereum blockchain, it has additional functionality. The open-source nature of blockchain has allowed thousands of altcoins to be created by forking from the original Bitcoin protocol. So technically if the coin has its own blockchain, but it is not Bitcoin, it is known as an altcoin - although the versatility of Ethereum may see it being publicly regarded as an asset in its own right rather than an altcoin. This brings us on to tokens. The significant difference between a token and a coin is that a token needs another blockchain platform to be able to operate. The most common platform is Ethereum because of its rich feature set and the ability to create smart contracts on it. Tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain such as the popular Dragon Coin (DRG), are known as ERC-20 tokens. Tokens can be used for making payments (currency tokens), and many are used to create decentralised applications (utility tokens) which give holders access to the function of the project – like with DRG. Dragons evolution of the entertainment industry will see it achieving mass adoption across a range of vertical markets; however, it has compelling use cases in VIP gaming, eGaming and iGaming. Holders can convert their DRG into exclusive Dragon Global Chips which can only be used in a Dragon affiliated junket by changing them for non-negotiable gaming chips. There is another token called a "security token" which is used to represent an individual's investment in a project. Security tokens are given value from a start-up but crucially don't provide the holder with any ownership of the company. People invest in these tokens at the ICO stage in the hope that their value will increase in the future, sometimes the investments pay off but take a quick look here at some abandoned projects. So whether you own coins, tokens or virtual currencies, they can all be referred to as digital currencies because they exist only in a digital form and are therefore intangible. Digital currencies like Dragon Coin cut out any middlemen, which is why transactions made using the Dragon Social Wallet are low cost and happen almost instantaneously. So far so good but as previously mentioned, the definitions are fluid and overlap and the slight spanner in the works comes up with the term 'Virtual Currency' which has entered modern parlance. Virtual currencies in this context are digital in nature and are typically issued by developers to be used as a payment method in a specific virtual community such as EA's FIFA points or more recently GTA's in-game casino. These in-game payment methods are not crypto-based and usually only occur in the game's ecosystems and should not be confused with the volatile virtual currencies in the crypto space. This article aimed to clear some of the fog around the definitions used in the blockchain world and highlight the different uses for coins, tokens and virtual currencies however the industry is still in its infancy in many respects so new definitions will undoubtedly come to the fore. Definitions even vary between countries and indeed even in different parts of the countries. Some view cryptocurrencies as property, others view them as securities while others regard them as money and Japan also declaring them to be property. In the fast-paced blockchain industry, all you need to do is follow the Dragon blog to keep up with the latest trends and developments. And rest assured that Dragon won't be taking to the seas. Dragon will by flying over them, looking down on currencies such as Libra stuck in the doldrums as they try to escape the tangled regulatory nets cast over them. https://blog.dragon.online/do-you-hold-coins-tokens-virtual-currencies-or-all-three/ https://preview.redd.it/6xutiyue4ld31.jpg?width=745&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7027fc4ac49ea1bb50f8deaa9c2e99bab16cd547
Hey guys! I'm fairly new to this sub and to having a home lab in general and I found this community to be so kind and helping, I wanted to give back what I've learned. I'm seeing a lot of questions asked around on improvements and on what to do with x extra hardware so I thought it would be nice to have a thread to regroup that.
I'll put here some stuff I gathered and the most common questions I've seen, feel free to contribute and i'll update the post along.
oVirt -> Viurtualization
Hurrcane Electric DNS -> Dynamic DNS
No-IP -> DynamicDNS
SpiceWorks -> Misc
ERPXE -> Backup
Homelab Dashboard Posts about dashboards have been growing lately and here are some of the best that were kind enough to provide us with their sources.
Pi-hole Prevents ads from even reaching you by blocking dns queries. Works as a relay between your isp's dns server (or whichever you choose). Can also work as a local dns.
RetroPie From their website: The RetroPie Project is a collection of works that all have the overall goal to turn the Raspberry Pi into a dedicated retro-gaming console.
raspnode Tutorials for installing cryptocurrency nodes on a Raspberry Pi. Participate in the Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum network. Full nodes, SPV wallets, cold storage, offline transaction signing.
flightradar24 is a flight tracking service that provides you with real-time info about thousands of aircraft around the world.
The Plane Finder is the easiest and most accurate way to share your ADS-B and MLAT data with us.
PiAware is the world's largest flight tracking data company and provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions.
CouchPotato is an wesome PVR for usenet and torrents. Just fill in what you want to see and CouchPotato will add it to your "want to watch"-list. Every day it will search through multiple NZBs & Torrents sites, looking for the best possible match. If available, it will download it using your favorite download software.
SickBeard is a PVR for newsgroup users (with limited torrent support). It watches for new episodes of your favorite shows and when they are posted it downloads them, sorts and renames them, and optionally generates metadata for them.
SickRage Automatic Video Library Manager for TV Shows. It watches for new episodes of your favorite shows, and when they are posted it does its magic.
FlexGet is a multipurpose automation tool for content like torrents, nzbs, podcasts, comics, series, movies, etc.
sabnzbd makes Usenet as simple and streamlined as possible by automating everything we can.
nzbget is a binary downloader, which downloads files from Usenet based on information given in nzb-files.
headphones is an automated music downloader for NZB and Torrent, written in Python. It supports SABnzbd, NZBget, Transmission, µTorrent and Blackhole.
= Virtualization =
XenServer is an open source project and community managed by Citrix. The project develops open source software for securely running multiple operating systems and applications on a single device, enabling hardware consolidation and automation to reduce costs and simplify IT management of servers and applications.
Proxmox is a complete open source server virtualization management software. It is based on KVM virtualization and container-based virtualization and manages KVM virtual machines, Linux containers (LXC), storage, virtualized networks, and HA clusters.
VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use.
SmartOS is a hypervisor lean enough to run entirely in memory, powerful enough to run as much as you want to throw at it.
KVM is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V).
oVirt is free, open-source virtualization management platform. It was founded by Red Hat as a community project on which Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is based.
= Monitoring =
Nagios is a powerful monitoring system that enables organizations to identify and resolve IT infrastructure problems before they affect critical business processes.
OMD avoids the tedious work of manually compiling and integrating Nagios addons while at the same time avoiding the problems of pre-packaged installations coming with your Linux distribution
Pandorafms is the most flexible monitoring software in the market. With a single tool, Pandora FMS can monitor everything: infrastructure, applications, services, and business progress.
PRTG Monitoring is a network monitoring software that is powerful and easy to use. Free for 100 sensors.
Zabbix is the ultimate enterprise-level software designed for real-time monitoring of millions of metrics collected from tens of thousands of servers, virtual machines and network devices.
Observium is a low-maintenance auto-discovering network monitoring platform supporting a wide range of device types, platforms and operating systems.
LibreNMS is a fully featured network monitoring system that provides a wealth of features and device support.
Cacti is a complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool's data storage and graphing functionality.
Munin surveys all your computers and remembers what it saw. It presents all the information in graphs through a web interface.
ZenOSS is an award winning, open source monitoring product that automatically discovers resources, without the use of agents, and provides visibility across all aspects of your IT environment whether physical, virtual or in the cloud.
AlienVault OSSIM is an open source security information and event management system. OSSIM combines Snort, OpenVAS, Nagios, OSSEC, and other tools into a single portal with log collection and correlation.
Graylog Centralize and aggregate all your log files for 100% visibility. Use our powerful query language to search through terabytes of log data to discover and analyze important information.
= Media Center =
Plex organizes your video, music, and photo collections and streams them to all of your screens.
Kodi, if a free and open source (GPL) software media center for playing videos, music, pictures, games, and more.
Emby brings all of your home videos, music, and photos together into one place.
OpenMediaVault is the next generation network attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian Linux. It contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, RSync, BitTorrent client and many more.
PlexPy is a tool to easily monitor and receive notify playback events from Plex.
MediaGoblin is a free software media publishing platform that anyone can run. You can think of it as a decentralized alternative to Flickr, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.
= Remote access =
Guacamole is a clientless remote desktop gateway. It supports standard protocols like VNC and RDP.
Chrome Remote Desktop allows users to remotely access another computer through Chrome browser or a Chromebook.
mRemoteNG is a fork of mRemote, an open source, tabbed, multi-protocol, remote connections manager. mRemoteNG adds bug fixes and new features to mRemote.
= VOIP =
Elastix is an Open Source Software to establish Unified Communications. About this concept, Elastix goal is to incorporate all the communication alternatives, available at an enterprise level, into a unique solution.
Asterisk is an open source framework for building communications applications. Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a communications server.
FreePBX is a web-based open source GUI (graphical user interface) that controls and manages Asterisk (PBX)
= Networking =
pfSense is an open-source firewall/router computer software distribution based on FreeBSD.
Open vSwitch is a production quality, multilayer virtual switch licensed under the open source Apache 2.0 license.
SophosUTM Complete Unified Threat Management protection for your network, web, email, applications, and users.
SohposXG is a fully equipped software version of the Sophos XG firewall, available at no cost for home users.
feeloadbalancer is offering the Free LoadMaster to help small companies and developers by providing them with a robust and proven load balancing option.
NetWorx is a simple and free, yet powerful tool that helps you objectively evaluate your bandwidth consumption situation.
VyOS is a community fork of Vyatta, a Linux-based network operating system that provides software-based network routing, firewall, and VPN functionality.
freeIPA is an integrated Identity and Authentication solution for Linux/UNIX networked environments.
Metiix Blockade Network-Wide Malware, Tracking, & Ad Blocking (Can also run on Raspbian)
OpenVPN is an open-source software application that implements virtual private network (VPN) techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. It uses a custom security protocol that utilizes SSL/TLS for key exchange.
Smoothwall is a Free and Open Source firewall that includes its own security-hardened GNU/Linux operating system and an easy-to-use web interface.
ClearOS is an operating system for your Server, Network, and Gateway systems. It is designed for homes, small to medium businesses, and distributed environments. ClearOS is commonly known as the Next Generation Small Business Server, while including indispensable Gateway and Networking functionality.
DriveBender is the class leading storage pooling technology for Microsoft Windows. Developed by Division-M, Drive Bender allows for file redundancy via file duplication, and unlike RAID, does not require any proprietary drive format or complicated setup. (Now free)
CloudExtender is local Windows storage, powered by the cloud... with optional, state of the art TNO (trust no one) file encryption built right in. Create a Windows drive or folder that maps directly to your favorite storage platform in minutes.
SnapRAID is a backup program for disk arrays. It stores parity information of your data and it recovers from up to six disk failures.
flexRAID is a family of storage data protection products that provide great flexibility and various innovations. The current product line includes: RAID over File System (RAID-F) Transparent RAID (tRAID).
freeNAS is an operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share computer data storage over a computer network.
Rockstor is a free and open source NAS(Network Attached Storage) solution. It's a software solution and can be installed on any hardware or a virtual machine satisfying these minimum requirements.
nas4free The NAS4Free operating system can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share computer data storage over a computer network.
Xpenology is the name of a Linux boot image, which allows to run operating system Sinology DSM on almost any hardware (not just Synology).
owncloud is a self-hosted file sync and share server.
openFiler provides a simple way to deploy and manage networked storage.
openATTIC openATTIC combines open source storage tools in such a way that their entire functionality can be managed through a central interface. Carefully matched components ensure both stability and security. Its open interface enables you to integrate openATTIC to provisioning, monitoring and backup systems.
= Cameras =
iSpy is the world’s most popular open source video surveillance application.
ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications.
motioneyeOS is a Linux distribution that turns your single board computer into a video surveillance system.
Blue Iris is security camera manager. It's not free (60$ for the full version) but it was highly recommended and there doesn't seem to be any comparable free alternatives.
= Documentation =
DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database.
gollum is a simple, Git-powered wiki with a sweet API and local frontend.
BookStack is a simple, self-hosted, easy-to-use platform for organising and storing information.
phpIPAM is an open-source web IP address management application (IPAM).
Paperwork aims to be an open-source, self-hosted alternative to services like Evernote ®, Microsoft OneNote ® or Google Keep ®.
afraid Free DNS Hosting, Dynamic DNS Hosting, Static DNS Hosting, subdomain and domain hosting.
No-IP's mission is to provide useful, reliable and powerful services that help home users, small and large businesses and even fortune 500 companies take control over all aspects of their DNS and domain services.
xapi-back is a simple backup tool for XenServer or XCP – xen hypervisors using xapi toolstack. xapi-back is a command line tool with simple and clear interface (command + options). Tool is written in python.
Bitcoin fog is not hosted on the same server and can only be accessed through Tor. The clearnet gateway does not have any sensitive information, and hacking or seizing it will yield nothing except perhaps it's service termination. All the sensitive data is kept in the hidden service, which will be operational no matter what happens to the ... Moreover, Bitcoin Fog doesn’t offer users any control over the logs. As in, you can’t delete the logs manually. Rather, it’s automatically deleted after a 7-day retention period. What is impressive however is that Bitcoin Fog purges, and re-installs all its Bitcoin clients every 7 days. Bitcoin Fog is a centralised cryptocurrency tumbler for bitcoin. The bitcoin network is a peer-to-peer payment network that operates on a cryptographic protocol. Users send and receive bitcoins, the units of currency, by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the network using bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet software. What is Bitcoin Fog? Bitcoin Fog is the first mixing service operating in the deep web. It was launched in 2011 by the team of independent developers and recently it became the most popular mixing service on the onion domain zone. Bitcoin Fog offers the best privacy you can get from the Bitcoin mixer. The main aim was to improve the weakness of ... Bitcoin Fog is a centralised cryptocurrency tumbler for bitcoin. In December 2013 the site was used to launder a part of the 96,000 BTC from the robbery of Sheep Marketplace. In February 2015, a total of 7,170 bitcoin was stolen from the Chinese exchange Bter.com and traced back to cryptocurrency-tumblers like Bitcoin Fog.
How to use bitcoin mixer BestMixer.IO (EN) - YouTube
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