Can Bitcoins and Cryptocurrencies Really Make You Rich?

How Data Centralization Ends by 2030

Link to Coindesk: https://www.coindesk.com/data-centralization-2030
The next 10 years will witness the systematic manipulation of human life at a scale unrivaled in history. For all the recent controversies over privacy and surveillance, the real threat is ahead of us.
Unless new approaches to online identity and data management take hold, both governments and private actors will move inexorably from knowing you to shaping you. Blockchain-enabled decentralization will develop as the only viable response to the iron logic of data centralization.
Blockchain believers often talk as though today’s early-adopter use cases, such as cryptocurrency trading and decentralized finance, will lead straight to mass market adoption. As the inevitable ‘killer apps’ appear, so the story goes, blockchain-based systems will conquer the mainstream. One might imagine that we’ll all soon be trading digital collectibles and relying on token-curated registries for accurate information. Governments will lose control over money, and blockchain-based smart contracts will replace court-enforced legal agreements. Uber, Facebook and the banks will wither away in the face of tokenized alternatives.
This narrative is wishful thinking. In most markets, intermediaries will endure for the same reasons they always have: they provide value. The Ubers and Facebooks – and yes, even the banks – tame complexity and produce coherent, convenient, de-risked experiences that no decentralized community can ever match. Early adopters use blockchain-based systems for ideological reasons or to get rich on cryptocurrency speculation. The billions behind them in the mainstream will not. The lock-in power of network effects creates high barriers for alternative economic systems. And the need for trust disqualifies decentralized solutions that are havens for criminals, incapable of effective compliance or vulnerable to catastrophic attacks – which, regrettably, means virtually all of them today.
Truly decentralized blockchain systems will reach critical mass not out of hope but out of necessity. Powerful actors and mainstream users will adopt blockchain as a counterbalance to digital behavior-shaping by governments and private platforms. Dramatic innovations such as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), which manage activity automatically through smart contracts, will become significant at the end point of this process, once the foundations are in place.
Big data and artificial intelligence, pitched as freeing us from human frailties, are becoming powerful tools for social control. This is occurring along two parallel tracks: surveillance authoritarianism and surveillance capitalism. Through massive data collection and aggregation, China’s social credit system envisions an airtight regime of perfect compliance with legal and social obligations. Many other governments, including liberal democracies, are adopting similar techniques. The potential for catching terrorists, child predators and tax evaders is simply too appealing – whether it’s the real objective or a cover story.
"WHAT WE NEED IS A TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS FOR SHARING WITHOUT GIVING UP CONTROL. FORTUNATELY, IT EXISTS."
Meanwhile, private digital platforms are using troves of data to shape online experiences consistent with their business models. What you see online is, increasingly, what maximizes their profits. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Tencent and Alibaba can build the best algorithms because they have the most data. And they aren’t interested in sharing.
Regulatory interventions will fail to derail the self-reinforcing momentum for ever more centralized data repositories. They may even accelerate it by creating layers of compliance obligations that only the largest firms can meet. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) actually increased the market share of Google and Facebook in online advertising, and so it is not surprising to see such incumbents actively welcoming the prospect of more regulation.
The only lasting solution is to change the economics of data, not to impose private property rights; that would accelerate the market forces promoting data centralization. Giving you “ownership” over your data means giving you legal cover to sell it, by clicking “OK” to a one-sided contract you’ll never read. The problem is not ownership, but control. In today’s algorithm-driven world, sharing and aggregating data increases its value, producing better models and better predictions. The trouble is that once we share, we lose control to centralized data hogs.
What we need is a technology that allows for sharing without giving up control. Fortunately, it exists. It is called blockchain. Blockchain technology is, fundamentally, a revolution in trust. In the past, trust required ceding control to counter parties, government authorities or intermediaries who occupied the essential validating roles in transaction networks. Blockchain allows participants to trust the results they see without necessarily trusting any actor to verify them. That’s why major global firms in health care, finance, transportation, international trade and other fields are actively developing cross-organizational platforms based on blockchain and related technologies. No database can provide a trusted view of information across an entire transactional network without empowering a central intermediary. Blockchain can.
Adopting any new platform at scale, along with the necessary software integration and process changes, takes time – especially when the technology is so immature. But today’s incremental deployments will serve as proofs-of-concept for the more radical innovations to come. Chinese blockchain networks are already managing tens of billions of dollars of trade finance transactions. Pharmaceutical companies are tracking drugs from manufacturing to pharmacies using the MediLedger platform. Boeing is selling a billion dollars of airline parts on Honeywell’s blockchain-based marketplace. Car insurance companies are processing accident claims in a unified environment for the first time. These and other enterprise consortia are doing the essential technical and operational groundwork to handle valuable transactions at scale.
The need for transformative approaches to data will become acute in the next five years. Every week, it seems, another outrage comes to light. For instance, users who posted photos under Creative Commons licenses or default-public settings were shocked they were sucked into databases used to train facial-recognition systems. Some were even used in China’s horrific campaign against Uighur Muslims. Clearview AI, an unknown startup, scraped three billion social media images for a face identification tool it provided, with no oversight, to law enforcement, corporations and wealthy individuals. The examples will only get worse as firms and nations learn new ways to exploit data. The core problem is there is no way to share information while retaining control over how it gets used.
Blockchain offers a solution. It will be widely adopted because, behind the scenes, the current data economy is reaching its breaking point. Outrage over abuses is building throughout the world. The immensely valuable online advertising economy attracts so much fraud that the accuracy of its numbers is coming into question. Communities are looking for new ways to collaborate. Governments are realizing the current system is an impediment to effective service delivery.
The technologist Bill Joy famously stated that no matter how many geniuses a company employs, most smart people work somewhere else. The same is true of data. Even giants such as Google, Facebook and Chinese government agencies need to obtain information from elsewhere in their quest for perfect real-time models of every individual. These arrangements work mostly through contracts and interfaces that ease the flow of data between organisations. As Facebook discovered when Cambridge Analytica extracted massive quantities of user data for voter targeting, these connection points are also vulnerabilities. As tighter limits are placed on data-sharing, even the big players will look for ways to rebuild trust.
The blockchain alternative will begin innocuously. Government authorities at the subnational level are deploying self-sovereign identity to pull together information securely across disparate data stores. This technology allows anyone to share private information in a fine-grained way while still retaining control. You shouldn’t have to reveal your address to confirm your age, or your full tax return to verify your stated income. The necessary cryptography doesn’t require a blockchain, but the desired trust relationships do.
Once people have identities that belong to them, not to banks or social media services, they will use them as the basis for other interactions. Imagine a world where you never need to give a third-party unnecessary data to log into a website, apply for a job, refinance a mortgage or link your bank account to a mobile payment app. Where you can keep your personal and professional profiles completely separate if you choose. Where you can be confident in the reputation of a car mechanic or an Airbnb or a product made in China without intermediaries warping ratings for their own gain. The convenience of user experiences we enjoy within the walled gardens of digital platforms will become the norm across the vastness of independent services.
We will gradually come to view access to our personal information as an episodic, focused interaction, rather than fatalistically accepting an open season based on preliminary formal consent. Major hardware companies such as Apple, which don’t depend on targeted advertising, will build decentralized identity capabilities into their devices. They will add cryptocurrency wallets linked behind the scenes to existing payment and messaging applications. Stablecoins – cryptocurrencies pegged to the dollar, pound or other assets – will help tame volatility and facilitate movement between tokens and traditional currencies. Privately created stablecoins will coexist with central bank digital currencies, which are under development in most major countries throughout the world.
Once this baseline infrastructure is widely available, the real changes will start to occur. DAOs will begin to attract assets as efficient ways for communities to achieve their goals. These entities won’t replace state-backed legal systems; they will operate within them. As numerous controversies, crashes and hacks have already demonstrated, software code is too rigid for the range of situations in the real world, absent backstops for human dispute resolution. Fortunately, there are solutions under development to connect legal and digital entities, such as OpenLaw’s Limited Liability Autonomous Organisations and Mattereum’s Asset Passports.
Today, the legal machinery of contracts strengthens the power of centralized platforms. User agreements and privacy policies enforce their control over data and limit individuals’ power to challenge it. Blockchain-based systems will flip that relationship, with the legal system deployed to protect technology-backed user empowerment. Large aggregations of information will be structured formally as “data trusts” that exercise independent stewardship over assets. They will operate as DAOs, with smart contracts defining the terms of data usage. Users will benefit from sharing while retaining the ability to opt out.
"DATA WILL BE TREATED NOT AS PROPERTY BUT AS A RENEWABLE RESOURCE, WITH THE COMPETITION FOR ECONOMIC VALUE IN THE APPLICATIONS BUILT ON TOP OF IT."
Many significant applications require aggregation of data to drive algorithms, including traffic monitoring (and eventually autonomous vehicles); insurance and lending products serving previously excluded or overcharged customer groups; diagnosis and drug dosing in health care; and demand forecasting for economic modeling. Collective action problems can prevent constructive developments even when rights in data are well defined. DAOs will gradually find market opportunities, from patronage of independent artists to mortgage securitization.
The big data aggregators won’t go away. They will participate in the decentralized data economy because it provides benefits for them as well, cutting down on fraud and reinforcing user trust, which is in increasingly scarce supply. Over time, those who provide benefits of personalization and targeting will more and more be expected to pay for it. A wide range of brokering and filtering providers will offer users a choice of analytics, some embedded in applications or devices and some providing services virtually in the cloud. Governments will focus on making data available and defining policy objectives for services that take advantage of the flow of information. Data will be treated not as property but as a renewable resource, with the competition for economic value in the applications built on top of it.
The most powerful benefit of open data built on blockchain-based decentralised control is that it will allow for new applications we can’t yet envision. If startups can take advantage of the power of data aggregation that today is limited to large incumbents, they are bound to build innovations those incumbents miss.
The surveillance economy took hold because few appreciated what was happening with their data until it was too late. And the cold reality is that few will accept significantly worse functionality or user experience in return for better privacy. That is why the blockchain-powered revolution will make its way up from infrastructural foundations of digital identity and hardware, rather than down from novel user-facing applications.
This vision is far from certain to be realized. Business decisions and government policies could make blockchain-based data decentralization more or less likely. The greatest reason for optimism is that the problem blockchain addresses – gaining trust without giving up control – is becoming ever more critical. The world runs on trust. Blockchain offers hope for recasting trust in the networked digital era.
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Twitter Hacked, Google Discard Twitter’s Carousel, SERP’s Impact On CTR, New Google Ads Features and A GMB Update

Twitter Hacked, Google Discard Twitter’s Carousel, SERP’s Impact On CTR, New Google Ads Features and A GMB Update

Did you hear about the enormous cyberattack against Twitter? Why did Google remove Twitter’s carousel from the search results page? How does SERP impact click-through rates? What are the new features Google introduced to RSA? Will an email be GMB users only notification about their listing’s suspension?

“Good marketing makes the company look good. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:

  1. Twitter suffered a huge cyberattack
  2. Twitter’s carousel was removed from Google’s search result page
  3. [Study] Google SERP’s impact on click-through rates
  4. Google adds new features for RSA
  5. Email notifications by GMB about listing suspension
Ready to dive in?

Social Media News

A Massive Hacker Attack Hits Twitter

Numerous high-profile Twitter accounts have been hacked by attackers spreading a cryptocurrency scam. According to Twitter, approximately 130 users have been targeted as part of the cyberattack.
https://preview.redd.it/231twtji8sc51.png?width=536&format=png&auto=webp&s=acc9784b4420c1f4f34150ecbf0451574450dedb
Some of the high-profile users whose accounts were hacked include former US president Barack Obama, former US vice-president Joe Biden, numerous billionaires like Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West as well as world-famous companies such as Apple and Uber.
While we are all still holding our breath to learn more specifics around the attack, we heard through the grapevine that the hacker behind the attack used Twitter’s own Admin tool to spread the cryptocurrency scam which was later confirmed by the company itself.
https://preview.redd.it/94d512bk8sc51.png?width=530&format=png&auto=webp&s=ae912188a596226b406434a5788bad8a93513199
As much as such types of scam are pretty common, the scope of the attack is unprecedented on the social network. It’s also unclear how much control over the compromised accounts the hacker had. However, according to Twitter, there were no evidence passwords were compromised, therefore, the company advised password reset is unnecessary.
However, the company has not provided the same certainty when it comes to other personal/private information; including, the contents of direct messages. Will there be a future leak on how Elon Musk and Grimes came up with their recent child’s name – X Æ A-Xii?
23 July 2020 UPDATE: Nearly a week after the major cyberattack on Twitter, the company revealed that the hackers behind the bitcoin scam indeed had viewed private direct messages (DMs) from 36 accounts that were involved in the hack. Additionally, it is believed that the victims of the scam have sent about £93,600 in bitcoin to the hackers. The amount could’ve potentially been higher if a crypto-current exchange had not blocked any further transfers. We may expect more details revealed about the hack once the company posts its financial results by end of today – Thursday, 23rd.

Search Engine and SEO News

Google Search Removes Twitter’s Carousel

After Twitter’s massive cyberattack, Google has removed Twitter’s carousel from the search result pages.
https://preview.redd.it/12are5gn8sc51.png?width=533&format=png&auto=webp&s=bd51c759c2d214143d064fe1880bec7414f88cb8
It appears that the carousel box has not only been removed for the affected Twitter accounts but for all. According to Google’s spokesperson, this is a temporary measure following the cyberattack on Twitter; and, the reinstating of the functionality will happen after a careful review.

[Study] How Google SERP Impacts CTR

A study conducted by Sistrix concluded that the average CTR for first position organic search results in Google is 28.5%.
The study also found that after the first position search result the percentage decreases rapidly with the average CTR for the second position being 15.7% and for third only 11%. As for the tenth position, the average CTR is just 2.5%.
https://preview.redd.it/4oak05ap8sc51.png?width=768&format=png&auto=webp&s=e207b2a37f5545559cd4b6f8bc959eed678d61b7
Furthermore, searches for which sitelinks (hyperlinks to website subpages that appear under certain Google listings in order to help users navigate the site) are considered to have a much more satisfying CTR than organic SERPs – 46.9% to 34.2%.
https://preview.redd.it/3k2s7rdq8sc51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=9de7a6dedd66aa42dcfab8fa0e0cf09b6bdac6b1
In general, the study confirms keyword search volume is not the only thing factoring when estimating potential clicks.
If you’d like to read the full report click here.

PPC and Ads News

Google Ads Introduces New Features For Responsive Search Ads (RSA)

Google announced that it’ll introduce five new features to their Responsive Search Ads (RSA) –
1) location insertion – advertisers will be able to add where their product/service is offered and once set up, it’ll automatically include city, state or country based on the locations of potential customers;
2) countdown customiser – it will help advertisers promote sales and events in responsive search ads (RSA). For example, if you are a mobile phone reseller and you’ve got a limited sales offer for Samsung S10+, this feature will allow you to automatically show how much time there is left on the deal;
3) copy asset suggestions – this functionality has been improved, giving advertisers the option to create more informative RSA by providing suggestions when an advertiser writes a headline or a description;
4) cross-campaign asset reporting – this feature will allow advertisers to examine more assets at once, recognising what resonates with the customers better and faster; and
5) new recommendations – it will help advertisers improve RSA when their strength is lower ‘good’. When advertisers are checking the optimisation score, they can take a look at the recommendations. They will help identify opportunities for improvement of responsive search ads.

Digital Marketing News

As a result of a new EU law that was recently introduced, Google will now begin notifying Google My Business (GMB) account owners of local listings suspensions by email. However, as shown in the example below, there are no explanatory details behind the reason for the listing’s suspension.
https://preview.redd.it/tbpn5ckw8sc51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aaa822b6eb6bbed9c4a14ef3624119e4f75a495
In the past, for a business to find out if their GMB listing was suspended, they had to sign in into their GMB account. Another way to notice was decreased call volume, web traffic and conversions.
According to our friend and GMB specialist Ben Fisher, hard suspensions (where the listing is removed completely from Google Search and Maps) are “the most common type”. While soft suspensions (the listing is left online but the owner can’t manage it) are the least common type of suspensions.
Why should you care? GMB not only allows your listing to appear in Maps but also for people to leave reviews (which earns trust), message you directly and increase traffic and sales but most of all, it’s also cost-effective. Suspensions are and have been, the source of a substantial amount of frustration for quite a lot of businesses. So much so, users must make sure their GMB listing is compliant and within the guidelines. However, if you receive such email notification, go through the guidelines again; make any necessary changes; and, request for your listing to be reinstated.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.
This article was originally published on 17 July and can be found here.

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Mockingbird X.0

Imagine if there was one desk that all stories could cross so that, at 4am, a media plan could be decided upon and disseminated where all news outlets coordinated to set the goalposts of debate and hyper focused on specific issues to drive a narrative to control how you vote and how you spend money; where Internet shills were given marching orders in tandem to what was shown on television, printed in newspapers and spread throughout articles on the World Wide Web.
https://i.imgur.com/Elnci0M.png
In the past, we had Operation Mockingbird, where the program was supremely confident that it could control stories around the world, even in instructions to cover up any story about a possible “Yeti” sighting, should it turn out they were real.
https://i.imgur.com/121LXqy.png
If, in 1959, the government was confident in its ability to control a story about a Yeti, then what is their level of confidence in controlling stories, today?
https://i.imgur.com/jQFVYew.png
https://i.imgur.com/ZKMYGJj.png
In fact, we have a recent example of a situation similar to the Yeti. When Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch met on the TARMAC to spike the Hillary email investigation, the FBI was so confident it wasn’t them, that their entire focus was finding the leaker, starting with searching within the local PD. We have documentation that demonstrates the state of mind of the confidence the upper levels of the FBI have when dealing with the media.
https://i.imgur.com/IbjDOkI.png
https://i.imgur.com/NH86ozU.png
The marriage between mainstream media and government is a literal one and this arrangement is perfectly legal.
https://i.imgur.com/OAd4vpf.png
But, this problem extends far beyond politics; the private sector, the scientific community, even advice forums are shilled heavily. People are paid to cause anxiety, recommend people break up and otherwise sow depression and nervousness. This is due to a correlating force that employs “systems psychodynamics”, focusing on “tension centered” strategies to create “organizational paradoxes” by targeting people’s basic assumptions about the world around them to create division and provide distraction.
https://i.imgur.com/6OEWYFN.png
https://i.imgur.com/iG4sdD4.png
https://i.imgur.com/e89Rx6B.png
https://i.imgur.com/uotm9Cg.png
https://i.imgur.com/74wt9tD.png
In this day and age, it is even easier to manage these concepts and push a controlled narrative from a central figure than it has ever been. Allen & Co is a “boutique investment firm” that managed the merger between Disney and Fox and operates as an overseeing force for nearly all media and Internet shill armies, while having it’s fingers in sports, social media, video games, health insurance, etc.
https://i.imgur.com/zlpBh3c.png
https://i.imgur.com/e5ZvFFJ.png
Former director of the CIA and Paul Brennan’s former superior George Tenet, holds the reigns of Allen & Co. The cast of characters involves a lot of the usual suspects.
https://i.imgur.com/3OlrX7G.png
In 1973, Allen & Company bought a stake in Columbia Pictures. When the business was sold in 1982 to Coca-Cola, it netted a significant profit. Since then, Herbert Allen, Jr. has had a place on Coca-Cola's board of directors.
Since its founding in 1982, the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference has regularly drawn high-profile attendees such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson, Andy Grove, Richard Parsons, and Donald Keough.
Allen & Co. was one of ten underwriters for the Google initial public offering in 2004. In 2007, Allen was sole advisor to Activision in its $18 billion merger with Vivendi Games. In 2011, the New York Mets hired Allen & Co. to sell a minority stake of the team. That deal later fell apart. In November 2013, Allen & Co. was one of seven underwriters on the initial public offering of Twitter. Allen & Co. was the adviser of Facebook in its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February 2014.
In 2015, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Time Warner in its $80 billion 2015 merger with Charter Communications, AOL in its acquisition by Verizon, Centene Corporation in its $6.8 billion acquisition of Health Net, and eBay in its separation from PayPal.
In 2016, Allen & Co was the lead advisor to Time Warner in its $108 billion acquisition by AT&T, LinkedIn for its merger talks with Microsoft, Walmart in its $3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com, and Verizon in its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo!. In 2017, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Chewy.com in PetSmart’s $3.35 billion purchase of the online retailer.
Allen & Co throws the Sun Valley Conference every year where you get a glimpse of who sows up. Harvey Weinstein, though a past visitor, was not invited last year.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_%26_Company_Sun_Valley_Conference
Previous conference guests have included Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren and Susan Buffett, Tony Blair, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Allen alumnus and former Philippine Senator Mar Roxas, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Quicken Loans Founder & Chairman Dan Gilbert, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, financier George Soros, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, BET founder Robert Johnson, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, NBA player LeBron James, Professor and Entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, Governor Chris Christie, entertainer Dan Chandler, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, Diane Sawyer, InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur Wences Casares, EXOR and FCA Chairman John Elkann, Sandro Salsano from Salsano Group, and Washington Post CEO Donald E. Graham, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Oprah Winfrey.
https://i.imgur.com/VZ0OtFa.png
George Tenet, with the reigns of Allen & Co in his hands, is able to single-handedly steer the entire Mockingbird apparatus from cable television to video games to Internet shills from a singular location determining the spectrum of allowable debate. Not only are they able to target people’s conscious psychology, they can target people’s endocrine systems with food and pornography; where people are unaware, on a conscious level, of how their moods and behavior are being manipulated.
https://i.imgur.com/mA3MzTB.png
"The problem with George Tenet is that he doesn't seem to care to get his facts straight. He is not meticulous. He is willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not."
"Sadly but fittingly, 'At the Center of the Storm' is likely to remind us that sometimes what lies at the center of a storm is a deafening silence."
https://i.imgur.com/YHMJnnP.png
Tenet joined President-elect Bill Clinton's national security transition team in November 1992. Clinton appointed Tenet Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, where he served from 1993 to 1995. Tenet was appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. Tenet held the position as the DCI from July 1997 to July 2004. Citing "personal reasons," Tenet submitted his resignation to President Bush on June 3, 2004. Tenet said his resignation "was a personal decision and had only one basis—in fact, the well-being of my wonderful family—nothing more and nothing less. In February 2008, he became a managing director at investment bank Allen & Company.
https://i.imgur.com/JnGHqOS.png
We have the documentation that demonstrates what these people could possibly be doing with all of these tools of manipulation at their fingertips.
The term for it is “covert political action” for which all media put before your eyes is used to serve as a veneer… a reality TV show facade of a darker modus operandum.
https://i.imgur.com/vZC4D29.png
https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol36no3/html/v36i3a05p_0001.htm
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever costs. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated means than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3340677/t/cia-operatives-shadowy-war-force/
Intelligence historian Jeffrey T. Richelson says the S.A. has covered a variety of missions. The group, which recently was reorganized, has had about 200 officers, divided among several groups: the Special Operations Group; the Foreign Training Group, which trains foreign police and intelligence officers; the Propaganda and Political Action Group, which handles disinformation; the Computer Operations Group, which handles information warfare; and the Proprietary Management Staff, which manages whatever companies the CIA sets up as covers for the S.A.
Scientology as a CIA Political Action Group – “It is a continuing arrangement…”: https://mikemcclaughry.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/scientology-as-a-cia-political-action-group-it-is-a-continuing-arrangement/
…Those operations we inaugurated in the years 1955-7 are still secret, but, for present purposes, I can say all that’s worth saying about them in a few sentences – after, that is, I offer these few words of wisdom. The ‘perfect’ political action operation is, by definition, uneventful. Nothing ‘happens’ in it. It is a continuing arrangement, neither a process nor a series of actions proceeding at a starting point and ending with a conclusion.
CIA FBI NSA Personnel Active in Scientology: https://i.imgur.com/acu2Eti.png
When you consider the number of forces that can be contained within a single “political action group” in the form on a “boutique investment firm,” where all sides of political arguments are predetermined by a selected group of actors who have been planted, compromised or leveraged in some way in order to control the way they spin their message.
https://i.imgur.com/tU4MD4S.png
The evidence of this coordinated effort is overwhelming and the “consensus” that you see on TV, in sports, in Hollywood, in the news and on the Internet is fabricated.
Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.'
Thus the uninformed reader will most likely develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'
When you find yourself feeling like common sense and common courtesy aren’t as common as they ought to be, it is because there is a massive psychological operation controlled from the top down to ensure that as many people as possible are caught in a “tension based” mental loop that is inflicted on them by people acting with purpose to achieve goals that are not in the interest of the general population, but a method of operating in secret and corrupt manner without consequences.
Notice that Jeffrey Katzenberg, of Disney, who is intertwined with Allen & Co funds the Young Turks. He is the perfect example of the relationship between media and politics.
Katzenberg has also been involved in politics. With his active support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he was called "one of Hollywood's premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party's top national fundraisers."
With cash from Jeffrey Katzenberg, The Young Turks looks to grow paid subscribers:
https://digiday.com/media/with-cash-from-katzenberg-the-young-turks-look-to-grow-paid-subscribers/
Last week, former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile entertainment company WndrCo was part of a $20 million funding round in TYT Network, which oversees 30 news and commentary shows covering politics, pop culture, sports and more. This includes the flagship “The Young Turks” program that streams live on YouTube every day. Other investors in the round included venture capital firms Greycroft Partners, E.ventures and 3L Capital, which led the round. This brings total funding for Young Turks to $24 million.
How Hollywood's Political Donors Are Changing Strategies for the Trump Era:
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/hollywood-political-donors-are-changing-strategy-post-trump-1150545
Hollywood activism long has been depicted as a club controlled by a handful of powerful white men: Katzenberg, Spielberg, Lear, David Geffen, Haim Saban and Bob Iger are the names most often mentioned. But a new generation of power brokers is ascendant, including J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, cited for their personal donations and bundling skills; Shonda Rhimes, who held a get-out-the-vote rally at USC's Galen Center on Sept. 28 that drew 10,000 people; CAA's Darnell Strom, who has hosted events for Nevada congresswoman Jacky Rosen and Arizona congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema; and former Spotify executive Troy Carter, who held three fundraisers for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (Carter also was a fundraiser for President Obama).
Soros Group Buys Viacom's DreamWorks Film Library:
https://www.forbes.com/2006/03/17/soros-viacom-dreamworks-cx_gl_0317autofacescan11.html#541a895f1f22
Viacom, after splitting off from Les Moonves Les Moonves ' CBS , still holds Paramount Pictures, and that movie studio in December agreed to acquire DreamWorks SKG, the creative shop founded by the Hollywood triumvirate of Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (a former exec at The Walt Disney Co.). DreamWorks Animation had been spun off into a separate company.
Now it's time for Freston to make back some money--and who better to do a little business with than George Soros? The billionaire financier leads a consortium of Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Entertainment II LLC, which together are buying the DreamWorks library--a collection of 59 flicks, including Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, and American Beauty.
The money you spend on media and junk food and in taxes goes to these groups who then decide how best to market at you so that they decide how you vote by creating a fake consensus to trick into thinking that you want something other than what is best for you; but will inevitably result in more money being funneled to the top, creating further separation between the super rich and the average person. The goal will be to assert creeping authoritarianism by generating outrage against policies and issues they hate. Part of manipulating your basic assumptions is also to use schadenfreude (think canned laughter on TV) against characters who support the cause that might actually do you the most good (which reaffirms and strengthens your confirmation biased along predetermined political lines).
https://i.imgur.com/PW1cRtj.png
We have a population being taught to hate socialism and love capitalism when the truth is no country is practicing either. These terms are merely disguises for political oligarchies where the collection of wealth is less about getting themselves rich and more about keeping everyone else poor.
What can you guess about the world around you if it turned out that every consensus that was forced on you was fake?
How much money would it take to make it look like 51% of the Internet believed in completely idiotic ideas? Combine shill operations with automation and AI’s, and the cost becomes a good investment relative to the return when measured in political power.
Even the people who are well intentioned and very vocal do not have to consciously be aware that they are working for a political action group. A covert political group will always prefer an unwitting tool to help push their agenda, so that they can remain in the shadows.
FDA Admonishes Drug Maker Over Kim Kardashian Instagram Endorsement https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2015/08/11/fda-spanks-drug-maker-over-kim-kardashian-instagram-endorsement/#25174a29587b
The OSS files offer details about other agents than famous chef, Julia Child; including Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, major league catcher Moe Berg, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and actor Sterling Hayden. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26186498/ns/us_news-security/t/julia-child-cooked-double-life-spy/
USA Today: Businesses and organizations may refer to it as a tool for competitive advantage and marketing; but make no mistake http://archive.is/37tK3
Shareblue accounts caught in /politics posting links to Shareblue without disclosing their affiliation http://archive.is/7HAkr
Psy Group developed elaborate information operations for commercial clients and political candidates around the world http://archive.is/BBblQ
Top mod of /Mechanical_Gifs tries to sell subreddit on ebay for 999.00 dollars. http://archive.is/kU1Ly
Shill posts picture of a dog in a hammock with the brand clearly visible without indicating that it's an ad in the title of the post http://archive.is/Mfdk9
Arstechnica: GCHQs menu of tools spreads disinformation across Internet- “Effects capabilities” allow analysts to twist truth subtly or spam relentlessly. http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/07/ghcqs-chinese-menu-of-tools-spread-disinformation-across-internet/
Samsung Electronics Fined for Fake Online Comments http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/samsung-electronics-fined-for-fake-online-comments/?_r=0
Discover Magazine: Researchers Uncover Twitter Bot Army That’s 350 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/01/20/twitter-bot-army/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20DiscoverTechnology%20%28Discover%20Technology%29#.WIMl-oiLTnA
Times of Israel - The internet: Israel’s new PR battlefield http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-rise-of-digital-diplomacy-could-be-changing-israels-media-image/
Time: Social Media Manipulation? When “Indie” Bloggers and Businesses Get Cozy http://business.time.com/2013/04/22/social-media-manipulation-when-indie-bloggers-and-businesses-get-cozy/
Content-Driven Detection of Campaigns in Social Media [PDF] http://faculty.cs.tamu.edu/caverlee/pubs/lee11cikm.pdf
the law preventing them from using this in America was repealed http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/
Redditor who works for a potato mailing company admits to being a shill. He shows off his 27 thousand dollars he made in /pics
http://i.imgur.com/CcTHwdS.png
Screenshot of post since it was removed. http://i.imgur.com/k9g0WF8.png
Just thought I'd contribute to this thread http://imgur.com/OpSos4u
CNN: A PR firm has revealed that it is behind two blogs that previously appeared to be created by independent supporters of Wal-Mart. The blogs Working Families for Wal-mart and subsidiary site Paid Critics are written by 3 employees of PR firm Edelman http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/20/news/companies/walmart_blogs/index.htm
Vice: Your Government Wants to Militarize Social Media to Influence Your Beliefs http://motherboard.vice.com/read/your-government-wants-to-militarize-social-media-to-influence-your-beliefs
BBC News: China's Internet spin doctors http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7783640.stm
BBC News: US plans to 'fight the net' revealed http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4655196.stm
Wall Street Journal: Turkey's Government Forms 6 http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323527004579079151479634742?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887323527004579079151479634742.html
Fake product reviews may be pervasive http://phys.org/news/2013-07-fake-product-pervasive.html#nRlv
USA Today: The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted that he was behind a series of websites used in an attempt to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-05-24/Leonie-usa-today-propaganda-pentagon/55190450/1
ADWEEK: Marketing on Reddit Is Scary http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/marketing-reddit-scary-these-success-stories-show-big-potential-168278
BBC- How online chatbots are already tricking you- Intelligent machines that can pass for humans have long been dreamed of http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140609-how-online-bots-are-tricking-you
BBC news: Amazon targets 1 http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34565631
BBC: More than four times as many tweets were made by automated accounts in favour of Donald Trump around the first US presidential debate as by those backing Hillary Clinton http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37684418
Fake five-star reviews being bought and sold online - Fake online reviews are being openly traded on the internet
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43907695
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-20982985
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-20982985
Bloomberg: How to Hack an Election [and influence voters with fake social media accounts] http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-to-hack-an-election/
"Internet Reputation Management http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2008-04-30/do-reputation-management-services-work-businessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice
Buzzfeed: Documents Show How Russia’s Troll Army Hit America http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/documents-show-how-russias-troll-army-hit-america#.ki8Mz97ly
The Rise of Social Bots http://www.cacm.acm.org/magazines/2016/7/204021-the-rise-of-social-bots/fulltext
CBC News- Canadian government monitors online forums http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bureaucrats-monitor-online-forums-1.906351
Chicago Tribune: Nutrition for sale: How Kellogg worked with 'independent experts' to tout cereal http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-kellogg-independent-experts-cereal-20161121-story.html
DailyKos: HBGary: Automated social media management http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-UPDATED-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-Should-Concern-Us-All
Meme Warfare Center http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tfulltext/u2/a507172.pdf
Shilling on Reddit is openly admitted to in this Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroede2016/03/10/the-magic-formula-behind-going-viral-on-reddit/#1d2485b05271
Forbes: From Tinder Bots To 'Cuban Twitter' http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/17/from-tinder-bots-to-covert-social-networks-welcome-to-cognitive-hacking/#4b78e2d92a7d
Hivemind http://www.hivemind.cc/rank/shills
Huffington Post- Exposing Cyber Shills and Social Media's Underworld http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-fiorella/cyber-shills_b_2803801.html
The Independent: Massive British PR firm caught on video: "We've got all sorts of dark arts...The ambition is to drown that negative content and make sure that you have positive content online." They discuss techniques for managing reputations online and creating/maintaining 3rd-party blogs that seem independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/caught-on-camera-top-lobbyists-boasting-how-they-influence-the-pm-6272760.html
New York Times: Lifestyle Lift http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/technology/internet/15lift.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
New York Times: Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/technology/give-yourself-4-stars-online-it-might-cost-you.html?src=me&ref=general
NY Times- From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html?_r=1
NY Times: Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/31/world/europe/russia-finland-nato-trolls.html?_r=1
PBS Frontline Documentary - Generation Like http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/
Gamers promote gaming-gambling site on youtube by pretending to hit jackpot without disclosing that they own the site. They tried to retroactively write a disclosure covering their tracks http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-lotto-investigation-uncovers-colossal-conflict-of-interest/
Raw Story: CENTCOM engages bloggers http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Raw_obtains_CENTCOM_email_to_bloggers_1016.html
Raw Story: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/18/revealed-air-force-ordered-software-to-manage-army-of-fake-virtual-people/
Redective http://www.redective.com/?r=e&a=search&s=subreddit&t=redective&q=shills
Salon: Why Reddit moderators are censoring Glenn Greenwald’s latest news story on shills http://www.salon.com/2014/02/28/why_reddit_moderators_are_censoring_glenn_greenwalds_latest_bombshell_partne
The Atlantic: Kim Kardashian was paid to post a selfie on Instagram and Twitter advertising a pharmaceutical product. Sent to 42 million followers on Instagram and 32 million on Twitter http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/fda-drug-promotion-social-media/404563/
WAR.COM: THE INTERNET AND PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS http://www.theblackvault.com/documents/ADA389269.pdf
The Guardian: Internet Astroturfing http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/13/astroturf-libertarians-internet-democracy
The Guardian: Israel ups the stakes in the propaganda war http://www.theguardian.com/media/2006/nov/20/mondaymediasection.israel
Operation Earnest Voice http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/ma17/us-spy-operation-social-networks
The Guardian: British army creates team of Facebook warriors http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/31/british-army-facebook-warriors-77th-brigade
The Guardian: US military studied how to influence Twitter [and Reddit] users in Darpa-funded research [2014] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/darpa-social-networks-research-twitter-influence-studies
The Guardian: Chinese officials flood the Chinese internet with positive social media posts to distract their population http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/20/chinese-officials-create-488m-social-media-posts-a-year-study-finds
Times of Israel: Israeli government paying bilingual students to spread propaganda online primarily to international communities without having to identify themselves as working for the government. "The [student] union will operate computer rooms for the project...it was decided to establish a permanent structure of activity on the Internet through the students at academic institutions in the country." http://www.timesofisrael.com/pmo-stealthily-recruiting-students-for-online-advocacy/
USA Today: Lord & Taylor settles FTC charges over paid Instagram posts http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/03/15/lord--taylor-settles-ftc-charges-over-paid-instagram-posts/81801972/
Researcher's algorithm weeds out people using multiple online accounts to spread propaganda - Based on word choice http://www.utsa.edu/today/2016/10/astroturfing.html
http://www.webinknow.com/2008/12/the-us-air-force-armed-with-social-media.html
Wired: Powered by rapid advances in artificial intelligence http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2015/06/wired-world-2015/robot-propaganda
Wired: Clinton Staff and Volunteers Busted for Astroturfing [in 2007] http://www.wired.com/2007/12/clinton-staff-a/
Wired: Pro-Government Twitter Bots Try to Hush Mexican Activists http://www.wired.com/2015/08/pro-government-twitter-bots-try-hush-mexican-activists/
Wired: Microsoft http://www.wired.com/2015/09/ftc-machinima-microsoft-youtube/
Wired: Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’ http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/03/report-recruit/
Wired: Air Force Releases ‘Counter-Blog’ Marching Orders http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/01/usaf-blog-respo/
Reddit Secrets https://archive.fo/NAwBx
Reddit Secrets https://archive.fo/SCWN7
Boostupvotes.com https://archive.fo/WdbYQ
"Once we isolate key people https://archive.is/PoUMo
GCHQ has their own internet shilling program https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Threat_Research_Intelligence_Group
Russia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-sponsored_Internet_sockpuppetry
US also operates in conjunction with the UK to collect and share intelligence data https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UKUSA_Agreement
Glenn Greenwald: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/
Glenn Greenwald: Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/07/14/manipulating-online-polls-ways-british-spies-seek-control-internet/
Here is a direct link to your image for the benefit of mobile users https://imgur.com/OpSos4u.jpg
Reddit for iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reddit-the-official-app/id1064216828?mt=8
Why Satoshi Nakamoto Has Gone https://medium.com/@ducktatosatoshi-nakamoto-has-gone-4cef923d7acd
What I learned selling my Reddit accounts https://medium.com/@Rob79/what-i-learned-selling-my-reddit-accounts-c5e9f6348005#.u5zt0mti3
Artificial intelligence chatbots will overwhelm human speech online; the rise of MADCOMs https://medium.com/artificial-intelligence-policy-laws-and-ethics/artificial-intelligence-chatbots-will-overwhelm-human-speech-online-the-rise-of-madcoms-e007818f31a1
How Reddit Got Huge: Tons of Fake Accounts - According to Reddit cofounder Steve Huffman https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-reddit-got-huge-tons-of-fake-accounts--2
Whistleblower and subsequent investigation: Paid trolls on /Bitcoin https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/34m7yn/professional_bitcoin_trolls_exist/cqwjdlw
Confession of Hillary Shill from /SandersForPresident https://np.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/3rncq9/confession_of_hillary_shill_from/
Why do I exist? https://np.reddit.com/DirectImageLinkerBot/wiki/index
Already a direct link? https://np.reddit.com/DirectImageLinkerBot/wiki/res_links
Here's the thread. https://np.reddit.com/HailCorporate/comments/3gl8zi/that_potato_mailing_company_is_at_it_again/
/netsec talks about gaming reddit via sockpuppets and how online discourse is (easily) manipulated. https://np.reddit.com/netsec/comments/38wl43/we_used_sock_puppets_in_rnetsec_last_year_and_are
Redditor comes clean about being paid to chat on Reddit. They work to promote a politician https://np.reddit.com/offmychest/comments/3gk56y/i_get_paid_to_chat_on_reddit/
Shill whistleblower https://np.reddit.com/politics/comments/rtr6b/a_very_interesting_insight_into_how_certain/
Russian bots were active on Reddit last year https://np.reddit.com/RussiaLago/comments/76cq4d/exclusive_we_can_now_definitively_state_that/?st=j8s7535j&sh=36805d5d
The Bush and Gore campaigns of 2000 used methods similar to the Chinese government for conducting “guided discussions” in chatrooms designed to influence citizens https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/3xhoq8/til_the_advent_of_social_media_offers_new_routes/?st=j0o5xr9c&sh=3662f0dc
source paper. https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/4d3l3s/government_agents_and_their_allies_might_ente
or Click Here. https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/4kdq7n/astroturfing_information_megathread_revision_8/?st=iwlbcoon&sh=9e44591e Alleged paid shill leaks details of organization and actions.
https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/4wl19alleged_paid_shill_leaks_details_of_organization/?st=irktcssh&sh=8713f4be
Shill Confessions and Additional Information https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/5pzcnx/shill_confessions_and_additional_information/?st=izz0ga8r&sh=43621acd
Corporate and governmental manipulation of Wikipedia articles https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/5sb7pi/new_york_times_corporate_editing_of_wikipedia/?st=iyteny9b&sh=b488263f
Ex -MMA fighter and ex-police officer exposes corrupt police practices https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/6jn27s/ex_mma_fighter_and_expolice_officer_exposes/
User pushes InfoWars links on Reddit https://np.reddit.com/shills/comments/6uau99/chemicals_in_reddit_are_turning_memes_gay_take/?st=j6r0g2om&sh=96f3dbf4
Some websites use shill accounts to spam their competitor's articles https://np.reddit.com/TheoryOfReddit/comments/1ja4nf/lets_talk_about_those_playing_reddit_with/?st=iunay35w&sh=d841095d
User posts video using GoPro https://np.reddit.com/videos/comments/2ejpbb/yes_it_is_true_i_boiled_my_gopro_to_get_you_this/ck0btnb/?context=3&st=j0qt0xnf&sh=ef13ba81
Fracking shill whistleblower spills the beans on Fracking Internet PR https://np.reddit.com/worldnews/comments/31wo57/the_chevron_tapes_video_shows_oil_giant_allegedly/cq5uhse?context=3
https://i.imgur.com/Q3gjFg9.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/q2uFIV0.jpg
TOP SECRET SPECIAL HANDLING NOFORN
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Directorate of Operations
October 16, 1964
MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR OF THE CIA
Subject: After action report of
Operation CUCKOO (TS)
INTRODUCTION

1) Operation CUCKOO was part of the overall operation CLEANSWEEP, aimed at eliminating domestic opposition to activities undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency's special activities division, in main regard to operation GUILLOTINE.

2) Operation CUCKOO was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense and the office of The President of the United States as a covert domestic action to be under taken within the limits of Washington D.C as outlined by Secret Executive Order 37.

3) Following the publishing of the Warren Commission, former special agent Mary Pinchot Meyer (Operation MOCKINGBIRD, Operation SIREN) also was married to Cord Meyer (Operation MOCKINGBIRD, Operation GUILLOTINE) threatened to disclose the details of several Special Activities Divisions' operations, including but not limited to, Operation SIREN and GUILLOTENE.
​1
TOP SECRET SPECIAL HANDLING NOFORN
4) It was deemed necessary by senior Directorate of Operations members to initiate Operation CUCKOO as an extension of Operation CLEANSWEEP on November 30th. After Mary Pinchot Meyer threatened to report her knowledge of Operation GUILLOTENE and the details of her work in Operation SIREN from her affair with the former President.

5) Special Activities Division was given the green light after briefing president Johnson on the situation. The situation report was forwarded to the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of staff, who both approved of the parameters of the operation, as outlined under article C of secret executive order 37 (see attached copy of article).
​PLANNING STAGES
6) 8 members of the special activities division handpicked by operation lead William King Harvey began planning for the operation on October 3rd, with planned execution before October 16th.

7) The (?) of the operation was set as the neighborhood of Georgetown along the Potomac river, where the operators would observe, take note on routines, and eventually carry the operation.

8) After nothing Meyer's routines, Edward "Eddy" Reid was picked as the operation point man who would intersect Meyer on her walk on October 12th, with lead William King Harvey providing long range support if necessary from across the Chesapeake and Ohio canal (see illustration A for detailed map).

9) Edward Reid was planned to be dressed in the manner of a homeless black man, due to his resemblances to local trash collector (later found out to be Raymond Crump) who inhabits the AO and the path that Reid was planned to intersect Meyer.
2
TOP SECRET SPECIAL HANDLING NOFORN
submitted by The_Web_Of_Slime to Intelligence [link] [comments]

An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks

Hey guys.
Merry Xmas !
I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively.
The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow.
I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise.
*The origin of your crypto wealth
*Your background (residence, citizenship and probity)
These two aspects must be documented in-depth.
How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit.
1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start.
Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice.
2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand.
Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier.
The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous.
The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here:
*proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early.
*story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day.
*micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning.
*signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ?
*ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow.
The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow:
*Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig.
*Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful.
*Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened.
*Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet.
*Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time.
The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me.
The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative.
The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point.
Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria:
*Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk
*AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted
*Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises...
*Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me.
First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards.
For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t.
EU tricks
Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible.
Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand.
Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really.
Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI
Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way.
Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids?
Dubaï
  1. Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
  2. Spend one day every 6 month there
  3. ???
  4. Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen.
The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains).
The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again.
Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly.
“Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out.
The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;)
What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight.
The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard.
Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp,
The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny.
Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts.
Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks.
Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier)
Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around.
Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary.
Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately.
The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused.
Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them!
The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax.
The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million.
Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction.
Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
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Wealth Formula Episode 187: Ask Buck Part: Part One

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/187-ask-buck-part-part-one/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone and let's get on with the Ask Buck component of today's show. As a reminder this is part one of two. The next one will be airing next week, but we have lots of questions. I want to make sure we give adequate time and yet not bore the lights out of you by making this into a two-hour show. So the first question from Jeffrey Cattell. Jeffrey asked, hey Buck I had a question about investing with an LLC and mortgages. I had heard that purchasing rental properties inside an LLC limits you to getting a commercial mortgage. Can you discuss the differences between commercial and conventional mortgages and how buying within an LLC affects your options.
Yes I can certainly give it a try and of course remember I am not an attorney and I am not an adviser these are my opinions and there are things that I've done etc so don't hold me to it, I'm just giving you my perspective. So let me start out by reminding you a little bit about you know the different kinds of mortgages and they're kind of obvious right I mean there are two really two kinds of mortgages there's two residential there's a commercial mortgage. Now residential mortgages I mean that's the kind that you get for your house that's the kind that you might get for a 1 to 4 unit house or duplex or triplex or quad but you can get a second or third mortgage etc but those are all considered residential mortgages. Pricing is obviously best when it's the first one and it's your primary home but these other residential mortgages that you get as a second or third etc are generally favorable in terms of pricing and amortization and all that stuff as well. Now if your property is already owned by an entity such as an LLC or you're buying it in the name of an LLC by definition you are no longer in the residential category because you're declaring to everybody in the world that this is an investment property in which case you must obtain a commercial mortgage which the major difference between the two frankly is just that the commercial mortgages are more expensive and have less favorable terms than residential ones. So how can you potentially get around this okay. So I let me give you an example and again this is not advice but I'm gonna talk about experience and the experience of others around me so I've had a couple of houses that I own in Chicago one of them that I lived in for a few years and now I rent them all. I bought those houses in my name and therefore at the time we got mortgages and the mortgages are in my name, my wife and my name in this case, but after they were purchased in personal name and mortgages were issued, I then transferred them over especially after obviously when I moved down and I rented the place out into an LLC. So they are now deeded to an entity each shows actually deeded to a separate entity. The process that used to do this is called a quitclaim deed. So if you want to ask your attorney about doing something like this is called a quitclaim deed. Now theoretically and I emphasize the theoretical here if you do this your mortgage could be called. Why? Because in your mortgage usually it's gonna tell you you you know you you know this is a mortgage on you and that if you make these kinds of changes you gotta let them know. In practice though what I have found and this is the part where I keep emphasizing I am not giving you advice is that everyone does this right everyone does a quitclaim deed everyone does it. My dad has been doing this for 50 years and has never had a problem. I'm doing it now and these are major banks they even know about it they don't seem to care. Anyway as long as the mortgage gets paid it seems like no one cares. So bottom line is what most people do what I've done for these smaller properties, buy them in your own name quitclaim deed, so you can't but in your own name get the good better mortgage and then quitclaim. Am I advising you to do that? No. I'm not advising you on anything just what I do what I've done what my dad's done and a lot of people I know have done. Okay all right so that is the first question. Now I'm going to move over to an audio question because some of you weren't chicken. Just kidding I'm kidding about that but audio questions are fun they're fun to hear from people so let's see the so I got have a question here from Garth. Okay Garth here we go.
Garth: Hello Dr. Joffrey this is Garth in Portland Oregon. I understand the definition of accredited investor which I am not one but I've also heard a term sophisticated investor and I'm wondering if that is different than accredited investor and if so what do I need to do to get that title? Thanks.
Buck: Thanks for the question Garth. So the question really is what is a sophisticated investor? Well first of all why does this matter in the first place it's all accredited sophisticated stuff? Well the answer that, for private placements in real estate a certain kind of offering is frequently used called a Regulation D offering, it's the typical structure. Regulation D, a Regulation D offering allows you to move forward with a private offering without pushing it through the SEC for formal classification as the security. Now why would you not want to file with the SEC? Well there's two reasons really cost in time, it's expensive. But the bigger issue in terms of real estate is a very practical one it's the element of time. So if you're doing an SEC filing and you know on an offering it's gonna take you at least a year to get that through the SEC and contrast that with the fact that when you get a building under contract and you know one of the properties that we do an investor club for example, usually you got some under contract you raise capital you close the building and all that it's happening within three months, so you only usually have a very short period of time, you don't have time to send that to the SEC and let them mess around with it. And the SEC in reality knows this so this is not a new new thing this regulation D, it's been around forever you know but so they provide this as an exception to the rule they say if you're not going to file with the SEC you can still do this legally but it has to be under this kind of exemption Reg D and these are limited, these will be limited to investors that are either accredited which we've talked about before, you make $200,000 a year for two years with a reasonable expectation of doing it again the next year, $300,000 if filing jointly and/or a net worth of $1,000,000 outside of your personal residence. That is an accredited investor. What's a sophisticated investor? Well that's the problem right? So that's that's not very clear, it's not very clear at all and it's a little nebulous and when it's not clear frankly often that becomes the area of abuse. There's no clear definition of a sophisticated investor. Sophisticated investors are supposed to be financially savvy. They're supposed to have experience and knowledge and acumen that makes them more qualified to make decisions about these types of more sophisticated investments than your average Joe. But the problem is that it's essentially up to the fundraiser to determine if an individual is sophisticated or not. Now I have seen situations where people join say a real estate gurus organization and immediately upon paying for the course they are somehow deemed sophisticated and start investing in other students deals within that ecosystem, a bit shady if you ask me but it is what it is. Now that's not to suggest that you in particular are not sophisticated because if you're listening to this show there's a very good chance you are sophisticated, you may you know just understand the language well and you may understand real estate well you may own a bunch of real estate and you want to invest passively in a real estate syndication and in those cases you might be sophisticated, you know. I mean it is a little bit random because you know I run into people who are making you know doctors who are making five hundred thousand dollars a year but they've only made it for eighteen months and so therefore they're not accredited, right? So then you have to make some judgment calls but anyway bottom line is sophisticated is subjective but I think the biggest problem for this terminology is that there really is no safe harbor in my opinion at least that makes it really really difficult to deal with from the side of the operator and therefore in our group in general for investor club it's very rare when we will you know not require the true accredited definition and the reality is most major syndicators won't even consider sophisticated investors who are not accredited for this reason, it just becomes one of those situations you don't want to put yourself in trouble. Okay so let's go to the next question or a couple questions from the same individual so that's fine too, okay from Ron.
Ron: I have a question about Bitcoin. Where do the new bitcoins come from in short I know we are accurate we have and they create blocks in those blocks we store transactions and the miners get a fee for building a block that's 12 Bitcoin I believe so are those 12 bitcoins also getting into relation we'll end up with those 21 million bitcoins in the end or is there something else? So that's my question can you help me with that. Thank you.
Buck: Sure Ron pretty straightforward I mean without getting into too much technical the new Bitcoin you mentioned you know the whole mining basically the new Bitcoin come from doing the mathematical work to solve these complex mathematical problems that's what these supercomputers do those are the miners and then there's a competition whoever gets the answer first as you mentioned gets rewarded with this fee, they get rewarded with Bitcoin and that's weird those Bitcoin are actually generated so that's what it means to mine Bitcoin and you're also right they'll never be more than 21 million Bitcoin you know so that's one of the true values of Bitcoin is that it is a finite thing there’ll never be more than 21 million so the fact that some go out of circulation to get lost etc it's deflationary in that regard. The last thing I guess I would point out is you know what happens after mining is complete with 21 million well basically miners get paid for exchanges transfers etc at that point but it'll be interesting to see how that all turns out at that point. All right I think Ron has another question here and I think it's related.
Ron: Hello there Buck. Ron again here with a question, a what-if scenario. What if my thousand dollar worth of Bitcoin explodes and all of a sudden it's 1 million and I started with storing it on my Ledger Nano S. Is that still a good way to go when it's about a million or maybe 10 million or do I need to have some other methods in place due to spread risks or to be safe? Please let me know. Thank you. Bye bye.
Buck: Alright well a good question you know what Ron is talking about is the Ledger Nano S which is a hardware wallet it basically is something that's stored offline. Now listen that's what makes it so resistant to you know any kind of hacking right so you're not it's you're not online if you're not online no one can get to you, you know a hacker and Russia can't get to you, you know. But so if you suddenly end up with a million dollars of Bitcoin or more the reality is that in terms of the ledger it's just as bulletproof as before. I think the issue becomes when people have you know when they get like several million dollars a Bitcoin or Bitcoin million you know multi millionaires and billionaires or whatever then you know I may become a little nerve-racking just to have this little ledger around here right you may want to have you might want to have a little bit more protection than that in which case you might consider some kind of a custodian service like Gemini etc, but that's you know that's not necessary because one of the things about Bitcoin one of the appeals is that itself the ability to self custodian this stuff right you don't need a bank for this. And so I guarantee you that people are walking around with millions of dollars on their ledgers. Now I will point out that you know Ledger Nano S is just one Hardware wallet and you can get a lot more sophisticated and complicated type things you can even get a like a multi signature wallet Hardware wallet would that would require you know multiple people's keys in order to get to the cryptocurrency which you know I mean if you end up with a ton of money in crypto currency that's you know that's probably something that you might want to do. Okay next question from John Jillette.
Hi Buck love your podcast been extremely helpful in increasing my financial intelligence. There's been talk about impending financial crisis from well-known economist Dent, Rickards and Schiff. What do you believe in the percentage chance that we go into a 2008 like financial crisis in the next couple years? Also as the recession is always coming how much dry powder do you recommend having at this point in the cycle scoop up deals when there's “blood in the streets”? Good question John the problem in my view with those guys that you talked about Harry Dent, Jim Rickards, Peter Schiff all super smart guys right and Harry Dent was on the show recently, is that they've all been predicting the same darn thing for at least four or five years now, right? I mean and it hasn't happened and when there is some sort of pull back because as you said there's always gonna be a recession at some point why is it after you blood in the street, you know? The bottom line is that you know Harry Dent in our last show even said you know I said dude it's hard to predict when right yeah it's hard to predict one I absolutely admit that. So what do you do then because let me give you an example of the counter risk to this whole you know this whole world of fear-mongering, and I'm not saying those guys are just doing that on purpose for that reason, I mean I do think that you know if your whole thing is like the world is coming to an end and you need to buy gold and your major business is selling gold then you know it's a little bit hard to swallow sometimes but let me give you an example of what could happen. So six years ago because you know I said before that Peter and you know all these guys have been talking about for five years at least about how you know everything's going to hell. Six years ago there was a company that we work with now called Western Wealth Capital and Investor Club and they have an investor who has put in twenty five thousand dollars and every deal for the last six years and they have a really unique model of people within our group know a lot about it. The total of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars was invested out-of-pocket during that period of time but the principle is now worth four million dollars. Now those are pretty exceptional numbers right that comes out to you know an annualized return of about a hundred percent and I'm not saying that that is you know what's going to happen in the future, but what I would skew to consider is what if we'd been listening to that advice for five years now? If this person had done that would they have done well? Okay well obviously not because you know if you stopped investing because of because of fear then you didn't make any money. Is it a guarantee that they would have lost money? Absolutely not. I mean listen these deals are really solid they go in there and they start to de-risk these things right away by driving up net operating income and maybe you know maybe wouldn’t have made as much money, but would it have lost a bunch of money? Well personally I just don't I don't think so. Now listen I'm not saying there will not be a recession. As I said eventually there will be. The problem is that we cannot time it and we cannot really quantify the magnitude. As much as people would love to talk about this blood and the street thing I mean the major mainstream economists and ITR Economics who I like don't think it's gonna be that big, they think it's gonna be stuck to the manufacturing and industrial sectors. So what do we do? So what do I do? I should say that I stick to quality assets and quality areas, I create value the moment you know that and then we create value in those assets the moment we acquire them, right? So that helps that whole value add concepts helps de-risk any project by dynamically decompressing cap rates. So think about it you you know you you buy something at a certain cap rate all the sudden you're driving in net operating income and you dynamically decompress your cap rates you have a better margin over your debt burden your risk is significantly lowered and if you can get all of your money out of the deal with a refinance all of your risk is gone okay. So now if there is a downturn and you're in one of these things you want to be in a position where you can ride out the storm with assets you already own and then, and then, this is the important part, lean into the downturn right lots of people freeze up when things go south or but the right thing to do is to be greedy when others are scared. So by continuing to deploy on a regular basis my personal belief is that you can volume average your way through a downturn and get capital preservation and then hopefully pick up some really cheap assets, ride them back up and hopefully it you know you end up in really good shape. That's my own approach to this. I'm not sitting around waiting for zombies to you know erupt out of the ground and start you know only accepting silver dollars, you know from a monster box. I'm just that's just not I just don't see it. As for the current financial climate I'd say the banks are, and I think again most economists would tell you that the banks are in a lot better shape than they were in 2008. I don't think that there's necessarily anything that looks like 2008. I think GDP has grown at a record for a record length of time it's been sluggish but on the other hand you know so in other words there will be some kind of recession eventually but why does it need to be blood in the streets? See we have to remember that before 2008 there was such thing as a recession that you just hear about like three months after it happened right it doesn't always have to be cataclysmic. Now you know talking about these guys you know Peter Schiff himself talks about you know the nature of this crisis that he sees happening and what he describes it as, is a dollar crisis. And if it's a dollar crisis what that means is it's gonna result in inflation. Now inflation is good for real estate. Conversely you've got Harry Dent who's talking about a deflationary recession which I have a harder time believing because of how it affects our own ability to pay you know Treasury holders, US Treasury holders, but you know even Harry thinks in his scenario that well you might as well you know own multifamily real estate because the demographics would suggest that that would be a safe place to be now Harry's a demographics guy. Now listen who knows what'll really happen just because Harry said that and Peter said that and I said this it could be completely something different, but if you do nothing and keep all your money in a bank you're guaranteed to lose money with inflation in my opinion because again I don't think it's gonna be deflationary I've been over that before. And as for dry powder it’s always good to have some obviously right I mean it's always good to have some, so it's hard to quantify how much. The way I have done it is I use as you may know I'm sure you know by now I am an advocate for Wealth Formula Banking because I like the option of you know being able to borrow etc. now for this purpose I use Wealth Formula Banking because it's it's sort of a source of liquidity for me that I can access very quickly that it's out of the banking system but how much dry powder I keep, generally relies on my contribution to the Wealth Formula Banking policy every year. So it's one of the things that sort of keeps me honest right I have to put a certain amount every year in there all the way up to the paid up perdition's and so that's basically circulating as my you know almost like a bond portfolio of liquidity in case I need it, so that's how I do it. But that being said, I'm also in a situation where I am very incentivized to invest rather than to keep my money around or invest in anything that's not real estate so I probably could do a better job with keeping a little bit more dry powder around. Anyway right now, so Wealth Formula Banking that's where my dry powder is and like I said that's where it keeps me disciplined, but I do not have a crystal ball and I don't really I'd really don't foresee myself anything horrible happening so I mean if I did if I was sure of it I'd probably I'm sure I would just you know have a bunch of money sitting around but I don't see any serious indication of that frankly. You know and I should point out I saw today you know Ray Dalio came out and said even about the stock market that he's bullish still right on the stock market, right? I'm not saying I'm bullish on the stock market but the point is there's some still some big names not really like hiding out in shorting markets at this point. So anyway I don't know that I even came close to answering your question but I talked a lot so let's see here. Next question Jason got an audio question.
Jason: Buck, this is Jason Beck from The Rock Arkansas. Wanted to see if you had come across any good ways to utilize raw land investments for a tax-advantaged purpose. I've got some land that is timber and some more land that is pasture that we keep some horses on. I want to see if you had seen anybody utilize either various schedules on their tax returns or creation of entities to try to gain some tax advantage from those type of investments?
Buck: Yeah the big one that comes to mind Jason is conservation easements. Now you know as soon as I say that a lot of people think oh that's that one thing that's kind of like that the IRS hates and they write articles about to try to scare people off of them and that's actually not totally the case the thing that IRS really hates are the syndicated conservation easements even those you know they're totally lawful but what I'm talking about is conservation easements on your own land which really are not controversial for the most part at all. So basically here's how that works okay. Effectively what you do in a conservation easement is you commit your land you still keep it you don't give it but you're giving up certain rights, you remember like yeah if you do any kind of real estate you know there's land rights there's ground rights all that kind of stuff. Anyway, in this case you're giving up the right to develop the land and or or in some cases if it's a mining situation, giving up the right to drill on the land. And if you do that what's interesting is that and what's powerful is that you can if you’ve done it appropriately get a valuation on your lands maximum value if it were to be used for that other purpose. Well let's give a give you an example so it's not so nebulous in other words say the alternative of keeping your horse pasture land was to build a multi-million dollar resort and you had all the plans you had architectural drawings etc. In that case you could theoretically get a valuation of how much that resort would be valued at and take the deduction for the amount of the valuation that you got instead of the value that your land currently has. So as you can imagine that could be an enormous potential tax benefit and so I would probably look into that for sure there's some very famous people who use that, Ted Turner CNN that's why he's got so many Buffalo, people say Donald Trump that's one of the reasons why he has so many golf courses but of course we don't see his tax return so we don't know that for sure. Anyway I know the guy you should speak with and I have already sent you a connection via email.
Okay next question when evaluating a private placement opportunity I should say I don't I for some reason I don't have a name on this one so I apologize, but when evaluating a private placement opportunity, how important is it to you that the general partner has their own personal money invested in the deal? Well the answer is it depends okay. Let's take Ken McElroy for example let's take Western Wealth Capital and those guys for example Ken's be a better example because Western Wealth Capital I know got a couple of million dollars in every deal but let's take Ken. In the past you know where he was I've invested in as a limited partner in companies deals where you know I neither Ken was putting any money in and does that bother me not really. Why? Well listen I know Ken's model and he doesn't really get rewarded unless the asset performs. I also know Ken personally and know that he works hard, has a lot of integrity and takes pride in his work. He's got a tremendous track record and I also know that it takes a lot of work to do what he does, so not getting rewarded financially until the you know property starts to really perform the way he pro formas it out is a type of sweat equity because what you're talking about ultimately is skin in the game. Does the operator have skin in the game? And the question really I think is better termed you know does the operator have skin in the game? Because the skin in the game can also come in the form of sweat equity. Now if Ken in his case doesn't get paid unless investors get paid, I would definitely consider that skin in the game knowing how much work that is. Now the problem these days in my opinion is that there is you know there's everybody and their mother is a syndicator. And you know what I'm talking about right? So you've got all these people I was in here, I'm a full-time software engineer we're 50 hours a week and oh yeah and I just went to a guru course and I'm you know I'm taking down a twenty five million dollar asset would you like to join me? Those people are everywhere now and in those kinds of deals personally I would never invest anyway. However, if you do you should demand heavy skin in the game through cash why because you don't you know you don't know what they're gonna do, they don’t have a huge track record, they've got full-time jobs this isn't just about plugging in a property manager and taking your cut that's BS you know but honestly I would stay away from those deals all together personally you don't want to be part of someone's learning curve.
All right let's see next question I have this via email here, I'm gonna read it. Okay so the next question is from Kenny. Kenny French is asking he says hi Buck I'm a podcast listener and Western Wealth Capital investor as well. I'm currently working with Rod Zabriskie to set up Wealth Formula Banking life insurance policy. So far everything has been going pretty smoothly with one exception. One of the features that I really like about the life insurance policy is it offers a way to have money grow that is protected from creditors and it really gives me a peace of mind to know that I will have a good chunk of money set aside for my family that can't or at least is very difficult for creditors or anyone else to touch. In looking how to hold that policy in a trust LLC personally etc I found out that California, where I live, that's where I live too, has terrible protections for life insurance policies. They only exempt a very small amount less than $20,000 presumably of cash values what we're talking about there, but from the little bit of research I did it looks like a Nevada trust may be the way to go, either way I think this would make for a good podcast topic to do a bit of a dive into so that's why I'm reading that and I got Kenny's okay to do this. So I thought was a good question. So what I did is I actually ran this by Doug Lodmell of Lodmell and Lodmell. Doug is of course my asset protection attorney, very smart guy, all-around good guy. I also want to put a plug in for him if you go to wealthformula.com and you go to there's basically some where you can click there and Doug did this really good webinar on asset protection from sort of the very basic to the more complex and he's just really really good so I would highly recommend you consider using him if any of this stuff is relevant to you. So here's the deal, and here's effectively the answer I've got from Doug: life insurance in many states is already a protected asset, so part of the issue is you got to check in your own state like Kenny did, as in some states like Kenny he's talking about California life insurance turns into pretty much just like an asset like any other asset and it has to be put into an asset protected vehicle. But because it is life insurance, there is an additional consideration of what happens when the policy pays out and how that affects the estate and for that reason there's also an additional choice which is an ILIT which stands for irrevocable life insurance trust. So the issue is that life insurance obviously has a death benefit which could impact the size of your estate and this must be a primary driver for where you hold it. If the death benefit will create or increase in estate tax, then the policy should be held by either an ILIT or another type of gift type trust like a dynasty trust. If the death benefit will not affect the estate tax because the total estate is below the exemption then I would suggest using an asset protection trust asset protection structure to hold the insurance if you are not in a state with good protections. He says it also matters if the insured is using life insurance as a savings vehicle and will need it for their retirement, as often we do with these kinds of things. If so then it is better in an asset protection plan. So I know that was a lot. So first of all if you know you're one of these if you have one of these plans I mean Kenny brings up a very good point you you sure look into this if you're looking for the asset protection component of this too. A few thoughts here okay, first of all you know the first thing to do is check your state and see what kind of protections you have. Next you know the ILIT is certainly an option right I mean it's it's just it's not very expensive it is a couple thousand dollars and you can use that, the problem with that it's difficult to to borrow out of. The next thing to consider is okay how big is that life insurance policy right? If it's three four million bucks, may not be a big deal especially if the rest of your estate is sitting outside of your estate or you've got a plan to have it outside of your estate then you can still figure out you know how to keep you know your estate stuff below you know whatever I think it's probably gonna sunset down to five and a half million or something like that for estate taxes. So in that regard, it seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to use like an asset protection trust which is you know certainly an option that that Doug can help you with, and frankly the nice thing about that is that you know you've got the protection from the creditors and it's still available for retirement. Now if you've got a great big you know death benefit on there, the next step really and actually this step that I've got is a dynasty trust, that was a Nevada dynasty trust and I've got one of those. In that situation though you are getting a trustee involved so you're not directly controlling it. Now I can tell you from personal experience that it's actually relatively not that difficult, you know to work with the trustee, but it does make it a little bit more difficult you know to get the cash available for the insured to use so that's the one thing to consider. Now Doug makes the point that you can also in some situations take an asset protection trust that automatically converts to a dynasty trust at death so then it's really the most flexible tool for most people so that might be the way to go. I think based on what I'm hearing and that's actually different from what I did but you know it was before I met Doug but I might have done like an asset protection trust that converted into a dynasty trust later that might have been what I would have done. Anyway complicated question complicated answer and that's kind of where I'll leave it because I've got a little headache from that last one at this point. So that's it for this week and that is just like half the questions we've got. We've been going on for a while. So that's it for me this week on Wealth Formula Podcast for Ask Buck Part One and we'll be back next week with part two.
submitted by Buck_Joffrey to u/Buck_Joffrey [link] [comments]

Decred Journal — May 2018

Note: New Reddit look may not highlight links. See old look here. A copy is hosted on GitHub for better reading experience. Check it out, contains photo of the month! Also on Medium

Development

dcrd: Significant optimization in signature hash calculation, bloom filters support was removed, 2x faster startup thanks to in-memory full block index, multipeer work advancing, stronger protection against majority hashpower attacks. Additionally, code refactoring and cleanup, code and test infrastructure improvements.
In dcrd and dcrwallet developers have been experimenting with new modular dependency and versioning schemes using vgo. @orthomind is seeking feedback for his work on reproducible builds.
Decrediton: 1.2.1 bugfix release, work on SPV has started, chart additions are in progress. Further simplification of the staking process is in the pipeline (slack).
Politeia: new command line tool to interact with Politeia API, general development is ongoing. Help with testing will soon be welcome: this issue sets out a test plan, join #politeia to follow progress and participate in testing.
dcrdata: work ongoing on improved design, adding more charts and improving Insight API support.
Android: design work advancing.
Decred's own DNS seeder (dcrseeder) was released. It is written in Go and it properly supports service bit filtering, which will allow SPV nodes to find full nodes that support compact filters.
Ticket splitting service by @matheusd entered beta and demonstrated an 11-way split on mainnet. Help with testing is much appreciated, please join #ticket_splitting to participate in splits, but check this doc to learn about the risks. Reddit discussion here.
Trezor support is expected to land in their next firmware update.
Decred is now supported by Riemann, a toolbox from James Prestwich to construct transactions for many UTXO-based chains from human-readable strings.
Atomic swap with Ethereum on testnet was demonstrated at Blockspot Conference LATAM.
Two new faces were added to contributors page.
Dev activity stats for May: 238 active PRs, 195 master commits, 32,831 added and 22,280 deleted lines spread across 8 repositories. Contributions came from 4-10 developers per repository. (chart)

Network

Hashrate: rapid growth from ~4,000 TH/s at the beginning of the month to ~15,000 at the end with new all time high of 17,949. Interesting dynamic in hashrate distribution across mining pools: coinmine.pl share went down from 55% to 25% while F2Pool up from 2% to 44%. [Note: as of June 6, the hashrate continues to rise and has already passed 22,000 TH/s]
Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 91.3 DCR (+0.8), stake participation is 46.9% (+0.8%) with 3.68 million DCR locked (+0.15). Min price was 85.56. On May 11 ticket price surged to 96.99, staying elevated for longer than usual after such a pump. Locked DCR peaked at 47.17%. jet_user on reddit suggested that the DCR for these tickets likely came from a miner with significant hashrate.
Nodes: there are 226 public listening and 405 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 45% on v1.2.0 (up from 24% last month), 39% on v1.1.2, 15% on v1.1.0 and 1% running outdaded versions.

ASICs

Obelisk team posted an update. Current hashrate estimate of DCR1 is 1200 GH/s at 500 W and may still change. The chips came back at 40% the speed of the simulated results, it is still unknown why. Batch 1 units may get delayed 1-2 weeks past June 30. See discussions on decred and on siacoin.
@SiaBillionaire estimated that 7940 DCR1 units were sold in Batches 1-5, while Lynmar13 shared his projections of DCR1 profitability (reddit).
A new Chinese miner for pre-order was noticed by our Telegram group. Woodpecker WB2 specs 1.5 TH/s at 1200 W, costs 15,000 CNY (~2,340 USD) and the initial 150 units are expected to ship on Aug 15. (pow8.comtranslated)
Another new miner is iBelink DSM6T: 6 TH/s at 2100 W costing $6,300 (ibelink.co). Shipping starts from June 5. Some concerns and links were posted in these two threads.

Integrations

A new mining pool is available now: altpool.net. It uses PPLNS model and takes 1% fee.
Another infrastructure addition is tokensmart.io, a newly audited stake pool with 0.8% fee. There are a total of 14 stake pools now.
Exchange integrations:
OpenBazaar released an update that allows one to trade cryptocurrencies, including DCR.
@i2Rav from i2trading is now offering two sided OTC market liquidity on DCUSD in #trading channel.
Paytomat, payments solution for point of sale and e-commerce, integrated Decred. (missed in April issue)
CoinPayments, a payment processor supporting Decred, developed an integration with @Shopify that allows connected merchants to accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for goods.

Adoption

New merchants:
An update from VotoLegal:
michae2xl: Voto Legal: CEO Thiago Rondon of Appcívico, has already been contacted by 800 politicians and negotiations have started with four pre-candidates for the presidency (slack, source tweet)
Blockfolio rolled out Signal Beta with Decred in the list. Users who own or watch a coin will automatically receive updates pushed by project teams. Nice to see this Journal made it to the screenshot!
Placeholder Ventures announced that Decred is their first public investment. Their Investment Thesis is a clear and well researched overview of Decred. Among other great points it noted the less obvious benefit of not doing an ICO:
By choosing not to pre-sell coins to speculators, the financial rewards from Decred’s growth most favor those who work for the network.
Alex Evans, a cryptoeconomics researcher who recently joined Placeholder, posted his 13-page Decred Network Analysis.

Marketing

@Dustorf published March–April survey results (pdf). It analyzes 166 responses and has lots of interesting data. Just an example:
"I own DECRED because I saw a YouTube video with DECRED Jesus and after seeing it I was sold."
May targeted advertising report released. Reach @timhebel for full version.
PiedPiperCoin hired our advisors.
More creative promos by @jackliv3r: Contributing, Stake Now, The Splitting, Forbidden Exchange, Atomic Swaps.
Reminder: Stakey has his own Twitter account where he tweets about his antics and pours scorn on the holders of expired tickets.
"Autonomy" coin sculpture is available at sigmasixdesign.com.

Events

BitConf in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jake Yocom-Piatt presented "Decentralized Central Banking". Note the mini stakey on one of the photos. (articletranslated, photos: 1 2 album)
Wicked Crypto Meetup in Warsaw, Poland. (video, photos: 1 2)
Decred Polska Meetup in Katowice, Poland. First known Decred Cake. (photos: 1 2)
Austin Hispanic Hackers Meetup in Austin, USA.
Consensus 2018 in New York, USA. See videos in the Media section. Select photos: booth, escort, crew, moon boots, giant stakey. Many other photos and mentions were posted on Twitter. One tweet summarized Decred pretty well:
One project that stands out at #Consensus2018 is @decredproject. Not annoying. Real tech. Humble team. #BUIDL is strong with them. (@PallerJohn)
Token Summit in New York, USA. @cburniske and @jmonegro from Placeholder talked "Governance and Cryptoeconomics" and spoke highly of Decred. (twitter coverage: 1 2, video, video (from 32 min))
Campus Party in Bahia, Brazil. João Ferreira aka @girino and Gabriel @Rhama were introducing Decred, talking about governance and teaching to perform atomic swaps. (photos)
Decred was introduced to the delegates from Shanghai's Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, organized by @ybfventures.
Second Decred meetup in Hangzhou, China. (photos)
Madison Blockchain in Madison, USA. "Lots of in-depth questions. The Q&A lasted longer than the presentation!". (photo)
Blockspot Conference Latam in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (photos: 1, 2)
Upcoming events:
There is a community initiative by @vj to organize information related to events in a repository. Jump in #event_planning channel to contribute.

Media

Decred scored B (top 3) in Weiss Ratings and A- (top 8) in Darpal Rating.
Chinese institute is developing another rating system for blockchains. First round included Decred (translated). Upon release Decred ranked 26. For context, Bitcoin ranked 13.
Articles:
Audios:
Videos:

Community Discussions

Community stats: Twitter 39,118 (+742), Reddit 8,167 (+277), Slack 5,658 (+160). Difference is between May 5 and May 31.
Reddit highlights: transparent up/down voting on Politeia, combining LN and atomic swaps, minimum viable superorganism, the controversial debate on Decred contractor model (people wondered about true motives behind the thread), tx size and fees discussion, hard moderation case, impact of ASICs on price, another "Why Decred?" thread with another excellent pitch by solar, fee analysis showing how ticket price algorithm change was controversial with ~100x cut in miner profits, impact of ticket splitting on ticket price, recommendations on promoting Decred, security against double spends and custom voting policies.
@R3VoLuT1OneR posted a preview of a proposal from his company for Decred to offer scholarships for students.
dcrtrader gained a couple of new moderators, weekly automatic threads were reconfigured to monthly and empty threads were removed. Currently most trading talk happens on #trading and some leaks to decred. A separate trading sub offers some advantages: unlimited trading talk, broad range of allowed topics, free speech and transparent moderation, in addition to standard reddit threaded discussion, permanent history and search.
Forum: potential social attacks on Decred.
Slack: the #governance channel created last month has seen many intelligent conversations on topics including: finite attention of decision makers, why stakeholders can make good decisions (opposed to a common narrative than only developers are capable of making good decisions), proposal funding and contractor pre-qualification, Cardano and Dash treasuries, quadratic voting, equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity, and much more.
One particularly important issue being discussed is the growing number of posts arguing that on-chain governance and coin voting is bad. Just a few examples from Twitter: Decred is solving an imagined problem (decent response by @jm_buirski), we convince ourselves that we need governance and ticket price algo vote was not controversial, on-chain governance hurts node operators and it is too early for it, it robs node operators of their role, crypto risks being captured by the wealthy, it is a huge threat to the whole public blockchain space, coin holders should not own the blockchain.
Some responses were posted here and here on Twitter, as well as this article by Noah Pierau.

Markets

The month of May has seen Decred earn some much deserved attention in the markets. DCR started the month around 0.009 BTC and finished around 0.0125 with interim high of 0.0165 on Bittrex. In USD terms it started around $81 and finished around $92, temporarily rising to $118. During a period in which most altcoins suffered, Decred has performed well; rising from rank #45 to #30 on Coinmarketcap.
The addition of a much awaited KRW pair on Upbit saw the price briefly double on some exchanges. This pair opens up direct DCR to fiat trading in one of the largest cryptocurrency markets in the world.
An update from @i2Rav:
We have begun trading DCR in large volume daily. The interest around DCR has really started to grow in terms of OTC quote requests. More and more customers are asking about trading it.
Like in previous month, Decred scores high by "% down from ATH" indicator being #2 on onchainfx as of June 6.

Relevant External

David Vorick (@taek) published lots of insights into the world of ASIC manufacturing (reddit). Bitmain replied.
Bitmain released an ASIC for Equihash (archived), an algorithm thought to be somewhat ASIC-resistant 2 years ago.
Three pure PoW coins were attacked this month, one attempting to be ASIC resistant. This shows the importance of Decred's PoS layer that exerts control over miners and allows Decred to welcome ASIC miners for more PoW security without sacrificing sovereignty to them.
Upbit was raided over suspected fraud and put under investigation. Following news reported no illicit activity was found and suggested and raid was premature and damaged trust in local exchanges.
Circle, the new owner of Poloniex, announced a USD-backed stablecoin and Bitmain partnership. The plan is to make USDC available as a primary market on Poloniex. More details in the FAQ.
Poloniex announced lower trading fees.
Bittrex plans to offer USD trading pairs.
@sumiflow made good progress on correcting Decred market cap on several sites:
speaking of market cap, I got it corrected on coingecko, cryptocompare, and worldcoinindex onchainfx, livecoinwatch, and cryptoindex.co said they would update it about a month ago but haven't yet I messaged coinlib.io today but haven't got a response yet coinmarketcap refused to correct it until they can verify certain funds have moved from dev wallets which is most likely forever unknowable (slack)

About This Issue

Some source links point to Slack messages. Although Slack hides history older than ~5 days, you can read individual messages if you paste the message link into chat with yourself. Digging the full conversation is hard but possible. The history of all channels bridged to Matrix is saved in Matrix. Therefore it is possible to dig history in Matrix if you know the timestamp of the first message. Slack links encode the timestamp: https://decred.slack.com/archives/C5H9Z63AA/p1525528370000062 => 1525528370 => 2018-05-05 13:52:50.
Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research.
Your feedback is precious. You can post on GitHub, comment on Reddit or message us in #writers_room channel.
Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Richard-Red, snr01 and solar.
submitted by jet_user to decred [link] [comments]

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