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A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on Ethereum

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself on the DeFi Pulse website.

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie tokenized his own NBA contract.)

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (Jitsi for the zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

A Detailed Summary of Every Single Reason Why I am Bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethtrader [link] [comments]

A detailed summary of every reason why I am bullish on ETH.

The following will be a list of the many reasons why I hold and am extremely bullish on ETH.

This is an extremely long post. If you just want the hopium without the detail, read the TL;DR at the bottom.

ETH 2.0

As we all know, ETH 2.0 phase 0 is right around the corner. This will lock up ETH and stakers will earn interest on their ETH in return for securing the network. Next comes phase 1 where the ETH 2 shards are introduced, shards are essentially parallel blockchains which are each responsible for a different part of Ethereum’s workload, think of it like a multi-core processor vs a single core processor. During phase 1, these shards will only act as data availability layers and won’t actually process transactions yet. However, their data can be utilised by the L2 scaling solution, rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput in transactions per second up to 100,000 TPS.
After phase 1 comes phase 1.5 which will move the ETH 1.0 chain into an ETH 2 shard and Ethereum will be fully secured by proof of stake. This means that ETH issuance will drop from around 5% per year to less than 1% and with EIP-1559, ETH might become a deflationary asset, but more on that later.
Finally, with ETH 2.0 phase two, each shard will be fully functional chains. With 64 of them, we can expect the base layer of Ethereum to scale around 64x, not including the massive scaling which comes from layer 2 scaling solutions like rollups as previously mentioned.
While the scaling benefits and ETH issuance reduction which comes with ETH 2.0 will be massive, they aren’t the only benefits. We also get benefits such as increased security from PoS compared to PoW, a huge energy efficiency improvement due to the removal of PoW and also the addition of eWASM which will allow contracts to be programmed in a wide range of programming languages, opening the floodgates for millions of web devs who want to be involved in Ethereum but don’t know Ethereum’s programming language, Solidity.

EIP-1559 and ETH scarcity

As I covered in a previous post of mine, ETH doesn’t have a supply cap like Bitcoin. Instead, it has a monetary policy of “minimum viable issuance”, not only is this is a good thing for network security, but with the addition of EIP-1559, it leaves the door open to the possibility of ETH issuance going negative. In short, EIP-1559 changes the fee market to make transaction prices more efficient (helping to alleviate high gas fees!) by burning a variable base fee which changes based on network usage demand rather than using a highest bidder market where miners simply include who pays them the most. This will result in most of the ETH being paid in transaction fees being burned. As of late, the amount which would be burned if EIP-1559 was in Ethereum right now would make ETH a deflationary asset!

Layer 2 Scaling

In the mean time while we are waiting for ETH 2.0, layer 2 scaling is here. Right now, projects such as Deversifi or Loopring utilise rollups to scale to thousands of tx/s on their decentralised exchange platforms or HoneySwap which uses xDai to offer a more scalable alternative to UniSwap. Speaking of which, big DeFi players like UniSwap and Synthetix are actively looking into using optimistic rollups to scale while maintaining composability between DeFi platforms. The most bullish thing about L2 scaling is all of the variety of options. Here’s a non exhaustive list of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions: - Aztec protocol (L2 scaling + privacy!) - ZKSync - Loopring - Raiden - Arbitrum Rollups - xDai - OMGNetwork - Matic - FuelLabs - Starkware - Optimism - Celer Network - + Many more

DeFi and Composability

If you’re reading this, I am sure you are aware of the phenomena which is Decentralised Finance (DeFi or more accurately, open finance). Ethereum is the first platform to offer permissionless and immutable financial services which when interacting with each other, lead to unprecedented composability and innovation in financial applications. A whole new world of possibilities are opening up thanks to this composability as it allows anyone to take existing pieces of open source code from other DeFi projects, put them together like lego pieces (hence the term money legos) and create something the world has never seen before. None of this was possible before Ethereum because typically financial services are heavily regulated and FinTech is usually proprietary software, so you don’t have any open source lego bricks to build off and you have to build everything you need from scratch. That is if what you want to do is even legal for a centralised institution!
Oh, and if you think that DeFi was just a fad and the bubble has popped, guess again! Total value locked in DeFi is currently at an all time high. Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself at: https://defipulse.com

NFTs and tokeniation

NFTs or “Non-Fungible Tokens” - despite the name which may confuse a layman - are a basic concept. They are unique tokens with their own unique attributes. This allows you to create digital art, human readable names for your ETH address (see ENS names and unstoppable domains), breedable virtual collectible creatures like crypto kitties, ownable in game assets like Gods Unchained cards or best of all in my opinion, tokenised ownership of real world assets which can even be split into pieces (this doesn’t necessarily require an NFT. Fungible tokens can be/are used for some of the following use cases). This could be tokenised ownership of real estate (see RealT), tokenised ownership of stocks, bonds and other financial assets (which by the way makes them tradable 24/7 and divisible unlike through the traditional system) or even tokenised ownership of the future income of a celebrity or athlete (see when NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Tokenized His Own NBA Contract.

Institutional Adoption

Ethereum is by far the most widely adopted blockchain by enterprises. Ethereum’s Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is the largest blockchain-enterprise partnership program and Ethereum is by far the most frequently leveraged blockchain for proof of concepts and innovation in the blockchain space by enterprises. Meanwhile, there are protocols like the Baseline protocol which is a shared framework which allows enterprises to use Ethereum as a common frame of reference and a base settlement layer without having to give up privacy when settling on the public Ethereum mainnet. This framework makes adopting Ethereum much easier for other enterprises.

Institutional Investment

One of Bitcoin’s biggest things it has going for it right now is the growing institutional investment. In case you were wondering, Ethereum has this too! Grayscale offers investment in the cryptocurrency space for financial institutions and their Ethereum fund has already locked up more than 2% of the total supply of ETH. Not only this, but as businesses transact on Ethereum and better understand it, not only will they buy up ETH to pay for their transactions, but they will also realise that much like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a scarce asset. Better yet, a scarce asset which offers yield. As a result, I expect to see companies having ETH holdings become the norm just like how Bitcoin is becoming more widespread on companies’ balance sheets.

The state of global markets

With asset prices in almost every asset class at or near all-time highs and interest rates lower than ever and even negative in some cases, there really aren’t many good opportunities in the traditional financial system right now. Enter crypto - clearly the next evolution of financial services (as I explained in the section on DeFi earlier in this post), with scarce assets built in at the protocol layer, buying BTC or ETH is a lot like buying shares in TCP/IP in 1990 (that is if the underlying protocols of the internet could be invested in which they couldn’t). Best of all, major cryptos are down from their all-time highs anywhere between 35% for BTC or 70% for ETH and much more for many altcoins. This means that they can significantly appreciate in value before entering uncharted, speculative bubble territory.
While of course we could fall dramatically at any moment in the current macro financial conditions, as a longer term play, crypto is very alluring. The existing financial system has shown that it is in dire need of replacing and the potential replacement has started rearing its head in the form of crypto and DeFi.

Improvements in user onboarding and abstracting away complexity

Ethereum has started making huge leaps forward in terms of usability for the end user. We now have ENS names and unstoppable domains which allow you to send ETH to yournamehere.ETH or TrickyTroll.crypto (I don’t actually have that domain, that’s just an example). No longer do you have to check every character of your ugly hexadecimal 0x43AB96D… ETH address to ensure you’re sending your ETH to the right person. We also have smart contract wallets like Argent wallet or the Gnosis safe. These allow for users to access their wallets and interact with DeFi self-custodially from an app on their phone without having to record a private key or recovery phrase. Instead, they offer social recovery and their UI is straight forward enough for anyone who uses a smart phone to understand. Finally, for the more experienced users, DApps like Uniswap have pretty, super easy to use graphical user interfaces and can be used by anyone who knows how to run and use a browser extension like Metamask.

The lack of an obvious #1 ETH killer

One of Ethereum’s biggest threats is for it to be overthrown by a so-called “Ethereum killer” blockchain which claims to do everything Ethereum can do and sometimes more. While there are competitors which are each formidable to a certain extent such as Polkadot, Cardano and EOS, each have their own weaknesses. For example, Polkadot and Cardano are not fully operational yet and EOS is much more centralised than Ethereum. As a result, none of these competitors have any significant network effects just yet relative to the behemoth which is Ethereum. This doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t a threat. In fact, I am sure that projects like Polkadot (which is more focused on complimenting Ethereum than killing it) will take a slice out of Ethereum’s pie. However, I am still very confident that Ethereum will remain on top due to the lack of a clear number 2 smart contract platform. Since none of these ETH killers stands out as the second place smart contract platform, it makes it much harder for one project to create a network effect which even begins to threaten Ethereum’s dominance. This leads me onto my next reason - network effects.

Network effects

This is another topic which I made a previous post on. The network effect is why Bitcoin is still the number one cryptocurrency and by such a long way. Bitcoin is not the most technologically advanced cryptocurrency. However, it has the most widespread name recognition and the most adoption in most metrics (ETH beats in in some metrics these days). The network effect is also why most people use Zoom and Facebook messengeWhatsApp despite the existence of free, private, end to end encrypted alternatives which have all the same features (https://meet.jit.si/ for zoom alternative and Signal for the private messenger app. I highly recommend both. Let’s get their network effects going!). It is the same for Bitcoin. People don’t want to have to learn about or set up a wallet for alternative options. People like what is familiar and what other people use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes you download yet another app and account you have to remember the password/private key for. In the same way, Enterprises don’t want to have to create a bridge between their existing systems and a dozen different blockchains. Developers don’t want to have to create DeFi money legos from scratch on a new chain if they can just plug in to existing services like Uniswap. Likewise, users don’t want to have to download another browser extension to use DApps on another chain if they already use Ethereum. I know personally I have refrained from investing in altcoins because I would have to install another app on my hardware wallet or remember another recovery phrase.
Overthrowing Ethereum’s network effect is one hell of a big task these days. Time is running out for the ETH killers.

Ethereum is the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform

Ethereum is also arguably the most decentralised and provably neutral smart contract platform (except for maybe Ethereum Classic on the neutrality part). Unlike some smart contract platforms, you can’t round up everyone at the Ethereum Foundation or any select group of people and expect to be able to stop the network. Not only this, but the Ethereum foundation doesn’t have the ability to print more ETH or push through changes as they wish like some people would lead you on to believe. The community would reject detrimental EIPs and hard fork. Ever since the DAO hack, the Ethereum community has made it clear that it will not accept EIPs which attempt to roll back the chain even to recover hacked funds (see EIP-999).
Even if governments around the world wanted to censor the Ethereum blockchain, under ETH 2.0’s proof of stake, it would be incredibly costly and would require a double digit percentage of the total ETH supply, much of which would be slashed (meaning they would lose it) as punishment for running dishonest validator nodes. This means that unlike with proof of work where a 51% attacker can keep attacking the network, under proof of stake, an attacker can only perform the attack a couple of times before they lose all of their ETH. This makes attacks much less financially viable than it is on proof of work chains. Network security is much more than what I laid out above and I am far from an expert but the improved resistance to 51% attacks which PoS provides is significant.
Finally, with the US dollar looking like it will lose its reserve currency status and the existing wire transfer system being outdated, superpowers like China won’t want to use US systems and the US won’t want to use a Chinese system. Enter Ethereum, the provably neutral settlement layer where the USA and China don’t have to trust each other or each other’s banks because they can trust Ethereum. While it may sound like a long shot, it does make sense if Ethereum hits a multi-trillion dollar market cap that it is the most secure and neutral way to transfer value between these adversaries. Not to mention if much of the world’s commerce were to be settled in the same place - on Ethereum - then it would make sense for governments to settle on the same platform.

ETH distribution is decentralised

Thanks to over 5 years of proof of work - a system where miners have to sell newly minted ETH to pay for electricity costs - newly mined ETH has found its way into the hands of everyday people who buy ETH off miners selling on exchnages. As pointed out by u/AdamSC1 in his analysis of the top 10K ETH addresses (I highly recommend reading this if you haven’t already), the distribution of ETH is actually slightly more decentralised than Bitcoin with the top 10,000 ETH wallets holding 56.70% of ETH supply compared to the top 10,000 Bitcoin wallets which hold 57.44% of the Bitcoin supply. This decentralised distribution means that the introduction of staking won’t centralise ETH in the hands of a few wallets who could then control the network. This is an advantage for ETH which many proof of stake ETH killers will never have as they never used PoW to distribute funds widely throughout the community and these ETH killers often did funding rounds giving large numbers of tokens to VC investors.

The community

Finally, while I may be biased, I think that Ethereum has the friendliest community. Anecdotally, I find that the Ethereum developer community is full of forward thinking people who want to make the world a better place and build a better future, many of whom are altruistic and don’t always act in their best interests. Compare this to the much more conservative, “at least we’re safe while the world burns” attitude which many Bitcoiners have. I don’t want to generalise too much here as the Bitcoin community is great too and there are some wonderful people there. But the difference is clear if you compare the daily discussion of Bitcoin to the incredibly helpful and welcoming daily discussion of EthFinance who will happily answer your noob questions without calling you an idiot and telling you to do you own research (there are plenty more examples in any of the daily threads). Or the very helpful folks over at EthStaker who will go out of their way to help you set up an ETH 2.0 staking node on the testnets (Shoutout to u/superphiz who does a lot of work over in that sub!). Don’t believe me? Head over to those subs and see for yourself.
Please don’t hate on me if you disagree about which project has the best community, it is just my very biased personal opinion and I respect your opinion if you disagree! :)

TL;DR:

submitted by Tricky_Troll to ethfinance [link] [comments]

I bought $1k of the Top 10 Cryptos on January 1st, 2020 (Sept Update)

I bought $1k of the Top 10 Cryptos on January 1st, 2020 (Sept Update)

EXPERIMENT - Tracking Top 10 Cryptos of 2020 - Month Nine - UP +56%
See the full blog post with all the tables here.
tl;dr
  • I thought I'd mix it up and start with the 2020 Top Ten first this month.
  • Rough month, but still way up in 2020, and still way ahead of the stock market.
  • I purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2020, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2018 and 2019. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experiments here.
  • Sept - down month for 2020 Top Ten, except for BNB, which crushed it (+25%)
  • Overall since Jan. 2020 - ETH in the lead (+187%), BNB in distant second place. 100% of 2020 Top Ten are in positive territory and have a combined ROI of +56% vs. +5% of the S&P
  • Combining all three three years, Top Ten cryptos underperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.

Month Nine – UP 56%

2020 Top Ten Overview
After a rough start to the month, most of crypto had a Wake Me Up When September Ends moment. For the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio, it was bad, but could have been (as has been) much worse: it was the best performing of the Top Ten “Index Fund” Experiments in September and at least one of the cryptos (BNB up +25%) had a great month.

Question of the month:

In September, this decentralized exchange (DEX) overtook Coinbase in trading volume:

A) UniswapB) AaveC) CompoundD) Both A and B
Scroll down for the answer.

Ranking and September Winners and Losers

2020 Top 10 Rank
Lots of movement this month: six out of the Top Ten changed positions in September. BCH climbed one from #6 to #5 and BNB made a big move from #10 to #6. Going the opposite direction were BSV, EOS, and Tezos, dropping one, two, and four places respectively.
The big story though, at least for anyone who’s been watching crypto for a while, was the ejection of Litecoin from the Top Ten. In just 30 days, LTC fell five places from #7 to #12. For some context, Litecoin’s absence from the Top Ten is a Top Ten Experiment first. It is also the first time since CoinMarketCap has tracked crypto rankings that Litecoin has not has not held a spot in the Top Ten.
Drop outs: after nine months of the experiment, 30% of the cryptos that started 2020 in the Top Ten have dropped out. LTC, EOS, and Tezos have been replaced by ADA, LINK, and most recently, DOT.
September Winners – Winner, singular: BNB was the only crypto to finish in the green, finished up +25% for the month, and gained four places in the rankings. A very good month for Binance Coin.
September LosersTezos was the worst performing crypto of the 2020 Top Ten portfolio, losing nearly a third of its value, down -31% for the month. LTC also had a bad month, losing -24% and dropping out of the Top Ten.
Since COVID-19 has hammered the sporting world, let’s be overly competitive and pit these cryptos against each other, shall we? Here’s a table showing which cryptos have the most monthly wins and losses nine months into the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment:

Wins/Losses
ETH is in the lead three monthly Ws, followed by Tether and Tezos with two wins each. Even though it is up +79% since January 1st, 2020, BSV has the most monthly losses: it has been the worst performing crypto of the group four out of the first nine months in 2020.

Overall update – ETH maintains strong lead, followed by BNB. 100% of Top Ten are in positive territory.

Ethereum remains firmly in the lead, up +187% on the year. Thanks to a strong month for BNB and a weak month for Tezos, Binance Coin has overtaken XTZ for second place, and is now up +109% in 2020.
Discounting Tether (no offense Big-T), EOS (+4%) is the worst performing cryptocurrency of the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio. 100% of the cryptos in this group are in positive territory.

Total Market Cap for the cryptocurrency sector:

The overall crypto market lost about $35B in September, ending the month up +85% since the beginning of this year’s experiment in January 2020. Despite a rough month, this is the second highest month-end level since the 2020 Top Ten Experiment started nine months ago.

Bitcoin dominance:


Monthly BitDom - 2020
BitDom ticked up slightly this month, but is still lower than it has been for most of the year. As always, a low BitDom reflects a greater appetite for altcoins. For context, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2020 has been roughly between 57% and 68%.

Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2020:

After an initial $1000 investment on January 1st, the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio is now worth $1,536, up +56%. This is the best performing of the three Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Portfolios, but not by much: the 2019 Top Ten came in at +54% in September.
Here’s the month by month ROI of the 2020 Top Ten Experiment, hopefully helpful to maintain perspective and provide an overview as we go along:
Monthly ROI - 2020 Top Ten
Even during the zombie apocalypse blip in March, the 2020 Top Ten has managed to end every month so far in the green (for a mirror image, check out the all red table you’ll find in the 2018 experiment). The range of monthly ROI for the 2020 Top Ten has been between a low of +7% in March and high of +83% in August.
So, how does the 2020 Top Ten Experiment compare to the parallel projects?
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for the three portfolios:
After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, the combined portfolios are worth $‭3,340‬ ($238+ $1,538 +$1,564).
That’s up about +11% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +31% last month.
Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios:
Combined ROI - UP +11%
That’s a +11% gain by buying $1k of the cryptos that happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
But what if I’d gone all in on only one Top Ten crypto for the past three years? While many have come and gone over the life of the experiment, five cryptos have started in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (Big L, no pressure, but if you don’t claw yourself back in the Top Ten by January 2021, you’re out of the club). Let’s take a look:

Three Year Club
At this point in the Experiments, Ethereum (+104%) would have easily returned the most, followed by BTC (+77%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down nearly a third at -31%.
So that’s the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments snapshot. Let’s take a look at how traditional markets are doing.

Comparison to S&P 500

I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point to traditional markets. The S&P slipped a bit from an all time high in August and is now up just +5% in 2020.
Over the same time period, the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio is returning about +56%. The initial $1k investment in crypto is now worth about $1,563. That same $1k I put into crypto in January 2020 would be worth $1050 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 instead. That’s a $513 difference on a $1k investment, one of the largest gaps in favor of crypto all year.
But that’s just 2020. What about in the longer term? What if I invested in the S&P 500 the same way I did during the first three years of the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments? What I like to call the world’s slowest dollar cost averaging method? Here are the figures:
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1260 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1350 today
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1050 today
So, taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P:
After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,660.
That $3,660 is up +22% since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios over the same period of time.
That’s an 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500 and breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios.
For those keeping track or unable to see the table above: that’s seven monthly victories for the S&P vs. two monthly victories for crypto. The largest gap so far was a 22% difference in favor of the S&P back in June.

Conclusion:

September saw losses for both traditional and crypto markets, but crypto got hit harder. What can we expect for the rest of 2020? The Neverending Year is entering the final quarter and is not finished with us yet: a lot can and will happen in the remaining months. More volatility is no doubt to come as we enter the final stretch of a truly unpredictable and exhausting year. Buckle up.
Stay healthy and take care of yourselves out there.
Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for the original 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment and the 2019 Top Ten Experiment follow up experiment.

And the Answer is…

A) Uniswap
As part of the DeFi/DEX wave, in late August/early September, Uniswap surpassed Coinbase in trading volume.
submitted by Joe-M-4 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Bloomberg strategist explains key macro drivers for price growth of gold and bitcoin

Senior Bloomberg strategist Mike McGlone has predicted that the BTC price will reach $100K by 2025 in an interview with Kitco News. McGlone pointed out that Bitcoin still has more than enough space for price growth, citing that the cryptocurrency had previously jumped from $1000 to $10000/bitcoin over the last 3 years. As for gold, even gold's uptrend has been somewhat slow compared to Bitcoin, but will not stop appreciating vs. the US dollar – and it may spike again. McGlone argued that if bitcoin can repeat its past bullish momentum, it could return to its 2019 high of $14,000 by the end of 2020.
Why it matters: There are a number of factors supporting the Bitcoin price, and mainstream investors are beginning to enter the space. With so much buying interest in Bitcoin, as well as some of the major altcoins, we are likely to see higher prices over both the medium and long term. Despite its technical limitations, Bitcoin has become the go-to alternative digital asset, and these seem to be few reasons to doubt its ability to continue to attract capital. As an alternative to central bank issues fiat currency, Bitcoin can be used anywhere these is an internet connection, and has been an excellent store of value since its inception.
Source https://btcpeers.com/bloomberg-strategist-explains-key-macro-drivers-for-price-growth-of-gold-and-bitcoin/
submitted by Usefulaluable to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Newcomers FAQ - Please read!

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Some other great resources include Lopp.net, the Princeton crypto series and James D'Angelo's Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series.
Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute.
Some Bitcoin statistics can be found here and here. Developer resources can be found here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here.
Potential upcoming protocol improvements and scaling resources here and here.
The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here (LOL!)

Key properties of Bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy OTP Auth
Android Android N/A
iOS iOS iOS

Watch out for scams

As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".

Where can I spend bitcoins?

Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Spendabit, Overstock and The Bitcoin Directory Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg and Dell For all your electronics needs
Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Coinsfer, and more Bill payment
Menufy, Takeaway and Thuisbezorgd NL Takeout delivered to your door
Expedia, Cheapair, Destinia, Abitsky, SkyTours, the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap, Porkbun Domain name registration
Stampnik Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Coinmap and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, Cryptogrind, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, BitforTip, Rein Project Freelancing
Lolli Earn bitcoin when you shop online!
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
/GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Adult services
A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.

Bitcoin-Related Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network Second layer scaling
Blockstream, Rootstock and Drivechain Sidechains
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
JoinMarket and Wasabi Wallet CoinJoin implementation
Coinffeine and Bisq Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase Identity & Reputation management
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
bitcoin BTC 1 bitcoin one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit.
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by BitcoinFan7 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

If you're stressed, zoom out - $1k in Top Ten Cryptos of 2019 is up +83%, double that of the S&P

If you're stressed, zoom out - $1k in Top Ten Cryptos of 2019 is up +83%, double that of the S&P

EXPERIMENT - Tracking Top 10 Cryptos of 2019 - Month Twenty - UP +83%
See the full blog post with all the tables here.
tl;dr:
  • purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2019, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2018 and 2020. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experiments here.
  • August - solid month for the 2019 Top Ten, led by Tron and ETH.
  • Since Jan. 2019 - ETH takes lead from BTC. XRP worst performing since Jan. 1st, 2019
  • Over three years, cryptos outperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.

Month Twenty – UP 83%

2019 Top Ten Overview
Although not quite a strong as red-hot July, the 2019 Top Ten Cryptos had a solid month. Overall, modest losses were offset by strong performances by Tron (+53%) and ETH (+32%).

Question of the month:

In August, this financial services giant filed for a new Bitcoin fund with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A) Goldman Sachs B) Vanguard C) Charles Schwab D) Fidelity
Scroll down for the answer.

Ranking and August Winners and Losers

A whole lot of shaking going on this month as the 2019 Top Ten cryptos jostled for position. XRP, BCH, EOS, and XLM each fell one spot while BSV dropped two. Moving the other direction: Tether climbed up one, and is now back in the #3 position. Thanks to a very strong August, Tron made the most upward progress, advancing two slots to #14.
Only three cryptos have dropped out of the 2019 Top Ten since January 1st, 2019: Tron, Stellar, and EOS. Not bad after 20 months considering crypto’s volatility. As of August, they have been replaced by BNB, CRO, and LINK.
August WinnersTron, with a +53% gain, easily outperformed its peers. Tron was followed by ETH (+32%), a solid follow up to its +55% gain in July.
August LosersThe Forks. BCH and BSV under performed the pack, finishing the month down -17% and -9% respectively.
For overly competitive nerds, here is tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and loses during the first 20 months of the 2019 Top Ten Experiment: Tether is still in the lead with six monthly victories, twice as much as second place BSV and ETH. And although BSV is up over +100% since January 2019, it is running away with the monthly loss count: it has now finished last in eight out of twenty months. Swing trade anyone? XRP still hasn’t been able to take home a single W.
Ws and Ls

Overall update – ETH takes lead from BTC. XRP still worst performing since Jan. 1st, 2019

After three straight months ahead, BTC (+215%) lost its front-runner status to ETH (up +244% since January 2019). A distant third is BSV up +109%. The initial $100 investment in ETH is currently worth $353.
Twenty months in to the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Experiment, 80% of the 2019 Top Ten cryptos are either flat or in the green. The other two cryptos are in negative territory, including last place XRP (down -19% since January 2019). At +82.5%, the 2019 Top Ten is essentially tied with the 2020 Top Ten, both far ahead of the 2018 group, which is down -71% (but trending upward).

Total Market Cap for the cryptocurrency sector:


Monthly market cap since Jan. 1, 2019
Since January 2019, the total market cap for crypto is up +204%. The overall market picked up nearly $43B in August and is approaching $400B. For the second month in a row, the market is at its highest month-end level since the 2019 Top Ten Experiment started 20 months ago.

Bitcoin dominance:

The last 20 months of BitDom
BitDom‘s wobble in July is nothing compared to the more than 5% dip we saw in August. It had been locked in the mid-60s% range for months, but started dipping in July, signaling a greater appetite for altcoins. Zooming out, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2019 has been between 50%-70%.

Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2019:

The 2019 Top Ten Portfolio gained over $100 in August, nothing like July‘s +$450 but still solid. After the initial $1000 investment, the 2019 group of Top Ten cryptos is worth $1,825. With some generous rounding, that’s up about +83%.
Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the first 20 months of the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund experiment, month by month:
Month by month ROI of 2019 Top Ten
Unlike the completely red table you’ll see in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, the 2019 crypto table is almost all green. The first month was the lowest point (-9%), and the highest point (+114%) was May 2019.
At +82.51%, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio has lost its hard-fought position as the best performing of the three Top Ten Experiments, but just barely (the 2020 Top Ten is up +82.52%)
Speaking of the other Experiments, let’s take a look at how the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Portfolio compare to the parallel projects:
Taking the three portfolios together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line:
After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, my combined portfolios are worth $‭3,937‬ ($287+ $1,825 +$1,825).
That’s up about +31% for the three combined portfolios. It also marks the highest ROI of the three combined portfolios since I started keeping track in January 2020. The previous high was last month‘s +23%.
Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios:
Combined ROI on $3k
That’s a +31% gain by dropping $1k once a year on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
But what if I’d gone all in on only one Top Ten crypto for the past three years? While many have come and gone over the life of the experiment, five cryptos have remained in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. Let’s take a look at those five:
Three year club - ETH out in front
Ethereum (+160%) would have returned the most at this point, followed by BTC (+93%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down -17%.
Alright, that’s crypto. How does crypto compare to the stock market?

Comparison to S&P 500:

I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of the experiments to have a comparison point with more traditional markets. Even with everything that’s going on in the world, the S&P continues adding value and reached an all time high in August. It is now up +40% since January 2019.
Monthly S&P levels since Jan. 2019
The initial $1k investment I put into crypto 20 months ago would be worth $1,400 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 in January 2019.
The 2019 Top Ten portfolio is returning +83% over last 20 months, over double the ROI of the S&P 500 over the same time period.
But what if I took the same world’s-slowest-dollar-cost-averaging/$1,000-per-year-on-January-1st approach with the S&P 500? It would yield the following:
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018: +$310
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019: +$400
  • $1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020: +$90
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P:
After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,800.
That is up over+27% since January 2018, compared to a +31% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios.
As you can see in the table below, August’s 4% difference in favor of crypto marks the second month in a row the Top Ten Crypto Portfolios have outperformed the S&P had I taken a similar investment approach.

Combined crypto vs. S&P

Conclusion:

Thanks to a strong couple of months, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is doing just as well as the 2020 Top Ten group, both of which are far, far ahead of the 2018 Top Ten. Meanwhile, despite the presence of a global pandemic and all the uncertainty associated with an election year, the US stock markets reached all time highs in August. As we approach the fall, I’m buckling up for an unpredictable final stretch of an unpredictable year.
Be safe and take care of each other out there.
Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for the original 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment and the 2020 Top Ten Experiment.

And the Answer is…

D) Fidelity
In August, the SEC published a new filing for a Bitcoin fund, submitted by financial services giant Fidelity.
submitted by Joe-M-4 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)

Source | Guestbook
Previous thread
Questions Answers
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum? No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
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That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims? That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft? Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up. Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness? Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird? there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More? It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends? Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms  The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
2.Hitman sites
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals  People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn  Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think? Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines? There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods. If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web? I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web? A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web? It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
the below is a reply to the question
I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
the below has been split into separate questions
1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[deleted] It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help? I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
the below is a reply to the question
Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome. I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
the below is another reply to the answer
Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
the below is a reply to the above
So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
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