Is Bitcoin secure? Has this network ever been hacked ...

Monero Community Workgroup is preparing for the large growth ahead

Diego (u/rehrar), Doug (u/needmoney90), and Justin (u/SamsungGalaxayPlayer) would like to share some exciting news regarding the Monero Community Workgroup (MCW). The Monero community is growing, and so is our support and group of volunteers. The TL;DR is that you can expect some cool things as we grow.

Some MCW History

The MCW initially began as the Monero Marketing Workgroup in March 2017. Diego was interested in helping grow the Monero community, so he contacted Justin and set up the MoneroMarketing subreddit. At the time, the idea of a Monero marketing initiative shocked many in the community, who greatly appreciated Monero's general distance from the marketing efforts by many ICOs and scams around that time.
The Monero Marketing Workgroup focused mostly on preparing educational materials and getting people involved to work on Monero-related initiatives. Shortly after the workgroup began, it transitioned into an area that needed more love: community organization and communication.
Up until this point, the Monero community was focused around the developer meetings and the Monero subreddit. While these are still highly relevant in the Monero ecosystem (for good reason), there wasn't a great way for people to stay updated with the latest news and to discuss non-development items. The Monero Community Crowdfunding System (at the time Forum Funding System) submissions weren't discussed in the same way that they are today, and there was no central Community Workgroup to help bring initiatives together. It was obvious that with a larger, more diverse Monero community, a dedicated set of resources would be necessary to connect all these projects together.
The Monero Marketing Workgroup became the Monero Community Workgroup during the first Community Workgroup meeting on 18 June 2017. These meetings have largely occurred every other Saturday ever since and serve as an essential community service to discuss CCS proposals, hear workgroup updates and news, and discuss new ideas. The Community Workgroup channel (#monero-community) is used for many other purposes, including other scheduled meetings on deemed-necessary items of interest and regular feedback, questions, and chat.
On 7 October 2017, the workgroup hosted its first Coffee Chat, a casual conversation covering the month's recent news and most important discussion topics. These Coffee Chats help humanize the Monero community, who until this point typically were only known by their pseudonyms. The MCW played a part in the Monero Konferenco, Critical Decentralization Cluster at the Chaos Communication Congress, and Monero Village at Defcon livestreams and derived content. It also hosts Breaking Monero, a series that features members from the Monero Research Lab who discuss Monero's limitations.
A year after the MCW became its new name, the newly-founded Monero Outreach Workgroup took over many of its initial ambitions in June 2018. Other related workgroups like Monero Ecosystem have their own communities and functions.

The Community Keeps Growing

The Monero communities are significantly larger than they were back in early-2017, and they keep on growing. In early-2017, there were no mobile wallets, the GUI was only 3 months old, there were far fewer exchanges, etc. Today, Monero has one of the largest, most respected, and most passionate communities. We have the third largest number of developers of any cryptocurrency project, we are the only project with our own DEF CON village, and we are one of the few names that everybody knows. Awesome work to everyone around, truly.
With larger communities comes more work. The community deserves reliable, appropriate resources to sustain this growth. In a decentralized community, this is difficult. Monero Core provides some essential services such as the CCS, getmonero.org, Mattermost, and GitLab. However, they have been unable to meet the growing needs of the community alone. Thus, the MCW has been happy to support other needs to the extent possible: we discuss CCS proposals during our meetings, host several servers, organize Coffee Chats and conference talks, and more, along with efforts of other workgroups. These have become such a significant undertaking, and that's a good thing. As Monero continues to set the gold standard for cryptocurrencies the expectations keep growing. It's awesome to be a part of something where so many people care.

Our Future

The MCW has grown too much for the three of us to organize all the resources we need, let alone the needs of everyone in the Monero communities and workgroups. Thus, we are furthering our commitment and offering substantially more services in the coming months. To get there, we need your support to fill volunteer leadership and support positions.
Expect the following dedicated services from us:
  1. Jitsi server with higher framerate and resolutions than Jitsi Meet, so that our Coffee Chats, conferences, and other events are better quality than before.
  2. NextCloud to safely and securely collaborate on blog posts, share files, and more.
  3. Sandstorm and Wekan kanban board (open source Trello copy) to keep track of, propose, and assign tasks and projects.
  4. Chatwoot to provide tailored support for Monero users with a volunteer support community (also a good learning exercise).
  5. Mastodon to communicate about Monero and other news, so we aren't dependent on Twitter's policies and security.
  6. Flarum forum for Monero news and discussions, so we aren't dependent on Reddit.
We need your help to make this happen! We will form "task forces" to focus on certain areas like marketing, system administration, meetings, moderation, and finance. If you have any of these skills, please join #monero-community and say hi, or shoot us an email ([email protected])!
Doug, Diego, and Justin feel that these changes will allow the Monero community to grow in new ways and continue collaborating. The community consists of many workgroups that focus on projects that they are interested in, and we want to support the efforts of these communities.
To allow these changes, Justin will form an LLC, with him and Doug being officially on the board, and Diego taking an advisory role.
Creating a legal entity serves two distinct purposes. First, it allows us to aggregate payments from many people into a single entity to pay the costs for hosting various community servers/services. This greatly reduces our own workload and out of pocket payment. Secondly, it allows us to aggregate multiple social media handles that are currently controlled by individuals under a single entity, to reduce the "Bus Factor."
Of course, the MCW will remain very much grounded in the ideals that made that made it great in the first place. And the entity will always support the Monero communities, never claim to fully represent everyone involved in Monero. It can only ever represent the efforts of those involved.
Current and future goals of the MCW include:
  1. Provide resources as necessary and reasonable, such as communication platforms
  2. Organize discussions to promote communication, such as Community Meetings and Coffee Chats
  3. Promote positive culture through events, such as with Coffee Chats, the Monero Konferenco, the Moneoversary, and the Monero DEF CON Village
  4. Support other Monero workgroups and Monero ecosystem projects
  5. Provide mechanisms to collect feedback on community, developer, and research proposals
  6. Discuss the Monero CCS ideas and otherwise support the Monero CCS
  7. Promote Monero and privacy education and marketing
  8. Serve as an available community mediatoarbitrator where reasonable
  9. Communicate the broad interests of the Monero community and provide a voice where and how appropriate
  10. Collaborate with other projects, companies, governments, and communities

Monero Community Support LLC

Q: Why does the MCW think that an LLC is needed?
A: For two primary reasons. First, payments. As mentioned, there is existing digital infrastructure, currently paid out of pocket by MCW leaders. Even if a CCS proposal was to be explored, it would make personal accounting and tax reporting very difficult as assets would technically be mixed with personal assets, throwing off capital gains calculations. Up until now this has been a sacrifice of time that we were content to make, but as we continue to ramp up our goals it is becoming increasingly cumbersome, and alternative methods are needed. An LLC would be able to hold these monetary assets as its own entity, and all funds could be kept separate from personal funds, leading to much easier accounting all around.
Secondly, an LLC would allow for digital infrastructure to come under the legal purview of several people, reducing the possibility for any particular person going rogue and decimating what has been built. There may be concern about bringing resources under a corporation, and that this is not in the spirit of Monero, but one thing to note is that all assets and services (noted above) are FOSS/CC. Meaning if at any time a community doesn't care for what the MCW accomplishes under this LLC, they can simply start their own infrastructure with low switching costs. Once again: EVERYTHING IS FOSS/CC.
Q: Why not a nonprofit, cooperative, or other type of organization?
A: While not out of the question, these take additional effort. We hope to grow into these organization types with the help of others. However certain registrations take a lot of time and effort, plus has quite significant restrictions on activities. The LLC will allow us the flexibility and convenience we need now, especially when we currently have no income anyway.

Looking Ahead

The MCW has a mountain range of opportunities ahead of it, as do all Monero communities and workgroups. We hope that our efforts are of use to you and others, and we hope that you join us in making something great :)
Justin, Diego, and Doug
submitted by SamsungGalaxyPlayer to Monero [link] [comments]

PlayStation has stolen $1000s of dollars away from me and has banned my account after being in a tug of war with a hacker that has kept getting access to my account via Sony’s lack of security. I have Asperger’s syndrome and gaming is what keeps me going in life but Sony does not care.

PlayStation has banned me for no reason today after being in contact with them for months now about my account being hacked and compromised and being in a tug of war with the hacker. I also have Aspergers and gaming is what keeps me going. Please help me.
Hello my name is Tim and for about a month now my PlayStation has been constantly being compromised by a hacker in India and with PlayStations lack of security and the information that a compromiser can get it is very simple for the hacker to regain access back to my account. I have 1,000s of dollars worth of games and even 500$ worth of preordered games including cyberpunk and others completely gone because of this issue. I even preordered the ps5 to be ready to play these games on higher quality but obviously PlayStation just does not care. This issue is about to drive me insane and I cannot take it anymore. I sometimes feel like hurting myself especially since games is all I have going for me right now. I have aspergers which makes social life very hard.
So I woke up one morning and saw that my password was changed and 2fa disabled and sign in email changed I immediately tried contacting Sony for support via live chat but then it said this message Back again so soon? Unfortunately, our Chat support has not been effective for you. Please try again tomorrow
As if the hacker used the live chat to pull more info or something. So I immediately tried contacting PlayStation but they are closed due to pandemic. I then used some kind of support bot they had to find some number that actually works. So then I contacted this phone number 855 413 3938 and it works so i sit and wait a few hours till someone finally awnsered. I then describe the issue to the support person and all he can say is. “Due to the security on this account we cannot make any changes” and I’m like WTF Your telling me that due to the lack of PlayStation support AND SERVICE that you can’t help me. He then repeats this line again as if it’s scripted. And then I ask for a supervisor I wait 10 minutes and tell him what going on and he says the exact same thing and to call back in a few days since there is a lock on there computers not allowing them do change anything. I then get really frustrated to the point I would break stuff in the house. I then made a BBB case on the issue and wrote everything down and told them how terrible this all is.
Fast forward 1 week later to then finnaly get ahold of someone who wouldnt say the stupid scripted line again. Also keep in mind the hacker has had access to my account that whole week. Sony allowed a compromiser without authorization to have access TO MY MONEY AND GAMES AND PERSONAL CREDIT CARD INFO FOR A WHOLE WEEK because of there stupid line of due to the security of the account or some BS. Anyways 1 week later on 9/15/20 I finally get ahold of someone at that phone number named John the supervisor who had helped me get my account back and information back and was able to fix everything and change every piece of info on the account that was made I was super relieved and told him thank you so much and told him what was happening and he understood. I then rushed upstairs to see that not all of my preordered games were there and that half of the games I had purchased as preorders were changed and that the hacker refunded my games and purchased others and I got mad again.
I then proceed to immediately call back and get another supervisor named Julio on the phone who said that it was impossible to get a refund back as those games were downloaded onto your device. I SAID NO THEY WERENT THEY WERE PURCHASED BY A HACKER AND SOMEONE THAT TOOK MY ACCOUNT I AM OBLIGATED TO GET MY GAMES THAT I PURCHASED BACK. But Sony obviously does not care about this issue and that is why Julio hung up the phone on me I then called back again and again to finnaly get John back on the line and he said he would fill in the request to see if it would work and it did and I told him about Julio and how he hung up on me
So now I finnaly have my games and my account back
but then flash forward 2 days later on Friday on 9/18/20. Some guy named Anthony from SIE Sony interactive entertainment called me and because I was busy in an online class for school I was not able to awnser it. He said he was responding to my bbb case and suspended my account for 3 days due to me sharing my account and abusing my refund requests. He left a message/ voicemail and thought I was scamming PlayStation and faking these calls and trying to get games and refund them back and lie about all this stuff which is insanity. I was about ready to have my dad hire a lawyer to sue the hell out of PlayStation for this craziness. I call Anthony back and let him know he’s wrong and that John already fixed the issue and that I was gonna close the bbb case but I didn’t have time because of school and homework. I probably called him over 500 times and he doesn’t ever pick up still to this day. So I was like fine I’m suspended for 3 days all good at least I still have access to my account and nothing was changed.
3 days later on Sunday 9/21/20 I woke up and saw the same stuff again
2fa disabled Sign in ID changed Password changed All 3 emails came 20 minutes after PlayStation support opened up and I was about ready to set my whole house on fire I mean this is ridiculous. I also received 3 emails today from numerous weird emails which IPS were coming from India that to get my account back I would need to pay a Bitcoin address for money over 250$.
Luckily I was able to get my psn account back quicker this time as a super nice lady named jaquline helped me out and said that this stuff happened a lot
Basically what the guy keeps doing is he knows all the awnsers to the security questions they ask about you to get your account back. All it takes is one hack and he sees everything besides console serial number. But they only ask you 2 of these below questions so if he gets someone that asks about console serial number all he has to do is leave and rejoin the live chat and get someone else.
Where I live My credit card last 4 numbers My name Recent games I purchased: well obviously he knows my games that I bought since he hacked the Account and saw them. First email address used to create account: well duh he has this he hacked the account so obviously he has it
I mean what kinda security is this if he already had access to these games
Your talking to someone who preordered the ps5 and preordered every launch game including the 9 preorders I had on the console which is like over 500$
All gone because of this stupidity
As soon as I got my account back nothing else happened until today on 9/28 I wake up and see still no messages from BBB or Sony about how I will get compensated or this will hopefully get resolved. I turn on my PlayStation and now see that my psn was logged out and I sign back in and it says my account has been permanently banned.
LIKE WTF THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS
I looked over every single terms of service and code of conduct I have never ever violated any of these things
I tried calling Sony and they said that the ban came from higher then them and that they were unable to lift the ban
I tried using the live chat and it says the same thing and it’s like maybe the hacker used the live chat to get my account banned or some shit
Please I have over 1000$ of games and 500$ of preordered games on this account all hard worked money all being thrown away I have done nothing to deserve this. PlayStation doesn’t even care that you have a mental illness and that these games help cope to what’s going on in the real world.
If anyone has any tips or phone numbers to call to explain my situation please help me because I have had it with this issue and ps just doesn’t care about there consumers.
Preorders that I have lost
Cyberpunk 2077 Far cry 6 Immortals fenyx rising Call of duty Cold War Little hope Watch dogs legion AC valhalla Amnesia rebirth Star Wars squadrons
Over 700 lost games that I have lost since I created an account back in 2013 for my PSN
Only a few games remain that I still have downloaded and can still play.
submitted by tim0524 to gaming [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
the below is a reply to the above
How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
the below is a reply to the above
Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
the below is a reply to the above
Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
the below is a reply to the question
I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
the below has been split into separate questions
1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[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
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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
the below is another reply to the answer
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
the below is a reply to the above
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
the below is another reply to the original answer
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
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

READ ME: Part 3


READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
submitted by blackfridayswitch13 to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

Welcome to /r/CashApp. Read this first!

No one representing Cash App will ever ask for your sign-in code over the phone, on social media, or through any other medium. No one representing Cash App will ever ask you to make a payment.
Welcome to the unofficial Cash App subreddit. This subreddit was created as a place to talk about Cash App and to get assistance for simple problems. The mod team of this subreddit do not represent Cash App or Square, Inc. If you require specific help with your account, you must contact the Cash App support team directly via the app (never via a support phone line you found via Google). Do not share your account details with anyone.

How to Get Help

For general advice about Cash App, please post here in /cashapp. Do not include cashtags or any other personal information in your posts.
If you need help regarding your account, contact support via the app itself. Tap your profile picture, then choose Support. Follow the menu. You can also check https://cash.app/help
If you are unable to get help via the app, you can try `@cashsupport` on Twitter. https://twitter.com/cashsupport
Due to increased volume, support wait times are higher than normal.
At the time of writing (August 2020), subreddit members are reporting wait times in the order of days/weeks.
Never call a support phone number you found on the internet. There is only one legitimate number and it has a recorded message telling you to use in-app support. All other numbers are fraudulent.
Never accept help via private messaging on social media, including here in /cashapp. If someone wishes to help you, they can do it in public.

Posting Rules

This subreddit welcomes discussions, news and general (non account-specific) questions about Cash App.
The following content is not permitted and will be removed. Accounts breaching these rules may be temporarily or permanently banned, at moderators’ discretion.

How to Post

  1. Use the search function. Most questions have been answered before.
  2. Check the FAQ below. It might just answer your question.
  3. Use a descriptive and succinct post title.
  4. If someone has helped you, please pay it forward. Stick around to help make this community better. 🙏

FAQ

I received something. Is it a scam?
Did you receive something that looks fishy? Cash App emails only ever come from cash.app or squareup.com domains. No one representing Cash App will never ask you for money or your sign in code for any reason. Cash App will never ask you for pins or passcodes. If you get an email, compare it to other emails you’ve received you know to be from Cash App. If the fonts or logos look different or strange, or there is poor grammar, then it’s certainly a scam. If you are still in doubt, post a screenshot (with cashtags and other personal info removed).
Clearance fees?
Cash App will never ask you for money. Any request to pay a fee is a scam. Whether it is called a clearance fee, verification fee, shipping fee, whatever. They are all scams.
I’ve been scammed/hacked!
Unfortunately there’s not much anybody here can do. You can try contacting Cash App support, however they are not likely to reimburse you for your losses. If the scam involved a payment from your linked debit card, you should also contact your card-issuing bank as they may be able to reverse the charge.
How do I prevent being scammed?
I sent money to the wrong person!
Find the payment in he payment history, tap into the details and request a refund. If this fails, contact support. See How to get help above.
I received money from a stranger.
Find the payment in the payment history, tap into the details and issue a refund. Thanks for being awesome!
The recipient say they didn’t receive my payment and want me to send it again.
This is probably a scam. Contact support. See How to get help above.
Why is there a Cash App charge on my bank statement? I don’t even use Cash App!
It is likely that your debit card number has been stolen & the thief has used it to fund a Cash App account. Contact your card-issuing bank immediately.
I haven’t received the cash card I ordered!
It can take several weeks to arrive. If you have not received it within 3-4 weeks, contact support. See How to get help above.
Is the app down right now?
Check the status page. https://status.cash.app/
Will people I pay be able to see my real name?
Your full name, as recorded in your profile in the app, will be presented to people you pay or request payments from. However, this name does not need to be the same as your real name. Like any company, they may be obliged to share your personal information with authorities.
I can’t scan the back of my driver’s licence.
Don’t try to fill the viewport with the card. Try zooming in or out. Look at the edge of the viewport. Each edge will have a blue line when it is correctly aligned. It will work when you manage to get 4 blue lines to appear at once.
My account is frozen with money inside!
Contact support. If that fails, you will have to wait for them to release the money. The time frame for a release is currently unknown.
Why was my account locked?
While it’s not possible to know for sure, some common reasons may be for challenging cash app transactions with your bank (“chargebacks”), performing fraud (“flipping”) and using bitcoin you purchased for illicit goods & services.
I’m under 18. How can I withdraw my money?
You must be 18 or above to use Cash App. You won’t be able to withdraw your funds by yourself. Your parents can negotiate to have the balance transferred to their own account.
Why haven’t I been verified for Bitcoin yet?
The wait for identity verification may take several weeks.
Where is the bitcoin/investing tab? I only have 3 tabs.
Bitcoin and stock investing is not available for UK accounts.
submitted by satsophone to CashApp [link] [comments]

READ ME: Part 3

READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
submitted by blackfridayswitch13 to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

Technical: Taproot: Why Activate?

This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else wants it, but why would I, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?

Taproot and Your /Coins

Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a softfork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least 2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally. First do no harm!

Taproot and Your Contracts

No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).

Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo

Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
So:
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)

Quantum Quibbles!

Now if you were really paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
So:
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).

Summary

I Wanna Be The Taprooter!

So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!

But I Hate Taproot!!

That's fine!

Discussions About Taproot Activation

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NEW Bitcoin Hack 2020 - BTC for free The million bitcoin question: Can the system be hacked? BREAKING: Binance hacked! 7000 BTC stolen... Can the Blockchain Be Hacked? Explained by Eugene Mutai CAN BITCOIN BE HACKED? WHAT CAN I BUY WITH BITCOIN? Cryptocurrency Vlog #5 - Brent Nally on 10/3/17

Has this network ever been hacked? The Bitcoin network and currency has proven to be secure, functional, and efficient. The technology used to build Bitcoin is mathematically secured by the laws of the universe, and is constantly being improved upon by the open-source community. In total, hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since the beginning of 2017, mostly from exchanges, and that’s just what has been revealed publicly. Hackers just stole $40 million worth of bitcoin from Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It’s hardly the first time crypto has been targeted by thieves. For a ... The Bitcoin network has never been hacked. This comes down to the underlying blockchain technology. All Bitcoin transactions are verified and recorded on the public blockchain. It’s not a bitcoin service, but honorary mention has to go to Allinvain, a member of the BitcoinTalk forums who, in June 2011, became the first person to suffer a major loss owing to a bitcoin hack.

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NEW Bitcoin Hack 2020 - BTC for free

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