A common sentiment is brewing online; a shared desire for the internet that might have been. After decades of corporate encroachment, you don't need to be a power user to realize that something has gone very wrong. In the early days of the internet, the future was bright. In that future, when you sent an instant message, it traveled directly to the recipient. When you needed to pay a friend, you announced a transfer of value to their public key. When an app was missing a feature you wanted, you opened up the source code and implemented it. When you took a picture on your phone, it was immediately encrypted and backed up to storage that you controlled. In that future, people would laugh at the idea of having to authenticate themselves to some corporation before doing these things. What did we get instead? Rather than a network of human-sized communities, we have a handful of enormous commons, each controlled by a faceless corporate entity. Hey user, want to send a message? You can, but we'll store a copy of it indefinitely, unencrypted, for our preference-learning algorithms to pore over; how else could we slap targeted ads on every piece of content you see? Want to pay a friend? You can—in our Monopoly money. Want a new feature? Submit a request to our Support Center and we'll totally maybe think about it. Want to backup a photo? You can—inside our walled garden, which only we (and the NSA, of course) can access. Just be careful what you share, because merely locking you out of your account and deleting all your data is far from the worst thing we could do. You rationalize this: "MEGACORP would never do such a thing; it would be bad for business." But we all know, at some level, that this state of affairs, this inversion of power, is not merely "unfortunate" or "suboptimal" – No. It is degrading. Even if MEGACORP were purely benevolent, it is degrading that we must ask its permission to talk to our friends; that we must rely on it to safeguard our treasured memories; that our digital lives are completely beholden to those who seek only to extract value from us. At the root of this issue is the centralization of data. MEGACORP can surveil you—because your emails and video chats flow through their servers. And MEGACORP can control you—because they hold your data hostage. But centralization is a solution to a technical problem: How can we make the user's data accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device? For a long time, no alternative solution to this problem was forthcoming. Today, thanks to a confluence of established techniques and recent innovations, we have solved the accessibility problem without resorting to centralization. Hashing, encryption, and erasure encoding got us most of the way, but one barrier remained: incentives. How do you incentivize an anonymous stranger to store your data? Earlier protocols like BitTorrent worked around this limitation by relying on altruism, tit-for-tat requirements, or "points" – in other words, nothing you could pay your electric bill with. Finally, in 2009, a solution appeared: Bitcoin. Not long after, Sia was born. Cryptography has unleashed the latent power of the internet by enabling interactions between mutually-distrustful parties. Sia harnesses this power to turn the cloud storage market into a proper marketplace, where buyers and sellers can transact directly, with no intermediaries, anywhere in the world. No more silos or walled gardens: your data is encrypted, so it can't be spied on, and it's stored on many servers, so no single entity can hold it hostage. Thanks to projects like Sia, the internet is being re-decentralized. Sia began its life as a startup, which means it has always been subjected to two competing forces: the ideals of its founders, and the profit motive inherent to all businesses. Its founders have taken great pains to never compromise on the former, but this often threatened the company's financial viability. With the establishment of the Sia Foundation, this tension is resolved. The Foundation, freed of the obligation to generate profit, is a pure embodiment of the ideals from which Sia originally sprung. The goals and responsibilities of the Foundation are numerous: to maintain core Sia protocols and consensus code; to support developers building on top of Sia and its protocols; to promote Sia and facilitate partnerships in other spheres and communities; to ensure that users can easily acquire and safely store siacoins; to develop network scalability solutions; to implement hardforks and lead the community through them; and much more. In a broader sense, its mission is to commoditize data storage, making it cheap, ubiquitous, and accessible to all, without compromising privacy or performance. Sia is a perfect example of how we can achieve better living through cryptography. We now begin a new chapter in Sia's history. May our stewardship lead it into a bright future.
Today, we are proposing the creation of the Sia Foundation: a new non-profit entity that builds and supports distributed cloud storage infrastructure, with a specific focus on the Sia storage platform. What follows is an informal overview of the Sia Foundation, covering two major topics: how the Foundation will be funded, and what its funds will be used for.
The Sia Foundation will be structured as a non-profit entity incorporated in the United States, likely a 501(c)(3) organization or similar. The actions of the Foundation will be constrained by its charter, which formalizes the specific obligations and overall mission outlined in this document. The charter will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the current goals of the Sia community. The organization will be operated by a board of directors, initially comprising Luke Champine as President and Eddie Wang as Chairman. Luke Champine will be leaving his position at Nebulous to work at the Foundation full-time, and will seek to divest his shares of Nebulous stock along with other potential conflicts of interest. Neither Luke nor Eddie personally own any siafunds or significant quantities of siacoin.
The primary source of funding for the Foundation will come from a new block subsidy. Following a hardfork, 30 KS per block will be allocated to the "Foundation Fund," continuing in perpetuity. The existing 30 KS per block miner reward is not affected. Additionally, one year's worth of block subsidies (approximately 1.57 GS) will be allocated to the Fund immediately upon activation of the hardfork. As detailed below, the Foundation will provably burn any coins that it cannot meaningfully spend. As such, the 30 KS subsidy should be viewed as a maximum. This allows the Foundation to grow alongside Sia without requiring additional hardforks. The Foundation will not be funded to any degree by the possession or sale of siafunds. Siafunds were originally introduced as a means of incentivizing growth, and we still believe in their effectiveness: a siafund holder wants to increase the amount of storage on Sia as much as possible. While the Foundation obviously wants Sia to succeed, its driving force should be its charter. Deriving significant revenue from siafunds would jeopardize the Foundation's impartiality and focus. Ultimately, we want the Foundation to act in the best interests of Sia, not in growing its own budget.
The Foundation inherits a great number of responsibilities from Nebulous. Each quarter, the Foundation will publish the progress it has made over the past quarter, and list the responsibilities it intends to prioritize over the coming quarter. This will be accompanied by a financial report, detailing each area of expenditure over the past quarter, and forecasting expenditures for the coming quarter. Below, we summarize some of the myriad responsibilities towards which the Foundation is expected to allocate its resources.
Maintain and enhance core Sia software
Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation. At the heart of Sia is its consensus algorithm: regardless of other differences, all Sia software must agree upon the content and rules of the blockchain. It is therefore crucial that the algorithm be stewarded by an entity that is accountable to the community, transparent in its decision-making, and has no profit motive or other conflicts of interest. Accordingly, Sia’s consensus functionality will no longer be directly maintained by Nebulous. Instead, the Foundation will release and maintain an implementation of a "minimal Sia full node," comprising the Sia consensus algorithm and P2P networking code. The source code will be available in a public repository, and signed binaries will be published for each release. Other parties may use this code to provide alternative full node software. For example, Nebulous may extend the minimal full node with wallet, renter, and host functionality. The source code of any such implementation may be submitted to the Foundation for review. If the code passes review, the Foundation will provide "endorsement signatures" for the commit hash used and for binaries compiled internally by the Foundation. Specifically, these signatures assert that the Foundation believes the software contains no consensus-breaking changes or other modifications to imported Foundation code. Endorsement signatures and Foundation-compiled binaries may be displayed and distributed by the receiving party, along with an appropriate disclaimer. A minimal full node is not terribly useful on its own; the wallet, renter, host, and other extensions are what make Sia a proper developer platform. Currently, the only implementations of these extensions are maintained by Nebulous. The Foundation will contract Nebulous to ensure that these extensions continue to receive updates and enhancements. Later on, the Foundation intends to develop its own implementations of these extensions and others. As with the minimal node software, these extensions will be open source and available in public repositories for use by any Sia node software. With the consensus code now managed by the Foundation, the task of implementing and orchestrating hardforks becomes its responsibility as well. When the Foundation determines that a hardfork is necessary (whether through internal discussion or via community petition), a formal proposal will be drafted and submitted for public review, during which arguments for and against the proposal may be submitted to a public repository. During this time, the hardfork code will be implemented, either by Foundation employees or by external contributors working closely with the Foundation. Once the implementation is finished, final arguments will be heard. The Foundation board will then vote whether to accept or reject the proposal, and announce their decision along with appropriate justification. Assuming the proposal was accepted, the Foundation will announce the block height at which the hardfork will activate, and will subsequently release source code and signed binaries that incorporate the hardfork code. Regardless of the Foundation's decision, it is the community that ultimately determines whether a fork is accepted or rejected – nothing can change that. Foundation node software will never automatically update, so all forks must be explicitly adopted by users. Furthermore, the Foundation will provide replay and wipeout protection for its hard forks, protecting other chains from unintended or malicious reorgs. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure that any file contracts formed prior to a fork activation will continue to be honored on both chains until they expire. Finally, the Foundation also intends to pursue scalability solutions for the Sia blockchain. In particular, work has already begun on an implementation of Utreexo, which will greatly reduce the space requirements of fully-validating nodes (allowing a full node to be run on a smartphone) while increasing throughput and decreasing initial sync time. A hardfork implementing Utreexo will be submitted to the community as per the process detailed above. As this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation, it will receive a significant portion of the Foundation’s budget, primarily in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Support community services
We intend to allocate 25% of the Foundation Fund towards the community. This allocation will be held and disbursed in the form of siacoins, and will pay for grants, bounties, hackathons, and other community-driven endeavours. Any community-run service, such as a Skynet portal, explorer or web wallet, may apply to have its costs covered by the Foundation. Upon approval, the Foundation will reimburse expenses incurred by the service, subject to the exact terms agreed to. The intent of these grants is not to provide a source of income, but rather to make such services "break even" for their operators, so that members of the community can enrich the Sia ecosystem without worrying about the impact on their own finances.
Ensure easy acquisition and storage of siacoins
Most users will acquire their siacoins via an exchange. The Foundation will provide support to Sia-compatible exchanges, and pursue relevant integrations at its discretion, such as Coinbase's new Rosetta standard. The Foundation may also release DEX software that enables trading cryptocurrencies without the need for a third party. (The Foundation itself will never operate as a money transmitter.) Increasingly, users are storing their cryptocurrency on hardware wallets. The Foundation will maintain the existing Ledger Nano S integration, and pursue further integrations at its discretion. Of course, all hardware wallets must be paired with software running on a computer or smartphone, so the Foundation will also develop and/or maintain client-side wallet software, including both full-node wallets and "lite" wallets. Community-operated wallet services, i.e. web wallets, may be funded via grants. Like core software maintenance, this responsibility will be funded in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Protect the ecosystem
When it comes to cryptocurrency security, patching software vulnerabilities is table stakes; there are significant legal and social threats that we must be mindful of as well. As such, the Foundation will earmark a portion of its fund to defend the community from legal action. The Foundation will also safeguard the network from 51% attacks and other threats to network security by implementing softforks and/or hardforks where necessary. The Foundation also intends to assist in the development of a new FOSS software license, and to solicit legal memos on various Sia-related matters, such as hosting in the United States and the EU. In a broader sense, the establishment of the Foundation makes the ecosystem more robust by transferring core development to a more neutral entity. Thanks to its funding structure, the Foundation will be immune to various forms of pressure that for-profit companies are susceptible to.
Drive adoption of Sia
Although the overriding goal of the Foundation is to make Sia the best platform it can be, all that work will be in vain if no one uses the platform. There are a number of ways the Foundation can promote Sia and get it into the hands of potential users and developers. In-person conferences are understandably far less popular now, but the Foundation can sponsor and/or participate in virtual conferences. (In-person conferences may be held in the future, permitting circumstances.) Similarly, the Foundation will provide prizes for hackathons, which may be organized by community members, Nebulous, or the Foundation itself. Lastly, partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency space—or the cloud storage space—are a great way to increase awareness of Sia. To handle these responsibilities, one of the early priorities of the Foundation will be to hire a marketing director.
The Foundation Fund will be controlled by a multisig address. Each member of the Foundation's board will control one of the signing keys, with the signature threshold to be determined once the final composition of the board is known. (This threshold may also be increased or decreased if the number of board members changes.) Additionally, one timelocked signing key will be controlled by David Vorick. This key will act as a “dead man’s switch,” to be used in the event of an emergency that prevents Foundation board members from reaching the signature threshold. The timelock ensures that this key cannot be used unless the Foundation fails to sign a transaction for several months. On the 1st of each month, the Foundation will use its keys to transfer all siacoins in the Fund to two new addresses. The first address will be controlled by a high-security hot wallet, and will receive approximately one month's worth of Foundation expenditures. The second address, receiving the remaining siacoins, will be a modified version of the source address: specifically, it will increase the timelock on David Vorick's signing key by one month. Any other changes to the set of signing keys, such as the arrival or departure of board members, will be incorporated into this address as well. The Foundation Fund is allocated in SC, but many of the Foundation's expenditures must be paid in USD or other fiat currency. Accordingly, the Foundation will convert, at its discretion, a portion of its monthly withdrawals to fiat currency. We expect this conversion to be primarily facilitated by private "OTC" sales to accredited investors. The Foundation currently has no plans to speculate in cryptocurrency or other assets. Finally, it is important that the Foundation adds value to the Sia platform well in excess of the inflation introduced by the block subsidy. For this reason, the Foundation intends to provably burn, on a quarterly basis, any coins that it cannot allocate towards any justifiable expense. In other words, coins will be burned whenever doing so provides greater value to the platform than any other use. Furthermore, the Foundation will cap its SC treasury at 5% of the total supply, and will cap its USD treasury at 4 years’ worth of predicted expenses. Addendum: Hardfork Timeline We would like to see this proposal finalized and accepted by the community no later than September 30th. A new version of siad, implementing the hardfork, will be released no later than October 15th. The hardfork will activate at block 293220, which is expected to occur around 12pm EST on January 1st, 2021.
Addendum: Inflation specifics The total supply of siacoins as of January 1st, 2021 will be approximately 45.243 GS. The initial subsidy of 1.57 GS thus increases the supply by 3.47%, and the total annual inflation in 2021 will be at most 10.4% (if zero coins are burned). In 2022, total annual inflation will be at most 6.28%, and will steadily decrease in subsequent years.
We see the establishment of the Foundation as an important step in the maturation of the Sia project. It provides the ecosystem with a sustainable source of funding that can be exclusively directed towards achieving Sia's ambitious goals. Compared to other projects with far deeper pockets, Sia has always punched above its weight; once we're on equal footing, there's no telling what we'll be able to achieve. Nevertheless, we do not propose this change lightly, and have taken pains to ensure that the Foundation will act in accordance with the ideals that this community shares. It will operate transparently, keep inflation to a minimum, and respect the user's fundamental role in decentralized systems. We hope that everyone in the community will consider this proposal carefully, and look forward to a productive discussion.
In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends
Part 1, Part 2 As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom. As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed. As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying. A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone. I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’ I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then- My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness. “James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.” I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.” Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.” ‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked. “James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.” I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch. “What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh. I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence. It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered. Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen. When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch. Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started. “I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.” “When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.” “As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.” Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked? “Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants. “I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out. “Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back. “She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now. “There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.” ‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?” “Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’ “I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.” Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?” “Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered. Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.” My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?” Karl studied me. “Why?” “It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted. Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking. I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with. Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends. We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park. By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch. “They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.” “Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt. Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her. “Tinder?” I asked. “It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said. Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub. Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd. I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her. She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her. The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped. The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt. Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone. “What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood. “Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all. “No I think I need to be alone right now.” Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames. Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again. I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip. There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution. ‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’ I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette. -MJL (Final part)
If history is any guide, we’re not going to see ETH 2.0 until 2022 at the earliest, even if the earliest phases of “Serenity” begin getting pushed in mid-2020. ETH 2.0’s rollout breaks down into seven (7!!!) phases and brings with it the promise of staking, sharding, a new virtual machine, and more dancing badgers. (One of our analysts,Wilson Withiam, put together an excellent overview of both the ETH 2.0 and ETH 1.x roadmaps for this report. They are critical to track and understand at a high-level given how much Ethereum’s performance will affect other competitive projects and most of the DeFi and Web 3 infrastructure. So these next two sections are longer and more technical.) Here’s what you need to know about the current game plan for crypto’s largest platform. Phase 0 marks the launch of the “beacon chain”, which will serve as the backbone for a new blockchain. The beacon chain will manage network validators (large early stakers like ConsenSys) and ultimately assign validators to individual shards (slicing the new blockchain into smaller chunks is a key, difficult, controversial scaling decision that’s been made). The new chain will support Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, and offer inflation rewards with new ETH2 for those that pony up and lock 32 ETH1 tokens into an irreversible contract. That one way bridge into the new system is also contentious, but it means ETH1 supply will start getting “effectively burned”once token holder begin claiming beacon chain validator slots. Initial reports claimed Jan. 3 as a realistic launch date (lol). It will be amazing to see this launched by end of June. Phase 1 will introduce 64 individual shard chains (reduced from 1,024!!!) to the network, with the option to increase the total down the road as the design gets tested. The Ethereum elite see sharding as the “key to future scalability” as shards can parallelize transaction processing, something that could improve network performance and reduce individual validator’s costs (good for decentralization). It comes with big risk: this is still theoretical. No network the size of Ethereum has successfully sharded its blockchain. In Phase 1, shard chains will only contain simple data sets (no smart contracts or transaction executions) to test the system’s structure. As with Phase 0, the beacon chain will continue to run in parallel with ETH 1.x throughout the phase. Don’t expect Phase 1 anytime before 2021. Phase 2 marks the full launch of the ETH2 chain, allowing for on-chain contract execution and introducing the new eWASM virtual machine (dubbed EVM 2.0). At this point, existing dApps can start migrating their contracts from ETH 1.x to a specific shard (one shard per contract) in the new network. Storage rent, charging contract owners for storing data on the network (more on this below), is in the cards as well, which would require mass contract rewrites. Even though Phase 2 intends to replace the original Ethereum blockchain entirely, ETH 1.x may still live on as a shard within ETH2. (How confused are you by now? See why bitcoin will still dominate the macro narrative for a while?) A late 2021 release for Phase 2 is optimistic. Before the end of 2022 would be a win. The final four phases are less defined, and without an attached timeline: Phase 3 implements state-minimized clients (because stateless clients are just too much). Phase 4 allows for cross-shard transactions. Phase 5 improves network security and the availability of data proofs. Phase 6 introduces meta-shards, as in “shards within shards within shards,” for near-infinite scaling. If you’re scratching your head and are sadistic enough to read more, the Sharding Wiki page does note, “this may be difficult.” Scaling and compilation efficiencies aside, the most notable change in Ethereum’s metamorphosis is the transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. PoW is the more battle tested security model for blockchain networks, while PoS may prove to be more efficient but with new and less obvious attack vectors. For the more technical, we recommend reading Bison Trails’ Viktor Bunin on the subject of PoS security threats. Past research has also shown PoS requires an extra layer of “trust” vs. PoW, to help nodes sync to the network. Most models share specific characteristics to address this trust issue, such as allowing for a dynamic set of validators (rotate your security), promoting token holder participation in consensus, and assessing steep penalties (slashing) for any network participant that violates the protocol guidelines. ETH 2.0 will function similarly, but may be able to learn from other PoS networks (and their R&D) as well as those come live and see real world issues. As Vitalik points out, recent research in PoS resulted in “great theoretical progress,” But... Listen, we're talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We're talking about practice. Not a game….Practice? We're talking about practice, man? We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We ain't talking about the game. We're talking about practice, man. Vitalik was eight when this happened, so the clip might help and prove metaphoric.
2 ETH 1.x Research/Governance/Roadmap at a glance.
Ok, one more. Bear with us. Let’s reiterate, ETH 2.0 is a brand new blockchain. It’s going to be a chaotic and high-risk transition. In the meantime, the existing network needs to run existing applications (particularly financial settlements for DeFi transactions). More critical upgrades are needed in the current system. To that end, ETH 1.x devs have three goals to boost performance and reduce blockchain bloat: (1) introduce client optimizations that increase transaction capacity; (2) cap disk space requirements and prune old, memory-sucking data (so running a node is less expensive and more decentralized); and (3) upgrade the EVM to eWASM, a newer open standard for code compilers that simplifies debugging, and is also used by all the newer smart contract platforms. ETH 1.x developers have decided to split the major tasks amongst four working groups:
State Rent: Developers today incur a single payment for deploying contracts and storing data on the network. Thanks to the immutable nature of blockchains, this data occupies the disk space of node operators permanently. As the network’s state grows, so do operating costs, which is where “state rent” comes in. It makes sense to charge for ongoing storage needs since the node operators are on the hook in perpetuity. This is a big change as it could break a bunch of contracts, but also limits state growth and creates economic incentives to run a node. What happens to data that users don’t want to pay for? Boot delinquent user data off the network but keep a stub (a hash) of information on hand in case the user wants to later reinstate it.
Pruning: Similar goal. Pruning removes old data that is longer useful, but does so in a way that allows clients to prove past transactions. There are a couple of ways developers think this is possible (e.g. maintain a proof of deleted chain segments, which is similar to a “light client” in bitcoin that makes it possible to run a wallet on your phone), but all current strategies would cap annual “state growth” to prevent spikes in storage costs, at the expense of some new complications (e.g., dApps might be unable to access some data, and nodes might be unable to tell if data was deleted or whether it never existed in the first place).
eWASM: Like ETH 2.0, devs plan to implement eWASM on the flagship Ethereum chain. The eWASM virtual machine, a subset of the well-established WebAssembly compiler, offers improved flexibility for the introduction of “high-performance” smart contracts.
Simulation and Emulation: This group develops tools to help support and evaluate the other groups because, well, someone has to test everything.
Core developers intend to introduce most of these implementations through a series of hard forks, the latest of which activated just over a week ago (Istanbul, Dec. 7). However, Istanbul’s second phase, tentatively scheduled for Q2 next year, has Ethereans at each other’s throats. The controversy boils down to the fork’s inclusion of ProgPoW, an ASIC-resistant hashing algorithm designed to replace Ethereum’s current algo. ProgPoW aims to even the playing field for GPU miners and ward off the entrance of potential ASIC competitors. The miners like that. But many miners and investors see ProgPoW as a threat to their investments. For miners, the change would shift the power dynamic away from mining farms and render expensive, specialized mining hardware useless. Ethereum (and ERC-20) investors intent on securing their assets might balk because ASIC miners typically prop up hash rates (overall chain security) and their costs “naturally create a price-floor for ASK prices of miners’ sell-orders.” This saga is far from over. The infighting will likely continue leading up to ProgPoW’s activation date mid-next year, and presents the strongest potential for a network split since “The DAO” fork that spawned Ethereum Classic. The looming transition to ETH 2.0 (and proof-of-stake) will likely deter investor pushback, because it’s a short-term battle in a war the miners are ultimately going to lose, anyway. Unless the roadmap changes back to supporting a hybrid PoW/PoS system, of course, but... Oh my god, I’m just kidding. This section is mercifully over.
Deathstroke The Terminator aka Slade Wilson is a DC Comics comic book character that has been around since 1980. This respect thread which may be updated in the future, will be about the "DC Rebirth" version of Deathstroke, which has been the main version/Earth 0 version of the character since he was more or less rebooted back in 2016. The main writer of this Deathstroke is Christopher Priest which is why this Deathstroke may be known as "Prieststroke". Christopher Priest is virtually the Word of God when it comes to this Deathstroke, and he has a site specifically dedicated to this Deathstroke: http://lamerciepark.com/comics/deathstroke/ Most quotations will be from that site, and I recommend reading it for the best intro into the series and an understanding of this Deathstroke. Also for an idea of how this Deathstroke is meant to look, This is Deathstroke's Rebirth Design version 1.1. Now, Who is DC Rebirth's Deathstroke?:
He is not a mercenary, profesional soldier, military subcontractor or any other clever euphemism used to round the edges off of his description. Deathstroke kills people for money. Lots of money. He spends a great deal of that money on a virtual army of lawyers who expertly prevent police and/or covert entities from ever positively proving Lt. Colonel Slade Wilson (Ret.) and Deathstroke are, in fact, one and the same.
Deathstroke is approximately 55 years of age but appears to be 20 years younger due to the tissue regeneration caused by his rapid healing power. He is 6'4", taller than Superman or Batman, (and very intimidating). Slade is an extremely cool customer, much like the first act or so of the Michael Mann-Tom Cruise film Collateral. He occasionally wears sunglasses so the eye patch (a stick-on white patch) isn’t necessarily seen. It is very difficult to get Deathstroke to lose his temper.
Deathstroke is an emotional cripple along the lines of Hugh Laurie's House M.D., a guy who desperately loves and desires to be close to his children, but is too emotionally damaged to ever achieve that. He was a terrible father and is now haunted by a lot of poor choices made with his wife Adeline and his boys, especially.
The only people he actually talks to are his longtime partner Major William Randolph Wintergreen, British SAS (Ret.), his kids and his ex-wife. Wintergreen, approximately 65, is a reluctant partner who has ethical conflicts about DS's line of work. Other than that, Deathstroke is (in my version) much more laconic than as he's traditionally been portrayed. He trusts no one, thinks most everyone is an idiot, speaks only when absolutely necessary.
Deathstroke works for himself, is suspicious of all governments (especially ours). You hire him by posting an offer on the Dark Web along with a six-figure deposit in untraceable Bitcoin.
Deathstroke's basic powers are:
Enhanced Strength: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV. Enhanced Reflexes: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV.
Note* Christopher Priest has written Captain America before (The Captain America and Falcon series if i recall), so what his Captain America did may be usable for his Deathstroke. Also YMMV is "Your Milleage May Vary", which means basically it may be different in your view. Deathstroke also has
Enhanced Intellect: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. We no longer say Deathstroke uses "90% of his brain capacity." If Deathstroke used 90% of his brain capacity, he'd be Charles Xavier. Now we just say he's really, really smart. Deathstroke is probably the smartest guy in the DC Universe. He is easily the equal of Batman in terms of strategic planning. Deathstroke's intellect is deadlier than his sword. He typically out-thinks and out-strategizes everybody in the book. He is a keen observer and expert detective. He usually has several balls in the air at one time.
Rapid Healing: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. Deathstroke's rapid healing clots blood in seconds and seals wounds in minutes. The time it takes for full healing depends upon the wound: a bee sting, maybe a couple seconds. A gunshot wound: a few hours. It depends on the complexity of the knitting process, how much tissue needs to be regenerated and other factors. It is not an instant process. Deathstroke's rapid healing cannot regenerate organs. It can heal organs, but, for example, it won't regenerate a liver if a bad guy rips his out. Therefore, his rapid healing power did not simply create a new eye (or, in the case of Marvel's over-the-top Deathstroke parody Deadpool, grow a new hand). Deathstroke experiences pain like anyone else. Just because he has rapid healing doesn't mean he'd just sit around and let people gut him with swords. This is why he wears a protective uniform.. Deathstroke experiences trauma like anyone else and is capable of going into traumatic shock from injury. If he does not allow his rapid healing process to properly close a wound, Deathstroke can bleed out and die just like anyone else.
Deathstroke's intellect in Rebirth: "Deathstroke is probably the smartest guy in DC." "Easily the equal of Batman in terms of strategic planning", and He is also an "Expert Detective". "Outsmarting Deathstroke is likely not possible." And "He is at least as resourceful and intelligent and well prepared as Batman."
The 2016 Deathstroke comic book series has concluded and Christopher Priest has finished his Deathstroke series, so, this is likely the end of this respect thread for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, The Legend Continues..
*These questions are sourced directly from Telegram Q: When you say RenVM is Trustless, Permissionless, and Decentralized, what does that actually mean? A: Trustless = RenVM is a virtual machine (a network of nodes, that do computations), this means if you ask RenVM to trade an asset via smart contract logic, it will. No trusted intermediary that holds assets or that you need to rely on. Because RenVM is a decentralized network and computes verified information in a secure environment, no single party can prevent users from sending funds in, withdrawing deposited funds, or computing information needed for updating outside ledgers. RenVM is an agnostic and autonomous virtual broker that holds your digital assets as they move between blockchains. Permissionless = RenVM is an open protocol; meaning anyone can use RenVM and any project can build with RenVM. You don't need anyone's permission, just plug RenVM into your dApp and you have interoperability. Decentralized = The nodes that power RenVM ( Darknodes) are scattered throughout the world. RenVM has a peak capacity of up to 10,000 Darknodes (due to REN’s token economics). Realistically, there will probably be 100 - 500 Darknodes run in the initial Mainnet phases, ample decentralized nonetheless. Q: Okay, so how can you prove this? A: The publication of our audit results will help prove the trustlessness piece; permissionless and decentralized can be proven today. Permissionless = https://github.com/renproject/ren-js Decentralized = https://chaosnet.renproject.io/ Q: How does Ren sMPC work? Sharmir's secret sharing? TSS? A: There is some confusion here that keeps arising so I will do my best to clarify.TL;DR: *SSS is just data. It’s what you do with the data that matters. RenVM uses sMPC on SSS to create TSS for ECDSA keys.*SSS and TSS aren’t fundamental different things. It’s kind of like asking: do you use numbers, or equations? Equations often (but not always) use numbers or at some point involve numbers. SSS by itself is just a way of representing secret data (like numbers). sMPC is how to generate and work with that data (like equations). One of the things you can do with that work is produce a form of TSS (this is what RenVM does). However, TSS is slightly different because it can also be done *without* SSS and sMPC. For example, BLS signatures don’t use SSS or sMPC but they are still a form of TSS. So, we say that RenVM uses SSS+sMPC because this is more specific than just saying TSS (and you can also do more with SSS+sMPC than just TSS). Specifically, all viable forms of turning ECDSA (a scheme that isn’t naturally threshold based) into a TSS needs SSS+sMPC. People often get confused about RenVM and claim “SSS can’t be used to sign transactions without making the private key whole again”. That’s a strange statement and shows a fundamental misunderstanding about what SSS is. To come back to our analogy, it’s like saying “numbers can’t be used to write a book”. That’s kind of true in a direct sense, but there are plenty of ways to encode a book as numbers and then it’s up to how you interpret (how you *use*) those numbers. This is exactly how this text I’m writing is appearing on your screen right now. SSS is just secret data. It doesn’t make sense to say that SSS *functions*. RenVM is what does the functioning. RenVM *uses* the SSSs to represent private keys. But these are generated and used and destroyed as part of sMPC. The keys are never whole at any point. Q: Thanks for the explanation. Based on my understanding of SSS, a trusted dealer does need to briefly put the key together. Is this not the case? A: Remember, SSS is just the representation of a secret. How you get from the secret to its representation is something else. There are many ways to do it. The simplest way is to have a “dealer” that knows the secret and gives out the shares. But, there are other ways. For example: we all act as dealers, and all give each other shares of our individual secret. If there are N of us, we now each have N shares (one from every person). Then we all individually add up the shares that we have. We now each have a share of a “global” secret that no one actually knows. We know this global secret is the sum of everyone’s individual secrets, but unless you know every individual’s secret you cannot know the global secret (even though you have all just collectively generates shares for it). This is an example of an sMPC generation of a random number with collusion resistance against all-but-one adversaries. Q: If you borrow Ren, you can profit from the opposite Ren gain. That means you could profit from breaking the network and from falling Ren price (because breaking the network, would cause Ren price to drop) (lower amount to be repaid, when the bond gets slashed) A: Yes, this is why it’s important there has a large number of Darknodes before moving to full decentralisation (large borrowing becomes harder). We’re exploring a few other options too, that should help prevent these kinds of issues. Q: What are RenVM’s Security and Liveliness parameters? A: These are discussed in detail in our Wiki, please check it out here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Safety-and-Liveliness#analysis Q: What are the next blockchain under consideration for RenVM? A: These can be found here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Supported-Blockchains Q: I've just read that Aztec is going to be live this month and currently tests txs with third parties. Are you going to participate in early access or you just more focused on bringing Ren to Subzero stage? A: At this stage, our entire focus is on Mainnet SubZero. But, we will definitely be following up on integrating with AZTEC once everything is out and stable. Q: So how does RenVM compare to tBTC, Thorchain, WBTC, etc..? A: An easy way to think about it is..RenVM’s functionality is a combination of tBTC (+ WBTC by extension), and Thorchain’s (proposed) capabilities... All wrapped into one. Just depends on what the end-user application wants to do with it. Q1: What are the core technical/security differences between RenVM and tBTC?A1: The algorithm used by tBTC faults if even one node goes offline at the wrong moment (and the whole “keep” of nodes can be penalised for this). RenVM can survive 1/3rd going offline at any point at any time. Advantage for tBTC is that collusion is harder, disadvantage is obviously availability and permissionlessness is lower. tBTC an only mint/burn lots of 1 BTC and requires an on-Ethereum SPV relay for Bitcoin headers (and for any other chain it adds). No real advantage trade-off IMO. tBTC has a liquidation mechanism that means nodes can have their bond liquidated because of ETH/BTC price ratio. Advantage means users can get 1 BTC worth of ETH. Disadvantage is it means tBTC is kind of a synthetic: needs a price feed, needs liquid markets for liquidation, users must accept exposure to ETH even if they only hold tBTC, nodes must stay collateralized or lose lots of ETH. RenVM doesn’t have this, and instead uses fees to prevent becoming under-collateralized. This requires a mature market, and assumed Darknodes will value their REN bonds fairly (based on revenue, not necessarily what they can sell it for at current —potentially manipulated—market value). That can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you feel. tBTC focuses more on the idea of a tokenized version of BTC that feels like an ERC20 to the user (and is). RenVM focuses more on letting the user interact with DeFi and use real BTC and real Bitcoin transactions to do so (still an ERC20 under the hood, but the UX is more fluid and integrated). Advantage of tBTC is that it’s probably easier to understand and that might mean better overall experience, disadvantage really comes back to that 1 BTC limit and the need for a more clunky minting/burning experience that might mean worse overall experience. Too early to tell, different projects taking different bets. tBTC supports BTC (I think they have ZEC these days too). RenVM supports BTC, BCH, and ZEC (docs discuss Matic, XRP, and LTC). Q2: This are my assumed differences between tBTC and RenVM, are they correct? Some key comparisons: -Both are vulnerable to oracle attacks -REN federation failure results in loss or theft of all funds -tBTC failures tend to result in frothy markets, but holders of tBTC are made whole -REN quorum rotation is new crypto, and relies on honest deletion of old key shares -tBTC rotates micro-quorums regularly without relying on honest deletion -tBTC relies on an SPV relay -REN relies on federation honesty to fill the relay's purpose -Both are brittle to deep reorgs, so expanding to weaker chains like ZEC is not clearly a good idea -REN may see total system failure as the result of a deep reorg, as it changes federation incentives significantly -tBTC may accidentally punish some honest micro-federations as the result of a deep reorg -REN generally has much more interaction between incentive models, as everything is mixed into the same pot. -tBTC is a large collection of small incentive models, while REN is a single complex incentive model A2: To correct some points: The oracle situation is different with RenVM, because the fee model is what determines the value of REN with respect to the cross-chain asset. This is the asset is what is used to pay the fee, so no external pricing is needed for it (because you only care about the ratio between REN and the cross-chain asset). RenVM does rotate quorums regularly, in fact more regularly than in tBTC (although there are micro-quorums, each deposit doesn’t get rotated as far as I know and sticks around for up to 6 months). This rotation involves rotations of the keys too, so it does not rely on honest deletion of key shares. Federated views of blockchains are easier to expand to support deep re-orgs (just get the nodes to wait for more blocks for that chain). SPV requires longer proofs which begins to scale more poorly. Not sure what you mean by “one big pot”, but there are multiple quorums so the failure of one is isolated from the failures of others. For example, if there are 10 shards supporting BTC and one of them fails, then this is equivalent to a sudden 10% fee being applied. Harsh, yes, but not total failure of the whole system (and doesn’t affect other assets). Would be interesting what RenVM would look like with lots more shards that are smaller. Failure becomes much more isolated and affects the overall network less. Further, the amount of tBTC you can mint is dependent on people who are long ETH and prefer locking it up in Keep for earning a smallish fee instead of putting it in Compound or leveraging with dydx. tBTC is competing for liquidity while RenVM isn't. Q: I understand correctly RenVM (sMPC) can get up to a 50% security threshold, can you tell me more? A: The best you can theoretically do with sMPC is 50-67% of the total value of REN used to bond Darknodes (RenVM will eventually work up to 50% and won’t go for 67% because we care about liveliness just as much as safety). As an example, if there’s $1M of REN currently locked up in bonded Darknodes you could have up to $500K of tokens shifted through RenVM at any one specific moment. You could do more than that in daily volume, but at any one moment this is the limit.Beyond this limit, you can still remain secure but you cannot assume that players are going to be acting to maximize their profit. Under this limit, a colluding group of adversaries has no incentive to subvert safety/liveliness properties because the cost to attack roughly outweighs the gain. Beyond this limit, you need to assume that players are behaving out of commitment to the network (not necessarily a bad assumption, but definitely weaker than the maximizing profits assumption). Q: Why is using ETH as collateral for RenVM a bad idea? A: Using ETH as collateral in this kind of system (like having to deposit say 20 ETH for a bond) would not make any sense because the collateral value would then fluctuate independently of what kind of value RenVM is providing. The REN token on the other hand directly correlates with the usage of RenVM which makes bonding with REN much more appropriate. DAI as a bond would not work as well because then you can't limit attackers with enough funds to launch as many darknodes as they want until they can attack the network. REN is limited in supply and therefore makes it harder to get enough of it without the price shooting up (making it much more expensive to attack as they would lose their bonds as well). A major advantage of Ren's specific usage of sMPC is that security can be regulated economically. All value (that's being interopped at least) passing through RenVM has explicit value. The network can self-regulate to ensure an attack is never worth it. Q: Given the fee model proposal/ceiling, might be a liquidity issue with renBTC. More demand than possible supply?A: I don’t think so. As renBTC is minted, the fees being earned by Darknodes go up, and therefore the value of REN goes up. Imagine that the demand is so great that the amount of renBTC is pushing close to 100% of the limit. This is a very loud and clear message to the Darknodes that they’re going to be earning good fees and that demand is high. Almost by definition, this means REN is worth more. Profits of the Darknodes, and therefore security of the network, is based solely on the use of the network (this is what you want because your network does not make or break on things outside the systems control). In a system like tBTC there are liquidity issues because you need to convince ETH holders to bond ETH and this is an external problem. Maybe ETH is pumping irrespective of tBTC use and people begin leaving tBTC to sell their ETH. Or, that ETH is dumping, and so tBTC nodes are either liquidated or all their profits are eaten by the fact that they have to be long on ETH (and tBTC holders cannot get their BTC back in this case). Feels real bad man. Q: I’m still wondering which asset people will choose: tbtc or renBTC? I’m assuming the fact that all tbtc is backed by eth + btc might make some people more comfortable with it. A: Maybe :) personally I’d rather know that my renBTC can always be turned back into BTC, and that my transactions will always go through. I also think there are many BTC holders that would rather not have to “believe in ETH” as an externality just to maximize use of their BTC. Q: How does the liquidation mechanism work? Can any party, including non-nodes act as liquidators? There needs to be a price feed for liquidation and to determine the minting fee - where does this price feed come from? A: RenVM does not have a liquidation mechanism. Q: I don’t understand how the price feeds for minting fees make sense. You are saying that the inputs for the fee curve depend on the amount of fees derived by the system. This is circular in a sense? A: By evaluating the REN based on the income you can get from bonding it and working. The only thing that drives REN value is the fact that REN can be bonded to allow work to be done to earn revenue. So any price feed (however you define it) is eventually rooted in the fees earned. Q: Who’s doing RenVM’s Security Audit? A: ChainSecurity | https://chainsecurity.com/ Q: Can you explain RenVM’s proposed fee model? A: The proposed fee model can be found here: https://github.com/renproject/ren/wiki/Safety-and-Liveliness#fees Q: Can you explain in more detail the difference between "execution" and "powering P2P Network". I think that these functions are somehow overlapping? Can you define in more detail what is "execution" and "powering P2P Network"? You also said that at later stages semi-core might still exist "as a secondary signature on everything (this can mathematically only increase security, because the fully decentralised signature is still needed)". What power will this secondary signature have? A: By execution we specifically mean signing things with the secret ECDSA keys. The P2P network is how every node communicates with every other node. The semi-core doesn’t have any “special powers”. If it stays, it would literally just be a second signature required (as opposed to the one signature required right now). This cannot affect safety, because the first signature is still required. Any attack you wanted to do would still have to succeed against the “normal” part of the network. This can affect liveliness, because the semi-core could decide not to sign. However, the semi-core follows the same rules as normal shards. The signature is tolerant to 1/3rd for both safety/liveliness. So, 1/3rd+ would have to decide to not sign. Members of the semi-core would be there under governance from the rest of our ecosystem. The idea is that members would be chosen for their external value. We’ve discussed in-depth the idea of L<3. But, if RenVM is used in MakerDAO, Compound, dYdX, Kyber, etc. it would be desirable to capture the value of these ecosystems too, not just the value of REN bonded. The semi-core as a second signature is a way to do this. Imagine if the members for those projects, because those projects want to help secure renBTC, because it’s used in their ecosystems. There is a very strong incentive for them to behave honestly. To attack RenVM you first have to attack the Darknodes “as per usual” (the current design), and then somehow convince 1/3rd of these projects to act dishonestly and collapse their own ecosystems and their own reputations. This is a very difficult thing to do. Worth reminding: the draft for this proposal isn’t finished. It would be great for everyone to give us their thoughts on GitHub when it is proposed, so we can keep a persistent record. Q: Which method or equation is used to calculate REN value based on fees? I'm interested in how REN value is calculated as well, to maintain the L < 3 ratio? A: We haven’t finalized this yet. But, at this stage, the plan is to have a smart contract that is controlled by the Darknodes. We want to wait to see how SubZero and Zero go before committing to a specific formulation, as this will give us a chance to bootstrap the network and field inputs from the Darknodes owners after the earnings they can make have become more apparent.
6ix9ine Chaine - An experiment in scarcity powered by the Ethereum Network
When a new monetary asset is created the key problem is a matter of distribution - how to rationally distribute it to a wide number of participants such that anyone can acquire it and all units are distributed at-cost. Bitcoin's entire fixed-supply is being distributed fairly and at-cost, however Ethereum and the tokens created on it have not undergone the same process. As such, the value held by Ethereum and its tokens continually inflate as more are created at various cost with unpredictable distribution. 6ix9ine Chain is designed to return scarcity properties to the Ethereum chain using POL (proof of life), captured in a single fixed-supply asset with deflationary qualities, a fixed amount of tokens will be burned for every week out of prison that 6ix9ine manages to survive, this will create an exponential scarcity within the token and a subsequent equilibrium in value based on 6ix9nine's ability to survive.
Why proof of life over traditional forms of consensus?
This is an experiment in darwinian theory, the aim being to create a consensus method that is more closely aligned with the order of reality, and in doing so, create a distribution method that is rational in regard to nature.
In a world where technology rules with an iron fist, a group of rebels use phone apps to cast spells and weave enchantments into megaphones, motorcycles, and electric guitars. Magepunk is the future.
Cyber punk by way of the council of elrond. I really don't think this one came out great. It's...okay. I would probably skip it unless you really want to see lord of the rings re-imagined as cyberpunk. Art banged on the door and pulled his hood up against the rain and spysats.”Lomir,” he whispered. The concealment spell spread out around them to infect every digital eye in a block. It would only last a minute; the enemy was stronger than ever, but it should be enough. He spoke to the man next to him. “Okay Fred, everything is going to be okay now. These are the best magi in the world, if anybody can help us it’s them.” The man next to him huddled in his coat. They both had brown hair, but where Art was tall, broad, and lean, with grey eyes, fitting for an ex-Army ranger, Fred was short with brown eyes and shaggy hair. A thin woman with long dark hair opened the door a crack. “Were you followed?” she hissed. Art shook his head. “No, I took precautions El. I’ve got a concealment spell up but I think they know we’re in the area.” His eyes went wide as he felt some of the cameras start to come back online. “Shit. I think the Eye is looking for us. The spell is failing. Let us in!” El jerked the door open and waved them in before slamming it shut. She snapped off a single hair from her head and wrapped the doorknob, and whispered “findele.” The hair dissolved in to a mass of nanites that set about reinforcing the door. El turned back around to face them. She was pretty but could have been any age from a rough 25 to a well preserved 50. “That should hold them for a while. With any luck they’ll just think it was a random outage.” She examined Fred. “So. You’re supposed to save us all.” Fred shuffled his feet. “I guess. I don’t really understand everything, but Art found me. Said I needed to take this to Oculus headquarters to destroy it.” Fred pulled a ring out of his pocket and held it up. El stared. She started to reach out to examine it but caught herself in time and pulled back. “You...you just hold on to that.” She brushed past them to move down the hall. “Come on, you’re the last ones to arrive. We have a war council to attend.” She led them down a dark hallway. “Cala.” The old LED lights along the hallway glowed gently to life, still good after all these years. They came out in a large room, lined with monitors and humming server racks, with a large table in the center. There were 4 other people already sitting around it. “Okay, so this is everyone. That’s Legs,” she pointed to a tall lanky blonde man, who nodded, “Grim,” a shorter man, about Freds height, with a bushy beard, wearing a lot of leather, “Barry,” he was a bit shorter than Art but had the same coloring, “And Gramps,” and old man with a scraggly beard, holding a staff, he was wearing grey robes. “I told you my name is Linus,” he snapped. “And I told you that we aren’t using our real names. This council is warded and air gapped but we can’t take chances. Gramps.” He grumbled and crossed his arms. El gestured to the table. “Go ahead and take a seat. Coffee?” Everyone nodded. “Tulu yullas,” she said in a clear voice. Fred could hear a coffee maker hum to life and saw a small drone zip over to it with a tray. “Coffee should be around shortly, everyone. Now, Gramps,” she smirked as she said it, “I think it would be best if you told us what you found.” Gramps grumbled and stood up. “Very well. It started a month ago when I went to meet with one of my contacts, Sarah. Known her for years. I wanted to discuss recent movements Oculus has been making. Buying up opposition, squashing dissident stories. They haven’t put out a new product in years, ever since Google crushed them in the AR wars, but there was rumbling that something big was going to happen soon. Sarah said she had information on it.” Gramps took a cup of coffee from the drone and took a sip. “She was at least telling the truth about that. I told her that the ring,” he nodded to Fred, “had turned up again like a bad penny and was making its way around the world. She seemed pretty shocked by that, and insisted that we secure it. We quarrelled over it, I wanted it to be destroyed, she said I was being a fool. I said that with this we could destroy oculus forever, but she just wanted the power.” Gramps sighed. “I trusted her, so I didn’t have any firewalls up. She finally told me that she had joined forces with Oculus, and wanted to know if I would join her. I laughed in her face. That’s when she triggered her binding. Burnt out almost everything I had on me all at once, including my phone,” he threw a burnt piece of plastic on the table, “supposed to be military grade but the battery blew out immediately. Blew out my ID, my rings, everything. Then she triggered another app, the walls of a cage shot up around me. I was stuck and she knew it. She told me I would have plenty of time to think about it and left.” Gramps grinned. “But all her fancy apps failed to account for my walking stick here.” He picked it up. “Had a backup ID and com ring deep in a secret compartment, wrapped in a faraday cage. Took me a while to get it wired up to the aether, but once I did, I was able to make contact with a friend of mine, he was able to get me out. Came here soon as I was able.” Fred raised his hand. El smiled at that. “You don’t have to do that here, Fred. You have a question?” Fred nodded. “But what’s so special about this ring, anyway? It’s just a ring.” El shook her head. “Unfortunately, it’s not just a ring. It’s a biometric lock that gives you access to all of their bitcoin deposits. It has the original passcode that all of their accounting was based on. If you were to take that to their headquarters, you would have complete control over their company. You could do whatever you wanted with it, burn it to the ground, control it, sell it, anything. And there’s nothing they could do to stop you. They will do literally anything to get a hold of it.” “But why me?” “That’s an incredible coincidence. According to my scrying, well, you remember your Uncle Bill?” Fred nodded. “He was their CFO since the beginning. Crypto wasn’t as popular then and people were still worried about security, so he went to the main server of the company and had it create a ring. That ring. It contains the password to give you access to all of their crypto accounts, and you can only access it if you have the right biohash. His biohash, as it turns out. And you happen - by some one in a billion chance - to share the right markers with him. Given enough time, any of us in this room could fake it. But you can just use it outright.” El nodded to Gramps. “Thank you, Gramps, please take a seat. Barry, I believe you were next?” Barry stood up and nodded to Art. “Some of you I’ve met before, some I haven’t, but I’m Barry. Me and my brother Frank, we’re heirs to one of the Google fortunes. And we’ve been digging.” “I remember the technomage wars, a lot of us do, and I know that the official history is that the remnants of the Fang alliance - after Facebook was crushed - was able to defeat oculus and kill their chance at recovery, but I’m here to tell you that just isn’t true. It was largely a draw, until Oculus just withdrew. They stopped fighting everywhere, ended all their rituals, and went back in to research and development mode. And look around you. They might have officially ‘lost,’ but Oculus still makes the best haptics around. That’s why they are still the most popular, even years after they stopped producing anything new.” “My brother, Frank, he’s the oldest, so he gets a chance to play with the newest technology. He showed me this new piece that lets you hack in your dreams. You know how fast dream time is, well, the response time on this lets you pass through firewalls like they aren’t even there. So, one night, he took me scrying with him. We decided to go for oculus headquarters. We thought they were dead. We were wrong.” “It was six of us. Frank was having a party and everyone wanted to try out the newest scrying method, so we went under and followed him over the aether into the oculus servers. Like I said, we thought they were dead, but what we saw there...massive databases chugging away, servers running at peak capacity, security like nothing I’ve ever seen. We had to hide from bot patrols every five minutes. I wanted to leave but Frank wanted to keep looking, so we went deeper in to the racks. That was a mistake.” “They shouldn’t have been able to find us, but, well, someone was dropping packets. One of the bots was able to spot his tracks and start running us down. Frank heard the alarm going off before any of us. He told us to run, to get back to the party. We did, but not everyone made it.” Barry slumped forward. “Frank and I, we’re the best. We’ve been hacking since we were old enough to punch a keyboard. We made it out. But the rest of them weren’t so lucky. The bots caught them, and...this is the part I don’t understand, they killed them. Not in the aether, in the real. Every other person in our party had seizures and died right there. We knew right then that we had to do something. Once I heard that the ring was back in play, well, I knew I needed to come here and talk it out with El. Frank stayed behind. He’s fighting them every night in his dreams, trying to slow down whatever they’re doing, but he needs help. We all do.” Barry sat down heavily and stared at his coffee. “You got any whiskey for this?” Grim grunted and pulled a flask out of his vest. “Take it, lad.” He slid it across the table. Barry raised it back to Grim in a toast, then uncapped it and filled up his coffee cup with it. Grim stood up. “Might as well go next. Go by Grim.” He had a scottish accent. “I’m not famous like some of ye, but I’m one of the best damn app programmers in the world. Runs in the family. My father, he wrote the very first micropayment app. We have a reputation. You need something new built? You come to the Grim family. We can build anything.” “So we weren’t all that surprised when a representative from Oculus came by a few weeks ago. Really slimy shite, hands like he’d never woven a script in his life. He said he wanted something new. Something like the world had never seen. He said he couldn’t offer us the details until we signed, but he promised to make it worth our while. And then, he pulled out a ring, like that one,” he nodded to Fred, who shoved the hand inside his pocket, “and told us that it was a biometric lock, keyed to one of the outstanding Oculus crypto fortunes. The exact numbers had been lost, but it was worth a fortune. And they would key it to us, as long as we agreed to work with them.” “Well, my father thanked him for his time and told him we would be in touch, and then showed him the door. He told me ‘Laddie, I don’t care what they wanted us to build, that price was too much.’ We sat up late that night, drinking whiskey, and we couldn’t figure out what they might want so badly. Or for that matter, how in the world oculus had that much money to throw at us. It was wrong. And then we talked about the Fang war, when huge swaths of people could be cut off at a moment's notice as the aether buckled under the traffic. He told me ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, lad, but it’s bad. I can feel it in me bones.’ He said he knew you, El, from way back, said you would have some insight as to what’s going on. I can tell you, after hearing all these stories, I’m starting to think my da was right.” Grim sat back down. Everyone looked at Legs. He lifted his eyebrows. “Oh, me?” He had an english accent. He smiled at Grim. “I think his father’s correct. And there’s no way I’m going to let my man go into that kind of danger alone.” Grim blushed. “No need to bring up our personal life, Legs. I’m happy to have you along.” Legs leaned over and ruffled his hair. Grim tried to sink into the chair. El smiled. “I can respect that, Legs. I believe that with this new information, I finally understand what is going on there.” She stood. “Barry was correct when he said that Oculus chose to lose the Fang war. I believe, after hearing your stories, I know why. What I know for sure is that on the day the turned inward, their head of engineering died. He was trying out a new haptic protocol. His death sounds very much like what your friends experienced, Barry. They have been snapping up all the best magi in the world, which is obviously why they came for you Gramps, and you, Grim. They are weaving something dark in there. Let me show you something.” She raised her voice. “Tul!” A wheeled cage came rolling in on it’s own. Inside was a man that was all skin and bones. He flinched from the light and cowered in his cage. El sighed. “This...WAS...Gary. He was an associate of mine, but he was doing something very similar to your friends, Barry. He was trying out a new haptic that gave him unprecedented response time, because it operated on a different part of the brain. He was using it just like you, to explore the oculus servers. But maybe because they didn’t perceive him as a threat, they didn’t kill him. They enslaved him. When we took off the haptics, he started attacking everyone. It took eight of us to seal him in this cage. His mind is gone. I’ve communed with him, I’ve dived deep into his mind, but it’s gone. The only desire left is to kill for oculus. Make no mistake, if I were to let him out of this cage he would do his best to kill all of us. Vanya.” The cage rolled back into the shadows. “I believe this is what they are working towards. This is why their security is so tight, why their servers run day and night creating terrible engines, why the corrupted Sarah. Their plan is to deploy this evil thing to every Oculus haptic out there and create an army of slaves. They will take over the world without firing a shot. The only good news is that since they are still recruiting, they have not completed the project. We still have time to bring them down. With that ring, Fred, we can go to the center of their headquarters, and destroy all their power. We can transfer away all of their savings and leave them with nothing, and they will collapse.” She turned her gaze to the rest of the table. “But he cannot go alone. Who will go with him?” Art was the first one to stand. “I’m just a grunt, but,” he pulled out the monomolecular blade on his back, “you have my sword.” Barry stood up. “And my code.” Grim stood up and pounded his fist on the table. “And my apps!” Legs and Gramps also nodded. El smiled. “Good. Then we have a fellowship.”
First, I'd like to apologies for how long this is going to be, but I believe context is everything. I'd like to apologize to the Nano community. Since before the re brand I've always cracked jokes about the project, primarily because I can't stand moonbois.. but I digress. I guess you could say I was early on the Bitcoin chain. I was blown away by the white paper and mined coins before ASICs we're even a discussion. Never got rid of them or anything, just thought it was an amazing concept to me since I had been repeatedly jacked around by a few banks. However, as a recurring theme life happened and I fell out of it completely. A few years went by when someone brought it up to me and when I asked how much it was worth, I almost had a heart attack. Probably shouldn't have spilled beer on the laptop holding my address and key. It didn't even cross my mind when I threw it out.. So I was back, other projects were on the come up and I took interest. Thought they were great, still do.. But I couldn't wrap my head around a lot of it. I'm familiar with code like I am around the block of an engine, but I'm not a mechanic. I couldn't fathom having to use a calculator to figure out how much gas I needed to send 100 coins of X. Thought I did it right and boom... Dust. The rage. Made some good strides and learned from previous mistakes, but I was still somewhat upset with decisions made within these projects. Who would think that was okay? Life happened again and I dropped out for quite awhile again to return back to a colleague at work mentioning BTC at around 9K. I quietly (I don't mention to many people about how involved I've been) checked out my addresses and was blown away. So I was back. Yeah I made gains (lost a lot too), but I was already well on my way in life and career and didn't need the rocket in some dream of a lambo (Masi's are better). I just wanted all of this to work. Again, it seemed like it was too hard to do anything, move things around... Dust here, dust there.. None the less, I learned more. Taught myself some code just so I could understand the githubs.. No desire to code, just wanted to learn. The dream I saw a few years ago was growing and I felt optimistic. Stuck around for a long run and then life happened again. Came back at probably the best time in late summer 2017. You want to talk about diversification... I just (today) burned a stack of papers with private keys written down to projects I forgot even existed. The mayhem! Anyway, won some lost some yeah yeah everyone has those stories.... I was still frustrated because that image I had in my head when I was a bit younger was not really fulfilled. Man, these moonbois, let me tell you. At the time and shortly after cracking jokes and having fun was basically my MO (I'm very sarcastic, still am). But yet again, life happened and I let everything just sit where the chips were.. With the exception of those burned out GPUs and the S9's. They went into the trash. Life gave me a nice little easy path more recently and I've been poking my head around again. The moonboi epidemic is definitely at an ATH. But where the hell was this image I had years back and now and why did it seem like it died? Too many scams? Too many hacks? Too much smoke and mirrors? The founding idea is/was so perfect? But I wanted that image. The past couple weeks I've been being my sarcastic ass and ripping a bit on Nano. I saw an actual well thought out post on Reddit and thought “Alright, that's pretty well said. Let me hear this out.” So I took a look. Thought it was better put together than other projects so I lurked around. Today in the daily general I asked for a laymen's approach. I didn't need it, but I wanted to see what would be thrown at me. I was impressed. I saw on another thread about Natrium and a faucet... DAMN, that was fast. Alright I thought, let's dabble. So I did what I always do.. Took a little BTC to the exchange, picked up some nano, set up the ledger and mobile app and tested some stuff out. Do you know the feeling after everything I just said to send 10 Nano from the exchange (including fee) to a mobile wallet, to the ledger, back to the mobile wallet and then back to the exchange and in the end... still have 10 Nano? In under less than I don't even know.. as fast as I could copy and paste it?! I called for my wife took her phone and sent myself 10 Nano back and forth. Man am I an asshole. I'm not “In” so to speak, because honestly, at this point. I don't care about prices. I just want to use the shit. Life happens, I want to be able to continue down life and use this shit. The last time I actually used BTC for anything was in 2014. BTC is digital gold for me.. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah... Sounds like some WSJ headline, I know. But it's been a good hedge against inflation for what's it worth. But during that second to last time I was back.. the Tx fees were unbelievable. Store of value, all the way, buying a snickers bar? No thanks mate. I'm actually late to meet a friend at the bar for our weekly pint, was gonna just send this, but he's a moonboi. One sec. Lol --- 45 min later --- Alright, at the pub. Got him to download Natrium. We're now gonna just buy eac hother drinks for the next few hours. I have some questions regarding decentralization.. bottle necking, spam transactions, but I can ask them in discord I guess. My only fear is that this could be replicated by Chase/BofA etc, but then again, I kind of left them years ago for a reason. I'm sorry, okay. I'm sorry I was a sarcastic asshole. This is by far the closest thing I've wanted in a very long time. Send 1 Nano.. Get 1 Nano. Who would have thought. I'm going back to darts, but before I go... - Can someone send me something on how to set up a node? Walk through maybe? - Mods should pin this. I don't care about worthless internet points. Truth is I'm on my 9th or 10th Reddit account. So, I'll retire this one as soon as I hit send. But I think there is a valuable lesson from my time in this crazy town. I'm not getting rid of my BTC and “going all in for the moonbois”. But I'll definitely be using my Nano. Whenever or wherever I can. Thank you.
Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos. Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%. The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women. For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text: By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers. Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited. He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape. Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail. Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers. The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein. In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.” Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again. Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works. 7 men and a headless parrot The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford. Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.” After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk. In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive. All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real. In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.” Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said. Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing. “Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?” A victim becomes a hacker Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California. But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015. Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.) By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued. On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia. Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras. Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail. “This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit. A chance to sway the Israeli election Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal. According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.) “Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote. Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out. “Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked. “Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered. Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images. “Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning. Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening. Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.” ‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’ The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish. You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business. One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos. Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements. Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said. Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.” Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men. “I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew. “Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.” “I call it our hot list,” he added. Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men. Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.” The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women. Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans. Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O. Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims. The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents. Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it. ‘We keep it. We keep everything’ Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men? Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room. “I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’” During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found. Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011. The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern. After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story. “I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed. A Weinstein cameo On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls. The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion. The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back. While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz. ‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’ One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies. “The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.” “Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.” “Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?” “Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.” “And you don’t have anything on me, right?” “I do not, no,” Kessler said. “Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.” What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed? Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too. “You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said. Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3. Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct. Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage. On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv. Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.” In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent. In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.” “No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.” “Thank you very much,” Kessler responded. Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”) Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients. ‘I just pulled it out of my behind’ The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. “I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.” Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines. Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion? Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.” Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them. By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse. Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said. But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands. In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.” The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler. As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said. Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.” He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
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