Top 100 Richest Bitcoin Addresses and Bitcoin distribution

[Spoilers S7] Here's what we know about the state of Earth before the bombs

Here's a compiled list of what Earth was like pre-apocalypse using details from the show. Jason Rothenberg has said if the prequel gets greenlit, he wants to implement a lot of flashbacks LOST style. These flashbacks may include references to the following:

Oil Depletion

Dust Storms

Water Shortages

Global Warming

Global Pandemic

Overpopulation

Technological Advancements

Becca Franko, The Tech Celebrity

Financial Crisis

Drug Legalization

Battles in U.S. Cities

Resistance Groups & Terrorism

Asteroid Mining Penal Colony

Corrupt U.S. Government

Cult Mentality & Conspiracy Theories

That's what I got. If you spotted anything else from the show, feel free to share! :)
Edit: Thanks everyone for the kind words and the awards! Also, thanks to clwrutgers for asking me to make this list.
submitted by Sharoza to The100 [link] [comments]

How Money Turns Us Against Our Own Nature

I feel like sharing these thoughts because I’m having a contemplative evening and they’re coming together really nicely right now.
I think having a currency, be it physical money or even a virtual currency like bitcoin or anything along those lines turns humans against themselves by making them betray their very own nature.
Here’s a simplified and true example. Condensed. Scientists taught monkeys to use a currency. One of the first things that happened is a female monkey had sex with a male monkey and used the earned currency to buy a grape. So within about one day of monkeys having money the first monkey prostitute was born. You’re welcome and have a nice day.
How does money turn is against our own nature? It’s a simple trick of our reward system. It’s the psychology behind money that keeps it going. Without the thought behind it it’s just useless inedible paper, metal or a bunch of tiny bits of information on a hard drive.
Human reward systems are wired to go after the things that give us the greatest perceived reward and to spend the least amount of effort possible doing it.
In nature, if you have two options, eat the apple that just fell on the ground in front of you or swim across a river to eat a grape on the other side, you will pick the apple on the ground.
Why? Because the apple is a bigger reward and requires less energy.
If you kept swimming across rivers to eat things on the other side instead of eating what’s right in front of you, you would put yourself at greater risk of drowning and eventually drown, starve or both.
So our minds are geared towards finding the simplest solution.
We’re also geared towards solutions that solve the most amount of problems with the least effort.
For example we could keep wearing fur coats and walking around in the bush and keep getting wet and cold and making a fire to stay warm...toughing it out every day...getting attacked by predators.
Or we could build a shelter and solve all of our wet and cold problems forever...and then also not have to worry about predators while we sleep. Although building a shelter requires more energy initially, you do it once and most problems are solved.
So we will pick options that require more energy if the reward is greater.
When our brains logical center picks up on the fact that we have done something that was easier and worked out better for us they will release chemicals that make us feel good.
The reward for surviving a night in the forest is good.
But the reward for building a shelter is much greater. More dopamine.
That’s the reason people get hooked on crack. You do very little and you get a massive dopamine boost. Your mind learns that this minimal effort gives you the biggest perceived reward...and it keeps going. Why not? Less effort, massive reward. It’s in your nature. It’s how evolution favoured us for millions of years. It never changed.
So what does this have to do with money?
Money is a dopamine shortcut. You acquire money. The perceived reward of the money is much greater than the perceived reward of anything else. Your mind clues in like this:
“Wait? There is something called money and all I have to to is get enough of it and ALL my needs will be met because I can buy anything I want?”
That’s the biggest dopamine reward possible without inducing a chemical into your brain.
Money = All Needs Met
Our brains are meant to get tunnel vision when there’s an opportunity for a reward. That’s how they work. That tunnel vision is meant to blind us to the adversity we will have to face to get the reward.
For example, if you are at the base of a cliff and you haven’t eaten for two days, but at the top of the cliff you can see that there is enough food to last you a year, you’re going to climb that cliff. You will set aside your fear of heights. You will set aside your hunger and aching muscles. You will pump up adrenaline and you will climb that cliff. Your body will numb the pain in your hands and feet from the sharp rocks. And you get to the top of that cliff. And you’re set for a whole year. If it wasn’t for the tunnel vision because you perceived a reward, you wouldn’t have climbed that cliff.
This is all perfect in a natural environment.
But we also evolved a special part of our brain that uses all kinds of logic and worst of all allows for abstract thinking. Suddenly, vague concepts in our brain can seem just as real as reality itself. This was meant to enable us to problem solve. So that if there is a problem, the perceived solution creates the same focus and tunnel vision and enables us to get things done.
Let’s say I am hungry. I find some food. But it’s honey. It’s inside of a beehive. All that exists in reality is me and the bees that will sting me as I approach.
But then my mind will create an alternate reality in a sense. It starts throwing abstract concepts around until it finds a solution that works. It presents the solution to the reward system the same way that that the senses themselves are hooked up to it. Suddenly, I see myself lighting a fire and smoking out the bees and eating the honey. This now seems just as real to me as reality itself. It takes that solution and tells me “if you do this you will get your dopamine reward”. The mirage in my mind that shows me the solution by meddling with the part of my brain that processes my senses blinds me a bit to other sensory input because it has to take up that space in the brain to create a fake reality in the hopes it will become real. It’s a phenomenon that’s been proven over millions of years to work.
It’s what gives humans an edge over most animals.
Instead of just instinct, theres now a processing edge that takes in a ton of data and performs advanced risk vs reward calculations and tells us what to do. It’s better than instinct. Instead of fight or flight, there’s now focused intention. It works.
So I light a fire and smoke out the bees ignoring the odd minor sting because I know this is sure to work and I will get my honey in the end.
So now we are a species that is meant to specifically expend energy to problem solve ways to best meet the most of our needs as easily as possible. And we have a currency that exists as a social concept that presents a solution to rapidly meet all our needs. We also have a reward system that will easily justify making sacrifices to meet our needs.
This is a massive problem. A reward as great as money doesn’t exist in nature. However it exists as an abstract concept in our head that carries just as much weight in our decision making as something that exists for real. And the abstract concept presents a perceived reward far greater than anything we could attain from out environment.
Basically, money only exists as an abstract concept. But our brains are wired to work with abstract concepts as if they were real because it enables our survival and is a part of how our thoughts work.
So at some point in everyone’s life they are exposed to the abstract concept of money through language. The language creates thoughts that enable us to fall into a dopamine trap looking for a reward thats greater and requires less effort to attain.
So now our brains do what they do best. They generate a strong focus. They get tunnel vision. They prepare your body and mind to go through the hurdles necessary to attain a reward. And worse, our minds reprioritize.
In the example with the cliff, reprioritization plays a role. Normally avoiding heights and not cutting myself is high up on my list if things I want to avoid. We are wired to avoid pain.
But the years worth of food creates a reprioritization. Suddenly a couple cuts don’t seem like a big deal. The thought of falling to my death, a risk normally avoided at all costs, suddenly is an afterthought in the quest for food.
In the example with the cliff though there are limitations. There’s an upper limit to how far it will go. So if the rocks turn out to be way too sharp or it’s seemingly impossible to climb, I will look for a way around it and it all else fails give up and look for food elsewhere. But once inna while I will think of the cliff and maybe come up with a solution some day.
But with money because we aren’t aware of it for what it really is and we haven’t given much thought to it, it basically slowly corrupts us.
Every time we get money we get a dopamine hit. The more money we get, the bigger that dopamine hit is.
The more we get the reward, the more the behaviour we chose to acquire it is reinforced.
Just like the example with the beehive. I got the honey. I’ll remember it and find another beehive later. It just works. This is good for survival.
We remember that getting money worked. We will do it again. Especially once we have experienced the moment of spending it and seeing that it does in fact work and that other people are all in on the secret.
And because money gives us the greatest reward possible, we will go after it harder than we will go after everything else.
The reprioritization and tunnel vision this causes are the biggest problem. The more money you get, the more you repeat the cycle, the more of a cash junkie you become.
Why do addicts lie, cheat, steal, neglect their kids and ruin their lives? Because their minds have reprioritized to a bigger hit of dopamine by getting it the easiest way possible.
It’s the same with money. But almost worse because it actually does work. And the reward is bigger.
But the reprioritization seems to know no bounds. Here is the evil this brings into the world.
It creates a conflict of interest.
Everyone is out to get money as their primary goal. Or almost everyone. Only those who are intelligent and see through the dopamine trap tend to avoid it. And they usually end up cast aside by society because the society has reprioritized money over these individuals health and happiness.
We reprioritize our own children out of our lives. Suddenly we can justify making them go to school with complete strangers and we honestly don’t know what their day is like. But it’s okay because the money we’re making solves all problems after all. It can solve their problems too that’s why they have a college fund.
So we raise lonely damaged kids who will have money and no happiness and we go against our own nature. Naturally mothers and fathers are wired to spend 100% of their time with their children and take them with them unless they are doing something dangerous.
We now to against out own wiring and dehumanize ourselves and our children because money is around the corner.
Let’s say you have to get therapy. The fact that the therapist, who is supposed to be helping you, earns money to help you creates a conflict of interest. They will have a dopamine system that naturally drives them to want to earn more money. Which means instead of helping you the best they can, they will want to help you in a way that earns them the most cash. To the point where if you go through a crisis and need help the most but can’t pay because you’re short rent, they will literally sever a 2 year long relationship when you’re in your biggest time of need. Sadly, money has taken priority over actually helping the client.
Lets say a police officer responds to your call for help. If it’s something that is less likely to get them ahead in their career, like a burglary in a poor area, they will be less motivated to help you even if the crime is more serious. They want to advance in their career to get more money so they will be less motivated to spend time and effort on you even if a terrible crime has been committed.
Our whole healthcare system isn’t motivated to find cures for diseases but just treatments. As that solution makes the most sense when viewed through the skewed lens of the money dopamine taking precedence over all else. Money is now valued over the health and wellbeing of the patients. So there’s a conflict of interest with the healthcare system, pharmaceutical system and so on. The people working for those companies all want to make money and whether doing it consciously or subconsciously they will tend to lean towards options that get them more money because again it’s a he quickest way to the greatest reward.
I hope you see where I’m going with this. Money is like a fucking drug. It doesn’t exist in nature and just in our heads which actually makes it worse than a drug. At least you can see drugs and the effect they are having on someone’s life.
Money is much more insidious. You can tell how high someone is by looking at them. But you can’t tell how much money they have. And even if you can tell they have money because they’re flaunting it, your goal will suddenly become to be just like them. Because you think that it they have money, you can have money too if you do what they do.
No one looks at Joe the crackhead and thinks “Oh my God I want to be like him when I grow up.”
But everyone looks at Trump the billionaire, whose ONLY redeeming factor is that he’s the biggest junkie to cash on Earth. He put kids in fucking modern day concentration camps. And we’re all ignoring it. Because we’re all focused on other things. Saving those kids will probably be inconvenient for us anyway because we might get a criminal record which will make us less likely to earn money later. Or we might ruin our social status by talking about it which will ruin our ability to earn money later.
So basically in short the whole world is completely fucked because about 90% of the population has an addiction to a currency that only exists in out heads, is probably on par with crack addiction as far as the severity it causes us to reprioritize our lives around it, and instead of seeing it as a problem we see it as something to aspire to because it’s in our nature to do that.
You see someone fishing you want to learn how to fish because it’s an easier way to get food.
You see someone making money and you want to do what they’re doing damn you and their and everyone else’s humanity because your dopamine is now hijacked by a concept your mind will never drop because it gives the greatest reward with the least energy expenditure.
We hurt ourselves by neglecting our own needs because or the tunnel vision. We willingly hand our lives and most of our time over to people who have more money than us or a greater ability to earn money than us (we call them employers to cushion the blow and to feed into our own junkie like denial that we have a problem).
There’s a lot more money to be made in cutting down the rainforest than there is to be made in saving it.
And here is the worst part of all of this:
There is no way out. Because the majority of the world is ruled by money there is nowhere to go to get away from it.
If you decide you don’t want money you’re going to be hated by all the people who want money first and foremost and are in denial.
People don’t like people who don’t care about money. Because they think like junkies. Their minds are so reprioritized that they can see someone freezing to death on the street and just think...
Well I could help them but it would be inconvenient because it might get in the way of my sleep which would get in the way of work which would get in the way of me getting money.
That’s basically what this is doing to us.
So when the fuck are we going to realize that as a species at this point in time on planet Earth we collectively have an addiction which is destroying us and the entire planet we live on?
When are we going to put down the proverbial crack pipe and realize “we have a problem” and go do a fucking cashaholics anonymous group and say...
“I need to make amends to all the people I’ve hurt and the planet I’ve destroyed because of my problem. I’m destroying myself and my children. I’m ruining everyone’s life including my own. Because I have an addiction to money.”
submitted by GoingVeganOrBust to Psychonaut [link] [comments]

DD: Predicting a Stock Leap

I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think we've been seeing these recent huge gains and a possible way to capitalize on them.
The Motivation
I too am trying to become a rich fellow autist, just like you. Usually, I'm late to the meme stock party and miss out on profits. So, I thought to myself "If I can think of the similarities between these companies, maybe I can beat the crowd and make some real wsb front page worthy shit."hopefully as gains
The Baseline Stock
As my first stock of analysis, of course, I took the latest meme stock $SPCE, Virgin Galactic. Founder Richard Branson is a multi-billionaire with the proper financial backings to make a company huge. But, I figured that is not enough drive for even the newest of new investors to buy calls/shares in the masses and the stock price to soar. With a quick background check, you could find that Branson tried sending tourists to space back in 2008. [ref] He even said he had over 250 people prepaid for $200,000 each. If that happened today, the stock would have probably rocketed to another dimension.
Even better, the market $SPCE is entering isn't controlled by a single company, leaving room for huge growth and a market with gigantic potential. Fox already reported this hype that the space market is projected to reach upwards of $1 trillion. This was even before Virgin Galactic took off in December, albeit this market cap projection included weather, Wi-Fi, shipping and logistics, television and radio rely on satellite-based services. [ref] This could be a factor.
Past Trends Analysis
It seems, especially nowadays, hype drives certain stocks through the roof. Even the slight thought of a company having a massive market cap leads to a huge response from investors. No news becomes good news for the company and good news creates huge share volumes. Most recently, $SPCE and $TSLA bulled their way to daily gains at unimaginable rates without much concrete news. Some meme stocks mentioned here do well ($AMD, $MSFT), those <10% daily gains have some premise, having solid financials to back it up. But, they do not demonstrate extreme leaps like $SPCE who hasn't even made a penny (since I'm Canadian, I should say a Nickel instead). To strengthen my original reasoning, I needed to think of other stocks that had this situation. Then, it all started to come together...
This is a list of stocks I can think of, irrelevant of their revenue, that showed the best of best short term gains and all had that similarity.
Ahead of the Party
If I want to get ahead of these parties I need to pick the $BYND or the $SPCE @ $8 before it runs up a 89.9° incline. Finding a company that has the potential to completely enter and control a market, without any actual revenue history. That's where this prediction comes in: $DEAC.
The market: Major sports betting on the US market is not yet available and this acquisition corporation plans to change that by merging with DraftKings. [ref] Before this merger was made public, CNBC wrote a huge article on the sports betting, including a market projection of $150 billion (the estimated current illegal gambling market size). DraftKings and FanDuel own 83% of the legal gambling market in New Jersey. [ref] This leads to a massive potential upside in having an IPO in the sports betting industry, projected to be $5 billion dollars.
The opportunity: $DEAC is an acquisition corporation meant exactly for this purpose. They plan to merge with DraftKings and change to a publicly-traded DraftKings. Not only is the market projected to be large, but this deal is also said to be priced in at a market cap of $3.3 billion. By the way, $DEAC is currently at an $840 million market cap. Now... I'm no mathematician, but those numbers are definitely far apart.
The challenge: While a supreme court ruling allowed any state their own legalization ability for sports betting, I believe NYC just turned down daily sports fantasy betting again. It most likely will be appealed but state legalization it is something to keep in mind. Currently, it shows 21 states have DFS regulations. [ref] Tax incentives could be a push for the other states to follow and legalize DFS regulations.
Conclusion/TLDR
There's one thing in common with these huge gaining stonks, They are breaking through to a market that's yet to be controlled. I'm not a millionaire yet, nor I may never be, but the potential upside of a $DEAC investment seems like a great way to make people millionaires, cough cough calls.
May the gains be with you all!
submitted by Dynamik_ to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

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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Doing the Math on the S4E10 eCoin Transaction...

In this week's Mr Robot episode, Darlene sits on a park bench with Dom, and distributes the money she stole from the Deus Group to everybody, evenly. I timed the transaction as it happened in the show. It was 24 seconds, between her hitting return and seeing the following message on her screen: "*Transfers Complete. All Wallets Updated*" This processing time includes a message that says, "cleaning coins through crypto tumbler". It took 1 minute and 16 seconds for the transaction to tumble, process, and for the recipients to begin to get notices that they received money in their accounts.
If you have worked with bitcoin, you know that cryptocurrency does not work like this. Transferring money is a slow and sometimes expensive process, as transaction fees eat into every transaction. I know that eCoin isn't necissarily bitcoin, because it's controlled by eCorp, but it's fun to think about what happens if eCoin works like bitcoin does today...
How much money was transferred?
According to Forbes, the most wealthy people in the world are worth a combined $8.7 trillion, or $2.7 trillion. It depends on which Forbes list you are looking at. On the actual Forbes web site, they say the richest people in the world are worth $8.7 trillion, but they do not state how many of the richest people in the world are worth that much. If you look at sites like Victor Media, they publish a table of the 100 most wealthy people, and say they got the list from Forbes. They probably did purchase the list from Forbes. If I put the Victor Media list into excel, and add all the values in the net worth column, that number comes out to $2.7 trillion. So Forbes might be talking about a list that is more than the top 100 people, and sell the top 100 people list to sites like Victor Media? I don't know.
Either way, we are talking about somewhere between $2.7 and $8.7 trillion.
How many people did the money go to?
That's complicated. There was no global montage showing people celebrating all over the world (which I found a little surprising, even though I still love how this episode was shot). The only indication of a truly global transfer, to every individual in the world, is a TV screen in the airport saying that, "Global eCoin Payout... Deus group collapses as wealth spreads around the world." So Darlene could have sent the money to every individual with an eCoin wallet in the world, or she could be sending them to every American, or to everybody in the developed world. I doubt the average rice farmer in Indonesia is really using eCoin, but it's possible. If she only sent it to every American, our wealth tends to spread around the globe pretty fast, so that's possible, too.
Lets work with World Bank population numbers for all three of these possibilities...
World Population: 7.6 billion people
Global North (AKA the developed world): 1.24 billion people
United States: 327 million people
So we have 6 possibilities for how much money was sent to each person...
People Total Money Money Per Capita Satoshis
7.6 billion $2.7 trillion $355.53 4,739,471
1.21 billion $2.7 trillion $2230.82 29,741,808
327 million $2.7 trillion $8252.65 110,079,512
7.6 billion $8.7 trillion $1145.60 15,279,332
1.21 billion $8.7 trillion $7188.22 95,883,716
327 million $8.7 trillion $26591.89 355,275,242
How much would this transaction cost with bitcoin?
Aside from the fact that eCoin probably functions differently than bitcoin, this is a very complex question. I'm definitely not as sure about these numbers as the other numbers I have, but I'll do my best to come up with useful, realistic numbers. If you are more familiar with the block chain than me, please correct me.
The coins were taken from 100 different Deus Group accounts. Lets say each transaction launders through a bitcoin tumbler 1,000 times. I'm going to ignore transaction fees for the tumbling process, because I don't fully understand the details of tumbling, but 1,000 times seems reasonable to me.
That means that there are 100 x 1,000 = 10,000 inputs in any transaction that spends all the money from the Deus group.
For outputs... for simplicity's sake, I will make the conservative assumption that everybody has one eCoin wallet. That means somewhere between 327 million and 7.6 billion outputs. Accounting for everybody having multiple wallets would make the transaction even bigger, but this is a good starting point to get a feel for what this transaction would look like, in the real world.
How long will this transaction take to process?
There is a bidding process and a bit of politics involved in processing a cryptocurrency transaction. For simplicity, I'll assume we bid enough that this transaction gets priority treatment from the bitcoin miners.
According to blockchain.com, transactions happen on the block chain at a rate of roughly 3.5 transactions per second. At that rate, the tumbling would take roughly 48 minutes, rather than the few seconds it took for Darlene to tumble this money.
According to buybitcoinworldwide.com's fee calculator, here are the transaction sizes, the transaction fees involved (in US Dollars), and the time it would take at 3.5 transactions per second...
Inputs Outputs Size Cost Time
10,000 7.6 billion 240.4737 Gb $38,884,280.55 68.85 years
10,000 1.21 billion 38.32587 Gb $6,192,571.09 10.96 years
10,000 327 million 10.35582 Gb $1,673,260.46 2.96 years
So this transaction would take years to go through, and it pays Evil Corp somewhere between $1.6 and $38 million. In the real world, most of that money would go to Chinese bitcoin miners.
What would the impact be?
A one time windfall of $327 per capita would probably not trigger hyperinflation in America. The largest payout we calculated was $26.5k, and I doubt that would cause hyperinflation, either. Regular inflation? Yes. Hyperinflation? Probably not.
It might lead to hyperinflation in other countries, though, because of differences in purchasing power.
Purchasing power parity is a number that describes the differences in the cost of goods and services around the world. $5 in America will buy you a big mac, but if you go to, say, Indonesia, you can buy a lot more with that $5, because Indonesia is full of people who make something like 25 cents a week.
OECD.org publishes PPP (purchasing power parity) numbers for countries all around the world. If you want to know how far your dollar will stretch, on average, in a foreign country, consult this list. If you have $100 in America, you can expect it to be worth $100 worth of American goods and services, so on the OECD table, it has a PPP of 1.0. If you take that $100 to, say, the UK, where the PPP is 0.7, you can expect that $100 to be worth $70 worth of goods and services. If you take that $100 to Australia, where the PPP is 1.48, you can expect that $100 to buy roughly $148 worth of goods and services.
If Elliot and Darlene were genius economists, I might expect them to account for PPP in their payout. They would have to be geniuses, to predict what PPP is doing after events like the 5/9 hack, because their best data would be out of date, so they would have to use all kinds of fancy regressions and tricks to figure out how that would work in such a volatile world economy. They definitely aren't economists, though, so I'll assume they sent the same nominal amount to everybody.
So what's the range on how much purchasing power this transaction gives people around the world? In 2018, the highest PPP number on the OECD list is Indonesia, with a PPP of 4,245.613140. The lowest PPP on the list is Lithuania, with a PPP of 0.457582. Lets see how this shakes out in each of these countries...
$ Per Capita Lithuania (0.46) Indonesia (4,245.61)
$355.53 $162.68 $1,509,442.84
$2,230.82 $1,020.78 $9,471,198.70
$8,252.65 $3,776.26 $35,037,559.28
$1,145.60 $524.20 $4,863,774.41
$7,188.22 $3,289.20 $30,518,401.29
$26,591.89 $12,167.97 $112,898,877.60
What would this cause? People might predict a lot of different things. The Yang gang people probably strong opinions on this. I have a bachelor's degree in economics, so I believe I can predict that most mainstream economists would predict the following...
In Lithuania, when they get a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, they probably raise a pint to F Society, then put the rest towards a house or car payment, or buy themselves something nice. Minor inflation would happen, probably starting at the pubs, and that would worry financial types, but it would not cause any kind of major economic catastrophe.
In Indonesia, where everybody becomes an asset millionaire overnight, they will probably have hyperinflation, mass social upheaval, and violence.
In conclusion...
TL;DR: What Darlene did last night with eCoin isn't actually possible with bitcoin, and the impact in America might not be as great as you think, but the impact would be much bigger in poorer parts of the world.
submitted by bubblesort to MrRobot [link] [comments]

Bitcoin’s Mainstream Adoption

Bitcoin’s Mainstream Adoption
How financial system has changed its rigid views in favor of cryptocurrencies.
by StealthEX
It goes without saying that the real value of anything can be judged only through practical, everyday use of it. With Bitcoin, as with cryptocurrencies in general, it is no different. Although the concept of a decentralized digital ledger as it is represented by the leading cryptocurrency may seem enticing and masterly on its own, ultimately, it still comes down to the actual application and usability in real life. And this is where BTC adoption within the existing financial system comes into play as one metric to gauge its genuine success or utmost failure, arguably the most telling and important one.

A medium of exchange

Bitcoin was envisioned as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, synonymous with the idea of using it as a medium of exchange or means of payment (the latter two being essentially six of one and half a dozen of the other). As everything big out there, Bitcoin started small. What went completely unnoticed in 2008 now came to be a major factor capable of affecting the entire global financial system.
But before that, Bitcoin was used as a means of exchange and payment in the markets which shouldn’t have been there in the first place. These were the days when the Dark Web was the primary and likely only driver behind Bitcoin adoption rate, and that’s also happened to be the reason why so many governments turned heavily against it back in the day. Bitcoin had received a bad rap as a currency for conducting illegal operations, mostly selling drugs on black markets like now-defunct Silk Road.
It was not until late 2012 that Bitcoin started to attract attention of the general public after the launch of Coinbase in the summer of that year. Around that time the first attempts to regulate the top cryptocurrency had begun, and the overall negative attitude toward BTC started to change. All in all, the period between 2008 and 2012 was likely the only time in Bitcoin’s eventful and intense history when most of its adoption came about through using it as a real currency and a means of payment, even if primarily for illegal purposes and criminal activities.

A store of value and investment asset

Bitcoin today as we know it has only become possible after many thousands of speculators and investors started to pour their money into the cryptocurrency in the hope of earning off the future growth. No matter how you look at it, whether you like it or not since 2013 Bitcoin adoption has been expanding mostly by attracting people who are interested in it as an alternative, non-sovereign store of value and investment asset. Today Bitcoin as an investment asset and store of value totally took over the Bitcoin as a means of payment and exchange.
The godfather of all cryptocurrencies has seen plenty of ups and downs, which posed a valid concern regarding how it would perform as a grown-up investment asset. Now that we have seen oil prices go into negative territory and fall as low as -37 dollars per barrel, a lot of these doubts have been dispelled. It is little wonder that institutional investors are nowadays looking into Bitcoin as a robust hedge against inflation and sinking economies in a world fraught with recession risks and plagued by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in 2019 alone cryptocurrency assets under the management of hedge funds more than doubled – to over 2 billion dollars, with around 150 hedge funds actively investing in cryptocurrencies today.
It is no surprise either that during the last couple of years Bitcoin has risen substantially in the eyes of the institutional beholders, all the way up from the bottom, from an outcast, and sometimes even an outright outlaw, to a level on par with such an established store of value as gold. The famous hedge fund manager and billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, who manages around 22 billion dollars through his BVI Global Fund, recently confirmed that he has invested a few percent of his assets in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and central banks printing money out of thin air. Altogether, this leaves no doubt that Bitcoin has become a viable and legit investment choice in the realm of institutional money.

A value transfer vehicle

International money transfers have always been a pain in the neck – slow, costly, complicated. As Bitcoin needs no banking institutions to conduct money transfers, be it domestic or global, it has become a value transfer vehicle of choice for people willing to send money with no involvement of banks and payments processors. Historically, making overseas remittances with Bitcoin was among the first use cases of this cryptocurrency.
Cross-border remittances have been recognized as an important source of private capital flows for developing countries. Bitcoin and its crypto brethren have firmly established themselves in this niche for the simple reason many people in poor countries don’t have a bank account and thus can’t access bank services, aside from overall poor banking infrastructure there along with reasonable concerns about the stability of national currencies in backward economies.
Without cryptocurrencies, it would be impossible to receive financial support from abroad provided by migrant workers to their families. This led to an emergence of a wide variety of bitcoin-based remittance services such as BitPesa, Rebit, Bloom, Payphil, to name but just a few, that offer such services for African and Asian countries. They are typically using Bitcoin as a value transfer medium concealing the cryptocurrency from users by converting the sender’s fiat currency into bitcoins and then converting back to the receiver’s fiat currency.

Problems and solutions

One of the major problems Bitcoin faces is not strictly specific to it as it stems from an innate conflict between the two major functions of money. As it happens, a medium of exchange function doesn’t live quite well with a store of value function. A good medium of exchange, or means of payment, should be inflationary to facilitate its use as a currency that you pay with, say, in a grocery store. On the other hand, a good store of value should be the opposite of that to maintain and possibly increase its value over time. Realistically, such a dilemma cannot be effectively resolved from within Bitcoin itself.
As a result, the main cryptocurrency has developed into a trusted, battle-tested investment asset which already established a firm foothold in the corporate investment sector. This is in stark contrast to its promise as a functional currency where Bitcoin still massively lags behind fiat. Is there any way to fix that? The solution probably lies in the separation of different functions between Bitcoin and altcoins. The former will most certainly continue to evolve as a solid store of value. Whether the latter can live up to their collective role of an efficient means of payment, we have yet to find out.
And remember if you need to exchange your coins StealthEX is here for you. We provide a selection of more than 250 coins and constantly updating the list so that our customers will find a suitable option. Just go to StealthEX and follow these easy steps:
✔ Choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. For example ETH to BTC.
✔ Press the “Start exchange” button.
✔ Provide the recipient address to which the coins will be transferred.
✔ Move your cryptocurrency for the exchange.
✔ Receive your coins.
Follow us on Medium, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit to get StealthEX.io updates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [email protected].
Original article was posted on https://stealthex.io/blog/2020/07/07/bitcoins-mainstream-adoption/
submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]

The history of the block size debate (a reading list for Alex Bosworth)

It seems that folks would like to make sure that the Bitcoin scaling debate is recorded for posterity. That's a noble cause, but of course it has already been very well documented. Here's a brief reading list for everyone to consider:
  1. The Great Bitcoin Scaling Debate this is a very complete and lengthy article with lots of sources
  2. A Brief History of Censorship in rbitcoin excellent detail, with sources
  3. Singularity87's eyewitness account of how trolling changed when Blockstream was founded
  4. Debunking "Blockstream is only 3 or 4 developers" note re: above, it has since been learned that MIT Media Labs /DCI who was funding both Chaincode and van Der Laan (the entities not funded by Blockstream) was itself corrupt and funded by none other than BTC maximalist Jeffrey Epstein
  5. My brief summary of the block size debate, with sources
Everyone who is remotely interested in crypto ought to read every word in everything I just linked.
submitted by jessquit to btc [link] [comments]

Complete Guide to All r/neoliberal Flair Personalities [J-L]

Please see the first post [A-I] for more info about this post. Unfortunately, post character limit is 40k, so I will have to break this into multiple posts linked here:

[A-I]

[J-L]

[M-P]

[Q-Z]


James Heckman
1944 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD). Co-Director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group. Heckman is also a Professor of Law at ‘the Law School’, a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
· In 2000, Heckman shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel McFadden, for his pioneering work in econometrics and microeconomics.
· As of February 2019 (according to RePEc), he is the next most influential economist in the world behind Daniel McFadden.
· Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2005 and 2007 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzú Centre in 2008, the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2009, the 2014 Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society, the 2014 Spirit of Erikson Award from the Erikson Institute, and the 2016 Dan David Prize for Combating Poverty from Tel Aviv University.
“The best way to improve the American workforce in the 21st century is to invest in early childhood education, to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children have the opportunity to succeed alongside their more advantaged peers”

Janet Yellen
1945 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Successor to Ben Bernanke, serving as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and as Vice Chair from 2010 to 2014, following her position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen was also Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.
· Yellen is a Keynesian economist and advocates the use of monetary policy in stabilizing economic activity over the business cycle. She believes in the modern version of the Phillips curve, which originally was an observation about an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation. In her 2010 nomination hearing for Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Yellen said, “The modern version of the Phillips curve model—relating movements in inflation to the degree of slack in the economy—has solid theoretical and empirical support.”
· Yellen is married to George Akerlof, another notable economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, professor at Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley..
· In 2014, Yellen was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world. She was the highest ranking American on the list. In October 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked her first in their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers. In October 2015, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranked Yellen #1 in the Public Investor 100 list. In October 2010, she received the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
“In the long run, outsourcing is another form of trade that benefits the U.S. economy by giving us cheaper ways to do things.”
“I'm just opposed to a pure inflation-only mandate in which the only thing a central bank cares about is inflation and not unemployment.”

Jared Polis
1975 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· 43rd governor of Colorado since January 2019. Polis served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 to 2007 and was the United States Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district from 2009 to 2019.
· Polis is the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person (after Kate Brown of Oregon) to be elected governor in the United States.
· In 2000 Polis founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission is to “create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community.” Polis has also founded two charter schools.
· Polis was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He has received many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera's 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Denver consul general of Mexico “Ohtli”; the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League's inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award.
“Having alternative currencies is great, right, because, historically, government's had a monopoly on currency. At the end of the day, why should only politicians—either directly or indirectly—control the currency? We can reduce transaction cost, provide an alternative, and—look, I don't know whether it'll be Bitcoin or not—but I think the concept of digital currencies is here to stay, and the fact that a politician would write to try to ban them in their infancy is just the wrong way to go about it. Let the market determine whether there's any value there or not.”

Jeff Bezos
1964 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Best known as the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon, Bezos is an American internet and aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as “far richer than anyone else on the planet” as he added $1.8 billion to his net worth when Amazon became the second company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
· Bezos supported the electoral campaigns of U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, two Democratic U.S. senators from Washington. He has also supported U.S. representative John Conyers, as well as Patrick Leahy and Spencer Abraham, U.S. senators serving on committees dealing with Internet-related issues.
· Bezos has supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, and in 2012 contributed $2.5 million to a group supporting a yes vote on Washington Referendum 74, which affirmed same-sex marriage.
· After the 2016 presidential election, Bezos was invited to join Donald Trump's Defense Innovation Advisory Board, an advisory council to improve the technology used by the Defense Department. Bezos declined the offer without further comment.
· In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourage wealthy people to give away their wealth.
“Percentage margins don't matter. What matters always is dollar margins: the actual dollar amount. Companies are valued not on their percentage margins, but on how many dollars they actually make, and a multiple of that.”
“We have the resources to build room for a trillion humans in this solar system, and when we have a trillion humans, we'll have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts. It will be a way more interesting place to live.”

Jens Weidmann
1968 – Present Born: Germany Resides: Germany
· German economist and president of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements. From 1997 to 1999, Weidmann worked at the International Monetary Fund. In 2006, he began serving as Head of Division IV (Economic and Financial Policy) in the Federal Chancellery. He was the chief negotiator of the Federal Republic of Germany for both the summits of the G8 and the G20. He was given the 2016 Medal for Extraordinary Merits for Bavaria in a United Europe.
· Weidmann was involved in a series of major decisions in response to the financial crisis in Germany and Europe: preventing the meltdown of the bank Hypo Real Estate, guaranteeing German deposits and implementing a rescue programme for the banking system, piecing together two fiscal-stimulus programmes, and setting up the Greek bail-out package and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
· In a 2011 speech, Weidmann criticized the errors and “many years of wrong developments” of the European Monetary Union (EMU) peripheral states, particularly the wasted opportunity represented by their “disproportionate investment in private home-building, high government spending or private consumption”. In May, 2012, Weidmann's stance was characterized by US economist and columnist Paul Krugman as amounting to wanting to destroy the Euro. In 2016, Weidmann dismissed deflation in light of the European Central Bank's current stimulus program, pointing out the healthy condition of the German economy and that the euro area is not that bad off.
“I share the concerns regarding monetary policy that is too loose for too long. … As you know I have concerns about granting emergency liquidity on account of the fact that the banks are not doing everything to improve their liquidity situation.”

Jerome Powell
1953 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Current Chair of the Federal Reserve, nominated by Trump. Powell has faced substantial and repeated criticism from Trump after his confirmation. The Senate Banking Committee approved Powell's nomination in a 22–1 vote, with Senator Elizabeth Warren casting the lone dissenting vote.
· Powell briefly served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance under George H. W. Bush in 1992. He has served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2012. He is the first Chair of the Federal Reserve since 1987 not to hold a Ph.D. degree in Economics.
· Powell has described the Fed's role as nonpartisan and apolitical. Trump has criticized Powell for not massively lowering federal interest rates and instituting quantitative easing.
· The Bloomberg Intelligence Fed Spectrometer rated Powell as neutral (not dove nor hawk). Powell has been a skeptic of round 3 of quantitative easing, initiated in 2012, although he did vote in favor of implementation.
· Powell stated that higher capital and liquidity requirements and stress tests have made the financial system safer and must be preserved. However, he also stated that the Volcker Rule should be re-written to exclude smaller banks. Powell supports ample amounts of private capital to support housing finance activities.
“The Fed's organization reflects a long-standing desire in American history to ensure that power over our nation's monetary policy and financial system is not concentrated in a few hands, whether in Washington or in high finance or in any single group or constituency.”

John Cochrane
1957 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and economist, specializing in financial economics and macroeconomics.
· The central idea of Cochrane's research is that macroeconomics and finance should be linked, and a comprehensive theory needs to explain both 1.) how, given the observed prices and financial returns, households and firms decide on consumption, investment, and financing; and 2.) how, in equilibrium, prices and financial returns are determined by households and firms decisions.
· Cochrane is the author of ‘Asset Pricing,’ a widely used textbook in graduate courses on asset pricing. According to his own words, the organizing principle of the book is that everything can be traced back to specializations of a single equation: the basic pricing equation. Cochrane received the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award for this book.
“Regulators and politicians aren’t nitwits. The libertarian argument that regulation is so dumb — which it surely is — misses the point that it is enacted by really smart people. The fact that the regulatory state is an ideal tool for the entrenchment of political power was surely not missed by its architects.”

John Keynes (John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes)
1883 – 1946 Born: England Died: England
· British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in mathematics, he built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. Keynes was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party, which until the 1920s had been one of the two main political parties in the United Kingdom.
· During the 1930s Great Depression, Keynes challenged the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions.
· Keynes's influence started to wane in the 1970s, his ideas challenged by those who disputed the ability of government to favorably regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.
· Keynes was vice-chairman of the Marie Stopes Society which provided birth control education and campaigned against job discrimination against women and unequal pay. He was an outspoken critic of laws against homosexuality. Keynes thought that the pursuit of money for its own sake was a pathological condition, and that the proper aim of work is to provide leisure. He wanted shorter working hours and longer holidays for all. Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune.
“How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.”

John Locke
1632 – 1704 Born: England Died: England
· Known as the “Father of Liberalism,” Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
· Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.
· Locke advocated for governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. Locke was vehemently opposed to slavery, calling it “vile and miserable … directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation.”
· Locke uses the word “property” in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour aand that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods
· According to Locke, unused property is wasteful and an offence against nature, but, with the introduction of “durable” goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. In his view, the introduction of money marks the culmination of this process, making possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage.
“The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.”
“No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”

John Mill (John Stuart Mill a.k.a. J. S. Mill)
1806 – 1873 Born: England Died: France
· John Stuart Mill was arguably the most influential English speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. His most important works include System of Logic (1843), On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861) and An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1865).
· Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party and author of the early feminist work The Subjection of Women (in which he also condemned slavery), he was also the second Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage after Henry Hunt in 1832.
· Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from 1823 to 1858, argued in support of what he called a “benevolent despotism” with regard to the colonies. Mill argued that “To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error. ... To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject.”
· John Stuart Mill believed in the philosophy of Utilitarianism, which he described as the principle that holds “that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness [intended pleasure, and the absence of pain], wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness [pain, and the privation of pleasure].” Mill asserts that even when we value virtues for selfish reasons we are in fact cherishing them as a part of our happiness.
· Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. Mill originally believed that “equality of taxation” meant “equality of sacrifice” and that progressive taxation penalized those who worked harder and saved more. Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed.
· His main objection of socialism was on that of what he saw its destruction of competition. According to Mill, a socialist society would only be attainable through the provision of basic education for all, promoting economic democracy instead of capitalism, in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives.
· Mill's major work on political democracy defends two fundamental principles at slight odds with each other: extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level.
· Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official. In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the “radical” principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect.
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

John Rawls
1921 – 2002 Born: United States Died: United States
· Liberal American moral and political philosopher who received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, who acclaimed Rawls for having “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.” He is frequently cited by the courts of law in the United States and Canada.
· Rawls's most discussed work is his theory of a just liberal society, called justice as fairness. Rawls first wrote about this theory in his book A Theory of Justice. Rawls spoke much about the desire for a well-ordered society; a society of free and equal persons cooperating on fair terms of social cooperation.
· Rawls’s most important principle (the Liberty Principal) states that every individual has an equal right to basic liberties. Rawls believes that “personal property” constitutes a basic liberty, but an absolute right to unlimited private property is not.
· Rawls's argument for his principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the “original position”, in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy.
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”

Joseph Nye
1937 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American political scientist and co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism (a theory concerned first and foremost with absolute gains rather than relative gains to other states), developed in the 1977 book Power and Interdependence. He is noted for his notion of “smart power” (“the ability to combine hard and soft power into a successful strategy”), which became a popular phrase with the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
· Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board in 2014. In 2014, Nye was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of his “contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.”
· From 1977 to 1979, Nye was Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1979. In 1993 and 1994, he was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the President, and was awarded the Intelligence Community's Distinguished Service Medal. In the Clinton Administration from 1994 to 1995, Nye served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and was awarded the Department's Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Nye was considered by many to be the preferred choice for National Security Advisor in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.
· Nye has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a foreign fellow of The British Academy. Nye is also a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. The 2011 TRIP survey of over 1700 international relations scholars ranks Joe Nye as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the past twenty years. He was also ranked as most influential in American foreign policy. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him to its list of top global thinkers. In September 2014, Foreign Policy reported that the international relations scholars and policymakers both ranked Nye as one of the most influential scholars.
“When you can get others to admire your ideals and to want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction. Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights, and individual opportunities are deeply seductive.”

Karl Popper
1902 – 1994 Born: Austria-Hungary Died: England
· Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was a self-professed critical-rationalist, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally and a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’.
· In ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ and ‘The Poverty of Historicism’, Popper developed a critique of historicism and a defense of the “Open Society”. Popper considered historicism to be the theory that history develops inexorably and necessarily according to knowable general laws towards a determinate end. He argued that this view is the principal theoretical presupposition underpinning most forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He argued that historicism is founded upon mistaken assumptions regarding the nature of scientific law and prediction. Since the growth of human knowledge is a causal factor in the evolution of human history, and since “no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge”, it follows, he argued, that there can be no predictive science of human history. For Popper, metaphysical and historical indeterminism go hand in hand.
· Popper is known for his vigorous defense of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. His political philosophy embraced ideas from major democratic political ideologies, including socialism/social democracy, libertarianism/classical liberalism and conservatism, and attempted to reconcile them.
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

Lawrence Summers
1954 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank, senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration, Treasury Secretary 1999–2001, and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Current professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
· As a researcher, Summers has made important contributions in many areas of economics, primarily public finance, labor economics, financial economics, and macroeconomics. Summers has also worked in international economics, economic demography, economic history and development economics.[ He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1993 from the American Economic Association. In 1987, he was the first social scientist to win the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. Summers is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
· In 1983, at age 28, Summers became one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. In 2006, Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty. Summers viewed his beliefs on why science and engineering had an under-representation of women to be a large part in the vote, saying, “There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.”
· As the World Bank's Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist, Summers played a role in designing strategies to aid developing countries, worked on the bank's loan committee, guided the bank's research and statistics operations, and guided external training programs. The World Bank's official site reports that Summer's research included an “influential” report that demonstrated a very high return from investments in educating girls in developing nations. According to The Economist, Summers was “often at the centre of heated debates” about economic policy, to an extent exceptional for the history of the World Bank in recent decades.
· In 1999 Summers endorsed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which removed the separation between investment and commercial banks. In February 2009, Summers quoted John Maynard Keynes, saying “When circumstances change, I change my opinion”, reflecting both on the failures of Wall Street deregulation and his new leadership role in the government bailout.
submitted by learnactreform to neoliberal [link] [comments]

Evidence that the mods of /r/Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /r/Bitcoin.

While running the Censorship Notifier Bot, we generally try to stay out of any specific situations regarding any subreddits we monitor. But the very nature of the CNBot requires it to collect and store large amounts of data, and requires us to be aware of normal trends within a subreddit to ensure the bot is running correctly. Specifically, the bot needs to know exactly what was on the site at a specific time, and when things disappear from the site. This data positions us to diligently analyze events and check real data as we go. When we first began looking at the massive downvoting attack as shown in BashCo's previously stickied thread last week, the first thing we noticed was that both of the bot-voted comments ( Image of #1, link to #2 ) would normally trigger our censorship notifier detection. Both "censoring" and "censorship" are trigger words we have found triggering automatic removal, something we later confirmed again. This would imply that either the comments were explicitly approved by the moderators at that time, or our understanding of the subreddit's policies needed updating. We began to dig into the data available, and those findings lead us to the conclusion that we must publish what we had found. Note: All times are in UTC; Some references are moved to the end of the document, tagged as [REF-1], [REF-2], etc.

Overview

We'll start out by giving a rough picture of the events that transpired. The bots which were downvoting comments and posts on /Bitcoin and upvoting posts on /btc began their attack on 11/14/2017 at around 18:00 utc. A similar unusual pattern of voting appeared on /btc around the same time the day before, though less dramatically. The bots seemed to be pushing people to buy Bitcoin Cash in such a blatant way that it even left a bad taste in the mouths of Bitcoin Cash supporters. Both the attack the day before and the /Bitcoin bot voting attack on 11/14/2017 ended before or around 22:00 utc [REF-3]. The bots attacking /Bitcoin upvoted posts complaining about high fees and downvoted about 30 other /Bitcoin posts. At the same time they upvoted posts on /btc. We identified 65 comments downvoted by bots in /Bitcoin and 2 upvoted. The conclusions appeared to indicate that the bots were promoting Bitcoin Cash and /btc and harming /Bitcoin.

Suspicious comment #1

We began investigating into the comments that caught our eye at first, referred to as [CU-1] and [CU-2] for short. [CU-1]'s content can be seen here as it originally looked. Immediately we noticed the next oddity - How were people able to see votes in /Bitcoin to discuss voting in the first place? /Bitcoin has blocked votes from being visible on comments during discussion for years. When did that change? We found that it changed right before [CU-1] was posted. BashCo stickied a comment stating they would "pull back the curtains" at 20:49, and archive.org confirmed that scores became visible between 20:32 utc and 20:50 utc. That, oddly enough, was just 13 minutes before [CU-1] was posted at 21:02:25.
We have determined that [CU-1] was indeed blocked by /Bitcoin's automoderator rules as we expected. The screenshot taken by /Bitcoin moderator StopAndDecrypt clearly shows this, as the "moderator approved" checkmark is present. We also tested automoderator rules with an aged account with karma and confirmed that "censors" and "censoring" were both blocked [REF-1]. Note that the poster, darwin2500 (under control of hacker, please don't ping them; they aren't a Bitcoiner) could not have been an "approved submitter" - they seem to have only had one comment in /Bitcoin before the hacking. So why was the comment manually approved? We are not aware of any other approved or allowed comments that blatantly reference censorship like that in the last several months. The obvious answer is that after "pulling back the curtain" and making votes visible, the /Bitcoin mods wanted to give people an opportunity to see this voting manipulation in action.
Except this idea did not hold up. We found 10 similar comments from the same time period which were not approved or were explicitly removed unlike [CU-1]. Some of these were uncannily similar to the original comment. For example this one was submitted 8 minutes after [CU-1] and never approved. Another here supported neither subreddit and was blocked at 21:48 and never approved. This one accused /Bitcoin mods of being paid by Blockstream and was manually removed at ~22:35. A fourth was identical to [CU-2] and blocked at 00:12 and never approved. The same account of [CU-1] submitted a second comment 5 minutes after [CU-1] and was blocked and not approved. The other 5 things blocked or removed around the same time were: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. The existence or absence of most of these comments around the claimed time can be verified independently of the censorship_notifier, see [REF-2]
But the why wasn't the only oddity. [CU-1] was submitted, approved, upvoted, and screenshotted all in less than 180 seconds, as shown by its screenshot ("2 minutes" rounds down on Reddit). That is an extremely short time for an automoderated comment to be approved based on what we have observed and in checking other subreddits open modlogs on approvals. Perhaps the moderators were very snappy about approving comments within this particular thread? Once again, this idea did not hold up. This comment appears to have been manually approved as it wasn't seen until the third scan after its supposed creation, ~11 minutes of delay. Perhaps only when the comment was a direct reply to BashCo? Still no - Here's a comment that was a direct reply to BashCo, but didn't show up in scans for 45 minutes. Here specifically the our data can be independently checked - This snapshot does not show the comment, but this one does.
Despite all the comments being blocked or removed as normal that we found, what we did not find was any other examples of anti-Bitcoin comments approved or allowed except the comments the bots upvoted. Three snapshots([1] [2] [3]) of the thread in question show no other strongly anti-Bitcoin comments present except [CU-1] and [CU-2]; Why did the moderators specifically allow [CU-1] and [CU-2] and nothing else? Perhaps they wanted to reveal the voting patterns, but then why only those comments? Further, by the time of [CU-1], the bot had not upvoted any comments at all. Why would the moderators assume that particular comment and no others would be upvoted, a mere 13 minutes after they "pulled back the curtain?"
In addition to the data we're referenced, our claims about the moderation of [CU-1] can be verified by either the admins or any current moderators of /Bitcoin, as moderator log events cannot be deleted. If anyone sends us an image of the moderator who approved this comment(preferably with full HH:MM:SS timestamp!) we will add the image to this post and keep their identity anonymous.

How did the bots pick targets?

The next thing we investigated was the behavior of the bots during the "attack". How many posts and comments did they downvote? How many did they upvote? What did they pick and were there any obvious correlations? We initially identified only two posts inside /Bitcoin that were upvoted by the bots - Both being posts about long delays on the OP's transaction confirmations. The first post was removed by moderators but otherwise no one seemed to notice the sudden upvotes. The second post upvoted on the other hand had users commenting on the upvotes within 8 minutes of it being posted and had several comments downvoted within it by the bots. Generally (but not always) the targets of the bots got 200-250 votes, either up or down [REF-3]. Even before the moderators of /Bitcoin revealed comment scores, users were commenting on the obviousness of the downvotes (edits). We found images from hacked users which showed what posts the bots chose to upvote and downvote, which further helped us identify as many of the posts as possible [REF-4] [REF-5].
The comments upvoted, too, were specifically chosen. Both comments upvoted were ones attacking /Bitcoin over censorship, and without any subtlety. Both comments were in the primary stickied thread with most of the comment downvotes. We quickly determined that the account that posted [CU-1] was under the control of the hacker, something other users also concluded. [CU-2] was posted by a clear /Bitcoin supporter based on history. Both comments used words that /Bitcoin's automod rules normally silently block [REF-1]. Other comments that subtly denigrated the subreddit's policies were noticed by the bot - but were downvoted instead of upvoted. Why?
The comments and posts chosen for downvoting were all over the place. Many of the comments chosen for downvoting seems to have been simply "because they were there in the thread" - For example every single comment visible in before 20:50 was downvoted. BashCo was targeted more than any other user(8 comments), but the bot generally didn't seem to focus on specific users. The vast majority of comments downvoted(54/65) happened in the stickied post, with 6 more happening in the second upvoted post. The remaining 5 comments downvoted were scattered across 4 different posts [REF-3]. The bot specifically went after comments and posts talking about downvotes, the accounts hack, or the attack itself [REF-5] but they also downvoted neutral posts. The voting seemed to come almost exclusively in waves targeting one thing at a time, which made the bot votes obvious to anyone who was looking for them - which people were, since many posts targeted were about the downvotes.
We also noticed that an extremely high number of /Bitcoin and /btc users were reporting that they themselves were hacked and part of the bot attack. We identified 35 such users, but the highest number of votes seen on a single thing indicate between 250-300 accounts involved with the attack. Over 10% of the hacked users were Bitcoiners, what are the chances of that? Well, Reddit has (very) roughly 50 million accounts, and the CN database indicates that about ~50k are regular or semi-regular /Bitcoin and /btc users, which is 1/1000th. 35 / 300 of hacked users being regular Bitcoin users and feeling the need to post about it is > 1/10th. Whoever was running this bot seems to have intentionally chosen Bitcoin users - It seems like they wanted the hacked users to see the results of the hack.
The result of all of this was that many many people commented on the blatantness of the voting, with many of them suspicious as to why anyone would do such a blatant attack. More examples: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. Amidst all of this there was one exception so subtle that we almost missed it - There were two posts voted on that ran completely contrary to the rest of the behavior of the bot. The first image showed upvotes on a pro-/Bitcoin post "PSA: Attack on Bitcoin" thread and a downvote for the anti-/Bitcoin "awkward meme orgy" /btc thread. At first we thought maybe this was a legitimate vote by this user mixed in with bot votes, but archive.org showed us that indeed that /btc thread got a sudden wave of downvotes in less than 23 minutes. Perhaps the bot forgot which side it was pushing for? But both changes were subtle and not noticed by any users as far as we can tell.
The final thing the bot did as far as we have identified was to upvote [CU-2], and then the attack seems to have stopped suddenly. That comment wasn't upvoted until 21:55 - 22:05. So what about that comment? Why was that the only comment not under its own control upvoted, and why did the attack stop suddenly afterwards?

Suspicious comment #2

The CN database gave us some hints. Both the [CU-2] and this comment were deleted by the user, likely when they took back control over their hacked account. [CU-1] was deleted at 21:23 +/- 1 minute, ~21 minutes after creation [REF-6], and not present in that snapshot. The votebot operator probably didn't expect this to happen so quickly. After that deletion there was no obvious comment showing their upvotes on the thread, and there were no obvious choices to choose from. It seems that they wanted a comment that wouldn't vanish, so not a hacked account, and also that they preferred a comment that could ultimately be used to make /btc look guilty.
4n4n4's comment [CU-2] provided exactly this, and it was posted to the thread ~5 minutes after [CU-1] was deleted - at 21:28. [CU-2] was never blocked by automoderator, it was picked up in the next CN scan ~1 minute later... Seemingly because 4n4n4 is an approved submitter. They have a long history of pro-/Bitcoin comments; we archived 5 pages of comments. The moderators left the comment in place and the bot didn't touch it for at least 27 minutes. With the similarities listed above, [CU-2] made the ideal next target for the bot's upvoting. Almost immediately after it did so, 4n4n4 screenshotted, archived, and edited the comment. And then the bot's voting attack instantly ceased as far as we can tell [REF-3] [REF-5].
But 4n4n4 was not a hacked account. So who is 4n4n4?

So who posted that?

We have a surprisingly large amount of evidence indicating that 4n4n4 is nullc, the CTO of Blockstream.
The biggest indicator we found is that nullc has the very frequent pattern-- of writing--his sentences with two dashes separating words. This by itself is somewhat rare, though we confirmed that he uses it more times than anyone else in the CN database, the much more unusual habit is using two dashes with no spaces on either side. The CN database stored 860,000 comments for us to compare with, and very quickly confirmed the similarities between the two. His history is littered with examples, but we also used the bitcoin-dev email list to confirm the unusual habit. Like 4n4n4, nullc also has examples of using this--specific pattern twice in one sentence, which was extremely rare in our searches.
But there were many more things we noticed. We found several examples of 4n4n4 picking up nullc's conversations and continuing them. One such case was 4n4n4's third comment ever. 4n4n4 also referenced many of nullc's writings and posts. 4n4n4 referenced this code change that originated from nullc multiple times. 4n4n4's [CU-2] comment edit used the words "rbtc playbook," something our database confirmed was extremely rare but is a saying nullc likes.
And that was just the beginning:
  1. Very knowledgable about Bitcoin Core development & the history of the scaling conflict.
  2. 4n4n4 picked up a thread after many replies by nullc arguing that low fees and empty mempools are actually a problem.
  3. Just like nullc, 4n4n4 liked BIP148 but did not "support" or "endorse" it.
  4. Seems to know an awful lot about nullc's life.
  5. Used the phrase "Bitcoin's creator", a major nullc trait previously documented
  6. Talks about nullc. A lot.
  7. Somehow knows who is working on what within Blockstream.
  8. And even responded directly to nullc in support of a claim nullc had made multiple times within that thread

Conclusions

After the massive amount of research we put into this, we believe that at least one moderator of /Bitcoin must have been either aware of the bot's plans (and allowed it to place blame on others), or have executed the attack themselves. This is most likely the moderator who immediately approved the [CU-1] comment. Other moderators may or may not have been involved. Meaning, yes, we believe that a moderator of /Bitcoin either directed or was complicit in the hacking of many of their own Bitcoin Reddit user accounts.
We believe that it is likely that 4n4n4 aka nullc was also aware of or involved in this attack based upon the suspicious timing and similarities of [CU-2]. A Core Developer of nullc's experience would certainly have the technical abilities to pull off such an attack, but that is true of many others on both sides of the debate as well. Some users reported that the IP addresses the bots logged in from were vultr instances and that vultr 1) requires tracable payment methods like credit cards, and 2) takes an aggressive stance against abuse of their systems, so perhaps more information can come to light about this yet.
We encourage the Reddit admins to carefully review our claims and to validate them. If our claims here are true, surely some type of strong action is warranted. Please note that we have tried to make sure all of our links are archived, but they were archived under the www.reddit.com domain and not the np.reddit.com domain.
For any people who found this post helpful and want to tip us, please donate your tips to archive.is and archive.org (not us). Without those two amazing services none of this research would be possible.

References

[REF-1] - Exact steps to confirm automoderator rules, on a aged account with comment karma: Before http://archive.is/ngxZk -> direct copy of [CU-1] (blocked) http://archive.is/yq52B (showing) http://archive.is/qPJTo -> "censoring" (removed) http://archive.is/geSvJ (showing) http://archive.is/muQzT -> "censors" (removed) http://archive.is/neMwe (showing) http://archive.is/2OLal -> After (showing) http://archive.is/LdZMb userpage: http://archive.is/SwCQ2.
[REF-2] - Links of userpages showing comments removed and subreddits showing missing: [1a] [1b] [2a] [2b] [3a] [3b] [4a] [4b] [5a] [5b] [6a] [6b shows missing]. These additional archive.org links show several of these items missing (or visible) at the snapshot time: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
[REF-3] - Data dump of all comments posted around the time of the event, with notes. CSV format.
[REF-4] - Images from hacked users: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
[REF-5] - Final vote tallies for all posts up to 24 hours prior to the event's end, with notes. CSV format.
[REF-6] - Records from the CN database regarding when darwin2500's comment was deleted. "minutesAlive" is incremented every time the item is seen and starts from the first_seen_live
submitted by censorship_notifier to btc [link] [comments]

NYT article/The Weekly Episode on Epstein Hotlist

Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos.
Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%.
The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist
Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women.
For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text:
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.
Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited.
He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape.
Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail.
Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers.
The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein.
In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.”
Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.
Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works.
7 men and a headless parrot
The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.”
After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk.
In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive.
All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real.
In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.”
Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said.
Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing.
“Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?”
A victim becomes a hacker
Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California.
But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015.
Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.)
By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued.
On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia.
Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras.
Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail.
“This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit.
A chance to sway the Israeli election
Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal.
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.)
“Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote.
Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out.
“Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked.
“Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered.
Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images.
“Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning.
Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening.
Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.”
‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’
The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish.
You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business.
One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos.
Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements.
Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said.
Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.”
Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men.
“I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew.
“Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.”
“I call it our hot list,” he added.
Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan
In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men.
Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.”
The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans.
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims.
The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents.
Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it.
‘We keep it. We keep everything’
Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
“I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011.
The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern.
After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story.
“I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed.
A Weinstein cameo
On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls.
The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion.
The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back.
While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz.
‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’
One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies.
“The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.”
“Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked.
“There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.”
“Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?”
“Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.”
“And you don’t have anything on me, right?”
“I do not, no,” Kessler said.
“Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.”
What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?
Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too.
“You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said.
Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.”
In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent.
In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.”
“No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.”
“Thank you very much,” Kessler responded.
Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”)
Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients.
‘I just pulled it out of my behind’
The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
“I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.”
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”
Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them.
By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse.
Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said.
But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands.
In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.”
The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler.
As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said.
Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.”
He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
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