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Improperly disposed plastics usually wind up in the ocean, where they can remain for hundreds of years before degrading which are easily ingested by fish and spread through ocean ecosystems and enter human diets through commercial fishing, thereby exposing humans to health risks. The Ocean Cleanup aims to address this problem by removing and recycling plastic directly from the surface of the ocean. This subreddit serves as a discussion platform for these and similar ocean cleaning technologies.
EDIT : Thanks to everybody for pointing out the few mistakes/improvements that can be made in this new-player level guide. For the sake of summarizing here : - Intel documents are NOT worth 250k. I didn't check them on the flea before writing this and for some reason I always remembered them at 250k. Game is in maintenance so I can't check the real price. That being said, it's still profitable to craft USB into Intel, it's just not x2 profitable. - Scav case : moonshine / intel docs, some people seem to say they've never been profitable. I personally *did not* measure those, I eyeballed it. I'm working on so much shit that I didn't bother. On average I think that I'm in a net positive, but it's as believable as people saying they're not : without proof we can't really say for sure. That bein said, it's certainly more profitable to run lower-tier scav runs that are *faster* when you're online, and to run a moonshine or intel when you log off. It's more efficient to get a lot of runs while you can re-start them every time. - Crafting moonshine : It's not profitable to spam it ; I was under the assumption that the average player who will read this will usually not play for 4-5 hours straight and will end up collecting yesterday's moonshine, craft a new one, and that's it. If that's you're rythm then yes, spam it. If you intend to play more than one craft worth's of time, then you will craft moonshine faster than you can spend it, and it's not really worth to sell it on the flea except to up your market reputation for a small loss (about 10k). So in short : craft moonshine to be able to start a moonshine run for when you log off, but you don't *need* more than that.
Check this out
Here is some actual data on the lavatory !! Hey everybody ! I know it can be a struggle to get a stable economy in this game, especially when you die a lot. Today I'm gonna try and give a few guidelines on how to make money safely, efficiently, fast, or in any other way we can think of. If you're struggling to stay above the 15-20 million rouble treshold, this guide is definitely for you. Very often I'll hear newer players say "Damn I can't seem to make money, I keep loosing. Every time I take gear I die instantly". There is some truth in that. Today I'll help you improve your survival rate, but most importantly I'll unbalance the other side of the equation. When you complain about losing a lot of money, I will help you spend less by a significant margin, as well as earn more. You'll also get rid of gear fera naturally. Remember this throughout this very, very long read : It all depends on how you want to play, and how much. Some of these tips will not fit how you want to play the game, and like Nikita always says : this game is supposed to be fun before anything else.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Moderate but very stable. Maxing your hideout should be one of your top priorities, probably before telling your mom how much you love her every now and then. If you're not doing either of those, the big gamer in you knows what to do. Early wipe, save your fuel for when you're online and playing. If you're playing, your generator should definitely be running and all your stations should be crafting something. Once you have Medstation 1, Workbench 1 and Lavatory 2, you really have no reason to turn your generator off when you're playing. Once you have the bitcoin farm, you should never turn off the generator. Medstation : Craft salewas and/or IFAKs permanently. They cost 8k and sell for 15k. That's a net profit of about 25k / hour for salewas, as well as never having to buy any. Lavatory : Always be crafting Bleach. If you have 2 empty blue fuel, use those empty cans to craft a Magazine case. You can then keep the magazine cases until you've enough for your liking and sell those for a good profit. The bleach you will use to buy the 6B47 helmets which are better than the SSh-68 helmets. Buying from 2x bleach barter at ragman level 1 means you get the helmet for 18k (instead of 33k on the market). This helmet has better head coverage, less slow/negative effects, less weight, has a slot for a mount, has +11 ergonomics AND is cheaper than the 22k SSh-68. That being said, it has a slight noise reduction that the Ssh does not have. If you wear headphones I'd say this is negligible but debatable. I prefer to have the extra protection and ergonomics for sure, considering it's slightly cheaper. You can also barter for that helmet and instantly sell it back for a profit (five times) and level up ragman money requirements. Bleach can also be traded for the Blackjack backpack at level 4, as well as the TTV rig at level 2. You should definitely do it. Sell excess bleach on the flea market when the prices are around 10.5k or more. (around midnight Central European Time). Workbench : You can buy Power Cords and craft Wires forever and always make a profit. Buy in the morning and sell in the evening for better profits (CET timezone). For even more profit, you can craft gunpowders and ammo which tend to also be ridiculously pricy at night. Buying grenades from Peacekeeper and crafting green (Eagle) gunpowder is a good way to make a lot of money and level up Peacekeeper. Intel Center : You main objective is to get this one to level 3 for reduced fees and better quest rewards, but also access to the bitcoin farm at level 2. If you need FiR for quests, craft that. When you're done craft Intel Documents at all times (buy the USB), and use it for scav case or sell for a x2 profit. ( 3x40 for USB = 120, documents sell for 250) Bitcoin Farm : Once you have it, spend all your money on GPU until its maxxed, then level it up even more. The BTC farm is definitely worth it. At 50GPU you need to connect every 15 hours to clic. If you can't, keep it level 2 and connect every 24 hours to clic. Even at level 1 its worth. But its much, much faster at higher levels. From 0 to 50 GPUs it takes about 30 days to pay for itself. GPUs should not be sold until you maxxed it. Water Collector : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Booze Generator : Must be running at all times. Buy the components if you don't have them. Scav Case : Always have it running on moonshine, and use intel documents once you're done crafting one. Nutrition Unit : It's not really worth crafting sugar to put in the Booze gen, as the price for chocolate is pretty much = the price of sugar. So buy the sugar instead and craft something else. I tend to craft Hot Rods when the prices are good (morning) and then use them to barter 5.45 BS Ammo with Prapor or sell for a profit. If you do all that, you should have about 150k an hour fairly easily. Don't forget to check it between every raid.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Quite good. Once your mom has received all the love she deserves and your hideout is taken care of, you should have max traders (traders are a requirement for most of the hideout anyway). Traders level 4 will net you much better prices on most mods and open very good barter trades. Buy as much as you can from barter trades. You can buy almost everything from it, and it's usually at least 25% cheaper to buy the requirements and then do the barter. Ragman4 has the CPC Armored Rig which is level 5 armor, you'll get it for about 200k instead of 250k on the flea. The Slick is also much cheaper. The Blackjack backpack is literally half priced. You can also NOT use what you barter and just sell it back to a dealer (sometimes the same from which you bartered) for a profit as well as having 2 times the loyalty money increase (from bartering then from selling). Another good example is buying a Recbat 14k from the market, getting an ADAR for skier, selling it to Mechanic and winning 8k just like that. You can find every single barter that nets a profit yourself and just buy-resell and you'll probably make another 100k every reset, if you really are struggling and have the patience. I personally advise to just use the equipment for yourself unless you're levelling traders, but I wouldn't go as far as buying all profitable items every reset. Every trader at every level has good barters. You can make a full decent kit at level 1 traders for about 40k roubles on barter, instead of 90 if you buy it all. (Paca for masks, helmet for bleach, ADAR for recbatt, salewa from craft, backpack, etc. all barters) Bleach is beautiful and is coveted in the real world for its ability to cure diseases.
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very profitable. Don't mod out of your reach. Don't mod Meta. If money is an issue for you, having +1 ergo won't change your life. For example, Priced at 10k roubles Priced at 45k Roubles See where I'm going with this? If you have money, sure, go for the Shift. If you wanna have fun and try, sure, go for it as well. But if you're struggling, buy 4 cobras and mod 4 guns for the price of 1% recoil which will not make you a gamer god anyway. Also, do NOT buy mods from the flea market when you see you can buy them from traders. Look at the top of the market, if the mod is greyed out, look at the price. It means you don't have access (yet). If the price is too inflated for you, find another mod. There are always other mods. You can make 2 AKMs that have a difference of 2% recoil and 4 Ergonomics and have a 150k price difference. It's up to you. When money is the issue, this was the answer. Note : Some guns are inherently much more expensive. Guns shooting 5.56 or 5.45 tend to be more expensive than 7.62. AKMs are VERY good budget guns. They're a bit harder to handle, but you can get a fully modded AK for 150-200k, where as you will have an entry level M4 for that price. 7.62 PS ammo is also incredibly cheap while being decent. Play 7.62 if you're struggling with money. It's not meta, but it's far more than enough, trust me. You'll rarely lose fights exclusively because you had PS ammo in an AKM. Rarely.
How much you usually extract with, on average, per map
How much you usually go in raid with, on average, per map
These will help us measure how much you fuck up or not. Lets make it simple. If you have a 500k loadout and you usually extract with 100k, at 10% survival rate, that means you will spend 500k x 10 = 5.000.000 roubles over 10 raids on average, die 9 times, and earn 100k once. This very obvious example shows the loss. Basically we're gonna try and balance that equation so that you never lose money on average. You'll have ups and downs obviously, but over a week or two, it'll smooth things out for you, like math always does in a pleasant conversation with a girl. So what can you do to improve that equation ?
4.1 Improve survival rate
Seems simple enough, DIE LESS. You do not need to be good, smart, or special to die less. If you die a lot, do something different. If you die less, try more of that. Explore statistical advantages through different gameplay. What can you do to die less practically? Here is a list of checkboxes you can tick depending on your money, skill, mood, or any other factor like the map and sheer luck:
Fight from a bigger distance. People miss more from far (so will you, but killing less is irrelevant when you want to die less)
Fight with better gear (supressed, better armor, better ammo, etc.). Its expensive, but it technically helps
Don't fight at all. Avoid fights, run away from gunshots. 99.3% of people who didn't get shot survive a raid.
Wait more, play slowly. If you go with the flow of players, you'll be with the players. Avoid that "wave" and stay behind it. When you come across players trying to extract to where you spawned, hide.
Play with friends if you have any. If not, your mom loves you and so do I. I do coaching so do a lot of other decent players, look it up.
Whenever you die, look at what killed you. Did you take a risk ? Did you lack skill ? Were you out of position ? Were you unlucky ? Try to be as OBJECTIVE as possible even in the frustration. It's pretty much always your fault if you died, avoid toxicity and learn something from that instead. If you took a fight with good gear and ammo and just lost, its probably skill/positioning. It's fine. Learn the game, fight differently, and with time it'll get better. If you were in the open, don't go in the open. If you were sprinting in the middle of interchange and got ambushed, well. Don't do that. Learn.
Do all that, it'll give you a LOT of data to actually improve by just doing something different without really being fastestronger, just smarter. And I repeat : you can do some of it, all of it, it depends on what you like, what you're comfortable with, and the time/investment you're putting in the game. It's okay to play at your own pace.
4.2 Reduce gear cost
The second part of our "profit equation" above is how much gear you take with you. Using previous tips, reduce that cost. Barters, cheaper mods, etc.
4.3 Increase extracted value
This one is not as tricky as it sounds. Basically there are two ways to extract with more money in the backpack :
Know what/where to loot
Have a bigger backpack.
The goal is to pay for the gear you will loose when you die while making a profit on top. That one time you extract if you have a MBSS backpack, you'll need items worth like 50k per slot to break even. If you take a tri-zip, suddenly it's only 30k per slot. If you take a blackjack and blackrock from good old ragman, suddenly it's 10k per slot. So you can break even by looting crickents and DVD players almost. See where I'm going ? Always take a tri-zip or bigger unless you're doing something special. That way you can afford to loot shitty areas, take less risk, and survive more while having a little less value. We'll cover that in a minute, but there are ways to loot high value items, moderate value and low value. Those have also different risk/reward. All of those are also map specific. In woods I'll often go with a 6B3TM armored rig for 40k, no helmet, 20k headphones and a sniper rifle. Rest is pouched so does not count. That's less than 100k investment. All players tend to have low value gear so I never extract with a lot either so it balances out. But on Woods, my survival rate is 20% instead of my overall 40%. So I know it's not a map I can reliably make money on, because I measured that accurately over time. This example is very common and should make sense to you. Same goes for interchange where I have more about 50% survival but will tend to go in with 600k worth of gear, but will also often extract with over 500k quite regularly. Different ratios, different values, different purposes. You can measure your own data if you're willing to do so, or you can eyeball it. Eyeballing it is much faster but very inaccurate because you will tend to include emotions in the mix when you die. You'll remember losses ~2x more than your wins (that's somewhat scientifically proven), and if you're eyeballing your loadout you might think you have 600k but really you might have only 450k. I would advise to go hardcore and measure it all for price, initial loadout, losses and earnings, for each map.
5. Money runs
Now money runs are vast and numerous. All include different levels of risk and reward. It's up to you once again to find what you're willing to do for the time it takes, the fun it will give you and how much it will actually help you. You can always try them all for ~50 raids the sake of trying something different and see how your data is impacted. it doesn't have to be 50 in a row if you don't want to. As long as you keep track of it it can be over a whole wipe. You'd have your data ready for the next wipe :) Faster is better though.
5.1 Hatchling runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Very Variable. Mentally exhausting. Those are incredibly money efficient. You're investing a gear of 0 value, so whatever you extract with is 100% win, so you cannot possibly lose money that way. Is it fun? Is it rewarding? I don't care, to each is own. Statistcally speaking, hatchling runs are an efficient way to make money. They do however require a little bit of knowledge, but not skill. You'll be much more efficient at doing these kind of runs if you know where to go, what to look for, and how to get there depending on your spawn. That being said, such knoweldge is easily found ; it's nothing complex, it just takes time to learn. Once again, depends on how much you're willing to invest (if not roubles, time).
5.2 Scav runs
Safety Score : 100% Reward : Low-ish Scav runs are also incredibly efficient for the same reason as hatchlings. Except those have a cooldown. Statisticall speaking I have noticed you should always run your scavs as fast as possible on the map where you extract both the fastest and most frequently. The explanation is simple, lets make it simpler : The scav is a button that makes you earn free money. When you press it the button becomes unpressable for some time, when you release the button you earn money (sometimes). That means you want to release the button as often as possible. And for that, you need to release it as fast as possible. It's that simple. So make scavs incredibly fast. I'm talking "Run through" fast. Unless you're looking for FiR items or doing something specific like annoying a streamer, you should literally run straight to the extract every single time, and loot what you have that doesn't make you go out of your way too much. Usually I suggest factory, go in, kill a random scav, loot it, get out. Two weapons is at LEAST 50k, 100 if they have a scope. There you go. That's 100k every 20 minutes (or less with intel center). That's MUCH BETTER than going up to 150-200k but taking 30 minutes to extract, and taking more risk by spending more time in the map. Every second you're in someone can shoot. Nobody can shoot you in the hideout. The exception to that rule is Scavs with a pilgrim which you can take on your favourite loot-run map, probably interchange or reserve. There you should just fill everything you can and extract once you're full, no matter what you have. 30 crickents and an extra gun is fine.
5.3 Stash runs
Safety Score : Very Reward : Okay Those are very very safe and can be done with a pistol and a backpack only. Very cheap, quite unchalleneged, for a moderate reward. Just go on a map that you like and run around and loot all stashes until you're full, then get out. You can vary the map/route depending on the traffic of players. Interchange and shoreline are good contenders for that. It'll net you easy money. Not great money, but definitely safe.
5.4 Loot Runs
Safety Score : Moderate Reward : Quite alright Once you have better knowledge/skill you can start having a specific route in a specific map, depending on a specific spawn. So it'll take time to learn. Usually very similar than a hatchling run except this time you bring moderate gear and go for moderate loots. For example, instead of going for fast techlight, in-and-out interchange, you can decide "alright I'll loot 100% of Oli and the computers in the back", it'll take time, but it'll make good loot. More money than stashes, definitely will see scavs to kill, and most probably some more pvp. More risk. If you win that PvP you have even more loot as well. But overall good reward. Loot runs need to be "scheduled" and thought of after several tries, so you know how much you can take per person depending on backpack size. For example you can't say "lets loot oli" if you have a 5-man with blackjacks, you'll all be empty. Adapt.
Safety Score : Insane Reward : Unreliably moderate This one is pretty obvious. Very risky, unpredictable rewards. Usually better than loot runs when you survive. I won't elaborate on this, because if you're reading this far you're probably struggling in PvP. And the rest of this guide already covers a fair bit.
Safety Score : "Meh" Reward : Very profitable. Now this is very, very important. Always insure your gear. Always. If you die you will get stuff back, pretty much for free. If you're really struggling people won't loot your "trash", so you WILL get it back. If you play in a group it's very likely that people will hide your stuff too. And most importantly : you can insurance fraud. This is the best way to balance the equation we talked about earlier. If you find a decent-ish gun, replace yours. You drop your initial investment by a significant margin, you will definitely get it back, and if you extract it's a flat profit. Weapons don't take inventory slot, so if you have two weapons that are not yours initially they will usually pay for your whole gear. I have quite often left my super-mega-modded HK just for an average M4 or other weapon that I can fight with, just so I can reduce my investment by 350k and up my reward by like 200k instantly. Replace your headphones all the time too, that's an easy -30+30k, same with helmets. even if it's a bit broken or slightly worse. If you're struggling with money, try to leave every raid with at least 3-4 pars of your equipment that aren't yours initially. But value the risk behind this. I won't leave my slick for a Paca at the third minute of a raid just to have that extra 28k. I won't leave my meta-modded HK for a naked mosin. But if it seems decent/doable, do it. It will pay off. Because even if you die, you still get your shit back, and gun is usually the most expensive part of the gear.
7. Final notes
It's all about balance. Find what works *for you* and try shit out. Really, try. You'll die, you'll learn, you'll adapt with data to back that up. I find it crazy that people will die and not try to learn from it. That's how you will improve as a player. First you gotta get smarter, then you'll get better. And with time, skill, mechanics, gamesense, all that will improve on the side. Earning more will snowball in your favour. And if you know you're statistically okay, you will have a much smaller gear fear and enjoy the game more. Sorry for the wall of text, you guys should be used to it with me by now :D I made these guides in video but not in english, so here I am typing it all for you guys. Enjoy :)
New to this forum so id like to share some of my experience with one of the things that made me a lot, ewhoring. 1) first of your going to want to create a snapchat account, this account must have a high enough snapscore of a couple of thousand to make it look legit as possible, you can boost the snapscore of the account by sending tons of snaps to a bunch of celebrity accounts on snapchat. You can easily find these buy just searching any letter in the search bar and subscribing to all the accounts. add a bitmoji that looks like your girl, you can find a ton of mega links on the internet if you look, try find something not saturated and you should be fine. A good way to look legit on snapchat is of course to send live snaps. To send live snaps uploaded through your camera roll. On iPhone you can use the app prequel. on android you can use chicken cam. Other ways to look legit is to fake your location of the person you’re talking to. My way of doing this was jailbreaking my phone and using snapbreak. you can find tutorials on how to jailbreak everywhere and downloading snapbreak you’ll have to downgrade snapchat first. keep in mind recently snapchat has been banning accounts that have downgraded there snapchat so a way to get around this is to create the account on the downgraded version of snapchat and NEVER update. if you update you won’t be able to use snapbreak without a ban. snapbreak is an amazing tool for all sorts of stuff. Uploading to live snap. faking location. quick switching between accounts, sending snaps to everyone on your snapchat (more than 200 people) 2) one of the first ways i used to get traffic to my account was POF. POF you can create an account with a phone number, with your girl’s pics of course. (do not put add my snap in the bio or you’ll be flagged on the system), just swipe right on everyone and ask everyone to add your snap, "hey add my snap ____ ", people who won’t add you will not buy shit so don’t waste your time. if you do get banned on POF you can use the same phone number a few more times till your perma banned. it’s all about high quality traffic. If you get shit traffic you’ll have a bunch of time wasters on your snap that’s never going to buy. Refrain from doing sfs with other snap chatters unless you want shit traffic. Tinder is also a good source for high quality traffic. all tough once your banned on iPhone you will be mac banned. Changing your ip won’t work and even on a jailbroken iPhone you can’t change your mac. On android devices you can change your mac with rooted devices. I personally wouldn’t go through the effort and I would just make tinder accounts through pc. You can download tmac v6, and any proxy VPN will work. Always remember to clear cookies before creating a new account. Eventually you will run out of phone numbers to use once you get banned but we will get into that in the next step. 3) Smspva.com and smspool are great tools to get disposable phone numbers to create new accounts. For a small payment of like 50c to $1 per phone number. This can be paid through bitcoin. Hopefully you’ve made enough money at this stage through the traffic you got from your own number. (Yes using your own number is fine if you don’t care about getting banned from TindePOF) anyways. We will talk about how to get your ewhoring money into bitcoin in the next step. 4) Once your money is in bitcoin you can do whatever you want with it, in PayPal if you keep the money in your account to long it can be risked getting locked since you’ll be creating a PayPal account with your girls name/email. PayPal will constantly ask you to verify your account by adding a credit card or sometimes locking your account until you send proof of id. You can only get a maximum of 2500 per unverified PayPal account before they ask for verification (proof of id) you can create new PayPal accounts with new phone numbers through smspva/smspool. Paxful is a great tool to transfer your PayPal money to bitcoin. all tough ive heard you can trade PayPal to bitcoin on multiple other sites. Paxful was the one to work best for me. As I wouldn’t recommend keeping money in your PayPal account to long I suggest getting it into bitcoin asap. After a while paxful will ask for verification on your account. At this point you can just create a new account with a new email/phone number using smspool. I don’t think smspva has paxful verification phone numbers. Personally I traded about 300 at a time on paxful. And id be very wary of scammers. Once the bitcoin is in your paxful wallet. Transfer it to a third party wallet like Blockchain. 5) Let’s get back to the snapchat, remember it’s all about social engineering, get rid of the time wasters, all you want to do is create a private story to post a bunch of nude videos in and put on your main story and try advertise to everyone that your selling a premium snapchat, my prices were 20 monthly 30 lifetime to be a premium member. I charged 40 an hour for video calls. Yes I just blocked them after I received the payment. I charged 150 an hour 400 a night for meetups. With meetup scams I would ask them to pay a 75 deposit through PayPal and id send them the address, they can pay rest cash in hand or in PayPal. Once they would arrive at the address I’ve sent, (this would be a random for sale or address where no one lives in) I would tell them to pay the rest in PayPal and I’ll let them into the house. Even if they said they’d pay the rest in cash id still try tricking them into sending the rest of the payment in PayPal. I’ve made 750 of one guy using this method. Tips:
Do not transfer money over to a friend’s account to take it out through the bank its linked to, sometimes PayPal will ban all the accounts you’ve sent money to, I’ve no idea why this is a thing but I’ve had multiple peoples PayPal accounts get banned just because I’ve sent money to it.
Get rid of time wasters, if someone makes it clear they won’t pay block them or ignore. Don’t give away previews. The previews are on your story.
With big money transfers it must be your number one priority to get rid of that money from your PayPal account ASAP, remember that PayPal are always tracking you, they always have their eye on this sort of thing. Once a report has been made about your account it could be locked and you will not get your money back.
Make sure all your customers know to send money through PayPal using friends and family only. Business transfers can be reversed easily and it gets put on hold much more.
Don’t do anything stupid. Such as sign into the PayPal account on an iPhone. Phones have all your data on it; you can easily be traced on. Manage as many accounts on your pc/laptop and use the same name for everything, clear your cookies and don’t sign into your PayPal account multiple different times under different ip addresses, this will trigger 2fa and you won’t be able to verify your account with a disposable number
If your account does get locked under 2fa and you don’t have the original phone number. You can contact PayPal through live chat and just tell them it’s an old number you no longer have access to. They’ll ask for info such as your email full name and home address linked to the account. (Btw the home address can be set to any address just remember it) once you clarify this with the PayPal live support person they will unlock the account. I don’t know if this works 100 percent of the time but I speak from experience.
To download snapbreak you will have to downgrade using a tweak called Appstore++ snapbreak was a paid tweak that is no longer in development because it got cracked. It was originally 50 but now you can get it for free on some repos. ALWAYS remember to stay on the same version of snap per account.
any feed back on this method would be greatly appreciated, tell me what you think :)
I'm trying to be positive but GL's actions are the opposite of intelligence. This is the worst update in A9 history. I'll explain why...
It's a pretty long rant. You have been warned...
Worsened graphics. Same device, much worse graphics for no reason. They literally made the game engine worse.
Frame skipping and lagging everywhere. Also game crashes. They said they optimized the game. I bet they forgot to mention that you need a quantum computer to play their casino racing masterpiece.
The older bug with the mini map (tap do steer players can't tap in that area) is back.
The infamous lagging screen after every freaking race (what the hell are they doing in background that the phones become so hot? bitcoin mining?). They still didn't fix it after the recent hotfix! Who pays these clowns who can't even revert some dumb changes?
The unfair SE. There are hardly tokens offered. They keep reducing the rewards until there will be nothing left except uncommon parts and a few credits. They expect us to play hundreds of races for peanuts. The finest greediness. Also how come SE still shares the same tickets pool with daily events? They are different things!
Same old stinky GP. Everyone knows what is wrong with this thing that has nothing in common with real grand prixes except the name. Most regular players don't win keys. Why should we even bother anymore?
The hard Unleashed event. They put the same required time 0:51 despite the cars having different rankings. They don't have the expression "fair play" in their dictionary.
Credits heist is good in theory. In practice they added the awful police besides the aggressive AI to make sure you can't get those credits. They also added stars requirements for good measure. Also they made it that way you need to play too many races if you want all rewards. Efficiency is again not in their dictionary.
The new MP format which encourages dumb grinding to get some decent milestones.
The club rewards remain a joke.
You need to complete 250 conditions in SE just to have the chance to buy packs! Whatever GL idiot who thought of that should have his head smashed on his monitor.
They still didn't fix that stupid error with no internet connection! My internet is working, it's not my fault you can't code a decent internet connection algorithm.
The cheaters are still dominating MP. The Android version has such a poor security that every schmuck can abuse the game. I wonder if anyone even reads those in game reports or are there as placebo effect.
Did you check how much internet traffic this game consumes? What the fxx-k they transfer that A9 needs gigabytes of data every month just to play it?
Should I mention the bunch of useless employees called Customer Care? An appendix is more useful than them.
Edit: Currently writing a new version of this, dont know when it will be done. Edit: Since first post I have updated a few sections with additional information. I recommend reading it all even if it is very long, I might have placed some relevant info in different sections while thinking about what else needed to be added, plenty of steps remains mostly the same except when I comment directly on it. It is not necessary to do 100% security all the time, unless you absolutely need it, combining some high and some lower security ideas for a balance of security and convenience is useful. I will base this mostly on Windows, Linux users probably know this, and I have no idea how apple machines work (tho many things in here are still relevant for other operating systems, as they are just general tips) Disclaimer: There are certainly other steps that can make you more anonymous or safer, however I think for most people this will surfice. Any software I recommend should be independently verified for security, and examples of software are not to be taken as endorsements. I simply use examples and give recommendations when I believe it necessary, or helpful. I will not really differentiate between anonymity and security, they are often the same thing. As such the word security can mean either more anonymous, less vulnerable, or both. -------- Everyday Simple Info Sec:
Password for the device is an obvious one (8+ characters minimum, best if over +12), if there is sensitive information on any of the drives, either encrypt the entire drive or just the sensitive files, and make encrypted backups on a different memory storage device (There many programs to encrypt files and drives I'm sure a search will figure it out)
-There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password
Always use the device on a non admin account
a VPN that doesn't log (use with kill switch on, should be enough for everyday stuff, more safe stuff in the high security section) (VPNs that claim they don't log sometimes do, it's bad, but I would like to point out that not using a VPN will always expose your traffic to your ISP and also remove additional encryption. Even if the VPN tracks, there is no downside because your ISP would track anyways, and VPNs can be more anonymous, and also add extra encryption)
disable location tracking (preferably make all your privacy setting to release minimal info, get rid or cortana, change privacy settings in all of your accounts as well, there's no reason why you should allow Facebook to give you target ads. Use the setting they give you.
TOR, Firefox or similar browser, stay the fuck away from Google Chrome.
your preferred search engine should be duckduckgo (other privacy focused search engines exist as well)
use an adblocker that also prevents the adding of tacking cookies
Use pgp with all your friends or messaging services that implemented end to end encryption (Implemented services can still be bypassed, but are way more convenient so for everyday use they should suffice, some examples should be Telegraph, Signal, WhatsApp etc) (more info on pgp in high security section)
(Snapchat msgs, reddit dms, discord msgs, are just a few examples of msgs that are never encrypted) -Any info even send in encrypted msgs (and obviously non encrypted) should still be kept with possible deniability, don't say "I'm gonna do MDMA", say "I'm going out with molly."
use software (like ccleaner) that purges cookies and other data after every use, before shutting down your device
use a virus scanner daily (I like spy bot Search and destroy, many other options also exist)
never use the same password/passphrase twice (I will address what passphrase are below) (Better yet use randomized passwords that are stored in a master key chain, make them as long as possible (tho it is okay to go with the minimum of 12 never go below 7, I recommend 15+ depending on how often you have to manually enter the password instead of copying/pasting it) Don't generate too long keys for things you need to access regularly without copy/paste, except your master key ring)
its ideal to never use the same email or username as well, especially username, email is obviously tricky and also very annoying, but it would be best to always change the email.
-DO NOT STORE ANY PASSWORDS ON GOOGLE, IF GOOGLE LOGIN IS AUTHENTICATED IT WILL AUTFILL ALL PASSWORDS IT HAS SAVED (same with other similar services) (This means if you are logged in to chrome and someone has access to your machine, they can auto fill passwords without entering a single password) -use a rememberable passphrase, especially for your master key ring aka password manager A long sentence that is memorable makes an okay password (decent example,: "I met my wife at Little Ceasers for the first time on 07/09/20" better even if it's just something you know, if its impersonal, and if you can add special characters or numbers that you won't forget) (A better example for a passphrase is: "There is 0nly 0ne letter that d0esn’t appear in any U.S. state nameQ")
for your main password manager(key ring), I highly recommend Keepass 2, make backups of the file save to separate devices and drives (Flash drives, phone, PC, laptop, etc, if you loose that file, you lose all of your passwords) (Other good password managers exist as well, I don't recommend online password managers as you lose the control over passwords)
-Purge your internet activity frequently, there's a reason why I only have one post, and a few comments appearing in my account, but thousands of kama. Exposing information needlessly is not good. -Never post private information publicly, and if you do, do it vaguely as possible. (Example: Not "I'm 15", say "I'm a teenager") Do not post any vital information ever, no birthdays, mother's maiden name, age, or anything you have ever seen in a security question. Never post your current activities while they are ongoing. You going on a vacation? Don't announce it to the world, taking picture there? Post them when you are home.
Any account that is supposed to remain anonymous and as secure as possible should only be used on secured devices. A unsecured device can link you to the account.
always shutdown your machine when leaving it (To prevent access, and to prevent a possible attack vector)
2 factor factor authentication is not great anymore. Unless you can do it over a anonymous source. A cell phone is usually directly connected to you, so it is not a anonymous device. There might still be secure/anonymous 2 factor authentication methods that won't expose you, for example over a secure email. (If there is 2FA that doesn't need a device that removes anonymity and is secure, use it.) (Please don't misunderstand, 2FA is great, however it can remove the anonymity that you worked hard to establish)
-Rethink how you do security questions. Many answers to security questions can be found in your internet history. One could use the first word of the security question as an answer, or a different sceme that will mean you always remember it. (Security question need to go, the amount of personal info an average person puts on the internet makes it easy to attack anything using security question) -------_ High level crimimal information security: The motto here is, "All the Security, All the Time" As one fuck up can end with you leaving a lick of traceability, and you could be fucked. Pre Note: All of your software should always be up to date. Also even perfect info sec does not guarantee you are completely safe, a new zero day (exploit) can still fuck you, but good info security makes you significantly safer, by eliminating as many attacks as possible. -Get a new device (or make a already owned device seem like you never owned it, do this only if you know how to, there's a lot of stuff that goes into that, like changing your mac adress etc) buy with cash, and your face covered, preferably far away from where you live. (Do I need to specify to not bring your phone or anything else that tracks your location to anywhere you want to go anonymously?) (Be aware that even hardware can have vulnerabilities, many cpus have known vulnerabilities, I can't list them all, do some research before buying)
Do not EVER use a high security device at any lower level of security. There are unique identifiers to your device, exposing them once can expose you for everything you do.
-If you know how to use Tails (A linux distro designed for Info sec) use that, preferably on a USB. (Or learn how to use tails, its better, but complicated) Otherwise a clean copy of windows (make sure its not in any way associated with you) can do the job too, tho not as well. (Using a VM might give extra security, since VMs usually erase all data and RAM they were using on shutdown) -Get a non tracking VPN, Enable the kill switch (a setting that disables all traffic that doesn't go through the VPN) (change your firewall settings to only allow the traffic from the VPN, windows guide (Change settings so only traffic from the tor application is send) Edit: (Due to complaints: do not use vpn over tor, use tor over vpn. tor over vpn has no notable downside, if the VPN logs it makes no difference, your ISP will always log anyways, and vpns remove other attack vectors and also provide backup security should tor fail. Again even if the VPN tracks you only change the people doing the tracking, but now you are further removed making it more anonymous and also with less vulnerabilities) -rember privacy settings, cookie cleaner, and antivirus, password (There could be a hidden administrator user on your PC, make sure to change its password) -Always use the device on a non admin account
-Ideally use this device only on networks that are not connected with you. Such as public networks (try to never use the same public networks twice, move around) (a home network should be fine now, as it should never be exposed, but more security is always better) (Its just a conveniences vs security trade) -Never use accounts that have been exposed to lower security on higher security machines -your browser is now TOR (or your preferred security focused browser, if you dont plan on using onion ) Make sure you get the standalone version of tor not the addon build (the standalone is safer, because there are less settings and options to tweak) -Change your tor settings, to safest mode, enable a bridge (to my knowledge there's no difference in security between the build in bridges in tor), enable automatic updates, set duckduckgo onion as your primary browser. Set dark.fail onion page as your home page. (Or your preferred privacy search engine and onion directory)
set up a new pgp (can't use the same one you use for regular use, again less safer accounts are never used on safer devices) Cleopatra is my choice, its simple to use. Make sure you back up the private key multiple times, on safe devices. (Dont let the private key fall into anyone's hands) Give it a generic name like "HighSecurityPGP" do not give the pgp key pair a name that could identify you. (No initials etc) (Some pgp key pair programs want an associated email for a key pair, you can create a safe email, or which I recoend you can use a different program (like Cleopatra) (Feds & LEOs are known to copy private keys if they have your machine, so you will need to set up a new key pair if they ever take a device with a private key copy)
a high security machine that facilitates criminal activity can not use many programs. Many programs collect your devices mac adress, which is a unique identifier, amongst other things. It's should be used only for the activity you want to do.
-------_ How to use dark net markets (DNMs) If you finished your High Security setup, we can dive right in. Otherwise go do that. This is where all that is essential. Quick info on Tor, and onion sites. There is no search engine. It's all based of directories and addresses you are given by others. Tor will likely not be very quick, it has to pass through multiple networks to get to the destination. DNMs sometimes exit scam, an exit scam is when a market shuts down completely and takes all the money, this is a risk when using DNMs, it's not too common but happens maybe 0-4 times a year. The admins of thoese servers need to get out at some point, before they get jailed, so they exit the game, and scam everyone out of their money. -A very useful onion directory is dark.fail it has a lot of links, for all kinds of stuff. News, email, DNMs, Psychonautwiki (harm reduction website), forums etc. (Other directories also exist) -Pick a market, preferably one that handles secure connection server side instead of requiring you to establish the secure connection. Then create an account. Your account once created should include an entry box in your profile for a pgp key, post your PUBLIC key in there. (Verify the link is not a scam, most markets should provide a pgp signature) -Next is currency setup. All major cryptocurrency exchangers can be used, I can recommend coin base but there could be better ones out there. Unless you find a small non U.S., exchange, they will always ask for your identity. So unless you can find a trustworthy exchange that doesn't ID, you will need to give it to them. (Side note, all major crypto exchangers report to the IRS, if the IRS asks you if you bought cryptocurrency and you bought while having IDed yourself SAY YES, DO NOT COMMIT TAX FRAUD WHEN THEY KNOW YOU DID)
I recommend using Monero, it's hard to track, so it makes your job a lot easier. (If you use bitcoin you should run it through a scrambler, because BTC is tracable to anyone who knows what they are doing)
-Transfer (monero you can send directly, btc you should scramble) to your wallet. There are two options a cold wallet (physical) or a software wallet. Software wallets usually dont cost anything so I recommend them, even if often less safe. Electrum is easy to use, and pretty safe. You can also do your own research and find a wallet that fits your needs.
decide where you want to ship it. You can send to your home, to a PO box, to a PO box that you opened with a fake ID (I don't recommend), an abandoned house, general mail (sending to a post office instead of a street adress) pickup up with fake ID, use a remailing service. These are some options, sending it to your own home, isn't ideal, but its pretty much the only easy way.
-now you are ready to buy, only buy using escrow (it means the money is held by the market as a middle man until the product is delivered, they will also handle any issues like wrong quantity, cuts, etc), judge the reviews for a product, and if available look at the history of the vendor, until you find a product from a vendor you trust. (I recommend to buy within your country as much as possible, so it doesn't go through customs, it's very rare that something is found, but it can happen) -now you get to buy, depending on market, you either have cryptocurrency stored in their wallets (not recommend, you will lose it in an exit scam) or you can send it every order. When you send your delivery adress (or the one you want it to go to) encrypt the adress using the sellers public key. Make sure the adress is correct. -wait for the product, make sure to extend the escrow until the product arrives, if you can't extend it anymore dispute the order, and a moderator will step in -test the product, use it, and leave a review. PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW, DNMs only work because of reviews. Edit: Didn't imagine I would write over 15000 words. Oh well, it was fun. Hope it helps, if you have any questions feel free to ask. No idea how long this will stay up, I might purge it in 7 days, or never.
What I currently use for privacy (after almost 2 years of long investing into it)
Newegg - Update Regarding NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Video Cards
Just received this email from Newegg:
Dear Customer, Thank you for subscribing to receive an Auto Notify Email about NVIDIA RTX 3080. If you were among the hundreds of thousands who tried buying one at launch, we hope you were successful. However if you were unable to get one, we’d like to provide you with as much information as we can, as well as our plan for the rest of the RTX 30 Series launch. Newegg released the NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics cards on Thursday, September 17th at 6:00 am PT. We tried to procure as many cards as possible from our partners, however our inventory was very limited and far from sufficient to meet the enormity of the demand. To maintain a level playing field, we made sure our bot protection was active to help ensure all orders were placed by humans. We mandated a 1-unit-per-order limit to spread the cards to as many customers as possible, and to prevent scalpers from leveraging our site. We conducted a manual inspection of all 30 Series orders to validate our protections and are confident that cards are getting to real customers. We are also actively reporting any Newegg screenshots of orders as they appear on 3rd party marketplaces. Due to the unprecedented amount of traffic the morning of the launch, our inventory of RTX 30 Series cards sold out in minutes. We are currently restocking our inventory as more cards come in from various manufacturers and will continue to do so on a daily/weekly basis. We cannot disclose precisely when cards will be coming in, but they will be activated on our site as we receive inventory from each manufacturer. NVIDIA created an incredible card which has an incredible demand, and our partners have created some spectacular models with it. From previous launches to the bitcoin mining boom, we’ve seen it all and have processes in place to ensure everyone has a fighting chance to upgrade their rig or start a new build. We’re excited to see the PC community grow and are doing everything we can to procure more components for our beloved PC family. Upcoming are two more releases: the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 on Sept. 24th, and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 on Oct 15th. Keep checking the site for the 3080 cards, or if you prefer to wait for the upcoming releases instead, we’ll see you then. Sincerely, Newegg
[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum?
No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
the below is a reply to the above
That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims?
That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft?
Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up.
Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness?
Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird?
there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More?
It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about
I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends?
Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms ￼ The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals ￼ People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn ￼ Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think?
Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines?
There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods.
If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web?
I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web?
A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web?
It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
the below is a reply to the above
How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs?
I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
the below is a reply to the above
Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks!
I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them....
I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
the below is a reply to the above
Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in?
Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat?
OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
the below is a reply to the question
I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤
he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web?
There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web?
Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive?
I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
the below has been split into separate questions
1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety?
I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret?
We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work.
Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help?
Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help?
I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome.
I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line.
Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash?
I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all.
Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare?
No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies?
I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it.
Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account.
No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series
Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon?
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia?
The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon?
Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk)
No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR?
I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply!
Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke?
I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped?
The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts!
Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business?
Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is?
Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible?
It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it??
Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way?
I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code.
It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity?
I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature?
Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
*New Story* Do autonomous trucks dream of CW McCall?
I've got some serial stories I'd like to tell about living with (and in) technology and the industry. Do autonomous trucks dream of CW McCall? Falstaff’s story “For a bright shining moment, we added a lot of shareholder value”. Falstaff had a comic with that caption in his double sized cubicle, the kind reserved for senior engineers. For a while he thought it showed that he didn’t fully buy into the corporate line, but that he’d still do as he was told as long as he had a shot at the big payout. RSUs, the big acquisition. The end of year bonus. That was the deal in the before time, when things mostly worked out for most people it seemed. Falstaff knew he wasn’t the smartest, but he didn’t complain, didn’t pick fights and lived pretty well. His bad habits didn’t impact his work life and he still might hit it big enough to quit and try something else. To have options. Then everything happened at once. The fires. The diseases. The chaos. Nobody knew who was in charge for a year or so. Things came back. A few years passed and the wealthy parts of the coastal cities looked shiny again. Most people called it normal. To the casual eye, it was. You could still get sushi delivered to the office late at night, ski in the Rockies if you could take the time off. Things were pretty good if you stayed where you belonged and kept your metrics up. Things fell off as you went East or to the not-so-quaint rural areas that couldn’t swing a music festival or good photo opportunities for social media. Go far enough and you found the places where the Feds just walked away. Not our problem any more. That’s how Falstaff saw the world and his place in it. He had’nt had much sleep. Drugs, risky behavior and the self-loathing kept him occupied, making his morning commute that much less pleasant. He stopped staring at the RVs and tents parked on the land next to the on-ramp as he got on the 101. He jabbed the infotainment system to find some noise to sooth or at least distract him. “Today, the Department of Energy announced that repairs have been completed ahead of schedule for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Radiation levels are now below acceptable levels for the first time in three years” Click. “We’ve got an autonomous truck accident with a car by Exit 6 on the 280 Eastbound, so expect delays while CHP and a support team from Freightliner gets that cleaned up” Click. It didn’t work. He still felt adrift and unhappy in the morning commute, so he silenced the radio and drove to the office. The office was uneventful. Park, security checkpoint, a long walk to his building, a coffee on the way to his cubicle. He pulled the privacy screen closed behind him and sat down. A quick scan of his eyes and there was his project- a payment processing application that would cut out another payment application for a small percentage of a massive stream of money. He looked over last night’s chatter, split the tasks into ‘do the work’ and ‘show that I’m adding value’ categories. The fear and sadness caught up with him. He wasn’t ever going to get out. If he ran as fast as he could, he’d stay exactly where he was until his rent outpaced his income. His stock options would vest just fast enough to keep him going, but he’d never get out. The morning dragged. Tweak this, report this to someone else. The bureaucratic minutiae and make-work washed over him until lunch. He looked forward to lunch with Tran, hoping that might get him out of his funk. Tran wasn’t so much a friend as one of the few people who admitted how screwed up everything was, so there wasn’t any danger of speaking the obvious and getting a negative reputation. Tran was out today, so Falstaff ate leftovers and instant noodles in his cubicle. His phone buzzed. There was a message on MomTalk, a chat for wealthy mothers to discuss brunch, day drinking and their children. An engineer friend of Falstaff’s set it up as a joke to lampoon the women she couldn’t stand and her friends played along, adopting over the top personae and complaining about nonexistent spouses and domestic staff. After things came back, it was a way to talk freely, if in code. Heather: Hey. I’m in deep trouble. The Nanny’s unhappy and I need someone to pick up the kids. Falstaff sighed. Tran must need something. Sheila: Missed you for lunch. Not feeling well? Heather: Serious. My kid is stuck under my desk and I need him to come home. UNDERSTAND? NOW! Sheila:kk. He got up, took his brown cardboard biodegradable instant noodle container and walked a few rows over to Tran’s cubicle. Where Falstaff’s cube was disorganized and well worn, Tran’s was sparse with better furniture. Falstaff felt under the desk and noticed a decal with one end loose. A quick pull and the label peeled off into his hand, along with a small flash memory card, the size of a fingernail. He stood up and quickly looked up and down the aisle between the cubicles. Nobody noticed. Nobody really paid much attention to him on a good day unless they needed something from him anyway. Back in his own cubicle, he went back to the chat: Sheila: How urgent is this? Chip can have dinner with us or we can drop him off on the way to fencing class. Heather:NO TIME. FAMILY’S HERE AND THINGS ARE TENSE. Heather:RUN. GET OUT NOW. Heather:REALLY. Falstaff was concerned. Tran didn’t make jokes. Laughing at Falstaff’s attempts at humor was enough. He had figured that Tran’s talk of ‘having gangsters in his family’ was an attempt to seem dangerous despite being a cubicle denizen, the way middle aged men bought loud motorcycles that they never rode. He folded the decal over the card, pressed the sides together and dropped it in the instant noodle cup, then pushed it down with the corn-plastic chopsticks. The background chatter got quiet and multiple employees raised their heads prairie-dog like. Several members of the company security detail were looking through Tran’s cubicle. Geoff, the brush-cut ex-cop security guard for this building was standing in the aisle attempting to look like he mattered to the operation as the more polished and definitely better paid detail carefully boxed the contents of Tran’s cubicle. Falstaff picked up his phone and noodle container and started walking towards an exit away from the commotion. Geoff noticed and walked briskly after him. As Falstaff walked out of the building, Geoff called out his real name, then jogged behind him, puffing his half a size too small corporate logo’d golf shirt. Ironed golf shirt. Falstaff heard Geoff behind him, but decided to ignore him. Geoff was a blue-badged contractor, safely ignored. Normally. Geoff ran in front of him and blocked his path to the parking garage. “You wouldn’t happen to know where Tran is, would you? I’ve seen you with him ” Falstaff tapped on his white badge. “You’re not my real dad. You can’t tell me what to do” Falstaff squeezed past him into the parking garage’s doorway. Geoff glared at him while Falstaff got in his car and put the noodle carton in the fancy retracting cupholder. He started his car and drove off as calmly as he could manage. Despite his attempt at seeming indifferent, his mind was racing. He attempted to make good time without getting attention. Luckily, silver Porsches were a cliché and therefore almost invisible in the Valley. Twenty minutes later, he was in his mid-grade two bedroom apartment overlooking the parking lot. His cat, Hank, greeted him with a raised head and half open eyes. Falstaff gave the cat some perfunctory petting, while trying to sequence the next few tasks. He went to the refrigerator in the kitchen, carrying the ramen cup in one hand. He selected a can of energy drink and thought for a second. His smartwatch and phone went in the freezer. Fishing the wrapped memory card out of the cup, he picked up the can and walked to his couch, where a bestickered high end laptop rested. Debating between speed and security, he turned off networking on his laptop, then inserted the card into the laptop gingerly, mounting it read-only in case Tran left something aggressive on the card. Huh. A couple really large encrypted files. And seven smaller files with long filenames of seemingly random numbers and letters. He ejected the card and gingerly placed it on the arm of the couch. The file names were bitcoin addressses. A lookup showed a total value of almost $600 million in value there. The files themselves were encrypted. Falstaff stared at the wall for a minute or two, then realized that Tran had decided to quit and take an unauthorized retirement bonus from their shared employer. Enough money to kill for. Who knew about this, and more importantly, who knew Falstaff had the key? Tran did. Perhaps his gangster friends knew. He pulled his phone out of the freezer. A few project related emails and three MomTalk direct messages. Heather:??? Heather:Where y’at? Heather:I have investors. They’re quite insistent. They’re on their way to you. It was time to go. Now. Falstaff put the laptop down and ran to his bedroom. He pawed through a closet and pulled out the giant duffel he used to carry two week’s laundry from his grad student apartment to the cheaper off-campus laundromat. He quickly shoved a variety of clothes, some scuffed hiking boots and some corporate branded technical outdoors gear into it. Behind a shelf, he found a long, antiquated Russian bolt-action rifle and a few paper-wrapped boxes of bullets. It wasn’t the firearm someone on the run would want, but it’s what he had. It went into the duffle bag, which he dragged into the living room. Hank jumped down and inspected the bag. “Hank, I’ll hook you up in a second” A quick scour of the kitchen and Falstaff had two thick trashbags and a box of water jugs with his current employer’s old logo on them, which he emptied into the sink and turned on the faucet. As the sink filled, he filled the trashbags with whatever looked useful- tools, hobby electronics, his laptop and cat food. He pulled out a fat stack of cash from the bottom of his drug stash box. He contemplated forced sobriety, then carefully closed the box and put it in the bag, along with the cash. Don’t change everything at once, he thought. Now isn’t the time to risk sobriety. Falstaff rummaged around in the hall closet and dug out a bright pink cat carrier and stuffed Hank into it, then turned to the overflowing sink in his kitchen. He opened and filled the bottles in what he hoped was an efficient use of time, then pushed them back into the box. His phone buzzed again. He contemplated throwing it back in the freezer, then thought better of it, shoving it and the watch back in his pocket. Hank started meowing. “We’re not going to the vet today, dude. Shut it for now” Falstaff looked out his window. Typical traffic. Typical parking lot. A few charging stations, a fence and tents on the other side. He opened the window and threw the bags into the bushes below. He picked up Hank’s carrier, his laptop and looked at the box of water bottles. Wait. Stop. Think. Breathe. Tran’s card. A minute of searching found where he left it on the couch. He stuck that in his pocket, then ran out of his apartment. He considered the elevator, then decided on the stairs as they were closer to the bags and his car. A few minutes of pushing and shoving had the trash bags in the front trunk , the oversized duffle in the passenger seat and Hank’s carrier seat belted in the tiny back seat. He spun the tires and entered the flow of traffic, such as it was. He looked at his phone. More people seemed to want a response. Ignoring them, he found the closest florist’s shop and fifteen minutes later, pulled into the strip mall that contained it. A few minutes later, he was in possession of three “Birthday Balloon Extravaganzas”, finishing off the shop’s tank of helium and a bit of Falstaff’s cash. He tied the strings around his smartwatch and let it rise and drift past the confines of the parking lot. The hastily constructed wad of tape and ribbon connecting his phone to the other two Extravaganzas generated a more labored flight, but eventually it drifted away. He looked into the shop’s camera and flipped it the bird as he left and jumped back in his car. Soon he was back on the road, relaxing with his elbow out the window. Despite the stop and go traffic, he felt safe enough to relax and make longer range plans. Even Hank had settled down for the moment. The hot air felt less oppressive somehow. He contemplated the right set of music for an escape from civilization, trying on a few genres to decide. The screen also showed that the freeway was less than a quarter mile on the right and traffic would be light. Good. Then he looked again at the screen and thought about antennas. His radio talked to the cell tower, which talked to the Internet. Every application knew where he was. Which meant Tran’s investors or their ex-employer could know as well. One hand on the wheel, he looked around for something to pull the radio out of the dashboard. Hank meowed. “You have an idea? No? Please be quiet” Rummaging around in the glove box, he noticed an old folding knife. Falstaff slowly pried the radio from the dashboard while occasionally looking up at the tailgate of a modern SUV ahead of him. Realizing there was a rear-facing camera on the SUV staring at him, he slid down below the dash as best he could. A few more stop and go cycles and the radio was free of the dash. He unplugged cables by feel, but one took his attention away from the road while he pried at it with his knife He was distracted by a horn blast by his ear. Another SUV was forcing itself into his lane while the driver gesticulated at him. Falstaff reciprocated by waving angrily at him, knife still in hand. The driver of the SUV held the horn down, angering Falstaff enough to open the window and throw the now free radio at the noise. Feeling the embarrassment, he jerked the wheel to the right and accelerated into the bicycle lane with a chirp of tires and howl from the engine behind him. A minute later, he was on the highway, quickly leaving Silicon Valley. He hoped to make the Nevada line before anyone figured out what he was doing.
Why we need to think more carefully about what money is and how it works
Most of us have overlooked a fundamental problem that is currently causing an insurmountable obstacle to building a fairer and more sustainable world. We are very familiar with the thing in question, but its problematic nature has been hidden from us by a powerful illusion. We think the problem is capitalism, but capitalism is just the logical outcome of aggregate human decisions about how to manage money. The fundamental problem is money itself, or more specifically general purpose money and the international free market which allows you to sell a chunk of rainforest and use the money to buy a soft drink factory. (You can use the same sort of money to sell anything and buy anything, anywhere in the world, and until recently there was no alternative at all. Bitcoin is now an alternative, but is not quite what we are looking for.) The illusion is that because market prices are free, and nobody is forced into a transaction, those prices must be fair – that the exchange is equitable. The truth is that the way the general money globalised free market system works means that even though the prices are freely determined, there is still an unequal flow of natural resources from poor parts of the world to rich parts. This means the poor parts will always remain poor, and resources will continue to accumulate in the large, unsustainable cities in rich countries. In other words, unless we re-invent money, we cannot overturn capitalism, and that means we can't build a sustainable civilisation. Why does this matter? What use is it realising that general purpose money is at the root of our problems when we know that the rich and powerful people who run this world will do everything in their power to prevent the existing world system being reformed? They aren't just going to agree to get rid of general purpose money and economic globalisation. It's like asking them to stop pursuing growth: they can't even imagine how to do it, and don't want to. So how does this offer us a way forwards? Answer: because the two things in question – our monetary system and globalisation – look like being among the first casualties of collapse. Globalisation is already going into reverse (see brexit, Trump's protectionism) and our fiat money system is heading towards a debt/inflation implosion. It looks highly likely that the scenario going forwards will be of increasing monetary and economic chaos. Fiat money systems have collapsed many times before, but never a global system of fiat currencies floating against each other. But regardless of how may fiat currencies collapse, or how high the price of gold goes in dollars, it is not clear what the system would be replaced with. Can we just go back to the gold standard? It is possible, but people will be desperately looking for other solutions, and the people in power might also be getting desperate. So what could replace it? What is needed is a new sort of complementary money system which both (a) addresses the immediate economic problems of people suffering from symptoms of economic and general collapse and (b) provides a long-term framework around which a new sort of economy can emerge – an economy which is adapted to deglobalisation and degrowth. I have been searching for answers to this question for some time, and have now found what I was looking for. It is explained in this recently published academic book, and this paper by the same professor of economic anthropology (Alf Hornborg). The answer is the creation of a new sort of money, but it is critically important exactly how this is done. Local currencies like the Bristol Pound do not challenge globalisation. What we need is a new sort of national currency. This currency would be issued as a UBI, but only usable to buy products and services originating within an adjustable radius. This would enable a new economy to emerge. It actually resists globalisation and promotes the growth of a new sort of economy where sustainability is built on local resources and local economic activity. It would also reverse the trend of population moving from poor rural areas and towns, to cities. It would revitalise the “left behind” parts of the western world, and put the brakes on the relentless flow of natural resources and “embodied cheap labour” from the poor parts of the world to the rich parts. It would set the whole system moving towards a more sustainable and fairer state. This may sound unrealistic, but please give it a chance. I believe it offers a way forwards that can (a) unite disparate factions trying to provoke systemic change, including eco-marxists, greens, posthumanists and anti-globalist supporters of “populist nationalism”. The only people who really stand to lose are the supporters of global big business and the 1%. (b) offers a realistic alternative to a money system heading towards collapse, and to which currently no other realistic alternative is being proposed. In other words, this offers a realistic way forwards not just right now but through much of the early stages of collapse. It is likely to become both politically and economically viable within the forseeable future. It does, though, require some elements of the left to abandon its globalist ideals. It will have to embrace a new sort of nationalism. And it will require various groups who are doing very well out of the current economic system to realise that it is doomed. Here is an FAQ (from the paper).
What is a complementary currency? It is a form of money that can be used alongside regular money. What is the fundamental goal of this proposal? The two most fundamental goals motivating this proposal are to insulate local human subsistence and livelihood from the vicissitudes of national and international economic cycles and financial speculation, and to provide tangible and attractive incentives for people to live and consume more sustainably. It also seeks to provide authorities with a means to employ social security expenditures to channel consumption in sustainable directions and encourage economic diversity and community resilience at the local level. Why should the state administrate the reform? The nation is currently the most encompassing political entity capable of administrating an economic reform of this nature. Ideally it is also subservient to the democratic decisions of its population. The current proposal is envisaged as an option for European nations, but would seem equally advantageous for countries anywhere. If successfully implemented within a particular nation or set of nations, the system can be expected to be emulated by others. Whereas earlier experiments with alternative currencies have generally been local, bottom-up initiatives, a state-supported program offers advantages for long-term success. Rather than an informal, marginal movement connected to particular identities and transient social networks, persisting only as long as the enthusiasm of its founders, the complementary currency advocated here is formalized, efficacious, and lastingly fundamental to everyone's economy. How is local use defined and monitored? The complementary currency (CC) can only be used to purchase goods and services that are produced within a given geographical radius of the point of purchase. This radius can be defined in terms of kilometers of transport, and it can vary between different nations and regions depending on circumstances. A fairly simple way of distinguishing local from non-local commodities would be to label them according to transport distance, much as is currently done regarding, for instance, organic production methods or "fair trade." Such transport certification would of course imply different labelling in different locales. How is the complementary currency distributed? A practical way of organizing distribution would be to provide each citizen with a plastic card which is electronically charged each month with the sum of CC allotted to him or her. Who are included in the category of citizens? A monthly CC is provided to all inhabitants of a nation who have received official residence permits. What does basic income mean? Basic income is distributed without any requirements or duties to be fulfilled by the recipients. The sum of CC paid to an individual each month can be determined in relation to the currency's purchasing power and to the individual's age. The guiding principle should be that the sum provided to each adult should be sufficient to enable basic existence, and that the sum provided for each child should correspond to the additional household expenses it represents. Why would people want to use their CC rather than regular money? As the sum of CC provided each month would correspond to purchases representing a claim on his or her regular budget, the basic income would liberate a part of each person's regular income and thus amount to substantial purchasing power, albeit restricted only to local purchases. The basic income in CC would reduce a person's dependence on wage labor and the risks currently associated with unemployment. It would encourage social cooperation and a vitalization of community. Why would businesses want to accept payment in CC? Business entrepreneurs can be expected to respond rapidly to the radically expanded demand for local products and services, which would provide opportunities for a diverse range of local niche markets. Whether they receive all or only a part of their income in the form of CC, they can choose to use some of it to purchase tax-free local labor or other inputs, and to request to have some of it converted by the authorities to regular currency (see next point). How is conversion of CC into regular currency organized? Entrepreneurs would be granted the right to convert some of their CC into regular currency at exchange rates set by the authorities.The exchange rate between the two currencies can be calibrated so as to compensate the authorities for loss of tax revenue and to balance the in- and outflows of CC to the state. The rate would thus amount to a tool for determining the extent to which the CC is recirculated in the local economy, or returned to the state. This is important in order to avoid inflation in the CC sector. Would there be interest on sums of CC owned or loaned? There would be no interest accruing on a sum of CC, whether a surplus accumulating in an account or a loan extended. How would saving and loaning of CC be organized? The formal granting of credit in CC would be managed by state authorities and follow the principle of full reserve banking, so that quantities of CC loaned would never exceed the quantities saved by the population as a whole. Would the circulation of CC be subjected to taxation? No. Why would authorities want to encourage tax-free local economies? Given the beneficial social and ecological consequences of this reform, it is assumed that nation states will represent the general interests of their electorates and thus promote it. Particularly in a situation with rising fiscal deficits, unemployment, health care, and social security expenditures, the proposed reform would alleviate financial pressure on governments. It would also reduce the rising costs of transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. In short, the rising costs and diminishing returns on current strategies for economic growth can be expected to encourage politicians to consider proposals such as this, as a means of avoiding escalating debt or even bankruptcy. How would the state's expenditures in CC be financed? As suggested above, much of these expenditures would be balanced by the reduced costs for social security, health care, transport infrastructure, environmental protection, carbon offsetting, and climate change adaptation. As these savings may take time to materialize, however, states can choose to make a proportion of their social security payments (pensions, unemployment insurance, family allowance, etc.) in the form of CC. As between a third and half of some nations' annual budgets are committed to social security, this represents a significant option for financing the reform, requiring no corresponding tax levies. What are the differences between this CC and the many experiments with local currencies? This proposal should not be confused with the notion, or with the practical operation, of local currencies, as it does not imply different currencies in different locales but one national,complementary currency for local use. Nor is it locally initiated and promoted in opposition to theregular currency, but centrally endorsed and administrated as an accepted complement to it. Most importantly, the alternative currency can only be used to purchase products and services originating from within a given geographical range, a restriction which is not implemented in experiments with Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS). Finally, the CC is provided as a basic income to all residents of a nation, rather than only earned in proportion to the extent to which a person has made him- or herself useful in the local economy. What would the ecological benefits be? The reform would radically reduce the demand for long-distance transport, the production of greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of energy and materials, and losses of foodstuffs through overproduction, storage, and transport. It would increase recycling of nutrients and packaging materials, which means decreasing leakage of nutrients and less garbage. It would reduce agricultural intensification, increase biodiversity, and decrease ecological degradation and vulnerability. What would the societal benefits be? The reform would increase local cooperation, decrease social marginalization and addiction problems, provide more physical exercise, improve psycho-social and physical health, and increase food security and general community resilience. It would decrease the number of traffic accidents, provide fresher and healthier food with less preservatives, and improved contact between producers and consumers. What would the long-term consequences be for the economy? The reform would no doubt generate radical transformations of the economy, as is precisely the intention. There would be a significant shift of dominance from transnational corporations founded on financial speculation and trade in industrially produced foodstuffs, fuels, and other internationally transported goods to locally diverse producers and services geared to sustainable livelihoods. This would be a democratic consequence of consumer power, rather than of legislation. Through a relatively simple transformation of the conditions for market rationality, governments can encourage new and more sustainable patterns of consumer behavior. In contrast to much of the drastic and often traumatic economic change of the past two centuries, these changes would be democratic and sustainable and would improve local and national resilience. Why should society want to encourage people to refrain from formal employment? It is increasingly recognized that full or high employment cannot be a goal in itself, particularly if it implies escalating environmental degradation and energy and material throughput. Well-founded calls are thus currently made for degrowth, i.e. a reduction in the rate of production of goods and services that are conventionally quantified by economists as constitutive of GDP. Whether formal unemployment is the result of financial decline, technological development, or intentional policy for sustainability, no modern nation can be expected to leave its citizens economically unsupported. To subsist on basic income is undoubtedly more edifying than receiving unemployment insurance; the CC system encourages useful community cooperation and creative activities rather than destructive behavior that may damage a person's health. Why should people receive an income without working? As observed above, modern nations will provide for their citizens whether they are formally employed or not. The incentive to find employment should ideally not be propelled only by economic imperatives, but more by the desire to maintain a given identity and to contribute creatively to society. Personal liberty would be enhanced by a reform which makes it possible for people to choose to spend (some of) their time on creative activities that are not remunerated on the formal market, and to accept the tradeoff implied by a somewhat lower economic standard. People can also be expected to devote a greater proportion of their time to community cooperation, earning additional CC, which means that they will contribute more to society – and experience less marginalization – than the currently unemployed. Would savings in CC be inheritable? No. How would transport distances of products and services be controlled? It is reasonable to expect the authorities to establish a special agency for monitoring and controlling transport distances. It seems unlikely that entrepreneurs would attempt to cheat the system by presenting distantly produced goods as locally produced, as we can expect income in regular currency generally to be preferable to income in CC. Such attempts would also entail transport costs which should make the cargo less competitive in relation to genuinely local produce, suggesting that the logic of local market mechanisms would by and large obviate the problem. How would differences in local conditions (such as climate, soils, and urbanism) be dealt with?It is unavoidable that there would be significant variation between different locales in terms of the conditions for producing different kinds of goods. This means that relative local prices in CC for agiven product can be expected to vary from place to place. This may in turn mean that consumption patterns will vary somewhat between locales, which is predictable and not necessarily a problem. Generally speaking, a localization of resource flows can be expected to result in a more diverse pattern of calibration to local resource endowments, as in premodern contexts. The proposed system allows for considerable flexibility in terms of the geographical definition of what is categorized as local, depending on such conditions. In a fertile agricultural region, the radius for local produce may be defined, for instance, as 20 km, whereas in a less fertile or urban area, it may be 50 km. People living in urban centers are faced with a particular challenge. The reform would encourage an increased production of foodstuffs within and in the vicinity of urban areas, which in the long run may also affect urban planning. People might also choose to move to the countryside, where the range of subsistence goods that can be purchased with CC will tend to be greater. In the long run, the reform can be expected to encourage a better fit between the distribution of resources (such as agricultural land) and demography. This is fully in line with the intention of reducing long-distance transports of necessities. What would the consequences be if people converted resources from one currency sphere into products or services sold in another? It seems unfeasible to monitor and regulate the use of distant imports (such as machinery and fuels) in producing produce for local markets, but as production for local markets is remunerated in CC, this should constitute a disincentive to invest regular money in such production processes. Production for local consumption can thus be expected to rely mostly – and increasingly – on local labor and other resource inputs.
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